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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year, Wii, and Babies Update

Yahooo! Goodbye, 2008! Hello 2009! Actually, I feel like 2008 was on it's own a happy, healthy, satisfying year. I don't want to hurt 2008's feelings. We were blessed with a job, health insurance, and loving and generous family and friends the whole year. 2008 is Good People. But 2009? 2009 is going to be even better. 2009 brings us Barack Obama, who I actually didn't vote for (gasp!) but am happy to have come January 20. I just feel this electricity in the air when his name is mentioned--the world is excited, and so am I. And 2009 will be the year I lose 20 pounds and keep it off. I may have to borrow someone's baby to breastfeed in order to make it happen, but I swear, I am losing this muffin top for good. And 2009 may be the year the babies get their passports--they can't get stem cell treatments for SMA here in the US, so we're exploring other avenues to get it for them. Sound edgy and exciting and scary? It is. Please pray for us as we research the options out there and try to make a decision.

Okay, so who out there got a Wii for Christmas?? We got a Wii with our tax rebate over the summer. If anyone else has a Wii, let's exchange our console codes so that we can be Wii friends! It takes both of us to enter each others' codes, though, so enter my code, and then message me with yours. My code is 2670 3638 5180 8412. And my code for Mario Kart is 5198 5990 3664. Except that we don't play Mario Kart that often. What can we do after we become Wii friends? Well, primarily, we can send each other our Mii's and then watch us cheer for each other when we use the Wii Fit. That's what.

The babies are doing GREAT! As I intimated above, we're considering the possibility of stem cell injections for them. There has been anecdotal evidence that a course of 6 stem cell injections (over a 30 day period) can signficantly improve the strength and possibly survival rate of an SMA patient. This is just anecdotal--no clinical evidence is available at this point, since apparently nobody except the U.S. thinks it's important to record and track any patient given stem cell therapy. But the success stories out there are adding up, and we would do anything to increase the quality and quantity of life for Kyle & Lauren. So, sign us up, right? Right. Except for the small issue of cost. It will cost $26,000 USD per twin, plus travel expenses. Plus the cost of getting to China. Plus 30+ days of missed work for Chris. All of which we would find a way to scrape and save to make happen if there was any guarantee that stem cell therapy works. And there is no guarantee. So it's something we're continuing to explore and pray about. Which is ironic, since our Catholic God is categorically against anything related to stem cells, per the Vatican. So we just pray quietly, and hope that the Pope doesn't hear us. Something tells me that if the Pope had twins with SMA, he might think a little longer about stem cell therapy. You know, after he thinks a good long while about how he came to father twins, being a Catholic priest and all. ;) Anyway, so overall, the babies continue to do very well. They've stayed healthy during this flu season--surely thanks to the fact that they rarely leave the house. I am so, so afraid of them catching even a tiny cold that Jenna is lucky I even let her attend preschool anymore. As it is, I keep Purell in the minivan and make her sanitize her hands everytime she gets in. Our insurance company rejected our claim to obtain a Cough Assist. This is the machine which uses positive and negative air pressure to force a productive cough. It is a standard piece of equipment for an SMA patient, or any patient with serious respiratory or muscle weakness issues. This is the machine that could mean the difference between pneumonia and two weeks in the hospital, or a continued happy, healthy existence. It costs around $8,000. So we're appealing our insurance company's decision, with the help of our pulmonologist, and are keeping our fingers crossed. Also, there is a neurologist with the University of Utah in SLC who specializes in SMA and is willing to fit the babies in to be seen by her and her staff. This is huge. We are so psyched. She can help us with everything from nutrition recommendations to physical therapy advice to potential drugs to help increase their strength. A visit with her is a 3-day affair. And includes a lovely visit to SLC--who wouldn't want to go there?? We want to get there as quickly as we can while we can travel--an SMA patient who becomes critically ill cannot travel. And Dr. Swoboda does not make house calls, right, so it's important that we travel up to see her while we still can.

