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Okay, so I'm a little behind, but I wanted to let you all know how much fun the girls had this year for Halloween. Selecting costumes for them this year was quite simple. With the help of a few shops on the girls were outfitted as a ballerina (Reagan, of course) and as Little Red Riding Hood (Maren).
Reagan had a blast in her tutu and "ballet" shoes. Yes, if you recall information back from September, those are her pink sparkle shoes for this fall. I have a hard time getting her to wear anything else.

Maren didn't really get into trick-or-treating last year, mostly because she was only 7 months old. This year was much more exciting. She tried her hardest to keep up with the "big kids" (other 4 year olds running around) and run from house to house.
Halloween is an especially fun time at our house, since the girls love to play dress up. So, there is a never ending supply of costumes. Which is good because when it comes to Halloween dress up at daycare, I can't bring myself to send them in their real costumes. I have this fear that something will happen and the costume will be ruined before it even has the opportunity to yell "trick-or-treat" once. My answer, I send them in old costumes or dress up. Below, I have Reagan the princess and Maren the cheerleader. Everyone was happy! Reagan went to several long-term care and assisted living facilities with her class for trick-or-treating and Maren (in true Maren style) almost ruined her outfit.
Things have been fairly quiet here. The girls are growing up quickly and starting to play well together (at times). On rare occasion, I can even get them to stand still for an early morning photo.
Tidbit From The Past: Yes, you did recognize the cheerleader costume above on Maren. It's the same one Reagan wore for her second Halloween, age 20 months. My way of doing my part and recycling!

Fall Family Fun

We've been super busy since the fall season arrived. Keith and I were home for Columbus Day this month and decided to finally finish Reagan's room. I've been wanting to finish her room for about two and a half years now and was so happy that we finally completed the project.

Now, as I mentioned before, I switched out the hardware on her dresser and nightstand to something a little more contemporary. I love the selections and the huge difference from the antique pieces.

We went back and forth deciding between designs to add to Reagan's Pepto Bismol pink walls. Our first thought was stripes, thanks to inspiration from my cousin, Mrs. vB, of Boots & Totty. However, after realizing the precise measurements involved, we selected polka dots. Fun multi-sized and colored dots. Well...that didn't work out either. So, Pepto pink it is. Good thing paint wipes off well if you act quickly! Here are the after photos:

Not super fancy, but Reagan was thrilled and I was just happy it was finished. A special thanks goes to my friend Amy of Amylou's Accessories for making the girls' adorable wall letters.

In other news, today we visited a local pumpkin patch. The kids had a blast running around and playing with all the extra features. Reagan got to pet two horses, slide down a very sketchy slide, play in corn (as in a large bin filled with kernels...think ball pit with corn), navigate a corn maze, and pick out pumpkins...of course.

Reagan petting a horse (the first time).

Where Maren spent most of the trip.
Stroller not required!

Playing in the corn. A little gross, but she loved it.

Pumping water.

Playing on the tires.

Riding the "cow thing"
I made Red take the first cow (yada yada yada, previous cow accident).
Poor thing was eating dirt.

My Scarecrow and Frankenstein.
Formerly known as Reagan and Daddy

Loved the white ones!
Maren agreed.

Running around deciding on which pumpkin to adopt.

Maren made her choice and promptly struck a pose.

Having a great fall!

We recently returned from a road trip to the Homeland, Land of Ham, as I like to call it. The girls got a chance to visit with Tee, Gran, and Mamie and had so much fun. Since we are many hours away from my family, it is great to get the chance to let the girls bond with their grandparents. We went to a fall festival given by my former school and ran into many friends I had not seen in many years (not counting Facebook). Another plus, we had the best 8 hour (total) car trip ever! What a relief! I am still thanking the in car DVD player gods because I know they had something to do with it all.

As you can see, the girls are doing well and having fun. We are enjoying the continued beautiful weather here, for at least as long as it lasts. Reagan is doing well in school. Maren has started mimicking Reagan's every move. Super fun to watch even if it annoys Reagan thoroughly. But, hey, what are little sisters for, right?

Tidbit from the past: We hit the same pumpkin farm last year. You can tell it was colder that day. Reagan rode the cow thing last year as well. Maren spent all her time in a sling on my hip. Good to know that not too much has changed in a year's time.

