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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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm going to regret doing this

Helene over at I'm Living Proof God Has a Sense of Humor, one of my fav blogs, has 2 sets of twins. Unlike me, who keeps my computer life very separate from my kiddos (I don't want them to figure out how to use the computer better than I can), Helene has allowed her kiddos to use her computer to watch shows on the internet and peruse different animal websites. Recently, they discovered that the San Diego Zoo has live camera feeds of several animals enclosures.

You do realize what this means, don't you?

They have an elephant cam.

They have a panda cam.

If I show Gracie and Luke this website, I'll never get my computer back. Then again, they would LOVE to see the animals. They get excited by pictures in a board book, so seeing real live animals is going to floor them!

Do I do it? Do I show them the zoo cams? Do I risk my already tenuous hold on MY computer?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Feeling Flash-backy

Nana has me combing my computers for pictures of her to send in for her reunion. Can you believe it has been 40 years since she graduated from high school? (She's going to kill me for that!)

Anyway, I came across a few pictures in my Photobucket account that are simply too cute to pass up. These are from my 36th birthday party. Gracie and Luke were about 7 months old.

Photobucket

GracieLuWho

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Daddy's Lament

"It happened."

This was how Daddy started our conversation last night about the events of yesterday morning. 

"What happened?" I asked, not sure if I needed to be concerned or not.

"Well, Grandma and Grandpa were helping me get Gracie and Luke dressed this morning and as soon as he was dressed, Lukie walked over to the door and stood there.  Then he said, 'Friends.' "

 (Friends is our magic word for school.  As in:  "Gracie and Lukie, let's go play with your Friends.")

Daddy continued, "So, I called him over to put his backpack on and then we put Gracie's backpack on and they led me out the door.  They walked me to school."

So the days of not wanting to go to school are over.  No more attempting to run the opposite direction down the street to avoid crossing at the crosswalk.  No more crying when Daddy and Grandma drop them off.  No more falling to the ground in an attempt to avoid being taken over the threshold. 

Gracie and Luke love school. 

I'm not sure why this makes Daddy sad.  Especially when you consider the reception when he goes to pick them up!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Empathy

At 2 years old, you'd think Gracie and Luke would be all about themselves. For the most part, they are, but when it comes to someone getting hurt or sad, Gracie and Luke are among the first on the scene to offer help, hugs, and love.

Gracie is a back-patter. She'll pat your back and say, "It's okay, Momma! It's okay!" She'll offer kisses and hugs or whatever is needed to make you feel better.

Lukie is a little different. He will cock his head to one side and say, "Okay, Momma? Okay?" and if you don't respond right away, he'll say it for you: "Okay, Momma, okay." He may pat your back or your cheek. He'll hold your hand until you feel better.

They are quick to comfort the people they love and, when they see a friend in need, will approach them if they feel safe. When they don't, they'll hold my hand and make mewling sounds in sympathy.

Tonight, we watched the movie Dumbo for the first time. They were facinated by all of the elephants and the other animals. They were very excited and told us the names of the animals they saw:

"Momma, elephant!"

"Papa, 'ook! 'raffe!" (Giraffe)

They were a little nervous of the lightening in the beginning, but it did not bother them too much.

Cut to the scene when Dumbo's Mommy holds him through the bars of her cage and rocks him in her trunk. I was in tears listening to Baby Mine and thinking about how incredibly awful I would feel if I were kept from my babies. I wasn't facing Gracie at the time, but all of a sudden, I heard a cry and looked over at her. My baby girl was sitting on the couch, clutching her blanket, tears streaming down her face, crying for a little baby elephant who cold not be with his Mommy. I went over to her an picked her up gently, as she was very upset. I took her to my chair and rocked her. It took a lot of reassuring, but eventually, I convinced Gracie that the Mommy (Mrs. Jumbo) would get out soon and that she and Dumbo would be able to play together soon.

