Bramell, Party of Five: November 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Branson Trip in Photos

I didn't take many photos on this trip mainly because it was a beautiful day and we were having too much fun to stop for pictures. Also, we split up a lot of the time so we were all scattered around the park.  Enjoy our photos!

And, if you are looking for a great Christmas activity with the family, Silver Dollar City is our pick! It's expensive, but worth it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's Twin Tuesday!

Who's been playing around on Pic Monkey again?  Guilty!  Look at what I did:

Last week I told you about Boy Twin and what shenanigans he's been up to.  This week, it's Girl Twin's turn in the spotlight. Being in the spotlight is where she likes to be; in fact, her new nickname is "Sassy" these days.  I'm afraid that she has inherited her mama's smart mouth, which I know I'll regret for many years to come.

Don't believe me?

Me:  Girl Twin, come over here so I can change your diaper.
Her:  NO!
Me:  Come over here NOW!
Her:  (With hands on hips) You have to say please!!

Me:  Girl Twin, what do you want Santa to bring you?
Her:  Presents.
Me:  What kind of presents?
Her:  Christmas presents!!

Last night, playing chase with Boy Twin:
"Bubby, get my butt!"

Monday, November 26, 2012

November wrap-up

As I've been thinking about Thanksgiving over the past couple of weeks, I've had this song pop into my head more than once--
Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

This is one of my favorite songs to sing in church.  I've already written about many of our blessings, but here are a few more to end our month of thankfulness.  

I'm very glad that my kids have two great-grandmothers. I've had fun teaching them about how we are related to everyone in our family. You know, "she is MY mom, but SHE is her mom....." and so on. I'm not sure they really get it yet anyway.

This is my Nanny. My kids totally adore her and she's crazy about them!  We don't get to see her often enough, but they are always talking about her. When anyone sneezes, you'll always hear, "Nanny says scat," followed by a giggle.  And lots of random "Nanny's silly!" comments.

This is my Texas Grandma. I'm so excited that she got to meet my kids for the first time this month, on our recent trip to Brinkley. You might also remember, this was the same trip as the infamous bathroom incident.  As an adult, I haven't seen my grandma as much as I should or as much as I'd like to.  Being separated by distance is a pretty hard thing once you start having your own babies. Note: I'm not sure what's going on in that picture above, but I LOVE IT!

This is my newest favorite photo of my kids.

I am also thankful for our photographer, Kim, who I'm happy to call a friend. She owns Sweet Portrayal, and has done our photos since the twins were born. She also understands that, as a mom, getting kids clean, dressed and wrangled for a photo can be exhausting and overwhelming for me. She has been so encouraging to me (more than once) when I  know we need family photos but I just cannot muster the strength to get it done.

Because of Kim's work, I have a new appreciation for the beauty of  photos done right. (Poor Big Sis, her baby photos cannot hold a candle to the twins').  Kim is a special person with a creative spirit and such a generous heart.  She has blessed my family with each beautiful photo she has taken.  And now, I'm sure she will be really embarrassed by my gushing over her.  : )

Thanks for indulging me. And don't forget to count your blessings, too.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Over the past month, people have been writing about things they are thankful for all over Facebook and on blogs. I didn't jump on the bandwagon, like I have in the past. Why, you ask? I think it's simply because most days I am just thankful for weird things.  I'm thankful to get Big Sis to school before the tardy bell. Thankful to get to work with two of the same shoes  on. Thankful to make it through another day without losing my mind.

But this week something happened. I was having a particularly rough week; yelling at the kids a lot, being crabby to the hubs and being overwhelmed at work.  Even my blood pressure was skyrocketing! I blame most of this on that self-imposed need to be Super Mom, Super Employee and Super Everything Else. It sucks. We were planning to round up the troops and head across the state to spend Thanksgiving with my family, but The Universe had other plans. The transmission on our family vehicle went out earlier in the's in the shop and likely will be until the end of next week. That means today, Thanksgiving Day, our family of five is home cooking, eating and celebrating alone. And you know what? It was fantastic! We slept in till 8:00am, cooked a feast and watched some TV.  Sure, I missed my family today.  But I also didn't have to pack a suitcase for five people and travel 4-5 hours across the state with a kid that has to stop at every public restroom along the way. I got to relax a little, hang out at home and take a long walk with my kids. Sure, it will cost a small fortune to repair our van, but we'll manage.  Not the best timing with Christmas coming up, but we'll manage. I have three more glorious days off work to stay home and be with my family. I'm going to remember how lucky I am and enjoy every minute of it.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And the winner is...

