Monday, December 28, 2009

A little (okay, not so little video) of Christmas morning...

Please, only watch if you have nothing better to do, or if you are required to love us by blood or marriage.




I hope to get some detailed posts up after I get back home.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All Aboard....! (ha,ha,ha,ha)

"I'm going off the rails on a Crazy Train..."

Okay, not really what I intended to post, but it got away from me and I couldn't help myself.

A-N-Y Way, we are really excited around here.

This morning Ryan created this little song. I think the title is a natural fit. What do you think?

"All aboard the Christmas Train" By Ryan


video

Yeah, just a little excited. (this was 6:30 this morning, yeah, they wake up that way!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

School Photos 1.0

Last week we had the much anticipated picture day at school. Our first ever. Our first of many.

As I opened the envelope I breathed a sigh of relief as I saw these smiling faces. Yes, Evan looks a bit more like a grimace, but hey, it can be interpreted as a smile.


I laughed so hard at the class photo. I've cut out all of the other kids, just in case their parents don't want their kids faces all over the internet. I commend the photographer for getting all the kids smiling (sort of) and all looking at the camera!

Ryan, I think is the only kid that wasn't smiling. Oh, Ryan, why so serious? Evan I think is mid-"cheese". I giggle just picturing the scene in the room with all of those 3 year old kids. Ha, glad it wasn't me!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Just when you think you couldn't love your kids anymore...

they shock you back to your senses.

Just kidding.

Today Ryan almost made me cry. (could be the PMS)

We went to CostCo to pick up a few things we were in dire need of to the tune of way more than I expected.

When we got home, I left the gates to the hallway and the kitchen open to facilitate shuttling all the junk staples from the car to the kitchen. I had one box in, and started putting away all of the perishables, leaving the second box in the hallway.

All of a sudden I hear some grunting and heavy breathing, and I look up just in time to hear Ryan say " Look Mama, I'm helping!"

Ryan had gone out to the hallway, pushed, pulled and drug the second box of junk purchases from the hall to the kitchen. He then proceeded to hand me each item for me to put away. He then took the big box out of the living room and back out in to the hallway.

He ran through the room, flashed me a smile and said "I HELPED!, I'm a Helper!"

Commence tears, praise, and hugs.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I got out partied by my 80 year old mom

Vegas was really fun. I did a very poor job of documenting this momentous occasion. Thankfully my cousins did take some pictures, and hopefully I will get some of them soon.

We decided to rent a car to fit all six of us comfortably. We got this really cool car I'd never seen before called the Ford Flex. Totally recommend it for large groups. It was low enough to the ground that my 80 year old Mom could get in and out with no assistance. It was spacious enough that six women and their luggage all fit comfortably for a long drive.

My Oceanside cousins and I left San Diego at about 10:30 and arrived to pick up my Mom and my cousin from LA around lunchtime. We had a quick lunch and hit the long road to Vegas.

Six women, and their luggage, in a Ford Flex. Check one out if you've never seen it. (I hadn't) It was super roomy and we were able to fit Six women and their luggage comfortably for five hours!

I did remember my camera, and took some pictures at the Bellagio, they decorate The Conservatory every year for the holidays and it was really amazing to see.






This is not part of the Holiday display, but it is the largest chocolate fountain, and it made me wish I had a strawberry or marshmallow to dip.



I got almost all of the group, except one cousin, and um, me...

Masako and my Mom
Kimi and Kathy

My Mom and a polar bear

So the first night we arrived, I was dead on my feet at 10. I was standing on the casino floor, somewhere, I cannot even remember the hotel, and I nearly fell asleep. My 80 year old mom? going strong. My 62 year old cousin, raring to go. My 59 year old cousin? Not stopping anytime soon. My 59 year old cousin and her 23 year old daughter? shopping like there was no tomorrow. Seriously, when did I get so old that I can't keep up with the old folks? (sorry guys, no offense)

The next day, I had to nap. Granted, I didn't get ANY sleep. I'm not a good sleeper to begin with, but, new bed, new roomies, snoring to the left of me and snoring to the right of me, left me sleepless.

We took my Mom out to a special dinner, I made a cake and brought it with us, so we were all full and sugared up, but I still was in need of bed by eleven. My mom and two of my cousins were out until TWO AM!!!! TWO. TWO O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING!

It was a long drive home, most everyone, except me, the driver, napped. That made me feel a little better, but seriously, there is talk of making this an annual trip, I'm going to need to train or something.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Viva Las Vegas!

I'm tired today. It's been a busy day.

5:30 AM Child of Mine wakes me up. He's still asleep, crying out in said sleep.
6:15 AM I am still awake and Child of Mine is now awake too.
6:30 AM Other Child of Mine is awake
6:45 AM Breakfast is served.
7:30 AM Dress two Children for School.
8:15 AM Rush out door to get to school.
8:30 AM Beg for hugs and kisses as Children rush in to their class to see what today's activities are to be.
8:30 AM Run to Von's and beg the bakery guy to sell me a cake board and container, because I forgot to get one while I was at Michael's on Wed. (One of two things I wanted to get there, but forgot because well, I had the kids with me.)
8:50 AM Run back to school to help with the packaging of baskets for Women's Dessert Night next week.
11:30 AM Pick up kids from classroom down stairs.
11:45 AM Make lunch for the darlings.
12:00 PM Eat lunch with kids.
12:45 PM Kids in bed for naps. Clean up from lunch.
1:00 PM Begin to fold MOUNTAIN of laundry.
1:45 PM Evan wakes up to go pee-pee. (yea! progress in the PT arena)
2:00 PM Evan wakes up hysterical because his tent has done some crazy thing and is no longer on his bed.
3:30 PM Finish putting laundry away, Ryan wakes up.
3:45 PM Ryan helps me put away his clothes.
4:00 PM Ryan "helps" me pack for the weekend.
4:30 PM Ryan comes with me to the garage to get meat out of the freezer for tonight's tacos. (yeah, I forgot it earlier, that's what the microwave is for)
4:32 PM Start defrosting meat in microwave.
4:40 PM Evan wakes up from his nap.
4:41 PM Ryan stops following me around and begins harassing his brother.
5:15 PM Dinner for the boys and me.
5:30 PM Boys finish dinner while I start making frosting for the cake I am taking to Vegas.

