Valentines Day 2013

It’s been a really, really long time since I pulled an all-nighter. And while I was soooo very sleepy with my eyes at half mast for most of the day, I have to admit that it was worth it yesterday morning to hear my girls say, “Thank you, Mommy. You are always there for us.”

It was a busy time the afternoon before Valentines Day shopping for a little something at Affordable Treasures for my girls’ classmates, stopping briefly to drop off Girl Scout cookies at my chiropractor’s office, making a couple of visits to local grocery stores for baking supplies, taking photos for their cards, and settling in to bake and do homework. The hours between after school care and bedtime seem impossibly short at times like these. Times when big projects and special days at school come around…like Valentines Day.

As in the last couple of years, my girls were looking forward to sharing their Valentines. In fact, they said that all the other kids can’t wait to see their Valentines each year. It’s my fault. I’d gotten a kick out of the mini me idea other photographers have done in Photoshop and tried it a couple of years ago. My girls and all their classmates loved them. And now it’s stuck. It’s become an annual thing. And since they’re older, they like to plan their shots with me. They’ve started visualizing the final images they would like to create. These cards have become a real collaboration between my girls and myself and it’s kinda fun.

I woke my girls at 6:00 yesterday morning as requested. They knew they still had to package their class treats and sign their Valentines Day cards. We’ve come a long way in our annual Valentines Day projects. Not only do my girls plan their photo shoots with me, they have also taken over all the baking (well, I still handle the oven part) and they’re happy to do the packaging and signing of cards. Now, if I can just get this project started a lot earlier than the night before Valentines Day….

Their 2013 Valentines Day cards:

Swinging Valentines Dancing Mini Me'sSharing Heart LollipopsChocolate?Chalkboard Heart Dancing Mini Me'sAnd a Happy [belated] Valentines Day to you!

An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog by MommyTwinGirls.

Valentines Day 2012 – What a Difference A Year Makes

Well well well…I gotta say, sometimes I really like this growing-up-thing for my girls. This is the first year since my girls started preschool, that I did less of the production/wrapping (and everything in between) for Valentines Day, staying up until midnight to finish it up while my girls slept. This year, everything was packaged and ready for transport before they went to bed. Yea! Last year, they signed the cards…and frosted the cookies. And that was about it. Ugh.

This year, they readied the cookie dough for baking, frosted them, then insisted on wrapping each cookie themselves (they were picky about a few of the kids and which cookies they got), signed each card *and* envelope – without my constant haranguing to do one for *every* classmate. I do have to admit that I baked half of the cookies myself…but that was largely because we ran out of ingredients the evening before and had to bake them while my kids were in school. But let me tell ya, I was happily surprised to have my girls outline all the tasks they had to complete – including doing their homework – when we got home from school.

Now I know… from now on, I can concentrate on the *funnest* part of this event – creating a new and different Valentines Day card for my girls. “Mini me” is the style of choice again this year. I had a few ideas and my girls had a few ideas. It was fun to collaborate with them creatively. And since I couldn’t decide which one they should use, I left it to them…and they wanted to use them all. Happy Valentines Day!



An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

Christmas Vacation in Norway

This is the first Christmas we’ve spent in Norway since our girls were almost two years old. Though it was not the same without Farfar, it was still a wonderful vacation with family and friends.

I documented most of our trip in several posts on the Solheim Photography blog. Check them out:

Traveling for the holidays

Baking with Farmor and Snowplay with Cousins

Winter White Sledding and Ice Skating

Signs of Christmas

Celebrating 2012

The holidays are over and our girls are back in school. I think the calendar just kicked into hyperspeed. So many activities coming up, not the least of which is their upcoming performances in Annie, this year’s musical at school. Hopefully, I’ll find some time to post a bit more between events here and there.

An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

Hipp Hurra For 17.Mai!

17th of May. Constitution Day. It’s a big, big thing in Norway. Bunads are donned throughout the country. Parades dominate the streets. Celebrations abound in every town. And even though you’re not in the country, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out. In fact, we’ve attended the annual 17.Mai celebration in the city, sponsored by the Norwegian Seamans Church, every year we’ve been able to. Last Saturday was no exception.

