Bramell, Party of Five

Monday, February 27, 2017

Can We Talk About...



...spring pictures at school?
  • Seriously, this has got to be one of the most stressful times for a mama. Tomorrow is our picture day and none of my children have pants that cover their ankles! Fall pictures aren't that bad because the clothes are new and still fit. Fast forward to late in the school year and growth spurts have kicked in. It wouldn't matter so much if they were only doing yearbook photos, but they are also taking class photos. I'm heading to the store this afternoon to buy Boy Twin some jeans because Lord knows if I don't, then he'll be sitting in the front row with his pants up to his shins for all the world to see. The girls will be wearing dresses because I don't have the time, energy or cash for a shopping spree right now. Anyone feel my pain? And don't even get me started on why they even take school pictures twice a year! Why?

...packing lunch boxes?
  • Totally over it. I'm tired of packing them and they're tired of eating them. They don't want anything we have in the cabinet, except for chips.

...everyone's favorite little Boston Terrier, Fergie?
  • You know how they say old dogs can't learn new tricks? Well, ours can! Lee has taught her what "kitty-cat" means. She will now run to the front window and prop her paws on the windowsill to look for the neighborhood cat. Our usually non-barker will also bark her head off when looking for the "kitty-cat." It's really funny.

...kids that are growing up too fast?
  • In light of the above mentioned growth spurt, Big Sis has asked that I take her shopping at Aeropostale. I blame You Tube. No more Children's Place for that girl, I guess. Sigh.

...Girl Scout cookies?
  • I was so excited that my girls wanted to join a troop this year! Yay! However, now I'm on the hook for delivering over 260 boxes of cookies next week. I suddenly realize how my mama felt all those years with mountains of cookie boxes stacked in our dining room. Oops.

I'm sure there are more things I'd like to rant about, but that's all the time I have now. Let me know what's on your mind, maybe we can do a collaborative list.  In the meantime, you can look at these cute, growing kids of mine.




 
 

 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Twin Tuesday: A Tale of Two Breakfasts

 
 
 
Even though these two shared a tight living space for nearly nine months, that's where most of the similarity ends. From the beginning, they have had their own quirks and habits that make them special.
 
For example, Girl Twin has always been the boss--and that hasn't changed. She could tell her brother what to do (and he'd do it), even before she could talk! Boy Twin has always been the more expressive one--fussing, crying or needing attention--where she reeks of quiet mischief. Remember, she's the one who has always been a hoarder of food and hider of things in the house. To this day, if something is missing, we all ask sister where she put it.
 
There is something else about them that made me chuckle the other day--their breakfast habits! I know, such an odd thing to notice. Girl Twin likes her breakfast. When the kids wake up, I usually go through the list of breakfast options for them: cereal, waffles, toast, fruit or Pop Tarts. Girl Twin likes her breakfast so much that she can't choose just one! She will often ask for cereal AND toast, or cereal AND a waffle. This may be one reason why I can't keep her in clothes that fit!
 
Boy Twin, on the other hand, can take it or leave it when it comes to breakfast. Where the girls want to eat as soon as they wake up, he will often wait until the last minute before school. On the weekends, he sometimes won't eat breakfast at all. You know, those days when you wake up late and it's past breakfast time but not yet lunch time....those are the hardest for Boy Twin. This happened one recent Saturday, where he didn't want breakfast when he got up. However, when it was time for me to make lunch, he freaked out. "But I didn't have breakfast yet," he cried. I told him that it was OK to skip breakfast and just go straight to lunch food. NO! He wasn't having any of that! So, at 11:30am, he had to eat a bowl of cereal before he would eat the lunch I made. Isn't that quirky?  Truth be told, he gets that from his daddy. :)
 
 
Do you know anyone with breakfast quirks, or is it just a Bramell thing? You should know that as I write this, Lee is eating a bowl of cereal at 11:05am. See? I told you he gets it from his dad.
 
