Category Archives: 5 things

5 Things Thursday: Military Jackets

If yesterday’s post was an ode to the triumph of stumbling upon something you’ve been stalking for a while, today’s is all about the hunt.

So, what am I after now?

The perfect military jacket.

I keep talking about how I’m not trendy, but there are certain aspects of certain trends that definitely speak to me (harem pants never utter a single word). And the whole military look, with its brass buttons and olive green and general air of tough femininity…yeah. Me likey.

I’ve been hoping to blunder into a really great military jacket deal but haven’t had any such luck so far, so in lieu of being able to show you the real deal, here are five that I would snap up in a heartbeat…at least if I found them at Goodwill.


This Cotton Cargo Jacket is actually in the “big girls” section (question: if one is old enough to qualify as a “big girl,” wouldn’t one rather not be referred to as such?), but the reviews indicate that adults are buying it as often as not, and Nordstrom offers free shipping and free returns, so trying it on is a definite possibility (oxymoron, I know; but I like the phrase).

big girl jacket

{Psst: the best part is the rear view, so make sure you take a peek at it}


This juniors version (also from Nordstrom) is cute too, if considerably less clean-cut.

rubbish jacket


I’m a sucker for anything with a hood, and I think this version is adorbs. And it’s actually from the women’s department, which is good since it might not be best for an almost 31-year-old woman (1 and a 1/2 weeks…sniff, sniff) to buy too many things from the “big girls” and juniors departments.

on navy jacket  anorak jacket

(Don’t think I’d be pairing with Daise Dukes, though)


Trust J. Crew (Factory, actually) to have something I love …for way too much money (not that it matters since it’s sold out).

j crew jacket


This one’s a bit of a departure from the rest, but I wouldn’t say no to something ruffly and all buttoned up if it looked like this.

arden b jacket :

(Of course it’s sold out too)

So, what do you think of military jackets? Do they pass muster for you? (Sorry; I had to go there).

And which style do you think I should go for? Tailored and pretty or casual? Did you have a favorite? Or a link to one you love? Do tell!

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5 Things Thursday: The Real Family Rules

I’m not very good at Pinterest. I go for days without pinning a single thing. It’s one of those things that I have to schedule time for, or I won’t do it. Of course, I know a lot of you wish you spent less time on Pinterest (don’t worry, I fall prey to my own array of time-suckers) and are wondering why in the world I would even bother to put reminders in my phone to use it.

Answer: because it helps my blog, so I feel like I should do it. When I pin things, people are more likely to follow me. And when people follow me, they are more likely to find my blog. Ergo, I must pin things.

I could write an entire post on how Pinterest is arguably the single most dangerous online invention for women, since it feeds our already robust tendencies to compare, covet, and complain. And there’s another C—contentment—that Pinterest can be very bad for indeed. But that’s a post all its own. And of course, when I want inspiration or ideas, Pinterest is fan-flippin’-tastic. Which is why I sometimes suddenly flood your feed with pictures of dreamy, twinkle-lit patio spaces or green laces dresses or…you get the idea.

Which brings me to what I really wanted to talk about today. Because even I—as unPinteresting as I am (yes, I went there)—pretty much can’t get on there without seeing yet another round of adorable, warm, and fuzzy Family Rules popping up in all their colorful, beautifully lettered subway art glory.

Something a little like this, maybe?

happy subway art

(I just bought that one at Marshall’s because I loved the colors; I’m still trying to decide whether to keep it; thoughts?)

It sounds and looks so amazing, and most of them are more or less true. So, that’s…good…right?

But then, the day after I bought that one, I read Kristen’s post about their “real family rules” over at We Are That Family. And it made me laugh and nod my head…

…and come up with 5 *real* family rules of my own:

the real family rules 2

I could have kept going for sure. Runners up included:

We cherish every moment, especially the multitude of moments we spend touching every germ-infested surface in the bathroom at Goodwill (eeeew).  


We are patient. Most of the time. (And by most of the time, we mean every second Tuesday between 4 and 8 PM. If we are not hungry…or is it hangry?)


We never give up. Unless something is hard. And then we declare, “I can’t do this!” and stomp off (and no, I’m not necessarily just talking about the kids).

So, that’s us. But I suspect that we are not the only family who doesn’t fit the warm and fuzzy Family Rules mold.

