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

.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From Us!

A walk through the years:

2007

2008 with Aunt Bec and Mommy


Gracie - Christmas 2009

Lukie - Christmas 2009
Christmas 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Wizard of Oz According to Gracie

We recently watched the Wizard of Oz and Gracie and Luke were transfixed.  Gracie asked me a million questions, proof that I can never take her to a movie theater.  She will be "that" kid.

Here is what Gracie gleaned from the movie:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Overheard around our house

"Mommy, which princess am I?" (Lukie wearing Gracie's Snow White dress up shoes)

Upon seeing 1/3 of the Christmas tree decorated and assembled (Gracie):  "Mommy, Look! You got us a Christmas tree!  Oh, thank you, thank you!  It is so beautiful!  Thank you, Mommy for our beautiful Christmas tree!  Do you know I love you?" (followed by a racing, huge bear hug)

"Mommy, look!  My diaper isn't wet!" (Gracie after waking up with a dry diaper 3 days in a row.  For the record, we are still working on night time PT.)

"Mommy, is Daddy going to have a slumber party with us?"
"No, Lukie, Daddy isn't going to have a slumber party with us. He is going to sleep at our house forever!"
"Forever?"
"Yes, forever!"
"Yay!  Yay!  Yay! Yay! Gwacie!  Daddy is going to sleep at our house forever!  Yay!  Yay!  Yay!"

"Mommy, do you know that you love me?"
"Yes, Gracie, I do know that I love you!"
"Good!"

"Mommy, don't say 'booty!'  Teacher Marlene says that is a mean word!"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fun in the Rain...and the mud
















Lukie's Big News

A week or so ago, Abue Rosi managed to catch Lukie at just the right time.

The right time for what, you ask?

The right time to use the toilet.

We haven't been pressuring Lukie to potty train.  He hasn't been interested and that is fine.  We aren't interested in a potty training battle.  Rather, we just remind each other that Lukie will not go to college in Pull-Ups.

Abue Rosi got him to use the toilet and he was SO proud of himself that he burst with the news when I arrived to pick him up.   We did high 5s and knuckles and danced around like maniacs.  And the coolest part?  He did it again the next day and the next.  His track record wasn't perfect; for every time he made it to the toilet, he'd miss the next.

Yesterday, Lukie came home from preschool sans a Pull-Up. My son was "commando."  Apparently, he kept taking his Pull-Up off all day and they finally just let him stay that way.  At home, Lukie told me that he wanted to only use the toilet.  Awesome, but this was followed by an accident in the living room. 



He is obsessed with going potty (and poop) in the toilet.  This experience is so different than with Gracie.  He is so focused on making sure that he gets to the toilet and he'll sit there until he is totally done (as opposed to Gracie who can't sit still for 5 seconds. 

Keep your fingers crossed that I have 2 potty trained Twinsies soon!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Caught in the Act!

Gracie and Luke love to tattle on each other. They aren't mean about it, or even annoying. They just like to be reassured that they know and understand what is nice/good behavior and what is mean.

One day, Gracie and I were sitting reading a book, when a cry of distress came from the bathroom. Gracie went to go investigate and when she came back, she had quite a story to tell me. Not believing her, I decided to check it out for myself.

An Afternoon Suprise

Last week, it was unseasonably hot here. After a week of rainy days, the sun was beating hot on California and I noticed that our grass looked as if the sprinklers had not come on in several days. I was working on the automatic sprinkler system and Gracie and Lukie were playing in the backyard when suddenly, the sprinklers started working.

And you can only guess what happened:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gracie and Lukie love Beauty and the Beast.  This is what they shared with me today.  They melt my heart.

Mommy Enginuity

While I completely love our inflatable pool, I very much dislike the amount of time it takes to pump air into the darn thing.  It takes 30 minutes with the electric air pump and that is annoying.  The day before their birthday, Gracie and Lukie and I were lamenting how hot it was (okay, I was lamenting, they were playing) and they begged me to put the pool out.  Not willing to go to all the trouble, I came up with a MacGyver-esque solution.



Thankfully, they loved it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Little Mermaid was sleeping in Gracie's Bed Last Night

Princess Ariel (a.k.a. Gracie) slept in my house last night. I convinced her not to wear her pretty mermaid dress to school. "One of the babies may ruin it!"
She bought it. Hook, line, and sinker!

Monday, November 1, 2010

In which I cannot decide if I love 3 years old or not

Gracie and Luke have been 3-years-old now for a couple of months. It has been a roller coaster to be sure. Now that I have some experience with 3, here's what I have about 3-year-olds: It's a love-hate relationship.

