Hello, 2015

It's official.  Just when we think that parenting can't get any harder, the Universe doubles down.  Last week, our school had over 100 absences in one day, and between 60-70 absences every day the rest of the week.  Our students were hit with a mutated strain of the flu that was not vaccinated against this year, a wicked stomach virus, and strep throat.  And Hershey and I brought all 3 home with us.  The Trifecta.
That being said, I thought that this would be a good time to start thinking about what we are looking FORWARD to in 2015, considering the last 5 days have pretty much been Hell on Earth in the Groff household.
Vacation.  The first thing that I'm looking forward to this year is VACATION.  This could be a double-edged sword because we are flying to Florida, which will be my 4th time on an airplane (I don't fly well), and the girls' first time!  But I am looking forward to some much-needed R&R and sunshine.  I dragged the girls out onto our back deck for exactly 37 seconds today just to get some fresh (27 degree) air.  Blech.
Birthdays.  I am also looking forward to Jane and Emma's second birthdays.  We were unable to have a birthday party for them last year, so I am excited to be able to throw them a huge bash this year, and the fact that they will UNDERSTAND it will be priceless!
Potty Training.  This is both exciting and terrifying for me.  I haven't had much luck so far in this category, but I'm slowly but surely putting supports in place to get them going pee pee on the potty as quickly as possible.  I'm so OVER double diaper duty (and the expense that comes with buying diapers, sorry Amazon Mom, no more Huggies Little Movers for us!).
Summer Break!  This one is huge, because I get to sit in my hammock, do some gardening, and focus on my mommying and my blogging.  Special bonus - LESS ILLNESSES!  And a round of applause for that please...
Emma Claps
Plus, I'll get to spend more time with these two crazies who, when they're not sick, are a barrel of laughs nowadays...
Locked up
What are you all looking forward to this year?  I'd love to hear from you!
I hope that you are all doing better than we are over here in Boogerville.  As Jane and Emma say, "NA-NIIIIGHT!"  xoxo

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Big BLOG News!

Well, it is a new year, and with a new year always comes new adventures.  This year, I have decided to focus more on my blogging, and my family has invested in that dream.

We are currently working on migrating over to WordPress, and you will be able to find us in our new home soon!  In the meantime, please be patient as we move all of our posts and adorable pictures along with links and lists to our new place of residence on the Internet.  It's going to take some time/energy to spruce it up and get it looking good for you, but I promise you that it will be worth the wait!

See y'all soon!  xoxo

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Top 5 Twin Toys of Xmas 2014

Tomorrow I'll be 35.  The big 3-5.  Where the heck does time go?!  I was having a conversation today with one of my fave Bostonians (also one of my pledge sisters 13 years ago --YIKES!).  She texted me to tell me that she was wondering why her Pinterest feed was clogged with pins about potty training, and then realized what I'm currently doing with my life.  She then quipped, "I thought adulthood was going to be way more glamorous than this."  Indeed, my dear friend.  Indeed.

That all being said, I figured that since birthdays usually come with gifts, what better time than now to round up our top 5 favorite Christmas gifts for Jane and Emma this year?  

Instead of having a bunch of conversations about what the girls wanted and what they already had, I decided to streamline the process by creating an Amazon wish list for the girls.  As you already know, I am a faithful Amazon customer and one of their biggest Prime fans, so this was a no brainer for me.  I then shared the list with the Grandma Squad and our closest friends, and this hopefully helped take some of the guesswork out of Christmas shopping for Jane and Emma (something that I always really appreciated when shopping for friends' kids!).  

Here are the girls' FAVORITE gifts from this year's Christmas extravaganza!  You may notice that some of the gifts were NOT on the wish list, which just means that the girls were extra spoiled this year, which was fine with us!!

5.  Melissa & Doug Nesting/Stacking Blocks.

Emma spends a TON of time taking the nest apart and very carefully stacking all of the blocks up.  She LOVES to put the tiny little Z block all of the way at the top of the stack, which she needs help to do since the stack is taller than her.  The only caveat to this is that Jane's favorite thing to do is to come by like the tiny tornado that she is and smash all of her sister's hard work while screaming "NOOOO!!!!!!!!"  But this just gives Emma the opportunity to rebuild her masterpiece.  (We got just one set for both girls.)