Care to share some of your REAL family rules? I’d be ever so grateful.

P.S. I do pin things every now and then if you want to follow along. I apologize ahead of time for bombarding you with cheesecake pins when I get a craving.

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5 Things Thursday: Project Elephant Checklist (#1)

I promised yesterday that I would share my first 5 Project Elephant goals. Because I’m pretty sure that writing down your plans is one of those “habits of highly successful people” kind of things to do.

So, here they are:

project elephant checklist1

I’ve already made some headway on several of these, and I even posted a teaser of my in-progress plate wall to Instagram. (P.S. This is my favorite form of social media, and I post all kinds of cuteness and fun stuff there if you want to follow along).

plate wall

{Any advice for the best way to hang all that prettiness?}

So, now it’s your turn. I’d love it if you’d tell me in the comments what your top 5 Project Elephant goals are (or whatever number you want to share).

And if you’re not sure about all this Project Elephant business and don’t want to commit to a project every Monday, then you can just list some long term goals you’d love to accomplish.

Maybe it’ll help get your project ball rolling!

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5 Things Thursday: Back-to-School Cute-ssentials

I know some of you have been back in school for at least a week now, but we’ve been whooping it up over here in East Texas, wringing the last few drops of fun out of summer (more on that tomorrow). The boys start back on Tuesday at the little 3-day-a-week, teensy-tinesy private school they went to last year, and I’ll still be homeschooling them on Mondays and Fridays.

I was never the girl who bothered much with making her back-to-school supplies cute as well as functional. But, then again, I didn’t have Pinterest (find me here) to convince me that I couldn’t possibly learn as well without a chevron-patterned pencil-sharpener or a patchwork floral backpack.

Probably a good thing when I think about it.

Still, in honor of that fresh-new-endless-possibilities feeling that the prospect of a new year full of “bouquets of sharpened pencils” brings, here are 5 things I’d make sure to have in my schoolgirl repertoire if I had it all to do over again.


Pretty Pencils

cute pencils


These are great, with the clever quotes and the pastel stripes. I am sure my handwriting, dismal though it is, would be greatly improved if I wrote with these.

polka dot pencil


And it’s hard to imagine anything much cuter than black and white polka dots. I think I might have to dot all my “i’s” with hearts if I wrote with these.


Posh Pencil Holders

…because what’s the use of having great pencils if you have nothing comparably fantastic to put them in?

soup can pencil holder

These soup cans turned pencil holders (tutorial from the Wicker House) would do the trick.

pencil case write


Love the simplicity and motivational attitude of this little pencil bag…from a no longer available Etsy shop :( .

red birds pencil case


This red and white, “love birds” case is seriously cute too.

aqua pencil case


As is this aqua floral option (which is big enough to work as a makeup bag too!)


Beautiful Backpacks

…to hold my fancy pencils tucked inside their cute cases.


Love this Fossil one (which is, sadly, sold out).

target backpack


Big fat love the coral trim on this one!


Capricious {E-Reader} Cases

Not that I had anything like a Kindle or iPad when I was in school, but nowadays, textbooks are practically passé. So, of course, I’d need something cute to hold my electronic reader of choice.

heart ipad case


I’m just dreaming here, since this Jonathan Adler version is way more than I would ever pay. But it’s still fun.

pride and prejudice


Or how about making your reader look like a real book? This one would definitely be at the top of my list. (Although, again, it’s waaaaay too expensive for my spending habits).

ikat reader


I can take or leave chevron (although I tend to take it more than leave it), but ikat? Oh, I’ll take it pretty much every every time. Especially in crisp white, orange, and fuchsia. (My neutral-loving husband is shaking his head in disbelief and confusion at the moment).

flower case


This explosion of blooms is just so stinkin’ happy.


Darling Day Planners

lily pulitzer

This one is ultra-girly. Perfect for making the most mundane grocery lists glamorous. (And to everyone out there who just thought, “Impossible”…a girl can dream).


today is the day planner


Love the graphic punch and fun fonts on this pocket planner.

bird planner


Whimsical birds, gorgeous colors, pocket-sized portability, and CHEAP! I’m a fan!

So, what are your back-to-school “cute-ssentials” (even if you’re not still in school)?




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5 Things Thursday: BOoooING!

