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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Thursday, November 20, 2008

A temporary home

We are currently staying at the Extended Stay America in a city near our home, but may move to the Residence Inn in another city. The Extended Stay is okay, but the Residence Inn has a separate bedroom and living area and would be nice to be able to put babies to sleep without having to go to bed at 6:30 pm with them. We are having to adapt to babies being able to get into things that they did not previously have access to. For example, babies like toilet water! Babies like cabinets. Babies like anything they can pull out, rip apart, and put in their mouths. Ah, the joy of new discovery!

Our insurance company has also started to function. We have received money for living expenses and we have the name of our adjuster. We haven't spoken with her, but we have her name and we know where she is. I'm okay with waiting right now because there are others in much greater need than we are. We have a roof over our heads, money to handle the things we need to function, and access to our clothing. We can wait.

According to the Powers that Be, Oakridge (our mobile home park) is coming back. They don't have an exact time line, but they think they can have utilities up and functioning in just a few weeks. The insurance company thinks they can have our house livable in 2 months or so. They are planning to clean the house from top to bottom and replace anything that was damaged. They will certify that the smoke will not come out of the walls, etc. before we move in. Eddie and I have decided not to move in until they have cleared all of the debris from the destroyed homes. We don't know what kind of toxic chemicals are still around and we don't want to take Gracie and Luke there until it is safe.

So many of the residents are not returning. Many are seniors on fixed incomes. Many are people who had to make tough choices about renewing their home owner's insurance. Many simply cannot come back after having seen the devastation of their homes. We met one resident yesterday who lost her home. She was visiting family in Guadalajara and came home to the devastation. She has nothing but the clothes she took to Mexico with her. She has insurance, but won't be back to Oakridge. I don't know what our community will be like, but it will never be the same community that opened its arms to us 5 years ago when we moved in.

We are all still very tired and adapting to not being at home. Gracie and Luke have been having a hard time sleeping, but I am hoping that they will start feeling comfortable and can find their routine again. They are waking up crying several times a night and I worry that they will bother the other residents of the hotel. I don't want to be that family that bothers everyone else.

Thank you, again, to everyone for your love and support. I know many of you collected things for us and I greatly appreciate that. We are fortunate enough to have a furnished place to stay and clothes to wash. I hope you will consider donating those items, and/or money, to the Red Cross for the fire victims. I know that St. Didacus Church in Sylmar is collecting clothing and furniture. We delivered 3 bags of our clothes to them yesterday.

Gracie and Luke are off to Day Care today. We made the decision to keep them there so that they have something consistent. They love going because they get to play with Aldo (who I have never met, but gets them out the door!) and with the other kids. They are always happy to be there, but when we go to pick them up at 3:30, we can tell they are done!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

a new day in limbo

I know many of you are very worried about us and would like an update. We are fine. Tired and frustrated, but fine.

We spent the better part of yesterday at Sylmar High School waiting to get to view Oakridge and see our house. Our house is indeed still standing, one of 124 saved from the original 608 homes. Yesterday, we learned that our home is still standing because of the heroic efforts of a fire captain who went back into the Park as the LAFD was pulling out. The fire captain and his crew were friends of the people on my street and they planted themselves on the corner of our block and stayed there until it was clear our homes were safe.

We were able to go into Oakridge yesterday for 10 minutes to get any supplies we could and look for our kitties who stubbornly would not come out when we were evacuating. As we drove through what was once a lush, beautiful community, the devastation of the homes was overwhelming. We drove from street to street so that those who had homes to check could have their 10 minutes. We passed the smoldering remains of the homes of friends, the grass area where Gracie, Luke and I liked to go play. I cannot describe the feelings to you. I don't know if I will ever be able to.

When we got to our home, we found it completely intact. I even took a picture of the front of our house and it looks the same as it did on Friday when I arrived home from work. My silly Trick or Treat flag, left to fly after Halloween, was still blowing in the wind unscathed. Our home has a lot of soot and ash throughout the house. The air is thick with it. The amazing news is that our belongings are all there, albeit with the layer of ash on everything. I don't know if our mattresses and sofas will be salvageable, but we'll have to wait and see.

