New routine = Amazing!

A couple of weeks ago, I was complaining to my friends about being tired because the girls didn’t go to sleep until around 11. One of my friends piped up and sternly told me that I have GOT to get the girls to go to bed earlier.

“How?!” I ask, tired and bewildered.

She essentially says “Tell them to go to bed.”

It made sense. With our old routine, they didn’t know when to go to bed or how to fall asleep when they should.

The next evening, Operation GO TO BED officially began.

Now, my girls have always been pretty good sleepers. They pretty much slept through the night after two months. Kyle spent his fair share of nights on the couch with a baby in the swing when they were sick or teething, but generally, they were good. The problem was that we never established a good evening routine so they would just wallow around in the living room until they would fall asleep and then we’d carry them to their cribs. Honestly, I really liked the evening cuddle-time so I didn’t want to change anything.

But the girls were cranky in the morning because they were tired. And I know sleep helps their bodies and minds grow. Plus Kyle and I were losing out on hours of time with just each other.

So, it was time for a change. A big change.

Before Operation GO TO BED, we’d finish supper around 6:45, bathe the girls and then head to the living room to play and watch TV. I’d lay out a big quilt on the floor and make three pallets (Ella, me, Emma.) Eventually they’d come crash on either side of me and would fall asleep after some time…usually by 10, but sometimes it wouldn’t be until after 11.

After Operation GO TO BED, the girls are in bed and asleep by 8:30.

8:30 people. That’s a big difference!

The girls are overall much happier, they aren’t as cranky in the morning, Kyle and I have time to actually talk in the evenings, and we can get to bed at a decent time.

Here’s what we do now.

We still finish supper around 6:45, bathe the girls and then head into the living room. We play for a while or watch TV. But at 8/8:15 the lights go out and we sit on the couch or cuddle on the floor. We turn the bee show on (it’s a channel on Amazon Fire with soothing music and bees buzzing around in a meadow. It’s calming) and then I slowly and quietly read Goodnight Moon. After I read it the first time, I ask them if they want me to read it again (always yes hehe) and I read it again even softer and slower. After I say “The end,” I say “OK girls, it’s time to go to bed.”

Get this.

They stand up, grab their bunnies and walk to their beds. Along the way we tell Bubbles the fish, Penny the dachshund, and Daddy goodnight. No screaming. No crying. No fits.

They stand by their beds until I lift them up. They give me a hug and a kiss, I lay them down and turn on their seahorses.Then they both say “Nightnight sista.”

I turn the lamp off and as I’m shutting the door I say “Good night girls, I love you. Have a good night and I’ll see you in the morning, OK?” and I hear two little “OKs.”

For a few minutes, I can hear them jibberjabbering back and forth and their cribs squeaking as they roll over to get comfortable. Then they are out.

It took two days of “training” to get to this point. Day 1 they cried for 20 minutes. Day 2 it was less than 10. Day 3, they walked themselves in there.

I am still amazed at them. Every day they learn something new. Each day their individual personalities continue to blossom and their bond with each other grows. Kyle and I are SO lucky to have these amazing little girls in our lives.

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Quick Post

Ella and Emma have come a long way with the number of words they know! Now we are working on clarity of speech and two+ word phrases: tall tree instead of just tree, brown bear instead of just bear, etc.

I have noticed them really interacting with each other at home lately. Sunday evening I was making a breakfast casserole and the girls played quietly for at least an hour. I could here them giggling and talking to each other. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me! One of their teachers told me that when their classes meet up on the playground, they run up to each other and hug like they haven’t seen each other in years. They try to console each other as well… this morning Emma didn’t want to go into her classroom and Ella picked up the paper her sister had thrown down and took it to her, saying “Here you go!” Last night Emma picked up Ella’s bunny, gave it to her and said “Here you go, Lella.” HAND OVER HEART AWW!!

❤ More later!

Ella & Emma playing with the dancing Easter chicken

Ella & Emma playing with the dancing Easter chicken

Ella and Emma’s Second Birthday: “Life’s a Circus!”

