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Raising Twins

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5 ways to spend quality time with your kids

"Mommy, when are we going to have Adi-Mommy day?"  My oldest twin, Adeline, had been asking for a special day with me for months now. It's a tradition we started when our twins were three - my husband would take one twin for one-on-one time and I'd take the other. These special days help us spend quality time with our girls and also allows them the chance to have our undivided attention; something that is rare in a house with three littles, two full-time jobs, and busy evenings filled with extracurricular activities.

Even though I was about to release my first devotional and was still weak from being sick just a few days before, I told my five year old we could have Adi-Mommy day after church last Sunday. That morning, she picked out a special dress and had me put her hair in a bun with a ribbon (like Anna's hair for Coronation Day in Frozen, just in case you were wondering) and was so excited she could hardly wait for church to be over. Her sister felt the same way.

As I buckled her up in the car, I had a few ideas of what we could do for the day. I was thinking Mexican food, then shopping, and finally a mani-pedi. But, this was Adeline's day so when she said she wanted ice cream for lunch, I obliged. Funny thing was that when we pulled up to the ice cream shop, her sister had asked for the same thing! We sat at separate tables but my husband and I shared a wink, knowing that this was one of the crazy things twins just naturally do. As different as they can be, they still think so much alike.

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After ice cream, my husband took her sister to a jump house and Adeline declared that it was time to get our nails done. We both got pedicures and she also had polish (with sparkles) on her fingers. While soaking our feet, she shared with me the little things that make her who she is and asked me questions about who I was. Once we were done, we headed to Target to buy her a special toy and some new shoes. She even "let" me do some grocery shopping while she was there and didn't complain once. Target runs are usually filled with lots of compromising and negotiating and popcorn flying everywhere between all three kids but this time it was actually fun! When we were done, she didn't want to leave and neither did I. So, we cranked up the car, listened to Katy Perry's Roar for the tenth time that day and drove around before heading home. It truly was a special day and we came home with our quality time love tanks filled to the brim. 

Carving out special one-on-one days with our kids is not only fun but it is necessary. Just like dates are necessary between a husband and wife, quality time with our kids are just as important. Because these special days are rare, we can really pour extra effort and attention into our kids and in return, they are rewarded for their good behavior. Even if you are a stay-at-home mom who spends all day with her kids, it is still a good idea to get out of the house and do something special.

Here are five tips that I have for spending quality time with your kids:

To read more, head on over to The M.O.M. Initiative today!

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5 ways to spend quality time with your kids

"Mommy, when are we going to have Adi-Mommy day?"  My oldest twin, Adeline, had been asking for a special day with me for months now. It's a tradition we started when our twins were three - my husband would take one twin for one-on-one time and I'd take the other. These special days help us spend quality time with our girls and also allows them the chance to have our undivided attention; something that is rare in a house with three littles, two full-time jobs, and busy evenings filled with extracurricular activities.

Even though I was about to release my first devotional and was still weak from being sick just a few days before, I told my five year old we could have Adi-Mommy day after church last Sunday. That morning, she picked out a special dress and had me put her hair in a bun with a ribbon (like Anna's hair for Coronation Day in Frozen, just in case you were wondering) and was so excited she could hardly wait for church to be over. Her sister felt the same way.

As I buckled her up in the car, I had a few ideas of what we could do for the day. I was thinking Mexican food, then shopping, and finally a mani-pedi. But, this was Adeline's day so when she said she wanted ice cream for lunch, I obliged. Funny thing was that when we pulled up to the ice cream shop, her sister had asked for the same thing! We sat at separate tables but my husband and I shared a wink, knowing that this was one of the crazy things twins just naturally do. As different as they can be, they still think so much alike.

2015-11-01 12.42.19

After ice cream, my husband took her sister to a jump house and Adeline declared that it was time to get our nails done. We both got pedicures and she also had polish (with sparkles) on her fingers. While soaking our feet, she shared with me the little things that make her who she is and asked me questions about who I was. Once we were done, we headed to Target to buy her a special toy and some new shoes. She even "let" me do some grocery shopping while she was there and didn't complain once. Target runs are usually filled with lots of compromising and negotiating and popcorn flying everywhere between all three kids but this time it was actually fun! When we were done, she didn't want to leave and neither did I. So, we cranked up the car, listened to Katy Perry's Roar for the tenth time that day and drove around before heading home. It truly was a special day and we came home with our quality time love tanks filled to the brim. 