We were able to retrieve clothing and some medicine for Eddie. We were also able to grab Phoebe the cat, but DeeDee is being stubborn and, after a brief appearance, hid from me. We have contacted Animal Control and they are going to go back in and try to coax her out. Phoebe is currently a resident of the East Valley Animal Control who have promised to house her for 30 days for free. I suspect she will be happy for a respite from two 14 month olds chasing her around the house.

We are trying to navigate the insurance system and find out what is next. We are in limbo because our house is clearly still there, but not livable for the foreseeable future. Our plan is to get ourselves to a hotel room and eventually find an apartment or house to rent until everything is settled.

I plan to check in with everyone as often as I can. Thank you for all of your love and prayers!

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

We are safe and that's all that matters.

Last night, around 10:30, our friend, Elena, called us to say that there was a fire in the foothills a couple of miles or so from our home. Eddie told me to go back to sleep, that there wasn't any immediate danger. Around 12:30 pm, I woke up and decided to go outside to see if the fire was still burning. The wind was blowing very hard and as I stepped out in front of our house, I saw that the sky to the east of our house was glowing red. Neighbors were milling around and Larry, our friend next door, came up to me. Just as we started to talk, a police car came around the corner and started telling everyone to get packed and ready to leave. There is only one entrance and exit to Oakridge and they wanted to make sure everyone was able to leave without panic.

I ran back into the house, woke Eddie up and started throwing things into a bag. We just did this last month, but they had considerably more time to pack. My immediate concern was the next 24 hours, so I packed what I could, put the now crying babies into my car, grabbed my work computer, our external hard drive with all of the baby pictures on it, the briefcase with our important documents, and 2 bottles of milk. Dee-Dee and Phoebe, our cats, were nowhere to be found and would not come out when we called for them. I had to make the decision to leave them behind. Eddie scrambled to get his scooter onto the back of his van and 10 minutes after the police had come through, we left the park.

The ride on the 5 Fwy was surreal. The entire hillside just east of the house was on fire and the entire sky was filled smoke. We got to Rosi and Al's house and tried to go to sleep, but it was very difficult.

This morning, Luke woke us up and we turned on the news while we changed the babies' diapers. It was then, at 5:20 am, that the Channel 2 news anchor said that the Oakridge Mobile Home Park was on fire and that the fire department had abandoned the Park because it was too dangerous to remain. In shock, we watched as fire burned in a familiar shape of the map of Oakridge. We tried to make out which streets were on fire, but there was no way to tell. For the next 2 hours, the news anchors kept talking about the "utter devastation" at Oakridge. At one point, we watched as a row of houses south of our street caught fire one after another. The wind was blowing so hard, that the fire was traveling sideways from home to home.

At 7 am, Eddie and I decided to go to San Fernando High School, one of the shelters, to register. They had no news for us, but told us that they would help us with anything we needed. We left, sad to see the fire refugees trying to sleep on cots in the gym. We arrived back at Grandma and Grandpa's house to see even more devastation at Oakridge. It seemed certain that our house was gone.

We've been through a roller coaster of emotions. Oakridge has been our safe haven in Los Angeles, our restful home. We still haven't processed losing that community. Even sadder to me is having left DeeDee and Phoebe behind. I don't know if I can forgive myself for that.

In the hours since I started this blog post, the Los Angeles Fire Department posted a list of 124 homes in Oakridge that were saved. Our house was on the list. Of the 600 homes in Oakridge, ours was spared. We don't know if the kitties are safe and we don't know when we will be allowed in. They are afraid that some of the elderly who lived in the park did not escape the flames.

In this picture, you can actually see our house. If you look at the cluster of trees and green grass on the left of the picture, you will see, just south of the trees, one burned house in the middle of a bunch of saved homes. Our house is behind and to the left of that house. You can see a white car across the street a bit from us. It looks like there is some damage to the back of our house, but you can clearly see our roof and the roof of our friend Larry's house to the right (behind the burned house) and Mr. Brewster's house to the left of ours.