 
 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Twin Tuesday: Feel The Love

These two. I swear, sometimes I want to strangle them. Other times I want to put them in my pocket and keep them there forever. Just like any siblings, they fight and bicker a lot. They also love as fiercely as they fight; I suppose that's a good thing. One day they will realize just how lucky they are.



The other night, Boy Twin must have been doing some deep thinking during bath time. He came out into the living room and this happened:

Him: Mom, can twins be married?

Me: (confused) Do you mean to each other?

Him: Yes. Can me and Girl Twin get married?

Me:  No, baby. You cannot marry each other; you will grow up and find different people to marry.

Him:  (Deflated) Awwww, man!


I love his innocence. I love his heart. And I love that I have to repeatedly tell him that he can't marry his sister.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Recap and Reset: Hello 2017!

 
 
 
 
Happy New Year! As usual, I get refreshed after the holiday rush and feel like blogging again. The cobwebs are gone and I'm ready to face 2017; I mean, it's got to be better than 2016, right?
 
Since October, I've been participating in a (mostly) daily exercise in practicing gratitude with one of my friends from Arkansas Women Bloggers. How does that work? We exchange a daily email with a list of three items that we are thankful for that day. I tell you, I think it's really helped me keep things in perspective. Where I used to get down and angry about things, I'm now trying to stay focused on even the small, happy moments in every day. They are there, I promise. Sometimes you just have to look deep for them. I highly recommend having a gratitude partner and giving this exercise a try.
 
In December, I set a physical challenge for myself. I set a goal to walk at least 25 miles for the month--and I DID IT--thanks to inspiration from my friend Alicia at Simple Words By A, who has been smashing her own mileage goals. Because of the mild weather, I was able to do a lot of outside walking. On the cold days, I walked inside to my Leslie Sansone DVD.
 
The kiddos enjoyed their long break from school, no doubt. We spent a lot of time cooking, watching Christmas movies and crafting. Lots and lots of crafting. It's funny, actually. Big Sis is at that age where she wants to try ALL THE CRAFTS. We dabbled in coloring, painting, making rubber band bracelets, bead bracelets, latch hook, finger knitting scarves and cross-stitching over the break. Add to that list some very basic acoustic guitar lessons from You Tube. Mercy, that girl keeps me busy!
 
I've also mentally prepared myself for broken bones in 2017 for a Bramell or two. Due to Christmas, my children are now the proud owners of a trampoline, three pair of Heelys (shoes with wheels), a pogo stick and a Ripstik. That is surely asking for trouble, and I'm not sure what Santa was thinking!
 
All this to say that we survived a pretty rocky 2016 here in the Bramell house and we're ready to move on. Let's do this.
 
 
 
 


Friday, December 9, 2016

Fun Music For Kids Makes a Great Holiday Gift



{Sponsored post}  Alright guys, I have to disclose the business first. I was given a CD from a Northwest Arkansas recording duo, momandpop, in exchange for my honest review on the blog. I was also given a second copy to give away to a lucky reader. (sponsored)







Momandpop are a husband-wife duo who live in nearby Eureka Springs, who have recently released their debut album. I have connected with Virginia (the mom) who was kind enough to send me a CD to let my kids try out. We've had it about a week now, and played it every time we've been in the car. My kids are BANANAS over this music!

 
It's actually kind of a funny story. My kids are ages 9, 6 and 6. When I first played the CD for them, the 9-year-old pretended to be too cool for "kid music." She said she didn't like it. Well, by 10 minutes into the CD, she was singing right along with the littles!
 
In short, we give this CD a glowing review. The lyrics are creative and catchy, and simple enough that we were singing along by the second chorus of each song. I personally appreciate the smart lyrics and punchy humor. We all have our favorites now, with these tracks being our top three:
 
1. A Week In the Life (the littles' choice)
 
2. Roy G. Biv (the big's choice)
 
3. Take Care (my choice)
 
 
 
 
 
WIN YOUR OWN COPY!
 