This past Saturday family and friends gathered to celebrate Ella and Emma’s second birthday. I really enjoy making a big deal out of birthdays and planning for the party for months in advance. Last year we all got sick the week of the party and I felt like we were running around trying to do everything at the last minute. No thanks!

For their second birthday, I decided that a circus/carnival theme would be not only fun, but very fitting for our lives. I always feel like we live in a three ring circus and are juggling everything anyway so we felt right at home in the Big Top, HA!

The girls had a great time and we were able to share the day with plenty of friends and family despite the yucky cold and rainy weather.

I used cheap plastic rolls of table covering to make the tent effect from the ceiling.

I used cheap plastic rolls of table covering to make the tent effect from the ceiling.

Instead of traditional party hats, I set out ring master style top hats for guests. I also printed circus theme coloring pages to decorate the tables along with boxes of crayons, bean bag circus animals, and tickets.

Instead of traditional party hats, I set out ring master style top hats for guests. I also printed circus theme coloring pages to decorate the tables along with boxes of crayons, bean bag circus animals, party blower noise makers, and tickets.

Colorful balloons, a roll of striped plastic table covering, and multi-colored banners carried out the circus theme

Colorful balloons, a roll of striped plastic table covering, and multi-colored banners carried out the circus theme

The cake and favor table.

The cake and favor table.

Two tall giraffes stood by the cake table next to the can knock down game I made using spray paint, red duct tape, and old formula cans.

Two tall giraffes stood by the cake table next to the can knock down game I made using spray paint, red duct tape, and old formula cans.

I designed and printed custom tags for the cotton candy, goldfish crackers and circus peanuts.

I designed and printed custom tags for the cotton candy, goldfish crackers and circus peanuts.

Lollipops and circus peanuts were also available for guests to enjoy

Lollipops and circus peanuts were also available for guests to enjoy

Big Top Birthday Cake by Pat Rawlinson with Date with a Cake (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006924228623)

Big Top Birthday Cake by Pat Rawlinson with Date with a Cake (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006924228623)

I used red paper plates and curling ribbon to simulate a bunch of balloons to act as photo collages on either side of the cake table

I used red paper plates and curling ribbon to simulate a bunch of balloons to act as photo collages on either side of the cake table I made the green and red garland out of green curling ribbon and red “marker” dots.

A real Big Top Tent was available to little ones to play in along with a ring of fire to jump through

A real Big Top Tent was available to little ones to play in along with a ring of fire to jump through. The ring of fire is a hula hoop with felt flames glued around it. I included a lion for the little ones to make “jump” through.

A cardboard box, duct tape and balloons made this larger-than-life container of popcorn

A cardboard box, duct tape and balloons made this larger-than-life container of popcorn

A big stuffed tiger guarded the gift table while grabbing a drink

A big stuffed tiger guarded the gift table while grabbing a drink. I stapled together rings of carnival tickets to make a garland for the window valances and the party table.

A big stuffed elephant was the centerpiece for the drink and snack table

A big stuffed elephant was the centerpiece for the drink and snack table

We had plenty of snacks for everyone to enjoy

We had plenty of snacks for everyone to enjoy

I printed a "Concession Menu" which listed all of the delicious food

I printed a “Concession Menu” which listed all of the delicious food. We had frito pies and hot dogs with cheese dip.

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"Happy Birthday!"

“Happy Birthday!”

Ella had fun sneaking rice krispie treats

Ella had fun sneaking rice krispie treats

Emma loved looking for things to color on

Emma loved looking for things to color on

Lots of friends and family braved the weather

Lots of friends and family braved the weather

We didn't have real pony rides, but we did have rocking horses!

We didn’t have real pony rides, but we did have rocking horses!

I figured it'd be easier to give the girls cupcakes again instead of having them tear into the big cake.

I figured it’d be easier to give the girls cupcakes again instead of having them tear into the big cake.

Happy family :)

Happy family 🙂

The cleaned-up hall turned out to be a great place to do head stands!

