First in Flight

The Airport could not have prepared for these two.

The Airport could not have prepared for these two.

 

H- We are above the clouds!
Me – I know buddy. Did you think you’d ever be up here?
H – Oh it’s like a dream FINALLY come true. 
Me – Oh that’s awesome. 
H - A dream I had for a very, very, very, long time.
Me – Ooooook I see where you’re going with this.

 

From the moment we booked the flight to Florida and told the girls about it, the anticipation meter officially began to fill. They asked daily and talked constantly about getting to go on their first plane ride and how they eagerly wanted to be in Florida. This is one of the many reasons why I don’t tell them things. But they were understandably excited and so was I. Nervous, but excited.

When the morning finally arrived, it was like waking up on Christmas morning, partially because of how early in the morning it was (5am), but mostly because of the excitement. The girls popped out of bed, threw on their clothes, grabbed their backpacks and were ready to hit the road/skies. Checking in was a breeze and surprisingly so was the security check. The girls excitedly wheeled their suitcases (with light-up wheels) up and down escalators, onto the train and up to our gate. When it was time to board, they sprinted down the jetway to the plane and counted down the seats to get to row 23, grabbing compliment after compliment on their fun vacation hats. We settled in to the seats, got out the gum we’d picked up at the souvenir shop to help with the pressure in their ears, and patiently waited for takeoff.

So Excited to Fly

So Excited to Fly

The only thing I really remember about my first plane ride was that my parents hooked me and my brother up with a new container/mini garbage can of M.U.S.C.L.E men that would keep us entertained the whole trip (or at least for the short portion that I was ever awake for a trip). I’m pretty sure we flew at night so once we were up, that was it for sights. I slept through the landing (in case you’re looking for a theme to my travel habits, it’s sleep) which means I missed that part too, but at least I remember the little plastic figurines and playing with them before conking out. The girls on the other hand, had backpacks full of everything they’d need from iPads with big colorful headphones and Frozen queued up, to new notebooks ready for stories to be filled into them, to books they just bought at the book fair. Hopefully they’ll remember what was in their bag as much as I remember my M.U.S.C.L.E. men.

Completely set up

Completely set up

Takeoff went as well as I could have hoped. They chomped their gum hard and loud and didn’t seem to have any problems with their ears. They watched Frozen, wrote in their notebooks, checked out Sky Mall, befriended people around us and did what they normally do, only in a more confined space. As the plane started to descend, I told the girls that they should start chewing gum again. Of course “Dumb Old Dad” didn’t know what he was talking about, so they refused. About 10 minutes later, they were in tears from the pressure and begging me to help them. The gum helped a little, but it wasn’t enough to stop the pain completely. Luckily we made it through that minor emergency and the pilot greeted them with their first pair of wings on the way out the door of the plane.

Besides the little hiccup with the ears, they did amazingly well on the flight and I was really proud of them. The best part of the trip wasn’t just that we made it to Florida in a couple of hours and we were ready to hit the beach before lunchtime that day, it was how much fun the girls had on their first flight and how well they travelled. Plus, I have to admit they did look pretty damn cute running through the airport with those hats and suitcases.

 

(Part II of the vacation story will come soon)

What a great winter…wait it’s not over? Eff!

Watch out for the trees!

Watch out for the trees!

 

H – When can we play outside and ride our scooters again?
Me – I don’t know. Maybe never.
H – We played outside Saturday cause it was so warm…wait…never?
Me – I’m just kidding. (Under my breath) I hope.

 

Don’t get me wrong, in terms of a fun, snow-filled winter, this has been it. The winter vortex and all of it’s crazy coldness have kept us mostly inside, but at least we’ve had the chance to get in several sled riding trips this year thanks to the snow it’s delivered. Compare that to last year, where we were barely able to get out one time, this year has been pretty fun.

I’ve always said that if it’s going to be cold out, there might as well be snow on the ground. Snow is fun. Who doesn’t love making snow angels, sled riding or packing the perfect snowball to hit someone unexpectedly? It’s one of the few times we’re able to act like children and get away with it.