Lindsey, from Tennessee, is the winner in my very first blog giveaway!  She just scored a $150 shopping spree to Country Outfitter, an online western wear retailer.  This is a company based in Fayetteville, Arkansas, just down the road from me. Lindsey can use the money for anything from boots, belts and handbags to any other kind of apparel on the website.  Someone in her house is sure to have a merry Christmas this year!  Congratulations Lindsey, and thank you to everyone who played along and entered the contest.

Stay tuned to the blog for your chance to win a new giveaway coming up in a couple of weeks, from another great Arkansas-based company.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Twin Tuesday: Who Pooped in the Pool?

The face of trouble.
This is a story about our dear, sweet little Boy Twin.  Today's lesson:  do not turn your back on him.  We spent this past weekend at a condo in Branson enjoying the beautiful fall weather.  Saturday morning, my sister and I took the kids to the indoor pool to play before heading to Steal Your Dollar City.  My kids are like little fish; they love the water!  We went back and forth between the pool and hot tub, and played a mean game of beach ball toss.

As we were gathering up our things to leave, I caught Mr. Mischievous throwing a handful of the landscaping rocks into the shallow end of the pool.  I was already dressed, so I couldn't go in and get them.  I tried to get Big Sis to do it, but she couldn't figure out how to stay under water long enough to retrieve them.  I figured it was not a big deal, scolded the kid and sent the little ones out to the playground with Aunt TP.  Meanwhile, I took Big Sis into the locker room to dry off and change.

As we came back into the pool area, I noticed that the other families who had been in the pool were about to leave.  I guess the pool was not fun without us.....yep.  As I walked over to our table, all 10 people in their group start yelling at me, "Don't get in the water! There's poop in the pool!"  It took me all of a second to realize that those brown rocks Boy Twin threw into the water looked like perfectly formed poop logs on the bottom of the pool.  I quickly explained to the parents what Boy Twin had done.  The mom gave me the "I understand because I have four kids" look, and they all jumped right back in with a big joyful splash.  I, however, grabbed our bags and got the heck out of there.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 1 Challenge: Thankful Me

This week I'm participating in another Blog Challenge with the ladies from Arkansas Women Bloggers. We are celebrating the things and people we are thankful for in the ThanksBlogging Challenge.  Today's topic: Outside the Walls.  Take a photo of something you are thankful for and use a new online photo editor to dress up the photo.

I'm thankful for this dude. He is my hubby and he's totally going to shoot me when he sees this, by the way.  I am so thankful for a great husband and loving dad for our kiddos. I knew when he changed the twins' diapers before I did that he could handle this. I knew when he could feed and rock two babies at once that he could handle this. I know it when Big Sis says, "I want daddy to tuck me in" that he can handle this. He's not perfect, but he's mine.

** I used Pic Monkey for the first time on this photo.  Awesome tools! Will be using it again for sure.**

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gorgeous Fall Outing

I guess we have somewhat of a fall tradition around here; we've been visiting a pumpkin patch since Big Sis was a little thing. We have tried out several in our area, with our favorite being the one in Pea Ridge. We took the twins out there last fall, but they were too little to remember it now. This year, we opted to try a new place that was much closer to home. Not that we don't love McGarrah's, just that Big Sis's class took a field trip there at the beginning of October. I'd read about Farmland Adventures, so we decided to check it out. Two thumbs up! Not much of a pumpkin patch, but this place scored super high marks from us on everything else: a giant corn maze, pony rides, a petting zoo, pig races, a tractor-pulled wagon ride and the corn boxes, a la sand boxes.  The corn was the kids' favorite, by far. We had to drag them out of there!

For the record, you pay one admission price and everything else is included.  Some places will nickel and dime you to death for every activity. It was a beautiful, warm day and we ended up staying there for FOUR HOURS! Insane, I know. But super fun!

Boy Twin was in corn heaven!

This was so cool because it's so much cleaner than a traditional sand box. Genius!