The cleaned-up hall turned out to be a great place to do head stands!

After the party, we tied balloons to their shirts and they ran around for a long time and had a grand ole' time

After the party, we tied balloons to their shirts and they ran around for a long time and had a grand ole’ time

Here are links to the items that I bought online. I shopped well in advance so I could spread out the cost and look for the best deals. I also used the website RetailMeNot to find coupon codes for discounts and free shipping.

Striped table covering

Red table covering

White table covering

Blue table covering

Circus tent

Lollipop stand

Table skirting

Balloon Ribbon

Top hats

Small Animals

Tickets

Cotton Candy

Train

Outfits + Pink Undershirt

Party Hats (We wear these all the time!)

Red dots

If you reach out to me in the comments, I can send you the template for the “Concessions” sign, table tents, and favor bag labels that I created.

Weekend Update!

Halloween was Friday. I didn’t think the girls would want to wear their giraffe jackets all day, so I made them black-eyed peas for school. Their teachers loved it!

Black-eyed peas

Black-eyed peas

Black-eyed peas with deviled-egg mommy

Black-eyed peas with deviled-egg mommy

For trick-or-treating that evening, they went back to being giraffes. They had fun getting candy and then wallowing in it like little piggies.

Wow candy!

Wow candy!

Mommy and her giraffes

Mommy and her giraffes

This weekend the girls played tea party together! It was so cute to watch.

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I also let them have their first piece of candy. I think they enjoyed it.

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Ella enjoying her Twix bar

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Emma with a mouth full of Twix bar

I also had an epiphany this weekend. I order our diapers and wipes from AmazonMom and the wipes package comes with a new dispenser each time. I decided to use some spare dispensers and some scrap fabric to make a nifty activity toy. I used pinking shears to cut the fabric in to rough squares and just pushed them into the dispenser. I will say that the old Huggies tub works better because it has a rubber opening. I had to cut the Pampers one to be a little larger and put tape around the edge so it wasn’t sharp. Ella and Emma had a blast with it! I had to end up making two because the fighting was bad. I usually won’t buy/make two of something but they were really enjoying it and I have a bunch of tubs!

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This Saturday was the opening weekend of deer season so Daddy went out of town to hunt. The girls sported their deer shirts while we went to the grocery store AND we were able to use one of the new rocket carts. LOVE IT!

Ella and Emma wearing their deer shirts in the new HEB rocket cart!

Ella and Emma wearing their deer shirts in the new HEB rocket cart!

They both have learned to give hugs and kisses. Oh it just melts my heart!!! I LOVE THEM! Also, I’ve been planning their second birthday party…yeah it’s two months away but I like to be prepared and the holidays will be busy. I’m having so much fun planning everything! It’s going to be a great time!

Update: First Place Group Costume!

Wow. WOW. What an adventure the St. Philip’s Halloween Carnival was on Saturday! Kyle and I stayed up late Friday night putting the finishing touches on the wagon and it was worth it because we won best group!

Daddy was a zookeeper for his two little giraffes in their mobile zoo exhibit.

This is our first year doing to costume contest and honestly…probably our last until the girls are older and decide to do it on their own. The group contest is after all the individuals and keeping the girls happy for 45 minutes without destroying the wagon/cage was a challenge. My sister ended up buying some little bags of Chex Mix and we fed the girls piece by piece until it was time to go up and I “accidentally” dropped a handful of pieces in the bottom of the wagon. Best. Idea. Ever.  Kyle was a champ, too! I know he secretly loves stuff like this. HA! Anyway, we had fun, we won, and we’re done!

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Unimpressed toddlers 🙂

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Happy family!

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The wagon/cage/exhibit. Please note the themed wrapping paper 😉

Checking each other out

Checking eachother out

The sign I made for the back

The sign I made for the back

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About to go on stage

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Work it, Zookeeper Daddy!

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Happy Daddy!

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The winners from all the categories! check out that Edward Scissorhands!