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TB Articles: A Feline’s Body Language August 31, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Animals, cats, family, learning, Pets.
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Its through nature that every living thing is able to communicate through body language. If a bear is angry, it will stand on it’s hind legs. If a human is happy, they will show it through their facial expression. Or if they’re anything like me, jumping up and down.

Cats aren’t that much different, though sometimes it is hard to decipher what is is your kitty is exactly saying sometimes.

If your kitty is standing in front of you, staring and meowing, they are demanding your attention. He/she most likely isn’t purring at the moment but will after a few moments of petting. But don’t feel bad if you’re in the middle of something and can’t give them your undivided attention. Cats don’t hold grudges for more than an hour. Once they realized that they aren’t gonna get petted at that exact moment, they will go find a nice quiet spot to go nap before they try it again. There are times you want to hold your kitty and they don’t want the attention. It’s only natural to have moods that don’t quite fit each other’s at that exact time.

Some breeds of cats, like the Siamese, tend to be very vocal. So if your furry companion is meowing and rubbing against your legs while you make dinner, it is common sense to know they’re hungry and want to eat. But if they’ve already eaten, then they want what you’re cooking for dinner. Rubbing against your leg when you’re not cooking is a sign that they are in a loving mood and want attention and your earliest convenience.

85% of cats don’t enjoy their stomachs being rubbed. Once they gain your trust, many should not have a problem. If they roll onto their back or even let you rub their tummy, they are saying, “I trust you. Love.”. Princess, Manders’ cat, generally doesn’t enjoy her stomach being rubbed. If she isn’t purring and you rub her tummy, she will kick and swat at your hand. If she’s in a really bad mood, she’ll even try to bite. But if she is purring, she has no problem with you petting her stomach.

Cats are genuinely happy animals. You can tell a cat is happy if they are wagging their tail, purring, or even sleeping with their stomach exposed. But if they get upset or angry, look for a puffed-up body/tail (they thing it makes them look intimidating), and they generally have their ears back. That means, “Step away and quickly!”. Never try to calm a cat that might look like it will attack. Within the hour, it will calm down. If it doesn’t calm down within a few hours, check with your vet for any signs of illness or injury.

Once you get to know your cat (or your cats breed if you have a particular one), it’s not so hard to figure out what they want!

We Say Goodbye to Patches August 20, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Animals, cats, family, Feelings, life, thoughts.
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I regret to inform all of you that Patches, Mom’s 4-year-old and Smokie’s cat, passed away unexpectedly this evening. She didn’t show any signs, and we’re all shocked beyond belief.

She was from Smokie’s 2nd litter and for some reason when we decided that Smokie’s kittens needed good homes, nobody wanted Patches. I couldn’t figure out why- hell, she entertained herself. But, we decided to keep her. Patches and Mom grew close and because best friends. Patches was quirky and really weird sometimes. She wasn’t always healthy and often had skin irritations, but she always bounced back. Her and Smokie, during the Fall and Winter months, would always race back and forth from room to room early in the morning while we were all asleep. How do I know that?  They didn’t give it a second thought to jump on the bed. Like Smokie when she was little, she too would scale curtains. Patches was a jumpy cat, but that’s what made it so funny- she would be sleeping, someone would pet her, and she would jump a mile high. One time, she jumped from the shelf to on top of the television and skated right off. It was like the videos you would see on America’s Funniest Videos.

After everything we’re going through, this put me, Manders, and especially Mom over the edge. We don’t know if we can truly handle everything. Patches was only about a month away from turning 5 years old. We will forever miss her for she was a special kitty.

Smokie Talking to Patches

Smokie Talking to Patches

CIJ: Favorite Songs July 31, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in blogs, Christmas, Christmas in July, family, Feelings, fun, holidays, life, music, Siblings, sisters, thoughts, twins.
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Thanks to Confetti Dreams, I thought I would end Christmas In July here at Texas Banter with some of my favorite songs. I know it seems like I am copying her, but c’mon! She’s my twin! She has some of the best ideas!

