Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolution, Part 2

This year's resolution was to have resolutions that had nothing to do with weight loss or organization. Check!

My first resolution of the new year is to take pictures of the girls every day all year long. I will have the camera ready for tomorrow.

My second resolution is less about being a parent and more about being creative:

I will write (and complete) at least four short stories this year.

I had considered writing a novel, but I think I'm not quite there yet. I am, though, at a place where I really want to pick up the writing again. Last year, I wrote three 20K-word short stories as a ghost writer. It was extremely challenging yet tons of fun. This year I want to write for myself. I've got some ideas rolling around in my head, so I'm going to put those ideas to paper. I may share them wholly or partially on the blog. I may start a completely different blog. I've also seen writing challenges floating around the Internet that sound like a fun way to challenge myself. I may do some of those or even create some of my own. I am a writing teacher after all; I've even considered doing some of the homework assignments I assign my students.

What are you resolutions this year? Do you have any? Are you looking for a way to challenge yourself, even if it only lasts until the end of January? 

Resolutions or not, everyone have a wonderful evening and the happiest of new years!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Resolution, Part 1

That there is a picture of the girls while we were in Detroit this past week. The reason I have this picture (of Lillie watching Toy Story while Dani colors) is because we were on vacation, and Tim brought the camera.

I don't particularly like that.

I love having pictures of my kids--however they come about, but I kick myself every time I forget the actual camera and end up taking pictures with my phone. Boo. Tim has a degree in photojournalism, and I have one in film. Taking pictures with our phones shouldn't be the norm.

So here's resolution number one:

I will take pictures of my children every day for the next year with the Nikon DSLR. 
*I will also post them to this blog (not daily, mind you, but often enough). 

This may not seem like some amazing thing, but for those who don't know me well, you should know this: I am awesome at making plans and lists and setting goals, but I have a lot of trouble sticking to my guns. It's not that I give up, per se, I just get distracted by some other shiny new goal. This one is happening. This one I want to do. I want to end 2013 with at least 365 good pictures of my girls. I'd really like it to be 730, but I'm not going to get in over my head. 

And yes, you read that right. This is only part 1. I have another entirely different resolution in mind for the new year. I hope that one sticks too. We'll talk about that one later...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What Dani Said

Every morning on the way to "PapaNana's House," we pass the car dealership where we bought our car. Every morning the girls ask if that's where we got our car. This morning, they recounted their adventure that night playing in one of the display trucks inside. They specifically remembered setting off the truck's alarm.

Lillie: Why we do that?
Me: Because you're two years old and curious and things like that happen.
Dani: I not curious! I a little girl!
Me: Little girls can be curious.
Dani: No. Boys curious. 
Me: (laughing) OK.
Dani: And mommies. And daddies.
Me: But not little girls?
Dani: No.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween is Nigh!


Ladies and gentlemen, the bird costumes are done! The girls modeled them (reluctantly) while still in their pajamas, so please imagine them with leggings and possibly turtlenecks underneath.

It was a tedious but fun process that started with a lot of felt--2 yards of white, 20 sheets each in shades of pink and purple. I started with felt glue, ran out, and ended with my trusty $10 hot glue gun. All I hope is that people understand what they are, and if they don't, I'm just proud that I made my little girls' costumes!!!




Sunday, October 21, 2012

Loss

"Where's Granddaddy?" Lillie asked me when we were at my grandparents' house yesterday morning. For the first time, I didn't know how to answer that question. I fought back tears for fear of having to answer more questions. You see, my grandfather died early Saturday morning, and it had been less than 24 hours since the girls had seen him. Naturally, they would wonder where he was since he was always at the house when we went to visit. His clothes were on the bed, and my grandmother was there. So why wasn't he?

I do not know how to answer that question. When I talked to my mom this morning, she said it's an easy question to answer. "Just say he's in Heaven." And yes, that seems simple enough. It's what I believe. Alas, I have no idea what to say after that. Will they ask me what Heaven is? How do I answer that? Sadly--scarily really--will it matter so much what I say to them? At 2.5 years old, will they remember the way Mommy answered such a profound question that they don't even realize is profound?

I have decided to not take them to the funeral. My great-grandmother died when I was three years old, and my memory is her lying in her casket at the funeral. If I put my mind to it, I can vaguely remember her alive--kissing and hugging me and giving me candy. But when someone talks about her, that vision of her not quite looking like Mama is what stays with me. I don't want my girls to remember Granddaddy like that. I prefer memories of him stacking blocks with them, sharing his gigantic cup of water, or helping them open birthday presents. I know that my grandmother will find this selfish, that I want to protect my children from something as natural as death, but I do.