Things I love about 3-years-old:
1. the spontaneous and sincere expressions of love
2. the enthusiasm for life
3. the silly singing and story telling
4. the independence
5. the helpfulness when it is time to take out the trash
6. fewer diapers
7. the ability to amuse oneself rather than depending on me
8. a rapidly forming ability to remember everything that happens, ever
9. imagination times 10
10. they can do more things for themselves (I don't have to do everything for them)

Things I dislike intensely about 3-years-old:
1.quick mood changes
2. stubbornness
3. independence
4. the "helpfulness" when you really did not need the help
5. finickiness about food
6. the tattling voice
7. Gracie's "I'm 3 going on 13" voice: "Mah-ahm! No-wah!"
8. the ability to remember everything (including that Mommy just said "stupid") and share it with everyone we meet
9. potty training (bleh!)
10. the defiance (yes, it is real)

It is definitely a love-hate relationship, but I would not change it for the world. Three is so much fun!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

As Halloween approached this year, I was very worried that Daddy would not be able to join us. He had been in the hospital for the better part of a month and a half and we were all really frustrated and sad. However, Daddy had a goal. He decided (and I think this was big for him) that he was going to go Trick or Treating with Gracie and Luke. His entire focus was on being well enough to come home. But more on that later.

We started the day with a Halloween Breakfast at Hometown Buffet with the Cook-Uribe-Arteaga-Uribe Family. If you count, that is 6 adults, 1 teenager, and 6 little kids. It's a big group! Nana wanted a shot of everyone together and we managed to snag this beauty:
Notice Nathan in his Batman costume. He would not take it off for anything!

Gracie and Lukie went as a giraffe and a dragon. They loved their costumes! Loved them!
Not that they look that excited in them or anything!


That's better!

And surprise! Look who did make it home from the hospital to go Trick or Treating!

We had the best time and we have more candy than should ever be in a house! Gracie and Lukie made it to 12 houses before Lucas declared, "I'm done Trick or Treating, Mommy."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

keeping positive despite set backs

As happens too often in our lives, Daddy is very, very ill. His kidney transplant a month ago went very well and he was home five days after the surgery. From there, all of his old issues reared their ugly heads and, this time, new ones cropped up as well. He is in the Intensive Care Unit for the 3rd time in 3 weeks.

In the beginning, Gracie and Luke were doing okay with Daddy being in the hospital. They knew that he was "with the doctors" and that he would be home soon. As the days and weeks drag on, they are acutely aware of his absence and their sense of security has been shaken. We've had meltdowns and screaming matches, hitting, kicking, biting, bad-listening, and defiance. It hurts my head just to write about it.

Tonight, after a particularly bad episode, the following conversation took place:

Gracie: "I don't like you, Mommy! You are mean."

Me: "I'm sorry you feel that way. The good news is, I'll always love you, no matter what."

Gracie: "No, Mommy! I don't like you and I'm going to runaway!"

Me: "Oh! Well, no matter where you go, I would always find you." (Even though, I wanted to say, I want to run away too!).

Gracie: "NO, MOMMY! I'M GOING TO RUN AWAY!"

Me: "And I will always find you."

There was silence in the back seat and then, a few minutes later, she said, tearfully, "Mommy, I don't want to run away."

Me: "I'm glad, Gracie. I don't want you to run away either."

Gracie: "Mommy, I won't runaway like Daddy. Did Daddy runaway from us?"

I SO almost lost it.

Me: "No, Gracie, Daddy did not runaway. He is very sick and has to stay with the doctors, but when he gets better he will come home. I promise Gracie. Daddy will come home."

Gracie: "Okay, Mommy. Daddy is coming home soon."

And all was right with the world for 5 minutes.

Come home, Daddy. We miss you.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Things overheard in the car and around our house

"Lukie is stinky because he is stinky and he has a stinky booty."

"Gwacie, do you want to be my Mommy?"
"Okay, baby!"
"Waaaaa, waaaaa!"
"It's okay, baby!"

"Wook, Mommy!  I'm a pirate! Arrrrr!" said with heart shaped post-it notes stuck over one eye.

"I want some bubble gum, Mommy.  I want some bubble gum, Mommy.  I want some BUBBLE GUM, MOMMY!"

"Mommy!  Daddy is in the computer!  Wook, there he is!"

"Mommy!  Don't turn off my Daddy!"

"Don't go, Mommy!"

"No, I don't want you, Mommy!  I want my Daddy!"