But it was VERY hard to choose my Top 10 all-time favorite Christmas songs. It’s like asking someone who loves chocolate to choose their favorite piece. It’s impossible! But here goes:

10. The Christmas Song by Luther Vandross – I consider Luther Vandross a legend when it comes to love songs. While “The Christmas Song” isn’t exactly a love song, it can sure turn into one. When I hear him sing it, I just want to sit by a fire with someone and cuddle. It’s always been a favorite of mine, even if it isn’t sung by Vandross. But his rendition will always remain a favorite of mine.

9. Christmas Cookies by George Strait – I am not afraid to say that I listen to country, especially George Strait. We own every Christmas album George has put out and know every song by heart. While “Frosty the Snowman”  and “All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth” are so greatly sung by this King of Country, I prefer “Christmas Cookies”. It’s hilarious and you can just feel the Christmas magic when you hear it. Sure he doesn’t talk about Christmas trees or decorations and it’s more about cookies, you know it’s Christmas.

8. Let It Snow ’98 by Brian McKnight – I absolutely love Brian McKnight. When he sings Christmas songs, you get the feeling of Christmas. It just feels a lot more like Christmas when you hear him crooning out songs that are filled with magic. And considering he sings it with Boyz II Men just makes it that much more wonderful!

7. O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night by Trans-Siberian OrchestraYou’re probably wondering why I didn’t choose “Wizards in Winter” from Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Well, it’s widely used and not a lot of people know about their other works, which are amazing. I have this CD and I have loved it ever since. I wish I could see them live.

6. Believe by Josh Groban – This is from “The Polar Express”, which is an amazing movie. But this song is so powerful and you can just feel what Groban is feeling. This song gives me chills every time I hear it. It will forever remain a favorite and one that I will play for years to come.

5. Heavy Metal Christmas (The Twelve Days of Christmas) by Twisted Sister -I am a metalhead through and through. But because I enjoy all kinds of music, this ranks #5 on my list. I love Twisted Sister’s Christmas album “Twisted Christmas” because its Christmas and it’s metal, what more could ya ask for? But this song is somewhat humorous. Instead of 5 golden rings and and 2 turtle doves, Twisted Sister gets 5 skull earrings and 2 pairs of spandex pants. It’s heavy metal the magic of Christmas! Oh yea!

4. This Christmas by Jagged Edge – Now you should already know that Jagged Edge would have been on the list somewhere. This isn’t the song you hear from Elliot Yamin or Chris Brown. This has different lyrics and a different feel, but one that I enjoy so much. Their harmony just brings out the song that no one can compete with. Once I play it on my iPod this Holiday season, there it will stay!

3. Here Comes Santa Claus by Gene Autry – Manders forgot about this one! It’s a classic and I love classics! I remember when I was little and our parents had an old record player and old Christmas records. Every time Christmas came, we would put that album on and turn it to this song because we just loved it. In 1946, he wrote the song because of a Christmas Parade in Los Angeles. Pretty cool, huh?

2. Winter Wonderland by George Strait – You can’t deny that George Strait is great! I love this song, especially when George sings it! He brings a fun vibe and it just feels like Christmas! I’m surprised Sissy forgot to add it to her list! But then again, she wouldn’t have to. She could just add every single Christmas album by the King of Country!

1.  Here We Come A-Wassailing – So many people sing this but I still love it! It’s a fun song and so much fun to sing! It’s joyful and so cheerful, that you can’t help but feel happiness when you sing it with friends. No one knows exactly when it was written or it’s exact origin, but to know that it is still sung through the centuries just to show that it’s such a great song!

I appreciate everyone joining all of us for our first Christmas in July event! It was so much fun that we have decided to do more events! We will have a Halloween event starting the first week of October, maybe a Thanksgiving event, but definitely Christmas will be our 3rd major event (considering Manders and I love Halloween and we plan to make it a major event as well). We hope you enjoyed everything and our memories!

