Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 in Pictures

A hat tip to Laura Case who inspired this with her awesome selection of family photos.


We ran the Boosterthon Fun Run at school.


This is at the Hoops for Hope game at NC State


At Bond Park.  I love the vampire look going on here.

bond park-26


Our spring break trip to Washington DC.  We attended the kite festival on the Mall.  You can see the Lincoln Monument in the background.



Forcing the girls to pose for pictures on Mother's Day



Race for the Cure






St. Rapheal's Fair




My birthday party (courtesy Laura Case)


In one of our favorite gifts

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Yeah - it's been a while

Sorry for the lack of posts - ít seems like the last 6 weeks or so have been a challenge.  In addition to being busy at work, someone in the house has been coughing probably non-stop the entire 6 weeks.  And it rotates who it is.  Last night it was a tag-team effort.  We've also been through two stomach virus tours of duty two weeks apart.  Is it spring yet?

I turned 40 not too long ago and the girls had a blast getting down at my birthday party.  They were pretty much the featured dancers the first couple hours.

We visited Santa a couple weeks ago.  Lily's been asking for a stable for her horse.  Madeleine surprised us all and asked for stilts.  We went back later in the afternoon and were able to take Lily on a carriage ride before going to the Town of Cary tree lighting.
Then this past weekend the girls got to participate in their first parade.  We signed up to walk with their school float in the Cary Christmas Parade.  Madeleine rode on the float, but Lily walked behind with me and really enjoyed walking and throwing candy to the crowd.  We were located about halfway through the parade, so we got to watch the second half on our way back to the car.
Disney on Ice and our usual performance of the Nutcracker fell on the same weekend this year, so the girls picked Disney.  They dressed up as their favorite princesses (Rapunzel and Ariel).

And Sunday night we did manage to get the tree up so that Lily could participate in her favorite Christmas tradition - the tree.  It was her turn to put the angel on this year.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Baking Sundays

For the last three Sundays, I've had the girls bake something themselves for dessert.  Mostly I was tired of them asking for some Little Debbie brand brownie and wanted them to try some new things.  They're old enough now to do most of the work themselves, especially if it's a box mix.  Lily LOVES to make the Trader Joes pumpkin bread mix by herself.

Our first adventure was individual chocolate souffles.  This was all from scratch.  They got to watch me use a double boiler for the first time.  I told them how I had gotten it from my grandmother, so it gave us the opportunity to talk about my Grandma Bench and the things I would do with her.  I was distracted enough to scald the chocolate and have to start over, so we learned the importance of reading the entire recipe first or you have to start over.

Here's Madeleine learning how to "fold" the chocolate into the egg whites.  Souffles were a success, however very rich so they couldn't finish their ramekin.

Last week we tried a chocolate cream pie.   I cheated a bit here and used Jello pudding for the filling and a pre-made Oreo crust.  But we whipped our own cream to put on top and added a dusting of cocoa powder for a garnish.  A big hit even though I don't have pictures.

This weekend we did a red velvet cake box mix with a cream cheese filling.  They said to buy frosting and microwave it for the top, but Madeleine and I made a glaze from confectioner's sugar and milk to put on top.

We're learning to measure and about fractions.  They have to read me the recipe or instructors before we start.  Unless it involves heat (like melting chocolate), I pretty much let them try everything themselves.  Madeleine was proud of herself for no eggshells in it this week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween!

The big day is finally here - the girls are super excited.  It will be the coldest year for trick or treating that we've had since they were born.  Last year it was over 80 degrees, and tomorrow's high will be 57.  Luckily we can add some clothing under our costumes.

The ideas for our costumes came from the Chasing Fireflies catalog this year.  Lily fell in love with the Spiderina costume, and I bought it because it looked awesome.  It's two sizes too big, so maybe we can get some future use out of it.

Madeleine is a bride.  I didn't want to but the $150 one in the catalog, so we got a real wedding dress from a thrift store, and I altered it (my apologies to the original creator).  I bought a girls size petticoat and sewed it to a tank top to make a slip.  I hemmed it up a good 4" so I can let it out if we keep it for a while.

We've been to a number of Halloween events already, which is nice considering how much costumes can cost these days if you buy them.  It's also a good backup in case for some reason trick or treating on Halloween doesn't work out (illness, weather, etc).  This year we went to Rocktoberfest at the Y, the Town of Cary's Howlin Halloween, and the twins club get together.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Fair Time

I contemplated skipping the NC State Fair this year - we have a lot going on this month, it can be super expensive, and I'm not a huge fan of fair food.  But then Lily came home with a notice that her artwork was going to be on display at the fair this year, so that ended the debate.