A <span class=
Photo from LA Daily

We don't know what the next few days and months will bring. We don't know if any of our belongings are salvageable. What we do know is that we are safe. And in the end, that's all that matters.

To Tia Eva, Auntley, Grandma Matzner, Nana and Tata Uribe, Daddy and all of our other angels in Heaven, thank you for watching over us last night and being the wind behind us that helped us get safely away.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Graciela, you are in so much trouble!

Gracie gave Eddie the scare of his life today. In fact, now that I hear the story, I'm surprised I'm not passed out from the shear terror of the situation.

Eddie was taking the babies to the car this morning, holding both of their hands. Gracie either tripped or pulled hard enough that she broke free from Eddie's hand. The next thing he knew, she had taken off running as fast as she could toward the street. Terrified, Eddie put Luke in the van and closed the door, so that he could go after Gracie. Without a cane, he walked as quickly as he could, calling for Gracie to stop. She thought he was playing a game with her and continued to run up the street. By the time he caught up with her, she was passing the second house past ours and decided to hang a left and head across the street. Luckily, he caught up with her and was able to pick her up and walk back to the car.

Honestly, this has been my nightmare: that one of the babies would take off like that and be hurt by one of the maniacs who come tearing around the corner. Eddie is still traumatized by the event.

Gracie, if you are grown up and reading this, this is the reason you are grounded until you are 30! Never ever do this to your Daddy again!

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Daddy's Lift

Eddie has a lift on the side of our house for when he is not able to walk up the stairs. It has become a fun past time of Gracie and Luke to ride up and down on it. They will walk in front of him and out the side door. They'll slowly walk out onto the platform and hold onto the rail. Then, they scream with delight as he pushes the button to go down. They are very well trained and always safe. It's so cute to watch them with their Daddy.

The other day, Grandma and Grandpa took the courageous step of taking the babies for a walk. A walk. Not in the cars, not in the wagon, not in the stroller. Grandma, Grandpa, Gracie and Luke walking down the street. They had a great time and the best part was that they came back tired!

As they grow older, Gracie and Luke are becoming more and more independent. They still like their hugs, to sit on Mommy's lap, to cuddle with Daddy. But they like to do things for themselves. The lift is a great way for them to get to be big kids and still be supervised by two (anxious) parents.

Click on the picture to see how happy Lukie is to be standing up on his own.

And just cause they're incredibly cute, here are some pics of Gracie's new hair cut:

Thanks, Grandma for the great haircut!

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The Great Southern California Shakeout!

At 10:03 this morning, 85% of the schools and businesses in Southern California had a giant mock earthquake. The Great Southern California Shakeout, as it was called, was a preparedness drill for an earthquake would have registered 7.8 on the Richter Scale. Police and fire are running drills for how they would deal with building collapse and fires. My school participated, as did many others. Our school ran an extended earthquake drill including casualties with makeup on. I had 2 students with injuries in my room and it was my job to panic and have the volunteer student Red Cross workers have to separate me from the room so that they could deal with the injured. My 7th graders tell me I was quite the actress. Who wouldn't be? I had someone with a bone sticking out of their arm and another with a huge piece of glass protruding from their forearm! Yikes.

Anyway, it was kind of fun, but made me really start to think about what my priorities would be in the event of a real earthquake. I'm 26 miles away from Gracie and Luke. The building they are in is brand new and built with earthquake safety standards so they are probably pretty safe. Still, who knows how long it might be before I could get to them in a real earthquake.

I think some planning is in order.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Incident Report #2

Another permanent record! Sheesh!

This time it was Lukie who was injured. Some little creepazoid boy bit his hand. There are no marks and Lukie is fine.

Here's my question: Should I be more worried that my kids are being injured by the other kids at Day Care, or more worried that they aren't the ones doing the injuring? Shouldn't they be defending themselves? Or is this an indication that my kiddos are nice and empathetic instead of evil "beat them first, ask later" kids?

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rainy Day Surprise

No, it did not rain today.

