Make-It Monday: Thank-You “Notes” for Pre-Writers

We recently went to Chicago to see the sights, and also to visit some friends and family we haven’t seen in far too long.  When we got home, I wanted to have the girls make some type of thank-you gestures for those we saw.  I think it’s a great way to help them remember what we did, with whom…and I knew our friends and family would love seeing the girls’ handiwork.

I asked the girls what they most enjoyed about seeing Aunt and Uncle K.  They unanimously named Aunt K’s corn on the cob (she fixed it twice for them, seeing how much they loved it), and playing soccer with Uncle K.

I came up with a couple of fun crafts for them to make…

Craft1For our ear of corn, I gave the girls yellow paint and showed them how to dab it onto a long oval shape I drew.  [This was the first time we'd used Q-tips with paint...it was great!  We'll be coming up with more "dabbings" soon!]

When the paint was dry, the girls added green hand prints for the leaves.  (I didn’t take pictures of this part of the craft…even at age 5 1/2, I stay pretty close by when we start getting our hands covered in paint!)

For the soccer ball, I let the girls trace small hexagons (we have these awesome stencils). They cut out the shapes and glued them onto a piece of card stock.  Craft2 Then they traced a larger circle and cut it out.  Viola!  I am seriously in love with the way this turned out.

Craft3

Here are the finished products…

Craft4

The girls wrote little messages and signed their names.  I’m going to print a couple of pictures of A&B with Aunt and Uncle K to accompany the crafts.  I know they’ll be tickled to get this little surprise in the mail…and I love that my girls are still talking about Aunt K’s corn, and what soccer tricks they want to show Uncle K the next time we see him.

Do you have any tricks for making thank-you notes with pre-writers?

MandyE is mom to 5 1/2-year old twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

Awkward Conversations

All summer long, I’ve had two or three kids with me wherever I’ve gone. Big Sis is in preschool half-day mornings, but all our afternoon outings consist of myself, pushing two 20mo b/g twins in a double stroller, which their 4yo sister is skipping next to. Or, in a store, it would be the twins up front sharing the child seat (they just barely fit now), and Big Sis usually in the main basket (she prefers to ride) with my wallet/phone/keys and items to be purchased. It is clearly obvious I have three young children, and I “have my hands full,” which is usually the gist of all my conversations at the mall, store, or park.

However, we’ve also been frequenting an indoor playground about once a week. They’re wonderfully confined spaces for kids to run off their energy, safely climb to their heart’s content, play with other kids, all while Mommy gets to blissfully sit by the sidelines without having to constantly chase after them. Today, since it was so incredibly hot (over 100), I took them for the afternoon. Big Sis has always just taken off at these places without a backward glance, and now the twins are following her lead. So I struck up a conversation with a nearby mom whose baby was crawling around at lightening speed. I noticed a couple older kids flocking around her as well.

Me: “They sure get around fast once they start moving huh?”

Her: “Oh ya, she’s going everywhere.”

Me: “So these 3 are yours?”

Her: “Oh no, just the two girls. If I had three I’d kill myself.” (Some exasperated eye rolling.)

Me: (Uhhhh… Awkward chuckle.)

I found out her girls are 6 and 1. I chose not to tell her about my 4yo and 20mo and 20mo, but I’m sure eventually she figured it out, as 3 open mouths came running when I pulled out the snacks.

lunchldyd is annoyed that these kinds of conversations keep happening.

Twins vs Singletons

Having a set of b/g twins 2.5 years after their sister puts me in a position to be able to compare and contrast the experiences of having twins and having a singleton– really having twins vs having two singletons. Now that the twins are 19 months old and Big Sis is 4, I feel I’ve gotten enough under my belt to do a little analysis. (Of course, everyone’s situation will vary, and all experiences depend highly on the temperament of each child as well as the character of each household, but I do find that there are some definite differences).

The GOOD…

Developmentally, I’ve got two kids doing the same thing. They generally play the same way, eat the same things, like the same places. They are in the same age group in any classes for which I’d sign them up, and very soon they would be able to play with each other. It’s one drop off and one pick up for both kids to grandma’s, and to preschool/school later on. At least until they’re old enough to pick their own separate activities, they’d be doing most things together. Big Sis will always be 2.5 years older, which means they would rarely be doing or liking the same things.

Two kids at the same age also means they’re more or less on the same schedule. There may be days when their naps are off, or even weeks during transitions when one does something that the other doesn’t yet. But even accounting for those differences, I consider them a unit for eating and sleeping. Big Sis has a different naptime and bedtime from her siblings; and actually she doesn’t even get to nap anymore because of the scheduling difficulties, even though she really could.

