Bramell, Party of Five: June 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Twin Tuesday, the Wednesday Edition

This post didn't make it on Tuesday because I was out doing something fun with my twinners.  Dad took Big Sis on a mini road trip, so I was home with the littles for the night.  We spent our evening outside at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, enjoying a free family concert by the Arkansas Winds Community Band.
I am totally embarrassed to admit this, but here goes...last night was my very first trip out the the botanical garden.  I know! Why???  What a beautiful facility and grounds; a perfect setting to throw a blanket down and relax to some music.
After work, I headed home to make a picnic dinner for the kids and myself.  The whole time I'm thinking maybe taking them out by myself isn't a great idea. But you know what? They did great! And they LOVED the show and walking around the gardens.  They feasted on peanut butter sammies, apple slices and popcorn. They giggled, danced and twirled all through the show, determined to entertain everyone sitting around us.  Then, during intermission, we got to walk around the gardens and enjoy the flowers, ponds, statues and lily pads. 
We decided that we can't wait to go back and take Dad and Big Sis to check it out.  I decided that I need to make an effort to spend more time with the kids doing fun activities and not worry so much about being out on a "work night," or the crap needing to be done at home.  I loved spending time with them alone; watching them explore the grounds was so special. 


Monday, June 24, 2013

A Change Will Do You Good

Oh, these wise words of Sheryl Crow have been dancing in my head for the past few weeks.  I know it's been a while since I made a new post, but I've been getting acclimated to my new schedule.  You see, after eight years at the American Cancer Society, I have a new job.  I am now the Marketing Manager at the Northwest Arkansas Mall.
After eight years of doing anything, a change is scary to even consider.  Well, maybe not so much scary as intimidating.  It's hard to think of changing your entire schedule and way of doing things.  I mean, you do spend more time at work than at you better be happy with what you're doing.  But I know I've made the right decision.  For one, I've been wanting to get back into doing a marketing/PR/communications job for some time.  And for another, this particular job has a special place in my heart.
For those who don't know, my first "professional" job was actually working at the Northwest Arkansas Mall as the Marketing Assistant while I was in college.  It started as an internship, and turned into a three semester part-time job.  It was fantastic!  This is where I cut my teeth on event planning, promotional marketing and writing for business.  That's why, when the opportunity came up, I knew the job was calling my name.  Kind of a career gone full-circle thing, no?

This is me in my new office, at my new desk, wearing a new outfit and my new favorite necklace.  See, change is good.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Real Barbie Dream House!

Last Saturday, the girls and I got to visit the real Barbie Dream House!  Because I'm a cool mom, we had VIP passes to see the traveling display of Barbie Is Moving when it stopped in our area.  We were greeted by some very nice staff people who explained to us what exactly Barbie is moving...going into it, I wasn't sure.  Apparently, after all these years living in Malibu, Barbie has decided to pack up up her tiny shoes and clothes, sell the Dream House and move.  Crazy, I know!  Glad I have that Malibu Barbie packed away in the attic somewhere.  Anyway, Barbie has packed all her things and she's traveling around the country looking for a new home.  Could she be Walmart Barbie next?  I think she could rock the blue vest with ease, but she may have to get some longer skirts and more sensible shoes.

We were escorted to the front of the line at the Dream House, where little girls were going berserk to get dressed up in pink frilly tutus and boas to walk down the runway to loud, pulsating music and have their photos made.  Of course, you know my girls (at least the big one), didn't want any part of that madness.  And because Big Sis wouldn't do it, then Little Sis was a no-go, too.  So we watched.

Then we went outside to an area set up for the girls to actually design and color a dress to take home for their Barbie.  Remember the old "fashion plate" days?  Very similar here. We used carbon paper to rub off a design, then they could color it with permanent marker.  This is where we spent the most time, of course!

Then on to the face painting....always a crowd favorite.  Our final stop was in the Mega Bloks area, where they had a large bin full of blocks for the kids to build a "room" for the Mega Blocks dream house.  You can buy the kits in the store now to assemble your own rooms! And the girls got to bring home a small sample kit.  Girl Twin has carried her teeny, tiny little kitty cat all over and not put it down since Saturday.  And I *might* have had to dig it out of her mouth multiple times.  

Overall, a super fun thing to do with my girls on a warm Saturday morning.  They are stopping in 12 more cities across the country, so visit Barbie Is Moving and maybe you can catch it in your hometown.  It's fun and FREE!  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Our Kindergarten Graduate

It's been a busy month for us since school let out.  Big Sis was only out of school for about a week until she and the littles loaded up to go stay a week at Grammy's house.  I realized that I didn't even post all of the photos from her graduation celebration.