While she stopped crying, Gracie did not leave my lap for the rest of the movie. I was stunned at how much my little girl gleaned from watching a movie. There was nothing scary about the scene, but for a little girl and boy who have spent months away from their Daddy and had to leave him in the hospital, it clearly touched her.

The experts say that toddlers don't begin to empathize until closer to 3. Maybe Gracie and Luke are experiencing empathy earlier because of the events of the past year. I don't know which is the case. I just know that my little girl cried for a baby elephant tonight because he could not be with his Mommy.

And it made me very proud to be her Mommy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Doctor's Visit

Friday's doctor's visit was preceded by a visit to the park. Unfortunately, I did not plan well. They were filthy by the time we left to drive to the doctor's office.

Lucas decided to show us how great he will be one day as a base runner. Gracie reminded me that she is in charge of herself and I have no say whatsoever!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lots of Things to Say

Gracie and Luke are talking so much now that we are walking around in a state of constant bewilderedness at the things they say. We have to be very careful what we say because they will parrot it right back.

Gracie is the more talkative of the two, but Lukie holds his own.

Here's a sample of their words:

The Merry Go Round Revisited

On Friday, we spent some time at the Mall.  One of the big draws was the two story Merry Go Round.  They had tons of zoo animals as well as horses for the kids to ride.  Gracie has been hesitant in the past about riding the Merry Go Round.  Lucas, however, loves them!

This time, we bought several tokens and I took Gracie and Lucas on the Merry Go Round and let them choose which animals they wanted to sit on.  They rode a zebra, a black horse, a white horse, and an elephant.

Here is some of the fun:




Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Elephant

Lucas and Gracie are in love with elephants.  They have elephant stuffed animals, elephant pjs, elephants on the walls of their room, love Horton the elephant and say the word elephant about 50 times per day.

We saw this elephant at a park.  Lukie was certain it was just for him.




By the way, we got a free Flip Video camera from Verizon when we reestablished our phone and internet with them. It is awesome. The software alone is a happy thing. It publishes your videos directly to YouTube. Really cool! (I'm still working on the quality, though.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Amazing Gracie Lu-Who

Gracie and Luke are amazing! It's not like I'm surprised by it or anything. After all, they are related to some pretty fabulous people.

But recently, they've been even more amazing that I first thought. Gracie, in particular, has knocked our socks off with how Amazing she is.

Yesterday, both Gracie and Luke were sick. Daddy and Grandma took them to the doctor's office and then they stayed home with Grandma instead of going to school. About lunch time, Grandma decided to treat them to lunch at McDonald's. They drove over, had lots of fun eating chicken, french fries, and apples, and got to play in the Fun Zone. Grandma did have to go on one rescue mission after they made it to the top of the tube maze and were too scared to move.

On the way home, Grandma made a mistake. She put Gracie and her purse into the car and did not strap her in. Instead, she walked around to the other side and put Lukie into his seat and strapped him in. As she closed Lukie's door, Little Miss Lu-Who showed Grandma how fantastic she is at pushing just the right button. She pushed the ALL Lock button and locked Grandma out of the car. At first, Grandma started to panic. How was she going to get Gracie and Luke out of the car? She kept telling Gracie to unlock the door, not realizing that Gracie doesn't know what "unlock" means. (I said she was amazing, not all knowing!)

Just as Grandma was going to call 911, a stranger stopped to calm her down. She reminded Grandma that it was cool outside and calling 911 would result in some high fees. (Grandma forgot that she is a AAA member and could have had someone there in 15 minutes).

When she reached a point where she wasn't hypervenilating anymore, Grandma decided to try to direct Gracie on how to open the door. She started asking Gracie to come to the door and asked her to push this button, then that button. Five minutes after she started, Gracie showed Grandma for the second time how amazing she was. After following all of the directions spoken in Spanish, Gracie pushed the Unlock button and Grandma was able to get inside.

Can you imagine? Everything Grandma said was in Spanish and Gracie knew what she was talking about!