4.  Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Pots Pans Set.

Seems simple, but since Jane and Emma already LOVE their little kitchen set so much, and they also LOVE tearing into my cabinets to take out my BEAUTIFUL Calphalon pots and pans to scratch up bang on, this seemed like a natural choice.  They love to disassemble the whole tower and "make" breakfast or dinner, bringing the little wooden spoons over to Hershey and I so that we can "taste" their culinary masterpieces.  Noms. (One set for both girls.)

3.  Baby Alive Luv n' Snuggle Baby Doll.

The twincesses already had little baby dolls, so my mom went out on a limb with this one, but the girls LOVE their Baby Alives.  They carry them around, giving them bottles and putting the blankies over the babies' heads and saying, "Na-night babyyy."  I even caught Emma singing to her baby and spoon feeding her this morning!  They also love to put them in the little baby strollers that my MIL bought them over the summer and "take them for walks" which really = DRAG RACE AROUND THE HOUSE, in which case we've had a couple of baby doll casualties when the babies went flying from the strollers and unceremoniously run over by one or the other or both girls. (One for each girl.)

2.  Mega Bloks First Builders Play 'N Go Fairytale Table.

I had bought Jane and Emma some Mega Bloks from the Target Dollar Spot over the summer, so I knew that they were interested in building blocks, but was unsure just HOW interested they were.  Let me tell you something -- it only took a little nudge from this beautiful little table to get the girls engaged!  This was their big combined gift from "Santa" this year, along with a big bag of pastel colored Mega Bloks, and our friends and family bought them all kinds of accessories, like fairies on unicorns and primary colored Mega Bloks and tulip cars, and there are now FIGHTS over putting the blocks away and going to bed.  They go crazy for these beautiful little blocks! (One set for both girls.)

And the #1 gift for Christmas 2014 was....

1.  Step2 Pink Whisper Ride Buggy!!!!!

Ok, get ready to laugh...

The girls LOVED getting these on Christmas Eve, and we can't WAIT for the weather to make up it's mind and GET WARM so that we can take Jane and Emma out in these babies.  The BEST part is watching my 6'3", 200 lb MANLY MAN of a hubby pushing the girls down the street in these little pink buggies.  I crack up...

Jane and Emma spent most of the night in these on Christmas Eve, and even opened most of their presents while sitting in them.  Talk about drive thru service!

We received so many amazing and wonderful gifts for the girls from our friends and family that we decided to pack a lot of it away and we plan to take out one new toy a month until we get to their birthdays in May, at which point we will begin the whole dance over again.  The girls don't know just how lucky they are (but we do!!).

What toys did your babes get for the holidays this year?  What would you suggest as must-haves?  

Hope your weekend is going GREAT!  It's sunny here, and we're heading out to eat with the girls tonight, which is ALWAYS an adventure, but one that they really enjoy.

Happy Saturday!  xoxo

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The Holidays (Twin Tornado Style)

This past month and a half has been C – R – A – Y guys. Jane and Emma are into everything right now. We bought our tree, put it up, and put lights on it, only to have the twins tear down half of the lights and anything else at their level.  Our tree wasn't pretty, but it was ours, and it was in our home.

Time has really gotten away from me.  The girls are keeping me on my toes every day, and they are talking up a STORM.  This week Janey started putting simple sentences together (most of them consist of her pointing out what's Emma's -- "Emma's socks, Emma's seat, Emma's potty"...), and their vocabulary triples daily.   Jane has also started adding an A to any word that ends in an N ("crownA, JaneA").  Not sure where that came from!

It's also pretty cool that they are finally starting to understand context.  They know when to use certain words and phrases, when to nod or shake their heads, and sometimes they say things and I cannot figure out for the LIFE of me how they figured it out.  Other times, they mimic exactly what I taught them ONE TIME, which I can't believe they pick up so fast. Every time I say that someone in the house is sleeping, Jane or Emma (or both simultaneously) puts her pointer finger to her lips and says, "Shhhh..." and looks VERY concerned.