(Tomorrow I leave for Vegas. My Mom turns 80 on the 14th and some of my cousins and are are taking the old gal to Vegas. My Mom and Dad loved to go to Vegas. It must be something in the blood because my whole family likes to gamble...being adopted, I totally missed that marker on my DNA, I don't like to gamble, because I don't like to lose.) (Happy Birthday Jamie, I know you are not 80, but I hope your day is special too!)

6:00 PM Evan still has not finished eating, and I have frosted and decorated cake for Vegas.
6:30 PM Get boys in jammies.
6:50 PM Scott calls to say he has not left office yet.
6:51 PM Crying begins, the boys are crying too.
7:00 PM Snacks eaten, teeth brushed, cuddling and reading begins.
7:21 PM Reading finished, boys going to sleep, I finally get a shower for the day.
7:25 PM Scott comes home and starts working again.
7:30-8:00 PM Ryan still restless, cut his nails because he tells me he is "so disappointed, because he is scratching." Sync iPod, upload picture to iPhoto, clean off SD cards for camera.
8:05 PM finally relaxing on couch with Kings game and computer, avoiding Christmas cards.

But hey, tomorrow I leave for Vegas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Whew, what a month!

So, you may have noticed my flurry of postings in the last month. Quite a change from one post a month if I'm lucky. I decided in late October to try to unofficially try NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) I also decided to keep it a secret, because if I failed, only I would know.

Yeaaaa!!! I did it. One post a day for thirty days! It was not easy. Not all of the posts were post worthy. Not all of them were well composed. But that's not the point. The point is to do it! Get in a groove and stay in the groove.

So, now where do we go from here? I'm going to try to be more regular about posting. I did rediscover how much I love my blog. NaBloPoMo got me Sharing some of the stuff the kids say and do, while it is fresh in my mind, instead of what usually happens. I forget.

Speaking of which, tonight Ryan said to me, "Mommy, I love you so much. You are Sooooo cute!!!!!"

Oh, and Evan just may be a musical prodigy. He heard four bars of a song last night and told me "We saw this song on the computer!" I asked Scott, he listened, for far more than four bars, then a light went on and he said, "um, yeah, ONCE! like a month ago!"

I'm very glad it's December...I won't be posting everyday in December, I HAVE to get the Christmas cards in the mail!!!!


Monday, November 30, 2009

Next stop the NHL

On Sunday we took the boys to Sea World. When we were there earlier in the week, the boys were drawn to the temporary ice rink put in for the holidays. I decided that trying to handle two boys on the ice at one time was well beyond my ice skating capabilities. We had to wait for Daddy.

Scott took each boy out and skated backwards with them a couple of times. I took them out holding their hand while they held on to the boards.















In less than an hour they went from holding on to our hands for dear life, to "skating" on their own. Oh to be young and fearless.

They had so much fun.

I'm thinking about ice skating lessons

...and hockey lessons.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

No, you may not become a commerical fisherman...

I don't care how cute you look in the gear. Doesn't Ryan look like he belongs on "Deadliest Catch"? I think he looks like a little longshoreman in his tuque.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It smells like Christmas!

There's been a little debate in our house about fake versus real Christmas Trees. Personally, and no offense if you have one, I HATE FAKE CHRISTMAS TREES. HATE. Yes, that is a strong word. I mean it.

As long as I can remember we've had a cut, formerly live Christmas Tree. There is something magical about the smell of pine in your home. The zillions of pine needles to clean up until Easter.

Now that I am older, and more Eco-Friendly/Eco-conscious, I do have my guilt about killing a tree for my enjoyment. And yes, it does seem silly to essentially throw away fifty bucks every year for a tree. But Friday, when we walked into the tree lot, and Ryan shouted, "It smells like Christmas!!!" My guilt went out the window. Yes Ryan, it does smell like Christmas. The Christmases of my past, and the Christmases of your future.

Last year the boys were a little to young to help much with the decorating of the "smell of Christmas." They put on a few ornaments but basically that was it.

Today we tried to get them a bit more involved. It worked to the extent that three year old kids can decorate a tree. It takes a lot more fine motor skills than I realized, and it wasn't until I tried to help my guys get ornaments on the branches that I figured out why hooks are much better than ribbon or string loops.

Ryan, ever the independent one, asked "Will you show me how to hang these ornaments, Mommy. Show me how to do it, please." And he worked and worked until he would get one on a branch.



It got a bit frustrating for both of them so I moved on to, "show me where you want this one to go" and that made the activity move along a wee bit faster. We only put about a third of our ornaments on the tree, I may put more on, or we may go for a minimalist tree this year.



However, we do have a very large grouping of ornaments in this section. I could not convince them to place ornaments anywhere else on the tree. And as part of my "letting it go" and "not passing on my OCD" they are all exactly where they told me to put them. Out of balance yes, happy kids, oh yeah. And that is what really matters.


****Edit: The magic is alive and well. Evan had to sit and look at the tree while drinking his milk, and he had to tell the tree goodnight.


He's always loved the Christmas tree. I think one of his first signs was tree, and one of his first properly used utterance was "Uh, oh" when we took the tree down. I know he cried last year when the tree came down. Stay tuned for the drama come the first of the year!

Friday, November 27, 2009

I think I should be committed.

Bicycles, Razor Scooters, and Baseball gloves...

I'm taking bets now for how long until my first ER visit with a broken bone after Christmas.

What's wrong with me? Am I CRAZY?

Oh, wait, I forgot to get roller blades, ice skates, pogo sticks and ladders.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving



What do you do on Thanksgiving?