Busy Busy Busy

Sorry for slacking a little, okay a lot, but I finally have the new design. Thanks so much to my sister, Mrs. L of ACreativeBride for the help and hard work! Since my last update, we've been quite busy.
We spent the first week in August in Nags Head, soaking up sand, sun, and squishy things. Reagan had a blast playing all week with her best bud, Mr. T. They collected shells and jellyfish, played in the water and sand, and wore themselves out each day. Maren also had a gal pal to play with there, although I'm not sure if I would exactly describe what they did as play. In the usual toddler style, there were arguments about sand buckets, shovels, and chairs. Even the sea water was in contention at times. As a group, the eight of us took a trip to explore the Wright Brothers Memorial. Anyone care to guess who I discovered working there? A long-time family friend I had not seen in more than 10 years. There was kite flying, seafood eating, pirate ship exploration, sand sea turtle creating. Our last full day there, we were joined by Tee and Gran. The kids had a blast squeezing in grandparent time and hated to see them go. We had such beautiful weather down there, it was so difficult to return home to our daily routine.
As you may well know, we've been living in our house for over two years now. I finally have a decorating bug and have been hanging photos and framed pieces on our walls. I'm not much in the design department, so I've been struggling with where to put our favorites. Now that I've begun, I can't stop! I keep coming up with new little projects I want to accomplish. My latest was simply changing out the old hardware on Red's dressers. Her furniture is a passed down set from when Gran was a young girl, so it has wonderful sentimental value, but THOSE DRAWER PULLS HAD TO GO. It was time to find something new and fresh. Now, if only I had all the furniture in one room. Oh well, a project for another day.
(Okay, photos of that stuff just aren't happening. Maybe next time.)

What are the kids up to, you ask?
Reagan has just recently had her hair cut again and looks completely adorable. She has started classes with her preschool group at daycare and comes home each night with homework. What? Homework for a 4 year old? Or is it homework for two 34 year olds? Either way, she is learning to write her name and her letters. She has long been able to recognize her letters along with their sounds, but writing them is a whole new ball game. I think she's doing well. She appears to have her first crush. There is one little boy she MUST hug before leaving each day. I'm still not sure how I feel about that. She just finished swimming lessons and we are all happy with her progress. She now swims underwater to a nearby destination...more in a doggie style fashion...but she's getting there. She's also getting much more comfortable floating on her back and has perfected her belly flop. She's a riot! It's great to see the progress she has made this summer in both ability and pleasure in the water.
Maren's personality is starting to shine through a little more. She has developed a love for bugs, or rather squashing bugs, like no little girl I have ever seen. A favorite game these days includes stomping on ants on our front walk. Her move into the toddler room at daycare went very well. She didn't miss a beat with the nap schedule and eats like a champ. Funny, she doesn't do those things here at home. She also plays (fairly) well with others and appears to be an overall happy child. At home, she prefers to live like an Egyptian queen and be carried everywhere. She can throw a tantrum like you have never seen (seriously, Reagan didn't do this) and you know she's done it right when it ends with her nose bleeding. And I thought Reagan was our drama queen, wow! On the up side, she expresses her wishes more with words like: outside, mine, snack, and up. Her hair is now long enough for pig tails but I rarely make them because she has to sit patiently during the process. What 17 month old sits still for very long? The real question is how fast can I fix her hair? I think she may have a few more teeth, but I'm not completely sure. Have you ever tried to get into a toddler's mouth to count teeth? They bite.
Tidbit from the Past: I had our first full family portraits done last September. I'm just now framing them to finally hang. Between my parents, Reagan said Tee's name first...Maren said Gran's. When Reagan first tried to say Murphy's name, it came out sounding like Mur-hee. Keith still calls the dog that at times.

More Swimming, Less Crying!

Finally! We had a "fairly" successful night at swimming lessons for Reagan. To fill you in, this was lesson #8 for her and all the previous lessons had many tears and numerous trips out of the water begging to let her be done. Tonight, Reagan put up minimal fuss (for those who know her well enough know this is not an easy feat) and (for the most part) did what the teacher requested. She is now putting her face IN the water upon request (albeit she covers her eyes with her hands, silly goose) and will float on her back or on her tummy using a kick board (instead of holding on to Miss Mary's neck for dear life). After lesson #4, I actually asked her teacher if it was better to stop then or continue (think MEGA tears) and she had the good sense to tell me to keep pushing little red, that she would be swimming by the end of the summer. I'm starting (but not completely) to believe her.

Behavior is also at an all-time high (minus punching a little boy in the stomach last week for not letting her be the line leader) at school. Reagan is racking up the green cards and keeping Mommy and Daddy proud of their big girl.