It’s a given that children cost a lot, but I think twins come with some economies of scale (assuming the comparison is between twins and two singletons). I get to buy many things in bulk, and sometimes I can even get a twin discount on stuff. But having twins over singletons is more of a time saver than anything else. Making two bottles at once only takes slightly more time than making one bottle, when I change one child I usually just change the other– almost everything we do takes less time than doing them with two children of different ages.

They have each other. They get to grow up together, learn together, support each other, and never be lacking a sidekick because their twin will always be there. Older/younger siblings do a lot of things together too, but it’s just not the same, at least not until they’re adults.

And the BAD…

Double Trouble” is true! It was actually easier when they were infants, when as long as I figured out how to feed them simultaneously, they were happy. There was a rough patch getting them on the same sleep schedule, but after that it was pretty good going until they became toddlers. Now, sometimes there are just not enough hands (or eyes). Example: toddlers on the move in the park. One was making a beeline for some stairs, while the other was attempting to topple a large trash can. Big Sis required minimal supervision, as she had found some little friends to play with.

The twins are also much more aggressive than their sister ever was. They are much more vocal in what they want, and will fight, even bite each other! They egg each other on when they’re misbehaving. “Group mentality” perhaps. One climbs on top of the play kitchen, and the other will climb it too. One screams and throws food, other other ups that by tossing a sippy cup too. Alone, perhaps they would not dare. Singletons just don’t get away with as much.

Activities for twins are difficult when there is only one adult. At least at my twins’ age, everything is much easier when the ratio is 1:1, or even 2:3 when including Big Sis. One adult to a set of twin toddlers is sometimes impossible (as in the case of Parent and Me swim class), but even when possible, it can get very stressful and overwhelming (Mommy and Me classes). Even if different-aged children are in an activity together, they would not need the same kind of attention at exactly the same time.

lunchldyd is a high school teacher on summer break in the Los Angeles area. She wonders how this comparison will change as her kids get older.

Bedroom Configurations

Just this past weekend we almost put in an offer on a house.

I know. Crazy since we had already decided to put that dream on hold to pursue my working part-time for this next school year, or possibly two. However, the husband had continued to look at listings online, and I’ve been open to moving to an area close to where I’ve decided to send the kids for elementary school (for its Mandarin dual immersion program).

This house is walking distance to the school, right next to a golf course. It’s just within our price range. Large lot, big square footage, a house our family of 5 could be comfortable in for several years. However… It has only 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, the same as we currently have. Though they are bigger than the ones we currently have, and there is space to add a fourth bedroom and third bathroom when someday we could afford it. However… The school district (other than this dual immersion elementary school) is not ideal, which means even though the area is desirable, the house will not appreciate as much as homes in other nearby cities. However… Though we could pay the new mortgage if we cut back on our lifestyle and watch our spending, it would be uncomfortably tight while I’m part-time, and that would be after sinking all our savings into the down payment.

For these reasons, my conservative husband and I decided the time is not right for us to move right now. We really like this house, in fact it is the only one that I have liked, and the housing market in our area is on another surge, but we’d be scrambling to sell our current house, working out all the details of our financing with our future budget, and generally putting ourselves under a great deal of stress. It is doable, but not something we feel ready to take on.

But this has gotten me thinking. If I was willing to move to a 3 bedroom house, then I guess I’m not as eager to move my twins into separate bedrooms as I thought. True, this house has bigger bedrooms and more common living space as well, but the twins would still be sharing a bedroom, or the girls would have to share. I did not think that I would be ok with that. But I guess I am, for the right house. Which means, then, that I should have no problems staying at our current house for a few more years.

So, what are your bedroom configurations, fellow MoMs? Do you have boy/girl twins sharing a bedroom? Until what age? How do you create space separation in a shared bedroom?

lunchldyd is mom to 19mo b/g twins and their 4yo sister.

Mommy Brain

It’s a real thing, you guys. Mommy Brain. A disease whose onset begins during pregnancy for some, sets in after the birth of a child for others, but definitely progresses with every additional child, and is most acute during those children’s toddler years. If you have multiples, your form of this disease is most likely incurable.

I’ve always considered myself a very organized, in control kind of person. All through high school and college, I’ve always had my schoolwork together: a straight-A, AP class person others would admire. After starting work, things loosened up a bit, but the house would still be clean and picked up, the bills in order and paid.

