I love this day!

Happy Halloween!

This was us last year - we took a quick shot just as we were turning to go home - that's why the flash is so bright on our faces. Poor Andy looks like he only has one eye!

I'll post pics of the girls' trick-or-treating later this weekend - and the pics I took as I sewed a portion of their costume - all by myself!


When Mama's Sick

The past few days have been painful for me - literally. I have a cut on the back of my ear (have no idea how I got it) and it caused my lymph nodes to swell up to do their job. Have you ever read the resume for a lymph node? They get on a conference call and recruit white blood cells (WBC) from all the other companies in one's body and promise them coffee and donuts if they come to work early. So the WBCs all come - and fill up the LNs like a bad office party - you know - karaoke, sitting on copiers, eating all the shrimp, making passes at the boss. The WBCs get themselves into such a frenzy that their pain is then felt by the owner of said body - times 1000.

The entire right side of my face felt like I had a migrane. My ear, my jaw, my cheekbone, down my neck, the top and bottom of my skull. I went to Dr. B and he found the cut, gave me some ointment and told me I could just take Advil for the pain. It would just have to heal. I don't like taking anti-biotics, so I was fine with that.

Except the Advil didn't work. Neither did Aleve. My head was throbbing and I couldn't sleep - which I have a hard enough time doing as it is. I called again, and he prescribed me Vicodin for the pain (I am allergic to codeine). Andy took yesterday morning off to spend the morning with the girls so that I could catch up on all the sleep I wasn't getting. He was a bit stressed out because he had a bunch of meetings he had to prepare for - so I am thankful he was able to do that. (Thank you!)

By yesterday around 11:30am I had three doses of the V in me - and I found out that it affects me the same way the codeine does. It made me stunad ("stoo-nahd") - which is my Italian family's word for dopey. I knew what it was, and I knew all I could do was let it pass. I was basically passed out on the floor - my aunt came over to take care of the girls for me and I just slept (thank you!). My mom comes over after work every day to help me feed the girls and put them to bed, but last night she went solo (thank you)! I felt fine and horrible in waves for the next few hours - I even managed to sit at the computer and do some blogging - and then by night I was fine completely.

The up side is that my pain is gone! It still hurts around the ear itself, but I don't have the pain radiating all over my face anymore. Advice - if you don't want a WBC office party in your head - don't cut yourself behind your ear.


Watery Wednesday #7 - Addendum

I really don't like looking at the pictures I posted in the previous post! But - I'm not going to take the easy way out and take them down. I am not a perfect mommy and I am sure I will make many more mistakes raising these girls. "You take the good, you take the bad ..."

BUT - just to prove that I do bundle up my kids in the snow - I give you the following as evidence! These were taken February 2008. Enjoy!

Watery Wednesday #7

OK - this week's Watery Wednesday is stretching things a bit. I think you all will quickly get tired of little girls in bathtubs - so I am taking the water to it's coldest interpretation ... snow!

When the girls were 10 months old, I decided I wanted them to feel the cold of the snow. I am more of a fall/winter person than a spring/summer person, and I wanted to see the girls' reactions to the cold to determine where they would fall on the season spectrum. Problem? I had no snow clothes for them at all. I wanted to take them out and hold their arms when they walked around, but I wasn't about to if they weren't dressed warmly.

I thought of a solution. Rather ... make that my dumbest idea ever. "Hey! We'll just hang them out the back door and let them feel the snow!" (My mom is holding them in these shots. Accomplice.)

First to go, Miss Katie ...

Poor child LOST it and I don't blame her. Look at the snow stuck to her hands! What the heck was I thinking? I am a bad mommy! File her in the spring/summer column.

Did that stop me from trying it with Miss Maddie? Nope.

Maddie took it much better, considering she almost did a face-flop right in the snow. She was all, "That's cool. I need a good book to chew on."

I found my winter child!