"I don't wike you any more, Mommy."
"That's okay, Lucas.  No matter what you say, I will always love you."
"I don't wike you, Mommy.  Leave me alone."
"Okay, Lucas.  But remember, no matter what you say, I will always love you."
"No!"
"No matter what you say, I will always love you."

whispered:  "Mommy, there are no monsters and no mean witches and no ghosts in  your room, right?  Daddy made all of the monsters go away, right?"
whispered back:  "That's right, Gracie.  Daddy sent them all away.  They can't get you, because I love you and Daddy loves you and Lukie loves you and those mean monsters and mean witches and mean ghosts can't get inside our house."
"Okay, Mommy."  pause  "And there are no coyotes under your bed.  Right, Mommy?"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daddy and Tio Joey's Big Day

In about 12 hours, the day we have been waiting for will be here.  Tomorrow morning, Tio Joey will go into surgery so that the doctors can remove one of his kidneys.  That kidney will then be transplanted into Daddy.  It's a big, huge day for them tomorrow.

We've been very anxious, trying to catch up with lots of things, recording Daddy singing lullabies for Gracie and Lukie (apparently, I don't sing well enough), and trying to just enjoy one another.  The road to recovery is going to be long and difficult for Daddy and we wanted to make sure to get as much in as we possibly could.

But tonight, in preparation for the big surgery, we celebrate Tio Joey.  He has gone through so much to make tomorrow possible.  He's changed his diet, lost 35 pounds (weight we did not think he had to lose), and spent hours traveling to see doctors for test after test.  He never hesitated when Daddy asked if he would be tested;  none of the tios hesitated.  They all volunteered to give Daddy a kidney.  That amount of love cannot be quantified here or anywhere.  They are simply amazing.

So tonight, we want to say "thank you" to Tio Joey for giving our Daddy a second chance at a good life with us.  We love you, Tio Joey!

Tio Freddy, Daddy, a fierce Lukie, and Tio Joey celebrating Daddy's 40th Birthday

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Third Birthday, Gracie and Luke!

Sunday morning, September 5, I heard some stirring in Gracie and Luke's room. So, I got up, snuck over to their door, and opened it.

"Happy Birthday, Gracie and Lukie!" I said, turning on the light.

"Yay," shouted Gracie, jumping up and down on her bed. "I'm three! I can ride the roller coaster!"

"Yay! Yay! Yay!" came from Lukie's side.

Thus began our day long birthday party.

The day was totally fun and full of excitement. We took Gracie, Lukie and all of their cousins to Adventure City (not by ourselves, we aren't that insane!).

Despite the crazy number of people there, we rode all of the rides (some more than once).
Lukie driving a fire truck.

Gracie and Bianca driving a rescue wagon. Love that smile, Gracie!

Emmie taking Uncle Mike for a spin. She was such a crazy driver.

My three year old cutie!

Emmie and Nathan on the planes.
Hailey and Auntie Ten Ten volunteered to take Gracie and Lukie on the roller coaster. They were so excited! It was all they could talk about.
Lukie and Auntie Ten Ten waiting for the ride to start.

Gracie and Hailey rode the last car. I think the reality of the roller coaster was starting to set in for Gracie.

Gracie holding onto Hailey for dear life as the roller coaster took its first turning descent.
The verdict: "Mommy, I don't like that roller coaster. It was scary."

We tried to get them to go back on, but I think roller coasters are out for the foreseeable future. At least we got pictures!

We finished our trip to Adventure City with the mini cupcakes that Gracie, Lukie and I made the day before. As requested, they were cupcakes with sprinkles inside and out. Everybody loved them and there weren't any left! We also opened presents and Gracie and Lukie were totally excited to see Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Dora and Diego Beanie Babies, cool new drawing boards, a dinosaur, a unicorn, and money!! Gracie informed me that she would like to use her money to buy a jeep. "One I can ride on, Mommy!"

We all headed over to Portillo's in Buena Park for Italian Beef Sandwiches (Daddy was very happy) and finally headed home. Gracie and Lukie had an amazing day and they were so thankful for their cousins, aunts, uncle and Nana who came to celebrate with them.

Now, they want a party so that everyone can come play Candy Land!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Countdown and A Plea

In 6 days, Daddy and Tio Joey have their big surgery.  Early in the morning, September 15th, Tio Joey will be donating one of his kidneys to Daddy.  We've been counting down the days for a long time and now that it is almost here, we are so excited!  Nervous, but SO excited.