We learn to ride scooters.

Non-traditional, Yes. But loads of fun!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An abundance of riches.

One of the great things about living in San Diego is over abundance of things to do and the wonderful weather in which to do it all in.

It was 82 freaking degrees today, and we went to the Wild Animal Park. Yesterday we went to Sea World, it was just as warm.

As we were riding on the tram at the Wild Animal Park today, and I was listening to the excited "tourists" behind me, I began thinking about how lucky our kids are. They will grow up with amazing things like the Zoo and Sea World as their backyards. In a typical week, we will hit up at least one of these amazing attractions that people come to San Diego for. We can go to the Zoo, or Wild Animal Park, or Sea World for the morning, or after naps. How cool is it that?

Or will it make them spoiled?

I sat on the tram for the hundredth time, wondering if my kids will actually appreciate the abundance of entertainment here. Can they truly appreciate the lion sitting just feet from them, or one of the handful of Southern Black Rhinos basking in the sun off to the left? Will our frequent visits enhance their knowledge, or desensitize them?

I suppose that once they are in school full time, these trips will be much less frequent, and then become more special. So maybe I should just shut up and enjoy it while we can!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Battle-bots

I think we are going through a phase...

at least I hope it is a phase.

Being siblings, and especially twins, we want what the other has. Even if it is the EXACT. SAME. THING. the other has. It's the possession that makes it desirable.

It seems that everything is a battle, or a war. Every little thing is a gigantic tragedy.

I'm trying to step back and make them work it out between themselves. When someone comes running over to me in hysterics, because the other one has done something, or taken something, or looked at them wrong, I try to make them talk it out with each other, and NOT ME! I'm there to try and facilitate, but for the love of all that is good, how can *I* help if your brother stole your car? I don't have it. I didn't steal it.

I don't want them to be those whiny, tattle tale kids. I want them to be able to try and work out their difficulties BEFORE they involve an adult. Yes, I know they are only three, but...it is all about laying the foundation for later in life. Right?

Honestly, some days, it is torture.

Some days I want to lock put them in their rooms by themselves until they are four.

Only 134 days to go.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Because if you want to be an Anthem singer for the NHL

...you have to know "Oh Canada!"





As a bonus track, here's an original tune. "Cactus Dance"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Real or imagined?

There is something special about communication with a three year old.

You never know what is in their head, imaginary, or what is real.

Ryan and Evan seem to have vivid imaginations. They are always creating games and scenarios. Play acting.

Lately with them away at preschool six hours a week, we've spent a great deal of time discussing what they did at school and who they played with.

I've been a bit skeptical, because again, you never know what is real or what is in their vivid imaginations. But, the last few weeks they've been telling me that they've played with Briggin or Joaquin or Conlan or Nathan. They have even told me about the things they did with their friends. They played with blocks, or rode the bikes together, or played with trucks.

However, Thursday in the parking lot, Evan began to shout, "There's Briggin. Briggin! Hi Briggin!" Sure enough, there was their classmate Briggin walking to class with his Mom and Sister.

While I am still not sure if they ARE actually playing WITH their classmates, I do at least know that they recognize them on sight.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas Dilemma

I have a dilemma. I don't know what to get the boys for Christmas. Can you believe it? Well, actually, since these kids have just about everything, it is harder than it looks.

This is what I have:

Evan: microphone and stand, and it's red. stocking stuff like cars and a few small stuffed animals.
Ryan: ??????. I've gotten him the same stocking stuff but I cannot come up with a big ticket item for him to save my life!!!

What is wrong with me?

Why can't I find gifts for my guys????

HELP ME!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Stories

Being that the boys have been awake horrifically early of late, we've been cuddling in Mommy and Daddy's bed until the sun rises. The boys are raring to go. I am not. To keep them quiet and cuddling I've begun early morning story hour. Being that the last thing I want to do is turn on a light, we've begun making up stories. Ala Mad Libs.

The boys LOVE this.

Here's an example from this morning (their words are in Italics):

Once upon a time there were two little dinosaurs. One was a giant, huge tyrannosaurus , the other was a big, red dilophosaurus. Their names were Jessica and McQueen. The two dinosaurs liked to play football, soccer, hockey and golf. Sometimes when they play games they like to share, but sometimes they don't share. When they share they have fun. When they don't share they go to timeout. One day McQueen decided to I don't know. So Jessica decided to tickle him.

This is so much fun to do with them. They love it, they stretch their creativity, and well, they are calm for a few minutes.

This week we've had stories about dinosaurs, trucks, boys, and puppies, and I've been able to stay in my warm bed until 6.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It all just boils to the surface.

I had a post planned for today with some of the stories that the boys and I have been creating, but last night I had a brief "conversation" with my friend Lindsay, and it got me thinking. (and thinking and thinking)

She has a friend who is 27 weeks pregnant with twin girls. Her friend is in the hospital, on the dreaded Magnesium Sulfate. Trying to keep those babies cooking, as long as possible.

It was shocking to us that we were so naive about pregnancy. We are both well educated women, who um, well, lets just say, "do our research." How could we not know, or maybe understand the epidemic of premature birth.

Maybe it is a blessing that we, as total worriers did not know, all that stress might have brought our kids even earlier!

Women give birth to term babies all the time. That is the norm, that is what we hear about. I knew I would not carry these babies to term. I have a small frame, small hips, just not a lot of room there to hold two babies. But did I ever think 26 weeks? That is just unheard of. 26 weeks. Think about that. More than three months early. Three months! Just into the third trimester. WHOA. How could I not know that this was even a possibility? I thought early, 36 weeks, 34 maybe.

One in EIGHT babies is born too soon. Look at 8 friends, at least one of them, statistically at least, should be touched by prematurity. That's the same number as women touched by breast cancer.

These are not all babies born addicted to drugs, or to teen moms, or mothers who did not have prenatal care. They are women like my friends, Lindsay, Jen, Nina, Saffron, Keri, Donna, Karissa, Educated Women who took care of themselves and their babies. Women who had no idea they would be a statistic of premature birth.