So, that's it! That's where we are as 2008 waves it's final goodbye. I am excited for a new year, and new Wii friends, and maybe a month-long trip to China (?) for some stem cells, and I hope this new year brings you all health and happiness as well. Cheers!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sleep Studies--aka "Mama Gets No Sleep" Studies

What a week of sleep studies it's been. Each baby has now gone through one study. Kyle was first, and it was like a dream come true for him, I'm sure. From the moment I first heard his hysteric shrieking as the tech attached electrodes and sensors and belt monitors onto him, I knew this was going to be nothing but fun. I was right! Kyle and I spent some "quality time" together for a few hours, taking turns crying, until about midnight that night, when finally he "fell asleep for the night" and only woke up crying three times between midnight and 6am. Score! And the tubes in his nose, well he only yanked those out about a half dozen times.

Lauren, on the other hand, handled it like a rock star. And no, I don't mean that we made the tech provide her with a dedicated masseur, Fiji bottled water and bowls of green-only M&M's. I mean that Lauren sat happily while the tech hooked her up, she fell asleep within minutes after I turned the lights out, and barely woke up at all. She never messed with her wires or her nasal tubes. She should be the poster child for pediatric sleep studies.

And me? Well, I was up with Kyle only about 2 dozen times during his study. And with Lauren, I was so afraid she'd hear me roll over or crack my feet (I have to rotate my feet and crack all knuckles and joints that can be popped in my feet before going to sleep) and then wake up and let her wrath loose on me that I couldn't sleep all night. I wished I had some old Mad Men TV episodes on my iPod so that at least I could have done something other than stare at the walls all night.

So hooray. It's done. They may each need one more sleep study, to titrate their bi-pap machines for sleeping at night. But now I know what I can bring to distract them during the setup process (Baby Einstein DVD) and also to schedule our checkin for later in the evening so that they are truly sleepy by the time we need them to sleep.

And their health is still good. I had a scratchy, phlegmy throat last week, but they didn't show any signs of a cold or anything else, so keeping them inside and away from crowds and stores must be working.

Happy Last Weekend Before Christmas Shopping, everyone!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Update on the babies

It's been only a month (!) since the babies were diagnosed with SMA. Boy, that day feels like a year ago, not just a month. I thought I'd update on what's going on in our little corner of the world.

Since SMA affects the muscles, there are a variety of concerns and precautions to be taken to preserve their health, now and in the future. We have a half-dozen specialists involved in their care now. Whew! We need to find a house closer to Phoenix Children's Hospital!

They see a pulmonologist now, because when an otherwise healthy SMA patient gets a cold and secretions can't be expelled from the lungs completely, infection sets in and it can be deadly. We have on order a machine called Cough Assist, which uses positive and negative air pressure to force a productive cough, which I'd like to think we'll never have to use, but I imagine we will. The pulmonologist also has ordered sleep studies on them, to monitor their oxygen levels at night while sleeping. Something about if they aren't breathing deeply or adequately at night, it can cause the lungs to not fully expand and affect the way the chest cavity develops as they grow. (Or something like that.) They may need to sleep with something called a bi-pap machine, which I don't know much about except that it looks sort of like a c-pap machine that my father-in-law used to have to use at night.

The babies also see a pediatric gastroenterologist, to monitor them for feeding issues. As the mouth/tongue/throat all rely on well-funtioning muscles to keep food going the right direction, any weakness in these muscles could cause them to aspirate liquids. And if they can't give a good productive cough to expel those liquids, then again there's a risk of infection, which could result in a hospital stay and can certainly be deadly. The GI doctor has ordered swallow studies on the babies, where they consume barium and the act of swalloing is monitored on fluoroscopy. This way, they can see exactly how well the tongue and other muscles are serving them and we can address any issues before aspiration becomes a danger.

