Saturday, January 31, 2009

A sad passing

Two weeks ago, Daddy's family lost Tia Tere. In December, the cancer had spread to her brain and the doctors sent her home to be with her family. She lived to see 2009 and died quietly, Sunday, January 18th.

Grandmas Rosi flew back to Chicago to say good-bye and a small group gathered to send Tia Tere off to Heaven. It had snowed heavily there, almost like the angels were crying.


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This will be a long one

Make sure you are sitting in a comfy chair. Maybe grab a coffee or other refreshment. Heck, if it's lunch time, I recommend bringing it over to the computer. This is going to be a long one.

We'll start with news from the Daddy front. I spoke with Daddy tonight. The gastroenterologist came to see him and decided that he wanted a more detailed look at what was going on inside of Daddy's body. They had him eat a radioactive egg salad sandwich (I'm still giggling at the idea of a radioactive egg salad sandwich) and they took x-rays for several hours. What they saw was that his digestive system is moving very very slowly. The good news: it's moving. The bad news: much more slowly than it should be. Before he could tell the doctor about the drug that helped him back in 2003, the doctor actually recommended the Propulsid (our banned by the FDA drug) and he increased Daddy's dosage to "with each meal." He is also putting him on some kind of antibiotic that tends to get your gut moving for some reason. Dr. A, our pediatrician, tells me that it is most likely Eurythrimiacin as it tends to do a number on most digestive systems, but that it really seems to help people with slowly moving guts.

The gastroenterologist wants to send Daddy home so that he can start getting back into the swing of things, hoping that being at home will help him heal more quickly. This is exciting and terrifying news. We desperately want Daddy home, but he gets very anxious about his nausea when he is not in the hospital. Today, marks 25 days since Daddy was admitted to the hospital. We were hoping he would be home for the Super Bowl, but it looks like he'll get to watch it on his flat screen tv in room 5211!

Genetics Suck. I know what you are thinking, Mom. I have better words in my vocabulary, but right now, the word "suck" fits the bill quite nicely. At four weeks old, Gracie was diagnosed with an ear infection. In the almost 17 months she has been alive, she has had more than a half dozen ear infections, four of which have happened since September 2008. This is to be expected. I had multiple ear infections, tubes in my ears, and was generally a sickie-poo. I was hoping that Gracie and Luke would some how be spared from tonsillectomies and ear tubes. We have been referred to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor to check out Gracie's right ear and to see if there is anything that can be done.

The curse of genetics does not stop there. Gracie has been on all 4 antibiotics pediatricans will prescribe to children her age. She started on Amoxicilin, then was on Augmentin, something called Omnicept, and last, but not least Biaxin. The last time she was on Augmentin, she was switched quickly to the Omnicept. The Augmentin gave her terrible diarreah and made her generally sad. This time, the Biaxin did not do its job and Dr. A decided to prescribe Augmentin again along with a probiotic to counteract the diarreah.

She started the Augmentin on Wednesday. Yesterday, the day care ladies mentioned a rash to me. I did not really see anything when I gave her a bath, but when they mentioned it again today, I took a really closer look. Gracie has a rash over her chest, back, chin and neck. It is bumpy and red looking. She hasn't been scratching it (thank goodness), but it worried me enough to call Dr. A and get her take on it. Dr. A was so worried that she had me take digital photos and email them to her. Sure enough, an hour later, Dr. A called me and told me to stop the Augmentin. Gracie is having an allergic reaction to the stuff. I asked Dr. A if she could be more specific about what part of the Augmentin Gracie was allergic to (it's a combination of antibiotics) and Dr. A said that most likely it was the Amoxicillin component. Notice the suffix "cillin" in that word. As in penicillin. Yes, just like her Nana, Gracie is allergic to the 'cillins. Great. Fantastic.

I'm going to pick up a new prescription for Omicept in the morning. In the meantime, Benedryl is our friend and I keep sneaking in to make sure she is okay. There hasn't been a peep out of them since I put them to bed at 7:30 pm. Which makes me think I need to go check on them again....

Our picture of the day is of Gracie's rash. All I have to say is "Go away rash! Go away!"

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I'll be up checking Gracie throughout the night. Honestly, I'm terrified that her allergic reaction will get worse. I'll stop by tomorrow to let you know how it goes.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

4 versus 7

4 - the number of loads of laundry per for Mommy, Gracie and Lukie

7 - the number of loads of laundry per week for Daddy, Mommy, Gracie and Lukie

5 - the time Mommy has to get up to take her shower so that she can get one in at the beginning of the day (nighttime showers are not my favorite), before the babies wake up

6:30 - the time the Twinsies used to go to sleep when Daddy was here

7:30 - the time Mommy gets back from driving the Twinsies around in the car so that they will fall asleep quickly

2:46 (in minutes and seconds) - the amount of time it took for Kenny Loggins and Olivia Newton-John to sing the Twinsies to sleep tonight

24 - the number of days Daddy has been away from us

infinity - the amount of space needed for us to box the love we have for Daddy and our wishes that he will be home soon


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Little Tuesday

Tuesday Fiona Whitt

October 11, 2006 - January 30, 2009

May she dance with the angels.