The parade and festivities took place at a different locale than in previous years. We were at Fort Miley and in many ways, it seemed better for this group than Crissy Field. It was much more secluded and the views over Ocean Beach were spectacular. There was a large grassy area for the many contests – burlap sack races, potato & spoon relays, and tug-of-war. There’s also a few sets of stilts for those wanting to test their sense of balance. Some people clearly have ample time to practice.

The parade took most of the group down the hill to a memorial. A large Norwegian flag led the group and a drum kept the group in beat with the tunes. Afterward, hot dogs, ice cream and other treats awaited everyone.

But Fort Miley offered more entertainment for children than the usual. Kids disappeared into the trees and found many woodsy areas to explore. Kids being kids, quickly made friends and were off.

Though the weather wasn’t the greatest and I never took off my jacket, it was a successful celebration giving everyone a chance to feel at least a bit of connection to their roots and kinship with families and friends in Norway.

An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

Moms – Enjoy Your Special Day!

A short but heartfelt Happy Mother’s Day to you! On this special day, I thought I’d post a variation of a poem I’d written when I first had my twins 7 years ago. Enjoy your day!

Before I Became A Mom

I never knew…
…how happy I would feel when my children smile,
…how sad I would be when they would cry,
…how heartwarming it would be to watch them grow,
…how much love for them my heart could hold,

And now…I will always know.

An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

Valentines Day Rush…

Whew! It’s over. One single day. One significant day that requires multiples days of effort. Every. Single. Year. Oh all right, just the last three years but still. I find myself staying up past midnight (long after my girls have gone to sleep) the night before everything is due to double-check their numbers, finish up packaging and well, to make sure things can be easily transported by my girls and not forgotten at home. And yea, I do this to myself…every year.

There are some things I just can’t leave to the usual commercial  traditions. When our girls were in preschool, we got those 24-count Valentines cards from Walgreens to pass out to fellow classmates. Easy, yes? It could be…but I couldn’t let that be it. No, there had to be something special. So, I suggested we make cookies. What kid could turn down a cookie? And this was on top of the girls having to bring in boxes to hold the many Valentines they were about to receive from their classmates…which of course, needed a bit of decor.

The next year, I found these very cool heart-shaped cookies with a groove to include a stick in each. I also discovered these cute little heart-shaped brownie pans. And of course, those Valentines cards again.

Last year, I decided the girls were at an age where they appreciated having photos of themselves and their friends. So, I did a mini shoot with them, designed and printed out their cards…along with a little something from Affordable Treasures…and those heart-shaped cookies-on-a-stick and brownies.

This year? Well, I just had to do their Valentines cards again. And they couldn’t be anything like last year’s. Songwriter decided to make her little somethings for each student while Storyteller preferred to get a little something from Affordable Treasures for her classmates. And brownies. Heart-shaped.

I thought my role had diminished over the past few years. I mean, Songwriter made her little somethings to hand out. And now, Songwriter and Storyteller both sign their own cards, count them and tie up their own packages. Packaging 48 sets of goodies does take some time to do. But I think my own efforts will be drastically reduced when I stop myself from suggesting we bake something special. That particular process still requires my assistance. And designing the cards? Well, that’s my playtime so I don’t begrudge that effort.  😉 hahaha

Two different classrooms meant two different deadlines to have everything done. And that meant two late nights.  heavy sigh Makes me really appreciate February 15th.   😉

An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

A Happy Wintry New Year To You!

It is indeed time…time for our annual weeklong stay in Tahoe between Christmas Day and New Years Day. It’s been quite a few years now that we’ve made this trek – and included our nephew from San Diego. This year as last, we  invited close family friends of ours to stay with us. Their daughter is only two days older than our girls and they are rather close friends. And their 4-year-old son is just a kick to be around.

Our nephew from San Diego joined us as well. He has come quite a long way from when he first began and we stuck him in ski lessons. Now, he has the daring and skill to hit all the lifts and black diamond runs he cares to. Certainly helps to be young and athletic. He picked it up rather quickly…with Uncle Truls to help him with technique tips here and there.