Maren's vocabulary is building quickly. Just tonight, she proved to us that we watch entirely too much Dora the Explorer. I picked up one of Reagan's school bags and Maren said, "backpack." She then quickly went around the room filling it with objects. Speaking of objects, Maren has a new favorite toy set. She just discovered Fisher-Price Little People and is in love. Now, if Reagan would just allow her to play with them, we'd be doing well. Why, you ask, has Maren just now seen the (tons) of Little People in our house? Because they have been in our basement hiding until Red's behavior improved...think long term time out for the littlest people (and remember the previously mentioned stomach punch). Ladybug has also discovered a love for reading, which makes me extremely happy. I wish I had gotten a video recording of her reading to herself in the car this week. Picture baby in a car seat reading a board, listen for... ble bala blab bleah she turned the pages.

Maren is getting ready to move to a new room at daycare. I'm nervous. She will no longer be sleeping in a crib for naps, but on a mat instead. Now, I survived this with Reagan (at 12 months), but somehow Maren seems younger (at 16 months). Yeah, I'm babying her, I know. But it's my right as her mother.

We're getting ready to head to the beach in a few weeks. Super excited and so ready for a vacation! We have friends joining us for the week and look forward to a fun visit from Gran and Tee. Maren didn't really experience much in the way of sand last summer (and certainly hasn't since then) so it will be interesting to see her reaction. Crossing my fingers that it's a good one.

Tidbit from the Past: Reagan started putting words together in phrases at 18 months of age. Her first sentence, "No, Mommy." So not surprising since it's still one of her favorites. Maren was born with a head full of dark brown hair and it has gradually changed to a very light (almost blonde) brown. Way number two she is similar to my favorite sister.

Excuse me ma'am...

"Did you know there was someone on your back?" I often hear this when out with my girls. This is because I usually have Maren strapped to my back in either a Mei Tai (MT) or Soft Structured Carrier (SSC). I get interested looks, questioning looks, and, of course, comments from those that are feeling brave. I have enjoyed "wearing" Maren since she was only a few months old and it has certainly helped free up my hands to keep up with Reagan as well. I can probably count on one hand the number of times Maren has ridden in a stroller. It's just not convenient, plus she loves riding closely to Mommy.

The latest news with us: Mary Paige is married! She married the man who is now Uncle Nick to the girls and we couldn't be happier for her. She asked both girls to participate in the wedding and we were honored. A little nervous and unsure...but honored. I say that because we had no idea if both or either girl would go down the aisle. They did and everything turned out perfectly. Aren't they adorable? MP made their sashes...she's a whiz!

On the home front, little changes here and there. Reagan's school behavior is improving. She's enjoying summer at daycare with ice cream and water play on Tuesdays, loves being in Miss Ellen's class, and is always coming home having learned something new. Maren is talking more now. She's up to over 15 words and signs frequently as well. Some favorites include dog, ball, mine, and apple. She's consistently signing more, milk, and eat, among others. From what i can see, her top two one year old molars are coming in along with another front tooth on the bottom. Her latest hobbies include reading and terrorizing her older sister. Yeah, that's fun for all involved.

Reagan is continuing her swimming lessons, although we not getting very far. Our biggest hurdle is that she hates to put her face in the water. She is working on being brave, but her progress is on the slow side. Many thanks to Miss Mary for her patience in teaching her how to swim.

Tidbit from the Past: Reagan was born with red hair. From the time she was born until she was almost a year, people constantly told us it would fall out and come in a different color. They were wrong. She has the most beautiful hair color along with the wildest personality to fit. I wouldn't want it any other way. Here's an old photo from one of my early baby wearing days with Reagan. She doesn't exactly look happy in this photo. That may be part of the reason I didn't use that carrier much.


What a crazy month we've had. The girls are doing well and changing daily.

Reagan is challenging us in new ways each day. We are still struggling with discipline issues at school but may have found a solution. We've decided to move her up to the pre-K class early. After two weeks of red and yellow cards from slapping, spitting, hitting, and biting her friends, we knew something needed to be done. So, we're hoping she's less likely to beat up on older kids and will "play nicely." She's been there now for a day and a half and her behavior has improved, so we'll see. I have noticed that her coloring skills have advanced lately. I love being able to watch as she grows into this amazing little girl. Keith was helping her spell some words today with a letter puzzle she has. He was surprised to see that she now recognizes all the lower case letters and was doing very well with sounding out the words.

Maren is still not talking too much. At 14 months now, she's saying bye-bye and uh-oh regularly, mama and dada a bit. She also has a few signs in her vocabulary. She says "eat", "more", and "milk." I'm working on please and thank you. It's so cute to see her gesture for what she wants. Her favorite person in the house has shifted from Murphy to Reagan. She adores her sister and follows her everywhere. Of course, Reagan can't stand it. She quickly gets upset if Maren is near her or trying to play with her things. The worst is when Reagan is lying on her bean bag chair and Maren walks up and plops herself on top of Reagan. That one quickly gets a scream, and sometimes a time-out if the big one pushes the little one on the floor. We've moved Maren now to one nap a day. It was easier than I expected. She's sleeping better at night as well. I've gone several nights this week alone where I have not had to get up with her in the middle of the night. I like that.