May God hold her family in His comforting embrace.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Way Back When-sday - Happy Thoughts

A colleague of mine told me today that I am the unluckiest person he knows. Right now, I feel that way.

So, today, I am going to dwell on the luckiest thing that ever happened to me: Gracie and Luke.

One of my few pregnancy photos (taken by Aunt Becca)

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The Twinsies and me in the NICU when they were one week old.

Mommy holding the Twinsies

Gracie and her weird pope looking hat.

Gracie

Lukie still makes this face.

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I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snug as a Bug in a Rug

Since we brought them home from the hospital, Gracie and Luke have slept in the bed with us. In the beginning, it was a queen size bed with all 4 of us. As they grew and developed their thrashing sleep habits, we purchased a larger bed: a California King.

We sleep much more comfortably in the Cal King, but we still have the challenge of babies who like to snuggle as close as possible. Personally, I never sleep well with the Twinsies because I wake up when they cough, sigh, or cry out. It's horrible and it makes for very little sleep for me.

When Daddy started his stay in the hospital, I had Gracie and Luke sleep by themselves in the "big bed" and I slept out on the day bed in the living room. This was nice because I couldn't hear the little sounds they made and I could get things done (i.e. dishes, laundry, grading). We've had different variations as Twinsies have been sick and they've woken up, but most nights, it's just Gracie, Luke, their mountain of pillows and the Piglet's Big Movie soundtrack (a must have for any new parent!).

My favorite way to start the day is to come into the room and see how they are sleeping. I've found them next to each other, on top of each other, under pillows, at the other end of the bed...

This is what I found this morning:

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They remind me of little stink bugs with their booties in the air. It made me giggle when I came in this morning to get them ready for the ride to Grandma's house. I took all 3 pictures and nothing woke them up!

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Grandma and Grandpa discover the backpacks

We bought Gracie and Luke backpacks when they first started going to day care. I even wrote a blog post about it. I did not realize that Grandma and Grandpa had not encountered the backpacks until the other morning when I dropped them off with the Twinsies.

They were so excited about the backpacks that they put the backpacks on Gracie and Luke and walked them around. They giggled at how Gracie and Luke looked wearing their backpacks and followed them around with a camera.

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I discovered about 20 more pictures on Grandma's camera. That's a lot of pictures of backpacks and Twinsies!

Clearly, I need to take more pictures of something else.


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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Abuelita

In Spanish, great-grandmother is bisabuela. I had to look that up, because Daddy said that you say "abuela-abuela" and I just did not buy that. Daddy's grandmother has always been Abuelita to me. So when she came to stay with Grandma and Grandpa, she was Abuelita to Gracie and Lukie, too.

Abuelita is getting older and isn't quite as spry as she used to be. She has very little patience when she wants something and has been having to share Grandpa's attention with the Twinsies. The good news is that Gracie, Lukie, and Abuelita have formed a happy relationship. They really enjoy one another's company. Abuelita is patient with them (yay!) and likes to spend time with them.

The other day, Abuelita was getting ready for bed and was sitting on her bed waiting for a phone call. Gracie discovered her in the bedroom and decided that she did not like Abuelita being by herself. She brought Abuelita her cane and "helped" her into the diningroom.

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We are so glad that Abuelita came to stay with Grandma and Grandpa. Seeing her happy and loving face makes every day special.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

What? No Post?

If you check this blog everyday, you may be wondering why there was no post on Thursday.

1) I have no pictures to share because I did not have time to take one.

2) I drove the Twinsies to Auntie Ten Ten's house so they could spend the night with Nana!

I got home and fell asleep at 8 pm. I woke up briefly at 12:30 am because of pouring rain and again at 3:30 am when the babies usually wake up. Other than that, I slept. It was bliss.

Gracie and Luke are spending the night with Nana (who thinks I'll need to scrape her off the floor tomorrow when I go to pick them up). I'm going to grade my mountain of quizzes and homeworks, finish web designing I have to do, and finish designing Unit 7 for my Pre-Algebra class.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 16 without Daddy

Over the past 5 days, I've composed about 10 different blog posts. I haven't typed or published any of them because they weren't so much about Gracie and Luke as they were about me and how overwhelmed I feel. If you have any kind of contact with me on a daily basis, you've seen the bags under my eyes, the pale look on my face, my inability to make my hair look like I did not just roll out of bed. The simple fact is that I'm overwhelmed and I desperately want Daddy home.