They had no idea that some doctor would come in and tell them that their child or children would not make it through the night, and if they did it would be a miracle. They had no idea that people would shake their heads every day that their children survived, and fought just to breathe. They had no idea that they would have to SIT and stare that their babies for days, weeks, before they could touch or hold their babies in their arms. They had no idea the kind of agony that would cause. How they would look around the NICU and see other moms or dads holding their babies, and they would fight back the tears as they wondered if their day would ever come.

Those parents would have no idea what an IVH, or a Oscillating Ventilator, or a High Frequency Ventilator, or a PICC line, or an umbilical line, or NEC, or a PDA, or a VCUG, or ROP or any of the many medical terms and procedures and equipment and all the things that could go wrong were. They would have no idea that they would spend endless hours at the beside of their barely alive child and then spend endless hours at home reading and researching all of the things they heard at the hospital that day.

Those parents would experience THAT moment. EVERYDAY. As they signed into the NICU and washed their hands. Searching the faces of the staff, for signs, was it a good day, was it a bad day, has anything changed, is my baby still alive? EVERYDAY. Intellectually you know they will call you if there is a problem and you need to get to the hospital quickly, because you've experienced THAT call already. But what if, in the time it took you to walk through that dead zone down that hallway in the hospital, they couldn't reach you. EVERYDAY.

Those parents, three plus years later, know that this experience will never fully leave them. There will still be days that while sitting in a park surrounded by moms and kids listening to a guy with a guitar sing "You Are My Sunshine" will bring a mom to tears, uncontrollable tears. There will still be days that hearing someone say they are 26 weeks pregnant and feel safe now will not make them want to shout, "YOU FOOL, you are NOT safe, you are a LONG, LONG way from safe". There will still be days that upon hearing that a friend of a friend is in the hospital at 27 weeks, their heart will not sink, and their eyes will not well up.

Those people, they, WE. We had no idea. Now we do and it still sucks. No one should ever have to go through that living hell. No child should ever go through half of the pain and suffering our children have been through in their young lives. No parent should have to look at her boys heels and see the scars from the constant blood draws, daily, twice daily, every three hours. No parent should have to see the scars on their child's back or chest, or belly from some procedure done before they were even supposed to be born. No parent should have to deal with NICU PTSD, for the rest of their lives. Yet, one in eight do, will, until WE do something about it.

Support the March of Dimes, during Prematurity Awareness Month, and everyday. They are Fighting for Preemies, and for All babies.

Support your local preemie parent. WE ARE EVERYWHERE.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Privacy? What's that?

Today I was sitting, um, "indisposed". While out side the door I heard a crash followed by a scream and a cry. (seriously, can a Mom ever get a little "quiet time"?) I opened the door to a tear streaked Evan who had slipped and hit his head on the tile floor.

I did my best to console him from my location. He was having a tougher time than normal composing himself. Ryan came over and hugged and kissed his brothers back and head. Gently petting him saying "It's okay McQueen".

It really was the sweetest thing.

I'm sure I would have enjoyed the moment more had we all been sitting on the couch.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Prematurity Awareness Month

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and today is Prematurity Awareness Day.

I am very aware.

I am 26 weeks aware.

I am 5 months in the NICU aware.

I am three and a half years of specialists, medicines, aware.

I am one heart surgery aware.

I am one pneumothorax aware.

I am two laser eye surgeries aware.

I am one brain bleed aware.

I am countless blood transfusions, rounds of antibiotics, and procedures aware.

I am I wonder if my babies are going to be alive if I fall asleep aware.

I am afraid of the phone ringing aware.

I am thankful for every milestone reached aware.

I am amazed by every day aware.

I am ONE IN EVERY EIGHT BABIES AWARE.

Fight for preemies
. Be aware.

Monday, November 16, 2009

OCD Much?

I'm sure I've mentioned before that Ryan is a bit particular. A bit Obsessive Compulsive if you will. For the most part he is pretty easy going, and the OCD only rears its ugly head when it comes to having all of his cars lined up a certain way, or only wanting a certain color car or block. EXCEPT, when it comes to his room.

Don't mess with this kids room.

We've had serious meltdowns when it comes to changes in his room.

Scott tried to hang new pictures...meltdown.

We took out his brothers crib...meltdown.

We put in his big boy bed...meltdown.

We removed his crib...meltdown.

A box on the closet shelf is slightly out of place...meltdown.

On top of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder he is my highly observant child. He is the kid that sees the tiniest detail in the tiniest spot. He's the kid that sees something in the distance that no one else sees.

Here's an example. There is a certain red car from a certain CARS movie. We love him. There is a certain box in the rafters of the garage that got placed there late last night, for a certain holiday coming up soon, with a tiny, maybe one inch picture of that certain car showing, and Ryan, within seconds of being in the garage, pointed it out to me. "Look Mama, it's Lightning McQueen...WHAT is THAT up there????" (my response was something totally unbelievable as "it's just a box honey.") Seriously. This kid notices EVERYTHING.

Today, I finally reached my limit. I cannot take one more morning of Ryan waking up as soon as the morning sky turns from the dark of night to just the hint of morning light. (That's about 5 AM in case any of you were wondering) I nailed his black out blanket across the window more securely so NO light will get through. The difference is negligible. To the naked eye you cannot really tell there are 6 more nails in the curtain.

Ryan is currently crying in his room because he will not be able to see the light anymore.

Only MY child would have noticed that difference. I'm sorry kid, I'm sorry you got your hyper observant, OCD tendencies from me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Castle on a Cloud

Ryan has been very aware of the clouds in the sky lately. One day he shouted. "Mommy it looks like a rainbow." I never doubt him but sometimes I have to search pretty hard to find what it is that he "sees".

