Sunday, January 26, 2014

Like father, like son. Like mother, like daughter.

We try to keep from comparing or labeling the kids too much, but as they grow older their individual personalities and talents surface more and more.

For instance, there's a side of Soph that we refer to as Ms. Sophie.  When playing in this mode she speaks like a preschool teacher, saying things like, "Michael, you have two choices.  Either we can play with your trains, or we can make a puzzle.  What's your choice?" She also seems more mommy-like at times as she takes care of her Sweetie (stuffed bunny or doll or our cat) and says things like, "Sweetie, let's go get you a bath before we go to the museum."  The other day when we took Michael for a haircut, she walked up to him as he approached the chair, put her hands on her knees and said, "Aren't you excited?  You get to have your haircut!"  That's Ms. Sophie.

Michael has a very similar Mr. Michael/daddy-like side as well, and it's incredibly sweet.  However, Sophie is in that mode a lot more often.

Sophie is also quite the student.  She will practice something and practice it until she gets it right, urging you to quiz her again and again until she's there.  This happened with learning to spell her name (back during the summer, I believe) and recently as she learned to play "Twinkle, Twinkle" on her toy computer in piano mode.  She now plays it on Grandma's piano and anything else with a keyboard of that kind.  She also followed my verbal instructions on how to draw a cat the other night and wanted to "play that game" again and again.


The kids learn at the same pace for the most part, but Michael is more likely to sit on his own and figure something out while Sophie pushes you to be her tutor. However, they both enjoy an enthusiastic celebration of a new skill or discovery, no matter how they reach it!

Speaking of figuring things out, Michael is especially drawn to anything car/train/gear/machine-related.  Today he climbed out of the pool at swim lessons and just stood there staring at his feet.  Confused, I told Mike I hoped he wasn't peeing or something.  "No, he's watching the water splash in and out of the drain."  I hadn't even noticed the drain around the edge of the pool, but no doubt Mike himself had at some point considered how that whole system worked.  That's the kind of thing his mind will wander toward while I'm thinking about how obvious it is that the rec. center was built in the late nineties (greenish-teal and purple accents everywhere).  Michael also loves to look around, inside, or behind any barrier to how things work, and he'll ask all the how's and why's that are necessary.

This is why it made me laugh the other morning when I made Michael's bed and found this:

Apparently when he came downstairs to get something from the playroom, it wasn't exactly a snuggle buddy.  (It's a toy motorcycle that can be taken apart and put back together with little tools.)

Again, we try not to compare or pigeon-hole our kids, but they are who they are, and like it or not, who they are is often a lot like us.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Our own Toy Story


 Heading out to the backyard to sled...

Sophie: Do we have two of these new sleds?
Me:  Yes, we do.  Do you know who gave them to us?

Sophie: Who?
Me:  Aunt Sharon.
Sophie: Aunt Sharon?!?  I love Aunt Sharon.
Me: Well, she and her two sons had these two sleds that they didn't need anymore, and they thought of two little ones who would probably have a lot of fun with them.
Sophie:  (thoughtful pause) Sophie and Michael!
Me: You got it, peanut butter.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Snowed in with my buddies

Like so much of the country, we spent several days last week hunkered down at home waiting out the cold and snow.  Sadly, Mike had to drive in to work, but I was given the gift of three snow/cold days at home with my kids tacked onto the end of our holiday break.  When the holidays fall in the middle of the week like they did this year, I tend to head back to work craving more lazy weekdays at home.  These extra days were just what I needed.

Along with getting a few home organizing projects, phone calls, and general housekeeping taken care of, the kids and I tried out a few crafty activities such as playing with snow indoors...



...making snow ice cream (we used 4 cups snow, 1/4 cup 2% milk, 1/4 cup flavored coffee creamer, and chopped hazelnuts)...


...making and playing with gingerbread play dough...



...and obviously hanging out in jammies a whole lot!  Movies and snuggling by the fire were key to our winter survival as well, of course.

Speaking of jammies, just check out how cute these peanuts were on Christmas morning.


