Meet Gracie and Luke, our six-year-old twins!
We waited for them forever and can't remember life without them.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Apparently it isn't over quite yet

We made our way to see Dr. A today after Lukie threw up so long that he started to dry heave.

She confirmed what I suspected. They have the stomach flu. She assures me that we are in the final days of the upchucking and are headed toward the days of diarrhea.

Oh, joy!

If you don't hear from me for a few days, just know it is because God is playing the biggest pratical joke of his career on me and my family.

Dear God, a break would be nice. Would you like some suggestions for people to turn your attention to?

Wait. I take that back. I'm not that mean. Sigh.

The Wisdom of Sisters

Little sisters get a bad wrap.

First, they are younger and by many people's definition that means they automatically aren't as smart as their older siblings (for the record, I said "many people's" not mine).

Second, little sisters tend to be considered to be annoying and, for many years, they are. I still remember Auntie Ten Ten standing at the door to my bedroom and telling me she wouldn't leave until I gave her a stuffed animal or something else. She would sing or talk when I was trying to read and bug the heck out of me. She and Aunt Bec would count my freckles in the car. It drove me insane!

As we grew up, I started seeing them as women instead of as little sisters. They are both, Aunt Bec and Auntie Ten Ten, amazing women, both working hard for their families and being fantastic mommies. While I'm sure they both doubt themselves on a daily basis, they are the women I know I can turn to when I need help. For in this, they are definitely experts. They were both mommies before I was. Their advise has always been spot on and I've learned to listen to their wisdom.

When Gracie and Luke became sick on Friday, I thought I was going to die. One sick toddler is intimidating, but two. Wow. I did not know how I was going to do it. I called Aunt Bec and told her what was happening and she gave me this advice: Let them eat crackers and apple sauce. Keep them eating if they will. Whatever is in their stomach needs to get out. Yes, they will throw up, but if you keep the dairy from them and keep the food going in as plain as possible, it will be controllable.

So, I did.

Gracie and Luke had crackers, apple sauce, Kix cereal, and lots of water. They continued to be sick several times on Saturday, and yesterday was really challenging. They were hungry, but threw up 30 minutes after they ate or drank anything. But, it was managable. The plain food kept the stuff they regurgitated unoffensive, if vomit can be unoffensive. When Lukie woke up while I was making my lunch, I found myself in the position of having to share some of the meat with him. That was a serious mistake and it reminded me of Aunt Bec's advice.

She's really smart, that Aunt Bec. She's given me some great Mommy Advice, as has Auntie Ten Ten. This morning, Gracie and Luke woke up with smiles on their faces (after 3 days of crying and throwing up) and drank 6 ounces of Pedialyte without stopping! This sickie-poo advice was awesome and I wanted to make sure to tell her "Thank you!"

So, let me be the first big sister in the world to say it: "Thank you, my little sisters! You are super smart and I'm so glad you are mine!"

Sick Twins have fun too!

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Eating Kix
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Sporting a superheroes shirt, Chicago Bears P.J. bottoms, and water tennies
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Watching Barney
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's kind of like the Fire Swamp

Have you ever seen the Princess Bride? If you haven't...

Where have you been? Under a rock?!

Anyway, there's a scene when Wesley (our hero) and Buttercup (our heroine) are running away from the evil Prince Humperdink. They enter something called the Fire Swamp in order to evade Prince Humperdink and his men. In the Fire Swamp, there are R.O.U.S.s (Rodents of Unusual Size), flame spurts and lightening sand (quick sand). Buttercup discovers the lightening sand on her own and Wesley rescues her. The R.O.U.S.s are the stuff of nightmares. The flame spurts are my true topic tonight.

You see, Wesley discovers that the flame spurts are preceded by a popping sound and if one listens carefully for the sound, they can get the heck out of the way before flame shoots up out of the ground.

Toddlers vomiting are very similar to the flame spurts. There is this indescribable sound that comes in the 3 seconds or so before everything in the child's belly reenters the world. If you listen for it, you have those precious 3 seconds to grab a bowl or a towel to stop the regurgitation from ending up all over the child, you, your couch....

Today, I mastered the art of: sound, grab bowl, shove under toddler's face, catch throw up, hold child to bowl despite flailing and crying, clean child, carefully carry bowl to the sink. Wash and repeat.

