75 posts categorized "Gwen and Maddy"

June 19, 2010

Turning a corner...

Gwen and Maddy seem to have a very different relationship lately.   They've started playing together more cooperatively and even though they sometimes get into serious mischief, they do it without the usual squabbles and shrieks and complaints.  

Recently, I investigated a rather long stretch of quiet and found both of them in the playroom with a roll of masking tape and about 100 shredded pieces of paper that were colored and fashioned into "jewelry".  They were each almost totally covered from head to toe and when I asked how on earth they managed to do that, they gleefully exclaimed  "We helped eachother!"  

A little bit later, I looked in on them again and found them both up on the hill in the backyard constructing a "nest" out of whatever they could get their hands on.  It was such a mess but they were talking through the construction of it and working together to assemble their monstrosity.  I stood there, unnoticed, and watched them for a long time and loved what I saw.  When they finally saw me, their faces lit up and they couldn't wait to show me what they made.  They were so very proud of it!

A month ago, this type of thing wouldn't have happened because they just weren't able to spend 5 minutes together without some kind of power struggle.  I didn't dare hope that it would last but then, right out of the blue, they came to us and said they want to sleep together!


They became sisters when they were both barely two years old and we assumed they'd share a room but they just didn't like it.  We moved Maddy out of the nursery and they were both happier alone in their rooms.  We fully expected to wake up and discover that Gwen was back in her own bed but she slept in Maddy's room all night!

And it's been that way for more than a week!    She doesn't want to sleep in her own bed anymore.  She wants to sleep with Maddy.

20100618gwen maddy outside6515 copy
20100618gwen maddy outside6498
20100618gwen maddy outside6465 copy
20100618gwen maddy outside6490 copy
Gwen eyebrow fixed cropped
20100618gwen maddy outside6518 copy

Can you believe these two cuties are only 36 days apart in age?
Maddy is 32 pounds and 42 inches tall.
Gwen is 60 pounds and 47 inches tall.
Gwen wears a size 1 shoe.
Maddy wears a size 10.

It's fun to have daughters who are so incredibly different in almost every way.  It makes me love them for all of the wonderful reasons that they are completely unique! 

They just finished their first week of summer camp and they had such a fun time!  Next week, we'll go on our annual summer family vacation.  This year, it's a cruise and the kids have been exuberantly counting down the days for several months.  They're itching to start packing for their "boat vacation".   Michael and Kelsey are coming too.  

I'm excited about going on a cruise because I've never been on one.  And even though I was stationed in Germany while I was in the Army, I've never been to Italy or any of the other places we're visiting.  It's going to be quite the photo opportunity!  Hopefully, I'll be able to blog from the ship.

June 08, 2010

Black & White Wednesday: Early birthday celebration


First of all, it's not their birthday.  But their Kindergarten class celebrates birthdays for all of the kids -- even those who were born in the summer months.  Nice, huh!

Maddy and Gwen were excited about their "not my birthday" celebration and picked out some fun animal print clothes for the special occasion.  Just before jumping into the car and heading to school, I asked them to pose for some quick photos. 

Aren't they cute!

I'm trying to become a better photographer so I'm paying attention to the background of my photos as well as the composition.  Black and white photos actually require a bit more attention because you really need to be mindful of background clutter since you don't have the benefit of color to help you identify the subject of the photo.  I usually pick calm (boring?) patterns and backgrounds so faces stand out more.  But today I specifically decided to use this photo for my black and white conversion because of the crazy patterns on the girls' clothing.

I'm also trying to be more interesting when it comes to rotating and cropping.  Not in my comfort zone at all because I'm really very mechanical about "art" and tilting a perfectly straight photo is almost painful for me!  But I LOVE it when other people do it so I decided to give it a try.   

So much to learn but I'm loving the journey!

Here's the color version:

Gwen and maddy front yard fixed memory warm


For more Black & White Wednesday fun, check out The Long Road to China.
More of our Black & White Wednesday posts here:  Black & White Wednesday

September 29, 2009

Kids (where did I put those darn instructions?)

We'd only just arrived at the ticket counter to check luggage and get our boarding passes for our trip home when a woman came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder and said something.  I heard it but didn't think I heard it right so I must have looked confused and that prompted her to repeat it: 

"I just want to say that I think you're doing a great job with your children."


I struggled to get my mind around it.  What she joking?  Being sarcastic? 