CIJ: Retro Christmas July 27, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Christmas, Christmas decor, Christmas in July, family, Feelings, hilarious, life, memories, thoughts.
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I was watching the Christmas in July special they had on QVC yesterday and the day before. Yesterday, they had a special segment called “Christmas Memories” where they brought out all sorts of retro Christmas ornaments and decorations. While I don’t remember having any retro Christmas decorations, I thought it would be neat to have a retro Christmas this year!

Instead of putting up a big artificial green Christmas tree, I love the idea of putting up an aluminum Christmas tree with the color wheel! Mom told us about them and ever since that story, I wanted one! I thought it would be so cool to go retro for Christmas, but that also includes the tree! Every year, it frustrates us because we can’t get the lights to go the way we want. They’ll blink when we don’t want them to or they won’t blink when we would prefer they do. So to counterbalance all of that, I want an aluminum tree!

When I was little, Mom used to have this HUGE collection of Santas. I mean, there were a lot. They were given to her as gifts or she would see it, and say “I have to have it!”, thus ended up buying it. But a house fire in 2001 destroyed it all, including everything we had. So one year, Manders and I bought her this beautiful and colorful ceramic Santa that stood a little over 12 inches. Mom loved it. So she put it on a shelf. But one of the cats we had at the moment (I hope it wasn’t Smokie!) jumped on top of the shelf, where we thought they couldn’t reach, and knocked it over. It was broken into a million pieces. So one day, Manders and I decided to start re-collecting Santas for Mom. But this time, I would love to give her a retro Santa! It just brings back that magic that Christmas held close as children.

I don’t know if anyone remembers these, but way back when, they started making plastic Santas that you could put out in your yard and there was a light so Santa could shine. I believe they also had Frosty and Toy Soldiers. As I was watching QVC’s “Christmas in July” event, they had a Toy Soldier ornament. It brought back the image of those plastic Toy Soldier’s outdoor decorations and I thought it would be so neat, if I can ever find them, to snag 2 and place them outside. I know as older people drive by, they will be reminded of Christmases that features these outside their home. It would bring back a lot of memories.

I would love to buy all the retro Christmas decorations I can and just make on Christmas completely retro- down to even the tiniest decoration! I think it’s because it was a simpler time when Christmas didn’t mean the hottest iPhones or the coolest toys. It was about family and being together. I think most of society has lost that idea and I would like to see it come back!

CIJ: 5 Months July 25, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Christmas, Christmas in July, family, Feelings, holidays, life, thoughts.
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In 5 months to the day, it will be Christmas Day. Families around the US (since International countries celebrate it hours before we do) will be waking up early to see what Santa had brought them. Children will feverishly rip at the wrapping to get the toy that’s underneath. Parents will be sitting on the sofa, drinking their coffee, in hopes that the children liked what Santa had given them. “A Christmas Story” is playing on the television for the 900th time.

I enjoy Christmas morning. Texas usually doesn’t get a “white” Christmas but it’s chilly. But it’s fun to pad into the living room with socks on my feet, Manders behind me, and presents under the tree. We are usually not awake enough to play Santa so Mom and Dad are volunteered. We unwrap one gift at a time so that each person have their moment to see what they had gotten and show everyone.

I look forward to Christmas EVERY year. There is just a magic about it that seeps into my body and chills me to the very bone. The pretty lights, the soothing music, the Christmas carols playing on every station, and seeing the Holiday movies. Being with my family as we drive mindlessly around town, looking at all the Christmas displays on the houses and coming up with ideas on how we can make out Christmas display look even more fantastic! We take turns asking to put this CD in the CD player or turning the station to something that fits the mood.

I like Christmas.