Nothing works without him. Not play time. Not dinner time. Not bath time. Not bed time. None of it. The first week or so, we did okay, but now that we have been without him for the 16 days he has been in the hospital, we're falling apart.

I'm not sure if it is the amazing number of teeth that are currently popping through Gracie and Lukie's gums, or if we are hitting the 18 month growth spurt a month and a half early, but it has been impossible to get them to eat well and bed time has been a nightmare. Some day, I will look back at this and be able to understand it more. I'll have the wisdom that comes from being a mom for many years. But right now, living through it, I am at a loss.

Dinner time has been so frustrating. Nothing I put in front of them has been working. They are existing on Teddy Grahams, string cheese, and the occasional orange or apple. Tonight I thought I had it nailed! I made mini penne pasta with just a touch of sauce. They love Grandma's sopita, so they had to like this! Apparently not. Within 5 minutes, Lukie had upended his and thrown his plate. He smeared the sauce all over his tray and threw pasta onto the carpet. I almost started to cry, but then I remembered this darn Project 365 thing and I took some pictures.

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Twice this week, Lukie has been like a child possessed at night time. He was up until 10 pm on Monday night and 9:30 pm last night. I called Nana crying on Monday night. I couldn't take it any more. She talked with me gently and got me to calm down, but it did not take away the sense of failure I was feeling. She tried to suggest to me that I put Lukie in the car and drive around to get him to fall asleep. I said no. I did not want him to get in the habit of falling asleep in the car, plus, Gracie was already asleep.

Tonight, when he started bouncing around the bed and fell on Gracie, I had had enough. Forget the Healthy Sleep Habits guy and the No Cry Sleep Solution lady! Their suggestions have not been working. I put Gracie and Lukie into the stroller, put socks on their feet, their jackets on them with the hoods up. I rolled them out to the car at 6:12 pm. They were tired and so was I.

It took me longer to get them in the car than it did for them to fall asleep. Gracie was out before I pulled onto the street. Lukie held on longer, lasting 2 miles and 2 songs from the More Songs from Pooh Corner CD before he fell asleep, his binky fallen onto his lap. I drove for several miles, decided I needed a Mama Beer (a.k.a. any coffee drink from Starbucks) and stopped. They stayed asleep the entire time.

In all, I think I drove for 30 minutes just to make sure they were out. I managed to get them back into the apartment and into bed without waking up. In fact, I started writing this post at 7:05 pm.

The fact that I figured out how to get them to sleep is really not the point. Although, it is nice to have a moment to sit down. What I really want is Daddy to be home. Not so that he can take some of the load that is caring for the Twinsies, but because we are a team and a darn good one at that! I miss seeing him every day and watching the joy on Gracie and Lukie's faces when they play with him. I miss our seamless transitions at bed time and our conversations when the Twinsies are asleep. I just miss him. We've been together almost 20 years and any time we are apart is sad to me.

So, Daddy, I know you don't have Internet at that darn hospital, but I'm sending this thought out into the night with the hopes that you'll hear it some way or maybe even dream it:

We love you. Please get better and come home soon. We miss you more than you'll ever know.

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Way Back When-sday

I haven't done this in a while, but earlier in the evening I had Daddy's computer on and saw the photo screensaver start. I watched for a few moments and saw some pictures that made me laugh and get a little teary-eyed in memory.

I though these pictures deserved to be resurrected just so we could see how different Gracie and Luke are today.

Lukie in his puppy robe.

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Gracie (not enjoying) sitting in her Bebe Pod chair.

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Just hanging out on the couch!

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All of these pictures were taken in January of last year. Can you believe how quickly time flies?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It dawned on me today

Every year there are those lists that radio announcers will sometimes read. They usually come out around graduation time, sometimes earlier. The lists generally include a litany of things that this year's graduating class has never lived without. In recent years, these lists have included things like:

  • they've never known a time without an answering machine.
  • Walkmen have never existed. It's always been about the iPod.
  • They don't know what a vinyl record is.

and so on...

This morning, while I was driving in to work and listening to the happenings around today's inauguration, it occurred to me.

Gracie and Luke will never know a time when an African American has not been president.

They'll learn about the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks, but they won't understand why today is so momentous. They'll look back at this day in history class and say, "The 44th president was Barack Obama. He was the first African American President of the United States." But they won't get it. They won't understand the sweeping feeling of hope and excitement. They won't know how incredible today is.

Whether you are a democrat or a republican, you have to admit that this is an amazing day to be an American. I don't know what the next 4 or 8 years will bring. I don't know what history will say about President Obama's accomplishments or his failures.