The weather looked good for the weekend, and I thought Sunday would be our best bet to avoid crowds.  We caught the first bus there Sunday morning and headed over to the Kerr Scott building to find her picture.

Here's Lily with her picture - Tar Beach.  Her art teacher was able to submit one picture for each grade level.  The gold seal means that her picture was the judges' pick for the whole school.

Madeleine was pretty good about it, but we could tell she was a little bit grumpy that she didn't have a picture.  She had her picture at the mall exhibit last year, and I'm sure she'll have another chance again.  They enjoyed looking at the other art submissions in the Kerr Scott Bldg.

By the time we got out of there, it was almost time for the rides to start, so we got tickets and got in line.  The girls went on the swings first and ran into a friend from school.

Madeleine and I took on the roller coaster while Lily rode the merry-go-round with Eric.  Then we waited almost an hour for the ferris wheel.  Then they girls did two fun houses and the giant slide.

Lunch was a few nachos, and then Madeleine wanted her face painted.  We went to one of the booths run by the ride vendor. There wasn't a long line when we got there, but I guess the woman doing the painting was having a rough day.  There was a family with three girls ahead of us who had been by before, messed their paint up, and then wanted it fixed.  Lily picked the "default" design, but Madeleine wanted something else.  The woman was pretty much yelling, and I couldn't tell if it was at the parents, the kids, or the woman taking the money for her.  She spent less than 30 seconds on each kid, and I'm pretty sure Madeleine was supposed to get a ribbon crown with her more expensive design, but whatever.  I was just annoyed because Madeleine had been so excited to get her face painted, and it was pretty much ruined by this lady's attitude.


We went through the two expo buildings and decided to leave around 1.  It was getting super crowded, and the girls weren't all that interested in seeing any animals.  I think we were all just tired walking and people.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What we did for an art party

After two years of gymnastics parties, I thought we would try something different this year.  I looked at doing a party at Wine & Design or something, but it was a little out of our price range.  So, I thought I'd try one at the house.

Food: Snacks and Cupcakes
I did homemade cupcakes with fondant "crayons."


Plates and napkins were tye-dyes from Walmart.

Favors: Smocks
I bought mens shirts from a thrift store for $2 each.  Then I got some iron-on letters, flowers, etc. from JoAnn and customized them with the kids' initials.  Madeleine and Lily picked out their own special cupcake patches.

Activities: Decorate a bag, paint a pumpkin, make a bandana, and canvas painting.
Least popular: decorate your bag (paint too wet to make bags useful)
Most popular: paint a pumpkin


For the canvases I had three easels set up.  I also had hooks on about 5 canvases and just hung them on the wall since we had the party in the garage.  I had put down some paper on the floor (didn't want plastic because I envisioned people slipping in wet paint).  I used acrylic paint I got in the kids section at Jerry's Artarama.  I got two big bags of brushes from Walmart and used red Solo cups for water and holding brushes.  We pre-filled palettes with paint before the guests arrived, and I had a roll of paper towels out for every two canvases.
I also printed out some famous paintings and taped them to the wall above the tables for inspiration.

Games: "Pin the Paintbrush" and TWO pinatas
Lily came up with the idea for the paintbrush game.  People had to stick a paintbrush to her homemade palette and get them in the right spots. It went pretty well.  I was nervous because both girls hit the prize spots first, but they were good hostesses and gave out the three prizes I had to their friends.

We started making the pinatas back in Sept.  Madeleine's was the first one.  We'd put so much glue on it it took a week to dry.  The one that was Lily's had the balloon deflate on the first try, so we started hers on the second weekend.  Lily's ended up being less firm.  On the third weekend, we decorated them with tissue paper.  That took close to 3 hours and 3 bottles of tacky glue.

We did Madeleine's first, and it was tough to break.  We did the first round blindfolded, then I took it off.  We went through 4-5 rounds before I just pulled at the rip.  Later on we did Lily's.  I thought it would break sooner, but it didn't.

Final products:

The party just made it to the 2 hour mark, including cupcakes and opening gifts.  Some kids weren't interested in doing the paintings, so it was tough to keep them occupied.   But the girls had a great time and have something to remember the day.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What a difference 7 years makes

Happy Birthday to the most awesome girls ever!

