Thursday, May 26, 2016

Her painted broken heart

From the moment the brunette twin started planning her bedroom, she talked about painting some furniture. She was excited about getting her own room because she had a gazillion decorating ideas.

The big one was to DIY her furniture. She had a color scheme in mind. We searched garage sales, second hand stores and online sites until we found a cabinet for her room. It was an old armoire with some wear and tear. It was perfect for a DIY, furniture paining project.

Yesterday she primed the armoire. She plotted her color scheme over and over again. She woke up this morning and spent most of the day painting in the garage. Some colors required two coats while others required three. She was meticulous, even using a cotton swab to paint corners. When she was done, it was beautiful.

Uncle Dave came over to help move the old dresser down the stairs. The first thing he said when he saw her armoire was "Wow, it's beautiful."  The second thing he said was "I don't think it will fit up your staircase."

I nearly cried. Of all the things we thought about when it came to picking furniture, the size wasn't on the list. We did a quick once-over when we saw things to decide if it would work or not. We did not measure anything. 

It would have fit up most staircases without a problem. Ours has a sharp turn as you go up. The first two stairs face South. The rest of the staircase heads East. We have had problems with the turn before. When we bought our Queen bed box springs we found a company that made one that came in two pieces. The manager told us it was a common problem in older houses. 

Uncle Dave was right. It did not fit up the stairs. He tried to get it into the basement, but it wouldn't go down those stairs either. I was so upset. I couldn't look at the brunette twin for fear I would cry, which was fine because she stared straight at the television, not reacting at all. She wouldn't make eye contact with anyone. 

After Uncle Dave and Josh left, we watched the end of the movie. She sat next to me, saying over and over again that she wasn't going to paint any more furniture. She said she was so proud of her work. It was her design and hers alone. My eyes welled up as I held her, but I managed not to cry. If she wasn't going to cry, neither was I.

About 30 minutes after she went to bed, the brunette twin came downstairs in tears. All her frustration and anger came out in a tear tidal wave. She cried until she was dry. We talked about finding a replacement for her next DIY project, but she wasn't quite ready to discuss it yet. She was still mourning today's lost project. 

Tomorrow might be better, but I'd bet it will take a few days until she really wants to consider another project. When we get there, you can be certain it will be with a tape measure in hand. I won't repeat my stupid mistake twice.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Round and round the instruments go

The blond twin was so excited when she brought home the French horn. She couldn't wait to try out the new instrument. Both girls went into the basement. A few minutes later I heard the French horn. A few minutes after that the brunette twin came up holding the French horn and announced that she was going to play it. The blond twin tried, but her braces made it hard to blow into the instrument. The brunette twin tried and fell in love. I mean she was head over heels for the French horn.

I emailed their band teacher to ask her if the brunette twin could change instruments. She wasn't thrilled as the brunette twin was a flute MVP this year. On the other hand, she really needed a French horn player. Rumor had it that the current French horn player was not a good player and was thinking about dropping out.

The following days were filled with back and forth about the blond twin's instrument. At one point she was moving to flute, which made me happy because we already own a flute. Their music teacher didn't want her to move to flute as there were already ten flute players in the band. We went through multiple options before the blond twin and her teacher settled on trombone.

In a few days we went from a flute and a clarinet to a French horn and a trombone. My head was spinning. The school gave us a French horn to use while the brunette twin played it. We need to trade in the clarinet for a trombone so the blond twin can learn it. I'm hesitating, though, until the last school day. The way our musical merry-go-round has been spinning, we might end up with different instruments before school ends.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Changing tunes

The brunette twin won an MVP award at the band banquet. Her teacher commented on her hard work and progress when it comes to playing flute. She put the trophy on her dresser. She has been playing her flute regularly, often with a friend, to perfect her skills. She earned that MVP award.

Imagine my surprise, then, when we were driving to piano practice and she announced, "I might change to the piccolo." We talked about it for a few minutes. It turned out that her teacher ask two girls to consider changing to piccolo. You had to be good at flute as the instruments are similar. 

A few days later the blond twin announced that their band teacher asked her to consider changing to French horn. Their band teacher knew that she blond twin wasn't really happy playing clarinet. The blond twin came home and started researching the French horn by watching YouTube videos. She decided she did want to try out to play the instrument.

When Daddy and I talked about the changes, I did remind him that these instrument changes were happening just after we paid off the flute and clarinet. We were the proud owners of two instruments the girls might no longer need. 

We called the store recommended to us when we researched their flute and clarinet. Because the owners have been working with the local schools for decades, they shared some information that made us smile. If the girls switched instruments, the school will provide a piccolo and French horn. The school recognized that these are expensive instruments, so they don't ask parents to purchase them. Just like that we stopped wondering how we were going to pay for two new instruments.  

The blond twin will decide if she's going to change this week. The brunette twin won't know until after summer band camp. In any case, it's sure to be a noisy summer as the girls practice their instruments -- whether the new or the old.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

To party or not to party

The girls came home with a birthday party invitation recently. Their friend's party was on the same day as the brunette twin was supposed to go to see a musical production with the school choir. 

The brunette twin was mad. She really wanted to go to the party.  I told her that she already committed to the school choir outing, so she was going to that. Then the blond twin pulled an Ace card. She said, "Mom, there are only a few girls coming."

It is one thing about having twins that I didn't think about until they started going to birthday parties. Often parents will call to ask if the girls are both available on a certain date. They are planning a party for just a few kids. Our girls are often half the group invited. I thought that this was something that would change as they grew older, but just a couple weeks ago a friend's mom called to check on a date and time. She was only planning to invite four girls. 