The babies have an appointment with a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon next week. Evidently, curvature of the spine (scoliosis) is a certainty for SMA patients. It makes sense if you look at Kyle and Lauren today--when they sit, they are not strong enough to sit up straight, so they sit hunched over all day long. After a couple years of this, it's a permanent problem with the spine, and next comes spinal surgery to try to correct it. So we expect that the orthopaedist will prescribe back braces for them (there better be some pretty ones out there, because I am not dressing my sweet babies in ugly black equipment! Maybe someone makes back brace covers on eBay...).

As for their current state, they continue to progress very slowly. Lauren can push herself backwards in her walker several feet over a period of a few minutes. She can roll over all the way to her tummy and push herself to her back again. Her language skills--both verbal and sign--seem like they're just exploding (though the therapists assure us she is not ahead of that curve, just right on track!). Kyle still struggles to sit on his own for very long, so he spends much of his day in his Bumbo seat, in his toddler recliner, or in a special foam seat that the physical therapist concocted for him. In addition to "grandpa", Kyle's current favorite word is "play". He always wants to play! From the moment I get him from his crib in the morning, to the moment I bring him upstairs to put him to bed, he says, "Play! Play!". The kid loves his blocks. The babies' current favorite activities include block stacking, button pushing, little cars that they can vroom vroom back and forth, and anything Elmo or The Wiggles. Lauren is on track, or a little ahead, when it comes to fine motor skills. Kyle struggles to catch up, but he's getting there. He loves to please us and impress us with the number of blocks he can stack on his tray. And Lauren is just a joy to be around! I have a video clip to upload of her, when she sees our lit Christmas tree for the first time. She's just a doll and such a riot.

We'll be talking to the doctors about getting them their wheelchairs in December. Even if I don't take them everywhere with me in their wheelchairs, even if they're just something to use at home only for a little while until we absolutely need them all the time, it will be good to have them. We don't have many safe places to put the babies since they don't sit very well. Even in their high chairs, if they lean over and down the side (for some reason they like to do this all.the.time!), they can't right themselves and I have to come over and lift them back up into sitting position. It drives me crazy, and they know that and seem to revel in the thrill of my scowl. So I'm looking forward to getting their wheelchairs. Even if it means we need a one-story house now, in order for them to get around on their own, eventually. I hate thinking about that, because I love my house and my neighborhood, and Jenna starts kindegarten next year and her school is just 5 houses down the street. Sigh. Oh well, I know it will work out somehow.

We all, except Chris, got our flu shots this year. And I'm to keep the twins' exposure to the weather and to the public to a minimum. We don't want to risk them catching a simple cold and have it develop into something bad like pneumonia. Chris didn't get a flu shot because a) he wasn't there, b) he travels so much that if he's exposed to the flu, it likely won't be the strain against which he was innoculated, and c) he's in the flu-shot-is-hogwash camp anyway. He knows that if he catches the flu, he's going to have to camp out in Jenna's plastic playhouse outside, or check into a hotel or something because I will not have those kinds of germs in this house! Not with these babies who are so susceptible to a cold turning into so much worse.

So, that's it from here. We're having fun getting ready for the holidays. Choosing gifts for the babies this year is a challenge, since they have such physical limitations. But somehow I'm managing to come up with some good ideas that they'll love (hello, TMX Elmo). And I'm all but finished with our Christmas cards--neener neener neener.

Happy December to all!

Monday, November 10, 2008

No patience for picky eaters in this house!

We have some food problems here. ugh. I think this is a normal age for toddlers to get picky or weird about what they eat, but times two? BLARG!

A week ago, they were still eating Gerber baby oatmeal for breakfast, and tubs of baby food for lunch and dinner, and some snacks consisting of crackers or cheese. But as of this weekend, baby food is no longer acceptable to them! I knew it would happen eventually... in fact, I bet most moms don't feed baby food to their kids at 16 months anymore. But I liked it because they 1) ate it and 2) it was easy to quantify... they each got equal parts of every tub of food. But now? Kyle squishes all baby food out his teeth and onto his shirt. And Lauren literally turns up her nose and squints her eyes closed if I even try to present her with a spoonful of oatmeal or baby food or anything of similar consistency. What the heck do I feed them now?? They won't eat anything! Actually, they eat lots of things, but not enough to equal a meal...