They started out with a little program for the kids to sing to us. It was in the morning, so Lee wasn't able to go because of work. I took Girl Twin, who was missing daycare due to the "24 hour rule," and we had a great time.  Big Sis has really come a long way from that first day of school when I don't think she spoke a word to anyone.  I've said it here before, but we are so thankful for her wonderful teacher who was so kind, patient and special to her.  The sad thing is that Big Sis will be losing her two friends from her class because they are moving to different schools next year.  

She got a great final report card and scored above average on know that makes this mama happy!  She is writing and reading simple books.  We are going to work on math over the summer and get ready to have a great first grade year.

She's just left of center--can you see her little head poking up?

With her teacher, Mrs. Cloud

Look at that sweet, toothless smile!

My girls with Big Sis's BFF from school. Her first sleepover buddy!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Twin Tuesday

This week Twin Tuesday is dedicated to wishing the twins a very happy third birthday!  Sometimes it seems like yesterday that they were newborns, and sometimes it feels more like 10 years ago.  

We enjoyed a birthday dinner at Marketplace Grill, where I'm pretty sure we got the best of them.  It's kids eat free month, plus each kid got a free dessert.  Score!

This rarely happens. So glad I had the camera handy!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My Mini-Me

It's no secret that I have a mini-me (or two).  The other day I realized that Big Sis might actually be making me be more like her.

I took her shoe shopping with me before the Mom Prom.  Shoe shopping FOR ME.  Before I even tried any on, she had picked out a pair for herself.  She is definitely a shoe girl; I am not.  She is a pink girl; I am not.

What's funny here?  I ended up buying a shoe in the EXACT same color as her shoe.  Check us out, being all matchy-matchy in our shiny pink shoes.

And, no, I did not sprout a third foot.  Where the big girls are, Girl Twin is never far behind.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Do You Know a Barbie Girl?

I know a Barbie girl! She lives in my house.  And she is going to love this surprise when she gets back from her trip to Grammy's house!
I've found out about this cool (FREE!) traveling event that is coming to Northwest Arkansas this weekend.  It's the Barbie Is Moving event, where kids can do some fun, interactive play with Barbie themed toys.  I also see a fashion show in our future.
There are three chances in our area to participate:
Today, June 7 at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade
Tomorrow, June 8 at the Bentonville Walmart Store at 406 S. Walton Blvd
Sunday, June 9 at the Walmart Store on Mall Ave. in Fayetteville
All times are 11:00am-3:00pm
I'm going to take both my girls on Saturday morning, to the Bentonville store.  Anyone want to join us?  If you make it to any of the events, use the hashtag #BarbieIsMoving to share pictures and the fun that you are having.  You can find me tweeting it up on Saturday.
If you are in another area, check out the website to see if Barbie Is Moving is coming to a place near you.  I'll post later to let you know how much fun we had.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Window Into My Life

And now, because I know you have all been waiting patiently, here is my essay that I read in the Listen to Your Mother show in Northwest Arkansas on May 30.  The You Tube video will be posted later this summer....hopefully the edited version, which will NOT show me tripping off the stage.

