Christmas break has begun

Well, technically the girls get out tomorrow - but I am checking out in my mind today. I'll be back to blogging after Christmas - I'll miss you all!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! (I may be back before New Year's, but I make no promises ...)

Our first Christmas together, 2002.

We were so young! So thin (him at least)! (Hey - despite the bangs I really like my hair ...)

We had no idea of the craziness that was to come - and now that it's here we wouldn't trade it for the world.


Dear Baby (Week 15)

Hello there, baby. How are things? Good ... good. Me? Oh, well - I am cold.

I can't ever remember being this cold in my life.

I went to Catholic school and wore a skimpy wrap-around kilt until the 12th grade that I was told on many occasions was shorter than regulation, so I have pretty high cold tolerance. I keep the heat set at 65 or less when we go to sleep at night. I have to have my window open in the car all year round so I can breathe in the fresh air.

It snowed and snowed this past weekend and usually I am out with your Daddy and sisters running around taking pictures, enjoying the air. Whew - not this time. Just opening the door to let them all outside gave me a bad case of the shivers. Brrrrrrrrrr. I took pictures through the windows from inside. Not very good shots I must tell you.

What's going on here?

You taking all my body heat?

OK - you can have it.

Just let me go grab another sweater. Love, Mama


Deck the Halls with Lots More Laundry

(This is an icky post about sick kids, but I need to get it out. You've been warned.)

The 24-hour bug hit us hard this week. Except I really shouldn't call it a 24-hour bug because it lasted oh so much longer than that. My cousin Tara suggested I call it the 24-hour-plus bug, so that's what I'm going with.

It started on Tuesday at dinner - in that Maddie lost hers. It wasn't horrible and it was only once and she was fine after I cleaned it up. No fever so I figured the blueberries (eeeew) just didn't sit well in her tummy. (I called it her "belly" that day and she got very upset with me and said with emphasis that it was her TUMMY. Noted.)

All was well for the the rest of the night. Katie started crying for me around 10:30pm that she had to go to the bathroom and she did a GOOD one so I was happy. Then she started screaming for me 15 minutes later and she had vomited everywhere! (That's the last time I will use that word - from now on it will just be "it." Ugh.) All over her bed and pillow and animals. Andy had just given the girls a bath that night but she needed to be bathed again. I cleaned up the mess (so much fun for a pregnant woman who gags) and she said she was feeling better. She went back to bed and all was well.

Except it wasn't.

We repeated that scenario about 7 times that night. Each time was less and less messy - but she didn't stop until about 4am. My heart was breaking for her - and the pile of laundry that kept growing and growing in my basement. Four sets of sheets, 7 blankets, 3 pillows, plus all her clothes. I stayed with her until about 3am, and then Andy took over from there and just slept on the floor beside her bed. She was very upset. I called her out of school the next day and the secretary said she wasn't the only one sick.

Then on Thursday I was taking the girls to get their 2nd H1N1 shot and Katie gags on a piece of banana and loses "it" in the waiting area. Ugh. Andy ran to get someone to help us clean it up, I'm kneeling down holding Katie because she's crying, a friend of mine, Tracey, is watching Maddie for me, people are moving away from us, it was nuts. A nearby dad asked if he could help with anything - which was so nice. The nurses didn't want to give Katie the shot at this point and I agreed - (just when I thought we would all be done with vaccinations for the year). So now I have to find another place to take her.

THEN - while I was Walmart with my neighbor Lisa - Maddie loses "it" in her bed. Andy cleaned it up and bathed her all alone and I felt so bad. He said it was fine though and that Maddie kept thanking him: "Thank you for cleaning me up, Daddy ... Thank you for giving me a bath, Daddy ... Thank you for warming me up, Daddy." Too cute. She's done that before.

That was Thursday night and we have been "it" free since then. The laundry situation is still out of control because all my regular laundry had to be put on hold so I could clean up all the other things that were a mess. I did a few loads more than once just to be sure. I ran out of detergent at one point and had to wait for Andy to pick me up some on the way home from work so that set me back a day, too.

Thanks for sticking with me through this icky post - I just needed to vent!

Hope you all have a "24-hour-plus" free Christmas!


Pictures with Santa through the years

We took the girls to visit Santa Claus this past Saturday at our town's Community Center. It was free, we could take our own pictures, it was free, they had music and munchies for the girls, and hey ... it was free! I worked in a mall for years and years and I always admired those parents who brought their youngins to see Santa - the place was always a madhouse. I try to avoid the mall around Christmas by any means possible.