Disclaimer: if you have objections to large quantities of cute little kid pics, especially when the little kids in question have dirty faces, do not read this post.

I have so many fond memories of hours (upon hours) spent bouncing, lying, role-playing, rough-housing, game-creating, slip-sliding, and just generally having a ball on the trampoline. Of course, it wasn’t my trampoline. But, considering that I spent most of my waking hours at my friend Ronda’s house, and it was her trampoline, it didn’t much matter who technically held the title to that magical contraption.

25 years later (man, I feel old), and the enchantment has yet to fade.

Of course, when you get seven people of varying sizes/ages who are all related to each other on the same trampoline, the results can be a bit theatrical.

Which is how I am able to bring you…

The Water Bottle Saga: An Epic Dramedy in 5 Parts.


Set Up


Boy Drinks From Water Bottle




Little Sister Spies Water Bottle


Boy Shares Water Bottle


Then Shares Some More


Little Sister Gets More Than She Bargained For


After Recovering, Little Sister Marvels At The Wonders Of Plastic Cappage




Twin Sister Spies Little Sister Having Fun With The Water Bottle


Twin Sister Decides That Little Sister Has Had Enough Fun With The Water Bottle


Little Sister Disagrees. LOUDLY




Little Sister Reclaims The Water Bottle, Then Is Immediately Beset By Remorse For Her Stinginess


A Happy Ending


Twin Sister Seeks Solace In Daddy’s Bosom


Her Spirits Are Revived

Meanwhile, their siblings look on:

IMG_4894 IMG_4917 IMG_4968

Do you have any cherished trampoline memories (or sagas) to share? I’d love to hear them!

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5 Things Thursday: Emerald City

Do you ever get a color crush? I mean, y’all know that I’m a-little-on-the-disturbing-side obsessed with all things blue-green. But that’s hardly anything I’d call a crush. It’s more like a marriage with an iron-clad pre-nup.

What I mean is: do you ever find yourself drawn to the same color in a particular medium over and over? For a period of time, anyway.

I think you know where I’m going with this: I have a color crush. And it is Emerald. Not just green. But Emerald. And above all else, I love it in dresses.

Dresses like…


This Keyhole Front eyelet Dress from Ehakti,

green eyelet dress - Polyvore - Mozilla Firefox 872013 31836 PM


I liked the dress on its own (especially since the keyhole is fun but still modest), but I loooooved it when I spotted it in the above style board on polyvore.



This Emerald Ripple Dress from Anthropologie


Although…(and I mean no disrespect to the model or the 34 calories she’s consumed in the last 2 years), it would look considerably better on someone with more meat on her bones. (I’m also convinced it would look better if it doesn’t cost over $160).



This BCBG Max Azria emerald silk chiffon rosette detail one shoulder gown (now, there’s a mouthful), which is, sadly sold out.



It reminds me of this fabulous one-shoulder rosette maxi in the perfect shade of emerald that a woman wore to my brother’s wedding. I could see her out there sitting on the groom’s side, and it was all I could do not to hand my bridesmaid bouquet to the next girl and march out there to ask her where she got her gorgeous dress. Somehow, I restrained myself, but you better believe I tracked her down during the reception, only to discover that she had bought it at Ross for something ridiculous like $16. Which sounds wonderful until you realize that searching for a specific dress at Ross is a little like looking for a needle in a stack of needles. Sigh. Someday. Someday (assuming I haven’t already gotten over my emerald crush), I will find a one-shoulder rosette emerald green maxi dress (and yes, I have typed those exact words—and any possible iterations thereof—in my Google search bar multiple time). SOMEDAY!


And then there was…


The emerald maxi skirt.


Sorry, no sources for this one. I found this image several times on Pinterest (find me at Abbie @5days5ways), but none of them actually linked back to the original post from the blog. If you find the link, let me know, and I’ll insert it!

Update from a reader: here’s the link.

And finally, there was…


This “When the Night Comes” lace number in Emerald from ModCloth.



Something about that deep, rich green paired with lace just screams Old Hollywood to me. I would definitely wear this one (well, depending on the length…hard to tell how short it is) to a wedding or a fancy dinner. Or just to dance on the back patio under the twinkle lights with my husband. Nope. Especially to do that last one.