Goldfish crackers are almost always an accepted "food". Cheese usually is too. And we just discovered mandarin oranges which while a little messy, are a huge hit. I've had high hopes for chicken nuggets, but they only eat them about half the time I offer them. Ooh, and sliced olives are surprisingly popular, too.

On top of that, the GI doctor wants Kyle to start gaining more weight. And while it's tempting to give him olive oil from a sippy cup (LOL), I'm searching for other easy ways to add calories to his already finicky diet.

It's seriously like a full time job coming up with things that they'll eat, and then making sure that they're each eating enough and not just handing their food over to their twin (Kyle) or stealing it from the other's tray (Lauren). It's pretty cute though when Kyle hands Lauren a bite of food, and Lauren snatches it out of his hand and says "thank you", LOL.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spinal Muscular Atrophy

The babies were diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) type 2 this week. It's pretty devastating. But I think it's better to know what we're dealing with right now, rather than them being "medical mysteries", right? I'm so glad we have Phoenix Children's Hospital to work with. They've been great so far. In the past, with other random issues and doctors, it seemed like we managed to slip through the cracks in terms of test results and call backs and such, but this has absolutely not been the case with PCH. My only complaint is that PCH isn't closer to my house! But actually 20 mins drive isn't that bad. And it's awesome that their facilities are so kid friendly--we had to bring Jenna with us to an appointment and she felt right at home at a coloring table watching Sprout, so that was a relief.

If anyone knows of tactics I can use to convince my husband that we now more than ever need a big family trip to Disneyland, please share! I want to go now, while the babies are still small enough for our normal double stroller and we don't have to travel with wheelchairs or other equipment.

I could post so much more about SMA and the ramifications, but I have no energy left. I've been talking about it and crying about it for four days now and I'm all out of words and tears for now. Many, many thanks to anyone who includes us in your prayers.

And in honor of Halloween tomorrow, here are a couple photos to get you in the spirit of the holiday--enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Well, at least my house is a lot cleaner.

The screen on my laptop--my best friend--bit the dust. Went bye-bye. All black. I got nothin'.

To check my email now, play Word Twist on Facebook, and to blog, I have to drag myself upstairs into no-woman's land and use the desktop computer. So, I don't. Not very often, anyway.

It sort of sucks, because I am very much addicted to the internet. But it's sort of great, because I'm actually doing stuff around the house, playing with my kids, and Wii'ing more. These are all good things. So I guess it's good that my laptop died. It's showing me that my days are still overflowingly busy even if I check email only once (GASP!) per day.

And if you notice that I don't reply to an email within 5 minutes, or I have Word Twist games stacking up untouched for days, or I only blog once a month, don't think I have just been hit by a truck. I am still just adjusting to my lack of connectivity to the world! And finding that there is still a wonderful world out there in my backyard, literally. :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

European Vacation. Anyone?

Will anyone take my kids, so that I can go to Europe? I mean, I know the name of this blog is related to the Bahamas, and so you'd think that would be my go-to vacation spot. But I want someplace cool. I want...London. Two weeks. The last time, we took tour buses throughout the country and did all the touristy things. The next time, I want to visit Scotland and Wales, maybe, but otherwise I want to chill out and consume cheese and Carlsburg in Hyde Park, while I read books and pretend like I have a British accent. Maybe watch the original The Office in the evening. And tolerate my husband dragging me to soccer matches that I pretend not to like but secretly somewhat enjoy, given that I've consumed enough Carlsburg and all.

