Sunday, December 28, 2008

Some Sobering News for Daddy

You may or may not know that Eddie is a Type I Diabetic. He was diagnosed in May of 1989 after he lost 80 lbs in 6 months and was very, very sick. Over the years, he has had many health problems as a result of his diabetes. He has had gasteoparysis, degeneration of his eyesight, and he had to have his left foot amputated after a wound on his heel would not get better.

His health is challenging. He has to test his blood sugars several times a day and watch what he eats. He does okay, but like most diabetics, he craves things he should not have. It is a daily struggle for him to be healthy.

A few years ago, his primary doctor wanted him to see a nephrologist, a kidney doctor. They started testing his blood to see how well his kidneys were functioning. Back then, his kidney function was about 80%. Not great, but pretty good for having Type I Diabetes. Over the years, he has had problems with too much phosphorous or too much potassium or too much whatever in his blood. His doctor has prescribed many different medications in the hope that they might be able to get his kidney function back up. Unfortunately, it has not worked.

On December 23, Eddie's doctor told him that his kidney function has suddenly dropped to 20%, devastating news. Next week, he will have to go in to have a tube put into either his arm or his abdomen so that he can start dialysis. The doctor is also placing him on the kidney transplant list. You cannot imagine how scary the word "transplant" is to us, but it is even scarier than the phrase "kidneys are failing."

As of this blog post, this is everything we know. We hope to have more information to share soon. In the meantime, we hope you will keep Gracie and Lukie's Daddy in your thoughts and prayers.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Slippery Fish

Do you know who Charlotte Diamond is? I didn't either until the day Gracie and Lukie's Day Care teachers had them demonstrate their "dancing" ability to the song "Octopus" by Charlotte Diamond. They played this music and sang a song and the Twinies gyrated their hips and flailed their arms all to the beat of the Slippery Fish Song. The next day, I downloaded it from iTunes in English and Spanish!

We have since discovered that the Slippery Fish song is a magical song. It distracts immediately and the Twinsies love it. You will too, that is, until it is stuck in your head as well as it is in ours!

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Three Days of Christmas

We have had a ton of Christmas! Of course, everything started with Christmas Eve at the Uribes II. We spent the night at Nana's house. Eddie and the Twinsies were in bed early, but Nana and I were up late helping Santa put together toys that he had left for the Twinsies and watching Meet Me in St. Louis. Nana pointed out that the trolley song is supposed to be sung during the summer, but everyone on the trolley is dressed for winter, in St. Louis. This ruined the scene for me. I don't think I'll ever be able to watch that movie again without thinking of Nana's observation!

On Christmas Day, Gracie and Luke woke up about 7 am. We played with them in bed for as long as week could, but they are used to eating breakfast early. So I got them up and brought them out for some bananas and Cheerios. They walked right past the Christmas tree and did not seem to notice anything out of the ordinary. They ate their breakfasts and then we went into the living room to watch Sesame Street (well, really we just watch Elmo). That's when Gracie caught sight of her new shopping cart and Lukie caught sight of his new hauler/scooter ride. They immediately commandeered them and took off for the kitchen where the walked around and around. "Oh, Wowwww!" was heard multiple times from Lukie (it's really cute - I highly recommend hanging out with him to hear it).

Around 8 am or so, the Arteagas showed up and we opened presents with Nana. Lukie and Gracie got new hoodie towels (yay!), Elmo Live!, a spinny ball game, a talking tool kit, and new pjs. The scene was chaos, but lots of fun. After we were done opening presents, Aunt Bec made Lil' Smokies and eggs. The Twinsies had a second breakfast (surprise!) and we discovered they adore Lil' Smokies. Afterward, the Arteagas headed home to get ready for the Christmas dinner invasion and we rested a bit. When the time came, I dressed Gracie up in her red Christmas dress that Nana bought her and Lukie in his new sweater vest, dress shirt, tie, and black slacks combo. Since I was never able to find him dress shoes I could afford, he wore his red, black and white tennies.