However, Mommy Brain hit when the kids came. Having the first was not so bad. I remember several times losing my phone or leaving my wallet places when distracted by having to take care of someone other than myself (I always got them back). And a couple of times of driving all the way to Costco and realizing I didn’t have my wallet with me. Things like that.

But since the twins have been born, these incidences have begun to cost me money. The most serious example: I forgot to pay our December property tax after the twins were born in late November. I remembered the day after it was due, but it was too late. The penalty was something like $350. In retrospect I should have called and pleaded “Mommy Brain.” Probably wouldn’t have worked, but it would have been worth a shot. I could have gotten a woman at the other end who had experienced this disease as well.

I also lose everything these days. I had a bunch of Thank You cards printed for Big Sis’s birthday gifts, very cute ones that had her picture on it. They were in a Costco photo envelope along with some pictures of her and her siblings from the party. I had sent most of the Thank You cards, and brought the envelope to school with the intention of giving the photos to coworkers. Just as I was getting ready to hand out these photos, the envelope was nowhere to be found. Then when a couple of late birthday gifts came, and I had to reprint new Thank You cards. Eventually I found them in a bag with other stuff I packed when cleaning out my desk at school, but too late to give out the photos, and no need for the Thank You cards now. It would have almost been better not to have found them.

I lost a $25 Target gift card too. I’d been telling myself it’s not lost, and had even been looking for it a little bit every once in a while, but by now I’ve just got to accept that it’s gone. Somewhere between my car and the Target checkout line, it disappeared. Let’s not even mention all the receipts that have vanished into thin air. Luckily, most places can now look up purchases by running the credit card I used… if I could remember which one, or whether my husband was the one who paid. Hah!

I walk into rooms without remembering why I went into them. Then I spend a minute or two wandering the house, trying to remember, before something, or more likely somekid distracts me again. The house is a mess, stacks of papers everywhere, and even with all this summer vacation time at home, there hasn’t been much I could do about it.

Most recently I forgot to pay my car registration. It was due in April, but since they send that renewal 3 months in advance, I squirreled it away somewhere and totally forgot about it until I got the delinquent bill at the end of May. By then the penalty was $174. To add insult to injury, just a couple days before my new tags arrived in the mail, I got a parking ticket for expired tags. $55.

It’s a good thing most of our bills are on autopay. I really can’t afford to have Mommy Brain anymore!

lunchldyd is a soon-to-be part time high school teacher and mother to 18mo b/g twins and their 4yo sister. She is working on putting her organizational skills to use so she could avoid more financial repercussions. Perhaps a board of some sort…

Separate Preschools – An End of Year Update

Preschoolbeforeandafter

Some of you might remember my post last summer about separating my twin boys for preschool, not into different classes, but into different schools. We are wrapping up the school year so I thought I would share a bullet-point list update of how the year went. One kid was done two weeks ago, the other finishes today. (Making up the snow days.)

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Good

  • Independence. Every discussion on separating twins in school eventually independence is cited as a main reason to separate. In our case, I didn’t feel like they were ready to be apart, and they didn’t really understand what was happening. However, it was very clear to us as parents that one was incredibly reliant on the other, to the point he would defer to his brother to answer questions about the alphabet or counting. Being in his own school, he has been able to demonstrate he can do those things on his own, without his brother.
  • New Experiences. Both boys love their teachers and have enjoyed going to school. They love telling each other about what they did today in school and they are able to share these experiences with each other.
  • Excelling in the school. Without the other to lean on, they have each grown and really prospered.
  • New friends. They have both made new friends and look forward to seeing them at school. We have set up playdates with new friends and it is nice to see them form friendships without each other. 
  • Progress. This time last year we were at such a tough place, middle-of-terrible-3’s, a kid with un-dagnosed, indeterminate delays, and it was heartbreaking and frustrating. Now a year later it is so much better. We have answers, strategies and we are all working together. It’s truly amazing to see how much progress we have all made as a family.

