Wednesday, December 26, 2012

the things they say.....

Last night when we put the girls in their beds Adia says, "I love you Momma, can I help with the dishes and laundry tomorrow?!" I replied with, "Sure! As long as you go right to sleep".
Rasa, "I love you too Momma. Can I help with the laundry tomorrow too?"

I never thought of bribing the girls with chores to get them to go to sleep. I wonder how long the excitement of it all will last? ;)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

everyday things.....

Macy's 8th floor

We almost missed out on our annual Downtown Macy's 8th floor trip because of the flu. I'm so glad we didn't! My Mom and I brought the girls on Friday and we had a great time. The display has been the same for years but each year the girls notice more and more.

Our Santa visit was a success! Rasa was particularly excited to see him and had promised me she was going to sit on his lap. Even still I couldn't believe it when she actually did! Adia was more hesitant but my Mom plopped her down and she was okay (kind of!). The girls wanted to know if Santa had a puppy or a kitty at home so I asked him to tell the girls and he went into an elaborate story about how he had both and what they liked to do etc. He must have spent between 5 and 10 minutes with them. He was so unbelievably sweet! He asked the girls what they wanted for Christmas and Adia told him "a cabbage baby" to which he said, "Oh a Cabbage Patch Doll". When we got home she said, "Santa didn't get it right! He said Cabbage doll. I want a Cabbage Baby!" lol! I assured her he knew what she wanted.

After Santa, Nanna bought the girls a cookie and we went to the puppet show. That's always my favorite part :) We had lunch downstairs at Macy's and then headed over to Candyland so the girls could pick out a treat! Unicorn gross but I can see the appeal to kids!

It really was a lot of fun! One of the things I love about doing things with my Mom and the girls is how relaxed it always is, we do what we want, we're not afraid of crowds or how long it will take. We just want to have fun, so we do :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

winter solstice 2012

"May the dawn of the Winter Solstice chase the dark away.
May it bring to you the promise of endless brand new days.
May all your sorrow vanish.
And all your dreams come true.
And may the light of the Winter Solstice always shine on you."
-Donna Fletcher

We had a nice cozy night in (it was bitter cold last night). We lit candles and snuggled on the couch. It felt like winter solstice here in our new place. It's cozy here and warm and I love how much more connected my family feels with the layout of this house.

I LOVE both Summer and Winter Solstice. I love the seasons here and can't imagine not having both extremes. Winter Solstice has a different feel to it than Christmas but it's warm and festive just the same and I look forward to it each year. Winter was always special to me as a child because eleven days after Christmas was my birthday. Now the girls birthday is just a little over a week after Christmas so we have a lot of things to celebrate! Plus, if you live in Minnesota and you can't celebrate the winter than it's going to be a long few months!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

the things they play.....

The girls play together all day, every day. Listening in on them is usually hilarious. They build off of each others ideas and come up with some pretty creative ways to play so I decided to start this, "the things they play" to document.

What sparked my idea was the following:

The girls were pulling things out from their bedroom into the living room getting all set up. The first thing to go on the floor was a boppy pillow. Adia told Rasa to get in position to which Rasa crouched down on the bobby all huddled up. Adia covered her entirely with a blanket and then proceeded to sit on her, like a chicken on an egg. After a few seconds Adia jumped off and out emerged Rasa from under the blanket chirping like a baby bird. Adia screams! "My baby bird! You hatched!"

the things they say......

Rasa had a terrible stomach flu that had her vomiting non stop for twelve hours and landed her in the ER.

Me: Rasa do you wanna call Nana and tell her how much better you are feeling?

Rasa: I don't wanna talk right now. Just send her a text.

After the girls first day of Preschool we were walking out of school and to the car.

Me: Wasn't that fun?! Did you have a good time?

Adia: It wasn't REALLY cool but it was kinda cool.

Friday, December 7, 2012

school talk....and a mix of feelings...

Time seemed to sit still for me for about a year. The girls were getting bigger but our lives seemed to stay the same. Staying home with them hasn't been easy. Some days are just plain painful.