I will be giving away a copy of this CD to one lucky person next week. To enter, please leave a comment on this post. Make sure you leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win. Deadline to enter is 5:00pm CT on Tuesday, December 13th. I will have it mailed to you before Christmas.
 
 
I've decided this CD would make a great stocking stuffer for any kid---it's not too late! I think it would also make a great gift for a teacher, especially in daycare/preschool/elementary school.
 
To read more about momandpop, visit their website here. And, here is the link to purchase their CD, with 13 tracks of upbeat, positive and fun music for the whole family. They are very active on their Facebook page, so you might want to check them out there, too.

 
 
 

Monday, October 31, 2016

This Mama's Heart

 
 
Last Thursday, sitting in Big Sister's gymnastics class, I almost lost my mind. I had an overwhelming, uncontrollable urge to just ball up and cry. Yes, right there in the gym.
 
I'm not sure when exactly this nine-year-old grew up on me, but I just noticed it. Right then and there. BAM! It hit me as I watched her nail round offs, one after the other. My clumsy, awkward little girl suddenly is graceful and growing legs for days. 
 
This kid. She is so smart, strong, beautiful and confident; and she doesn't even know it. I watched in awe of her with tears in my eyes. She has the world at her fingertips, and she doesn't even know it yet. Every decision she makes from today forward will shape her heart and her life ahead, and she doesn't even know it. The sky's the limit with this girl, and I've got to figure out how to help her understand that.
 
This kid. For years, I've urged her to try new things, speak up and not shy away from talking to new people. I can't really blame her because I was just like her as a kid. But now I know how much I missed out on because of my shyness; I don't want that for her. She shocked us when she told us last week that she'd auditioned for a part in the school program next month. Not just that--a speaking part AND a singing part! Hello? What? Since I didn't have the courage to do that until I hit my senior year in high school, it seems that she is already many miles ahead of me at that age.
 
This kid. Maybe it's all in the approach. I stopped putting my expectations on her, and just let her be in charge of herself. She's doing great in school, makes friends easily, looks after her siblings and knows what she wants to do. I guess I'll just shut up and hold on tight.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Do It For Your Family, Do It For Yourself....Just Do It!

 
 
We are about to get personal here, so get ready.
 
October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As many of you know, I worked for the American Cancer Society for seven years, so I came to know professionally and personally how important this month is for a woman's health.
 
Today, let's talk about mammograms.  The American Cancer Society, and my own physician, recommends that healthy women with no family history of breast cancer start getting annual mammograms at age 40. Actually, I had my first one at age 36 because my doctor wanted some images on file to compare with, when I did turn 40. I've just had my third mammogram this year.
 
Let me address the reputation of mammograms. I've always heard that they are painful and most women dread having one done. In my experience, this annual visit is no more unpleasant than a routine trip to the dentist. I've never dreaded it, or had a painful experience. Granted, with all the tugging and smashing, I'm sure it's a little more unpleasant for my smaller-chested friends. Bonus for the big-boobed ladies, I guess!
 
The whole mammogram visit literally takes about 20 minutes. It's over and done, with results coming in the mail about a week later. Better to get checked out than avoid it and have to find out about a problem when it's too advanced.
 
Which leads me to my next point. DO NOT PUT IT OFF! Ladies, I beg you. My sweet mother-in-law went for her very first mammogram when she was the ripe old age of 70. Yes, SEVENTY! And guess what they found? Breast cancer. She told me once that she never had a mammogram sooner because she didn't think she needed one. She battled that cancer on and off for seven years, before it finally got the best of her. I can't help but wonder if her quality of life would have been better if she'd had regular mammograms.
 
Here's one thing I learned from my work at ACS; mark your calendar for every October. Start your mammograms now, this month, so you will never forget. Every October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the month of your mammogram. Do it now, for your loved ones and for yourself. If you are afraid, call me; I will go with you.
 
Here is a great article called 7 Things to Know About Getting a Mammogram, that will tell you what you need to prepare for.
 
 
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