CIJ: Fave Tradition July 24, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Christmas, Christmas in July, family, Feelings, holidays, life, Siblings, sisters, Texas, twins.
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Everybody has to have a favorite Christmas tradition. I know I sure as hell do. Well, actually, it’s more like several. One tradition is Manders and I decorating the outside of the house every single year. If you’ve heard that song “12 Pains of Christmas” and that guy is getting mad because the outside lights aren’t going as planned? That’s us. We won’t want them to blink and they’ll blink. Or putting them above the porch only to find there aren’t enough nails. But we are proud of ourselves, even if did spend almost 3 hours outside trying to figure it out. Even when Manders and I move to college, we’ll still do that every year because it’s tradition.

Another one of my favorite Christmas traditions is going to Nature in Lights, which is a  drive through over five miles of holiday- inspired scenes. We do it almost every other year and it is so much fun! It’s at the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area, which is usually cut off to civilians since it is on Fort Hood but the open it during Christmas so that they can see Nature in Lights. In fact, we went last year and took tons of pictures, which I turned into a slideshow. Feel free to view it and bask in the wonderfulness that is Christmas! We try to go a little before or a week before Christmas. It just doesn’t have that Christmas feeling if you go afterward. But it always gets us looking forward to Christmas because it’s crisp, we listen to the Christmas music they play, and we all wear our Santa hats.

We also have smaller traditions but we don’t usually do them every year. It really depends on how tall our Christmas tree will be that year, or how we’re feeling, or just the general overall feeling of Christmas. Sometimes the feeling of Christmas isn’t what it should be so we wait for next year on the traditions. But those traditions span from pictures in front of the Christmas tree, goofy Christmas pictures, or candid pictures while someone is dancing to a Christmas song.

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CIJ: Pet Gift Ideas July 20, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Animals, Beds, Cat Furniture, cats, Christmas, Christmas in July, dogs, family, Gift Ideas, gifts, holidays, shopping.
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christmas-kitten-cat-756396Don’t forget our furry friends this Christmas! Our 3 cats and 1 dog are as much as a part of this family than anyone else and we have always given them some sort of gift (unwrapped, of course) so that they don’t feel left out at Christmas.

There are TONS of gifts that you can give your doggy or your kitty at Christmas! What my family always does, even if they receive something else, is get our fur babies treats. Since the Holidays are filled with sweets and pets can’t usually have them, we give them treats so that they don’t beg for that piece of chocolate. There are numerous treats out there pretty much everywhere so pick up a bag/can of your pet’s favorite treats for Christmas!

Toys are another great way to celebrate the Holidays with Fido or Fluffly. Smokie and Patches (Smokie is my cat and Patches is my Mom’s) enjoy catnip-filled mice and string while Princess (Manders’ kitty) enjoys the feather and fluffy toys. Zeus will play with practically anything but really loves to play tug-of-war. So depending on your pet’s favorite game(s), giet them a toy they will enjoy!

Even though Fido loves to sleep on your bed or Fluffy wants to sleep on your favorite couch, get them the gift that keeps on giving! Instead of losing your couch or bed to your pet, give them their own! At PetCo, they have all shapes and sizes to choose from. They even have dog couches and cat cradles for your loved one to sleep in on those extra cold nights. Fido will feel happy that he has his own bed that no one else can sleep on and Fluffy will be glad that she has her own quiet place!

If you have a friend that has pets and you want to give them something, give them the gift of a gift card. If something happens and they need to run to PetsMart or PetCo, they won’t have to worry if they have enough money to get what they need. Maybe they’re thinking of getting a pet and giving them the giftcard will make them feel more confident in their choice, since it won’t be for just a dog or for just a cat.

Every year at Christmas at Wal-Mart, they sell animal Christmas stockings that are filled with toys and treats. So take the guesswork out of wondering what your pet will enjoy and get them a Christmas stocking. They will be so excited, they’ll play with more than one of the toys included! I know we have given our pets a Christmas stocking for years and every year, they play with it like it will be their last! Sometimes they even play with it months after. I know Fido and Fluffy will enjoy it!