This is the first year that the girls REALLY understand Santa and who he is and what he does so I had high hopes. They point him out in drawings or figures whereever we go so I figured we had a pretty good chance of getting a decent picture this year.

The CC gave out numbers as you walked in and called them out in sets of 10 so you didn't have to wait on line for an hour. There was so much for the kids to do: dance with the DJ, color, look at the HUGE tree, and walk through a mini Christmas village. We had a great time, saw lots of neighbors, and when our number was called we only waited on line for about 5-7 minutes.

As we were waiting, I mulled in my head our pictures with Santa through the years ...

Their first Christmas ... 2006 ...

This picture was taken at my twin club's annual Breakfast with Santa. The girls were 8 months old and crawling all over the filthy floor. I absolutely LOVE this picture. I actually entered it into a contest, but that was over three years ago and I never heard anything so I'm figuring we didn't win. The next picture is what happened about 30 seconds after this was shot ...

30 Seconds Later

Katie lost it. Check out Maddie's face. "Yo, dude, whassup?"

Second Christmas ... 2007

Not bad, not bad. Again at twin club Breakfast with Santa. Both a little shy, but I remember they would not look at the camera at all. Katie has this sheepish grin on her face (looking down) and Maddie and Santa are just checking eack other out.

Third Christmas ... 2008 (last year)
Whoa, Nellie - this was a toughie. We decided to try something new that year and went to Santa Land (check out that post here). The place was GREAT - but neither girl would even go near him. This first picure is Maddie going floppy (which she still does) and just melting to the floor.

Here's Katie, just clinging for dear life. There was quite a line behind us, but that Santa was wonderful and really tried his best to talk to the girls. He gave them both an apple and they managed to smile at him in the end.

This Christmas ... 2009

What a difference! Here is Maddie posing in front of one of the village scenes. There were 8 of these overall - each one had little children/elves in a different Christmas scene: cutting down the tree, baking cookies, making toys, decorating the tree, ice skating - and they all moved. Maddie was enthralled and spent most of the time walking up and down the lane just looking at them all.

Katie spent most of her time coloring, but I got her to check out the village a little bit, too.

Daddy and the girls in front of the tree.

Finally it was our turn to meet Santa ...

They ran and gave him the biggest hug! It was great!

What a shot! I just love this picture.

(I wish I had thought of taking their pics with him separately - it's on my list from now on.)

They are finally old enough to pose for a picture with Santa.
Let's see what a 6 month old will add to the mix next year!


Away in a Manger

Katie's school's Christmas Concert was this past Friday and it was beautiful. It is a K-8 school and every class participated (through song or narration) in the story of Christmas.

Katie's class were cherubs and they sang "Away in a Manger." They sent a note home about a month ago that the preschoolers needed to wear a white shirt and white pants. I avoid white clothing on my girls like the plague - I had nothing for her to wear! I found a white long sleeved shirt at Walmart, and thank goodness my friend Carol had a pair of white pants that she let us borrow. (White pants!?!)

They sent the words home and we practiced - though she liked to fool around almost every time. She would sing in a mouse's voice or in a really deep voice or just mouth the words with no sound. It drove me nuts!

But, lo and behold, when it came for her to be on stage she sang every word! There were about twenty 3-year-olds on stage and you could barely hear them, but I saw her mouth moving. Whoo hoo! I videotaped her song, but of course I have no clue how to transfer it (on tape) to the computer. We got there super early so we had a great spot in the second row.

I must say I really loved it - I can't wait for both of them to do more things like this as they grow up!


Dear Baby (Week 14)

Dear Little Baby - which is what we seem to be calling you lately! (I tried to make up cute little names for the girls when I was pregnant with them but they didn't stick either, so don't feel bad.)

Your presence is still making itself known in my day to day happenings. The exhaustion is less, it usually just comes around at dinnertime - which is impeccable timing since that's usually the time your sisters turn into creatures from another planet and decide that the love they have given each other all day has now come to an end. My gag reflex is alive and well - oh boy - do I have some not-to-be-told-when-anyone-is-eating-stories to tell!

Your sisters talk about you all the time. Whenever Katie sees a baby she says, "Just like the baby in your belly!" to me with a big smile on her face. They both pick up my shirt and Katie wants to touch you through my bellybutton. (Which gives me the willies!) Maddie tells you she is going to be your big sister with a big smile on her face and in quiet shy voice and then asks if you are coming today. I smile and say, "The baby will be here when it gets warm outside."