In fact, I think I earned my Ph.D.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What a way to start Spring Break

I'll spare you the pictures of today's development.

Today, Spring Break officially started for me. Historically, it is also the first day of my week long illness. Somehow, my body is able to hold most illnesses at bay until Spring Break. Then, when it knows I can sleep for hours on end (very pre-Twinsies), WHAM! The sickies come hard and fast.

At noon today, the first phone call came. Luke had vomited all over the lunch table. There was a very graphic description of what came out of my little boy. I'll spare you those images, too. Grandma came to my rescue and went to pick up Luke. Gracie seemed a little, well, not Gracie, but Grandma decided to leave her there because she hadn't thrown up.

I picked Gracie up at 4 and she was clearly quiet and not really herself. She seemed tired and almost fell asleep in the car. When we arrived at Grandma and Grandpa's house, we discovered that Luke had continued to be sick. Grandpa was washing Luke's clothes, so we waited until the clothes were done and packed ourselves up.

On the way home, Luke was sick again and Gracie fell asleep in the car. I took Gracie into the apartment and put her to bed. Then, I brought Luke in and stripped him to his diaper. We lay down on the couch and watched Barney until an hour later when....

Gracie threw up.

I'm tired remembering it all.

The rest isn't important. Let's just say that they are sleeping now and I'm hoping this is just a 24 hour thing.

If it isn't, someone may have to send in the National Guard to save me from the puki-ness! One kid puking is bad. Two is downright frightening!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Crazy Kids - The Pictures

When we get home, I'm never sure what Gracie and Luke will do. Sometimes, they are so tired that they try to climb up my leg for 30 minutes while I try to get dinner together. Other times, they will play for those same 30 minutes and I can put dinner together in peace. Thanks to a prepared dinner from Arlene (lemon chicken and rice - SO good!), I was able to play with them a little bit.

They were running around like maniacs in and out the sliding glass door. They tried on the Easter flower headband and spilled water everywhere. They managed to climb on top of the table outside and try to "fix" the air conditioner.


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Luke and the Flower headband


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Gracie "climbing" the fence
(not sure where she is going)


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on top of the table

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My Handy Man

Scroll down a bit to catch some of the action.

Crazy Kids - The Video

Whose children are these? Seriously. Whose?

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Where I found them when it got too quiet.....

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere!

I have to admit that as Spring Break approaches, I've been feeling pretty tired. I've had a headache all day and Luke decided to scream all the way home today. Dinner was short as the pasta started to fly earlier than usual.

I decided that we needed some levity in the bath tonight, so I added some bubble solution. It was a huge hit. Gracie kept saying, "buba buba!" and Luke was obsessed with catching them all. I got more shots of them in the bath (I know the bathtub shots are getting old) playing with the bubbles. They kept rolling around and around in the bubbles and trying to pick them up. It was so much fun and it gave me some much needed happiness.

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The bubble releaser.

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Tiny bubbles....

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Bubblebeard

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Rolling in the bubbles

I think bubbles are going to be a part of our bath every night from here on. Gracie and Luke wanted to stay in the bath longer than ever. Hopefully, they will get cleaner with the bubbles!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Enchiladas!

I work with some amazing people. They are some of the most generous and supportive people I have ever met. With all that has been going on with Daddy, colleagues have offered to make dinner for Gracie, Luke, and me Monday through Friday.

Last night, Andrea made us a fantastic Italian penne pasta casserole. So yummy! Today, Alison brought us chicken enchiladas. Gracie and Luke have never had chicken enchiladas and I have to admit I was nervous trying them. Sometimes, they won't eat something if it is too spicy and I never know what "too spicy" will be. Gracie eats salsa for crying out loud!

To try to minimize the mess, I sat down with on the floor with them and tried to feed them bites of enchiladas. They were having none of that. So, I cut pieces of the enchiladas and put them on their trays. Here's the result:

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Somehow, Gracie stays cleaner than Lukie every time!

After they were done with enchiladas, we shared some strawberries and apple juice. Then, it was straight into the bath to wash off our enchilada faces.

To all my work friends, if I forget to say it in a few weeks: all of the food you made us was amazing and we love you!

We don't need no stinkin' sippies!