Admittedly the girls have it a little better than I did when it comes to sled riding. Now this may seem like a “back in my day” type of story, but it’s actually just a statement of fact/jealousy that my dad has two 4 wheelers to haul the kids back up to the top of the hill after they make a run on their sleds or inter tubes. The best part is that it keeps them outside and enjoying the snow for at least twice as long because they don’t get worn out walking up and down the hill. I feel like they’ve exponentially trumped me in attempts per session based on this glorious ATV that wasn’t around when I was younger.

With that being said, I’m about done with this weather. I’m ready to replace the sled rides with bike rides. Trade the bitter temps for the warmth of spring. We were teased a bit last week, and now we’re back to the cold and for some reason, this year it seems like that tease was even more tempting than ever. But at least the girls have had a chance to fully use their snow gear, break in the inter tubes they got for Christmas and make good use of their 4-wheeled ski lift. I’m sure in a couple months I’ll be complaining about how hot it is, but until then, here comes more winter vortex.

 

 

 

 

That Is One Pouty Lip

Elle has always had the best pout

Elle has always had the best pout

 

Me – You stick that lip out and a bird’s going to poop on it.
E – (pouts lip out further)
Annie – That actually did happen to daddy this summer.
Me – Oh my god it did!

 

When I was a little kid I was fully capable of pulling off some serious pouting fits. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe. But, I could be a little stinker when I wanted to be. The funny thing is, no matter how mad or pouty I was, my Mammaw was able to shake me out of it by getting me to laugh. Her “go-to” line was “If you stick that lip out a little further, maybe a bird will come up here and land on it and poop on your lip.”

I have no idea why that would be a thing, or where it started, or why it’s even that funny to me, but it got me every time. Maybe it’s the absurdity of that ever happening, or the silliness of the thought. Either way, I couldn’t help but laugh. Even trying my hardest to maintain my pouty lip, I’d be smiling. Obviously, since this has given me so much joy over the years I stole it from my Mammaw and have used it dozens of times on the girls to get them to laugh when they’re trying to be pouty. And it works every time.

We were sitting on the couch the other night and Elle stuck her lip out for some reason. I don’t even think she was really pouting, but I went to my “go-to” line and it of course made her laugh. At the same time Annie made a brilliant observation, that my pouty lip actually did get pooped on by a bird.

While trying to hang some lights and breaking a few in the process, I’d about had it. It was at the point that I was maddest, that a bird pooped on me. A bird literally pooped on my lip. All the years of that joke being used and I never thought it was feasible for it to really happen. And of course it did.

We shared that story with the girls and they of course thought it was funny. I’m just hoping they realize that if they keep that pouty lip out there, that a bird really can poop on it. I doubt it, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

 

Having “A Moment”

Her cuteness wears off quickly with me.

Her cuteness wears off quickly with me.

 

H-I had a moment today.
Me-Oh you did. What happened?
H-Yeah, just got really upset at Elle and needed to cry.
Me-Did you get it out of your system?
H-Yeah, as long as Elle behaves herself.
E-Oh geez. 

 

Since the girls are two completely different emotional beings and handle things completely different in almost every way, parenting becomes a game of trying to figure out the best way to deal with that child, in that moment, to help them move forward from whatever phase they’re in at that time.

Sometimes when you give the girls something, they tend to take that something and run with it. A word or phrase can easily be made into an excuse. Once they have that excuse they hang on to it tightly and use it regularly. Often times to the point of abusing said excuse.

In an effort to curb Hudson’s recent bout with instantaneous crying at basically nothing, I had the bright idea to tell her that she was having “a moment,” and that she needed to just relax and collect herself. I also let her know that we all have our “moments,” and that it was ok to get upset, she just needs to learn to recognize when she’s having one.  She of course responded really well to this, especially knowing that she wasn’t alone in her frequently emotional state.

I felt good about making her feel comfortable and ok with being emotional, but at the same time I knew that it was only a matter of time before she was going to abuse it. So for the next several days, Huds would come to my crying, saying she was having a moment, and I’d let her have it. It was at the point when she got in a fight with her sister, and as I was yelling at her, she screamed at me, “I’m having a moment! OK!” that I knew this one had run it’s course. I informed her that “having a moment” was not an excuse to hit her sister and sent her to her room.

