Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Great Backyard Camp Out

I was looking for summer activities when I found the Great American Backyard Camp Out. This program encourages people to spend the night outside. Our Girl Scout troop loved the idea. The girls wanted to go tent camping, but I vetoed the idea. It wasn't that I didn't want to do it. The reality was I didn't have time to complete all the extra training required to take the girls into the local forest preserves for a night. A backyard, though? We were in.  

Between us we had everything we needed. One girl had a tent. Another had a screen house. We brought the bean bag game and s'mores ingredients. Each family brought some food, lots of bug spray and glow-in-the-dark stuff. 

Jhanae's father laughed at the idea that the girls thought they were camping in his backyard. He said as long as they had access to indoor plumbing it wasn't really camping. He trained with the British military, though, so his standards were a big higher than the rest of us. Jhanae's mother had a full activity schedule which culminated with a midnight movie.

By the time the girls arrived they were bubbling with excitement. The build-up to sleeping outside rivaled any championship game. They started by putting up the tent and screen house. We watched them work together before we left them for the evening.

The forecast called for a possible shower and sure enough we heard the rain start just before sunrise. It poured off and on for about an hour. 

When we the girls finally called about 11:00 a.m. for their pick-up, we found out that they hadn't slept much. Of course, we didn't expect them to sleep. I arrived to hear them in the backyard giggling. Other parents were there already. The girls were an energetic group for girls who hadn't slept much. They told stories of night swimming, a midnight movie that lasted until 2:30 a.m., waking up early when the rain started and playing games all night long. They had so much fun they couldn't stop talking over each other. 

It might not have been deep woods camping, but it was a great experience for all six girls. They already asked if they could do it again next year. We agreed, as long as Jhanae's parents agreed to host. None of us want to try to live up to their high standards.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

All together now

If there is one thing we're good at now, it's moving furniture. We've moved tables, desks, cabinets, rugs and other items up and down and back again. So when the four of us moved the brunette twin's new armoire upstairs we should have been coordinated like a well-oiled machine.

Instead we looked like something from a situation comedy. We started and stopped and argued and shifted back and forth. The blond twin screamed when the cabinet pinched her fingers. The brunette twin jumped back just before the top hit her foot. We managed to push the cabinet so far to one side that Daddy was trapped against the wall. 

Despite it all, the armoire made it upstairs. We pushed it upright at the top and wiggled it into the brunette twin's room. It went against the wall in a place of honor. 

I marveled at how we all worked together to get it done. The girls have grown into quite the little assistants. Not only are they able to help, they want to help. The blond twin was quite annoyed that Daddy asked the brunette twin to help before asking her. He thought the brunette twin would want to help because it was her armoire. The blond twin felt left out of the fun. If we were all going to move it upstairs, she wanted to be part of the action. 

They are still my babies, but they are also growing up to be capable young ladies. It's a lovely development, even if it takes moving furniture to realize their growth.

Monday, June 13, 2016

It's your job

Among all the whining (already) about how bored they are, I reminded the girls that they were on summer vacation. I was still working every day. I told them that I would take them places when I had time, but for the most part my days stay the same.

We were driving back from a JoAnn's fabric store trip when the blond twin started getting cranky because I told her I was not able to take her somewhere. She rolled her eyes and said, "It's your job."

I smiled at her and said, "No baby. My job is to keep you alive. All the fun stuff you do is a bonus."

She was not amused. She tried to explain to me that my job as her mother was to take her places, pay for things and keep her amused during the long, booooooorrrrrriiiiinnnnnnggggg summer days.

I repeated my first statement and kept driving. She silently fumed as she tried to figure out how to get her way. In the end, I went back to work and she went up to her room. 

Later she tried to use my words against me in an argument. I just smiled and said, "You're right baby." She fumed, but stopped arguing. I savored the momentary parenting win. They don't come that often after all.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Comptition at the dining room table

I'm not going to say this weekend's Monopoly game was competitive, but the blond twin was so frustrated that she looked at me and said, "Am I allowed to swear?"

I said no, but somewhere Grammpa Cartwright was smiling.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Working girls

The girls have been asking if they can start babysitting, so they were thrilled when a church family asked if they could start watching their twin boys. The girls were so excited to start. We decided that they would be "mother's helpers" at first. They would watch the boys while their mom was home. Their job was to keep the boys busy so their mom could get some stuff done. 

They spent their first afternoon with the boys today. As I drove them to L&L's house, we talked about some ways to keep the boys busy. We talked about what to do in an emergency. Even though Mrs. B was going to be home, the girls wanted to make sure they had all the details. They were so excited that they could hardly contain themselves as they knocked on the front door.

L&L were equally excited. Mrs. B said that L asked when his "girlfriends" were coming over many times that morning. The boys couldn't wait for the girls to come over. I left our girls with the boys, arranged a pick-up time with Mrs. B and headed home. Three hours later I picked up the girls.

The boys did not want the girls to leave. They kept trying to get the girls to play one more game. They hugged the girls like they didn't want to let go. It was clear that things had gone well.

Mrs. B paid the girls and asked when they were going to come back. The girls couldn't stop talking about their first day babysitting. It was a great way to start their working career.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Privacy please

The brunette twin asked for her own room just before their 12th birthday. It took us a full year to convince the blond twin that it was a good idea. So, you can imagine our surprised reaction when the blond twin announced at dinner that she needed her privacy and her twin should bothering her.

Being the good mom that I am, I laughed at her. The blond twin is a girl who can't sit near you when you watch a movie. She has to touch you at all times. When we bought the girls' bunk beds, we bought one with a double bed on the bottom because the blond twin always wanted to sleep with her twin. We often said the brunette twin should give Holly an extra treat daily as the dog slept with the blond twin most nights. This gave the brunette twin some space to herself.

When the blond twin announced that she needed some space from the brunette twin, I secretly cheered. I adore how close they are, but I did worry that the blond twin's need to be with her twin at all times would create problems for their relationship. As they grew it was more and more apparent that the brunette twin needed more down time than her sister. This caused some problems that they seemed to work out, but it was always clear that the brunette twin would have preferred a bit more time on the couch reading.

The blond twin announcing that she wanted some space from her sister was a huge step for both of them. Now that they have their own spaces they are working out a new balance to their relationship. It's great to see them grow their own wings, while still staying connected.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Visiting girls

Just before school let out we started finalizing the girls' summer plans. We had to wait on a few school camp details before we could figure out what was happening when. Aunt Mary talked about having the girls come down to her house for a few days when we saw her during the band's St. Louis trip.

There were only a few weeks when the girls were available. We were sitting on the couch talking about the summer schedule when I said to Daddy, "You know, the girls could go down this weekend and stay for a few days."

Aunt Mary jumped on the idea. We decided to meet at Ott's for one final family meal before the original owner retired. We sat at the counter (truly the best place to sit) and when we finished lunch, the girls got into Aunt Mary's new car and took off with Uncle Terry driving.

By the time Daddy met them all in Springfield for the return hand-off, the girls had been spoiled, spoiled, spoiled by Aunt Mary and Uncle Terry. They went to Six Flags, ice skating, the movies and shopping. In true form, the girls wore their Chicago Blackhawks t-shirts while ice skating. They couldn't resist the opportunity to troll St. Louis Blues fans. They had eaten way more fun foods than anyone would admit. They couldn't stop talking about the cats. They had a wonderful time.

I don't know what the rest of the summer will bring, but visiting Aunt Mary and Uncle Terry will be a highlight. They are already talking about next year's adventure.