We had dinner at Aunt Bec's house. Before we could even get started with dinner, Gracie and Lukie discovered the hors d'oeuvres table. They both managed to reach cookies and chips. It's a wonder they even wanted dinner later. Everyone thought it was hysterical that they both loved the cookies so much. I, on the other hand, was waiting for the Parent Police to show up and put me in Parent Prison for allowing them to eat that junk. When dinner time came, Gracie pounded down green beans, chicken and roast. Lukie loved the tamales, potatoes, and roast. Gracie managed to eat her entire meal while sitting on my lap and holding a cookie.

We opened presents again and Lukie got a school bus with baby legos and Gracie got a Handy Manny tool set and baby crayons. Before you wonder what was up with the Handy Manny tool set, just know that Gracie is totally happy with it, just like Cousin Nate is totally happy with his shopping cart and all the fake food. (Secretly, I am happy Nate got all of the fake food. When we visited him tonight, Gracie tried to eat the boxes. I'm so glad that she won't get to take it home!)

After a late night on Christmas, we slept in until 6:46 am today and played with Cousin Bianca who spent the night at Nana's last night. We went to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant and played at a park for an hour. Lukie thought it would be fun to go down the big kids' slide head first! I've since resumed breathing normally, but am hoping that doesn't happen again any time soon.

Tonight, we headed to Auntie Ten-Ten's house (after we invited ourselves) and watched Fred Claus, ate more Lil' Smokies, cream puffs, taquitos, Goldfish crackers, pasta, and more. We all need Alka Seltzer right now. We danced to 80s music with the Aunties and stole toys from cousins, had toys stolen from babies, cried, laughed, and generally had a blast! Lukie and Gracie passed out before we even made it one mile from Auntie Ten-Ten's house. It must be hard to be almost 16 months old!

Our 3 days of Christmas have been a blast and we can't wait until New Year's Eve. We don't know what our plans are yet, but we are sure to be the life of the party!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve with the Uribes II

We usually spend Christmas Eve with Grandma and Grandpa, waiting up until midnight to open presents. This year, they are off to Mexico, so we went to our Auntie Ten-Ten and Uncle Bear's house to eat yummy food, tear the house apart, have hot chocolate, and walk around to see the Christmas lights. Auntie Ten-Ten and Uncle Bear live in an area famous for their Christmas lights so it was especially fun.

Gracie and Luke ran all around the house with their Cousin Nate and wore themselves out. After we all had dinner, I made hot chocolate and we got ready to go outside. We were expecting rain, but it hadn't arrived yet. We decided it was safe to go out to see the lights.

Auntie Ten-Ten decided to get all of the cousins together for a Christmas Eve photo! And look! She got everyone facing the camera! This is an amazing feat, I assure you.

Our favorite house was the one with the Nativity scene designed with Cabbage Patch Dolls. There must have been about 50 of them dressed as angels, Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus. It was beautiful! As we approached the end of our trek through the neighborhood, it started to sprinkle so we headed back to Auntie Ten-Ten and Uncle Bear's house.

We had so much fun! We hope that we can do something like this again next year. Although, we may have to add caroling to the list of activities. Aunt Bec is determined to take Uncle Mike out and show him that people really do carol (not just in the movies).

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Grandma's Kitchen

Gracie and Luke love Grandma's house because they can tear anything up and no one seems to mind. Tonight, we were waiting for Grandma to get home and the Twinsies discovered that Grandma keeps plastic bags in one of the cupboards.

Grandma, are you sure you don't want to baby proof?

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Cookie-Day Smookie-Day!

Sunday was the annual Cook Girls Cookie Day. We have them every year. They are a tradition started years ago with Auntley. She would make dozens and dozens of cookies with us, and I have no clue who she thought would eat all of them. I still remember this chocolate cookie we would make that was frosted - yes, frosted - with more chocolate. Cookie Day is a Christmas Tradition I look forward to every year. Since Gracie and Luke are mobile now, I was really excited to see what they would get themselves into on Cookie Day.

However, it was not to be. Sunday, instead of making Christmas cookies with the Fam, I spent the day in the Emergency Room cuddling my little man and waiting for the epinephrine to get to work. I have NO idea what happened. I don't know if something bit him or if he ate something I did not see. All I know is that Gracie, Lukie and I were taking a nap on Nana's couch and all of a sudden he woke up screaming. He wouldn't let me put his binky back into his mouth and he kept trying to hit me. Eddie had just sat down next to us and said, "What's the matter with Lukie's eye?"