Since I informed her she wasn’t allowed to use it as a daily excuse to be bad, Huds hasn’t had as many “moments” lately which is good. I guess she’s moved on to the next phase. Now I just have to figure out how to deal with what’s coming next.

 

 

Who knew they even liked each other?

This moment of sweetness brought to you by "Wow!"

This moment of sweetness brought to you by “Wow!”

Me- What happened with Gracie today at school? Her mom called and said she was crying because of you.
E- I told her I don’t like her and Hudson wasn’t going to be her friend anymore.
Me-Why would you tell her that?
E-Cause she’s taking my Hudson from me.
Me-(holding back laughter)…Ohhh…and so it begins.

 

I seriously wonder if sometimes if these two are capable of fighting with each other in their dreams, because that would cover the only time during the day when I’m sure they’re not at each other’s throats. I know it’s to be expected from twins and twin girls at that, but I guess I never anticipated how tough it was going to be.

Of course they love each other and do have times where they’re very sweet to each other and get along, but those times always seemed to be outshone by a giant fight of some sort. They are both fiercely independent and like to be the leader, which causes a pretty big clash in personalities. It’s just part of the reason why we chose to have them be separated in school. To give them some time apart from each other to develop their own personalities, make their own friends and become their own person.

To this point, they’ve done a great job of managing their independence and their individual as well as shared friends. That is, until a call came in the other day from a mom at school who’s daughter came home crying. Apparently Elle had told this little girl (who happens to be friends with Hudson and in her class) that she didn’t like her and that she wasn’t allowed to be friends with her sister (Hudson) anymore. Clearly…the girl didn’t take too kindly to this and headed home for a good cry.

When Tracey informed me of the situation, I was on my way to pick Elle up from Little Red. I asked Elle, as calmly as possibly could in order to keep her from getting defensive. Much to my surprise, she was direct, non-defensive and pretty matter of fact. “She’s taking my hudson from me.”

Her explanation for her behavior was rooted in jealousy. She was jealous that her sister’s time was taken by someone besides herself and she didn’t like it. It made me smile so big. Don’t get me wrong. I made her go directly home and to write an apology letter to the little friend as soon as she got home, but c’mon, that answer is pretty funny and cute.

Even if the sweetness only lasted until Hudson got healthy after strep throat. Or, even if she was just playing me, which she’s totally capable of doing by the way, I couldn’t have asked for a better answer out of her. If she’d made up some excuse, I would have likely been mad at her. Her honesty, no matter how well prepared of an answer it might have been, was refreshing and sweet. Something I wasn’t sure they were capable of doing with each other any more.

The best first UK game ever.

Elle made a new buddy.

Elle made a new buddy.

Me – Did you guys have fun?
H – Yeah that was awesome!
E – My friends are going to be so jealous!

 

By default, the girls are Kentucky basketball fans. They didn’t have a choice. There are certain things they’ll have the freedom to choose, but this isn’t one of them. Fortunately, they’ve been good sports and have accepted this responsibility with open arms.

They’ve rooted for the Cats every time they were on TV (which is even funnier cause they know nothing about basketball) and constantly asked when they were going to get to go to a game. While I totally appreciated their enthusiasm, there was no way I was taking them to a game until they could somewhat appreciate it.

Since Aunt Selma has season tickets and has graciously allowed me to go to several games over the years, the girls were always jealous and hoped their turn would come up soon. After two season’s of them asking to go, the time seemed right, so I finally asked Aunt Selma if she could get us some tickets. She of course obliged, and even managed to score us passes into the hospitality area so we could all hang out together before the game.

Understanding how the girls are, I decided not to tell them about it until the last minute, knowing they’d ask me every 30 minutes, “when are we going to the game?”  I let Aunt Selma ask them that morning if they wanted to come to the game that afternoon and they were so happy. Luckily it was only a few hours before we had to go, so their excitement/annoying questions were contained to a few hours.