From toddlerhood to preschool aged brings new challenges more frustrating than ever before and once again Royce and I find ourselves clueless, trying to create new ways to deal with behavior and also trying to continue to live in the moment and enjoy the girls at every age and stage.

I've been fighting feelings of really wanting to work more and have the girls in daycare part time. Working from home and staying home full time during the week made things harder. I felt less of a Mom and more frustrated trying to balance out getting work done and prioritizing my families needs. I kept thinking to myself, I can't wait for school to start. I feel a little guilty that this fall passed us by with me having too much work and not enough time to spend cherishing the excitement of new experiences that has always recharged my mommmy battery.

Then it hit me: this is my last year full time with my kids. Free to do as we please whatever day we want to. Knowing that school is just around the corner and it will be so much different as we shift from home life to school life. I have regret. A lot of it. I wish I would have had endless amounts of patience and creativity. Why didn't I do more of this or that with them when I had the chance, etc. Why can't I be perfect. They deserve that. I know it's not real but it doesn't make me want it any less.

We did kindergarten screening two weeks ago and then decided one day a week school would be good for them. It would give them the opportunity to be away from me. To experience new things, new kids, new learning experiences. To grow and be confident, to push them a little outside of their comfort zones and in return fill them with the confidence they need right now to know they can do it. I'm so happy we are doing this. Rasa, especially, has just shined and we've watched her in two weeks turn from a timid little mouse to an outgoing happy girl that is even more eager than ever to show us what she's capable of. Adia has been a little reluctant. Wanting to be held more. Wanting to talk more about when she was a baby. I'm watching her closely, picking her up more and telling her how proud I am of her.

Today the girls, my Mom and I toured our first choice for PreK. It's a wonderful wonderful school in the Seward neighborhood with two amazing teachers and a classroom that's both Montessori and has a warm Waldorf feel and practices. Exactly what we dreamed of for the girls. Such an easy transition from the home to school. Originally I thought we would do two days a week but after talking to the teachers today they think they should do three days minimum because of their age (because of them having winter birthday's they'll be some of the older kids in the class when in school). Whoa. Three days of school a week huh. They're not my babies anymore. They're going to be school kids.

We have selected our first choice for Kindergarten and it's five days a week so it makes sense to have them in PreK three days. My mind can't even wrap around the thought of shipping them off to school every day of the week but I have a feeling they'll be ready for it, and if they're not we'll find a place that suites them better.

I'm excited for them! I really am but maybe the overwhelming feeling I'm having is a loss for myself. I'm not a helicopter parent. I don't want to hold my kids hands in college or anything like that. I just didn't expect time to go this quickly. I truly believed that if I forced myself to live in the moment with them I wouldn't feel a loss for them as they grew. I do though. You never dream the things that drive you crazy and seem so painful are the things that you're going to miss. I hated having to rock the girls to sleep every night until they were 2. I wanted them to go to bed, lay down and just sleep! Every night we spent two hours getting them to sleep! Now I cry a little every time I think about it because I would do just about anything to sit in their room in the quiet night and hold them, sing and rock them safely and sweetly off to sleep.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

happy saint nicholas day!

The girls left their shoes outside their bedroom door waiting for chocolate from Saint Nicholas in the morning and were excited when they woke up to have them filled with little Santa foil wrapped chocolates.

Tonight we're gong to get the girls ready for bed and surprise them with a christmas lights tour of the city! We got popcorn cups and hot chocolate to make it extra fun :)

Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Festive weekend!

I had eleven sessions last weekend to wrap up my busy season and I enlisted the help of Royce and the girls to help make things run more smoothly and welcome clients while they waited. Royce was huge help with set up and tear down of the studio (even though I decided to shoot outside after all) and clients had a good time. The girls helped me with test shots and also to put some of the timid little clients at ease. It was a busy working weekend but having my family around me made it really fun.