So there you have it. Further evidence of the Fantastic and Amazing Gracie Lu-Who!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Birthday cake at Grandma and Grandpa's House

After the Zoo on their birthday, we tried to drive around so that Gracie and Luke would fall asleep. When that didn't work, we went home and played a bit. Then, we decided to go buy an actual cake for Gracie and Luke to blow out candles. Daddy and I were unanimous in our thinking that it had to be an ice cream cake. We found the perfect one at Baskin Robbins: Gold Medal Ribbon ice cream with fudge ganache, whipped cream, and almonds!

This is the happiness that ensued:

There are pictures!

Thanks to Grandma Rosi, there do exist pictures of the first day of Pre-School!

If you click on them, they will open a larger image.

Packed up and ready to walk to school.

Daddy leads the way.

Can you see those lunch bags and their back packs?

Truly on their walk to school.

Thank you, Grandma Rosi for taking these picture for us!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Go Bears!

We're ready!

Are they?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Prayers for a Friend

My Twin Momma friend, Kelly is 34 weeks pregnant today and, apparently, her baby is very excited to meet it's Mommy. Kelly has been hosptialized for a few days to try to keep her baby cooking a little while longer and has been given steroids to help develop the baby's lungs. That's all I know.

Two years ago, Kelly found herself in the hospital with Twinsies attempting to be born early. We bonded over our shared worry about our unborn babies and she let me throw baby names at her because she wasn't ready to name her boy/girl twins. There's something about shared worry and pregnancy that work like Krazy Glue between people.

And so my prayers begin...

So, God, I know You are listening. Please help Kelly cook her baby just a little longer and keep them both safe.

And it begins...

I just didn't think it would happen so soon!

After only 3 days of preschool, Gracie and Luke are staying home with what looks to be a virus. They don't have fevers, but they have runny/stuffy noses and Gracie is making a horrible sound when she coughs.

Blech.

Couldn't this have waited a few weeks? Or at least until the weekend so that we weren't up at 3 am when Mommy had to go to work?

Where's my Lysol? I'm going to go spray down the school!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Day of Pre-School

Let me start by saying there are no pictures. Daddy was in charge and you can't expect him to pack lunches, wrangle two 2 year-olds, and walk to school with two 2 year-olds by himself AND take pictures.

One moment while I try to recover my breath. I'm still trying to get over the whole "walk to school with two 2 year-olds by himself" image in my mind.

Monday night, Daddy and I were up late preparing our very first school lunches for Gracie and Luke. We had no clue what to pack for them. Well, we did, but we weren't exactly sure what they would eat. They are very inconsistent about what they will eat and when they will eat it. In the end, their first "take to school" lunch was peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwiches, string cheese, grape tomatoes, and apple sauce for snack. I was in charge of labeling the lunch bags (Gracie has Elmo and Lukie has a firetruck) and labeling their plastic ware.

Here is Daddy's accounting of yesterday (please note I have no way to corroborate this story in any way):

He woke up at 6:40 am, got himself dressed, packed the kiddos' lunches, took all of their various bags to the car and came back inside to wake Gracie and Luke up at 7 am. Everyone put on their shoes and followed Daddy out to the car to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

At Grandma and Grandpa's, they had breakfast (which they scarfed down) and got dressed for school. They ate a banana because they were still hungry and then it was time to start walking to school.

Grandma was unavailable to walk with Daddy and the Twinsies, so Daddy put a backpack on each of them, handed them their lunch bags, and the three of them started off down the street. Gracie and Luke walked behind Daddy as they looked at the flowers, bees, the sky, and anything else that caught their eyes. When it came time to cross Devonshire Blvd, Daddy told Gracie and Lukie to stop and taught them about red lights and green lights. He had them pass their lunch bags to him and hold hands. When the light turned green, they carefully crossed the street, no problem!

Hold on. Deep breath. Okay, I'm fine.

