Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Twins & Their First Year: A Celebration

Yesterday, my beautiful fraternal twin sons celebrated their first birthday. The whole day was almost surreal. A whole year has passed by since I felt the first real twinges of labor pains warning me that my babies were almost ready to officially join our family. A whole year has passed by since I gave birth to them in turn and experienced one of the scariest days of my life. (Click here to read previous post for details) A whole year has passed by since my life became so much harder and yet, so much better at the same time. The babies have no idea that it was their birthday yesterday and probably have no idea that the party was all for them. They won't remember it, no matter how hard I tried to make it a special one. They will see the pictures one day and think that it was nice. And that is how first birthdays are. Truthfully, I feel that first birthday celebrations are more for the parents and the families. It is a wonderful reason to celebrate. So, yesterday may have been more for me than for them. Looking back on the last year...I'd say I deserved a party. I will take a moment now to happy dance around my table and say, "Yeah baby! I f-ing did it!" For one whole year!

I am tired, exhausted and worn out. I am stiff, sore and maybe a little malnourished. I have been on an emotional roller coaster of depression, sadness and at times, self loathing. I drink a bit and smoke a bit, or as I call these vices to myself, I use my "mommy crutches". (Stupid, I know. Ah well, gets me through the days every once in a while.) But, believe it or not, I am so very happy and content all at the same time. I am in love. My heart overflows with it and the feeling can take my breath away. I have so much to be proud of and happy about and grateful for. I would not change a single moment of the last year. It is all part of the package that is this crazy life. It is all part of the process of being me, finding me and molding me. I'll take it. Every last second.

But, back to the party. I love to throw a party. This was, of course, my first time getting to throw a party for twins. I loved it. I thought a long time about the theme of the party. I asked around and the most popular theme that came up was Dr. Seuss' Thing One and Thing Two. I'd seen it done so many times before and wanted something a little more unique. I decided on a cartoon that my babies love called Bananas in Pyjamas, an Australian based cartoon we found on Netflix a while back. It was perfect because it is about two bananas named B1 and B2 and the twins just happen to watch it all the time.

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I decided to make the twins outfits to wear for their special day so that they would look a little like these two cute bananas.

So cute. They wouldn't leave the hats on for very long but they did love to play with them. I crocheted them using a pattern that I found on Pinterest. I love to crochet and this ended up being quite helpful since I couldn't find bright yellow hats to purchase anywhere. Here is the pattern: Crochet Toddler Hat with Brim. Super easy. I did each one in a night while watching a movie.

We had the party at my In-Laws' house because I was worried that it would be too warm if we had everyone over in my house. We kept the food simple: Meat and cheese tray with buns, veggies and dip, fruit, pasta salad, etc. I found out that our local grocery store chain, Cub Foods, gives a free sheet cake for first birthdays with birth certificate proof. I thought about that but decided, because I know myself so well, that baking their cake would make me much happier. Baking and cooking is something I love to do. I baked for my first three children and didn't want to stop tradition now. I found a recipe for banana cake online. I turned it into cupcakes and added homemade cream cheese frosting. They turned out so good. I would definitely use this recipe again. Here is the recipe if you would like to try it: Banana Cake. For the frosting I used two eight ounce blocks of cream cheese, one stick of butter and about three cups or so of powdered sugar. I mixed it all together until smooth and creamy. It made about one half gallon in a zip lock bag. Delicious.

I am a big fan of Sherbet Punch so that is what I made for a fun beverage. You can make many different flavors and combinations. I bought pineapple sherbet, cream soda, pineapple soda and Apple Banana Pineapple Juice. In a very large punch bowl, place the half gallon of sherbet as one big lump in the center. I poured one liter of cream soda, two liters of pineapple soda and one quart of juice over the sherbet. It will be cold, foamy and tasty. As people scoop the punch, it is nice to scoop up a chunk of sherbet into the cup, almost like a root beer float. Yum! Get creative with the sherbet and soda flavor combinations. I usually pick something that will end up being a color that matches my party theme.

I had also seen a recipe on Facebook a while back and knew right away that I wanted to make them for this party. Banana slices sandwiched with peanut butter and then covered in chocolate. What!? Yes, please. I made them and they were scrumptious!

For party invitations I use a great website called They have hundreds of themes and occasions to choose from. It is very easy to use and create fun invitations that are emailed directly to your guest list. You can send messages to guests when you need to and can easily keep track of RSVP's. I very rarely mail out invitations anymore now that I found this resource. It is just so convenient. Here are a couple screenshots to give you an idea:

It was a wonderful day. A whole lot of work but a whole lot of fun, too. I will also take a moment here to publicly thank my amazing Mother-in-Law, Uli, for opening up her home and helping make the twins' first birthday a memorable one. Thank you, Uli. You are great!

Here are a few pictures, just because (Some are a little blurry, so much commotion, they barely stopped moving all day long.):

So, there it is. Party's over. On to the next year. Sigh. I will close this post with a few photo highlights from the first year of The L Twins. Love to you and yours.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Veggie Painting!