The Gordon family decided to start a new tradition this year of meeting up at the Holidazzle to get the cousin's together and just do something fun before Christmas. We made a quick hot chocolate run before we left and were off to downtown. Josh, Suzanne, Olivia, Owen, My Parents, Royce, the Girls and I all had a wonderful time at the parade and we went to Nye's in Northeast after for a late dinner.
The kids had so much fun playing and dancing and dinner was wonderful. It was a perfect end to our weekend.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

first day of SCHOOL!!

It's been a crazy past couple of days!

Kindergarten screening went well. It was funny to hear the girls answer some questions to things with their spin on them ie "have you ever been to the zoo?" "No!" or "what animals do you see on a farm?""baby piggies...I want a baby piggie...a real one" lol!

Both girls passed with flying colors (even Adia who got bored and refused to continue on with half of the test!). Rasa's chart says she's developing wonderfully and was enthusiastic. Adia's said she seems to be developing normally (stubborn little turkey!).After talking to the screener we decided putting the girls in school right away would help them feel more independent and brave when it comes to interacting with new people and playing with other kids comfortably. We start PreK next year so we agreed getting them used to a school setting would only help to ease them into PreK. So.....

TODAY we started school! The girls preschool teacher Anne is wonderful and sweet. The teachers aid was warm and loving (she's older so the girls call her Gramma teacher). There are 13 kids in their class, mostly boys but two other girls. They were happy to have more girls in the class! The really nice thing is all of the other kids seem to be respectful of each others space and right in the middle of the energy spectrum which works well for my quiet kids.

It was all a little overwhelming to ME. We walk in, found the classroom, took coats off and washed hands and then I had to leave. Kids are expected to find their names on the desk place mats and sit and wait for instruction. Anne greats each child individually and children are expected to greet her.

We read Llama Llama Misses Momma before we went so we could talk about how I would be leaving them in class without me. Both girls did really well with me leaving. Rasa apparently got sad after I left but recovered quickly according to her teacher. I left them sitting at their desk with playdoh and walked away. I teared up but held it together. I was worried my babies would cry for me and that I wouldn't be there for them as I always had to hug them and tell them everything would be ok. They've grown and they did just fine.

When I came back to their class Rasa was bouncing on the floor with her hand on the teachers shoulder laughing at a book the teacher was reading her. Adia sat in between two other kids reading a book. They looked so happy, so big! My heart smiled. They're so ready for this. Good for them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

time playing tricks.....

Three years ago I was pulling coats and hats off of my 12 month olds at ECFE playtime and a lady sat in the lobby with her four year old daughter. She smiled and said to me, "pretty soon you're going to be sitting where I am waiting for their kindergarten screening" I balked and said "not for a while!"....all of the sudden I'm the lady sitting with her almost four year olds for kindergarten screening. How did this happen so fast?!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


This month has flown by so quickly!! I can't believe we're already coming up on the end of November. I've been out of commission for a few weeks with a kidney infection but feeling better everyday and almost normal again. The girls had lots of adventures with their Nana while I was sick. Having her come down a few days to take them outside, play, lunch dates and shopping trips gave them a nice break from being trapped in the house all day. They loved every minute of it.

The girls are changing so much and so quickly. They are children now, all of the sudden. Filled with so many ideas, so much imagination and so opinionated (yep that would be a trait they inherited from me!).

It's funny to see them have their own styles. Rasa likes to pick her clothes but will allow me to choose for her, as long as she can accessorize. She likes her shirts tucked in (oh my), her pant legs rolled up and her sleeves too. She's always got a hat on and lucky for us Nana makes the cutest hats. Rasa doesn't want things. She could care less about presents, toys and stuff. She just wants to be close. She is still a meltdown queen but seems to be able to reel herself in and calm down if given a quiet space to get things together in.

Adia likes pink (STILL!). She only wears something if it has pink in it and she will NOT allow me to help her pick out anything. She has to do it herself. She's a ball of energy, wants to visit Santa to tell him her lengthy list of "I wants" for Christmas, and still controls the entire household. One of the days I was sick in bed I heard Adia teasing Rasa. I shouted from my bed, "Adia!!!". She stormed down the hallway to me and said, "MOMMA! I told you yesterday, stop yelling at me!!!" and stormed away.