We decorated more of the Christmas tree today and I found one of my favorite ornaments: two bears touching noses, one labeled Katie and one labeled Maddie. Next year I will have to find one with three little bears on it!

We have no idea if you are a boy or a girl - and I have visions in my head of you as one or the other all the time. I see you as a boy on top of the roof in your teens helping Daddy hang Christmas lights - and I see you as a girl on top of the roof in your teens helping Daddy hang Christmas lights. Your Daddy will not discriminate! I see you with your Daddy's red hair and I see you with my dark brown hair. Your sisters blue eyed genes were strong enough to overpower my dominant brown eyes - will yours be that strong, too? Will I finally get a kid who looks like me or will I have to continue to point out your Daddy to people when they look at me and the girls with quizzical looks on their faces? Either way is fine with me!

Have a good week, Baby ... we can't wait to feel you start moving! Love, Mama


How we get Katie to take her antibiotics

Poor Katie. She has been out of school almost as much as she's been in. When she first started school I was very cautious - if she had a cough or runny nose of any kind I would keep her home. I was a brand new school mommy and I figured other parents wouldn't send their kids to school like that. Hah!

Once I realized how it REALLY goes, I only kept her home if she had a fever or a really bad cold. Which she has had quite often. Example: She missed picture day because of pink eye. Then she missed the make-up picture day this past Wednesday because she currently has a urinary tract infection.

So this week she is on antibiotics and she is none too happy about it. Let me show you how each morning and each evening goes in our household ...

We start by circling each other ...

I get her in a hold and start to bring her down ...

She escapes and the circling begins again!

Andy has to come in for backup ...

I've got a good grip! (And this is literally the face that Katie makes.)

She's pinned!

It's in her mouth - she's crying and rolling on the floor. (Don't worry - she gets a pez when she's done and she knows it.)

Mommy is victorious!!!

How does medicine taking go over in YOUR house?


Our Christmas Card Surprise

When we decided (read: when I convinced Mr. Andy Man) to try for a third kid we at first thought of planning for last year, when the girls would turn three. Which meant we had to get started when they were 2 1/2 - which both of us immediately reconsidered! We decided that waiting until the girls were going to be four when the new baby was born was probably a better idea.

I still can't get pregnant on my own, so we did IVF again (we did it for the girls) - and since we knew the drill it wasn't nearly as daunting this time. Our only request from our fabulous doctors at RMA was that we only wanted ONE embryo transfered. They laughed and said, "Sure - but you know it may split, right?" Oh yes, we knew! We just knew we'd have to add another bedroom onto the house if that happened.

It was so different this time because of a few reasons. We decided not to tell anyone this time. When we couldn't get pregnant years ago - everyone knew. They knew we were trying - they knew we were going through infertility treatments - they knew when we had the IVF done - and they knew the minute I found out I was pregant. They knew we were having twins - they knew they were girls - they even knew their names. I really wanted the element of surprise this time.

Another thing that was different than years ago was that now we had the girls. Andy was always able to come to appointments with me (which were anywhere from 5:30-7:30am). Now he had to stay home with the girls. We had a friend lined up to babysit the girls when the actual transfer took place - but then both our girls were sick with horrible horrible colds and we didn't want to get her little girl sick, so Andy stayed home instead. I went alone. It wasn't horrible - but I would have loved for him to be there to hold my hand.

We found out within a week that the transfer worked! And we found out a few days later that the embryo did NOT split. Yay!

Now we had to wait to tell everyone. I wanted to be sure and I wanted the baby to be safe. We waited until 8 weeks to tell our parents and siblings - on Halloween! All our parents were in a state of shock I think, and looked at us like we were nuts. Hey - we may be nuts, but all I know it that I felt like someone was missing. There was a notion of another little kid running around this house that I could just not get out of my head.

I don't want you all to think that our parents are upset or anything - I think we just shocked them! Trust me - they will eat this next little one up judging by the way they adore our girls in a way I never thought possible! :)

So now we had to tell everyone else. When I saw that I was going to hit 12 weeks the first week of December, "Christmas card" immediately popped into my head. My cousin did it a few years ago and I thought it was such a great idea - so I copied. That week we had our nuchal scan screening and got great results so the next day I mailed the cards.

I took a picture of the girls wearing "I'm gonna be a Big Sister" shirts instead of a Christmas dress. Mail must be fast because the next day the phone rang and rang. It was great to tell everyone and hear "Are you sure it's not two?" over and over!

I'll be blogging more and more now. I am just starting to feel better - the exhaustion, morning sickness, and headaches are almost gone. (Shhh ... don't tell Andy ...)