Bad

  • Juggling two different school calendars. One kid goes four days a week, one goes two days a week, overlapping only one day, but forcing us to be two places at once. Both schools were considerate of the situation within our family and invited the other kid to class parties. It never worked out though, it seemed whenever the parties were scheduled, one or the other was sick, or the other was in class that day in the other school. Both schools had a policy of no siblings on field trips, but requested parents to accompany their kids. Every field trip except one we couldn’t go because the trips, of course, fell of a day the other was NOT in school. 
  • Dependence. My boys are very close and play well together (most of the time.) They have active imaginations and finish each other’s thoughts. They devise games and scenarios and have similar interests. We have a playgroup we have played with since the boys were babies, comprised of other twin families, and whom my kids play with really well. It was surprising to read in a progress report that one of my sons did not have any friends, did not play with any other children and did not seem to socialize with anyone other than the adults in the room. Considering how social he is at home and with his playgroup friends, this was unexpected. He has since made a couple friends and seeks them out occasionally, but without the companionship of his brother it seems like he is less confident in making friends.
  • Emotions trauma and drama. The first weeks were really hard. Tears, tantrums, acting out, you name it. Same thing happened after Christmas break and the first few days of spring break after they’ve been together 24/7 again. We’ve also seen a lot of jealousy when one kid has something fun at school like a field trip or pajama day. One kid would have a bring-your-favorite-toy day and the other would want to bring one too. I was always writing notes explained weird outfits or things in backpacks. 
  • The Twin Thing. When we have been invited to parties or playdates, I am not really sure how to include/not exclude the other kid. I have been “that Mom” who invited her other kid to a playdate because I didn’t want to have one miss it because he has a twin brother. At age 4, playdates are still a Mom-goes-too event and as far as I am concerned these two are a package deal for now. Eventually they can have their own social calendars, but for now where one goes we all go.

Ugly

  • Germs. Lots of them. One preschool class is a pertidish of plagues, two was ridiculous. We just got through the longest, crummiest winter in Chicago in a century so we were inside, a lot. And with two classes full of oozing, snotty, sneezy preschoolers exposing our family to bug after bug, we pretty much had something or another in an endless cycle the past seven months. We had so much plague at our house, it was gross. Pink eye, tummy bugs, endless coughs, colds, fevers, snot. Yuck.
  • Uncertainty. We had to wait until May for the IEP meeting to find out whether my one son would continue in the early childhood program. Truthfully I wasn’t sure he would, he’s done so well meeting his goals. So we had to enroll him in the other school with his brother so we could save two spots in one class. At the meeting we were told he would definitely be going back next year, that he still has ground to cover before he’s ready to start Kindergarten. Due to their November birthday, they will be almost-6 when they start Kindergarten and have another whole year of preschool where they will be 5 most of the year. After this year of preschool, though, it is uncertain what will happen next. Whether they will be back together, separate classes, separate schools, separate grade levels. 

 

Jen is a stay-at-home Mom of 4-year-old twin boys who just finished up a year of preschool, separated and on their own. They all survived and thrived.  Their adventures are (intermittently and mostly in photos) blogged at goteamwood.com.

Matchy-Matchy… My Guilty Pleasure

When I buy clothes for my twin girls, now five, I try to get coordinating outfits, the same striped shirt in a different color, for example.  They usually like to coordinate…and — I finally figured out — I like it so much because it makes keeping up with laundry so much easier for me!

Occasionally the girls will want to match.  (I heard them sneaking downstairs a couple of weeks ago, whispering, “Mommy is going to be so surprised!”  They had gotten themselves dressed in matching outfits, from head to toe…including their socks and underwear…they were so proud!)

And occasionally the girls will choose to wear something totally and completely different from each other.

It’s all fine by me.

Particularly since the girls started preschool, when they were 3 1/2, I’ve tried to stay away from matchy-matchy, unless they really insist.  Even though they’re fraternal, I think some people have a tendency to want to see twins as looking just alike, and I want to help establish them as individuals as much as possible.

Still…who doesn’t love the cutest matching set of twinkies???  The one area in which I indulge myself is with the girls’ pajamas.

I love to buy two sets of matching pj’s, and it delights my heart to see my little elves, as I call them, bopping down the hall in the morning, or cuddled up for bedtime stories at night.

No harm, no foul…and you might guess I have pictures of them in every single set of pj’s they’ve ever had.  I just can’t help myself.

Twin sisters in matching pajamas.

Do you dress your multiples in matching outfits?  In general, or for special occasions? 

MandyE is mom to fraternal twin girls, now five.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

Toddler Thursday: It Gets Easier

Moms and Dads of toddlers… It gets easier. I promise. It really does.

It wasn’t long ago that my boys were extremely busy toddlers. I’m actually surprised we made it out of that stage without any broken bones or stitches. To say my Wesley and Andrew were active and fearless is an understatement.