The first time I realized he was observing and creating shapes in the clouds, he screamed "MOMMY, it's a SHARK." "It's a shark eating a fish" I started searching the billboards and the road signs, I took a glance in the backseat to see if he was reading something. Nope. "Where?" I queried. "IN THE SKY MOMMY, LOOK RIGHT THERE!!!!" Yep sure enough right in front of me was a shark shaped cloud, with a smaller fish shaped cloud swimming precariously close to the shark's open mouth.

It's not just the clouds that have him spellbound.
" The sky is BE-UUUU-TI-FULLLL. Just like the last time when we finished our cheeseburgers."

One person's cloud, is Ryan's cheeseburger.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Are you ready for some football?

Ryan woke up from his nap a bit early today, (like an hour too early) and Scott still had the football game on. Ryan was desperate to watch some football. I corralled him, threw him down on the couch to cuddle, while holding a blanket up so he couldn't stare at the TV. He was wiggling, and I was tickling, telling him that I just wanted to cuddle.

He said "Mommy I want to watch football please. Please let me go!"
I told him " I want to cuddle you, but, I will be happy to let you go if Daddy turns off the TV"
Ryan to Scott "Dad, TURN OFF THE TV PLE-EEA-ASE!!!!"

Glad to see that freedom from the tickling, hugging, kissing clutches of Mom is a bigger draw than college football.

Friday, November 13, 2009

There was a time I was ALWAYS early

Before kids, I was always the person that was early. I HATE to be late. It makes me really upset to be late, or to keep people waiting. I would rather wait, than to make others wait. Granted, things change, and now it seems I'm ALWAYS running late, or just late for me.

There ARE days that we just have to get out of the house. For everyone's best interest. So if we have to be somewhere at 10 or 11, I may run by a park at 8:30 just so they stop killing each other can get out and get some fresh air.

Today was one of those days, we HAD to get out of the house earlier than planned.

One of our play groups had Steve from Hullabaloo come and play for us today at Lake Poway. I had already planned to arrive early so we could feed the ducks the two months worth of stale bread ends from my freezer. Nine AM for a 10:30 concert was a bit excessive. Lucky for me
A few of the firefighters from the fire station up the block were doing a workout at the lake and the driver was kind enough to show a few kids all the cool stuff on the firetruck!



This guy was really great. He showed them the hoses, the giant axe, the huge hammer, and especially for Evan, the valves.




Sometimes it pays that Mommy likes to be early.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Three and a half just sucks

The whining.
The fighting.
The attitude.
The buts.
The WHYS.
The constant pushing of limits.
The ifs and the ands.
The lack of eating.
The eating everything in sight. (yeah, can you believe I am complaining about eating?)
The crying jags.
The defiance.

of course...all of that is quickly followed by

Cuteness.
Laughter and giggle fits.
Cuddles.
An amazing conversation.
Singing and dancing.
Hugs.
Kisses.
"Mommy I love you *This* much.

Three and a half is a little like living with Jekyll and Hyde. (times two)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We are so lucky

****Edited

I've written here numerous times about our friends, Dylan and Tyler, and their baby brother Colin. We are so lucky to have them in our lives. The boys have been "friends" since their very first days, side by side in the NICU.

We've weathered those first cold and flu seasons when terror struck every time someone had a sniffle. We've had to cancel many a play date, so we didn't infect each other. (The best friend a preemie mom can have is another preemie mom, we totally understand and are not offended by canceled plans. We'd all rather be safe than sorry!)

The boys ALWAYS have fun playing together, and Lindsay and I ALWAYS (although more so now days) enjoy chatting.

I can NEVER be in the presence of these four and now five boys without laughing, and smiling the day away. I can NEVER be in the presence of these children without marveling at how LUCKY we all are. Five babies that had such difficult starts, starts that defied the odds. Five boys who are walking (okay four), talking, BREATHING examples of LIFE.

ARUGH. I LOVE these kids!!!!!!



Dylan mugging for the camera.


Evan, Ryan and Tyler working on a co-op masterpiece.

Seriously, how can you not love these kids. How cute are they????


Being around these little miracles reminds me, brings into focus, clarifies, just how lucky we are.
And it also gives me hope and perspective when I hear from a friend in Ireland of his struggles with his newborn daughter.

Aoibheann is a term baby, born with some respiratory distress. She spent the first seven days in the NICU. John described some of the things they were going through, the oxygen, the tests, the inability to hold their baby, and snap, there I was back in the NICU. Immersed in the sights and sounds like it was yesterday. Feeling so many emotions and worry for my friend and his family. The NICU is a full sensory memory. You smell it, feel it, hear it, see it, just by closing your eyes. Those of us that have had extended stays will never be fully rid of that ability to remember.

I was overjoyed that Aoibheann and her family only had to spend seven days in hell, and when John posted that he was laying the couch with Aoibheann on his chest, I remembered that moment too. That peace, the contented feeling, the overwhelming joy. sigh.

Aoibheann was only at home for eleven days, she is now back in the hospital. They believe it is RSV. I've talked ad nauseam about the dangers of RSV to preemies, and how frightened we were when the boys were little that they would contract this common virus which can be fatal in children with respiratory issues. Needless to say, I am terrified for them.

Thank goodness they listened to their parental instincts and took her to the ER, even though her pediatrician said she would be fine. Thank goodness she seems to be improving. But they are on that roller coaster that we rode for five months. Weaning oxygen, increasing oxygen, doing better, doing worse, going home soon, staying longer. My heart is with them, I feel helpless for them, and I know how helpless they feel for their daughter.

I know how lucky we are...I hope beyond words that they will be too.

*******Aoibheann is home with her Mom, Dad and Sister.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Conversations on the way home from school

Evan: I sang the National Anthem today at school for Mrs. Finch
Me: Really? Did you sing any other songs?
Ryan: Yes
Me: What did you sing Ryan?
Ryan: The apple song.
Me: How does the apple song go Ryan?
Ryan: (in a sing song voice) Three little pups sitting on apples. The first one said oops I have a boo boo. The second pup said, I do not. The first pup said look there is a cacti. The third pup rolled off, pup, pup, pup.