Hey all. Been away from the blog a while. happens. I have a long list of topics and ideas I want to write about but time has been eluding me. Today will be a quick post to share a cute craft project I did with my DJ today. The poor thing has been such a trooper this last year. I don't get nearly enough time to do these kinds of things with her and I need to work on that. It's a process.

I was looking in the refrigerator last night and had a couple veggies that were looking questionable and I was about to throw them away but then I remembered making potato stamps way back in my elementary school days and a light bulb turned on in my head. Veggie paintings! So here it is...

I cut the various vegetables so that they had nice flat stamping areas. I broke out our Crayola Washable Finger paints and laid out the newspaper. Easy. DJ was so excited, jumping up and down while I prepared everything for her.

I made a quick example for her.

And away she went...

Rabbit Head Potato Stamp
You can carve almost anything you want into a potato. After I cut out the rabbit shape, I squeezed it into a paper towel to get all the juices out which helps the paint stick better. All in all, it was a fun project to do with my best girl. Until next time. Peace.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Help Me Win Free Groceries!

Please and thank you.

Cub Foods (a local grocery store chain) is running a contest to celebrate their 45th Anniversary, open to residents of Minnesota and Illinois. It is a contest through their Facebook page. I had to enter of course. After all, I'm feeding five kids now. One grand prize winner will receive $4,500 in Cub Foods gift cards. All I had to do was upload a picture into the voting gallery and the polls are now open. People can vote for their favorite entry once each day until September 29th, 2013.

Here's where you come in. It would mean a lot to me and my family if you would take a minute out of your 17 days and vote for our entry. Our entry is titled "Feeding 5 kids = 5 lb. Lasagna" and is accompanied by this picture:

Ginny's 5 lb. Lasagna...Yum!

Every vote helps. Feel free to share this post or a link on Facebook. If you need a little more incentive...If my family does win the grand prize of $4,500 in grocery gift cards, I plan to donate 10% of the winnings to our local food shelf in nonperishable food items. This would make me very happy to be able to help others, too.

Thank you for your time and have a wonderful weekend!

Ginny's 5 lb. Lasagna Recipe


1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. sliced pepperoni
1 lb. your favorite shredded cheese
1 lb. Lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
2  14 oz. cans of your favorite flavor diced tomatoes, lightly drained
1 bag of fresh spinach leaves or 2 cans of spinach, drained

Cook ground beef in skillet. Add minced garlic, diced onions and/or any Italian style seasonings you like. Drain fat and then stir in the 2 cans of drained diced tomatoes. Set aside. Cook lasagna noodles and drain, then set aside. In a 9" x 13" deep pan, layer all of the ingredients. I start with 1/3rd of the ground beef/tomato mixture on the bottom, @ 4 - 5 noodles to cover, 1/3rd pepperoni slices, 1/3rd of the spinach, 1/3rd of the shredded cheese and then repeat these layers 2 more times. You will have 3 total layers and end with cheese on top. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for @ 30 minutes. Eat!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Goodbye Summer, Hello Reality

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Goodbye Summer

Another Summer's gone away,
Upon the wind as yesterday.
Good intentions come and gone.
Memories forever fond.

Living lives,
Chasing dreams.
It never ends,
Or so it seems.

The bustling house
Now quiet and still.
Find something to do,
I must, I will.

Virginia Louden 9/3/2013

Hello reality. Party's over kids. It's back to routines and schedules, bedtimes and checklists. Screens and devices all suddenly kept in check to make room for all of the homework and extracurricular activities that are sure to fill your days. Expectations are high and rightfully so. I have faith in you both, my eldest sons. You are smart and important and capable people. Maybe you will roll your eyes and think this is cliche...but you two can truly do anything. I can say this, not only because I am your mother and slightly biased, but because I really know you. I've been paying attention. I've witnessed nearly everyday of your growth from newborn precious little infant cuddled in my virgin mommy arms to outstanding human being, ready to take on the world with each new day, with very little help from me.

I know you both hem and haw when it's time to go back to school, bummed out that Summer's over and real work is about to begin. But I also know that you toss and turn in your beds, anxious and excited to get back to it. You can tell me that you wish school wasn't starting again and again, over and over, but I see the not so well hidden smiles as you stare at the clock in the morning, counting down the minutes until it is time to rush out the front door, off to school, to see your friends, back packs full of fresh new supplies just itching to get used up, and to go out into the world to live your lives, away from me. I know you.

And is it hard for me? Yes and no. It's hard because I love you so much and I miss holding you in my arms, smelling your freshly washed infant hair. I miss kissing your every boo boo and cutting up your food. I miss your chubby little toddler arms wrapped around my neck as though I was a life preserver and you needed me so. I miss your innocence and your baby doe eyes. I miss you.

More importantly, it is not too hard. I love watching you turn into amazing young men before my eyes. I like dreaming of the future with you. I love watching you play ball and trombone. I love big kid hugs when your arms can reach all the way around me and you really mean it. I love looking at your shoes and being blown away by the fact that they are too big for me to slip on and take out the trash. I love that twinkle in your eye when you are texting a girl and don't think I am paying attention. I love helping you find your way in this world and being a part of your journey. I love you.

With all of that said...I am looking forward to another promising year. I am proud of you both. I hope today is wonderful. Good luck boys. I'll be staring at the clock, too.

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