Since Tim woke me up to tell me Granddaddy had died, I've been thinking about him. Memories are floating in the back of my mind, and I find myself torn that I'm not sadder than I am. I'm obviously sad, more than sad. He was my grandfather, and I loved him so much. I'll miss him everyday, but I just don't find myself devastated. He was never one who liked being taken care of; he preferred to take care of others. He hated hospitals. He hated being sick. I know that he is no longer in pain, no longer suffering, and he will watch over us all.

Maybe that's what I tell the girls. They might not comprehend it all, but I think that if I can explain it's okay to be sad and it's okay to miss him. Ultimately, though, having good happy memories is what you should treasure always.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What Dani Said

Right after waking up this morning.

Dani: Is the thunderstorm gone?
Me: Yes.
Dani: Why?
Me: Because weather changes.
Dani: Why?
Me: Because the wind blows and the Earth moves.
Dani: Where's the Earth?
Me: We're on it.
Dani: No. This is a rug.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Costume Sneak Peek

Come back in a few days to see how this...



And this...

will turn into cute costumes for my girlies!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mommy's Big Boo-Boo

On September 5, I was in a car accident. It scared me half to death, but luckily, I came out of it with only bruises and a fractured wrist. The car, on the other hand, will spend its life in a junk yard.

Even though the girls weren't with me, they are still dealing with the aftermath because Mommy didn't just fracture her wrist. Mommy fractured her left wrist and will be in a cast for at least eight weeks.

I'll say the first couple of days were a nightmare, but I'm starting to get used to dealing better with the "biiiig bandaid" on my arm, and I think I'll be able to get through the next six weeks fairly well.

The girls still get upset when I say I can't pick them up or when it takes me a lot longer to change a diaper, but they always say "I'm sorry Mommy" if they accidentally run into me. And they want to knock on my cast to make sure it still feels like it did the last time they touched it. I was going to let them color it, but I'm not sure I trust toddlers with Sharpies.

Another aftermath is the state of our former vehicle. The girls really only knew our blue Equinox, and when I brought home all their toys and books that used to live in the backseat, they asked why they weren't in "my blue car" anymore. Many, many times we had to explain that the car got squished and broken and that it wouldn't be coming back to live with us. They asked everyday about the blue car and why it was gone. I felt bad every time I had to say that it got broken and that's why Mommy has a big boo-boo.

I realized that the connection between the car and my cast sunk in when Tim told me Lillie cried when I left to go to the doctor. She was afraid that I would come home with another boo-boo. It broke my heart.

I know that my two-year olds don't understand the gravity of my car accident, but they understand that I left in the car and came home with a cast. Lillie doesn't get upset anymore, but I still think she's wondering if I (or Daddy) will come home with a boo-boo when we leave in the car.


Halloween Thoughts...

It's September. I started seeing Octoberfest Sam Adams in the store last month. That means it's time for me to start thinking about Halloween costumes. Too early, you say? Then you obviously have an abundant amount of extra cash lying around so you can buy whatever costume your children want.

Last year, I waited too long and instead of having two cute little witches like I wanted, I had two cute little deserts (a cupcake and an ice cream cone). The costumes came from Old Navy, and the girls still wear them, so win win. This year, though...this year the girls have told me what they'd like to be for Halloween. If any of you follow me on Pinterest, then you may have figured it out. BIRDIES!


I found this adorable costume idea at Felt So Cute, so I think I'm going to give it a try. Lillie, of course, wants to be a purple bird. Dani, of course, wants to be a pink bird. Mommy is going to try to do three colors on each for a little variety. I haven't figured out the beaks/masks yet, but I'm sure something will come to mind before October 31.

And I think Mommy is going to make a cute little nest or tree headband to go with her cute birdies. I'm sort of excited about the whole thing.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Toy Overhaul

Fun percussion set from B. Toys
I am contemplating an entire toy overhaul in this house over the next eight months or so (through L & D's third birthday). We still have a lot of toys they had as infants and some they acquired in their second year. I think it's time to downsize and prioritize.

Every time I consider or mention downsizing the toys, my mom and grandmother tell me I'm doing a bad thing. "The girls should have all the toys they can play with." Even though in the front of my mind I feel I'm doing a service to my sanity and their creativity, the little voice in the back has guilt and won't get rid of the toys. That is not to say that I haven't gotten rid of some toys, because I definitely have, but I think I can do a better job than before.