I pulled Lukie away from me and saw that his left eyelid was swelling out of control. I looked at him all over and saw a white bump under his left ear (which turned out to be a hive, but I thought it was a bite). I started to panic and tore open the backpack to look for the Benedryl I always keep with us. NONE! I cannot tell you how terrified I was. Eddie grabbed his keys and headed over to Walgreens to get some Benedryl while I held a screaming Lukie and tried to keep a now screaming Gracie calm.

I managed to get some Ibuprofen down Lukie's throat. It was the only thing I could think of while we waited for Eddie. He got back rather quickly and about 11 minutes after we first noticed Lukie's eye, we got the Benedryl into him. At that point, both of his eyes were swollen shut, his tongue was swollen and he tissue under his tongue had swelled so that it was pushing his tongue up toward the roof of his mouth. He was breathing fine; no wheezing or anything like that. I called the advice nurse and she calmed me down and walked me through the check list. As soon as she heard that his tongue was swollen, she told me to take him to the doctor. Problem: We were 1 hour from home, and there isn't a single blasted urgent care (that takes my insurance) for 30 miles.

Lukie seemed to be calming down and his eyes actually seemed to be getting a little better. So we drove up to Aunt Bec's house for Cookie Day and I sat next to him with my hand on his chest to make sure he was breathing properly. When we arrived everyone was stunned by the way he looked (you could not recognize him - Eddie was trying to say that he looked like Rocky Balboa - I was not amused). It took very little convincing to get me to take him to the emergency room, even though he had taken off out to the backyard to play. Nana and I took him down there and the triage nurse put us in a bed really quickly. In the end, he had 2 shots of epi ( I always wanted to say that! epi - epinephrine) and an oral steroid before the swelling in his eyes really started to go down. His tongue was the first to start to deflate and that is when I started to calm down. They kept us there for 3 hours to make sure he was okay.

By the time we got back to Cookie Day, he had hives all over his body. The doctor had warned me this would happen, so we stripped him down to his diaper and let him run all over the house Apparently, steroids turn little kids into maniacs. Right. He ran all over Aunt Bec's house chasing kids and eating anything anyone would hand him. Eddie laughed that he had the munchies. Again, I was not amused. By the time Lukie was done, he passed out in the car and slept through the entire night. I slept next to him and frequently checked that he was still breathing.

Today, we had a little eyelid swelling episode, but Benedryl cleared it up. Dr. A saw Lukie today and she was really worried about him. We now have an oral steroid he needs to take for 3 days, and our Dr. A has ordered 2 epi pens to use in case this ever happens again. He also had blood drawn so that they can see if they can figure out what happened. We still have no clue what happened, but I really hope the blood test will tell us.

Lucas, if you are 35 years old and reading this, you need to thank your Guardian Angel who whispered in the ears of the 20 people in line in front of Daddy at Walgreens. Every single one of them let him skip in front of them so he could get back to you.

Oh, and if you are 35 years old and reading this, you had better hug me today, really hard. I lost 8 years of my life being scared for you and I need all the love I can get!

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Words Words Words!

We've had some crazy language development in the past month or so!

Luke has been slower in the language department than Gracie. While Gracie has been talking (baby babbling) for some months now, he's only really gotten going in the last couple of months. This morning he was talking up a storm. I have no idea what he was saying, but he was very proud of himself. He says Daddy/Dada, Mommy (Only when he wants something. Otherwise, I'm Daddy too). He also says DA! for anything he gets really excited about. We try to always say the word for him so that he will get it. In the last few days, he has been saying, "Oh, wow!" He loves to make the "oh" shape with his mouth. I also realized today that he has a word for Gracie. It's Day-Dee (can't you see Gracie in there?).

Gracie proudly says Daddy, Kukie (Lukie), Mommy (or Memmy depending on how desperately she wants to talk to me), mas (more), agua (water), baby, ball, buba (bubbles). She may have more, I'm trying to pay close attention to everything she says.

Both Gracie and Luke understand a lot more than we realized.

Give it to Mommy.