I have the money and the frequent flyer miles to get there--um, with my husband, of course. But I won't take my kids, they're too little and I'm too selfish. Boo hoo, it was so easy when it was just one child! Or none! Ahh, I almost remember those days, if I mute the TV and think really hard. We would literally pack up and go anywhere on a moment's notice. And for free. But that was before 9/11 and before the airlines got all snooty with the number of available frequent flyer seats. The good old days, you know?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I totally heart my Wii.

We've had the Wii for a couple months now (thanks, IRS stimulus check!), and I have to admit that I am not a video game person and haven't bothered playing a single game. Until the other day, that is, when I finally opened up the Wii Fit. It is so cool! I did a hula hooping game this morning and it told me I'm a good calorie burner! Who knew? I bet it's the clothes. I'm sporting the pink Nike outfit today and am channeling my energy into figuring out this new Wii Fit.

Excersize had to wait, though, until I played around with the Mii's out there. I added so many celebrity Mii's to our system today--Hulk Hogan, Tom Cruise, Hello Kitty, C3P0, Paris Hilton, Conan O'Brien, Scooby Doo and Lucy (from Peanuts), just to name a few. I'm pretty sure my husband will get majorly annoyed that Paris is on there now and he'll probably delete her. But it's so much more fun playing, say, Wii Baseball, now that the teams are fleshed out with such fun faces! Before today, the only other Mii's we had out there on the field, besides our own selves, were Batman, Chuck Norris, and Jack Black. Clearly, this whole business of adding Mii's needed a woman's touch. ;)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Christmas wish lists

I was on Amazon over the weekend beefing up the kids' wish lists in anticipation of Christmas gift giving. And then it occured to me that Amazon doesn't have the twins' favorite toys of all time.... empty plastic water bottles and wax Dixie bathroom cups.

And hopefully someone will come out with some Harry Potter dolls, like the Barbie kind of dolls, before Christmas so that I can put them on Jenna's list. She's obsessed with Harry Potter, and I don't think I can make doll-sized Hogwart's robes by myself and re-gift her Ballerina Barbie dressed in homemade clothing without her noticing.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sleep, sweet sleep.

Yay. I feel so refreshed.

For the last four nights, I've had Jenna sleep with me in my room (so that Lauren doesn't wake her with her crying--they share a room), and turn on my air purifier on "high" and close my door. I imagine the babies probably fussed a lot the first night, not that I heard them. And I imagine they fussed progressively less as each night went on. But the bottom line is that I'm finally getting some sleep, and getting caught up on the sleep I've been missing. I no longer feel like the college student who was up all night cramming for tests, like a zombie or something during the day.

Tonight I'll send Jenna back to her room, and keep my fingers crossed that Lauren finally has her act together. Wish us luck! I'm hoping this is a permanent thing, this idea of me actually sleeping from 10am-6pm, each night!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hello, Sleep! It's been so long since I've seen you!

Ahhhhh. I am on the computer at 6am because I've been happily awake since 5:30am. Why, you ask? I got 6.5 hours of sleep last night and was woken only once!!

I just got to this point of desperation. The babies missed their afternoon naps for reasons unknown (they just didn't sleep), so I was convinced that they'd go down easier and stay asleep all night. But things didn't start out so well. So I made sure they were both in their rooms and they were probably blanketed and had multiple pacifiers in sight and were otherwise physically safe.... and then I made Jenna sleep in my bed with me, I turned up the air purifier in my room to the loudest setting and closed the door.

I woke up at 3am, stunned that their hysterics hadn't seeped into my dreams through my closed door and loud air filter. I hadn't hear them because...they weren't in hysterics. I imagine they fussed and cried a little. But if they had completely been freaking out I would have heard that (I speak from experience).

So I got 4 uninterrupted hours of sleep, and then another 2.5 hours, and I'm fresh as a daisy this morning. Wheeee!

I'm glad I finally got some shut-eye, because I was seriously considering leaving the kids with the neighbor and checking into a hotel tonight. LOL.