They arrived at the school and Daddy told them that this was where their new teacher and friends could be found. Gracie was a little hesitant, but she wandered off when she felt safe to meet new people. Lucas, on the other hand, was having none of it. He knew exactly what the new school meant and started to cry. Daddy tried to calm him and reassure him, but it wouldn't work. Eventually, Lucas found his sister and Daddy left (read: sneaked out). Daddy felt horrible leaving Lukie when he was so sad and he cried all the way back to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

After his dialysis, Daddy returned at 2:30 pm sharp. Recently up from their naps, Gracie was very happy to see her Daddy. Lukie was still waking up and cried to be held. Gracie patted him on the back and helped Lukie wake up a bit more. As they left the school with Daddy, Gracie and Lukie chatted about their day (At least that's what Daddy assumed they were doing. It sounded like they were speaking Japanese to him!)

When they got home, they turned on the "elphant!" (aka Horton Hears a Who) and snacked on some crackers until I got home and made dinner. They were both very tired, so we made quick work of dinner, bath and books. They were in bed and asleep about a half an hour early.

All in all, it was a good day. Daddy and I both noticed that despite their sleepiness, they were both very talkative and happy to see us. It will take some time for them to get adjusted to their new school. This week, they are just playing and getting to know each other. Next week, the individual instruction will begin.

What a two year-old should be learning, I haven't the faintest!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Birthday Surprises!

Saturday was Gracie and Luke's birthday. It was a day filled with happiness and fun.

And no naps.

For the record, no naps = cranky kids and no naps = cranky parents. Just in case you hadn't done the math.

We started the morning waking up later than normal and headed out to the livingroom to watch Barney and have a banana. At some point, Daddy brought out the birthday presents: new tricycles!

She was in the middle of saying "cheese."

"Oh, look!"

After admiring the bikes, we headed off to our birthday party at the Los Angeles Zoo. I recently purchased a Family Pass, so we invited all of Gracie and Luke's cousins, Auntie Ten Ten, Uncle Jerry, Aunt Becca, and Nana. It was HOT, HOT, HOT! We were already sweating before we walked through the gates.

We did not realize that this was all of the Cousins' first trip to the Zoo. It was evident within the first 30 seconds after we walked off the ramp. They made a beeline for the seal tank and could have stayed there all day!



We had a great time exploring the Zoo and everyone agreed that we need to go back again soon. If only Lukie's hat survived the day. Instead, the apes now have a new article of clothing.

I think it was Aunt Bec who said, "This is the best birthday party ever!" Auntie Ten Ten totally agreed. "There's no clean up!"

Exactly, young grasshoppers. Exactly!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Turning 2

Happy Birthday, Gracie and Lukie!

Today, you are 2 years old. That is an amazing feat! You have finally reached the magical age where how long you have lived is no longer counted in months, but years. I will note, that you have lived an amazing 730 days. Can you believe that? That's a huge number. So huge, that you don't have a clue about it yet!

I can't give you stats on how tall you are or how much you weigh, because we still have 2 weeks before your 24 month check up. I also can't promise there won't be any shots. I will promise, that if there are, I'll be right there to hold your hand and sing a song to help the hurt go away.

Here are some amazing things you do now that you are 2:

Gracie


For a while now, you have been very interested in the potty. So much so, that you have used the potty at Grandma's house several times. I keep forgetting that you like the potty and have yet to put you on ours. Grandma says you are ready to be potty trained. I'm not so sure. I know you'll let me know when you are ready.

You like to practice counting. You can say "one, two, REEEE!" Sometimes, you remember "four," but you're still working on it.

You LOVE Barney. I don't think I have ever seen a child love Barney as much as you do. If I let you, all you would do all day is listen to Barney songs, read Barney books, or watch Barney on tv. You are quite obsessed with him. I'm not worried though. Everyone starts with something they love very much. When we sing the "I love you" song, you kiss everyone around you and give them a hug. It makes me very happy.