But today, America gives a gift to our children. It give them the realization of our founding fathers' dreams.

What a wonderful, hopeful, joyous day!


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Monday, January 19, 2009

How we get around

Grandma asked me the other day how I got the Twinsies into the apartment all by myself. She was very concerned that I was struggling to do it. I reassured her that we have the best tool ever: the Duoglider. When we found out we were pregnant with twins, Eddie and I went shopping for a stroller. We saw the Graco Duoglider and fell in love. It was easy to manuever, it had two spaces for the infant seats and it seemed like a good stroller. Since then, we've decided that it isn't as wonderful as we thought it was.

However, right now, it is perfect. The Duoglider is being used as a shuttle from the car to the apartment and from the apartment to the car. Gracie and Luke now understand that if we are getting into the stroller, we are on our way to the car.

Here's what they looked like as I was packing the car. They were patiently waiting and occasionally eating Mini Teddy Grahams.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Catching up

As promised, I have return to post the Gracie with a Purse photo from Saturday. Notice the ever present binky. I've been trying to hide them and having little success.

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And another one...because they are so fun!

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When we arrived at Nana's on Saturday, we were surprised to find a new friend. Meet Cooper, Nana's new Golden Retriever. He's 9 weeks old and very sweet. He's calm, but loves to play. Unfortunately, Lukie is terrified of him.

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Gracie is getting better. She doesn't cry as easily when he gets closer to her, but Lukie is so afraid that he followed me around and around crying and holding his hands up for me to hold him.

Hopefully, Lukie will get better with Cooper. Otherwise, we will have to find another place to visit Nana. Boo.

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My cat likes to hide in boxes

Have you ever read this book?

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It was one of my favorites growing up. "The cat from Norway, likes to hide in a doorway."

I know I have it somewhere. I just hope that it wasn't trashed by the movers. I know that Gracie and Luke would love it. How?

They like to hide in boxes and apparently, roasters left out by Nana.

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Of course, it did not last long.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

I see possible photos everywhere

This Project 365 thing has me looking at the world differently. Every moment I am with Gracie and Luke, my mind is constantly framing photos of them. Today, it started with Gracie's smile when I went in to get them ready for Grandma and Grandpa's house. Then, when Lukie sat in the middle of the livingroom to cry because I would not hold him (his binky was half in his mouth and looked in danger of falling out at any minute). Another photo op was Gracie walking around with my medicine bag hanging from her arm. She was so happy carrying it, that she would turn the other direction every time I approached her.

Other photos I saw in my mind today:

  • the way the Twinsies looked when they say Grandpa waiting for them outside the car window.
  • the way they looked in Grandma and Grandpa's arms as they entered the house and I left for work.
  • the scrunched up crying sad faces when I arrived at day care and did not pick them up the moment I walked through the door.
  • the happiness on their faces when they saw Abuelita again in the evening.
  • the sweet look of innocence as they slept through me getting them out of the car and into their beds.

So many photos, so many memories. I feel sad that I may not remember all of these things as time goes on. I am notorious for my awful memory. Maybe this is what Project 365 was meant to do: make you look at your life with new eyes, see each little moment as a special memory, and to capture those memories so that you won't forget them.


***For the record, I did capture a picture of Gracie carrying my bag around on her arm. Unfortunately, my camera appears to have been left in my car. So, I'll have to post it tomorrow.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fun Places to Play

They have a slide. I've built them a fort (well, kind of).

But what do my children like to play in? The collapsible laundry basket. Oh, yeah!

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And because I couldn't decide which picture was the best:


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Go Bears!

I know.

The Chicago Bears were eliminated from everything a few weeks ago. That doesn't mean we stop being fans! Tonight at dinner, I had the news on and a college player was announcing that he is foregoing his senior year of college to enter the NFL draft. During the story, clips of a football game were shown and, as Daddy has trained them, they started to cheer for the Bears.

I captured this after the initial spontaneous cheer. It's a little dark, but worth it for the fun factor.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Elmo Foaming Soap

The first time I sprayed the Elmo foaming soap, Gracie and Luke jumped about 3 feet. It wasn't that loud; it was just as loud as spraying hair mousse into your hand. However, it was a new sound to them and it was startling.

The Elmo soap has become a staple at bath time. I spray different shapes on the wall, usually a happy face or a heart, occassionally I'll even write "I <3 You." I'll spray it on the wall and the Twinsies will run their fingers or hands through the soap, destroying my picture. It's loads of fun. We used the last of the foaming soap tonight and had some fun.

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I'm trying to decide if I should buy more foaming soap. After all, it is very fun. My newest toy is the fizzing water color. I can't resist dropping the little fizzing pellets in and watching the water turn red, blue, or (gasp) yellow!

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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...