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Christmas in July: Dear Santa July 17, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in alpha inventions, Animals, Books, cats, Christmas, Christmas in July, dogs, family, Feelings, funny, holidays, life, Pets, random, Siblings, sisters, thoughts, twins.
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Note: I took the idea from Manders (aka Confetti Dreams).

 

Dear Santa:

It’s July. It’s hot, muggy, and no rain. I’m tired of it and wishing Fall would get here soon. So what does this have to do with you?

Everything! You grace us with your presence every year at Christmas, and getting through Fall just means you’ll visit us once again. But I must remind you: The cats are still sort of afraid of strangers. They are attached to their owners and don’t want attention from anyone unless he or she is part of the family. Of course, that doesn’t include that dog. They hate him. But then again, he loves to chase them. Speaking of the dog, he won’t bite. I promise that. His bark is a lot louder than his bite. Milk and Cookies are in the fridge. Pup likes cookies and kitties like milk. For the reindeer, since it’s going to be a long night, there is some soda in the fridge as well. They could probably use the caffeine.

So what do I want this year? Not much, really. Like my other half, a laptop would be REALLY nice. Then Mom wouldn’t get tired of hearing us argue about who has been on the longest or asking “When am I getting on?”. We wouldn’t have to argue either. True, sisters (especially twins) argue over inanimate objects like computers but after a while, it gets boring. We need something new to argue over! I’m pretty sure if I said more books or a nutcracker (which is on my “just-in-case” list), we wouldn’t have to argue over that and Christmas would end up boring. But of course I’ll take practically anything dealing with books, movies, music (heavy metal or Jagged Ege please), or nutcrackers.

Manders will take George Strait or Kahn (from Kamelot) under the tree this year. Forget any CDs or DVDs by these men. She’ll just take them as they are- in the flesh. She wants them only for a month, but I know her too well and she secretly wants them for more than a month. Please leave a note on how long she can keep them. Oh and if they come with any accessories (guitars, ya know), leave those as well. Mom could probably use a vacation. As far as where, that’s a conundrum. I have no clue! You’re better off asking her. I don’t know what you could get Daddy. You might want to ask him too.

Oh and if it isn’t too much trouble, please make sure that all pets are in the house. Smokie likes to escape. Give the Mrs my best.

Christmas in July: Toy Memory July 15, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Christmas, Christmas in July, family, Feelings, gifts, holidays, life, memories, Siblings, sisters, thoughts, Toys.
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For some odd reason, I have the gift of remembering things that have no relevance to the “now”. I can remember things from 2nd grade all the way up to certain seconds in my life in high school. But as we celebrate Christmas in July, I am reminded of a special toy that Manders and I once received when we were about 5 years old.

It was nearing Christmas and we were walking through the mall after seeing Santa. The mall wasn’t as bad as it is now, so it was fairly easy to just take a detour through Sears and create a wishlist in your mind. That is, until we came upon the motherload. It was a Disney castle. The most perfect castle we had ever seen and it was beautiful! We thought it was huge, but we’re only 5. We begged and begged Mom and Dad for it. Of course, we had just had our birthday so we already had presents at home to play with but we wanted that castle so badly! But Mom and Dad said that it was too expensive, we couldn’t get it this year. I can’t remember if we cried or if we just stormed out because we were upset.

Christmas Eve came and we just knew we weren’t going to get the castle. At 5 years old, you know these things. We went over to our Aunt’s house that evening for the annual Christmas get-together. We came home, and looked for Santa on the radar. The minute we saw that he was getting close, we hurried up the stairs to bed. We couldn’t wait for Christmas morning to arrive.

Manders and I woke up on Christmas morning and tiptoed to Mom and Dad’s bedroom. We went inside and asked them if we could open presents. When they said we could, we raced down the steps, looked at the bottom of the Christmas tree. Jiminey Cricket, our castle! There it was in all its glory- Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and even Pluto! It had a car so you could drive Pluto into the carport. It opened so you could place Minnie in the bedroom. We played with it for days on end. I found out as soon as I got older that they had already bought it for us before we even saw it but couldn’t tell us.