I remember running into another mother of multiples at our grocery store’s “play center” about a year and a half ago.  Her b/g twins were about 6 years old, and mine had just turned 3.  We didn’t chat, really, but after we both acknowledged being part of the ‘secret mom of multiples society’, she left me with a simple statement that has stayed with me.  Before now, it was something I held on to with hope, and now I still hang onto it because it was the truth.  She was so right.  So right, that I am sharing it with you now.

Here is what she said to me:

“It gets easier. Just wait until they are four. It gets so much easier.”

Now I completely realize that not all children follow the same developmental timeline, and what a blessing it is to have two children the same age to witness those differences in development, firsthand.  That being said, her “4 year” mark was right on target for both of my boys.  So right on, that when they were 3  years and 363 days old, I was still in the “hope” phase of her statement. Shortly after they turned four, I repeated her words to myself, and slowly began to notice the changes happening right before my eyes.  Amazing.

The toddler years pass, and then it really does get easier. Doesn't always feel like it will, but it does.Toddlers come with their challenges.  Everytime we’d be frustrated or overwhelmed with one thing, it would soon pass and we’d be on to a new one.  They climbed on EVERYTHING (but mostly on things dangerously high).  They were curious of the contents of every single drawer and cupboard.  I remember spontaneous back arches and flips making diaper changes difficult and messy.  Then it seemed like we had to wrestle our boys into their pajamas on some nights. When we started with ‘timeouts’, our main goal became trying to sit the kids in the designated ‘timeout’ zone for more than ten seconds as opposed to the actual discipline aspect of it all.  My boys are really good kids, but at times, it felt like we were losing a battle against a small team of toddlers.

…and then four came.

…and guess what?

IT. GOT. EASIER.

Don’t get me wrong, we still face our fair share of difficulties.  Restaurant manners one time. Restaurant rebels the next. Testing limits. Talking back.  BUT, there are so many things that have gotten easier in the past 6 months.

The boys dress themselves.  This saves us so much time, and allows us to give a direction, secretly knowing the boys will succeed.  We are proud and they are proud.

The boys stay near us.  For the longest time, I would not enter a store if I was unable to confine the boys to a shopping cart (have you seen those tiny carts at the chain drug stores?). Four year olds still have curiosity, but they are better able to follow simple rules and we are able to shop with the boys trailing right behind us or next to our cart.

They totally get consequences.  Last night, Andrew cried over his lost possibility of having a popsicle treat, but I can be sure he knew exactly which of his actions led to his freezie-pop downfall.

Hang in there.  The twin toddler phase seemed more difficult to me than the twinfant stage.  The term “terrible twos (and threes)” didn’t just invent itself.  Hang in there, laugh, lean on friends for support, and enjoy the bright spots amongst the chaos knowing it will all be ok.

Traveling with Toddlers and a Preschooler

Having twin babies was overwhelming, having twin toddlers is exhausting, and having a preschooler and full time job on top of that is mentally draining. This is on a daily basis, in a confined predictable environment. So when Hubby suggested a trip away during my spring break last week, I was trepidatious, to say the least.

TravellingOur twins have never taken a trip of over a few hours at a time, we’ve never been out on vacation together as a family, and our preschooler hasn’t spent a night away since she was with Grandma when her siblings were first born almost 1.5 years ago. Suffice it to say, it’s been a long time. I also really wanted to go.

So, fully willing to accept getting no sleep, dealing with cranky children, and having no fun at all, we went… And it was GREAT! Completely exceeded all my expectations. For those contemplating travel with young multiples, it is possible. Here is what we did that I believe, contributed to a wonderful mini-vacation for us:

Location, Location, Location

We decided not to go too far, but far enough to stay overnight. Hubby’s suggestion of Legoland was perfect! Less than 2 hours away, nice hotel on site. We figured we’d give ourselves time to really explore, and we’d probably want to be taking it easy with so many young children, so I booked a two-night stay, and bought us 2-day hopper tickets.  We planned all our driving to coincide with the kids’ naps so that we’d have a nice quiet ride both ways.

Don’t Stress

Being very Type A, I knew beforehand I had to let go of some control. I had to force myself to relax my Nazi sleep schedule for the trip. I made a decision to prioritize nighttime sleep for the entire family and allow naps to be skipped/shortened for a couple of days. This was not easy for me, as I believe sleep is the foundation of everything for young children, but it was a necessity to balance the needs of everyone the trip. Obviously we knew what times the kids would all be sleepy, and sort of worked around those times (allowing twins to lay down in their stroller, taking it easy after lunch and returning to the hotel for a siesta), but for the most part I just loosely let naps be how they would.