Proof that Gracie and Luke are able to do more than I give them credit for:

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There's something new every day

I don't have any pictures from yesterday. Gracie and Luke spend the day with their grandparents on Mondays. What I do have is Gracie's newest trick!

For sometime now, I've noticed that both Gracie and Luke will hide when they, shall we say, need some privacy. Usually, the smell that comes next is my hint that we need diaper changes. I've been using words for diaper changes since they were very, very little.

"Gracie went potty!"
"Lukie has poo-poo!"
"Do you need a diaper change?"

Usually, I have to ask them if they need a diaper change. Gracie will give me a shy look and Luke will run away. Ah, the joys of toddlers!

Yesterday, Gracie emerged from the corner, looked right at Grandma and Grandpa, pointed at her diaper and said, "Poo-poo!" She kept on saying it until Grandma changed her diaper.

In a way, it is cool.

Well, at least until she starts announcing "poo-poo" in public!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thank you, Aunt Bec and Nana!

On Friday night, Gracie, Luke, and I met Aunt Becca, Nana, and Bianca at Daddy's hospital. The Twinsies and Bianca ran around the room eating sugar free candy and generally causing a ruckus. When we left, Gracie and Luke went home with Aunt Bec and Nana. Lukie broke my heart crying as they pulled away...

They spent Friday night and part of Saturday with Nana at her house. Then, they spent Saturday night and most of Sunday with Aunt Bec and their cousins. Lukie managed to misplace 2 binkies so he was out of luck when I brought the Twinsies home.

I could tell that Gracie and Luke had been totally loved up and had played their little hearts out. Gracie was asleep in the car before the first song on More from Pooh Corner had ended.

Thank you, Aunt Bec and Nana for loving the Twinsies and me so much and for giving me two nights of complete rest. You'll have to tell me some stories one day so that I can write about them.

Like the story of Gracie's first real ponytail and Lukie's cool slicked hair...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I will remember this day, My Children

I will remember this day because you kept me up from 2 am on with coughing and crying and general sickiness.

I will remember this day because I stayed home from work to take care of you and Gracie cried for 4 hours straight.

I will remember this day because you both kept falling on the ground screaming when I could not, would not, hold both of you.

I will remember this day because you threw food at me. My memory is not generally great, but I will remember that. That was not a good move.

I will remember how Gracie kept climbing behind the little table into the electric "danger zone."

I will remember how Lukie kept climbing on and in everything and got his finger stuck in the boards of the fence outside.

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I will remember how Gracie's hacking cough disappeared in the doctor's office, just to start up again when we got in the car.

I will remember how Lukie thought it was fun to throw water all over the bathroom and kept trying to put a bowl over Gracie's face.

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I will remember how we lie in bed together snuggling for the night and Lukie fell asleep. Gracie lay there and kept waving at me and saying: "Hi, Momma! Hi!"

I will remember how even after such a long, traumatic day, I stayed in bed with you and loved you even more. Even though you were such pains in the butt.

It's a good thing you are so darn cute!

Could they be any grosser?

I love a good blackmail video. I've been trying to get as many as possible because I know it cracks Daddy up. Here is a great one.

Gracie and Luke have an awful habit. I've tried stopping them, but they find anyway they possibly can to do it every night.

This video's title: Drinking Bath Water

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Set backs and moving forward

We'll start with the good/funny news. Gracie shushed me this morning when I came into the bedroom and Lukie was still sleeping. She held up her finger to her lips and "Shhhh!" Of course, when it was her turn to talk, she spoke in a normal tone, then shushed me again. She cracks me up! As for Lukie, I could have sworn he said "walk" yesterday when I carried him out of day care. He pointed to the ground and said "walk." When I tried to get him to say it again, he clammed up. I just have to be patient.

As for the set back, Daddy had some struggles last night. He was fine yesterday and has been improving since he had surgery on Saturday. Then, around 6 pm, he started having chest pains and was taken to the ICU. They think he may have had a mild heart attack. I haven't heard from the doctor today, but as soon as I know more, I will post an update.

Blessings to keep me from going insane:
My talking toddlers who keep me on my feet.
The insurance company for starting to get things going on moving us home.
Our family.
My fabulous job with students and colleagues who make me smile when I want to cry.