At lunch-
Evan: I sang the National Anthem for Mrs. Finch today.
Me: You did?
Ryan: and I sang too!
Me: Oh, you sang too?
Evan: Yes, and everyone crowded around me.
Ryan: And I sat on a chair.
Evan: When I finished singing everyone clapped!
Ryan: I clapped too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Seeds of Wonder need water to grow.

Today we went back to an old favorite, a place we had not been to in a long while. I honestly do not know how long ago it was that we were last at the Quail Botanic Gardens, now known as the San Diego Botanic Gardens. The boys always enjoyed themselves there. They have a lovely little area called the Seeds of Wonder Garden for little ones, with all kinds of fun things to play with, see, plant, blow, and watch.

I had forgotten that EVERY TIME we would go to the Gardens, I'd bring along a full change of clothes. Some one, if not everyone would end up covered in bubble solution, or wet from playing in a fountain, or covered head to toe in dirt from rolling around in, well, dirt.

Today, our buddy Tobin met us, and we played hard. We cooked food together, we watched the train, we blew bubbles,

and we fished.

We fished TOBIN out of the drink.

This little area has a pump and two troughs of water that cascade into each other. They are filled with creatures to "fish" out using big nets. The three boys spent a very long time fishing out Shamu, and dolphins, fishies, turtles, and other creatures. A couple of times Evan became a little enthusiastic, and nearly fell in. He caught himself and was able to remain dry-ish.


Tobin was not so lucky.

You can't *REALLY* see how wet he is, but you can see Philip laughing his ass off. This picture may be a bit blurry because I was also laughing.

If you closely you can see the puddle of water under and around Tobin. That water formerly resided in the trough. If you look very carefully, you can see just how wet he is. Head to Toe.


You should also notice that, it barely phased him, and moments later was precariously close to going in a second time.

Sorry, Philip, but I was pretty glad it wasn't one of mine. They certainly would NOT have taken it so in stride.

Ryan however, in his own sweet compassionate way, started splashing water on himself. I'm sure it was so Tobin would feel better about being dripping wet.

Thanks T for the best laugh of my day.

It's a good thing Daddy had a change of clothes in the car so we could all fully enjoy riding on the baby dinosaurs.


We then ran laughing through areas of the big garden looking, and finding, cacti. It's really fun to watch these three grow together. They so enjoy each others company, and I am still chuckling remembering the soaking wet Tobin.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

If I could do it all over

We stopped at a little taco shop tonight for dinner. When we pulled into the parking lot, there was a couple getting into their car. I noticed them because she pushed their cart to the island where there were a dozen or more carts already parked. I thought in my head, just because everyone else does it doesn't mean its right. She walked toward us, a little to closely. She kind of got in between our car and Scott and Evan. Something about it, it made me uncomfortable. Scott laughed, oops we are in the way Evan, excuse us. She wandered toward our door, and realized it was not her car. She walked a car down, she walked the ten steps across the parking lot, saying oh, I'm over here. When she got over there, she realized it was not right either. As I looked back over my shoulder. I saw the confusion in her eyes as she looked around desperately searching for where her car was. I also saw the man she was with, finally realizing that she had not come back to the car start to look for her. I said to Scott, oh she was really confused. She really didn't know where she was.

I haven't been able to get her out of my mind all night. I know her male companion found her, he was steps away from her. She was steps away from her car. Literally, she started ten steps, 180 degrees away from her car, and she ended up twenty steps 90 degrees away from her car.
I can't stop thinking I should have helped her. I should have said oh, you are right there. What stopped me? I don't know. My selfish need to get my kids fed more quickly? My fear of making her feel bad? My fear of strangers? That "I grew up in LA" sensibility where you just don't talk to people? The uncomfortable feeling I had when she approached my car? (which I now know was me maybe sensing her confusion?) I don't know.

I don't like it.

I want to teach my children to be kind and compassionate. I did not set a good example. I cannot stop thinking about it. My heart aches because I was so heartless.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Game on

****Updated with video*****

Evan has always loved music. To the point that when we fed him we would sing. It ran the gamut, from Margaritaville, to the Grateful Dead, from Leonard Cohen to John Denver. There were a few songs that always seemed to get him in a good rhythm while drinking a bottle. I sang Do-Re-Me, eight times a day for several months on continuous loop. Soon I was able to add Oh, Canada to the mix, quickly followed by the Star Spangled Banner. The kid loved those songs.

Evan can be a bit obsessive, which I think is normal for this age, I guess it should be no surprise that every night, before bed, Evan and his father sing Hallelujah. And it should be no surprise that every day, and every night, Evan sings The National Anthem on continuous loop. He's been singing it virtually every day for the last six to eight months. In the car, in the living room, and so I am told by his teacher, on the playground, while riding a bike. No trip to Sea World is complete if we do not get there in time to hear the National Anthem. (Seriously, I offered to take them to Sea World on day after our shots, but we were going to miss the National Anthem I gave them the choice of Sea World with no Anthem, or the Zoo. They chose the Zoo.)

The kids still don't watch TV, but they have seen the National Anthem performed a few times, they "saw" the Inauguration, and some of that awesome concert, and some bits and pieces of sports, because sports rule around here. I've also (slaps hand) introduced them to the glory of YouTube. This has been on heavy rotation, so, I thought I'd share our rendition...


Not the most complete performance, but they were a little distracted by me and the camera.

So, if you need an Anthem singer...we also do Oh, Canada if necessary!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Evan, Lightning McQueen, and a Lady Bug

Evan has been making great strides in the last few months. He is finding confidence in every aspect of his life.

Until a few days ago, Evan has slept in a porta crib. Not because he doesn't have a bed in his room, but because he refused to sleep in it.