I tried to Google it and spent almost an hour looking for it, but thus, I didn’t succeed. I can’t seem to find the childhood toy I remember so vividly!

Thoughts of a Feline July 12, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in alpha inventions, Animals, cats, family, Feelings, life, Pets, random, thoughts.
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Last time as I was drifting off to sleep, I noticed that Smokie wanted attention. I had no problem with this since I knew I would be passed out sooner or later and she would end up leaving me to sleep in her spot under the air conditioner. She laid her head on my hand, which she often does, and just stared vacantly nowhere. As she continued to stare at nothing, I started wondering what she was thinking of.

Do cats think with words? Surely it isn’t as complex as our thinking is, since it’s a lot easier for us. But surely it isn’t just all pictures. I’m sure she doesn’t see her paw and lick it because she saw it. I know she doesn’t look at me and think I’m just a different species that’s stupid. If that were the case, she wouldn’t come to me for attention, food, or just because she doesn’t like that fact that I’m reading. Do cats look at the TV or wall and see the person moving without a thought? I know cats think because when they jump from a high to a low spot, they have to calculate how far and how to jump so they don’t injure themselves. They know when someone is a stranger. They know when they get in trouble with their owners. I know cats don’t think like us- bills, school, work, romance. But in some way, I do think that they have thoughts that pertain to their current life.

Smokie will see Zeus coming up towards her and she has to think of a way to get away quickly. So she’ll look back and forth to see an escape. If she is walking in the room and sees a box or something that isn’t completely stable, she’ll calculate a jump over it.

But what do cats really think of when they’re staring off into space?

CIJ: Creating a Christmas Wishlist July 12, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Christmas, Christmas in July, family, Friends, holidays, life, shopping.
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Santa and His Wish List

It happens every year, even before it can become summer- everyone starts coming up with a Christmas wishlist. That new phone comes out and everyone wants it. That new video game system comes out and everyone wants one. That new DVD comes out and they want to be surprised with it at Christmas. Well, help your friends and family take out the guesswork of figuring out what you would like for Christmas!

At Amazon, you can create your own wishlist with whatever you find you want on Amazon and even send it to all your friends and family. Nothing is limited to your wishlist. And you can even put how many you want of a certain item, how many you’ve received of that item, and that priority of it. So let’s say you put a Kurt Adler Irish Large Nutcracker (that’s in my wishlist). They go for about $30 and you want 2 for whatever reason. Under Desired, you put a 2. If you’ve received 1 a few weeks after, put a 1 under Received. You have a choice of Highest, High, Medium, Low, and Lowest for Priority so choose wisely!

If the item you want isn’t at Amazon, but another website or store, go to Christmas Wishlist and register. This is quite simple because all you have to do is add a short description, a longer one (if you choose), the optional URL and the “Rank by Importance”. Like the Amazon Wishlist, you can e-mail to all your family and friends. You can also invite others to join you in the search for that perfect gift.

Wal-Mart and Target both have Wishlists, though I haven’t used them. Hot Topic and other stores also have a wishlist, but Hot Topic changes their inventory on their website so often that what you want could possibly be sold out by tomorrow. If you are interested in see if Macy’s has a wishlist, Google “Macy’s Wishlist”.

Wishlisttr is another great place to hold your Christmas wishlist, as well as a Birthday wishlist or even your anniversary wishlist. You can give it any title you want. It’s pretty simple. All you have to do name your wish, give the link URL, and a short description of what exactly it is you want, though the description is optional. Dream of This Wishlists will seem a little more complicated at first but they give you so many choices, especially Item Category and Price so you can tell your family and friends exactly how much it costs so there aren’t any surprises. You can move and item from list to list, you can send it to everyone, and they even have a page for Gift Ideas. Though it is based in the UK and they offer Pounds for a price, it looks like a good place to put a wishlist of any kind.