And the Twin Mommas who give me support when I'm feeling low.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Words - March Edition

New words this month include:

outside
wawa (water for Lukie - he did not have this word before)
ovadare (over there)
mine! (both of them have this wonderful word)
buhbuh (bubbles)
eye (Gracie as she pokes you in the eye)

Added to the other words they had before, we are way ahead of the 18 month list!

Go, Gracie and Lukie!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Utensils

While they are by no means experts, Gracie and Luke are starting to get the hang of this whole spoon thing. Forks are a totally different story, but spoons they are getting much better with.

At breakfast, they had Cheerios with milk and used their spoons to eat.

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Look at all of those teeth!


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A long drive to a softball game

Yesterday, we had lunch with Nana, Aunt Bec, Auntie Ten-Ten and the cousins. After we decimated the Spaghetti Factory, we went to a park and then drove 2 hours to Hemit to watch cousin, Hailey, play softball. The game was in full swing when we finally arrived. The good news is there was lots of space for Twinsies to run and jump and play. They ran all over with Nathan, Bianca and Brandon.

At one point, I bought everyone some french fries and the cousins had a Fry Party.

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Twinsies in Odd Places

It was quiet. Too quiet.

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Don't ask me how they got in there. They had to crawl over a wheelchair, a pile of clothes I'm saving for their baby cousin, a printer box and somehow get into a plastic box filled with diapers that is sitting on top of another plastic box. I'm still scratching my head.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Fine Feathered Friends

Today, when we arrived home from day care, some surprise visitors landed in our parking lot. Gracie and Luke sat in their stroller staring at the Mommy Duck and the Daddy Duck as they waddled around the parking lot looking for food.

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Lucky for them, I have twins who leave their crackers all over my car! I tossed graham crackers to them and they came right up to us. Gracie and Luke were perfect. They sat there quietly and watched the ducks as they came closer and closer.

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Duckies eating the crackers and Toddler Mum-Mums we shared with them.

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Here is some video I shot of the ducks when they got really close to us!

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With Spring Comes Hope

I haven't spoken about our home in a long time. We've driven past Oakridge, but nothing else. Our insurance representatives told me that big things would be happening starting the beginning of March. I did not believe him. It is easier that way.

Today, we decided to drive along the 210 on our way to our temporary abode. We got stuck in the Friday afternoon traffic headed north. Imagine our delight when we saw the following:

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As we drove along the freeway, we saw lot after lot cleared of debris, only a few brick structures left. They've moved so quickly! The whole southeast part of the park looks cleared and they were working on the southwest section as we crawled past.

Maybe we will be home soon!


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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Who's Sickie-Poo? We are!

After a week of crying, not eating and clingyness, I finally broke down and emailed Dr. A last night. She shared her email address with me for a one time only deal a month ago and I felt horrible taking advantage of it last night. I'm going to "lose" it tonight so that I'm not tempted to bug her again.

Dr. A told me to bring Gracie and Lukie in and we made the trek this afternoon. Amid the 20 or so other sick kids (and the wacky mom who made her daughter cover her head as she walked through the waiting room so she wouldn't catch what the other kids had), we waited patiently. You know your kids are sick when they aren't interested in doing anything, even when surrounded by toys and books.

They did not have fevers, but as soon as Dr. A looked in their ears, we had our diagnosis:

Lukie has an ear infection in his left ear.

Gracie has a double ear infection.

Needless to say, they are on antibiotics. I'm hoping this helps them feel better soon. I hate them feeling so miserable.

On a Daddy note: He started feeling nauseous again because a nurse messed with the wrong tube on his feeding apparatus. This is the 5th time a nurse has done this and the 5th time he has gotten sick because of it. In the past, I would have been there every night with him, demanding answers and fighting for him. Now that we have Gracie and Luke, I don't have that luxury.

But we are done.

Grandma, Grandpa, Tio Freddy, Tio Joey, Gracie, Lukie and I are done. We are done watching Eddie suffer. Done watching incompetent nurses make him hurt. We are done.

***flipping my hair back over my ear***

So watch out all you doctors and nurses "taking care" of Eddie. I'm done. You'll be hearing from me in the morning. That's a promise.


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Monday, March 9, 2009

The Screamer

Be very thankful I could not find my camera.