Precious.  So glad I got some extra time with them!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Living in During - The Blog

I took a step yesterday that I have been considering for a while.  I started a second blog, Living in During, which is devoted to our DIY and decorating projects.  I have imported posts on those topics from Shared and Doubled and have a couple of new ones scheduled to post on Living in During this week and next.  From this point on, that's where I'll share updates to our house, organization projects, and crafts that we undertake.  Shared and Doubled will now be devoted to posts about our family.

I believe this will allow me to write more personally on Shared and Doubled and to work on monetizing and increasing traffic to Living in During (I felt strange embarking on that for the family blog in the past).  There is likely to be some overlap here and there, of course, but I hope Shared and Doubled's regular readers will follow both! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Laundry Closet

I'm not sure if I should be relieved or disappointed that I planned a wedding and had babies before Pinterest entered my life.  Knowing how much I relied on message boards and blogs for ideas and support for both, I know pinning would have entered into those experiences had I recognized the possibility.

I have, however, bought a new home that begs for DIY remodeling and creative organization in the age of Pinterest.

"Pinspired" by Ana White's design and others like it, for example, we turned our hall linen closet that already had some shelving into a laundry organizer.  Our big laundry baskets from the old house didn't fit in the shallow closet shelves, but I found that Ikea carries smaller ones, the $4.99 BLASKAs.  They are actually the perfect size for a load as we tend to load baskets with as much as possible.  That was $40 well spent.

organizing hamlet-1

We store our sheets on the top shelf, and the clothes steamer, iron, and ironing board to the side.  We keep our towels and all other items that might otherwise go in a linen closet under our bathroom sinks.

As one might predict, I labeled the baskets.

I waited a couple of months to see what our loads tend to really be, and we now have a basket for Mike, Carrie, Sheets, Michael and Sophie, Dry Cleaning, Delicates, White Towels, and Colored Towels. Clearly we do laundry primarily by person rather than colors, but that works fine for us. The kids have easy access to the closet as well and know where to put their dirty clothes.

organizing hamlet-2

Mike also has a basket in our spare bedroom closet for clothes he wears to the gym.  Distance from that one made sense.  ;)

Of course, if you wish to do this but don't already have shelves in a closet, this project would require a little more time and money.  I would probably look into putting one or two $15 HYLLIS shelving units in a closet.  These baskets would stick out about four inches off the front, but that could still work, I think.

Our system keeps the laundry routine moving smoothly--if a basket is full, throw it in--and with little accumulation around the house, it's exactly what I hoped for!

I linked up to Love of Family and Home.  Go check out some more inspiring projects!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Little Minnows

Swim Lesson

Michael and Sophie had their first swim lesson today!

We never did parent-and-child classes (seemed like a risky commitment with twins--what if one parent is sick or out of town?), but we tried to make up for that over the years with visits to our old recreation center's pool and swimming on vacations.  Still, this is a preschool level class at a pool they had never been to, with instructors they had never met before today, and with no parent participation to ease the inevitable nerves.  They did quite well all things considered.

As all the kids were sorted into groups outside the pool based on experience, Sophie started to cry a little.  I tried not to be a total helicopter and stepped up just to remind Sophie that we were still there watching and to ask what the instructors would prefer me to do.  One asked that I just walk Sophie over to the zero-entry space where the lesson would begin, and the rest of the group would meet us there.  Once the two teachers and Michael were there and sitting in the water (Michael and Sophie are the only Minnows--rock on, private lessons!), Sophie walked right up to join in and was a champ the rest of the time.  Soon after that Michael chose not to roll onto his belly and blow bubbles as instructed, but he seemed to be just testing out how much choice he had and participated fully in the rest of the lesson.

Mike and I got a kick out of watching the kids kick their feet in the water, jump off the side of the pool into the instructors' arms (so brave!), swim with barbell floaters, and collect rings from the bottom of the pool.  Michael and Sophie are just crazy cute kids, if I do say so myself, and a little distance seems to make that even more obvious.  It was also clear that both kids were having a blast and should be thrilled to go again next week.

Bloggers love comments!

If you stop by for a visit, please leave a note. I would love to know who's checking in on us!