Fall (2)

After the twins were born, I stood in the middle of my living room one evening….bleary-eyed from lack of sleep with hair that hadn’t been washed in a week….wearing pajamas covered in spit-up…..

…..and wailed plaintively to my mother.

“How can I do this?”

“I’m not going to make it.”

“They are totally winning.”

Then I wiped my faced and brushed the hair away from my eyes….inhaled and exhaled several times and then stood patiently waiting for her words of wisdom.  I mean after all….my mother is brilliant (and getting more brilliant with every year that passes) and experienced and wise….

….and has never met a good piece of advice she didn’t like.

Fall (3)

But for once….she didn’t say a word.

She just took one look at me and laughed.

And laughed.

And laughed some more.

And then she offered up this sage piece of wisdom that made my heart beat faster and my palms sweat and shivers run up and down my spine….

“This is nothing…..just wait until they are teenagers.”

Fall (1)

That was 12 years ago.  

But I’ve never forgotten it.

Sometimes I would look at those cherubic faces and sweet smiles and tiny hands tucked into mine and bright blue eyes that were full of wonder and joy.  I’d listen to those little voices that chirped out the funniest things that made me laugh out loud….

…..and think about what she said.

Fall (4)

Was it possible?

Could they?

Would they one day roll their eyes at me and say things like “Whatever” and “I am so sure” and toss their hair and stomp their feet….

…..and demand a tattoo and jeans full of holes that cost $200.

Fall (5)

And even though I worried…..I thought I kept all these concerns to myself.


I mean….why borrow trouble?  Why give anyone ideas about what might be ahead on the horizon?  I wasn’t even sure they understood that sometimes being a teenager could be challenging for parents.

Until the other day.

When the twins trooped into the kitchen whispering and laughing and hiding something behind their back.

“Ummm….mom.  We have something we want to show you.  Something to make you feel better.  Something so you won’t worry.”

Two sets of twinkling blue eyes looked at each other conspiratorially and then smiled at me with mischievous grins.

“This is for you, mom.”


It was a one-day-I’m-going-to-be-a-really-nice-teenager contract…..written on a purple piece of construction paper scrawled in their own handwriting that read:

“I promise that I will try to be a good and nice teenager.

And if I am not….you may pull out this contract and show me.

I will try to be nice and kind to all people around me

and follow rules

and ten commandments.

Thank you for your appreciation.”

And at the end…..it was signed and dated.

Super official looking.

Fall (6)

I wanted to laugh.

I wanted to cry.

I wanted to call my mother and tell her she was wrong….because the next couple of years would be a breeze.

I mean….after all…..I had a contract, right?

But I didn’t.

I simply smiled and told them how proud I was and tucked that purple construction paper contract away in a drawer for safe-keeping.

After all…..I want to be prepared in case someone turns 13….

….and decides to appeal. 🙂

PS  Have a little more coffee left?

Here’s another story to make you smile.

And one more for the road. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Sarah Fink Sarah Fink

    Thank you! My baby girls turned six in August and we often wonder what those teenage years will look like with them! The pictures of your girls holding hands and giggling made me get teary. Twins are special....Thanks for sharing!

  2. Image for Gina Gina

    Those photos are great! Love the story too. I recently was standing in the middle of the room, bleary eyed from lack of sleep and wanted the scream the same thing.....but it's because of a puppy! My kids are grown and out of the house and it's like I've got a baby again. I'm too old for this!

  3. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I want to give them a hug!! I want to give you a hug!!! I want to hug everyone in sight-- just goes to prove that there is good in the world -- there is hope -- and our next generation does have common sense! BUT!! the credit goes to you and your dear hubby! It takes a good family to raise good children and be ever vigilant!! These are the times when you realize those hard decisions you made were right. But just in case, you said that the contract is in a safe place, right?? And there aren't any wannabe lawyers in the family are there?? You know how lawsuit happy some lawyers are! :-)

  4. Image for Colleen Colleen

    This brought tears to my eyes and I don't even have children. How wonderful. I do relate to the puppy exhaustion though. What fabulous photos, too.

