Big hugs and kisses to one of my newest blog friends, Darla, who has a fantastic blog, Family and Flowers. She nominated me for this award - and I thank her so much!
I just love this whole blogging thing. Keeping a journal when the girls were first born was laughable - I always chose "sleep" as my preferred recreational activity - so I love that I now have a little place all my own to chronicle our memories for all time.
I would like to pass this award on to ...
Sweet Sue Sews ... a blogger (and extended family member) who loves her family and loves to sew.
Mabel's House ... a new blog I have started following by Liz ... Mabel is her adorable dog and she and her husband have admitted that their house is really Mabel's house
Know any other good blogs? Pass them on - I am addicted!
This past weekend Jon & Kate visited our local hospital to help celebrate the opening of the new Level 3 NICU. They talked and answered questions for about an hour or so - and it was very interesting. The new NICU was beautiful - they are officially opening it sometime in October so we were able to take a tour. My girls were lucky enough not to need to go to the NICU, they were born at 37 1/2 weeks and had excellent weights, but I have many friends whose children did have to spend some time there.
From what I hear, one of the hardest things in most NICUs is lack of privacy. Everyone is in one big open room - there are families of all situations - there is beeping - people everywhere - and it can be very disconcerting. One child may be thriving and doing great and their parents are overjoyed - while two feet away there may be a little baby who may not make it whose parents cannot stop crying.
Our hospital's new NICU has over 30 private rooms. Each family has a room for themselves, and they have rooms that can accomodate twins and triplets, too. There are lounges with toys for siblings, computers with internet for parents who need to keep up with work, a kitchen, private counseling rooms, you name it. I think it is a great advancement that this facilty exists. I hope we never have to use it. But just knowing it is there can help make (what I can only imagine) is already a difficult time a little easier.
(NOTE: I took out the beginning paragraphs about how much I love their show. I don't anymore. 10/6/08)
So today we went ... and it was ... not that bad. The show didn't start quite on time (did someone forget their was about 100 toddlers and preschoolers in the audience?), but they gave out crayons and Handy Dandy Notebooks so that occupied the girls. Katie was on my lap and Maddie was sitting on Andy as the lights went down and the show began. I wasn't even watching the show. I kept my eyes on the two little creatures with the fright-or-flight looks in their eyes to see what move I had to make next. Katie cried for Andy. Maddie cried for me. So we switched kids (that worked out nice).
Katie took here Handy Dandy Notebook and put it up in front of her face - because if she couldn't see anyone then they couldn't see her either. Maddie faced me, grabbed my shirt, and turned her head around to look. It was a very small theater (it is actually a castle) and we were in the third row so the actors were only about 10 feet away from us. Maddie eventually got into it, and we participated in calling out and helping Steve find Blue's clues together. Then she got antsy and climbed all over me ... and the guy in front of us ... and his kid ... non-stop. I apologized profusely.
Katie kept that Handy Dandy Notebook in front of her face. Then ... she let out one eye. Then her nose. Then two eyes, but kept her mouth covered. She cried at one point. She put down her notebook altogher and watched the remainer of the show absolutely expressionless. We call that pretty darn good.
Blue and Steve posed for pictures at the end - and we patiently waited our turn. We went for pizza after with my Twin Club Friend and her family and they did well there, too! Amazing is not enough of a word to describe it.
Here are a few pics ... enjoy!
Here is the Castle. You drive through some backroads with homes, turn the corner, and you're in Camelot. What would the simple folk do?
I loved this bench - and the girls cooperated! Miracle!
Katie cracks me up here. Look at her sideways glance towards Steve. "So you're Steve, huh?" Maddie is about a second from taking off.
That is not to say that at times I have looked at my friends with singletons and sighed. There are so many things that I was never able to do with the girls by myself - and I will always feel bad about that - for them. Especially things like storytimes and Mommy & Me type classes. Once you get over the cost increase with twins (!), I was always told I needed one adult for each child. Finding someone during the day was impossible - and then if I needed to pay them on top of that it would just be ridiculous. Saturday's were hard because of the times we visit Andy's parents in Long Island for the weekend, and when Andy's job started requiring him to work Saturdays during tax time. Nights - well, they went to bed at 6:30pm forever. So - we pretty much didn't do anything.
This summer I was looking forward to being able to handle them on my own and signed them up for storytime at our local library. I was sooooo excited! Our first storytime came - and the girls were a wreck. Because they weren't part of the "circle time" crowd from infants (like singleton babies) they were scared. Really scared. They clung to me and Katie made soothing sounds to herself on my lap while Maddie just hid her head in my leg. Long story short - we were asked to leave because I couldn't keep them quiet. Mind you - there was no screaming or carrying on of ANY kind - she just wanted the kids completely still and quiet.
I left the place in tears and called the head librarian who backed up the storytime reader's decision. I was livid. The class was for kids 18 months to 2 1/2 years old - and if that woman expected all those kids to be calm at the same time she was nuts. Plus, she blamed the other parents in the class for why I was asked to leave. I was told the other parents were bothered by my kids disruption. I actually saw some of these other parents in our church's music time class (who welcomed me with open arms and let all the kids be KIDS) and they told me that it was absolutely not true.
OK ... I got away from the original point of my story here ... but at least you see how difficult things are with regards to twins and activities. The real story is we finally joined The Little Gym! The girls are able to stay awake a little later (they still go to bed at 7pm all other nights) and they love the movement of this class. It is located on the way home from work for Andy, and the grandparents are always willing to sub if Andy can't make it. It is a gymnastics school - but for this age range it is about just moving around and getting comfortable with what their little bodies are able to do. They practice jumping and hopping and forward rolls and all the introductory steps for the bigger skills. They have bars set up - and they just encourage the kids to hang and swing from them. They have small and big balance beams and they get used to being off the ground. They have circle times and the kids can sit still or run around - no pressure.