But I still prefer the Amazon Wishlist.

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CIJ: A Twin Christmas July 8, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Christmas, Christmas in July, family, Feelings, hilarious, life, memories, Siblings, sisters, thoughts, twins.
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Believe it or not, Christmastime with twins is just as much fun as it is with any other siblings!

When we were children, Christmas was always fun. Mom, figuring that one would get jealous if the other one got something cooler, would buy us both the same thing but in different colors or designs. We would both get a Barbie but with different hair color. We would both get a stuffed animal but different colors. When it came to big items, she would buy only one of them for us to share. I can’t seem to remember it, but we had a toy that looked like a robot. It would tell us stories, and ask educational questions. It came with cassette tapes and you could even play your musical (we played Garth Brooks) tapes in it. I just asked Mom and she forgot the name of it. It drives me crazy!

Even Christmas now, having a twin sister is fun! I love shopping for my twin and seeing her eyes light up as she unwraps the George Strait shotglass I got her one year. She loves seeing my eyes as I unwrap the genuine leather clutch she won for me last year. We both love going shopping for Mom because we both know she’ll be surprised at what she receives. Let’s not even talk about decorations! We both love decorating together for Christmas. When we decorate outside, we do it together. We first come up with a plan in our heads. Then as we march outside with bags of lights, we realize that the plan we first had isn’t going to work. So we brainstorm and finally figure out what to do. We might argue a lot because we’re frustrated that the lights won’t go around the trelis like we want, but we get it done. We stand back, and look at our work. We are so proud of ourselves. When it comes to the Christmas tree, we hardly argue over that. We put on Christmas music or a Christmas movie, and dance to the songs as we decorate the tree.

Wrapping presents is a different story. We have developed the habit of wrapping each other’s gifts while the other is in the bedroom. So that the other doesn’t see what we got them for Christmas, we end up wrapping on the floor. We’ll throw the tape on the bed and after 5 minutes, we’ll ask where it is. The other will look under the covers and pillows, finding it under a comforter and laughing because the one wrapping is getting mad because they have misplaced the scissors. We still do the “shake” test though the presents have gotten bigger over the year, it makes it rather difficult. In fact, Manders couldn’t shake her gift otherwise it could have broke! Christmas Eve is fun because we argue over who is going to play Santa and hand out gifts and who will end up taking the pictures.

I love celebrating Christmas with my twin. It’s fun, frustrating, and above all- great.

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CIJ: Gift Ideas for Kids/Teens July 4, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in children, Christmas, Christmas in July, family, Gift Ideas, gifts, holidays, Movies, music, shopping, Toys.
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Even with children, they seem to be the easiest to shop for. They can be picky, but they also enjoy unwrapping gifts and squealing with delight as they realized that they got something off their Christmas list (even if it isn’t the exact Barbie doll they wanted). I have realized through tons of TV watching and Christmas shopping, Moms and Dads are going towards educational and personalized gifts to give their children. At Happy Kids Personalized, there are a lot of items to choose from, including personalized music CDs, children’s books, and even personalized T-Shirts. With Hannah Montana and Jonas Brother items on the rise, there should be no surprise that their products will end up on Christmas lists all around the world.

While action figures and dolls are envitable as they are synonmous with Christmas gifts, give them the gift of creativity with arts and crafts. At Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, you can usually find craft kits that includes painting, art sand, and even mosiacs. Letting them use their creative noodle not only keeps them occupied, they’ll use that same creativity and imagination later in life. Trust me- I was big on crafts when I was younger.

I know it’s wishful thinking, but I was hoping vintage toys would make a comeback. I remember getting a Furby for Christmas and a LiteBrite one year. While they aren’t what they used to be, they still sell the Mousetrap game and Simon games at Toys R Us.