Little Tikes T-ball
My new focus is to heighten creativity and pretend play while giving them things that will last for a few years. I've always tried to find toys that do this, but they have a lot of toys that are the equivalent of busy work for adults. I'm scoping out tons of musical instruments, art supplies and sports toys. I'm also starting to research bikes and trikes to get them mobile when we're out and about (as if they're not mobile enough). I've considered play kitchens and the like, but still can't decide if that kind of purchase is worth the money. I think letting them help me prepare meals would be more fun. There are, though, plenty of play kitchens at yard sales and on Craigslist for next to nothing.

For those with kids this age or older, what do you think? Is it time to give the baby toys the boot? Am I bad for wanting to downsize the toys (and, truly, the amount of time it takes to clean up said toys)? What do your kids enjoy the most?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What Lillie Said

The girls were looking in my "goodie bag" from the dentist. 

Dani: What's this?
Lillie: A toothbrush.
Dani: Oh! A toothbrush.
Lillie: No. One brush.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Let's Make Art!!


In an effort to come up with more activities for the girls AND to do some DIY decor around the house, I came up with the (brilliant) idea of having the girls paint an abstract for the family room. I'm not going to lie, in my head I envisioned bright colors flung about on the large canvas. There was definitely flinging, but mostly it was smearing and giggling as they splashed paint with the sponges and painted everything including the concrete, the grass, and the retaining wall.







The final result was not exactly amazing. OK, it was amazing for toddler art but not for my wall. I decided to start over by painting the entire canvas white. This was the result: 





I actually thought that looked pretty cool, but it was too boring. Plus I had Mommy Guilt for covering up my daughters' art. So I let this new paint dry, added masking tape and gave them another go with some brighter paint. And voila!





Now we have an L&D original hanging on our wall in the family room. When they're a bit older, I'll have them sign it.



Monday, June 18, 2012

Color, Color Everywhere!

In the next couple of months, I plan to do some painting. I want to paint the girls' bathroom and play table. I want to paint the kitchen table and chairs. I want to paint an old hope chest I inherited from my great uncle. I'd like to paint my office desk, but that behemoth may have to wait for another burst of inspiration and energy.

With all this urge to paint, I've been checking out a lot of color palettes online (and by online I mean Pinterest). There are a lot of great color combos, but sometimes you need to go and create your own. So here are a few I did in the last couple of days.

What do you think? Is it too much color? (What?! There's no such thing as too much color when there are kiddos around!!)

I like this one for our family room. We currently have a red sofa, so I'd like everything to be near neutral.

I think I'm starting to like pink...uh oh. I like this color combo for the girls' room  when they get a bit bigger and we move to twin beds.

I've decided the girls will have a purple bathroom. I'm still tossing around colors to go with the deep purple walls. This one is sitting well with me. (Notice how that darn pink popped up again.)

This super bright happiness would be in my office. I don't think Tim could handle colors like this in any other room. Granted, I think I'm halfway there with the first three colors already incorporated. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bathroom Decorating

Below is the plan for the girls' bathroom. The wall color will be a deep purple with a big circle pattern on the walls. I haven't decided what color the circles will be, but they won't be that blue. As usual, most of the decor is from Target with the exception of the the Ikea step stool and the hand-painted knobs from Etsy. With smart budgeting and a little DIY here and there, I'm sure I can do the entire room for under $175. YAY BUDGET!


The Girls'...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kitchen Storage

For a few months now, I've been trying to find a good storage solution for fruit and vegetables in the kitchen. Since moving into our house, I'd been using a large white bowl to hold fruit and veggies. It worked well for the most part, but sometimes I get a little gung-ho with the produce and end up with far more potatoes, apples, bananas, tomatoes, etc than can fit in my pretty white bowl.

Then I discovered Pinterest.

Pinterest introduced me to joys and wonders of beautiful and cool things I will never have or have time to make, but alas, I spend lots of time there. That's where I found these very cool wall baskets. Perfect for the small piece of wall between the pantry and the fridge. Perfect...if they were still available.

My search began, and every time I thought I'd found the best basket, it ended up being the wrong size or far more expensive than I wanted to go with.

Finally, I came across some great baskets at Kohl's. They were originally $30, on clearance for $5 each. I happened to have a gift card for Kohl's, so those baskets were free! That's the best price ever. So, without further ado, here's my new fruit and veggie storage in the kitchen.










Nice, huh? I just hope the girls don't go crazy trying to grab the lower one from the wall.


By the way, if you'd like to follow me on Pinterest, click here: http://pinterest.com/fabfish

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's Potty Time!

Well...it's almost potty time. The girls are showing an increasing interest in pees and poos and potties, so I know the time is approaching for me to put on my big fat patience hat and get on the potty training...um...train.