We dumped kernels from their diapers, shoes and pants pockets.  Boy Twin let us bury him, which was really fun.

Silly Big Sis!

Girl Twin was the bravest one! She petted and fed the goats and sheep.

Baby piggies! Girl Twin also squealed with delight.

Pony rides for the big girl. Little ones wouldn't have any part of it.

My sweeties at the end of the corn maze. We got through it in about 40 minutes, and they were so good.  Hubby wanted to come back after dark for a more challenging maze, but he didn't. There's always next year....

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Twin Tuesday!

The little kids really enjoyed Halloween decorations this year. In fact, "decorations" is the word I have heard coming from the back seat most often in the past few weeks. They both insisted that we drive past some nicely decorated houses every time we've been out and about.  But, sadly, they were disappointed this week when they saw that most houses have taken down decorations now.  We all went out together last night to take ours down--I let them say a proper "good-bye" to the witch that's  been hanging in our tree.  After hugs all around, she went back to her Rubbermaid home in the garage.
Rest assured, I have told them to just wait a couple of weeks and Christmas decorations will be out in full force.  Get ready, Boy Twin is going to lose his mind with excitement when he sees Christmas lights in the neighborhood!  He is so funny.  I can't wait to see what the holidays will be like now that they are a little older and talking....should be very entertaining.
Oh, and curses to the marketers who've already sent the toy catalogs to our house. All three kids have been looking at them non-stop. Big Sis has gone through and circled everything that's pink and/or has a Disney princess on it.  Girl Twin points out all the babies.  And Boy Twin excitedly points and yells, "Ideman" at every Spiderman toy.  Maybe we better start applying for Christmas loans now....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Yes, This Happened

You see these kids?

2012 Halloween costumes

They sure are cute, but don't let them fool you. They aren't so innocent; they know how to push my buttons. And, apparently, they know how to attract lots of attention in public restrooms. 

If you are thinking about having children in the near future, you might want to stop reading now. Here goes. *Sigh*

Due to a death in the family, we decided to make a mad dash across the state for a very quick visit with some of my dad's family that we haven't seen in many years, most of whom had never met my children. This was also a day trip with no overnight stay. Possibly mistake No. 1? The traveling was actually pretty painless, but the dinner stop, not so much. 

Because there's only so many chicken nuggets a mom and dad can take, we opted to stop for a "real" dinner on the way home. Possibly mistake No. 2?  We chose an Italian chain restaurant in North Little Rock because the kids usually eat spaghetti pretty good and we needed an easy stop. Yeah, right.  Thankfully, we were seated in a corner booth where we would disturb the least number of other diners while my children took turns standing in the booth and crawling underneath the table. The kids' food was served first; as any parent knows, this is usually a smart move to occupy little hands as quickly as possible. The downside is that by the time the adults' food arrives, the kids are finished and getting restless. The parents then have approximately six minutes to eat before the kids are swinging from the light hanging low over the table. Ahem, Boy Twin.

To give hubby the maximum opportunity to chew his food before swallowing it, I got the bright idea to take all three kids to the bathroom by myself.  Possibly mistake No. 3? Let me just paint you a picture of the next, oh, 20 minutes of my night. 

Look at these kids again. Know that I could never make this up.

Upon entering the bathroom, the kids all start to yell "Echo! Echo! Echo!" because I guess it's fun to hear your voice bouncing off the walls. I'm sure the other ladies in there loved it just as much.  Next, I take them them into the stall with the changing table inside. I already know that Girl Twin has done number two in her diaper because she sat under the table for five minutes while I ate. I put her up on the changing table when Big Sis decides she needs to go. At this point, I also realize that I'm dangerously low on wipes and Girl Twin has done a big job.  Bis Sis gets her pants down to reveal a nice dirty shart in her underwear--fantastic! I'm taking care of Girl Twin, so instruct Big Sis to take off her pants and undies and stay put until I can help her.

During this chaos, Boy Twin is trying to open the lock on the stall while continuing to yell "Echo!" out to the three or four ladies waiting in line.  He then picks up Big Sister's flip flops and throws them at the walls over and over. And into the stall next door. I'm trying really hard not to yell; I mean, I don't want to cause a scene. I'm pretty much hissing at this point.