You like to try to dress yourself. You don't quite know yet that your legs aren't where all of your clothes go on your body, but we're working on that.

You like to imitate Mommy: "No, no, no, Ukie!" you say, while shaking your finger. You also like to pat your baby on the back and give it kisses, just like I do for you.

You love your Daddy. Usually, you call him Papa. But recently, you've been calling him Poppi. I'm not sure where you got that, but occasionally you call him that.

You also love Nana, Ten Ten, Nathan, Baby Emerson, Aunt Bec, Bianca and Brandon. I know this because you go through the entire list of their names every time you want to go see them.

You LOVE chocolate milk.

You really don't eat much and it worries me. I want you to grow and be strong, but you don't seem very interested. Well, except for the milk. I'll just keep that coming.

You love to read and will sit quietly and "read" books to yourself. I love that. It makes me so happy!

You aren't a very good listener yet. You still try to run in the street, turn on light switches by climbing on the top of the couch, and you climb out of the bathtub before I am ready for you. We need to work on that.

My favorite thing about you is how much you care for your brother, Daddy, and me. You love us and it shows in everything you do and how hard you work to take care of us.

I love you, my Little Who!


Lucas


My Lukie-Lou is a very loving boy. He has lots of kisses for everyone and loves to cuddle. He likes it when I hold him close and say, "My Baby!" When he wants me to do it, he climbs into my lap and says, "baby?" It melts my heart every time.

While Gracie's words come fast and furiously, Lukie, you are not far behind. Usually, it takes only a day or two until you are saying the same words Gracie is. Your favorite words right now are: elephant, exercise, outside, up, Barney, Momma, Papa, Abwee (Abue), ice cream, ball, and "ucken." Occasionally, "meat" is also a favorite word. Oh, wait! Your absolute favorite words are: "MY TURN!"

You are super active and you don't have time for naps. The only time you really take them is if you are in a car, and then, you sleep the best sleep. You hate bedtime and you cry every night after we finish our last book. I'm not sure if you think you are going to miss something or what, but we are always here when you wake up!

You love your Abue and would rather mow the lawn with him that play with anyone else. You could spend an entire day with him and be totally content. You won't take a nap, but you will be content.

You love to brush your teeth. In fact, Gracie does too! I can convince you to let me brush them some more by pretending you have crackers and ice cream stuck in them. But really, you love holding your own brush and scrubbing your teeth (well, actually, you love sucking your tooth gel off).

You are Captain Destructo. Just ask Daddy. We try to stay very close to you or chaos will ensue. Your favorite activity in our backyard is throwing rocks (the ones used to create our path. FYI, those are not meant for throwing). When you run, you have this cute thing you do that is more like a skip/run than anything else.

You do everything with an excitement that makes me so very happy. And when you smile, your dimples flash! You had me right there.

Even though you are getting bigger, you are still my Lukie-Lou! (And I'll keep cuddling my little "baby" until you are done playing along.)



I thought about writing down all the words Gracie and Lukie know, but I honestly can't remember them all. Here's a sampling:

milk, pan (bread), apple, banana (banya), juice, ice cream, chicken, meat, cracker, Mum-Mum, candy (Who taught you that?), water (Lukie says "wa-wa" Gracie says "agua"), truck, carro (car), home, park, inside, outside, spoon, ball, "My turn," "Es mio," mine, where go?, bunny, kitty, puppy, horsie, cow, elephant, lion, monkey, duck, Oreo (their puppy at Abue's house), Nana, Ten Ten, Mommy, Momma, Papa, Poppi, Abue, Tio, baby, book, hop, up, down, "I Oo" (I love you), Choo-Choo, train, Oh No!, What happened?, no, yes, bee, swim, binky


While some moments of the past two years seemed to last an eternity, they have also gone by so quickly! Gracie and Lukie are no longer babies. They are definitely toddlers. They are very independent and want to do things for themselves. It makes me sad for the days when they needed me more, but it makes me so excited for them that they are learning to be their own selves.