A few weeks ago, we attended our friends', Jeremy and Dominic's, first birthday party. It was quite a celebration! We had loads of fun running around the backyard, getting into dirt and dragging balloons everywhere. Earlier that morning, it rained briefly at our house and when we arrived at their house, we realized it had rained there too! Jeremy and Dominic's Mommy, Julie, said that they were worried it might rain again. You should never say things like that, because it is the law of Nature that as soon as you do, the rain will come. And come it did!

Luckily, there were umbrellas to stand under!

Thanks, Julie, for sharing this picture!

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Daddy's Diaper Change Helper

I so wish I had video of this! It must have been amazing!

Gracie and Luke are crazy at diaper change time. They've learned how to twist themselves just so that you have to hold onto their feet for dear life or risk poop ending up all over everything. It has become our National Past time to figure out how to keep them entertained during diaper changes, thus preventing the dreaded baby skid marks on the floor.

This morning, Eddie was changing poopy diaper #2 for Lukie and Lukie was doing his best to twist out of his grasp. Scrambling for something to distract Lukie, Eddie grabbed a Cheerio from the carpet next to Lukie's head and put it in his mouth. Obsessed with eating, Lukie immediately calmed down and chomped on his Cheerio.

Why is this so cool? It isn't, but what happened next is.

On Saturday, I blew up balloons for the Twinsies and Gracie has spent the better part of the past 3 days walking around the living room dragging her balloon all around. While Eddie was changing Lukie, Gracie was watching the exchange. Fascinated by Daddy's actions, Gracie scooped up some more Cheerios, plopped herself down next to Lukie's head (her balloon in tow, of course) and proceeded to feed Cheerios to Lukie while Eddie finished changing Lukie's diaper.

That girl is freaky smart sometimes. We're in SO much trouble.

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The Dreaded Binky Debate

Binky. Pacifier. Whatever you call them, there is a ton of debate about giving them to babies. I read a lot of articles before Gracie and Luke were born about pacifiers. Some of the articles led me to believe the twins would be irreparably harmed by the use of binkies. They assured me that they would have horrific teeth. Sorry, that's a given. They are our kids after all! They assured me that my children would be 10 years old and still using a binky because they would not be able to part with it. Then, other articles reassured me that using a binky allows babies to soothe themselves.

I had convinced myself that binkies were not to touch the Twinsies mouths. I did not want 37 year olds living at home because could not grow past their infancy. That is, until I was rolled into the NICU and saw my babies with their little binkies in their mouths. The nurses had decided for me. I wasn't sure if I wanted to rip the offending binkies from them or just leave them be. When I saw Gracie calm down as soon as the binky was placed in her mouth, I realized that I was being lame. I was using fear created by everything I had read to keep my children from experiencing calm when I could not be there. The nurses couldn't be there 24 hours a day, hovering over the babies, and neither could I.

When we came home from the hospital, I tried to use the binky only as needed and discovered that the babies only really wanted them when they were very tired. I could also use them to get a few more minutes to prepare bottles when necessary. Honestly, the spit the binkies out more than they kept them in. The hospital had provided us with Soothies and they did not have anything that would catch on the roof of the babies' mouths to keep them from falling out. This was problematic when they would spit out the binky and I needed to run from wherever I was to pop it back in.

We eventually found the Playtex Ortho Pro, specially designed to provide room for growing teeth and to stay in the mouth when the babies relaxed. We love these things! I've recommended them to new moms everywhere. Gracie and Luke's teeth are fine even though they still use the binkies.

As of 5 days ago, Gracie and Luke are 14 months old. By some standards, their binkies should be a thing of the past. They are not and I'm not apologizing for it. However, I've noticed that Luke, at least, has already started to say good-bye to his binky. His favorite binky action is to toss it as hard as it can possibly be tossed. Occasionally, this means that binkies are found under carseats, in the trunk, 1/2 mile back down the road. The binkies are also a source of fun because of the Musical Binkies the Twinsies play all day. Gracie will start with the pink one and Luke will start with a blue. By 30 minutes later, Luke will have stolen Gracie's binky and run away, happily. Gracie steals Luke's binky more often. They think it's fun. It can be frustrating, but when it comes down to it, the binky is still needed at bed time. The binky helps Gracie and Luke when they are falling asleep. About an hour after they fall asleep, the binkies get spit out. If they wake up in the night, they have learned to feel around for them and stick them right back in.