Daddy is already thinking ahead to after the surgery.  In October, we will be participating again in Step Out to Fight Diabetes, the annual walk in Santa Clarita to raise money to find a cure for diabetes.  Daddy's fight against diabetes has been long and hard.  Diabetes has gotten in some pretty good hits against Daddy, but he is not down and out yet.

Usually, by now, Daddy's team has raised a lot of money, but this year, donations are down.  He has a personal goal of $3000 and he's only raised $175.  It is so sad to see that number and know that in the past he was able to encourage more people to donate.  We are hoping to encourage everyone who reads our blog to Step Up and help us fight diabetes by sponsoring Daddy and his amazing brother, Joel.  You can sponsor, Daddy or Team O.L.E. (One Legged Ed).  Or, you could even join our team!  We'd love to have you AND you'll get a cool shirt.

To donate in Daddy's name, click here.  Please help!  Every penny counts!  Thank you!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

And tomorrow, the world changes

This night, 3 years ago, I lay in my bed at Huntington Hospital knowing that it was my last night alone. The next day, Dr. Hartford planned to deliver Hermie and Iggy and I remember laying there overwhelmed with it all. Twelve weeks I had been in that bed, twelve weeks of tears, worry, anger, joy, loneliness. I was so ready for them to be born, anxious to be out of the hospital and to meet the two creatures who had been doing somersaults in my belly for so long.

I've been thinking back to that night a lot lately. I was so wired, I could not sleep so they gave me Benedryl and Ambien. I kept the TV on for a while in hopes it would lull me to sleep. A few days later, I would not be able to sleep for other reasons, but as I think back on that night, I realize I was an entirely different person.

Someone, no one I know, once said that you don't truly become a woman until you become a mother. I scoff at this every time I hear it said again. What a ridiculous statement! But I now realize, that for me, it was absolutely true. I was still an immature person. I may have been 35, but I was not an adult. I did not truly become one until I sat there next to my too too tiny babies and watched them fight for breaths in the NICU. The night before they were born, I just wanted them born for selfish reasons. I was tired. I was done. I wanted out. I wanted to meet them. When I eventually got to be there with them in the NICU, I felt like the worst person on the planet and kept saying over and over again that I should have fought to keep them in my belly a bit longer.

I've been looking at pictures and videos of them often over the past few days. They are not babies and it makes me so sad. I hate to even call them toddlers. They don't "toddle." They run. They jump. They wrestle. They fight. They sing. They love.

I am so scared to see them grow up. I am worried that they won't want to cuddle with me or want to share hugs and kisses. I am worried because I know this can't be this wonderful forever (despite all of the crazy 3-year old drama they are inflicting on us).

I guess I'm just going to have to record every moment in my memory and remember that this won't last forever. So today, as they spent their last day as 2 year olds, we baked birthday cupcakes and I let them frost every one, no matter how many times they put their butter knife into their mouths and then into the frosting. We went to Target and had ICEEs and I rigged the hose so that it dribbled water onto their slide so that they could have their very own water slide. We rolled around on the floor and giggled because Lukie had a seriously stinky booty and he wouldn't let me change his Pull-Up. We shared kisses and hugs and made up songs.

What a such a wonderful way to celebrate the last day of being 2! I shall never forget it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Seriously Un-Cool

Tiny Town is closed.

What? Why? The Horror!

I just discovered it and now it is gone. I can only blame the Recession and the owner of the building who no doubt raised the rent or some anonymous parent who sued them and bankrupted them. Who knows what happened?

We are devastated. We had to talk about it all the way home.

"Mommy, Tiny Town is closed?"

"Yes, Gracie."

"Forever, Mommy?"

"Yes, closed forever, Lukie."

"Why is it closed, Mommy?"

"I don't know, Gracie."

"Did they go somewhere, Mommy?"

"I don't think so, Lukie. They just closed."

"Oh, no, Mommy! No more jumpies!"

"I know, Love. It will be okay."

"But Mommy, where are the jumpies?"

"Mommy, can we play at Tiny Town?"

"No, sweetheart, they are closed."

"Forever?"

"Yes, forever."

Silence.

"Mommy, can we go to Old McDonalds?"

"And get chicken nuggets and trench tries?"

"Yeah! And play on the climbing thing and go down the slide?!"

"I'm going to have dip with my chicken nuggets."

"Me, too!"


Maybe they won't miss Tiny Town as much as I will, after all.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

On this day 3 years ago...

I've begun counting down the days until Gracie and Lukie turn 3.  None of the other ages have been as hard for me as 3 is.  For some reason, Gracie and Lukie turning 3 is a major milestone for them and the sign of the end of an era for me.  They are truly no longer babies.  I've said that before, but now...Now it is real.