My Hands Are Full, But So Is My Heart
Once upon a time there was a happy couple with one sweet daughter.  One day, the wife lost her mind and suggested that they have another baby.  Let this story be a lesson to be very careful what you wish for.  And be very specific.  You see, this story is about me; I’m that wife.  And we didn’t get one more baby, we got two. Yes, twins—a boy and a girl.  
Being the mother of twins has been such a crazy experience.  The crazy actually started on the day we found out I was carrying twins, at 19 ½ weeks!  Now, I’m no genius, but this wasn’t my first pregnancy either.  Shouldn’t we have known this much, much sooner in the process?  Talk about a shock!  Even my doctor was shocked and speechless.  My reaction?  First, I cried.  Then, I laughed.  Hysterically.  My husband turned pale and never said a word.  Several nurses came into the exam room to check on us during that visit.  By “check on us,” I mean to make sure we weren’t about to jump off the roof or something. 
By the time I came to terms with what was going on inside my body, I realized that I wasn’t entirely prepared to deal with other people.  I don’t know if it was due to a double dose of hormones or what, but people just started to annoy me.  Don’t tell anyone, but I once yelled at a Walmart checker for being too slow.  I felt really badly about it for a little while. 
The biggest problem I had was with random, nosey strangers who asked stupid, and often, very personal questions.  By far, the most often asked question was, “What are you going to do?” after I told someone I was expecting twins.  My answer came with a smile and a shrug, “Oh, we’ll manage.”  By the 234th time I was asked that, I’d come up with a better answer, such as:  “I’m thinking of ditching them at the hospital.”   
Another popular question was, “Oh my, how are you going to afford two babies?”  This is not a good question to ask someone who is suddenly and unexpectedly faced with the challenge of needing a bigger house, a bigger vehicle and feeding and diapering two babies. That one could have easily gotten a few people punched. 
Unfortunately, the dumb questions didn’t stop after the twins were born.  Early on, I got asked a lot if they are identical….usually while they were with me, dressed in blue and pink, respectively.  I’d just take a deep breath and politely point out that one is a boy and the other is a girl.  Deep down, just one time, I really wanted to say, “No, my daughter doesn’t have a penis!”  Seriously, I cannot be the only person who understands anatomy.  They are almost three years old now, and thankfully, we rarely get asked that question anymore. 
Besides biting my tongue, this crazy experience has taught me so much about myself and what it means to be a mom.  For example, I learned that I’m stronger than I thought, both mentally and physically.  Have you ever tried to walk while holding two infant carriers at once?  Not easy.  And I’m not that graceful to begin with. 
I’ve also learned some other valuable life skills, such as making a peanut butter sandwich with one hand, bottle feeding two wobbly-headed infants at the same time and driving across the state alone, with three kids under age five.  I really don’t recommend trying that last one.  Oh! And I can also fall asleep on demand, anytime and anywhere.  That one is really a blessing and a curse. 

But perhaps most importantly, I’ve figured out what that saying “my cup runneth over” means.  There’s nothing better than coming home from work and being met at the door by my three sweeties.  As difficult as it can be sometimes, I know that I was born to be their mommy…to love them, teach them and watch them grow.  I love watching them play together and figure out things together.  They are at such a special age now, full of questions and mischief.  But I know it will all go by too quickly.
Yes, I’ve been blessed so much that my cup does indeed runneth over.  But, sadly, the dishes in my sink and the laundry in the hamper also runneth over. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It's Twin Tuesday!

Look at these kids!!  They are almost three. years. old.  WHAT? 
Saturday night, after our big birthday party, we took the little ones to our first Naturals game of the year.  Big Sis was off playing with Aunt Nanette and the other big girls.  Tracy, Jonathan, Lee and I headed to the ballpark with the twins.
We ate junk food and enjoyed our front row seats and the cooler temps.  I know we'll be going back for more games.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Day I Was Brave

Dressing room playtime!
If you've been anywhere near my Facebook page over the past couple of months, you know by now that I was selected to be a part of the 2013 cast of the Listen to Your Mother show in Northwest Arkansas.  The whole process actually started back at the end of February, when I submitted an essay to be considered for audition.  Then, I was called in to read my essay in front of judges.  I just thought that was scary!
Listen to Your Mother is a national series of shows about motherhood.  Simply put, it's women (and men) sharing their own stories and experiences about being a mother, having a mother or what we have learned from other mothers.  This year the show has happened in 24 cities in the US.  I am a part of something that's kind of a big deal, y'all!  I don't think I really realized it until the last minute.
As you  know, I'm not much for being the center of attention.  I was totally out of my element, but I pushed through it.  There is something so exhilarating about being terrified, when you know it's going to have a good ending.  So what made me get this crazy idea to audition to begin with?  I'm not sure.   I think, more than anything, I saw it as a creative challenge.  I am a writer and a storyteller---wow, my ARWB friends, I SAID IT. 
Through the process, I made some great new friends and got to share the stage with 15 amazing storytellers.  Being backstage in our dressing room was something fun that I'll never forget.  Some of us were nervous (me!), some were excited and some couldn't wait to get on the stage.   
I did it! I survived being in the spotlight. And I'm so glad I did.  Motherhood is a tricky thing.  I'm not perfect at it.  I stumble often (pun), and I constantly doubt my abilities.  And I also realize that everyone else does, too.  Motherhood is a wonderful sisterhood and I wouldn't want to give that up for anything.
All of our readings will be posted on You Tube sometime later this summer. I'll make sure I link up to it.  I will also post my essay for you to read later this week.

My turn on the stage.

Pre-show encouragement texted to me by my friend Keisha.

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