But if you’re having problems figuring out what to get your teenager, DVDs of their favorite TV shows/artists and electronics are the way to go. As I went into my teens years, it got harder for Mom to shop for Manders and I because we weren’t particular in what we wanted. We were going through that stage so we had made it difficult. iPods, iPod decks, and even Guitar Hero video games seem to be what is currently popular with this age. If you do decide to get them Guitar Hero or Rock Band, I can say that it will pay for itself. As your teen continues playing, they will continue to keep getting better at it and there are other versions of them to buy so they they never have to play the same song month after month after month. If they’re friends receive a Guitar Hero guitar in the same platform, they can play against each other to see who has the highest score! You can also get the a gift card to iTunes so they can download their favorite music to place on an iPod they already have.

I may not have children but I sure do speak from experience!

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I’m thinking… June 17, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Books, family, Feelings, life, Siblings, sisters, thoughts, twins, writing.
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As I laid down to go to sleep, I started thinking about the books I have been reading. All of them have been fiction and in 95% of them, they feature some sort of paranormal monster- whether it be a vampire, werewolf, or witch. Then I got to thinking of the nonfiction books that centered around twins. None of them came from the actual twin’s point-of-view. They have all been written by some expert or a parent of twins.

Sure we want to know how twins come about or what it’s like to have a set of twins. But you don’t get a sense of who the twins truly are, unless they are young and can’t write the book. But with all the adult twins in the world, you figured that they would write a book about what it’s like to be a twin and live with a twin. Maybe I am thinking outside of the box, and that’s who I am.

But I was thinking of writing a book about twins… from the twin’s point-of-view! I wouldn’t write it like it was some distant future and we’re already in college and trying to make our way through life and Biology. That would be disingenuous of me and wouldn’t really make sense since there is still a lot that Manders and I go through every single day. Hell, we still argue over what to watch on TV before we go to sleep. No one ever tells you those little things that make twins so wonderful. We argue but we don’t stay mad.

I think it would be so cool for people to see what twins are TRULY like from their point-of-view instead of an expert who has no twins or a parent whose twins are too young to say what the bond is like. It would be one of a kind!

Gifts, Cards, and Books June 16, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in birthday, family, Feelings, life, random, Siblings, sisters, thoughts, twins.
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Mom’s birthday is on Thursday and while I don’t have a gift to give her on Thursday, they are in the mail. Manders and I are so crafty that she has no clue! But she is getting a card and it could be the card to top all the birthday cards she’s ever received! You know how Hallmark has designed all of these recordable cards and those with music, and those with sound? We got her one with sound. I wanted to get one with music but at $10, that’ll have to wait until Christmas. True, I will also have something else in mind but since I couldn’t get her the card with music, I have decided to wait. I want one of those for my birthday as well!

Speaking of my birthday, if you don’t already know, I share it with Twin. One of her birthday gifts is also in the mail. I know it’s a little early (considering our birthday isn’t until December) but I wouldn’t have the chance again to get this UNIQUE and personalized gift so I snagged it when I had the chance. At first I thought about getting it for me but realized that I know someone who would enjoy it more so naturally, I personalized it for sissy. I still plan to get her what I want for her birthday because this just happened by accident and I knew the chance wouldn’t come again. So, she’s going to have 2 gifts from moi!

I am a sad person. Not emotionally but in some weird way, I am sad. You know what I mean? I can’t think of an anaolgy to help explain it but I will tell you why. I entered a blog giveaway to win “The Night Gardener” by George Pelecanos because I have heard such great things about it. My local library didn’t have it and I didn’t want to buy it if it turned out to not be my “cup of tea”. I would be stuck with a book I didn’t enjoy and probably out $15. My… thoughts (?) were answered. I woke up this morning, turned on the computer, signed into my e-mail and saw that I had won a copy of the book! I have been excited all day because I had won a book. This is why I say I’m sad. I am excited about a book that I’m sure almost thousands of people have already read! But I guess in some way, that is what I enjoy about my personality- I am able to get excited over everything little thing. You could ask me if I wanted to go buy a movie and I would pick up the keys and drive you over there myself.