Thank you.

Good girl/boy.


All done?




Do you want to go splash/splash? (bath)

Let's go!

Are you hungry?

March. March. March.

They will also pat each other when they are sad, hurt, or upset. We are trying to get it all on video, but we always seem to forget!

We promise to be more diligent!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow? In CA?

I was heading home today and heard the Winter Storm Warnings. Pretty much everywhere in SoCal is under some kind of watch. As I headed along the freeway, I looked over toward where our house is and noticed snow on the mountains/foothills. Intrigued, I drove the route to our house and watched as my thermometer went from 48-degrees to a chilly 37-degrees. There was no snow when I got there, but I could see the snow falling on the mountains. Here are some pictures of what I saw.

Follow Up - December 18

I took Gracie and Luke to Day Care today and this is what we were greeted with:

Do you believe I took those last 2 pictures with my cell phone? Wow!

The snow fell all over the mountains above our home. It must have gotten very cold last night, because snow even fell on the very short peak where our friend Chef Drumlake lives! It is already melting, but how exciting is snow?!

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Zingers + Twinsies = Bad

Daddy bought me Zingers. I'm not entirely sure why, but he bought me a box of them. We were out traveling around the Valley and the Twinsies got hungry. We, the most brilliant parents on the planet, decided to share a Zinger with them.
As you can see from the pictures, this turned out to be a very bad idea.

Not so Way Back Whens-day

I found this video on my camera from when we were staying in the hotel after we were evacuated. The hardest thing about the hotel room (other than being on the smoking floor) was sharing one room. The Twinsies had access to things they did not normally have access to.

This time, Gracie and Luke had "discovered" the toilet paper.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First Parent-Teacher Conference?

Today, Eddie and I went to Gracie and Luke's Day Care (a.k.a. school) for our very first Parent-Teacher Conference. While we were waiting for Miss Joanne, we sat in the infant/toddler room and watched as our Twinsies sat in chairs, at a table and used spoons to eat Cheerios and milk. Huh? I've never even handed them spoons! Needless to say, I was a bit stunned to see them using utensils and not flinging Cheerios across the room. They sat and ate their breakfasts with gusto while other kiddies finished and started wandering about the room.

When Miss Joanne was ready for us, we went into her office and sat across from her. Here is the short version:

Gracie - Is able to follow one-step instructions and requests, is very close to speaking one or two word sentences, shows empathy toward others, defends her "territory" and stands up for herself, is doing much better at self-soothing at nap time, but is still working on it. Miss Joanne seemed very happy at Gracie's accomplishments and seemed especially pleased with Gracie's most recent advances. Since I've seen the difference in Gracie at home in the past two months, I heartily agreed. They are working on removing her binky for the majority of the day, exept at nap time. Miss Joanne seems to think that it will be just a bit longer and the binky will be history.

Luke - Communicates using gestures and is starting to use sounds to communicate ( is developing words), plays well with others, is still learning that it is okay to defend his "territory", and requires more hands-on time with the teachers, eats very well. He is still working on self-soothing at naptime, but is doing much better. He used to wake up several times each nap period, but now he sleeps solidly.

Eddie and I were very pleased at Miss Joanne's report. It is nice to know that our Twinsies play well and are well liked by the other toddlers and the teachers. I think the nicest thing was that Miss Joanne really seems to have this age nailed and has instituted several activities/policies designed to help the children develop new skills. One thing she has started is family eating time. The children used to be served all at once, but now, each item is brought to each child and they are asked if they would like to have some.

"Luke, would you like some corn today?"

"Gracie, would you like some fish sticks today?"

Overall, we were very pleased and came away with some important new ideas for interacting with Gracie and Luke and helping them to continue their development. I wonder if all of their Parent - Teacher conferences will be this nice?

We were so pleased, in fact, that we sat the Twinsies at their own table for dinner that night. Gracie was happier to eat than Luke. This scene did not last long.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Santa had fun with us!

Gracie and Luke woke up before the sun was up today, so Eddie and I decided to check an item off our list and try to get a visit in with Santa Claus. We figured that very few people would be in line at 10 am to see Santa on a Sunday, so we dressed up the Twinsies in their Christmas wear and headed up to the North Pole (aka the Valencia Town Center). Gracie and Luke fell asleep in the car, so we sat outside for awhile before going in. This proved to put us further down the line than we realized.