The snow was/is fantastic. Not sure but I think this is the most snow we’ve seen in Tahoe at this time of the season. It bodes well for a grrrrrrrrrrrrreat ski season and luckily, we’re doing the ski lease again this year. Our girls are psyched. Not only are they continuing to gain more daring with each run, they absolutely loooooove the snow – sledding, skiing and just plain ol’ romping around in it. Seems the snow racers we gave them for Christmas are a big hit – and turned quite a few heads on the sledding hill. Bet we’ll probably see more of those on the hill later this season.

For now, here are a few images from our week in Tahoe…with more to come, of course.

And a Thank You to my dear friend, Cathy, for snapping a few photos of me snapping a few photos of her and everyone else.  🙂 Here’s wishing everyone a safe, happy, and healthy 2011 filled with lots of love and laughter!

An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

Christmas Break Already? Really?

Wow. That happened quickly. Last Thursday was Songwriter’s class holiday party and last Friday was Storyteller’s party. And then…well…school let out for the holiday break. That. Was. Fast.

I joked that once Thanksgiving came and went, everything would speed up. I just didn’t think it would be this quick. About 1 1/2 weeks ago, the girls did the Primary Singalong with the 2nd graders for the parents and last Thursday, Songwriter’s class did a gift exchange, munched on freshly made pancakes, bacon and fruit, and watched their teacher open presents from all the families.

Last Friday, Storyteller’s class had a number of fun holiday stations like decorating gingerbread cookies, creating reindeer candy canes, making pine cone bird feeders, and putting together their own holiday treat bags in the drop zone.

Last Friday was also the last school day of the year for the girls until 2011. Wow.

Anyway, here are a few images signaling the arrival of the holidays. Better get started on those Christmas cards (yea, yea, yea, I know I’m late). Merry Christmas, everyone!

Original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

When Is Gingerbread Like A Carrot?

Well, that was one carrot I got to play well last Sunday. The agenda included looking for Jonathan Dauphine (aka Elf on the Shelf), check out the advent calendars for their daily chocolate and clue to their daily treat, watching Norwegian Christmas DVD’s, make cookies with Pappa, do homework, clean family room and only then could they decorate a gingerbread house!

It’s been that kind of holiday season thus far. Each year the girls have gotten older and more into the Myklebust traditions of the season. Gosh, it’s fun to watch. And they get such a kick out of every morning.

And Truls great new discovery? A pre-constructed gingerbread house kit. All I had to do was put the icing along the lines in the gingerbread pieces and let the girls have at it. Check out their masterpieces here.

Oh yea, and let’s not forget our own Jonathan Dauphine. He has been reporting to Santa nightly and landing in a different spot each morning. Our girls swear that they could see his eyes move.  bwahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

Starting Our December Traditions

Our Elf on the Shelf (aka Jonathan Dauphine, as named by our girls) is back. And with him comes a little better behavior for the month of December…well, until Christmas Eve, that is. His magical hearing and sight have served Santa (and us) well the last few years. He is watching…and listening.

Our morning routine in December adjusts with our holiday traditions. In fact, it inspires our girls to get out of bed as soon as they awake. After getting dressed, they rush downstairs to find where Jonathan Dauphine (aka Elf on the Shelf) has landed after his nightly visit to the North Pole to report on their behavior to Santa Claus. The morning discovery always results in squeals of laughter.

Next up, the advent calendar. We have two. First, they pick out the bit of chocolate from the grocery store bought cardboard calendar. Ok, so this one is a bit contrived and commercial but it’s still a nice little treat when the girls wake up. Then, off to check the traditional advent calendar sewn by Farmor (Norwegian for grandmother). This year, we (OK, Truls) decided to leave a short clue each day, a mini scavenger hunt for the girls. (Yes, they are big fans of The Amazing Race just like their parents). This is what Truls grew up with…his mom leaving a clue each day for each kid to find his/her prize. These have to be simple, of course. We can’t delay the morning routine thaaaaaaaaat long.

And finally, time to sit down for breakfast. While I love the holidays and how excited the girls get each morning, I have to be even more vigilant now with the morning routine. I am constantly haranguing my girls to sit down, eat their breakfast and to put away that toy/purse/crafts kit/silly band. But oh well. I guess it’s worth it seeing their excitement from the moment they wake up until they walk out the door to school. ‘Tis the season.

An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.