Our Daisy - Addendum

I may have inadvertantly offended my dog-lovin' pals in my last post. That was not what I meant at all! I am so sorry!!!

When I said I was "not a dog person" - I meant I would rather have a cat than a dog as a pet. Many of my family and friends have dogs and I can see how much fun they would be - and I pet them and say hi and talk cutie to them - but I am very glad to retreat at the end of the day to my feline abode. I think I have a slight fear of dogs - big ones especially - and trust me - I am going out of my way to not instill that fear in the girls. Just as I am trying to not instill the fear of bugs, dirt, germs, snakes, burgundy clothes, cherry wood, Yo Gabba Gabba, not changing your socks three times a day, etc. in them as well.

Here are some pics of Katie and Maddie with Kasey - Andy's parent's husky. She is the sweetest thing - the girls love her up close - and I love her at slighty more of a distance!


Our Daisy

My family got our first cat when I was 16 years old. She was a black, gray, and white tabby and her name was Minnie. She was the cutest thing - she loved to cuddle and "knead the bread." (If you have a cat who does this, you know what I mean!)

We had to put Minnie to sleep in 2002 when she was about 15 years old because she had cancer. It was the saddest day - I held her until the end. She was such a wonderful cat and was very close to my mom - she had to leave the room. My brother Eric and Minnie would play chase/peek-a-boo around doorways - and whenever she would hear his diesel truck from a block away she would run to the window that overlooked the driveway to see him pull in.

Minnie was great - and I always knew another cat was in my future - and it was a tribute to her that my memories of having a flirty feline were so wonderful. When Andy and I got married we decided to settle in to our townhouse and adopt a cat after the new year.

You know what they say, "Man plans, God laughs."

We were in our townhouse for a few months, and I was teaching high school at the time. I was walking down the hall during one of my periods off and someone said, "There's the cutest cat in the guidance office." Of course, I had to go look. No intentions of anything else - just taking a peek.

I walked in and there were a ton of kids in there (um, class?) and the cat was in a box. I look into this box and there was this teeny tiny ball of black fluff. She looked like the stuffing that fell out of a pillow. She was mewing and crying and I picked her up. Turns out one of the guidance counselors had heard her crying for a day or two - and his office was over the boiler room. He and a maintenance man went down there - lost her out a vent - and one of them chased her around the quad until he caught her.

I held her - and picked up the phone. I began to blubber and sputter out the whole story to Andy - we HAD to take this cat home - she's FREE - she's a little BABY. He sighed and said yes. (Later he told me that he was like, "What the heck was I supposed to say? NO?")

I brought her to Minnie's vet and $250 of shots and tests and cleanings later (Andy: "She's free, huh?")- we brought home our newest kitty. I called her Daisy Duck, since technically Minnie's name was Minnie Mouse, and it just made sense.

It took her weeks to come near us. But when she did she NEVER left my side. Andy grew up with dogs (I am NOT a dog person) so he wanted to wrestle and tease and play. She is wary of that man to this day. I would just sit there with her and pet her and scratch her and we would just BE. It got to the point that she would bother us all night while we were trying to sleep, so we had to keep her in the (finished) basement at night. When I was pregnant with the girls I stopped working in my first trimester and would sleep and sleep. Andy would let Daisy out of the basement each morning and she would run up to our room, crawl under the covers with me, and we would spend the whole morning like that. I miss those days! :)

When the girls came, I was worried. But Daisy is scared of them (wonder why, the crazies) and she's never once bothered them. Daisy and I don't have our morning naps together anymore (we both miss those!), but she snuggles up with me when I am watching TV at night - or sits and watches while I fold laundry. The girls call her name and try to pet her - she usually runs away. But I know that as they get older and calmer she will open up to them more - and I can't wait to see them all snuggled up on the couch together one day.

Here are some pictures of our first Little Girl ... enjoy!