And since I don't have a picture of me sleeping last night, I'll post some sleep-themed photos from our recent San Diego Vacation Spectacular.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Teeth are sharp, kids, teeth are sharp.

Dear Children,

Your teeth are sharp. It shouldn't surprise you--though it always seems to--that your twin's teeth are sharp, too. It would behoove all of us if you did not try to test this by placing your finger in your sibling's mouth. And if your sibling does this to you, for crimoney's sake please do not close your teeth on the sweet little finger. It hurt this time. It hurt the last 100 times. Ever heard of Pavlov, children??

Love, Your Mom.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm getting no sleep, and sippy cup identification bracelets

Sleep sucks around here these days. Lauren used to be my good sleeper--she's loud and fussy, but when she's down at night she's down. She slept through the night five out of seven nights per week. That's as of, oh, say, three months ago. Slowly, the number of nights with wakings have surpassed the number of nights of rest to the point where I can't even remember the last time she slept through the night. And she's a beast to put down at bedtime. I don't get it. And Kyle? He's gotten a little fussy at bedtime, too, and he's waking 3-6 times per night. If I let him cry it out, it's too much to take. Half the time when I let him cry it out, he throws up on himself--I think he's probably crying due to burpy discomfort, so if I'd just gone in there to begin with, he would have been fine and not thrown up. And everytime, the only thing that will quiet him down and get him to sleep is nursing him. I'm tired of it. Literally. I am exhausted. Between the two of them, I haven't gotten more than two consecutive hours of sleep in WEEKS. I go to bed around 9pm and wake up around 6am and I'm up about 7 times each night. With Jenna, I took a hard stance against this crap and whipped her into sleep shape right after she turned 1, and she's my Ultimate Sleeping Champion now. I just don't feel like I can let them be when they wake anymore, I guess because until we get them up to speed developmentally, they just lay in their cribs on their backs and cry. They can't roll around and amuse themselves for a couple of minutes with their little Pooh or stuffed Shamu. And the pacifiers that tumble out of their mouths and lodge into their necks and wake them up, ooohhh I'm totally over that. And none of this is helping to wean them. Right now they're day-weaned from the breast, and I'm past my self-imposed deadline for night-weaning. I guess it all goes hand in hand, the waking at night to nurse and the ending of the nursing business. Ugh. And I'm so tired that I can't even formulate a plan to try to fix this. I'm surprised that I have the energy to think of all this stuff to say and type it out.

On a separate note, I got these ID tags for their sippy cups in the mail the other day--love them!

Lauren had an awful allergic reaction a couple weeks ago--to what, we don't know, but the only thing we could think of was cow's milk that she drinks everyday, so I've been putting soy milk in her sippy cup instead. Then her cup and Kyle's cup got mixed up and she consumed a little more cow's milk and got a rash again, ugh. So these little bands are so cool! I recommend them to anyone who has kids close enough in age to both be using the same kind of sippy cup or bottle.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Major headway made in the baby book project

Both babies now have baby books with the first ~20 pages completed! I haven't gotten to the parts where I write about what they were like at 3 months or 6 months or anything, but I have their birthdates written in there, and their birth annoucements taped to that page, and their family trees written in. A good, solid start. But alas, my house needs to be cleaned now and I had to put the baby books away for now.

Regarding that question about what I wish for them in life, I think I'm going to put something along the lines of thinking for themselves. That sort of covers everything, you know? If you are a critical thinker and don't go with the crowd just to save yourself the trouble of thinking things through on your own, then you will likely be happy, love yourself, be independant, be a good citizen, be considerate of others, etc. And I decided that whatever I come up with, it has to be the same for both babies. I don't want them to one day read their books and compare and be bummed that Mom wanted him to think for himself but wanted her to do something else. Whatever is important enough to want for one, I want for both! Though it has felt a little like plagiarism when I copy things word for word. Oh well. If God wanted me to be completely unique and creative in all things, He wouldn't have given me two babies at once.