Strangely enough, none of my links are particularly budget-friendly, and you know I’m always looking for a bargain. It wasn’t for lack of searching, though (I was actually really surprised at how difficult it was to find a dress in this color that I liked for under $100). If you have any leads of your own, please leave me the link. I’d be ever so grateful.

So, how ‘bout you guys? Any colors you can’t seem to get out of your head? And what do you like them most on?


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5 Things Thursday: Oh, What a Dollar Can Buy!

Well. I know one thing about you guys now. You like jeans. A lot. All but one of the 7 pairs were gone in an hour yesterday. Wow.

So, I’m thinking that maybe I should post some more designer jeans, huh? If you have a size/brand that you’d like me to keep an eye out for, I will gladly. Just shoot me an email, and I’ll do my best to find you a good deal! (I always thought “personal shopper” would be an awesome side job).

And since we’re on the topic of great deals, I thought I might share 5 finds that I scored recently for—wait for it—one dollar. Every single one of them is something I either a) wanted already or b) have a totally awesome place for even though I wasn’t already hunting for it.


An adorable decorative bowl from Hobby Lobby. It has a little chip in it, but I plan to use my friend, Mandy’s, succulent hack to fix that, which is perfect since the poor little plant has been languishing in it’s ugly plastic sleeve since I bought it.

dollar deal 5


These pretty, matted paintings were $1 each at Goodwill. I love the soft, yet vivid colors and the charming scenes, and I’ve got a little section of wall that’s just begging for something just like this.

dollar deal


The next three things were bought at an outdoor tent sale at a local Mommy and Me consignment store. Everything there was $1, and I scored lots of great deals for Della and even some friends who are having babies (who don’t care if they get gently used awesome baby clothes as gifts).

dollar deal2

I can’t wait to see Della’s reaction to this princess-y dress. She big fat loves all things tulle and tutu-ish (she asks for “my skirt” to wear over her p.j.s every night before bed). I’m saving it for her birthday in November because it’s still a tad big for her, but I’m thinking it will be a huge hit. And since it only cost $1, I can definitely afford to splurge a little on the wooden kitchen I hope to get her to go with this next find.


That would be an oh-so-cute wooden Kid Craft stand-mixer for only one smackeroo! Della looooooooves to help me cook, so I’m thinking she’ll be pretty excited to have some gear of her own.

dollar deal4


And, finally, we have the coup d’état, the piece de resistance, the dollar deal to top all other dollar deals:dollar deal3 

That would be a pair of Joyfolie shoes in very good condition. FOR. ONE. DOLLAR. I spotted them from across the parking lot as soon as I got there, and I literally ran (while holding two car seats; so, really more like shuffled rapidly) over and snatched them up, all while casting wild glances around for possible rival swoopers. I was ready to pull out my BODYCOMBAT moves (I’ve always wondered what would happen if I’m ever attacked; would I seriously throw down or land one punch and be like, “Ow! Real hitting hurts!” I’m guessing the latter). Fortunately, no one got in my way, and the feverish BARGAINOFTHEYEAR haze cleared from my mind before anyone got hurt.

If you’re not familiar with Joyfolie, you should be, if for no other reason than that Jessica’s lovely shoes are fun to drool over, even if you can’t (or aren’t willing to) afford their price tags.

I actually wrote about them as my inspiration for making reversible baby booties, and I even got to get my hands on two pairs that Jessica was nice enough to send me at a steep discount for twins.


You better believe I was doing a major happy dance over all my awesome dollar loot. $5 for shoes, a princess dress, a toy, a bowl, and some art ain’t too shabby if you ask me.

What’s the best dollar deal you’ve ever scored?

Also, if you have any tips on finding one of those really cute wooden play kitchens for a great deal, I’m all ears! (I’m looking for something along these lines).

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5 Things Thursday: Wedding Whirlwind

Good morning, everybody! Remember me? I’m that girl who usually blathers on about thrifting and food and exercise and DIY projects round these here parts?

Hi there.

Sorry about the sparse posting. It hasn’t been intentional, I can assure you. In fact, I’ve started posts several times this week, only to click “save” so I can run off and do something else that rates higher on the “this needs to get done for the plates to continue spinning in the air” scale than blogging. Sigh.

My brother gets married this Saturday, so naturally, this has been a week full of excitement and busyness. Throw in a going-away party for a sweet friend, dinner with more friends, exercise classes, and regular life with 5 littles, and I’m thinking I’ll be lucky to show up to the wedding with my head still attached, much less adorned with a decent hairdo.