  5. Image for Colleen Wilson Colleen Wilson

    Such a lovely story and your daughters are beautiful! I have 25 year old twins (boy and girl) and I never had an ounce of trouble with them in their teenage years. If you keep involved in their lives and keep them involved in activities, things will work out ok. You don't have to be their "best friend" or..what do they call those moms? ..."helicopter moms"....but you let them grow, make their mistakes and give them guidance along the way. I'm sure you won't have anything to worry about!! Just enjoy them. I remember thinking when they were babies and often thinking..."when will they be through this stage or that stage", and all of a sudden those stages are long gone and I wished I had all those days back again!! Thankyou for bringing back some good memories for me and don't worry!!

  6. Image for Nancy Nancy

    Your girls are beautiful and I am sure they are just as beautiful on the inside. Maybe you can frame the contract and save it for their 13th birthday.

  7. Image for Amber Amber

    Oh girl! You got the girls, I got the boys. Mine are 6 and once they discovered their legs got them places, it was OVER! They just started Kinder (in separate classes by my request) so they don't see each other all day. As soon as we get home, they are long lost buddies. BF's forever. I LOVE to see the magic bond of twins. Your girls are such cuties and I can totally see their giggly, whispery, super twin power in these photos. :) There is never a dull moment with double trouble! See ya soon at The Chapel!

  8. Image for Kelly - Talk of the House Kelly - Talk of the House

    Too funny! And as I was reading the first part of your post about how demanding they were as babies, I was thinking...wait until they are teenagers! ha! Your mom beat me to the punch line. :) Your girls are gorgeous and apparently have a gorgeous heart and mind as well. The early teen years were a challenge, but I held my ground against the $200 jeans and the tatoos...and we all amazingly survived! Currently the oldest is working in a great job with a degree in computers, the youngest will be doing an internship with Disney in the spring, and the middle one is in law school. I hope your daughters don't meet up with him because he would happily take on a case like that! :)

  9. Image for Amy W. Amy W.

    Precious! Precious! Precious! You, The Twins, Your Family,....all just precious! Savor these years and when the teen years come just get them through it with the best amount of grace and wit you can muster! Thanks for sharing this moment with us. You've made my day! Wishing you a super great Thursday also!

  10. Image for Claire Bacon Claire Bacon

    What a wonderful and thoughtful thing to do. You are blessed. Now just remember the Pollyanna Twins! Lol Beautuful young ladies you have there.

  11. Image for Siouxie Q Siouxie Q

    I have a contract my youngest signed when he was 10. On a humble index card he wrote "I promised not to be a weird teenager." He's 14 now and I've only had to pull out the "contract" once. I wish you the same good fortune with your beautiful girls!

  12. Image for Stephanie Brown Stephanie Brown

    Oh my Loved sweet pics and words! Yes you melted my heart like my Big brown eyed like her dad daughter can do to Me too! Each stage with her has been a wonderful adventure.. In so many ways she is my best friend. But hang on to precious purple paper!! Hope you will not have to get out much but as their parent and not their friend it may just come in Handy!:) I think I would have to frame and hang on wall!:) precious sweet girl!

  13. Image for trish trish

    Beautiful post! Communication is the key....as long as you are open and listen they will be perfect.....beautiful photos and beautiful girls...savor these moments, you are truly lucky!

  14. Image for Babette Babette

    Your girls are so sweet!!! Just like you!! Love this story! I have boy/girl twins and they are a gift from heaven! I remember all those early days thinking I was really losing it, but we made it through and now they are 14! Luckily, God gave us 3 before them so I've had a little experience with teens! Lol I know that God gives us the grace, strength, and mercy to deal with all things. For me, it is about being present in their lives and teaching them about God and how to live Godly lives. Thanks for the beautiful stories!

  15. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Haha, they are adorable! My dad called my twin sis and I Double Trouble but we really weren't that bad. It was just two of everything. We did our share of eye rolling, I'm sure. They will be just fine. Besides you have the contract to use against them now. Too cute. :-) Smiling, Cecilia

  16. Image for Pam Pam

    Laugh? I cried so hard at this I can hardly see to type. I have two daughters so this deeply touched my heart. They are grown now (yes they DID survive, better yet I survived those teen years). Now it's their turn. Both of them have teenage boys and although that's not the same as the drama that comes with girls it's STILL those teenage years. I pray for them everyday and I laugh.