One of the few things Maddie will actually sit for
Then there is running to music with different motions throughout - Katie runs the outer edge and Maddie runs in this little circle in the middle and usually gets really dizzy and has a little fall when she is done
... and the girls got to tumble ... Maddie going forward ...
... and Katie going backward
Maddie hanging from the uneven bars - she can bring her toes up to the bar, too!
Katie on the parallel bars
They both love the balance beam - it has a piece to put on top to make the beam a bit wider for the little ones
And each night ends with more bells and bubbles!
We look forward to our Wednesday nights - and it's a nice break in the week. Our church music time is starting in a few weeks, too - and I hope they enjoy it a little more this time around.
They also had a bunch of rides for the kids, including a hayride, horseback rides, and paddle boats. Two of the rides were good for the girls, but the others were mostly those blow-up things where you jump around and bounce, and there were too many big kids in them. They had a rock climbing wall (so tempted to throw Katie up on that thing - maybe next year!) and (safe) bungee swing-type-things. It was really geared for the 7-8-9-10 year old range, but we did as much as we could with the girls and they had a really great time. We met our friends up the block there with their baby, and hung out at the playground a while, too.
Here are some pics ... enjoy!
The horses were so cool - I wanted to take a ride, too
Miss Katie in her element - that girl is going to climb Everest one day
Oh I feel just like Sally Field! You like me - you really like me! Ha!
My aunt's sister-in-law, and my new blogger friend, Sue, sent me this award, and I am so happy! Thank you!
Now it's my turn to "Pay it Forward" (one of my favorite movies, which when I was teaching I would have my kids watch and write a paper about - they all cried). Here's how it works:
(1) You put the logo on your blog if you are nominated copying it from the one who nominated you.
(2) Link the person you received your award from.
(3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs (I don't know that many yet so I nominated those that I visit often).
(4) Their blogs are linked on mine.
(5) I sent a message to these people on their blogs to let them know I nominated them.
So ... my nominees are:
Bakerella - wonderful site all about baking, mostly cupcakes and cupcake pops
The Beddes Bunch - by a woman I don't even know who lives out west somewhere - her site backgrounds are always changing and I love reading about her boys
The Pioneer Woman - got this link from a blog off a blog and now I am hooked - my aunt and I are going to go to Oklahoma one day and crash her ranch just to hang out with her for the day
Crazy Mom Quilts - again, someone who doesn't even know I exist but I love reading about her quilting adventures and look forward to the day my life calms down and I can start mine
I would love to add more blogs to my reading list - if you know any good ones, send them on over!
He likes to take them to parks and he is trying to hit every park in our county. He gets an address, plugs in the Tom Tom, and takes off. If they are not exhausted by the end of their adventure he will even take them to lunch, that way when they come home all we have to do is clean them up and put them down for a sleep. And sleep they do!
When I remember, I shove the camera in his hand as he is walking out the door. Here are just a few pics of their adventures at one of their favorite haunts. It is a fun place and he takes them there after their nap sometimes, too.
Maybe one day I'll go with them ... but why spoil everyone's fun?
Right now I plan on keeping them together for pre-school and kindergarten and separate them for 1st grade and beyond. I like having the choice. There are plenty of moms of multiples out there who want their kids to stay together all the time, and that is their absolute right. Just as you shouldn't think of a set of twins as one person, you shouldn't think of twin moms as one standardized group of people either.
Our local paper, The Daily Record, covered this today. Yours truly was interviewed, and although I spoke with the reporter for about 15 minutes, I only got one line quoted! Bummer! :) And my last name is spelled wrong! Oh the shame! My fifteen minutes of fame whittled down to 30 seconds. I suppose I'll live!
Here is the link - don't sneeze as you're reading or you'll miss me!
We had a great weekend - we went to a neighbor's BBQ, the girls went for a walk with Grammy & Poppy, we went to visit the girls' great-grandmother, Nana, - and of course they ran all around the backyard and played with Kasey the husky. Andy and I usually get to sneak out for a date-night - which we are so appreciative of! (Thank you, Mom & Dad!)
Below is a slideshow of our Long Island Adventures - my camera died so these pics are from Andy's dad. Enjoy!
Katie - perfect
Maddie - notice the smudge on her left foot
Today I took Maddie to the eye doctor for a routine exam. She has been squinting lately and I just wanted to make sure she was OK (which she is - the doctor says the squinting is probably just a habit). I got the usual looks - which always make me smile. Once, about a year ago, an older woman said to me about Maddie, "Is she yours?" I just looked at her and smiled and kept walking - but in my head I was like, "NO - I just picked her up at the bus stop."
I shouldn't be fazed by those types of looks. My mom had 3 kids who look nothing like each other at all. I am the olive-skinned Italian, my middle brother Jeffery was born with bright bright yellow hair (which is now very dirty blonde), and my younger brother Eric was born with orange, firey red hair (which is now all gone - sorry, Eric!). Once (when we were probably 9, 7, and 6-ish years old) we were at a gas station in my mom's blue station wagon (hugest car ever - the original SUV) - and the attendent mentioned to my mom that we all had different hair colors. Eric (still known for his quick one liners) popped his head out of the window and said, "Yeah! Different fathers!"
In case you are a stranger reading this - um, TOTALLY not true.