We had two cribs in the boys room, but Evan started waking up five or fifty times a night so we temporarily moved him into the guest room and into a porta crib. It was two years later that he finally started sleeping through the night on a regular basis. By this time, Ryan, my child who resists change, refused to allow Evan to sleep in his room, let alone have any changes made to anything in his bedroom.

Evan also showed a lack of desire to change. We put his bed in his room with really cool guitar sheets. We suggested he might like to sleep in his big boy bed, just like Ryan. Nope. "But I like my crib" he would tell us.

With the crazy amount of "things" he takes to bed each night, Evan was running out of space in his crib. I was getting worried he'd sleep in his crib until his feet had to hang over the top.

We were walking through Target the other day, and saw a cars bed tent with sleeping bag and accessories. Hmm... I wonder. We brought it home and immediately Ryan wanted to use it. Should have bought two. Ryan was quickly over the idea of this new thing in his room, so it moved to Evan's.

The first night we just cuddled and read books in the big boy bed, with the new tent.

The next night he got a bit more brave. He decided he wanted to sleep in the tent. It was a tough night. I think he was up a half a dozen times. He fell out of bed once. He woke up very scared once. But, he stayed in his big boy bed, and in the morning he was very proud to receive a special surprise for it. (a new stuffed lady bug, now known as Baby lady bug to distinguish it from Mama lady bug, who was our special surprise for going pee pee on the potty for the first time ever)
Check Spelling
Nap time the next day...slept in his bed, in his tent, like a pro.

He's had a couple of rough nights, but, I feel safe (while knocking on wood) to say that he has successfully transitioned into his big boy bed.

Now, I just have to convince him to let me remove the porta crib.



If not for Lightning McQueen, parenting would be considerably more difficult.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Excuse me while I brag a bit

If you don't want to hear how wonderful my kids are, tune out now...

Okay, if you are still here, please excuse me while I crow a bit. We had our first Parent/Teacher Conferences today.

Just the sound of that makes you a little nervous doesn't it.

I went in after yesterday thinking, OH NO. Do I want to hear about what terrors they are in class? What are they going to say? Are we going to get kicked out of preschool?

Seriously, I knew none of those things were going to happen, but with a crazy person like me, all of those thoughts DID run through my head. Several. Times.

Let me tell you. I love a teacher that starts out the conference by saying. "I have no concerns about either of the boys, let me just get that out there right away. I know how stressful these things are!"

Immediately put at ease, and able to focus on the meat of the conference and not the fear of expulsion, I was so happy to hear what she had to say.

Highlights:

The word "Love" or the phrase "I/we love that about..." came up at least 40 times.

Ryan: He's SO sweet. (yeah, I know that about him, he's so squishy) He is more reserved than Evan, but he gets equally excited about school and the things he is doing. He is kind and thoughtful. He cares about his brother and his classmates. He is full of emotions, good, and not so good, but he is learning to manage them in an appropriate manner. He is growing so much socially and in the "school" setting. He has already made improvements in his transitions, and using his words in difficult situations. Developmentally, he is right on track. He is SO observant and is eager to share his observations. He is starting to make meaningful attempts at making letters. He loves the bikes and being outdoors. He is sharing during "meeting time" and he is beginning to play more with his classmates. He loves to read, and FULLY comprehends the stories, he follows along closely and notices every detail.

Evan: He's like a Tasmanian Devil of excitement. He is ALWAYS has a story to share with his teachers. (She cannot wait to hear what he has to say each day) He is extraordinarily verbal, and is starting to understand how to use his words in a social situation. He is learning that he looses his peers if he does not get to the point quickly. He is also learning that he can ask a friend to play with him and they will! He loves to share during "meeting time" and is learning to wait his turn. He loves reading, and is also learning not to interrupt even though he has made a connection and is excited to share it. He is VERY smart and makes those connections VERY quickly, so it is hard for him to contain himself. He is developmentally on track, however his is more cautious with some of the activities that require gross motor skills. They notice that he wont give up, especially if he has seen that Ryan can or has done it. (competitive much? I do not know where he gets that from. *cough, cough*) He does show care and compassion for Ryan. (so, I guess he's going to win, win, win, but love you doing it?)

She ended by telling me how much they love them and how sweet they are. How their behaviors are developmentally appropriate, and this is why we go to preschool. They LOVE their enthusiasm, and their passion.

She also told me that on Tuesday, Evan did indeed sing her the National Anthem. While riding a bike around the playground, for the entire school, in perfect pitch. Apparently all the teachers now know him.


I am so proud of the fact that they are adjusting so well, and that they are not hurting anyone, and that we will not be expelled.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Whys have it

As much as I understand the need for this phase, developmentally appropriate behavior, yada, yada, yada. I KNOW this is a wonderful phase, they are interested in everything around them, and that is a good, good thing. They have questions, and I have answers, and they know that and they trust that. (I hope they will always feel as such)

But.

Seriously.

If I here "Why Momma?" ONE. MORE. FREAKING. TIME. today, my head is going to explode.

Here's an example of just one fraction of my morning. And that would be the fraction of time it takes me to drive the 3 blocks from my house to Henry's.

E: where are we going Momma?
M: we are going to the store.
E: Why Momma? (without pause for an answer)
E: Why are we going to the store?
M: To get bread.
E: Why do we need bread? Why Momma?
M: To make sandwiches for lunch. We are going to take sandwiches with us to Sea World today.
E: Why Momma?
M: For lunch.
R: Why are we having sandwiches for lunch?
M: Because they are easy to eat while we are watching the Shamu show.
R: Why Momma?
M: Because they are easy to hold and we can sit in our seats and eat them.
R: Why are we going to the Shamu show.
M: I thought you liked the Shamu show.
R: I do, but why are we going?
M: Because I like to do things that you enjoy.
R: Why Momma?
E: Why Momma?
M: (pulling out my hair) Can we talk about something else?
E: Are we going to see Cacti Momma?
E: Where are the cacti Momma?
E: Are we going to drive by the cacti Momma?
E: Are we? Are we? Are we?
M: (unloads car walks in the store)
E: Why are we at the store Momma?
R: For bread
E: Why Ryan?