I'm always Thankful, thankful for the good days, thankful for the bad days and thankful that we are all so lucky to be together.

Monday, November 5, 2012

voting day.....

Election time! Tomorrow is the big election day and while I don't like to publish political propaganda I want you girls to know how important it is for you to get out and vote when you turn 18. Change isn't instant, it never will be, but we vote to move things in the right direction.

There are many things that we're voting on this election and one is to vote YES or NO to ban the possibility of same sex marriage in the future. Your Dad and I are adamantly against the proposal to eliminate any further debate to happen regarding same sex marriage. We believe anyone in a committed relationship has a right to marriage and the benefits attached to that status. You will be in school with other kids from families that are made up of parents who are biological, adoptive, single parents, two dads, two Mom's and lots of other combinations. All families are just as important as yours is. A family is a family no matter how it came to be. Your moral responsibility is to accept people for the good they do, for the way they make you feel, for the friendship they bring to you and know that we are all equals. We are happy to be in a community that's filled with a lot of different kinds of people. That's what makes everyone so fun and unique (like you!)! We will always stand up for equality and promise, for your sake, to always vote against anything that is not conducive to that.

You both will walk with me down the street to the school tomorrow to stand in line and vote with me. I'm voting for you.

we did it! Adia cried all the way home because she wanted to be able to vote herself. I promised we could make ballots at home to practice with so in the 2028 election she would know exactly what to do!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

halloween excitement!

The girls are WAY into halloween this year. We have a couple neighbors who've decked out their yards with lights and spooky decorations and we walk over there in the dark almost every night.

Both girls picked out their own costumes and have been wearing them everyday since Royce brought them home last week (we always get good use out of costumes, year after year!).

We're looking forward to going to our old neighborhood to trick or treat with friends and have a great time!

The girls trying on costumes for the first time. They were up late that night too excited to sleep.

Adia in my studio. Rasa didn't want any part of getting her picture taken that day. I'll try again with her later ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

the things they say.....adia edition

We were talking about Cinderella coming out on DVD.
Adia says, "I'm going to pick Cinderella movie out and watch it here and IT'S GOING TO BE SO EXCITING!!!"

Lucy had a small accident on the floor and as I was spraying it up with a bottle of floor cleaner Adia says, "Oh Momma that is SO cool! I want a pink one of those (spray bottles) so I can clean up pee too!"

My Mom offered Adia a slice of apple. Adia says, "No way I'm taking a bite of that stupid apple"

We spent an hour online looking at halloween costumes when FINALLY both girls had decided what they wanted to be.
Adia to Royce, "Rasa's gonna be a hedgehog for halloween and I'm gonna be A MANGO!!!!"
Royce, "A mango?"
Adia, "NO! A mango! You know, it's pink with the wings and it goes like this (her jumping around flapping her arms)"
Royce, "OH! A flamingo!"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

the art of parenting.....

I'm finding that parenting kids who have the same personality I do is exhausting. Realizing I have to change and not try and correct their behavior is HARD. I can't tell them not to do something that I myself, as an adult, don't have the self control to not do!
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

the things they say....

Drama Queen in training.....

I left the girls at my parents for a couple hours today so I could get my hair updated ;) When I got back and put them in the car Adia announced she was crying for me when I was gone:

Adia: I was crying for lu (you) momma

Me: You were crying for me? Why were you crying for me?

Adia: I was sitting on the stairs, crying, because I looked up at the picture of you on the wall. The picture from when you were growing up. And I was crying for lu.

Oh lord.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

the things they say....

After Adia's nap (Rasa was still asleep) she came out and asked if she could watch Baby Signing Time. She handed me the dvd and I told her it was way to scratched up for it to work to which she replied, "Lets just find a man to fix it for us!".


Me, "WHAT?! Why would we need a man to fix it for us?!"