Carving out special one-on-one days with our kids is not only fun but it is necessary. Just like dates are necessary between a husband and wife, quality time with our kids are just as important. Because these special days are rare, we can really pour extra effort and attention into our kids and in return, they are rewarded for their good behavior. Even if you are a stay-at-home mom who spends all day with her kids, it is still a good idea to get out of the house and do something special.

Here are five tips that I have for spending quality time with your kids:

To read more, head on over to The M.O.M. Initiative today!

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first day of kindergarten!

first day of kindergarten! Today, Adeline and Maralee begin kindergarten. I'm trying not to cry but Kleenex tissue lay wadded up in my lap. I'm realizing more than ever these days that time is precious and children are such a gift. Ridley started the tot class last week and I'm happy to report he is doing great!

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Ridley, 18 months old

I am so thankful to have such sweet people take care of my children while I work.

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I was reminded of this post I wrote when the girls began 3P and thought I'd share it with y'all today. May the Lord bless and keep our children as they begin a new school year!

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"Mommy, I scared," she quietly says to me.

It was my Maralee, the youngest of our twins, who looked at me with uncertainty in her big blue eyes. I pulled her close, kissed her head, and turned her to look at me."Baby girl, it's okay to be scared. That's why we are going to meet your teacher today before school begins. It will help your new school not feel so big and scary."

I tickle her after I say this and a big grin comes on her face. I let her pick out what outfit she wanted to wear. She chose her blue dress smocked with cows and pigs. "Perfect choice," I affirm her as we slip it on top of her big girl panties. "Mommy, I want to wear my blue shoes, too!" she exclaims. She is warming up to the idea of school.

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Downstairs, her sister chooses a purple romper to match her purple flower flip-flops that she has lived in this summer. Purple, always purple for Adeline. I've learned not to fight her on this and she has flourished in purple panties, pajamas, toothbrushes, and hair clips over the summer. Can't blame the girl for knowing what she likes.

We pick up Ganny and head to school. I think we are late but we are actually early, which is something I'm determined to work on as a mother of preschoolers. They can't miss a second!

We pass a hallway decorated with footballs and team spirit and find Mrs. Hollis' door at the end of the hall. She greets the girls on their level and shows them where the toys are in the classroom. We chat and discover she babysat my brother and I one summer when I was four. That's what I love about moving back to our hometown.

Adeline soon found the tu-tu's and she was hooked after that. Maralee recognizes some friends from her old class and soon she is off playing trains with the boys. They're going to be just fine, I thought to myself. 

Later that night, my husband and I went to orientation. We sat next to one of his oldest friends. It was all surreal that we were doing this. We ran into more old friends and new ones from church and town. It gave us the "This is right" feeling. Our girls were growing up, and even though many of their friends are new, they aren't really.

The first day of school came two days later. Raleigh helped get the girls dressed and they let him put bows in their hair (such daddy's girls). Maralee was excited, posing for multiple pictures. 

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But, this time it was Adeline that was sad. Her tummy hurt, reminding us of all the doctor's appointments we've had over the summer. A trip to the ENT and several to the asthma and allergy specialist still hasn't stopped the girls from coughing and has resulted in medicine that causes their tummy to hurt. We remind her to tell her teacher if she has to go potty. She finally smiles when mommy makes a silly face. 

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Daddy helps Adeline walk in and I hold Maralee's small hand. "Big girls walk to school," I tell them in the car. They nod their "Okay, Mom" nods.

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They are ready, I remind myself. We get to Mrs. Hollis' door and try for a picture. The transition from parents to teacher was a little too fast and this was the best we got:

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Mrs. Hollis takes our crying girls into the room and Raleigh tells me to go. I follow him outside but keep looking back. I know they are okay but still....

"They're okay," he tells me matter-of-factly. "It's just all the fuss we made with the camera." I shake my head, telling him I understand. We part ways to separate cars. I wait a minute longer, looking back one more time. "They're okay," I tell myself as I start the engine.