I was so lucky to spend time at school with them yesterday for their birthdays.  We had lunch together in the cafeteria, then I went to Lily's classroom to hear them sing to her and helped her pass out cupcakes.  Then I went to Madeleine's room and did the same with her class.  It was weird to see the looks on some kids faces in the cafeteria because they didn't even know they were sisters, much less twins since they don't sit near each other at lunch or have the same recess time.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

All Play and No Work

Two weeks into school, and we still haven't gotten homework yet.

So Saturday after skate lessons we headed to St. Rapheal's Church in N. Raleigh for their annual fair.  This is the third year we've gone.  We ride about 4 rides and hit up the games, and it's a quick treat for everyone.


I think they love to ride the swings because they know it drives me crazy.  Too fast!

They do have different ride preferences at times.  Here's Madeleine on the Scrambler.
Where Lily prefers a classic Carousel ride.


But we always end up together on the roller coaster.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Skating divas

From the minute I first found out I was pregnant, people asked me if when the girls would start skating.  I think most people assumed they'd be born with skates on.  But I didn't want to force anything on them if they didn't want to.  Plus, I was worried about them starting too early, getting frustrated (and cold!) and hating the whole idea of ice skating.  So we went slowly.  The rink has a "Mice on Ice" program for when they're little, but it was during the work week and didn't really work for us.

We went skating for the first time when they were five or so.  We went to the outdoor rink downtown on a sunny January day.  So it wasn't super cold.  But the ice was kind of melty.  Being the outdoor rink there's no zam, just a guy with a shovel and a hose.  They did okay, but it was nothing to write home about.

Then last year we hit the Ice House again just to feel it out.  They did okay, but my back was so sore after basically carrying them around the rink.

Then last weekend the Trailblazers had some extra ice we used for family skate.  Without the public skate crowd, they really were able to get into it more and said they were interested in lessons.  So this Saturday we started their skate school.  The girls listened to their teachers and had a good time.  They learned some basics. 

The bonus part of skate school is the public skate punch card where public skate sessions are included with our lessons, so we hit up public skate again today, and I can honestly say that by the end of public skate today, they were skating on their own.  There were laps WITHOUT FALLING.  Attempts at skating backwards even.  Lily was making me laugh talking about all the different types of skating - hockey, figure, and "Disney on Ice."

They've asked for skates for Christmas.  Pink ones, of course.

Monday, August 27, 2012

First day of first grade

Today the girls started first grade.  As with Kindergarten, they didn't have many details to share about their first day.  There are 6 classes, and each girl only has about 4-5 kids from their class last year in their class again this year.  While they have lunch at the same time, their recess times are different again, so they don't see each other until the end of the day.

We went shopping for the outfits above on Saturday.  Lily really wanted to go to Justice, but she didn't see anything there she liked.  I didn't see anything that hadn't been thrown up on by the Glitter Fairy.  So she ended up with an Old Navy sweater and some Justice jeans I got at the consignment sale.  Madeleine's outfit is Target (with Old Navy boots).  We're using the same Stride Rite backpacks as last year (the girls haven't figured out to ask for new ones).

When I picked them up at school, there was a whole bunch of kids still waiting for their bus to show up.  They'd been waiting an hour, and a lot of frantic parents were running into the school.  I felt really bad for them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wedding Hair

The girls were in a wedding this past weekend, and the bride let me know that she had made a salon appointment for them prior to the wedding.  For the first wedding we were in, I'd had their hair braided in French braids, so I wasn't sure quite what to expect.  The girls didn't either.

Madeleine went first.

She had a few ideas about what she wanted it to be like.

Just look at those curls.


Lily was more nervous about the curling iron, but after seeing Madeleine's do she said she wanted the same style.

I love the look on her face as it's coming together.


Madeleine has asked what time we would have to get up in the morning to do her hair like this every day, and it is not happening.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Presque Isle

In case you misseit, we were in Erie, PA for a wedding over the weekend.  On Friday afternoon we headed out to Presque Isle State Park.  The girls weren't quite sure what to make of it since it's a different type of beach than they're used to.  The bike and running trails looked awesome, and I wish we'd had more time to explore.  Mostly we just walked along the beach.


Wrote our names in the sand

Climbed on things we weren't supposed to
Raced by the lighthouse
And messed with driftwood