Once Girl Twin is changed, I'm able to get my hands on the boy. I spanked him for throwing the shoes. Yes, I did. Sue me.  Then he sat in the (dirty, germ infested, public bathroom) floor and threw a fit. I didn't care; at least he quit with the shoes. When I turn my back to trash the dirty underwear, the now-mad boy enlists his evil twin to help him dump out the contents of the entire gigantic diaper bag into the floor. At this point, I'm sweating buckets and about to cry as I throw it all back into the bag.

After Big Sis was clean, I got Boy Twin up on the changing table. Surprise! The trifecta, as we lovingly call it. It was a big one, too. And guess what? Only one wipe left in the package!

I got it done and rushed them out of the stall. I tried not to make eye contact with anyone staring at us as we poured out of the stall we'd occupied for what felt like most of the night. As I'm washing them up at the sink, a lady who I recognize from near our booth says, "Wow, you got to bring them all in here by yourself?" Then, I swear to God, all three of them turned around and gave her the sweetest, most angelic smiles I've ever seen. Like they had no idea why their mama looked like she'd just finished last in a marathon in the middle of July.

Friday, November 2, 2012

It's Finally Time....Boots!

I'm so glad that it's finally my turn to give away some boots! If you have been paying any attention at all, you've seen many giveaways just like mine all over Facebook and Twitter.  I got this awesome pair of boots for attending the Arkansas Women Bloggers conference.  And one of my blog readers will now have the chance to win a $150 shopping spree to spend with Country Outfitter on the boots of your choosing! If you are not into boots, just take a look at all the other fantastic items they sell, including apparel, handbags and belts.  Also keep in mind that we are coming up on the holiday season and boots make a great gift for someone special.

I have these Ariat boots in 
Brown Oiled Rowdy and I LOVE THEM! They are so comfy and versatile.  

So, let's get to it!  How do you enter to WIN the $150 shopping spree from Country Outfitter? It's just two easy steps.

Step 1:  You MUST click on THIS LINK and submit your e-mail address to Country Outfitter.  You may receive some e-mails and special offers from them at a later date.

Step 2:  Leave me a COMMENT here on my blog to let me know that you completed Step 1.  This will also  let everyone else know what kind of competition they are up against.  ; )

Deadline to enter this contest is Friday, November 16 at Noon (Central).  A winner will be chosen at random and announced the following week.  Good luck--I wish everyone could win!  

Disclosure:  Country Outfitter, a retailer of Ariat boots, gave me these boots to review.  I did not receive any  monetary payment for my participation in this giveaway.  I actually own and wear these boots, and my opinion is my own.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's Twin Tuesday....errr, Thursday!

Yeah, well stuff happens. I was away for work on Tuesday, so we're having a Twin Thursday this week. 

First, I want to brag on my babies.  No, I want to SHOUT FROM THE MOUNTAINTOPS....they are both using the potty! Did you just hear the angels sing? Yep. They are both going #1 in the potty on a regular basis, but still lacking in the #2 department, which is very normal.  I don't know what we've done differently this time, but they are getting it way faster and easier than Big Sis did. As you might remember, Big Sis was was THREE and A HALF before we got her can read about that HERE.  It was a horrible experience with her and we have totally dreaded it with the twins. We haven't pushed them, haven't forced them and haven't set alarms to make them sit on the toilet every hour. Maybe we finally got something right.  We were at a restaurant Monday night and Girl Twin even asked me to take her to the potty---and it was successful!

Little Kids, Big Funnies

Boy Twin: 
He is so funny when you tell him we are going somewhere.  He says, "I go?" When we reply with yes, he proceeds to go through the family roll call.  "Girl Twin go?  Big Sis go?  Daddy go?  Mommy go?  Fergie go?"  It goes on forever.  Sometimes you can just say "I'm going to do xyz" and he will ask, "I go?"  Yeah, go ahead and go clean that bathroom.

Girl Twin:
The other night we were at the dinner table. I can't remember what we were eating, but Girl Twin started dancing in her seat like her pants were on fire. "Tummy hurts! Tummy hurts!" she said over and over. She gulped down her juice and stuck out her tongue. I was very confused by this.  So I asked her to show me where it hurts, and she pointed to her tongue!  The spicy food was burning her tongue, not her tummy.  Ha! Guess we need to work on our body parts some more.

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