First DAys Collage

Driving off, the radio is playing Steven Curtis Chapman's "Cinderella." Really, Joy FM? Of course, I listen and think of my little girls, how much they've grown and how much more they will continue to grow. I couldn't help but remember how three years ago they were so tiny and fragile. Or, two years ago when they cried as I dropped them off to their first Mother's Morning Out and I couldn't decide if they were really old enough to be away from me just one day of the week. I thought about last year, how I made their first day of school outfits and they looked so growny with their first haircuts and how I had to drop them off on the same day I started work, all while Raleigh was in Montgomery. And, now, here we were with them starting K3. How they only have two more years after this and then 1st grade. Time, it truly does pass in the blink of an eye. 

Being a mom, I get scared of time, just like Maralee got scared about the first day of school. I'm scared I'm going to miss something, so I take a million pictures and stay up late to document our lives in this space. I'm scared of our girls always being sick, and us not knowing what the best solution is to make them feel better. I get scared about how the girls are treated as twins, that some kids might never really know the wonderful differences of Adeline and Maralee. I get scared thinking about them possibly not growing up in a neighborhood, and if they will love us or resent us for life in the country. I get scared about a million different things for my children. As their mom, on the first day of school, the only thing I know to do is pray. 

I pray that they will find real friends that will play at their house no matter where it is. I pray that they will always be best friends. I pray for the boys that they will date, the men that they might marry, the children that they could have one day. I pray for their teachers and I pray for people to love them individually and as a pair. I pray for their health and for us to keep them safe without living life in a shell. I pray for their gifts - both spiritually and naturally - and that we nurture them as they grow. I pray for these things, and so many others. 

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The first day of school marks the first day of letting go of fears. It is a day to celebrate, to be proud, to remember how far you've come. It is a day to declare, "You can do this, go and be brave." It's a day to promise that you will be there when it is over, to remind your young one that you will always come. 

We went and got ice cream once I picked them up from school. In between eating marshmallows and gummy bears, Maralee told me she played on the playground. Adeline said she sang new songs as she ate her rainbow ice cream (just like Daddy).  Gone were their fears and tummy aches. 

Question: How was your child's first day of school? 

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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tips for parents of kindergartners

tips parents kindergartners This week my twin girls start kindergarten. How did they get to be so big?

Somehow, in five years my bubbly babies have grown into little girls. While this mama is a little sad, I'm also so excited to parent them through this new stage of life. While we are getting them ready to go back-to-school, I'm trying to be proactive with what to expect this year in both their development and school. I've asked a friend who does "Mommy School" with her five year old and our Preschool Minister at church for some tips on parenting kindergartners, and today I'd like to share these tips with all of you!

To read more, head on over to The M.O.M. Initiative today!

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there is a time for everything

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How we spend our time will determine how we live our lives.

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Like pixels that form a picture, motherhood is made up of a million little moments. These moments are both hard and happy, significant and mundane. Some moments are captured on film, other are treasured only in our hearts. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

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The high pitched laughter from fifteen little girls echoed from our yard this past Friday night. They came in their pajamas to celebrate Adeline and Maralee turning five.

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As I watched them play, I couldn't help but notice how much these girls enjoyed being five years old.  Five year old girls love makeup and jewelry and princess clothes but they also love to chase one another around the yard seeking adventure. They were old enough to be dropped off and felt quite grown up as they voiced which color cupcake they wanted for dessert. At this age, they are both growny and girly.

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This season is a gift after years of toddler-hood tantrums, potty-training nightmares, and sleepless nights of infancy. On the good days, like Friday night, five years seems to have gone in the blink of an eye. I'm sure that when I blink again, they will be graduating from high school getting ready for college. Time is always in motion, years will continue to go by.

Lisa Jo Baker says that she has discovered three key things about motherhood. One, motherhood is hard. Two, motherhood is glorious. Three, motherhood is very hard. She says that all the "what to expect" books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy, and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood. I'd have to agree.

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. We will journey from one point in time to another, growing and changing, but God is present, never changing, and always on time.

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This Sunday, I'll be sharing more about motherhood at Covenant United Methodist Church. If you are looking for a place to celebrate Mother's Day, I'd love for you to join us at one of our three services. You can also watch us online if you choose. In honor of Mother's Day, I'm throwing a mega-giveaway here on the blog all week long and today I'm giving away Lisa Jo Baker's book, Surprised by Motherhood.

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Enter into the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In case you missed it, we kicked-off our Mega-Mother's Day Giveaway last Thursday with the "May the Lord Bless You" print from Hope Inc. On Thursday, we are giving away Mom's Night Out and Women Are Scary on Friday. Enter the giveaway all week long for a chance to win one of these great prizes! 

 

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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