Close ups

Although I have a pretty decent camera, it is only a point-and-shoot so I don't have a lot of control over exposure, etc. I am asking Santa for a Nikon D40 but I think I am getting new doors instead - you know, considering the tape I had to use to keep out the drafts last year and all.

One thing I long for is the ability to take really up close shots that are crisp and clear. I managed to get two today of the girls that were not a total fuzz ... enjoy!


Watery Wednesday #6

I miss putting the girls' baby tub in the sink and bathing them there. I didn't know it at the time, but it was soooooooo much easier than bending over the tub now. Here are some pics from when they first started to really like their baths. Enjoy!

Maddie - all chubb back then - I have to beg (and I mean beg) to get her to eat now!

Such a Katie face - she still makes this face to this day!

Thanks to 2sweetnsaxy for hosting "Watery Wednesday!

(Want to get involved in Watery Wednesday? Click the top picture!)


Busy Week Ahead!

Hey! It's going to be light on posts this week - I have a packed week. I am out or having people here EVERY NIGHT - when it rains it pours. It's all fun things, though, so I don't mind.

I will try to post at least once - but until then ...

Happy Autumn!


Shenandoah Costume GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Shenandoah Costume GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

I've been tagged!

I have been tagged! Thanks to Darla for inviting me to play!

Here are the rules:

I always try to keep this blog centered around Katie and Maddie, since it is really my gift to them when they get older. (Umm, baby books? Sure - blank, collecting dust somewhere. Hey - I nursed twins for 3 months and pumped for another 6 - I was tired!) So I am posting 7 random things I love with regards to raising the girls.

At the bottom of this post you will see 7 bloggers that I have tagged, please join the fun! Post the rules and a link back to me, post 7 random or weird things about yourself, tag 7 other bloggers and leave a comment on their blog page to let them know they have been tagged.

1. My pregnancy test - and, no - I didn't save it (at least I don't think so - maybe I did!). We had a very difficult time getting pregnant. We tried for kids from the day we got married. After 6 months I was worried, after a year - I was convinced. I have PCOS and we needed fertility treatments. We tried clomid for 2 months (to help you ovulate) - nothing. We tried IUI (aka: artificial insemination) 3 times - nothing. Finally, insurance approved IVF and it worked first try! While I don't usually don't go shouting from the rooftops that we used IVF, I am not ashamed of it either. With the help of God and science together, we have our two beautiful little girls. I had to go to the practice to have my blood drawn, and that was how we found out we were pregnant - but darn it all if I wasn't going to take that test anyway! I needed the picture for their baby books that don't exist!

2. Their bedding - we both agreed that we wanted to find out the gender of the babies so that we could have everything painted and decorated and DONE. I picked out this bedding from Babies 'r' Us and Andy's mom gave it to us at my shower (thank you!). I loved it then - they are still in cribs (until they are 10 maybe? Kidding - but not really) and I still love it now! When Katie and Maddie were born we were in the townhouse still, with a long flight of stairs to the bedroom so we decided to move operations to the first floor for a while. We set one crib up in the dining room, and they bunked there together for the first 3 months or so. Andy slept on the floor and I slept on the love seat. It was a time in our life that we will look on and smile and shake our heads in disbelief that we ever survived it.

3. Their Boppies - my Aunt Audrey and my cousins gave me a bunch of wonderful gifts as group for my shower and these boppies were among them (thank you!). We used them at every stage of their life - we still use them now. Katie and Maddie love them - they even have their own spot in the playroom. I used them when I nursed, for them to take naps in (I know - not supposed to ... we got desperate), and when they were practicing sitting up we used them to prop them up. We used them for bottles at night and for "spots" for story time. These are just two of HUNDREDS of Boppy pictures.