Over the last few weeks, I've had flashbacks to times when I remember crying on the phone to Aunt Bec; when I thought I would never be a mommy. And here I am! With two beautiful 2 year olds.

You can't get any luckier than this!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Buzzin' Bees in the Backyard

I was making dinner Wednesday night, when I heard serious giggling coming from the backyard. I also heard a buzzing sound. Curious, I went out to investigate and found this:



Daddy is great at entertaining Gracie and Luke.

They blow wishes into the wind.

Explore the scenery.

Play games.


Get dirty. This is a requirement every day.
And refuse to smile. Seriously, why would anyone want a picture of Lukie smiling?!?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Whose idea was this?

For Christmas, Aunt Bec and the Cousins gave Gracie and Luke these Crayola paints designed for little (read: toddler) hands. I've kept them carefully hidden until I felt ready for the mess I knew was going to ensue. My predictions are always true. I don't know why I doubt myself.

It was going along quite nicely.


We were outside. It was hot. We were having fun.

And then, Lukie decided to taste the paint.



Can you see where this is going?


This little angel decided that painting paper was fun...


But painting your hands is so much better!

Except when Mommy refuses to pick you up because you have paint all over you. That's when you realize that perhaps painting your hands, the table, and your brother may not have been such a bright idea!

What were you doing 2 years ago today?

Two years ago today, I was laying in my hospital bed, eating a double order of pancakes and bacon and trying to grow the Twinsies just a little more. Food was about the only thing that entertained me in the hospital. Not that I ate all the time or anything! In fact, I wasn't eating enough, thus the 50 million Ensures they made me drink.

Food was one of the few constants of my day. I knew I'd have the babies monitored twice a day. That was a given. But food was something I had control over. And I had very little control back then. Toward the last few weeks of my pregnancy, they finally realized that I had eaten every item on the menu about 10 times and took pity on me. I wish they had realized it sooner, because they let me special order from the cafeteria! I could have things like chicken fajita burritos and pita pocket sandwiches. It was fantastic!

The food on the normal patient menu wasn't awful, it was simply unimaginative. To make it things interesting, I had been mixing things up. I asked for substitutions, had chocolate milk instead of regular, would beg for grilled onions instead of the raw ones they put on the cheeseburger. I learned I had to ask for what I wanted, and sometimes, even fight for something different.

When I unpacked my classroom a few days ago, I found my copy of the menu from Huntington Hospital. I opened it briefly. Memories came rushing back; I could actually taste some of the things I had ordered back then. It was very disconcerting. But it also brought back the memories of the lovely people I spoke with when I ordered my food. I remember a man by the name of Ren who was not only the recorded voice when you called in, but actually took orders. He had a great voice! There was also another woman, whose name I now forget, who was always sick! She would stay on the phone with me, teaching me how to work the menu and giving me an outside person to talk to about things completely unrelated to food. Those moments gave me a break from my hours in that hospital bed where I counted ceiling tiles, waited for another contraction, and learned my baby girl was not growing.

Two years ago, we had had our last ultrasound and discovered that Gracie had not grown in the two weeks since our last ultrasound. I remember that Dr. Bruce was concerned that Gracie had actually lost an ounce while Lukie had gained a pound. Dr. Hartford had discovered that my body was preparing to go into labor and I was ready to climb the walls from waiting.

Two years ago, I was excited that it was September. Not August. Not July. Not June. I had made it to September and my babies were going to be okay. I was anxious and tired, getting crankier by the moment. Looking back now, I feel very badly for my nurses. I don't think I was very pleasant to be around.

Two years ago, I was two days from welcoming Gracie and Luke into the world and I did not even know it. Do you remember what you were doing two years ago?

I suspect not, but then again, I don't remember 2 days ago.

It's a darn good thing I have this blog!