After about an hour wait, we made it up to see Santa. We hadn't told them anything about Santa. I did not want to overwhelm them at all. Lukie had a great time giving Santa high 5s and touching his suit. Gracie was having none of it and stayed firmly in my arms sucking on her binky. Finally, Lukie sat on one side of Santa and I put Gracie down next to Santa on the other side. They got 4 shots. In three of them, Gracie looks like she is trying to flee from an axe murderer. This one was the only one that was printable:

We hope Santa has just as much fun with you!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

I dare you not to laugh!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards
And now for the disco version!
Send your own ElfYourself eCards

I can't stop myself!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Christmas Cards

I've lost my address book and our desktop computer is rubbish because of the electrical surges during the fire. I'm working on finding everyone's addresses, but honestly, at this point, we don't even have a card to send!

Even though it isn't Wednesday anymore, here's a Way Back Whens-day kinda of picture for you:


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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Special Christmas Party at Kaiser

A few weeks ago, Eddie received a phone call from his friend, Sharon, in the Physical Therapy Department at Kaiser. She wanted to invite us all to a Christmas Party at Kaiser. We both thought this was odd. We've never been invited to one before! I couldn't go, but Eddie decided he would. Sharon insisted that he bring Gracie and Luke. So, Eddie kept Gracie and Luke home from day care and took the babies (by himself) to Kaiser.

When he arrived, all of his friends from Physical Therapy, Physical Medicine, and Outpatient Physical Therapy were there having their department holiday parties. They had planned them together and the guests of honor were Eddie and the babies. These nurses, PAs, and doctors have been in our lives for years and years. They've walked in the Diabetic Walk with us, cried with us when Eddie was sick or in pain, laughed and celebrated with us when the Twinsies were born. When they heard that we had been displaced by the fires, they decided that they wanted to make sure that we had a fantastic Christmas.

They had tons of clothes and toys for Gracie and Luke. They had gift cards and a soft blanket for Eddie and me. They gave us so many fantastic things that Eddie cried from the love he felt from his Kaiser Family.

To all our friends at Kaiser, Thank You! Your gifts were amazing and Gracie and Luke had a fantastic time with you today. We are blessed to have you all in our lives!

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Giving Back

I know this blog is supposed to be about Gracie and Luke. However, half of the time, I find myself wanting to write about things completely unrelated to them. This blog is not supposed to be my soapbox. Today, I've decided to hijack the blog for a worthy cause.

We are very lucky. I have a job that allows us a home, food, clothing, and more. There are many families today who don't have those things because of the economy. Occasionally, I think of what our lives would be like if I lost my job. What would we do? Where would we go? I distinctly remember going to the Welfare Office with my mom when I was little. I remember sitting in the lobby and then crawling under the little overhang she wrote on during her interview. I remember her relief when they gave us money for food. That was one of the hardest things my mom ever had to do.

When we were displaced by the Sayre Fire, I saw first hand how amazing people can be. You expect the Red Cross to show up when there is a disaster. You expect it, but you don't realize how much they do. If you've never been to a shelter, then you don't know how desperate things feel there. The Red Cross Volunteers do their best to make the "refugees" comfortable, but it is still a shelter. They coordinate donations, feed, and house those who have been displaced. They keep them safe from the media and allow them to get much needed rest.

The one group I never saw coming was the Salvation Army. You see them at Christmas time and I vaguely remember seeing a thrift store or two. But I've never seen them in action. Until November 15th. The Salvation Army worked with the Red Cross in the most amazing coordinated effort I have ever seen. They brought hot food to the high school as we all waited to see the destruction at Oakridge. They gave us water, clothing, comfort. They gave those who were displaced vouchers for their thrift stores so that they could find comfort in clothing and furniture that are our own. In short, the Salvation Army stepped up to help and they did things for us that we never would have expected. They were amazing.