I am almost obsessive about where the Twinsies spend the night. I know that if they stay up too late, they won't be able to handle the next day. One place they have never spent the night, well, until yesterday, was Grandma and Grandpa's house. There are just too many exciting people and too many exciting things going on for them to be able to go to sleep and stay asleep. If they are hanging out there, I am always careful to pick them up by 6 - 7 pm. It is never pretty if they are there too late.

Yesterday, however, Grandma offered to let Gracie and Luke spend the night. I have report cards to write (don't ask me if they are done) and I'm sick. On top of that, the Twinsies got immunizations at their Friday appointment and are sick, too, so times have been rather trying in our tiny apartment. I grabbed the chance to get some sleep and packed them up for a night with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma promised that she would not call unless there was an emergency and by 5 pm today, there were no phone calls.

When I got to their house this evening, about 6:15 pm or so, the first sound that greeted me was crying. Gracie crying. Lukie crying. They weren't crying for me, they were just crying. Grandma admitted they had been very sensitive all day, crying and upset, inconsolable at times. She'd managed to get them down for short naps, but they just wouldn't sleep.

That's when the screaming started. Gracie has been testing her vocal cords for the past few weeks, so I know she can scream. I wasn't prepared for the level of screaming that came from her tonight! Wow! She reached some decibels I thought only huge stereo systems could hit!

The screaming continued on the way home, but I had known from the moment I looked at them that the real culprit in their behavior that day was that they were both exhausted. Puffy eyelids and the inability to keep your eyes open are huge indicators that one is tired!

We made it through the bath, just barely, before the hitting and crying/screaming resumed. We got our jammies on, drank most of our milk, snuggled with Mommy and attempted to play. Luckily, I'm too smart for them now. I wrapped my arms around them and snuggled them to me. They were out in 15 minutes but I stayed for a while to make sure they were really out.

They may wake up. They may not. Maybe they are just so exhausted that they will sleep the night through. Either way, I need to record that scream. No one will ever believe it is coming from an 18 month old who stands 30.5 inches high!


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Saturday, March 7, 2009

The best thing we did all day

After a day filled with sickie-poo-ness, we decided to go visit Daddy. We stopped off at Wal-Mart to buy a few things, among them a few balls to play with. We arrived at the hospital and were raring to go!

I closed the door to the hospital room and the Twinsies were off. Eddie sat in his bed watching Gracie and Luke tear back and forth across the floor. They chased each other, threw balls all over the room, climbed chairs, climbed tables, climbed on Daddy's bed, wrestled, danced, sang, clapped their hands, and had an amazing time!

Daddy was so happy to see us and he loved watching Gracie and Luke in their purest toddler form. He told me as we were leaving that our visit was just what he needed. You could see it in his face, but you could also tell by seeing how relaxed he was. I'm so glad we went!

Here are some pictures of our fun:

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And because no visit to Daddy is complete without video:



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Was it the vaccines?

Yesterday, Gracie and Luke suffered through 3 immunization shots. DTaP, Hep A and Varicella (aka chicken pox). It was not pretty. Usually, Daddy is with us, so I can stand with one of them and comfort them during the painful part and Daddy can hold the other, giving love on his end. Since Daddy wasn't there, we had to call a nurse in to hold their legs. On top of that it was the nurse who insists at the parent holding the child's legs and that just doesn't work for us. It was very traumatic and we had to have lots of hugs and love afterward.

Then, at some point last night, they both vomited and this morning had really yucky explosions in the diaper area. I know this may seem like too much information, especially if you are eating your breakfast as you read this, but I am beside myself. They have never thrown up!

We had an early morning bath and they are sitting in their diapers, watching Elmo and eating Cherrios. Occasionally, they get up, drop a bunch of Cherrios, and spend the next few minutes retrieving all of the ones they dropped.

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Lukie seems to feel the worst. He wants to be held and comforted. Gracie is being a terror, stealing Lukie's Cheerios and his binky. Either way, we feel crummy this morning. Hopefully, this is just a small side effect of one of the vaccines and we'll be all better later!

Update: I think that I may have accused the vaccines before I thought it through. Given the speed with which this hit, I think it may be food poisoning. I've been working through what they ate yesterday and I suspect it was old cheese. They are still having the diarrhea. Ew. It is either that or the virus they have is causing it. Either way, sorry vaccines!


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