And since I just now figured out how to post a photo in my blog, here is a photo unrelated to the baby books. It was taken in our hotel room in San Diego. Love Bumbos!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Baby Book: "If I could wish anything for you in your life, I would wish..."?

Help me answer this question? I have that question in both Kyle's and Lauren's baby books. Is it right to get all serious and cheesy and say that I wish they grow up to love themselves and love God? That's not a bad answer. But is that what I'm comfortable expounding upon? Not really. I need something more "me". But what to write, what to write. Times two. ?? Help.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Baby Books

I just bought baby books for the twins last week. They're nearly 15 months old, and I haven't documented anything of their babyhood yet. I'm horrified at myself.

Why is it so hard to "feel" like sitting down and documenting their milestones and personalities like this? It's such an important thing for me, to have these memories jotted down, to have something to look back on, and maybe later on something to compare them to. And give the baby books to the children when they have their own children, like my mom gave mine to me not so long ago.

Well actually, I haven't decided yet if I'm going to give the books to them. They are, after all, my memories. My memories of their babyhood, but also of my young motherhood. That's precious stuff. Who knows if they'll even care about that later on, or if they'll take good care of the books.

Anyway. I just wish I would do it already. I'll stop blogging and get right on that.... As soon as I check my email, finish uploading photos to Shutterfly, see what the free song of the week is on iTunes, catch up on my Word Twist games on Facebook, and maybe surf over to My Space and update my status there, and by then the laundry might need to go into the dryer....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

How do I want my children to see me? How do I want them to be when they grow up?

Let's be honest. I want my kids to be like me. Or how I think I am, or how I want me to be, anyway.

I want them to be independent. Deep down, I'd love to coddle them, but they need to know how to pick up after themselves, how to wash a load of their laundry, and how to think for themselves and prioritize.

I want them to understand the big picture--their big picture. What today's events mean in the great scheme of things. To have perspective. The most important time in life, I think, to have a concept of "the big picture" would be middle and high school. These are probably the most challenging times to teach this concept, must start early on this one. Is age 4 too early to explain "the big picture"? I'm not sure, but I can let you know later.

I want them to not be afraid. The world can be a scary place, and there are some bad people and some bad governments on this earth, but if you focus on your own community and the positive impact you can have, that's more productive. I'll have to lead by example on this one, but better to wait until they understand what all those words on the nightly news mean. There's no use in explaining what a terrorist is to a child too young to have figured it out on her own.

I want them to understand and really embrace the concepts of teamwork, being a good sport, and "it's not whether you win or lose but how you play the game". Being competetive can be good--or at least that's what I hear, since I don't have a competetive bone in my body--but being the best or first or the winner isn't everything. But how to teach such abstract concepts?? If it were easy, there'd be more adults out here in the Real World who are put the greater good over their own interests and are good sports.

I want them to have a sense of humor. For crying out loud, this can get you through almost anything. If there's nothing else I've learned from having twins, it's that a sense of humor is almost always your greatest asset. Having three or four arms would be an even better asset, but I personally haven't been provided with these yet, so a sense of humor it is! And the best way to teach humor, so far as I can tell, is to keep laughing. All through the day. And we're pretty good at this at our house. Nothing is too sacred to be a punchline.

I also would like them to love to read, to be interested in cooking and in photography, to love music with their very souls, and also to watch less TV. Maybe if we had a cheap, crappy TV, that lesson would be easier to instill in them. Hmm.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Early Intervention came by today for a lovely visit

The babies are now formally in "the system" for in-home physical therapy with the state of Arizona. Today, we formalized a plan with objectives/outcomes and goals for their therapy. Our service coordinator and physical therapist seem so nice! We're really excited to have them in our lives for the next couple of years.

Our objectives for both babies include having them be able to roll over, to sit up soundly, to lift their feet to their mouths while lying on their backs, and to use sippy cups. Apparently, it's too early to add "crawling" to that list right now because they're just so far behind. We can freely add objectives to this list of goals later on, so that will come later.