The highlight of them learning to talk so far was when Janey pointed to the bottle of champagne in my shopping cart on NYE and told a random stranger that this was "Mama's sippy".  Yup, Crowning Mama Moment. Luckily the stranger had a sense of humor.

And then there is the potty training.  At our 18 month check up, the doctor informed us that since Jane and Emma can tell us that they have to poop, that they are pooping, and that they have, in fact, pooped, that it's ok to start really trying to potty train.  I didn't get much guidance on it, so I just brought the potties back out to the bathroom and started putting them on them before changing them into nighttime diapers.

The other night, Janey had a successful pee pee on the potty, complete with saying "Bye-bye pee pee!" and waving as we flushed the contents of her Baby Bjorn down the actual toilet.  I then later asked her if she had to go poopies on the potty, to which she responded by running to the bathroom and opening the door.  I got her all undressed (she is, apparently, a NAKED pooper), and she sat there and smiled at me, and then jumped up to look into the bathtub.  In that time, Emma seemed intrigued, so I started to undress her and get her potty-ready.

As I turned to sit Emmy on the potty, I heard a splat on the floor and turned to find Jane pooping on the floor NEXT TO the potty.

I screamed and threw her onto "Emma's seat" and started yelling frantically for Hershey.  He disappeared for 5 minutes (or long enough for me to wipe it all up with toilet paper, flush it, and proceed to start cleaning Jane off) and finally came back with a roll of paper towels and 2 gallon-sized Ziploc bags.  Not quite sure what he was thinking....but thank GOD that my mom bought me a Shark Steam Mop for Christmas this year.  That thing has been a miracle.  Great for removing/sanitizing food-fling stains AND poop.  Awesome.

Aside from all of that excitement, we had a fun November, a busy Thanksgiving, activity-filled December, and 2 blissful and also sickly weeks off from work/daycare for Christmas and New Years.  The girls were spoiled ROTTEN for Christmas (I'm still not sure that Hershey and I bought them enough, but our families def. did!), and we had a quiet NYE at home with our closest friends and their children.  I have to say, it has been an eventful 2 months (you can follow our adventures on Facebook and Instagram), and I am ready for 2015.

Without further delay, here are some of our favorite highlights from the last 2 months:

Emma chillen with my bff and her son, "Ry-ru".

Would LOVE to know what Jane and Ry-ru are plotting here.

Emma is a lover -- "Vi-vi" is not convinced.

Poor little Luke had NO IDEA what he was getting himself into being born among a gaggle of women.

We made cranberry sauce from scratch for Thanksgiving!

We even got a little bit of SNOW!

They're definitely chewing something, but COME ON with the cuteness!
Thanksgiving Time!

Our buddy Vi-vi turned the big O-N-E...

...and the girls had tons of fun... plus little Lukey and Ry-ru...

We got to meet Santa (Emma was not impressed)...

...and spent some time roaming around in Mama's old haunts...

...and even got to spend a little bit more time with our fave friends!

Then it was time to get ready for Christmas Eve...

We always get to open one gift on Xmas Eve with Mama and Daddy...and this year it was the CUTEST and SOFTEST PJs!!!  
(Thanks so much Judy at Fun to Stitch for getting them done and to us in time!)

And then the BIG event...Xmas Eve with Grandma and Papa, Oma and Opa, Aunt Heather and Uncle Brett, and the rest of the fam.  

Jane's got Daddy right where she wants him!

(Note the lack of ornaments on the entire lower section of our tree.)

Tea Party with MeeMa.

Then on to the NYE kiddie gift exchange!  

NYE Noms.

Playing dress up with Aunt Erin.

NYE friendy loves.

...and where it all begins...

I know that this was a crazy long post with a crazy lot of pictures, but I am HOPING that with my New Year's resolution (more on that in a later post), I'll be able to write more and devote more time to doing things for mySELF (this blog being one of those things).  

I hope that you all had a FANTASTIC holiday season, and that your head has stopped spinning from the holiday magic!  We go back to work tomorrow after having 16 days off, and I'm not sure that I'm ready for the next whirlwind, but I'll tell you what -- I am sure looking forward to our next break! 

See you soon!  xoxo

(Holiday cards purchased through Shutterfly.  Photography done by Yours Truly in Our Backyard.)

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