Back to the food issue. The Salvation Army has food banks all over the country. As the economy has gotten worse and worse, they've seen more and more people come to them for help. At the same time, donations to the food banks have dropped dramatically. In fact, the Salvation Army has seen a 34% decrease in monetary donations over the past 3 years. The United Way used to donate $250,000 to the Salvation Army Food Bank. Now, they are only sending $50,000.

So, why am I throwing all of these numbers at you? Because any of us might find ourselves in the situation where we might need the Salvation Army's help. We might find ourselves in need and the Salvation Army would step up, even if they had very little to help.

Today, a local radio station is sponsoring Operation Feed Our Families to help the Salvation Army. If you live in Southern California, you can donate nonperishable food items directly. If you don't, you can donate money through the special website set up for this event. If you have been planning to donate money to a charity this holiday season, I hope you will consider donating to the Salvation Army. Not only because of how amazing they are, but because the work they do is so very important.

If you can't contribute today, then please consider emptying your coin purse for the bell ringers this holiday season. Charities are being hit hard by the downturn in the economy and they are having to cut back how they help people. How amazing would it be if we could make it so that they can't even tell there is a recession from the number of donations?!

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Saying Thank You to Daddy

He has a hard job. Every morning, he gets up at the crack of dawn with the babies, changes multiple poopy diapers, plays with babies, feeds babies bananas, and gets them dressed all by himself. He gets them in the car and off to school. All by himself.

I'm sure that he did not picture his life like this and I'm sure that every morning when that first cry sounds, he's ready to pull his pillow over his head. But he gets up and loves Gracie and Lukie more than anything.

Thank you, Daddy. Even though, I forget to tell you some (most) times.

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Hitting and Biting

Who is this child? Who is this biting, hitting child and where did my Lukie go?

Tears have been prevalent in our apartment, in the car, in the store, pretty much anywhere we have traveled this week. Lukie has taken to hitting and biting Gracie whenever he feels like it. It is completely unprovoked and he's bitten hard enough to leave a mark.

What is this? The Twinsies loved each other just a few weeks ago. Now, once we reach a certain time of the day, I can guarantee you that Gracie will be attached by the Lukie Monster or someone else will.

I've been grabbing his hands and holding them together in front of him. "Lukie! No! Biting hurts. You hurt Gracie!" Gracie is clearly crying at this point, with huge tears streaming down her face (if you thought her eyelashes were long before, you should see them with tears on them)!

Arg. I hope this is just a phase. Help!

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

And...I did.

I should have kept my mouth shut. Gracie woke up at 12:30 am and no amount of patting, singing, cuddling, or milk could get her back to sleep. I even brought her into bed with Eddie and me. No luck. Finally, at 1:45 am, I gave her some Tylenol and about 20 minutes later, she finally fell asleep.

Then, at 5:45 am, Lukie woke up and decided it was time to play.

I should just keep my mouth shut. We had it so good for a while!

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I just know I am going to jinx myself...

We spent night #3 in our new apartment last night and I am stunned at the difference in the babies. Sleep time has always been an issue for us. They slept with us when they came home from the hospital and when we tried to move them to their Pack-N-Plays to sleep, we met major resistance. They would sleep there until we went to bed and invariably wake up and want to be in bed with us. Since there are 2 of them, this necessitated us buying a much bigger bed so that all 4 of us could fit in it. Even after the bigger bed, we still had problems with Gracie waking up or Lukie waking up. Milk seemed to be the only way any of us got any sleep. The hotel was nightmarish because no one seemed to sleep and we were all walking around like zombies.

In our one bedroom apartment, we have 2 beds: a day bed and a full-size bed. Eddie and I are sleeping in the full-size bed and the Twinsies have taken up night time residence on the day bed. It is amazing! Somehow, the day bed has tricked the babies into thinking they are in bed with us. They have the nice mattress, the comfy comforter, and it smells like Mommy and Daddy! Yay! For the past 3 nights, Gracie and Luke have slept almost completely through the night. From about 7 pm to (gasp!) 6:30 or 7 am, they have woken up from time to time, but usually put themselves right back to sleep. If they really wake up, I've gone out to the living room and crawled into bed with them. They are usually right back to sleep in under 3 minutes. I know I feel much better and Eddie, who has a slight case of pneumonia, is definitely getting more sleep than we were in the hotel.