About five minutes later, after I had regained consciousness I told Adia to repeat after me, "women make the world go round."

She giggled and said, "Momma, what's that all about?!"

Oh lord help me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

the contrast in humanity.....

You've probably heard me talk about my aversion to little critters before, and also their attraction to me. So I'm outside sitting about five feet from my garage when out dances a big fat mouse. He stops, looks up right at me and than prances back into my garage. GROSS!!! I run inside, tell the girls they are not allowed in the garage until we kill the mouse that's squatting in there. Our garage is old school, just studs and beams and no where for little mouse man to hide so I know when Royce gets home he can remedy the situation swiftly.

Adia exclaims: We have to put peanut butter on a trap and KILL IT!!!!!

Rasa looking perturbed: No Adia, he's our friend. Mouse is our friend. We can't kill it.


Me: I'm with Adia on this one. That mouse has to die. They are filthy and disgusting.

Rasa: but we need to just give it a chance. We need to say goodbye mouse and ask him to leave.

Adia: We have to KILL IT!

Me: Ok, Rasa thinks we need to ask the mouse to leave and give it a chance to go, Adia wants to kill it. I'll think about both of your suggestions and make a decision.

Both girls smiling like they've "won"

That bastard is as good as dead.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

shopping with three year olds.....

The girls are very particular about their clothes. Shopping trips to the store for clothes always ends up in them picking items I would NEVER buy (at prices I don't want to pay) and we leave with one or two things I didn't want to get just to save ourselves from carrying out two crying kids. Example.....the last trip to Old Navy we made we only went because I needed to get them sized and then planned on buying everything for (much) cheaper at their online store. Online if you purchase two of the same style you get a discount. Well....after fighting tooth and nail to get them to try pants on so I could see their size we left with a hot pink Hello Kitty dress and a blue Hello Kitty t-shirt (blech).

So tonight I'm online shopping for their winter wardrobe and the girls are excited about the things I picked out for each of them. The nice thing about shopping online is that I can choose the items they can pick from (all of my favorites hahaha) and they can tell me if they'll wear it or not.

Of course the thought never crossed my mind that 3 year olds have zero concept of time and when I told them their clothes would arrive in a week they didn't get it.....which is why every five minutes for the last hour Adia's asked, "are they here yet?!" How long will it take for her to forget all about them?!

everyday things....big girls!

Friday, September 7, 2012

cookies for corrie....

The girls idol and babysitter who lived across the street moved all the way to Rochester last weekend. It was very sad and hard to explain to the girls. They LOVE Sam. They want to be like Sam. Everyday they would wait for Sam. She came by and said goodbye, played dress up and watched part of a movie with them. We explained to them that we would see her again but that she moved, like we did, far away and her house is now someone else's, much like ours.

Two doors down is Corrie. She's in her late 60's, lives with her Husband and is SO cool. Everyone loves Corrie. She's like Martha Stewart, up at the crack of dawn and ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS working around her yard (which is nothing short of a wonderland), biking, walking, washing her car, up a latter trimming her enormous get the picture. She had a garage sale last week and the girls and Royce stopped by. She gave the girls some cool handmade dolls and Rasa has been talking about her ever since.

This morning Rasa woke up early and saw Corrie working in her yard from the window. She jumped up, put her clothes on and told me she was going to talk to Corrie. Rasa has a thing for older people. She doesn't like kids but she loves anyone who looks like a Gramma :) Adia was still sleeping so I stood on the front steps, told her to go and watched for 45 minutes while Rasa swept up almost enough courage to walk up to Corrie's door. Two steps forward, turn around, one step back. I finally hollered to Corrie that Rasa wanted to say good morning. Corrie said, "Well hello there! Good Morning!" Rasa came running home without so much as a word to Corrie. An hour later she wanted to try again. The same thing transpired, back in the house we went. Adia woke up and Rasa coaxed her to go with her. Hand in hand the two of them walked up and greeted Corrie. She brought them to her sunflower garden and showed them the flowers. My little girls came running home with handfuls of marigolds Corrie had let them pick.