I really have to say how much my children make me smile, and each in her own way. Reagan is such a smart little cookie. Manipulative is a good word, but it goes farther than that. She pays close attention to everything. She has the funniest facial expressions and clearly knows how to use them for good AND evil. However, under all that hides a sweet little girl who loves to snuggle up with Mommy and Daddy. Maren has recently learned the art of the hug and uses it constantly. Two of my favorite times of day are waking her in the morning and picking her up from daycare because she greets me with the biggest bear hug she can muster. Almost as if she is holding on for her life. She gives kisses now mouth, sloppy, wet kisses...because that's all a 14 month old can understand about kisses. Love them.

Latest tragedy: I was giving Reagan a bath the other night and found a tick fully embedded in her scalp. Long story short, it took us an hour with lots of dish soap, tugging, and restraining of my baby to get it out. I almost cried I felt so badly for her. At one point when we told her how we needed to remove the bug she said, "It's okay Daddy, I like bugs. It can stay." After all was said and done, she confessed to me that she didn't like bugs anymore. I guess we really should have paid more attention after letting her roll down the grass in the front yard last weekend. Lesson learned, by all involved.

Random Stats: Reagan has the tangliest (my new word by the way...waiting on approval from Webster's) hair ever and the best little smile. She loves to eat anything that qualifies as a "treat" and won't touch a vegetable. Maren has 7 teeth, the chubbiest little legs ever, and the most booger filled hair I've ever seen.

Tidbit from the Past: Reagan had all but her 2yr old molars by age 13 months. She walked by 9 1/2 months. I remember when she was born and the first thing I noticed (besides her chunky Edwards girls legs) was the "stork bite" birthmark between her eyes. Mary Paige had the same one when she was born. It's funny how red it got when she was angry, my redhead that is.

Ladies' Weekend

So, it's a girls' weekend. Keith is out of town in NC with his Dad, BIL, and BIL's brother. We started the morning off with a garage sale at my MIL's home and had a blast. The girls and I got a chance to hang with the ladies (and two young gentlemen) on Keith's side of the family while taking in cash for our junk. Everyone seemed to have tons of fun, despite the super early start to the morning.

We returned home for lunch and immediately after, the strangest thing happened: REAGAN PUT HERSELF DOWN TO NAP. Now, if you don't know my oldest child's sleeping history too well, I'll recap for you. She often whines about naps, usually requests a "short nap", and takes forever to go to sleep. So, today was nothing short of amazing. She walked up on her own and was asleep in 10 minutes. After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I proceeded to put Maren down for a nap as well. Aahhhhh, time alone, what do I do? Nap, shower, clean, play on the computer? I chose all but nap, which is funny because that's the one thing I'm always complaining about not getting to do. Fast forward two hours, yes, two hours, and the oldest wakes. I sit here typing and the youngest is still sleeping, heading toward 2 1/2 hours, a new record! Don't worry, she'll choose to wake as soon as I'm in a position not to be able to get to her quickly, usually when I'm on the toilet.

We're looking forward to dinner out with the ILs tonight. My only request was that we eat at 5:00. I feel like I'm 80, having to eat so early, but the youngest does prefer that early bedtime still.

By the way, Maren has now doubled her vocabulary. She now has 2 words she uses correctly on a regular basis: bye-bye and uh-oh.

Tidbit From The Past: When Reagan was much younger and learning to talk, she pronounced I love you as "shu shu." It was something she did for months, until she could pronounce it better, and Keith and I thought it was the cutest thing in the world. We would even sign our e-mail messages to each other with "shu shu."

Am I really doing this?

I'm looking for a way to keep up with the wonderful experience of raising two daughters. There are so many things that happen on a daily basis, or things that are said that I never want to forget. I just wish I had started this when Reagan was younger.

As of today, my girls are 4 years and 12 months. Reagan is my oldest. She's this fiery little redhead that will cuddle with you one minute and turn around and punch the dog, Murphy, the next. Maren is the baby. Her personality is evolving each day. She loves to be held and laughs constantly.

I picked up the girls from daycare today. Reagan's teacher told me of her behavior, resulting in a "red card." Yeah, we need to work on her listening skills. Maren also seemed to have a difficult day. She bit her teacher at least twice and a fellow classmate once. Great, heading down that road again. I'm hoping it's due to teething. It looks like she's close to cutting her canines.

So, I'm testing the waters with this whole "blogging" thing. Not sure where it will go, but interested in the ride.