4. Their "coming home" outfits - I thought the girls were going to be preemies and maybe would have to spend some time in the NICU. Hah! Katie was 6lbs, 7oz and Maddie was 5lbs, 12oz - healthy as could be! Hardly the fragile little twins I was expecting - and thankfully so. I saw these outfits in BRU when I was still pregnant and bought them immediately. They were soooo perfect - hats for their heads, matching but different, with "Mommy's Little Girl" on one and "Daddy's Little Girl" on the other. We dressed them in the hospital and they JUST fit the girls - and that was the only time the outfits were worn. I wanted to have professional pictures of Katie and Maddie taken in these outfits, but by the time the girls were four weeks old they had already outgrown them.

5. My Vera Bradley Diaper Bag
- my friends are all chucking right now because they know of my obsession of everything Vera. (I have about 20 bags, all different - no two patterns alike. I just bought my newest this past Saturday - and I always sheepishly call Andy afterwards. He never makes a fuss - he's just happy I'm not a Coach or Louis Vuitton girl!) I received two of these bags at my shower, one from Andy's mom's friend (thank you!) and one from my cousin Fortunata's girls, Lauren and Michelle (thank you!). We exchanged one for a solid black VB diaper bag so that Andy could carry one, too. We use them both all the time - usually for changes of clothes for them or for extra food and snacks. They fit over the stroller bars so they hang perfectly and they have a ton of inside pockets (as most Vera's do) for all kinds of organizing pleasure. LOVE IT!

6. Their first Halloween costume - I wanted Katie and Maddie's first Halloween costume to be, more than anything, comfortable. I get claustrophobic when I see babies in little costumes where they are all bundled in and can't move. The girls were 6 months old and rolling all over the place, so I knew I needed something with movement. I found these awesome bunny outfits, and they consisted of a hat, a cape, and booties. Perfect! I could slip it all on and off in a matter of moments and they had great mobility in them. We put a cute pink outfit on underneath and we were set to go!

7. Their books - any book, all books - if it has words and pictures it will do. They have loved books from the moment they began to hold things. As they grew, they loved being read to - and we would do it for an hour straight sometimes (with them in their Boppies, of course)! They loved books so much they started eating them - yuck - but my doctor assured me they did not have pica. Hmmm ... ? Now a days they don't like me to read to them much anymore, they say "I reeeeeding!" and take the book from me - but, hey, that works too. I have always been a reader and I hope they inherit and cultivate that love. These pictures are from when they were just over one, in the summer of 2007.

Well, there you go. I hope you have enjoyed my walk back in time. Now it's time for me to tag some others. If you see your blog listed below - you're it! (OK - I only have 5, since Darla would have been my 6th, and I really don't have a 7th. If you are a new reader and want to join in - go for it!)

1. http://blogaudreylois.blogspot.com/

2. http://sweetsuesews.blogspot.com/

3. http://mabelshouse.blogspot.com/

4. http://eyesmindheart.blogspot.com/

5. http://bevmcgrath.blogspot.com/

It took me a while to do this post, ladies, so no rush. :)


Watery Wednesday #5

The girls were baptized on July 22, 2006 - and it was watery! Our church has the baptismal fount in the gathering space (lobby) not inside the church - and it was nice because everyone could gather around and watch and be up close and personal.

Andy was holding Katie and I was holding Maddie. I honestly can't remember if they cried - but I think they did!

Here is the picture we used for the favors that day. Maddie (left) is wearing my baptism gown and Katie (right) is wearing my cousin Fortunata's, who is also her godmother. I loved the tradition of wearing an heirloom - and although I really don't think the dresses will last another generation (they were so delicate and thin we were afraid to even wash them) - I hope the girls will want to take them with them one day.



More pics from the Bib Adventure

Here are the promised pics from the other day. They carried these things all over the house! They were sharing them back and forth - I love when they say, "Here you go" to the other one - I must say that a lot.



Training at 12 - comes in use at 35

When I was growing up, this was my association with the word "centipede":

Oh, how I loved this game. It was fun - it was fast - and it was fairly easy until you got up to the really high levels. I have a knack for scanning things, so this game fit me perfectly - my eyes constantly darting and looking for mushrooms and spiders and other obstacles to shoot away.