The upshot of all of this is that the babies are happier, Mommy is happier and Daddy is much happier! The one unforeseen consequence of all of this is that I have been getting to work over 30 minutes early. I used to have to spend a ton of time making bottles, changing diapers, and holding crying babies. Since they are still asleep, I am leaving earlier. Maybe this means I can wake up later!?

We are trying to decide what will happen when the television arrives. Will the babies move to our room or will our bed be moving to the living room. Since we rarely have visitors, it might be okay if our living room was Mommy and Daddy's bedroom. Hmmmm. We'll have to give that some more thought!

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking a moment to say Thank You!

Today, I went to Target (not my on my list of favorite places) to buy thank you cards. We have been inundated with amazing gifts from family and friends who heard about our situation. We've received money, gift cards, wine (Thank you, Martha!), baby clothes, toys...The list goes on and on.

It is in times like these that you learn exactly how loved you are. A few months ago, I told Eddie that I wanted to move to another state because no one ever came to visit us or seemed to want to. In my overwhelmed state, I was feeling unloved. We hadn't heard from many of our friends in a long time and when we tried to set things up to visit people, their schedules were already full. Our friends and family are busy with all of the things in their lives, just like we tend to be with the Twinsies. I really just missed spending time with people and could not find a way for that to happen. By the way, we love our friends and family like crazy!

When the Sayre Fire took away our Oakridge Community, we were flooded with phone calls, offers of clothes, places to stay, and offers of help. Our friend, Carol, went up and down her block telling her neighbors they had to step up and help us out! Boy, did they! It was a tremendous feeling to have so many people offering to help us and we were overwhelmed by the love we felt from so many.

In addition to our family and friends, the response from the Red Cross and the Salvation Army was amazing to see. I hope no one ever has to go through a natural disaster like we did, but if you do, you will experience first hand the giving and support by these two organizations. Not only did they provide shelter, they provided food and a community place for us to come and grieve for our Oakridge home. The volunteers had the patience of saints and incredibly generous hearts.

I have a ton of thank you notes to write, but I wanted to take this opportunity to say "Thank you!" to everyone who offered help or did help in any way. Your generosity and love were amazing and very welcome at a time when we felt completely lost. We will never forget what you all did for us! Ever.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Daddy did not listen to Mommy

The Twinsies have been sick since we moved into the yucky hotel. Eddie wasn't far behind. It started with a runny nose, progressed to coughing, chills, fever...the ususal. I told him to call the doctor, but he chose to try to take lots of medicine to see if any of it would help. The problem is that with Eddie nothing is that simple.

Over the past 2 weeks, he has gotten sicker and sicker. When he coughs now, it causes him to gag and, sometimes, well, let's just say it isn't pretty! Last night, he was feeling so poorly that I told him he had to call the doctor in the morning. Finally, he listened to me and got an appointment this morning.

The diagnosis?


Will he be calling the doctor next time I tell him to?

One word: Yes.

He is a little worried that the babies might have it too, but their coughing has died down since we moved to the non-smoking room. Me? I had a pneumonia vaccine. See? I think ahead!

Love you, Daddy!

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Too much Tryptophan will do that to you!

Tryptophan + cousins + grandpa + Tio Martin = sleepy asleep Twinsies.

So, what's Daddy's excuse?

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kyte Kids + Twinsies - So Much Fun!

Back in March, we finally met our friend Caryn from BBC, her husband, Bryan, and the awesome Kyte Kids! They were visiting Disneyland this week and we braved Wednesday before Thanksgiving Traffic to meet them at Downtown Disney for dinner.

I was going to leave you in the dark about the adventure that was our drive to Disneyland, but I have a picture I need to share. The Twinsies have been sick for the last two weeks. I am hoping that since we are out of the smoking room and into a non-smoking room, that will be the end of sickie poo-ness. On our way to DLand, the screaming started and I quickly realized that Gracie had a fever. We were more than half the way there, so Eddie pulled off the freeway (nothing free about it that day) and took us to a Rite Aid where we purchased Tylenol and quickly drugged the Little Whoville. Luke was next, but the eyedropper the pharmacist gave me was less than helpful. To make sure he got his entire dose, I let him hold it and he kep sucking on the end until all of the cherry flavored medicine was gone.