No, she was smiling and this seemed like a sincere compliment.   I smiled back and thanked her then did a quick mental review of the last few minutes to figure out what the heck she was talking about.

We'd just finished navigating the ticket line at the airport in Las Vegas for our return flight home.  We had our luggage and our kids and, like most of our excursions, it took a great deal of physical and intellectual strength to get everyone and everything through the line and up to the agent at the counter.  The luggage was willing (and on wheels) but Maddy and Gwen weren't so easily maneuverable.  We'd push a suitcase a few inches and then there would be a complaint from one or both of the girls about an unfairness or hardship!  Honestly, I can't remember any of the specifics and it does't matter because it could have been anything.  I did the best I could to deal with it.  I tried calmly reasoning with both of them.  Giving them plenty of easy options to make a good choice and be happy.  But over and over again, they chose misery.  Maddy was especially hard that morning and I finally had to pick her up and put my nose about 1/8 of an inch from hers and sternly demand that she be respectful.  I told her that she didn't have to like what we said to her but she had to do it anyway and she wasn't allowed to be rude to us about it.  Period.

Mad grumpy blog

This is the trend, lately.  The girls have stopped getting mad about the foot-stomping injustices in their life (crust on sandwiches, who holds the car keys, etc) and have focused all of their rage completely upon us instead. 

We've become the evil Mom and Dad who inflict these terrible injustices upon them and they don't waste any time telling us about how much they hate every minute of it.  Maddy has even started telling me that she doesn't love me anymore (but I'm immune to that particular form of psychological warfare). 

We've offered empathy and sympathy and acknowledged their angst in every way possible.  But, in the end, we've held fast to our vow to never negotiate with terrorists.

When they were younger, we cut them some slack but those days are over because they're certainly old enough to take "no" for an answer now.  And we're trying to be consistent with our insistence that they do just that.  They can disagree but they have to do it respectfully and they have to ultimately accept our final decision because (call the social workers!!!)...  our family isn't a democracy.   

Most recently, we're helping Maddy to say "Oh, I'm so disappointed!" instead of getting red-faced angry at us every time we have to curb her behavior in any way.  It's ridiculous that the smallest correction brings about the biggest huff from her.   I can't help but wonder if she would be behaving this way if she was still in China, living with her birth family in rural Qinzhou.  Really, I don't know the answer to this but I do wonder about it quite often.  I have similar questions about what Gwen would be doing today if her birth family was able to keep her.  Would she not eat rice?  Weird thing to wonder, I know, but she absolutely won't eat it for us.  But I digress... 

As you can imagine, drama is the noun of the year in our household.   Hopefully we'll save ourselves some anguish later by laying down some ground rules now. 

What works with your kids?  Any pointers or tips?  Any good books to recommend?  Please!  Fresh techniques benefit everyone!

UPDATE:  I listen to podcasts of my favorite morning talk-radio program and just happened across an interview with John Rosemond and really liked what he had to say.  Specifically, that the advice Great Grandma gave Grandma back when Grandma had her babies was superior to the advice of most of the parenting "experts" today.    I can appreciate that!    I may even buy one of his books!

Speaking of books, there's one in particular that I consulted many times while Michael was growing up.  It's called "Who's in Control?" by Lawrence Balter.  You may have to contact the author directly to get this book since Amazon says it's out of print.  I really give the book high marks though.  It's funny and practical and divided into chapters that deal with issues specific to certain ages of children (so you don't have to read the whole entire book to benefit immediately from it).

June 10, 2009

How the heck did she do that?

The girls were playing in the pool while I sat nearby and checked email on my laptop computer.  When I glanced up, I saw this:

funny pool feet 1

Obviously, I did a double-take then laughed and ran for the camera.    Maddy is a limber little cutiepie but I didn't think she was really capable of getting her feet into that ring all by herself.   

Hee hee... Okay, here's the bigger picture:

funny pool feet 2

January 09, 2009

Here comes the sun!

After what seems like weeks of gray cold weather, the sun is shining and we're playing outside without our coats!  Mommy always wears sunglasses outside so Gwen and Maddy love to wear theirs too.  It's a challenge to photograph them with their fancy reflective lenses but you have to admit that they sure are pretty!  These have excellent UV protection too so they're as functional as they are fashionable! As always, click image for a larger view.

Two photos sunglasses blog
Next week, we'll be attending <this> show.  The girls are constantly asking to see the tickets and counting down the days to this beautiful show!   

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