One of the best parts of the day was the group that was going to the game – The girls, Annie, Nana, Pops, Aunt Selma, Uncle Chris and myself. Having that collection of people there with us to take in the girls first game made the day that much more special. Getting to see their excitement in the hospitality room as they ate up about everything they could before moving on to the free boxes of popcorn, was just the beginning.

As an adult, or even for an older kid, walking into Rupp Arena as a UK fan is somewhat of a cathartic moment. It’s one of the most storied buildings in all of college basketball and you can just feel how impressive it is. For 6 year olds with free popcorn, I’m guessing it looked like a giant playground with a bunch of people in it.

Say "Go Cats!"

Say “Go Cats!”

Our seats were pretty amazing, although somewhat short lived, because of a little ticket snafu which resulted in the girls moving down and sitting with my folks and Aunt Selma. In hindsight it was the best thing that could have happened because it put them that much closer to the action and kept them from driving me nuts cause they couldn’t sit still and asking for ice-cream. It also allowed them to enjoy (or not so much if you’re Huds) the coolest part of their day…the Wildcat.

Huds wasn't a fan of the Wildcat

Huds wasn’t a fan of the Wildcat

Elle loved the Wildcat!

Elle loved the Wildcat!

After all the times of having to tell the girls, “we’ll go soon” and slowly building their anticipation of actually getting to go to a Kentucky game, I wasn’t sure if the experience could quite live up to the hype. But it did. It was bigger, better and more amazing than I could have hoped. And it wasn’t just the Wildcat picking up Elle that made it so awesome. It was the people that were there to share in the moment. Thank you to my folks, Uncle Chris, Annie and especially Aunt Selma for making their first trip to Rupp, better than I could have hoped.

Celebrate the little victories…quietly.

That smile melts hearts.

That smile melts hearts.

Convo 1
H – Can Wead and Lucy come on a bike wide with us?
Me – Yeah I just talked to Uncle Chris and they’re coming.
H – (under her breath with fist pump) Yessss!
 
Convo 2
H – Daddy, look what I got at chuwch…Smawties…(long pause as she starts to open them)…Can I have them? 
Me – Sure.
H – (under her breath with fist pump) Yessss!
 
Convo 3
H – Can we stop by mommy’s to get my faiwy costume?
Me – Yeah we can do that.
H – (under her breath with fist pump) Yessss!
 

I’m not sure if how i’m writing this properly describes how amazingly cute and awesome it is to hear Hudson quietly celebrate under her voice with a “Yes!” It’s not overly obvious and if you aren’t listening, there’s a good chance you’ll miss it. But, when you hear it, you can’t help but get the biggest smile on your face. I’ve tried really hard not to react too much to it because I don’t want her to know how much I love it. The second she knows it makes me laugh, she’ll start doing it too much, and that moment of true appreciation and excitement will be gone.

The girls don’t always volunteer a “thank you” when they get something, which sometimes can lead me to believe they don’t fully appreciate all that they have in their lives. I know they really do, but sometimes I feel like they just “expect” certain things, instead of being truly grateful for what they have and what they get. When Hudson says, “Yesss!” in the most subtle way,  I smile because it’s cute, but also because I know how much she appreciates something.

I’ve noticed this little reaction for the last couple of months and I’ve wanted to do a post about it, but didn’t really know what to write about other than “it’s really freaking cute.” The more I’ve thought about it, the more it became clear that her little celebration has a strong underlying meaning – Celebrate the Little Victories.

Every day is a new adventure. Some are more difficult than others, but if we’re able to see the little victories in our daily lives, it sure makes those adventures more fun. It’s the same reason that I ask the girls every night what their favorite part of the day is. Even if it seemed like the worst day ever, there has to at least be one good thing that you really appreciated about the day. It could be as simple as getting to see someone, eating a good dinner, getting praise at school or getting to stay up an extra 10 minutes before bed, but there’s always something they can pick out of the day that was their “favwit part.”

Every parent wants the best for their kids and they want them to be happy. To see Hudson celebrate even the smallest thing, even if it’s just to eat a pack of smarties, is definitely my favorite part of the day.  Just don’t tell her. I want her to keep doing it.

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