As always, I must approach this with a plan as well as an arsenal of supplies. I've started with the supplies because the plan is still overwhelming me.

First up, the actual potty. I looked at a bunch of different ones, but in the end, it came down to price and design. The winner? The Ikea L├ąttsam. It's $5 and all one piece which makes it easy on the wallet and easy on the clean freak in me. I intended to get two of each in different colors--red and pink--so the girls would know which potty was which.

Ikea had different intentions. After three trips to the Atlanta Ikea, the wonderful guys at ModerNash only found green and black. I asked a friend, and the Austin Ikea only had green. In the end, I settled with four green ones. In typical Faith fashion, I plan to decorate each potty so the girls will know which is which. (I promise to post pics of pretty potties.)

Next up, the trainers. A while back I decided against disposables. Both Lillie and Dani will tell me they are wet, but neither of them seem to really care unless they've leaked. Disposable trainers seem to be glorified disposable diapers (in my opinion), so I thought it would be nicer to go cloth so the girls will be more aware of their wetness. There are a gazillion adorable cloth trainers out there, but most of them cost an arm and a leg. If I were purchasing diapers that would be worn for a couple of years, I'd have no problem paying $12-$15 per diaper, but when I hope training will only take a couple of months, I don't see the need to spend that much.

Gerber and Babies R Us both have some nice inexpensive ones, but all the reviews said they weren't absorbant at all. I don't need them to be super absorbant, but I would prefer not to have lots of puddles to clean. Enter Carter's (extremely adorable) trainers! They cost a little more than Gerber, but far less than some others I'd been eyeing.


Next are the wipes. Toilet paper is fine and dandy, but I think flushable wipes are better. I may change my mind at some point in time, but right now I've planned on using flushables. Both Pampers and Wet Ones make a flushable wipe. The Pampers Kandoo are great because they come is a large tup with a cute picture on the front. (Dani is obsessed with frogs right now, so the frog is a selling point. Sue me.)


This list is still growing. I'd also like to get a step stool so they can wash their hands more easily as well as some potty only toys and/or books. Those parents that have been through the training gauntlet, do you have any advice? I would really appreciate it!



Friday, April 6, 2012

Messy IS Fun

A recipe for cornstarch paint has been floating around Pinterest for awhile. I'd thought about trying it, but the weather had never been great enough to go for it. A couple of weeks ago, though, everything fell into place, and I whipped up some cornstarch, water and food coloring and let the girls go to town.

In my mind, I envisioned great splatters and abstract paintings all over our back patio. What I got was this.


There's a small playground in the neighborhood adjacent to us that's designed for 2 to 5-year olds. I took them there to burn off a lot of energy. I expected they would climb and slide and drive the pretend truck. They did do all of that...for about five minutes. The other 40 minutes or so were spent doing this.


I do not mind messiness as long as it can be contained. But my girls bring new meanings to the word. The funny thing, though, they have SO MUCH FUN when they do it. I've gone from cringing about it to full on embracing it. A couple of days ago, when they were getting rowdy, I just let them play with cups and a bucket of water. If I knew of a nearby sandbox, we'd be there in a minute.

So how dirty do you let your kids get? Do you get dirty with them? (Chalk is my limit.)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My First Short (In Years)

I just accepted a paying gig as a ghost writer, and I wanted to share with everyone the story sample I used to get the job. I know it really has nothing to do with being a mom of twins, but it has something to do with me.

I used to write short stories a lot. I mean, I used to write A LOT. In the past few years, I really haven't done much, and I didn't realize how much I missed it until I broke through my nervousness and sat down to do this one. Now, it's not some of my best work, (I'm not trying to be modest, I know it's not some of my best.) but it was fun just the same. So I thought I'd share it.



BATTLEFIELD (copyright 2012 by Faith McQuinn)

This wasn’t my first battle, but that never mattered. Every single one had my blood pumping, my pulse racing. Fear and honor and sheer desire for survival flooded my brain and every bit of me just worked to survive. Captain yelled for us to take the German tanks. I pulled a grenade off my belt, yanked out the pin and went to throw.


I didn’t even see the soldier shoot, but I felt that damn bullet bite right through my wrist. I saw the grenade, pin still in my mouth, drop from my limp hand and roll towards my platoon, my friends. I didn’t think; I just flung myself into the air towards the thing. The bright flash came with no warning. Was I too late? Had it gone off before my body could shield it? I had tried. God, forgive me, I had tried.


The light faded slowly. There I was, flat on the ground. The battlefield was quiet. I had been too late. Everyone was dead, and I’d lost my hearing. But no...wait. It wasn’t quiet. I could hear birds singing gorgeous melodies. I could hear the rustle of leaves on trees blowing in the cool breeze.

