Bramell, Party of Five

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)
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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rockstar Kids

OK, let me be honest here. This is really a "back to school" post, but it's mid-October, and that would just be embarrassing at this point.

So, let me tell you about the kids' annual doctor visit yesterday instead. The doctor pointed out to me that we hadn't been in the clinic since our last checkup in September of 2015. Y'all. That's a whole year without seeing the doctor. I'm shocked and amazed. Then he proceeded to tell me that people with more kids are usually just too busy and tend to let the kids ride out their sickness. I'm sure I'm more guilty of that than them being well for a year. Ain't nobody got time to run to the doctor for every sore throat. 

They all checked out just fine, all in good health and growing like weeds. Then, this happened.

Before the appointment, I talked to them about the flu shot. In the past, they've always gotten the flu mist, but I knew that our clinic was no longer going to offer that option. Only the needle. So, I explained the vaccine--I gave them the pros and cons. I didn't take a position and let them make their own choice. By the time we got there, Big Sis and Boy Twin were on board with the shot. Surprisingly, Girl Twin conceded by the end of the appointment. They all chose to get the shot--without my encouragement---on their own. The doctor, nurses and I were all shocked. They took the shots like champs and never even flinched.

Now, if it will just do its job we'll all be happy. 

And here are those first day of school pictures that I promised, from August. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Twin Tuesday Returns!

Twin Tuesday is here again! Isn't it great?

The kids turned six over the summer and are in the full-swing of first grade now. Which reminds me....I owe you a birthday post and a first day of school post. Since this is how my kids will have a record of their past, I don't want to forget these important ones. Did you know that I print out a book each year from the blog? It's my version of their memory books, that they will have to keep (or burn) when they are all grown up.  But I digress...

Boy Twin:
  • He's playing soccer and coach pitch baseball this fall--and doing great at both! We are so proud of him and how hard he tries at both sports. He is not ready yet to choose one over the other, so we are hanging in there for both.
  • He's doing great in school and seems to enjoy it a lot. Reading seems to be his strong area right now.
  • He is never, ever still. This kid will run, run, run all the time. They both come home from school and immediately go outside to play and ride bikes.

Girl Twin:

  • Oh, this girl is a hoot! Every day I find a selfie or a video on my phone that she's made. She is telling jokes or giggling all the time. It's funny that she's so happy because she was such a cranky toddler. (shhh!)
  • This one totally goes to school for the social life. She doesn't tell us much about her day, usually. We have to find out from her teacher that she had to move seats for talking in class! She loves her friends so much, and wants to be friends with everyone.
  • She is back in gymnastics and still loving it. Again, maybe for the social activity. But she is making great progress, too.

This is my favorite photo of them from our beach vacay this summer. Also, another post I need to do.

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