The thing is, just showing up to the wedding isn’t exactly an option. Nope. Here are 5 other things that I’m doing during this wedding weekend:


(Sort of, kind of) MCing the rehearsal dinner.  I’m more of a Vanna White-esque transitioner between speeches, etc., but it’s still something to think about.


Dressing 5 children in their wedding best.

flower girl dress

{I can’t wait to see my little Della-Lou in her flower girl dress!}

The oldest three are actually in the wedding, and while I can’t wait for that precious photo-op, I’m kind of dreading the thought of keeping them clean all the way through the ceremony.

Especially since I am also…


Making the groom’s cake. I just found this out on Monday due to a communication snafu between the bride and groom. And, while normally that would be enough to send me into cardiac arrest since I am no cake boss, Hannah (the bride) assured me that all she wants me to do is make this carrot cake that I raved about here on the blog and have been making for every special occasion since. See? I told you it was good. Still, I’m a little nervous about its looking at least halfway decent, not to mention surviving the transport to the church…

Where I will be…


Doing the bride’s hair and makeup…

wedding hair

{This was an in-progress shot of a trial run}


…And then my own since I’m also a bridesmaid. Shaun is the best man. (If you just did the math, then you probably figured out that this leaves the twins woefully unattended; we’re still working that out, but we’re considering strapping bouquets on their backs and letting them crawl around at will).

Oh, and did I mention that every bit of this madness is taking place in Atlanta? Okay, so it’s Atlanta, Texas, but it’s still an hour 1/2 and away from our house, so getting the cake there in one piece will be an adventure all its own.

If you’re the praying kind, PLEASE PRAY!

If you’re not, PLEASE PRAY ANYWAY! (I’m sure God would love to hear from you).

And now I’m off to clean out our van and spray every last crevice of it with Febreze. Because it doesn’t matter how cute we look if we show up smelling like fermented Cranberry Blueberry Ocean Spray (courtesy of the giant bottle that my middle child spilled all over the back floorboards and then neglected to mention…for days; I wish I were kidding).

So, what about you guys? Any fun plans for your weekend?

Have you ever been a multi-hyphenate (hairdresser-baker-florist-attendant) in a wedding? Did you survive? (Please say yes. Death By Wedding would be a sad obituary).

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5 Things Thursday: A Hard Decision

I had a different post planned for today, but then, during a trip to the park last night, I saw this:

book exchange

…and I was intrigued.

It had been a long day, starting with Bible study in the morning and continuing on through lunch, errands, teaching a double at the gym, and, finally, a picnic dinner at the park. We didn’t get home until 9 PM. Which, if my mildly sleep-deprived brain is doing the math correctly, translates into 10 1/2 consecutive hours of away-from-the-house-ness. With 5 children under 8-years-old. (Mad props to my sweet friend, Liz, who let the twins take a nap in her pack n’ play while we ran our errands—an unexpected boon that kept the day from heading majorly downhill somewhere around 2 PM).

Suddenly, a relaxing soak in a bubble bath with a good book sounded heavenly. Not that I had that option right there at the park (but only because I’d forgotten my bubble bath, natch). But still, I decided to check out their offerings in hopes of finding something promising for later on.

So, with trembling fingers of anticipation, I turned the latch and opened the little glass door into a whole new world of knowledge.  I reached inside and pulled out…



{And, yes, there is some smutz on my thumb. I had just finished teaching BODYPUMP, and the weights tend to leave a lovely, we’ll call it, residue on your fingers. I was dirty, okay? My husband’s out of town. Showers are not high on the priority list. Sheesh}

So, yeah. Let’s just say that I threw that little guppy back. If I want to relax, I do not want to read about choosing a college. Been there, done that. Pretty sure I didn’t get the t-shirt (UT extension branches don’t tend to inspire team spirit).

So, I cast my net back on the waters and came up with:



Questions flooded my mind. What was The First Betrayal? What was a sin the first time? Who is this heroine with a vaguely stripperesque name—Lexi Steele? And why is she about to kiss a man whose under-eye circles imply that he hasn’t slept in 3 weeks? 

Ultimately, though, I had the impression—can’t imagine why—that answering my questions would be a little like playing that fortune cookie game where you add “in the bedroom” to every one.