I opened my eyes. This was no battlefield. This was the meadow. A meadow I knew all too well, there was no doubt. The Sycamore my father planted when I was born stood stoically on the edge by the fence surrounded by Irises my mother loved. I saw the stone path leading to the farmhouse. My home. I hadn’t seen it in years, but it looked just as I remembered. 

I slowly stood up, and it was like floating. My body felt light; my heart felt nothing but peace. I wanted to run to the house, but I knew to take my time. Soak everything in. The sky was cloudless and perfectly blue. The sun warm but that breeze felt wonderful. The air smelled of Irises and grass and dirt.

There were suddenly tears in my eyes. Not tears of sadness--I couldn’t at the moment remember what sadness was. These were tears of sheer joy. I spent my childhood in this place, and it wasn’t always cotton candy and ice cream, but I had some wonderful memories. Memories that make a man who he is.

This is Eternity?

“Yes.” I should’ve been surprised someone answered, but I wasn’t. I turned slowly to see her standing there, just as I knew she would be. “Hello, Billy.” Just as beautiful as the day we met. Her hair pulled back from her exquisite face. Those astonishingly bright hazel eyes stared back at me--stared through me. There were no scars marring her face now. She was perfect.

“Anne.” Barely a whisper. The tears flowing freely now. I extended my hand ever-so slowly. I couldn’t rush; I hadn’t touched her face in five years. My hand cupped her cheek as if it was made just to do that very thing. She leaned into it and placed her hand over mine.

“I’m so happy to see you,” she said. I was ecstatic, but I could find no words. I needed to just keep touching her. I leaned in. Our noses touched, then our foreheads. I breathed her in--lavender and Ivory soap. The familiarity of it brought a smile. Our lips touched. An innocent kiss just as the first I gave her on her doorstep ten years before. Then I kissed her again, this time with more passion, more desire. She felt like home. Her arms wrapped around me tightly.

“I love you, Anne. I’ve missed you so much. I love you. I--”

Blackness.

“Bill?” I was on the ground. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. Hands roughly turning me over. “Bill! Bill! Can you hear me?”

I opened my eyes. The field was quiet. Not the quiet I wanted though. This was war-quiet. Men were moaning and mumbling. Weapons were clacking, and boots were softly trudging across the frozen ground. I was back. 

“The grenade?” I managed to breathe out as I tried to sit up. Searing pain shot up my arm. My wrist.

“A dud. Woo, boy, you were lucky. God wasn’t quite ready for you,” Harrison half smiled at me.

“Yeah.” A laugh. That’s all I had, a weak little laugh. The fingers on my good hand grasped the ground, just hardened mud. No grass. No Irises. No gentle breeze.

No Anne.

God, I was ready. Take me back.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

One Day...

One day I'm going to share pictures from the girls' second birthday party. One day I'm going to write a post that's longer than three sentences. Today is not that day.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January is Slacker Month

I have been planning a Christmas entry since, well, since Christmas. I have lots of great pictures to make into a slide show that would definitely have you smiling and oohing and ahhing at my absolutely adorable children and my spectacular Christmas decor, but alas, I did not post this lovely entry before the clock tolled twelve and welcomed the new year. So, I decided instead to write about why January should be a month of slacking, not a month of getting off your ass and doing everything you meant to do the last twelve months that just "flew by."

First of all, January is the month of my birth. Until I'm a pile of ashes in a lovely urn, I will always celebrate my birthday in any way I can. Even though I do have plans to start some sort of exercise regiment as well as clean out every single closet in my home, I don't think I should have to do any of these things right before my birthday, on my birthday, or in the following days after my birthday. I am, in fact, quite surprised that I cleaned my linen closet. (It's nice, right?).

Second, whoever said new year's resolutions must begin in the first month of the year. There are 365 366 days to get everything done on that to-do list (you've had for nine years). Let the first month be the month you recover from the last two weeks of holiday insaneness. If more people took a breather, maybe more people would keep up with the gym membership, sort through all those piles of paper on the office floor, and have clean, Martha Stewart-esque garages.

Basically this entry boils down to this. I am not going to stress this month. I will post Christmas pictures when I post them. I will clean my closets when I clean them. And I will kick my butt doing low-impact cardio and Pilates when I decide my butt is thoroughly ready for some kicking. In the meantime, in the early days of 2012, I'm going to relax and shut my eyes tightly when I look at the mess Christmas has left me.

Plus, if the Mayans are right, we're all dying in December, so live it up!