So what is the binky plan? I'm hoping that if I start keeping the binkies away from the Twinsies immediate sight, they may start needing them except at bed time. One article I read said that babies will wean themselves from binky use and the more of a deal that I make of it, the worse it will be. They seem to be fine if I hide the binkies. The only issue is when they are tired.

I don't want to be the Mommy with 3 year olds still using binkies. In fact, if we can be done with them by 18 months, that would be awesome.

Shall we start a countdown?

T-minus 4 months and counting...

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

How do you watch football?

The Chicago Bears played the undefeated Tennessee Titans today.

Here's how Papa Bear and the Baby Bears watched the game for the first half.

When the Baby Bears woke up, we had lunch!

Go Bears!

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lukie's favorite thing to do

The Twinsies have lots of things they like to do. For example, they like to steal one another's binkies. They like to dump out all of their books. They like to climb on their table and see if they can reach the top of the couch (Gracie discovered this one. She scared the heck out of Eddie). They like to steal one another's snacks (okay, this is mostly Lucas stealing Gracie's food). They especially enjoy dumping every last toy out of the organizer, because, hey, Mommy and Daddy love cleaning up after babies!

But Lukie's new favorite thing to do caught Eddie and me off guard. Gracie and Luke have a Busy Ball Popper by PlaySkool. When I first bought it for them in July, they looked at it like it was a snake. They promptly lost 3 of the 5 balls it came with, so we are down to playing with just 2. Luke has found a different use for it. Storage.

This morning, I was looking for the phone and realized that Lukie was hitting the Busy Ball Popper. He seemed rather despairing in his beating of it. That's when I saw this:

Here's another view:

If you look closely, you will see the phone, 2 binkies, 2 glow sticks, some paper and one of the balls stuck in there. I was so stunned at what I saw that I had to grab my camera.

This isn't the first time he's put things in there. We've found Cherrios, Gracie's binky, tubes of diaper rash cream, shoes, a necterine seed. Clearly, the thing is meant to be for storage!

The problem is that once he puts things into the Ball Popper, he can't get any of it out. I usually have to take it apart and fish each of the items out. Sometimes are easier than others. This time, the orange glow stick gave me quite a challenge. A pair of scissors were needed to grab ahold of it.

Of course, 30 seconds after I got everything out, Lukie was already trying to put everything back in.

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How old do you need to be for a drivers' license?

Don't you love the ponytails? I have to say "Gracie, Let's do pretty baby!" to get her to let me do them!

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Every day I learn something new

I feel like every day is full of new revelations for me. Yesterday, I learned that Gracie can almost feed herself with a spoon when she is at Day Care. I don't let her touch a spoon when she is at home. No wonder she gets so frustrated with me. Luke will dance to any, and I mean any, music that comes on. He'll dance to commercials, Jack's Big Music Show, Elmo, 80s music, anything!

So, when I had to take Gracie to the doctor's office on Monday because she was sick, I did not have a clue that children this young could have ears full of wax. I mean, seriously! They haven't been around long enough for wax to accumulate, right? The doctor had to try to scrape wax out of Gracie's ears because he could not see her inner ear. When that did not work, we had to have drops put in and a lavage done. Let me tell you, this was not fun. I do not relish the thought of having to hold down a sick and screaming Gracie ever again.

This was Gracie's second ear infection in one month, so the doctor decided to put her on a new antibiotic, Augmentin. Make sure you remember this, because if you ever get the amazing opportunity to host Little Miss Who at your house, she is never, ever to have Augmentin. I mean never!

The first night was not bad, but by the next day, she was rolling around on the floor wimpering in pain. She had awful diarreha and gas. By the second night, she would turn her face away from me and I had to force the antibiotic into her mouth (see the ear lavage paragraph for what this was like). By Wednesday, Gracie had spent two days having bad diarreha and fighting me like crazy when I went to give her the antibiotic. She would throw herself down on the floor and hit at anyone who tried to touch her. She screamed and cried, all the while wanting to be held.