And I don’t like that game. So I put it back, and pulled out…



Oh, if only I’d had this book during my Shakespeare class in college. Our plays didn’t come with a “translation that anyone can understand.” Strangely enough, it wasn’t the Shakespeare that confused me but the teacher, who used phrases like “swirling vortex of oblivion” (those words have now stuck with me for 13 years, even though I have not even the slightest inkling of what they mean, and I’m pretty sure they’ll be reverberating in my mind on my deathbed).

Et tu, Brute?

Next up was



I thought this was a bit advanced for me since I’m still working through the “Why Toddlers Throw Tantrums” edition. Besides, I’m pretty sure we all know that wars are started because no one can decide whether the toilet paper tail goes over or under.


So, the question burning in your mind, after such a fascinating survey of a plethora of topics, is: did I actually find something to take home?

Why, yes I did, and it was:



After all, it’s a “glorious” New York Times Bestseller. How could I pass that up? Plus, I like lockets.

What’s on your Summer reading list?

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5 Things Thursday: Twins—The Same, Yet Different

Yesterday, I got an exciting email from a reader who just found out she’s having twins (at 10 weeks, which is a 9 week jump on my heads-up that I was getting a 2-for-1 deal; still trying to decide if that’s a good or a bad thing). It was exciting for me, at least. Because I have twins (newsflash!), I’ve already gotten past the hardest part of the newborn stage, and I have yet to traverse the minefield of Terrible Twos TIMES Two.

So, ask current day me what having twins is like, and I say annoyingly perky things like, “SO much fun! I really think everybody should have a set!” (Until they’re simultaneously hungry, screaming, and poopy, that is). People tend to back away from me slowly when I say things like that. As if I were to touch them, I might accidentally transfer my twin-birthing power, and—BAM!—preggo X 2! (Wouldn’t their husbands be confused when they blamed that crazy fitness instructor at the gym for their predicament!)

But what this poor blessed girl really wanted to know is: will I survive? To which I could only answer: yes, by the grace of God! (Yeah right, that’s all I said; my answer was more like a doctoral dissertation).

(Ha! Apparently, the twins’ ears were burning because they both just started fussing from their pack n’ play where they are “napping”).

So…what is having twins like, really? Well, I was telling the truth before. It really is fun. Mostly because they do so many of the same things, but in their own separate ways.

Here are 5 ways that my girls are the same, yet different.


They both suck their fingers.

finger suckers

The twins never took to pacifiers, but they’re huge fans of their own fingers. Nola sucks the first two fingers of her left hand only (she tries the right hand every once in a while, presumably so it won’t feel left out, but the results are hilariously awkward and ineffective). Evy is the most delicate thumb-sucker I’ve ever seen. Most kids plug that thing in their mouths like a sink-stopper, but she looks like she’s nibbling at a delicacy, almost like she’s afraid that if she sucks too hard, it’ll fall off (and that would be bad). She’s also an equal-opportunity sucker and is equally proficient with her right and left hands. In fact, if she’s especially in need of comfort, she alternates between the two—almost as if to say, “Okay, that one’s no good. I wonder if this one’s working today.”

And, yes, I am really looking forward to breaking two toddlers of their finger-sucking addictions.



They’re both aspiring gamers.


Although, it appears that Evy takes her remote control (ha, ha. get it?) a tad more seriously than Nola. And, honestly, if I had to guess about their future personalities, I’d have to say that that’s pretty spot on.


They’re both prone to silly faces.




They both love shopping.


Okay, so “love” might be too strong a term (it’ll come). But when Mama puts them on the floor of the dressing room, they’re both equally willing to embark on a mission to find every last gum wrapper, dead bug, or discarded tag available for possible consumption.


They both look great in polka dots (see above pic for further proof)…


…but it would probably make people a lot happier if they wore their “N” and “E” onesies more often.


All of my good friends are able to tell them apart pretty consistently by this point, but I’ve had complete strangers tell me I couldn’t possibly distinguish who’s who (despite my adamant declarations that I can, with zero difficulty).

I suppose I could have them wear their initials all the time, but then, how could the complete strangers be sure that I’d gotten it right when I dressed them??!

What a conundrum.

P.S. My sweet friend, Lisa, made those adorable monogrammed onesies for the girls, and I absolutely love them!

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