I talked to the brunette twin about commitments and why we might change this one. We contacted the choir teacher who said she could find other students to use the musical tickets. We called Heather's mom to let her know both girls would be at the party.

I'm always conflicted when this happens. On the one hand I do think that once you make a commitment, you stick with it even when something better comes along. On the other hand, I've heard enough stories about kids' birthday parties where no one shows up that I don't want to contribute to another one. It's a balancing act that I hope we're getting right, even when I'm not sure which way is the right way.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

One track mind

The girls are in track this year. The blond twin ran cross-country last Fall and loved it. She couldn't wait for track to start this Spring. The brunette twin joined when she realized that many of her friends were joining. 

While the brunette twin enjoys track, the blond twin is obsessed with it. She comes home every day with story after story after story about her track adventures. She replays every moment of practice over and over and over again.

Sometimes I ask her if anything else happened at school. After all, she is in the classroom for six hours a day. Most days she cannot recall a single event to share. Track, however, is an endless story source. She talks about it to the point where we have to limit track talk at the dinner table. If we do not put a limit on it, no one else will get a word in during the entire meal. 

I admit that her track obsession amazes me. I never thought she would enjoy track as much as she does. It's wonderful to see her develop her own interests and pursue them, even if we have to hear the same stories about them over and over and over again.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

No comment required

As the girls get older, they want to make more plans with friends. We have a pretty good idea of what their summer schedule looks like already, so we decided to have them put their activities into their devices. I told them that they would be able to look at their calendars to see if they were available or not before they made plans. Daddy was going to put the same information in his work calendar so he would know what was happening too. 

In my mind we'd sit at the table, share information and leave. It wasn't like they didn't know they had these activities on the summer calendar. We discussed everything with them before committing. In reality, it was a whine-fest from nearly the moment we started. 

We made it two weeks into summer when they started complaining. Why does that start so early? I don't want to have two things on one day? What do you mean it goes for two weeks? They rolled their eyes, hit the table and sighed. It was miserable. I was so angry that I started using the measured, mechanical voice to impart information. At one point the blond twin told me to stop talking that way. She said she didn't know why I was mad as it was their summer being ruined.

Seriously, I couldn't believe what was happening. I told the girls that they had 24 hours to tell me what activities to cancel or they had to stop complaining. Neither one wanted to cancel anything. At one point I thought I would lose my mind. They were whining like we were sending them to work underground in the coal mines for the summer.


I realize this is a tween phase, but I despise it. The girls are not that busy this coming summer. They said they wanted more time just to hang out with friends, so that is what they have. There are weeks when they only have one activity scheduled for the entire week.

The fun begins in three weeks as their last day of school is just before Memorial Day Weekend. I already know that we won't be far into summer before they start complaining that they are bored. The good news is they have their schedule, so I can simply say, "Make plans with someone." It's sure to be my go-to line this summer.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Corn starch woes

The blond twin came home last week so excited about a speech project. She and her partner were giving a demonstration speech. They decided to teach the class to make a goey paste, which they could change dramatically based upon a few tweaks.

The blond twin was to bring a plastic baggies, a bowl, food coloring, a pitcher and some other items. Her project partner was to bring the corn starch.

Yesterday I asked the blond twin about her project. She said they hadn't done it -- again. I asked her why. She said, "We don't have any corn starch. Her mom said she wouldn't buy any for the assignment."

I stared at the wall for a minute until the urge to say, "Are you kidding me?" passed. I managed to suppress my true opinion of that parent and say, "How much do you need?" I could not believe a week had gone by before I found out that the other parent wasn't going to buy the corn starch. Every day I asked the blond twin about the project. Either this was a new development or she just didn't want to tell me earlier. In the end it didn't matter because if the blond twin was going to complete her assignment, we were going to purchase the corn starch.


At dinner I told Daddy that I would run to the store for corn starch. As long as I was going, we made a short list. I grabbed my purse and headed out. I don't go to the grocery store often. Daddy does most of the grocery shopping as he has created a great system. I shop at a couple of specialty stores, but when it comes to ongoing grocery shopping, Daddy handles it.

When I walked into the grocery store I barely made it through the produce section without finding new items. I was tempted to buy a few, but instead wrote down the names so I could figure out how to use them. I made it home with several bags filled with future meal ingredients and a gallon of milk. 

We had milk and warm cookies as a snack before sending the girls to bed. Daddy and I were on the couch watching a show when he said, "Where is the corn starch?" My eyes went wide and he said, "You forgot." In my defense, I reminded him that I did bring home the milk. After our show he went to the grocery store to get the corn starch.

This morning I reminded the blond twin to take the corn starch. She put her backpack right next to it. About 30 minutes later I yelled up the stairs, "Girls, it is 7:15. The bus comes at 7:17. What are you doing up there?" The brunette twin said, "Fixing our hair." I said, "Remember, if you miss the bus, you are walking." They ran downstairs, grabbed all their stuff and ran out the door. A friend recently had to walk to school after missing her bus. Since then, they take the "you will walk to school" threat very seriously.

 A few minutes later I was putting on my shoes when I glanced over and saw the corn starch. I simply sighed. I grabbed Holly's leash, the corn starch and my car keys. A few minutes later I handed the corn starch to the school receptionist. I sat in the car texting the blond twin about the corn starch. She replied that she would get it.

The irony, of course, was that I ended up at the school delivering the corn starch. I told the girls I would not take them to school, but I ended up there anyway. I hope the blond twin's demonstration speech goes well. It was the most work of any assignment so far this year.