  17. Image for Debbie W. Debbie W.

    Oh my gosh, those photos are fantastic!! And what a sweet, sweet story! I'm am laughing at your mom's advice. I always thought that when my kids were babies, that those years would be the toughest... surely what could be harder than caring for such helpless, tiny little things, that are totally dependent on you? My daughter turns 13 soon, and it appears that an eye-rolling-bra-wearing-huffing & puffing alien who's favourite saying is "whatever" has taken over my daughter's body. I keep asking my mother, was I like this? Could I have possibly acted in this strange and bizarre way that teenage girls do?? The only thing to hold onto, is that one day, they will grow up and have teenagers too!

  18. Image for Donna Harris Donna Harris

    Having twins is such a amazing gift and delightful experience! Your love for your family shines through all you do ! Your stories and photos and ideas add so much joy to my day .... Thank you so much : )

  19. Image for Zolane Zolane

    Sounds like Mom and Dad are doing a great job. THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY PRECIOUS and there is much joy to come - even through the teenage years :)

  20. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Your girls are so sweet...it melts your heart. I know some well meaning friends of mine told me the real problems with my boys, would start when they turned 13...and I had three. So, I was prepared...I had bail money on hand...just in case! Thankfully, never had to use it...my guys were just fine...at least what I know! Hold on to that contract, though....things can change all too quickly! ;)

  21. Image for Tina Matteson Tina Matteson

    What sweet girls you have! People have told me some horror stories about teenagers too, but my daughter is 14 and so far she is still sweet and I love being around her. Maybe it won't be so bad...? xoxo!

  22. Image for Teri Teri

    Loved this post. As mother of twins, who turn 12 next month, I could totally relate to the beginning of your journey with twins. I would often be bleary-eyed and think to myself - they DO out number me. Somehow we all make it through "twindom". I often remind them that having already been through 3 teenagers, I'm an old pro at the teenage stage.....but I am thinking I might just have them read your post and kindly suggest "a contract" would make a great holiday gift!! :)

  23. Image for Sylvia Sylvia

    What beautiful girls you are blessed with, just like their mom. We have 4, ranging in age from 53 to 58 and I can honestly say, the only daughter was an absolute joy, along with 2 of her brothers, but the youngest was a totally different story, seemingly making up for everything his siblings never tried or did, but we survived, although there were times I thought I would wind up in a mental institution. All's well that ends well.

  24. Image for Marnie Marnie

    Karianne.....you have been blessed ....with a wonderful family, a wise and humorous way of interacting with your children and a gift with words and storytelling. I so look forward to reading your blog -- it brings a smile to my face and on occasion, tears to my eyes.

  25. Image for Shannon M. Shannon M.

    Your girls are beautiful!!!! What a sweet heart they have to write "the contract". I adore the Ten Commandments part!!!

  26. Image for Christine Christine

    Karianne, Sweet, sweet, daughters, you're a great Mom and role model. Speaking of twins, I'm going to email you a few photos of my grandtwins. Grammy, Christine

  27. Image for Rhoni T Rhoni T

    Love it!! Especially love the picture of them whispering. I was a single mom for many years starting when the youngest was 5, then a 10 yr old and a 12 yr old, all boys. There where so many times when I said to myself, "they are winning." Happily we all survived they are now 19, 23 & 25. I did use the line, I brought you into this world, and I Can take you out. Probably at least once on each of them. Only to be met with laughter or a whatever, Mom. The youngest is 6'5" and towers over me and his brothers, but he is still a mommas boy, who calls at least once a week from college. Just to let me know he is still alive, as he puts it. The middle son I see ever other week, when he drops of my grandson for some Nonna time. And the oldest is the independent child, who just two days ago text me to let me know he was waiting to go into surgery for his hand. At his roommates demands that he was never going to hear the end of it, if he didn't tell me. She was right! And on occasion I get the random out if the blue text, I love you, Mom, from all of them. It does a mothers heart good to know that even when when we can not always be there, they still think of me. I love love the line, don't borrow trouble. In so steps in life that fits!!