Similarly, I only roughly planned the activities on this trip: What times we’d be driving, check-in/out times, the buffet hours, hotel entertainment events. I didn’t even know the layout of the park until we got there and explored it together. Besides a little mixup with our luggage being delivered to our room the first night (which of course was out of my control anyway), everything worked out great with my unplanned planning.

Eat at Buffets 

Our hotel stay included a breakfast buffet, and our kids ate free during the dinner buffet. Though we could have gotten dinner probably for less in the park or elsewhere, the convenience of food being an elevator ride away from our room, and the abundance of highchairs and kid food available at a place catering to children (an entire buffet section was at kid height) can’t be beat. We ate there for dinner both nights. Since breakfast was included for everyone staying at the hotel, it got to be very busy around 8:30am every morning. Not a problem for us: our kids are up and hungry by 6:30am. We ate breakfast there both mornings too.

Lunches we had in the park. As with all amusement park food, it was expensive and not the greatest. Factor in waiting for the food while your children are hungry, and you’d come to the decision to eat at a buffet whenever possible too.

Sleeping Arrangements 

When booking our reservation, I asked for a room on the top floor, away from the elevators. I knew that with so many kids staying in the hotel it would be loud, so I wanted to eliminate the noise as much as I could. I also brought a loud fan from home to use as a cover for any small noises we would make moving around the room. Again, this hotel is pretty spectacular that all their rooms are like mini-suites with a section for children that includes a bunk bed. My preschooler has never slept in a bunk before, so it was very exciting for her to look forward to being up high.

The hotel offered pack-n-plays, so I requested two of them. I was a little worried that there would be no space for them both, but going without them was not an option so we just had to wait and see. Thankfully, both cribs fit with plenty of space. We kept them at the foot of the adult bed. Knowing from traveling with their big sis at a younger age that being in an unfamiliar place might mean they would have trouble sleeping, I made sure to pack the bedding that they’re used to from home. The sheets and blankets took up almost half of the larger luggage we brought (the kids’), but it was worth it. They made not one peep either night. The fact that we all got a full night’s sleep really was the best part of this trip.

Ultimately, as with most things, I was much more worried about doing this than I should have been. I think now that I have 3 children instead of just one, I am learning to go more with the flow. Though damn expensive, this trip has taught me that some planning and the right attitude go a long way. I can’t wait for our next family vacation!

(As an aside, Legoland is such a wonderful place for young children. I would say it is perfect for kids aged 4 to 10. It is much smaller than Disneyland, easily walkable for young children without getting too tired. It was also less crowded, and if you don’t go during peak times there are no lines. Going almost anywhere with a double stroller often means a lot of maneuvering and blocking traffic, but Legoland was full of doubles, and we never had a problem getting around. Even “stroller parking” seemed plentiful. The Legoland hotel was the highlight of this trip though. Catered specifically to this age group, it had so many conveniences and amenities that made the trip super easy for us. Highly recommended.)

lunchldyd is mom to an almost-4yo and her 17mo b/g twin siblings. She is a high school teacher in a suburb of Los Angeles.

Make It Monday: Preschool Handwriting Sampler

Our girls started learning to write their letters just after their third birthday.

Baby A's first "A"!

Baby A’s first “A”!

Since they really got the hang of it, around age 3 1/2, writing is a huge pastime for them.  They love to write notes, lists, and make cards.

I just love seeing the progression of their handwriting.  Here’s a list Baby A made before my birthday last month.  I didn’t know why she was asking me to spell all these items…turns out she was making a shopping list for Daddy to get me for my birthday.  HA!  I don’t really need any broccoli, but this mama wouldn’t mind some shoes and jelly beans!

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I was browsing Pinterest a couple of weeks ago, and I came upon this alphabet sampler.

I love this!!!

I love this!!!

It gave me an idea to do something with the girls’ writing.  I cut cardstock into 1″ x 1.5″ pieces.  I had the girls take turns writing the letters of the alphabet.  (Baby A got the letter “A”, and Baby B got the letter “B”…and so on.)  The letters “I” and “U” were done in red, and the letter “O” was replaced with one of Baby A’s signature hearts.

I found an 8″ square frame on clearance at our local craft store.  I also found some pink graph paper in their scrapbook section.  (Having the patterned background made things really easy to plot.)

The girls helped me sort the letters into order while I glued them down.

Viola!

For less than $5, a little elbow grease, and a handwriting lesson…I love the way it turned out!  And we all love seeing this on the bookshelves in our den.

MandyE is mom to five-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.