The rest of the afternoon all they wanted to do was watch Corrie, visit Corrie, "what is Corrie doing in der?" "Where's Corrie?!".

Rasa asked if we could bake cookies for Corrie and bring them over to which I said yes. When we went to Target this afternoon she rememerbed and said we have to get stuff to make cookies for Corrie.

After dinner I baked cookies. Rasa watched them cook in the oven and the second I pulled them out told me to hurry up because she had to bring them to Corrie. This time I had Royce walk them over. I heard Corrie shout from across the street, "Oh my goodness!" when Rasa handed her the plate. They are still there visiting. Corrie assured me the girls could come over ANYTIME. I wonder if she has any idea what that means? Hahaha

Part of me wants to protect them and keep them from getting attached to Corrie because they are listing their house soon too so they can downsize. That's about me though. Keeping them from making a friend and having a friend, even for a short time, is wrong and the joy they seem to get out of each other is priceless no matter how long is lasts. Plus, sometimes you just never know.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

the art of falling short....

Sometimes I sit and just for a split second my mind brings me a sweet bit of info I don't want to forget. It doesn't happen often (ha!) but when it does it's nice to know the hamsters in there turning the wheels haven't died off altogether!

I was thinking about perfect parenting and then it came to me! A perfect parent is one that is not perfect! How can we teach our kids to cope with life if we don't have issues, shortcomings, failures, bad days etc that they see and watch us climb out of the trenches of? It's liberating to think that I can be myself, my true self and be a better parent to my girls than if I was trying so hard to do everything right, especially because that wouldn't be right at all. See what I'm saying? ;)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

cabin trip 2012

So we waited the entire summer to get up to my parents cabin with the girls and FINALLY we made it! We had planned much earlier in the summer but I kept booking weekend sessions forgetting to block of vacation time!

We had a wonderful, wonderful trip for four days. The girls were SO excited to go that they didn't even want to stop and get out of the car on the six and a half hour drive up there! Every time we would stop they would get mad! DRASTIC change from years previous when they would cry in the car the entire trip!

This year was also different because the girls (especially Rasa) were so excited to be there they were taking everything in with pure joy and excitement and at age three and a half it was the first time up there we were able to relax and let them play and explore without worry of them getting into instant trouble!

Jess and Weston came up and spent the day and the kids played and had fun while we visited and enjoyed the sun, the boat and the beach. It was an amazing day!

The weather couldn't have been more perfect. It was around 80 and sunny the entire time.

The beach
jumping off the dock
boat rides
rhino rides
hikes with flower picking
apple martini's ;)
watching lucy swim and lifeguard everyone else who jumped in the lake!
sleeping in
going to bed early
grandparents time
quiet time
no phone! no internet!
the amazing view from the cabin
lots of sun
lots of swimming!
chappy rides
royce kayaking (even if it did end with lucy trying to save him, causing him to tip over in the lake!)
royce fishing off the dock at dark while the girls watched with Nana

Thanks Mom and Dad for cooking, for washing all of the dishes, for stuffing my babies with scrambled eggs at 9 pm, for grandpa's licorice treats and lemon cookies, for enduring two plus hours of The Incredibles movie, for the caterpillar lessons, for allowing the screen door to be slammed, for giving my kids a place to fall in love with the woods and with nature in an even better way than I did as a kid.
Love you!

We cannot wait to get up there next year! I have to admit getting back into things here in the city was almost a painful process yesterday and today. Royce goes back to work tomorrow and we get back into our weekday rhythm, that I'm realizing needs some tweaking again. We need more quiet in our lives. More time unplugged. More time not working, not replying, not getting back to clients instantly from my phone, my laptop, facebook etc. More quiet. Lots and lots more quiet.

We love the city but we need simplicity here and I do know for a fact that it is indeed possible.

*all images are copyright of doubledutch photography 2012 and may not be used, posted, published or transmitted without prior written notice.