  28. Image for Diane Diane

    Awww, how well I remember! During their early years, when we were out and about and would witness a family with a "troublesome teen", if I saw my kids notice them, I'd pull them into a family huddle and we'd share a little laugh about how silly (and perhaps rudely) that teen was behaving and then they'd pinky promise not to become one of "THOSE" teenagers. Well, it worked, for the most part, but we still had our share of teen "drama". And we have all lived through it and are so much stronger and closer for those teen years of seeking, finding and returning to family fold -- just with many, many more miles between the folds.

  29. Image for Marybeth Marybeth

    Oh, this threw me right back to 10 years ago, in the emergency with my 3 day old daughter having her foot pricked to check her jaundice and the nurse looked at me and said the same thing, "Just wait til she's a teenager". I remember being horrified because "how could anything possibly be worse than this?" and sort of angry that she was diminishing the terror I was feeling about having my teeny newborn in an emergency room. Now my daughter is ten and I TOTALLY get it. She's an amazing and sweet and caring girl, but I've learned if she's going to test limits, it's going to be the limits that I set. Which is far better than testing the limits that, say, the school sets or, you know, the one's the police set, for instance.

  30. Image for Pinky at Designs by Pinky Pinky at Designs by Pinky

    That contract is proff positive that you have done an OUTSTANDING job raising them!!!!!!!!!!!! I doubt they will appeal but if they do, pick your battles. My daughter....it wasn't so great, but I blame it on moving at the very worst time for her:):)

  31. Image for Dawn Dawn

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos of your beautiful girls! Your babies seem to possess a firm foundation...that will definitely make it easier! It won't be perfect, you will definitely have those "pull your hair out moments" x2, but you will do great. After all, you have the greatest mom weapon in the world...a great sense of humor!!

  32. Image for Julia G. Julia G.

    Love this post and it brought tears to my eyes because my little girls are all grown up! Karianne you are a blessed momma!

  33. Image for Simona Simona

    This made me smile. It's not so bad, I went through teenage years with 3 girls. Sounds like you are doing a great job! Have a great day!

  34. Image for Amy Amy

    When my youngest (now 18) son was around 5 he thought I was EVERYTHING!! He and I had "take out" night when his sister was at dance on Thursday evenings and we'd pick up Chinese and then watch Survivor together, snuggling on the sofa. It was "our" time for one on one together. He always professed that he would love me forever and that no matter how big he got, he'd always hold my hand - no matter where we were. I would laugh and squeeze him a bit tighter and tell him that he was so sweet for saying so, but there would come a time when he wouldn't want to do this. He always argued and told me how wrong I was. So, around the time he turned 10ish I would ask him if he'd like to hold my hand when we were out in public somewhere. He always declined and I always reminded him of his promise to me :) Now, since he's off to his freshman year in college, on the rare opportunities that we are out in public somewhere, I always turn to him and say, "so, do you want to hold my hand"? To which his standard reply and has been for many, many years, "Absolutely Not"! Hold tightly to that contract......guess I should have gotten mine in writing, cause it is sure to make all the difference in the world. <3

  35. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    They're so cute! Wonderful photos! And, how cute and sweet that they made up that contract. They love you so much! :-) I remember crying when I was pregnant at the thought that my soon-to-be-born daughter would someday be a teenager. It scared me! But, I got really lucky or did a really good job or a little bit of both. I always treated her with respect and we've always been close and her teenage years weren't anything to worry about. Yes, there were a few challenges but overall it was wonderful. She's 23 now and my best friend. I can't imagine life without her and I cherish every moment we have together. I wish the same for you and your two beautiful girls! :-D

  36. Image for Lori Lori

    I say frame that contract and just point to it when they are teenagers! LOL. Wonderful story and beautiful pictures, thanks for you blog posts they are always amazing.

  37. Image for Jane Jane

    I wish I were there to hug all three of you (and your mom)! As long as there is love, all will work out. My girls are still wonderful one day and moody another. If you are understanding and there with open arms, it will all be fine. Gorgeous pictures. Gorgeous twins! Jane xx

  38. Image for barb barb

    Ahhhh - moms and daughters. They will live, learn and love through tears and triumphs.... Frame. The. Contract. Trust those that have gone before you... And. Your mom.