On a positive note, the physical therapist was surprised and thrilled at Kyle's progress since she last evaluated him 5 weeks ago. He now sits upright (with pillows behind him for when he falls, because he does), claps his hands, and reaches forward to reach for items on his highchair tray. She read to us her notes from her last time here and wow, yes, Kyle has definitely progressed since then. So that made our day!

It will still be a month or so before we can get on their weekly schedule. But when we do, there could be up to three therapist coming here each week, for each baby--that's 6 weekly visits from pros whose only job is to play with them and teach me about the babies' development! Hooray for tax dollars!

As an aside..... right now Jenna is alternately singing into her Wiggles microphone "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis, "Pocketful of Sunshine" by Natasha Beddingfield and the Hannah Montana theme song. LMAO! I knew she knew the words to Hannah Montana, but I had no idea she even knew the other two songs existed! LMAO

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jack Doody

Jack Doody is running for the Arizona State House of Representatives.

Really. He is. And the most surprising thing is that wasn't already taken. His campaign nabbed it before anyone else.

Jack Doody, though! How come I can't think of a dozen "jack shit" jokes right now? LMAO

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Jenna Funny

Today it was just me and Jenna running errands together. On this rare occasion without the babies holding us back, we elected to pop into CVS to pick up a prescription rather than go through the drive-thru. After we decided which "path" would take us to the pharmacy counter (thanks to Dora, everywhere we go has a "path" to choose), Jenna played with the rack of reading glasses while I waited at the pharmacy counter. The clerk rang me up while looking suspiciously over at Jenna. She finally informed me, "your daughter is wearing our glasses", with a certain distaste reserved for children who eat dirt or pick their noses. I looked at Jenna standing next to me, with a pair of (stylish) readers on with a giant piece of plastic hanging off the side so that they could hang properly from the rack they'd been on. Jenna exclaimed, "Mommy! I can finally see!" The clerk didn't seem to this this was funny! Can you imagine? She seemed to take Jenna seriously. Yes, I am the mom who won't buy her child glasses, and instead the child can only see her world when we visit pharmacies which sell glasses.

And on a separate note, today, Lauren picked up a toy telephone, held it up to her ear, and babbled something that sounded like, "Hello?"! She's a genius! I knew it! Yay.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Decompressing from our San Diego Vacation Spectacular

Ahhh, how nice it is to be home! It's strange to think that we went to San Diego to get out of this pit, but after 6 days away, the heart definitely grew fonder.

The first few days were a little rough. We had to force Benadryl and Prednisone down Lauren's throat, thanks to a severe allergic reaction she enjoyed the night before we left for San Diego. And we were all a little cramped at a friend's house... they have an enormous home, but really, is it possible for home to truly be big enough to accomodate five demanding houseguests? I'm thinking no.

In six days, we squeezed in one day at Legoland (BIG hit) and three days at Sea World (LOTS of great photo ops), plus some time at the beach and enough time leftover for Chris to attend the big job fair that brought our family to San Diego to begin with. Add to that a half day's drive there and back, and we were some busy people. Sprinkle in some puke sessions (two sessions for Lauren, one for Kyle), and only a fraction of the naps that were truly needed, and there you have it.

All our laundry is all done--small miracle! The babies are a little sickly now, as is Jenna, with congestion and coughs. And nap schedules are slowly (very slowly) starting to normalize. It's a lot of hard work to leave home for more than a day, but this trip was so worth it. If we didn't ever go anywhere because it's "too hard", then what sad little lives our kids would have. Kate Gosselin, from Jon & Kate Plus 8 said the same thing once. We want them to have memories of family trips like this, and to have neat experiences like letting the crashing waves chase you up to the dry sand and petting a dolphin at Sea World. And I want lots of pictures for our family scrapbooks.

So, when can we go to Disneyland?? I'm being serious. Sign me up! I must be feeling lucky, eh?