SERIOUSLY.

(did I honestly worry these kids would never talk?)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is it just siblings or is a twin thing?

How is it possible, that one minute we are screaming, and fighting, arguing and teasing, crying and whining...


and the next minute we are like this????





It's gotta be a twin thing right?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Discharge: in a totally non-yucky context.

Today was a big, big day in our household. After YEARS of Occupational Therapy, hours of one on one and group work, and countless gray hairs, we have finally been discharged from feeding group. Yes, did you hear that? I should be shouting from the roof tops!

WE HAVE BEEN DISCHARGED FROM FEEDING GROUP!!!! WE DO NOT HAVE OT EVERY WEEK ANYMORE. EVAN IS EATING LIKE A NORMAL CHILD!!!!!!!

Two years with Miss Terri, once a week, an additional weekly session with Miss Stacey for six months of those two years. Six months with Miss Kim and Miss Suzie in feeding group, and we are done. D-O-N-E. Done. Seriously.

Evan has been eating regularly for about 3 months now. I know I documented the start of it here. And while I may not have been diligent about updates on the eating front...lets just say that Evan has been consistently eating everything I put in front of him. From pancakes to pizza, from BBQ ribs to chicken satay, from chicken masala to tacos. He *is* "Lightning McQueen the eating machine" as he was dubbed by Grammie. Some days he even out eats Ryan, which is quite a feat for that boy can put it down. (I may have also subconsciously avoided talking about it here for fear of jinxing it!)

I've continued to challenge Evan with different textures and tastes. He has risen to and well above the challenge. Yay Evan!

We have been laughing at group because now the kids just eat everything. In all sorts of random combinations, hot or cold, crunchy or squishy. Six months ago, it would take Evan the entire hour to swallow one bite of pasta. Three months ago it took fifteen minutes per bite. Today, he ate a hot dog in a bun in five minutes. (And then proceeded to eat a taco and some ice cream.)

It's been coming for a while. We've are approved for sessions in increments of 6, and this was 6 of 6 on this authorization, so we were pretty sure this was our last day.

At the end of group our Therapists, Miss Suzie and Miss Kim presented Evan with a certificate of completion.

I should have posted pics of the actual certificates, but Evan's says:

"Graduation Day Presented to Evan for successful completion of the Little Steps for Little Feeders!"

That's it. We have matriculated.


Ryan, who was not really a patient, also received a certificate his says:

"The supportive Big Brother Award presented to Ryan, with appreciation for your unwavering support of Evan through Little Steps for Little Feeders."


We had a few last words to say,


some smiles and hugs,



high fives for Miss Alison,


and the other Miss Alison,


and that is it.

Another chapter of our preemie-hood has been completed. We have successfully navigated this eating challenge and now Mommy and Daddy just have to remember to treat Evan like a normal kid. It's hard not to be obsessed with food and calorie counts with him, but with each passing day and each passing meal it gets easier. (especially when he eats half of a Phil's pulled pork sandwich, and a few ribs in a single sitting.)

I want to thank all of the therapists, doctors, and support people who have walked this journey with us. All of our supportive family and friends, who have encouraged, cajoled, bribed, made up silly songs (we still sing the pasta song Eric and Mary), and what ever you did to help us get to this point.

Now...

who can get them to eat their vegetables? Anyone? Anyone?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Frighteningly Fun Halloween 2009

This was our first real Halloween. We've always dressed up, or at least had costumes and taken pictures in them. Last year we went to Sea World and "trick or treated" but this year was the first year that we even thought that going door to door was even an option.

We decided to join our friends Dylan and Tyler in their new neighborhood, because everything is more fun with multiple sets of multiples. Also joining us in the festivities were friends Hudson and of course, Dylan and Tyler's baby brother Colin.

Before Trick or Treating we decorated Halloween cupcakes. I use that term loosely. Basically we slapped a bit of frosting on cupcakes, took some bites and licks, poured every ounce of sprinkles out on one cupcake and then stuck our hands in the frosting and licked them clean.




See in my hand, that's all the excess sprinkles that came off the solid black cupcake by Evan's right hand. He's about to pour out the rest of the bottle, on the table.

They really need to make the holes on those things smaller. Seriously.

The kids had a bunch of fun, which is all that really matters.

After getting the sprinkles out from between my toes, we started on dinner.

Lindsay made a yummy hearty soup and even though the boys were a little too excited to really enjoy dinner, we made it through!


And then came the chaos of getting 6 kids under 4 into costumes.


With that feat accomplished...









We tried to get 5 kids lined up on the wall, looking at the camera, for a "our first trick or treating" photo.


On to the trick or treating!!!!


I didn't get a lot of pictures of the actual event, however, it was hilarious. Kids everywhere, some, who shall remain nameless, kept trying to go IN to the peoples houses. So, funny. They really got the hang of knocking and saying Happy Halloween, or Trick or Treat, and I was pleased that they did a pretty good job of saying Thank You, too.

We pushed all of little darlings, but when we got back to Dylan, Tyler and Colin's house, Evan told me,

"You said that after Trick or Treating we could eat our cupcakes"

Well, because I am true to my word, we sat down and ate our cupcakes, and then we exploded in a sugar induced frenzy. Running, screaming, laughing. (It's once a year, It's once a year)

When we were leaving, saying our good byes, my dear, subtle, gracious child says to our hosts.
"I don't want to come back here" Thanks Evan, way to go kid, already totally embarrassing Mom and Dad! Frankly we were all laughing so hard I'm not sure anyone heard him add "because I don't want to leave!!!" Ah, Good Times.

Really? a successful night. Very few tears, very few fears...except that last house that had one of those bowls with hands that grab you if you try to take candy from it...Yeah, Ryan DID. NOT. LIKE. THAT. He is still talking about how it scared him.