  39. Image for Dawna Dawna

    What beautiful and thoughtful daughters you have! Take each day as it comes,,,, the good, the bad and the ugly.... Before you know it they will be grown and starting lives on their own ( thats where I am right now,,,empty nest....insert tears here) Prayer, the biggest offering I can continue to do for my grown sons, and knowing that they will have to grow through some hard times as well as the good times. Have a wonderful day! Love readin your blog Miss Karianne!

  40. Image for Deborah Wilkins Deborah Wilkins

    As a mother of twins, I can so identify, KariAnne! The teenage years ended up being pretty easy and I suspect they will be for you, too. Mine are finished with college, on their own and doing well as adults - soon turning 28. Where have the years gone? Enjoy them while you still have them at home. And, by the way, the girls are beautiful - just like their Mother! Warm personal regards, Deborah

  41. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    Good luck we have 6 children and I swanney between 15 and 25 I think they loose there minds. They have been like roller coasters--up and down --round and round. Our baby is 19 the next 21 and then 24 , 29, 32, 36. still have 3 to come completely to their senses! LOL

  42. Image for Susan Takeda Susan Takeda

    First, I am wondering where your other cat was. He missed the action of having his picture on the blog again. Next, I love the picture of your girls. I am a twin and they remind me of my sister and me at that age. She always wore her hair in braided pigtails and I always wore my hair down. She lives in your neck of the woods now; she is in Danville, KY and I am in Orange County, California. Even though the miles separate us, are heart are forever connected.

  43. Image for Erin Erin

    Oh my word KariAnne! That is the sweetest thing EVER. Those pictures of your girls made me want to cry! Magical. My girls are 8 and 10 and growing way too fast for me. I tell them all the time they just CAN'T turn into awful teenagers! They are so sweet and loving right now - I can't even picture it! But I know it's coming... maybe it's time I write my own contract. :) Thanks for making my day! xo

  44. Image for erin @ dfmi designs erin @ dfmi designs

    That is adorable! Too bad you can't hold them to it, would be tremendously helpful! My husband and I were watching Parenthood on Netflix and I was stressing over a character wanting to get married too young and her mom freaking out. My daughter is only 6 and my son 2 months, but I was feeling the total anxiety of letting them make their own choices, failures and triumphs without always giving my 2 cents. Oh man, it's going to be SO HARD.

  45. Image for debihuntsman debihuntsman

    My mother did that same thing to me when my children were born. Now hubby and I are expecting our first grandchild, and I can't wait to do the same for my son! ;-) Cute post, love the contract!

  46. Image for Amber Amber

    I love this! Two of my boys are now teens and Heaven help me, I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll all survive it. Then there's the 12 year old boy, I can see some teen showing underneath and I just keep telling myself I've done it twice already. Maybe I can talk our 7 year old boy into some similar arrangement as you have? In fact, I might just show this to him and tell him all the pre-teens are doing it now! I've got to say, your girls sure are sweet!

  47. Image for Kris Kris

    How did you know I needed a laugh today? :) When I met with the board of elders at our church before my oldest was baptized, I told them that I was worried about the teen years. One of the men said something so sweet--"I have enjoyed each and every stage of my children's lives, including the teen years." What a hopeful and sweet comment that was. Of course, my favorite elderly lady at church also told me that having children is God's way of keeping us humble ... boy, is that true ...

  48. Image for Lisa at celebrate creativity Lisa at celebrate creativity

    Happy Friday, Karianne The girls are adorable and I love how the photos really show their special relationship with each other. I'm a twin and I totally get that. They're both so sweet to put their intentions in writing. Hmmm, I do think you'll likely have to pull out that reminder down the road-lol. Have a great weekend, Lisa

  49. Image for Shirley@housepitalitydesigns Shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    You are truly blessed with a wonderful family....I have loved watching them grow...hang in there....you are going to have the ride of your life...a truly great ride....and my heart melted when I saw the pic of them creating a heart...yes, they may be separate human beings...but they still share the same heart!....loved this Kari....(been away from blogland for a bit...catching up on your happenings)....Have a great weekend!