Why I did not listen to her before that, I'll never know. Even though she does not know a lot of words, Gracie does communicate. If I were better at paying attention to what she is "saying" I would have figured this out sooner. Wednesday, she developed an incredibly awful diaper rash. I can't remember one that was worse. I had Ed call the doctor who advised stopping the antibiotic immediately. So we did. By Thursday night, Gracie was herself again, laughing, smiling, playing. I cried when I saw how happy she was. We have a new antibiotic and I have decided to have the words "No Augmentin" tatooed on Gracie's foot for future reference.

What kills me about all of this is that I have a sensitivity to Eurythromiacin and Ed has a sensitivity to a few other antibiotics. I can't believe it took me so long to figure out she was in pain because of that medicine. Shouldn't I have known sooner? Shouldn't I have been paying better attention to how she was hurting?

Sometimes, this Mommy thing sucks. I hate that I am learning so very early that I can't protect them from everything. They are such beautiful, wonderful babies and I never want to see them in pain like that again. But how do you stop it? You can't. And that's why I feel so helpless.

So, new lesson for today: Mommies aren't perfect. They don't have superhuman intuition and they can't keep their babies from every harm.

Maybe I can convince someone to give me x-ray vision though. I think I'm going to need it.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Toots, farts or whatever you call them

Passing gas, tooting, farting. Whatever you call them, they are smelly and no fun. If you have ever been near Gracie and Luke's father, you know what I am talking about. We joke that he is like Pig Pen and walks around with a perpetual cloud of fart smell around him.

So, I am no stranger to toots. I became very intimate with them when I married Eddie and even more so when I was pregnant. Occasionally, one of my students will pass wind and then I have to deal with the juvenile "Mrs. Uribe, what is that obnoxious smell? Ewww! I can't stand it. I think I'm going to puke!" So mature. But what to you want from teenagers?

Newborn babies make funny little toots. And they are toots, by the way. They are quiet and have very little smell. But once you start feeding them solid foods, their toots are no longer quite so innocent. They start to smell. With vegetables, it isn't so bad. The moment you introduce meats, though...Wow! Some foods produce smellier toots than others. Take red meat for example. Not good. The more gas a food produces, the more miserable the babies are and the more miserable those around them.

I've noticed that since the twins turned one, their toots are starting to sound like a much older person's. Gone are the days of the quiet little "pew...pew...pew...pew" sounds. Now is is the "rat-a-tat-tat" of a rapid fire toot. They are completely unfazed by their tooting. Eddie thinks it is hysterical. This, in turn, makes the babies laugh, too. That is, of course, until Daddy "toots." Then, it is all over and we're running for the windows.


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P.S. I've been dying to write this post for a long time!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Historical Day

No matter how today's voting plays out, it is a historical day. Tomorrow, we will either have our first African American president or our first female vice president. It is absolutely amazing to me that this is happening. Gracie and Luke are too young to know what is going on. However, I hope that someday, when they have free time to read back over all of these posts, they will come across today's entry and be able to relive the excitement of the day.

For the record, Gracie and Luke, Daddy and I both voted for Barack Obama for president. A small part of me wondered if putting Aunt Becca's boyfriend (Joe Biden) into office was such a great idea, but when we weighed the alternative, we decided that Barack Obama and Joe Biden were the better choice.

Today is also historical because of California's Prop 8. Prop 8 is a California Constitutional Amendment to say that marriage is defined as between a man and a woman. It would take away the right of same sex couples to marry under the law. While some will not agree with me, I voted no. Why? Because anytime someone wants to take away the rights of another, it is not a good thing. I cannot support any proposition that removes rights of anyone.

In the end, things will fall out how they were meant to be. History will be made. How exciting to have been a part of such an amazing day!

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Monday, November 3, 2008

I love when Day Light Savings Time ends!

Gracie and Luke are clueless about the change in time. All they know is that when it gets dark, it is time to go to sleep. For the last 2 days, they have gone to bed at 6 pm! The great news is that they used to wake up at 5 am, but now, 5 am is 6 am. Go longer sleep!

I love regular time.

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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...