These days, this is my association with the word "centipede":

Eeegalabiggeeaaarggh ... I have shivers down my spine even looking at this thing. So imagine my chagrin when I realized we are roommates with these creatures! AARRRGH!

Why would I admit this? Because I have a feeling they are a lot more common than people let on. My friend has them, too - and since we didn't have them in the townhouse I would sympathize with her back then (we DON'T do bugs - one day I'll tell you about the wedding-day-rehearsal-day-bee-in-my-bedroom) and thank God that I didn't have any myself. Now, we cry together. I am not kidding how it is a daily conversation between us:

"I found one in the bathroom today. Hubby killed it."

"I found one in the dining room. I called Andy and he rolled his eyes, but he killed it."

"Mine was big - like 2 inches!"

"Mine was ten."

I was on the phone with Andy's mom once, sitting on my steps to the bedrooms and I looked up - and one was right above my head on the molding! I stopped her mid-conversation and would not let her hang up until I killed it. She was screaming right along with me.

Well apparantly they smell my fear. They aren't even running away anymore! "Nyah nyah - you can't catch us - we always get away and you so easily give up ... heh heh heh heh." They know when Andy isn't home and take advantage of that fact and parade around the house in their Sunday best. I've only ever seen one at a time - they're like the Sand People - they hide their numbers.

Not anymore.

Last night one was on the rug in the playroom. THE PLAYROOM! "You dare intrude on my daughter's territory? I am no longer afraid of you, centipedes!" I don't care if you are 2 inches long - with legs that make it seem like four! I have found your weakness - your Achilles heel! Lysol? Nope - does nothing! Shoes? Nope - you're too fast. Tyson upright with many attachments for getting in those tough to reach spots and not lose suction?


I calmly take a deep breath and pull out the purple vacuum. I manuever the fifteen things it takes to get the attachment with the arm. You don't move. (Audacity.) I position it right over or under you (you love mouldings). "Puh-lease," you say, "You don't have the nerve." I turn it on and SUCK YOU UP! HAH! I leave it on for a bit to make sure you are centrifuged apart into a millions pieces - and you are gone!

I have done this twice so far - and I feel empowered. I am not a violent person - but I am back to being the 12 year old girl scanning the screen for mushrooms and spiders.

Your move.


Time to myself? Priceless ... (or ... The Bib Adventure)

About a week ago I couldn't find our cat. "What?" you say, "You have a cat?" Yes, we do - her name is Daisy - and I just realized I have not once blogged about the adorable creature that she is and how she came into our lives. That's a blog for another day.

Anyway ... couldn't find the cat. I looked in all the usually places - including the closets - I have been known to unintentionally close her into a closet all day long. I did this twice when she was only a few months old - ALL DAY while I was teaching - poor thing. She is a bIack cat and just blends in with the shadows. I felt so bad! She was a good girl and didn't relieve herself all day either time. I check the closets all the time now before I shut the door.

Anyway ... couldn't find the cat. Then I did ...

There she is ... all cuddled up in a ball in probably the softest place in the house: the girls' bib basket. Ugh.

I let her stay for a while - because she is the cutest thing and I love her - and when she finally left I washed the whole basket of bibs and burb cloths. Burb cloths? The girls are 2 1/2 - we don't need those anymore - as well as about 20 bibs that were stuffed at the bottom that no longer fit their necks. So I sorted and separated and bagged up the bibs and burp cloths that I wouldn't need again for a couple more years. I don't have a picture of this stage - because why would I?

Now I wish I did! Here is the latest state of said "too small" bibs, et al:

Katie and Maddie have been playing with them for over half-an-hour! As I type! They found two bowls in the cabinet and have been transferring the bibs back and forth. They are falling on the floor - getting sprinkled with juice - stepped on. Will I have to wash and pack them up all over again? Sure. Do I care? Nope. Totally worth a half hour of peace.