  50. Image for Lenore Lenore

    What sweet girls you have. My daughter has 2 older brothers, and when she was little and they would be fresh or give me any trouble, she would tell me I won't be a bad teenager, I won't talk fresh to you, etc. Well about the time she turned 13, it started, the eye rolling, the long sighs when she thought I said or did something stupid. It used to break my heart and really hurt my feelings. No matter how many times a friend would tell me it was just a phase, it still hurt. She is now 18, and is the joy of my life (she always was, even with the attitude). Every once in awhile, I still get a little eye roll here and there, but it gets better, so, so much better as she gets older.

  51. Image for Loretta Loretta

    So sweet... thanks for sharing... I agree with your Mom... wait till they become teenagers... with that said. I will give you one more thought... This Too Will Pass..... and I can do ALL things though Christ that strengthens me....

  52. Image for Kristal Kristal

    I loved reading your post. My only child, a daughter, will be a teenager in 5 days. I am excited and terrified at the same time. So far, I have not had to experience any eye rolls, whatevers or the dreaded long drawn out moooommmmm. She still wants to spend time baking with me, playing golf with her dad and even the daily family group hugs. Here's sending a prayer up that it doesn't ever change. Again, loved your post and thank you.

  53. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Love your posts, your beautiful family, and your talent for, not only decorating, but for story telling, as well. Your daughters are adorable (your son too).....but you might want to frame and hang that "contract" (sort of like a teen tantrum time out reminder ), for moments when they have an eye rolling attitude, not so much for them to remember their promise......but for you to remember that it's only a phase, and they will be sweet again....very soon! I am a mother of twins.....twice......boy/girl twins and twin girls. Also have three singletons. All adults now. Keep your sense of humor and you will get through those teen years. P.S. I just love your new hair style, with those lovely waves and you are looking especially beautiful these days!

  54. Image for Michelle Mortensen Michelle Mortensen

    I don't have twins - but I had three babies back to back to back. I, literally, had a backseat that was crammed with three car seats and they barely fit! Now, I have three teenagers. I am blessed with good children, but I would give almost ANYTHING for a contract like that!!! Teens certainly have "moments". Whew. I think your girls are absolutely sweet to have come up with that idea. What a lucky mom you are! Best, Michelle Come visit (& follow) my blog at simplysantabarbara.blogspot.com

  55. Image for Mimi Mimi

    Beautiful post KariAnne! Hold on to that contract! They sound absolutely adorable and I'm sure you will enjoy their teen years as much as I've enjoyed walking with my daughter through hers. =)

  56. Image for Gina Gina

    I absolutely love this!!!! Especially because my youngest just turned 11 & my oldest is 16. But the older of my girls is knocking on 14. While they are polite & helpful- the years to come scare me. What will happen when that big bad world gets a hold of them. Oh my - Maybe I ought to do a contact with them. :)

  57. Image for Beverly Beverly

    They are darling, KariAnne. And, your photos are prize winning. You know you will definitely have to pull that contract out on occasion. Your mother and her daughter are both very wise women.♥

  58. Image for karen@somewhatquirkydesign karen@somewhatquirkydesign

    Hah! Love the contract, but I really LOVE the photoshoot! Great job! One rule we had in our house from early on - actually two - absolutely no DUH's were allowed and eye-rolling was forbidden. I'm not sure how I thought I would enforce it, but it worked pretty good.

  59. Image for ellie ellie

    so presh. i have two teens. 1 is 18 and he was the absolute craziest baby the world has ever seen. we got our daughter on a big "how is it possible" 'cause honestly who gets pregnant on the 5th day? ahem. he has been a dream of a teen. she was the perfect child. until. sigh. anyhow she is still very sweet. some of the days . . . and my best friend. a lot of the days. on the other days, well we get through them. perhaps your contract will be your saving grace?! (honestly i haven't had a minute of trouble from my teens outside of their attitudes towards me sometimes. in school. in sports.in our neighborhood. in church. they have been really. truly. great.). it is actually a wonderful stage. mostly.

Comments are closed.