We met the Kytes at the Rain Forest Cafe and on the walk to the entrance, Gracie kept pointing at the waterfalls and saying "agua" clearer than anything! Having dinner with three big kids, four 1-year-olds and four adults is pretty challenging, but we pulled it off. Afterward, Gracie and Luke were ready to be allowed to run like crazy, so I found a little sectioned off area and we let the kids go wild! Much fun was had by all and we got some great pictures.

I swear that if I win the lottery, the Kytes and the Uribes are moving to Washington (the state) and are going to start a Twin Momma commune. Other Twin Mommas just get it. It's so nice to be understood!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Permanent (for 6 months) Home

I've been trying not to complain, but after a week in our hotel, I have to say that there is only one hotel that has been worse than this one. It was in Ensenada and when I walked on the carpet without shoes on, my feet turned black from the filth. The bed was a flat, yet lumpy, nightmare and we found roaches crawling near our suitcases.

This hotel is on my list of worst hotels because when we requested the following, they ignored us.

  • a handicapped room for Ed
  • a non-smoking room (duh, babies and allergic Mommy)
  • a room on the first floor so that if the elevator broke, Eddie would not have to climb stairs.

Well, as you can probably guess, we were placed on the 4th floor (aka the top floor), which is the only smoking floor and, on Sunday, the elevator broke. Within a few hours, Gracie, Luke, and I started coughing, sneezing, and feeling generally lousy. It was so bad that I took the Twinsies to Nana's for the weekend to escape the horror that was our room. Today, we were able to move to a similar room to our original one, but still no handicapped access. That's okay, though! We've found an apartment!

No more preparing dinner in the bathroom so that we don't wake the Twinsies! We will have a 1 bedroom apartment starting December 1. The owner is doing an amazing thing for fire victims: $500 off the deposit, $100 off the monthly rent, and he is letting us sign a 6 month lease instead of a full year one. He's even agreed to honor the same rent after the 6 months is up if our house is not ready yet.

We are so very excited! It is a permanent (less temporary) home. The beautiful thing is that the rent for this apartment is less than 10 days at the gross hotel! We'll be able to have the insurance company cover our entire stay. That is amazing. For the record, HUD helped us find this apartment. Thank you to the amazingly patient man who sat and went through listing after listing to help me find just the right one.

So many things to be thankful for! We are so lucky.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

All Turned Around

In the midst of everything, Luke has been growing. At our last check up, Dr. Anderson said that he was ready for his car seat to be turned around!

So, when we rode in Nana's car this weekend, Lukie got a taste of facing foreward in the car.

He seemed to really like being able to see Nana driving and there were so many things to see!
Gracie, on the other hand, was sickie poo. She was sad.

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Fire pictures

I've debated whether or not to post pictures of Oakridge on this blog. The results of the fire are so devastating and I am trying to be positive, so I'm providing a link instead.

To view pictures I took of Oakridge, visit my Photobucket album.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Reasons We <3 Nana

Reasons we love Nana:

1) She lets me bring my twins to her house and doesn't freak out when they reduce it to rubble in under 1 minute.

2) She lets me bring 10 loads of laundry and doesn't freak out at how much the water bill is going to be.

3) She lets me vent about stupid smoking floors at hotels, dorky Sprint who has ridiculous cell phone plans, and overexcited adjusters who have scheduled the clothing cleaning crews to arrive tomorrow before I can start purging unwanted things from our smoky, dirty, cluttered house.

4) She tells me that it is totally okay that I live with her for the weekend so that my babies can play and be crazy fun kids instead of almost 15 month-olds who are restricted to one room.

5) She knows we are on a schedule and goes with the flow so that I can follow it.

6) She loves the Twinsies even though they throw tantrums the size of Texas and pitch their binkies across the room.

7) She lets us be us without judgment.

8) She lets me (Gracie and Luke's Mommy) have a little bit of time to myself so that I can get a manicure and pedicure.

That's why we love Nana!

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Happy 10th Birthday!

There's nothing better than bringing cupcakes and having free dress on your 10th birthday! These two were so excited that they kept r...