On this day, 3 years ago, a major milestone happened in our pregnancy.  On this day, we began the countdown to Gracie and Lukie's birth.  We were no longer trying to keep them in my belly to help them grow, instead, we were just counting days until they would be born.

Here's a link to the post I wrote that day.  August 19, 2007.

The next few weeks are going to be very hard for me!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Things heard in the bathtub

"The dog was afraid of the water!  The DOG was a-FRAID of the WATER! The DAAAWWWG was afraid of the WAAATER! And then he ran AWAY!"

"Lukie, no splashing Mommy. You'll get her all wet!"
"Gwacie, I can get Mommy wet.  Daddy said I could."

"Twinkle, Twinkle Chicken Nugget!  How I wonder how you NUGGET!"

"Mommy, I want to watch the movie with the mean lizards and the cow with the horns and the cow is dead! And the mean lizards try to eat the babies."

"Mommy, Gwacie threw water on me."
"Then don't throw water on Gracie, Lucas."
"But I have to throw water on Gracie."
"Why?"
"Because I have to!"

"The doggie on the bus goes round and round, round and round.  The doggie on the bus goes round and round, all through the town."

Dear Gracie and Lukie,

I haven't written you a letter in a very long time, but today, I had an overwhelming sense that I wanted to write one to share with you how amazing it feels to be your Mommy.

The past few months have been super challenging. You are definitely about to turn 3, your impulsivity, your independence, your determination, your silliness, and your struggles with potty training are all minute by minute reminders! As frustrating as some of it can be, I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.

You see, if I did not get to chase you around to change your clothes, get your shoes on, help you put your books away, struggle to find foods you would actually eat, and deal with tantrums, I would not also get the AMAZING hugs and kisses that are so much a part of our days. I would not get the smiles, often accompanied by giggles, or the funny dances, the silly songs you sing, or the requests for pushing you on swings. I wouldn't get the spontaneous "I love you, Mommy!" declarations or the cuddles that make my heart happy.

I would not get any of those things, because I would not have YOU! You, Gracie and Lukie, are the two best things I have done in my life. I used to think I would be crazy to bring children into the wacky world we live in. Now, I know that children are by far the best blessings I can give to the world. You make the world a better place. You make my life better.

Daddy looked at me last night and said, "I can't believe they're ours" for about the hundred billionth time. At that moment, you were splashing water outside of the tub and had already soaked me. I looked at him (I'm sure there was huge amounts of frustration in my eyes), took a deep breath, and said, "Me neither. We are so lucky."

And we are. So very lucky!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Heaven on Earth if you are almost 3 AND if you are the Mommy of said 3 year olds

I have a few weeks off before I have to go back to work and it has been important to me to break up our routine and go out and about.  We went to Sea World on Monday to use our Buy A Day Get a Year Free passes.  We did all the things we did not get to do the last time we went and we had a lot of fun.  Gracie and Luke love the dolphins, seal lions, penguins, and the Sesame Street Place Play area.  They love Sea World, but let's face it.  Other than the Sesame Streat Place, it's mostly walking, sitting, and looking.

We had plans on Thursday to ride the train with Nana, but she decided it would be too much for her after her long vacation to take 6 grandchildren on a train.  No worries!  I had another suggestion:  Adventure City!  I did not know that Adventure City existed until last year, but when I researched it, I was completely excited.  It is a small theme park geared toward little kids under 48 inches.  It has 10 rides, a petting zoo, a Thomas the Tank Engine area, and a rock climbing wall.  Best of all, it is only $13.95 per person and free parking.  When I suggested it to Nana, she agreed it would be a great place to go.

We met Nana at Adventure City in the morning and played all day.  It was busy in the morning because of all the day camp kids, but when they left, it was like having Disneyland all to ourselves!  I think Brandon, Nate, Gracie and Luke rode the Rescue Cars about 6 or 7 times.  Every time I put their seat belts on I would remind them not to drive crazy.  They loved that and would pretend to spin the steering wheel really fast.  They rode in a different rescue vehicle each time.  Brandon loved the fire engine the most.

We flew on the air planes, rode the train around the park, rode the hand crank trains, and ran around in the "rain room."  We rode in air balloons (that scared Gracie to death).  Sadly, we discovered that Gracie and Lukie could not ride the roller coaster until they are 3 years old. 

We took a few breaks, taking advantage of super reasonable food prices.  Everyone's favorite food was popcorn, but we also had Dino Chicken Nuggets, salads, and ICEEs.
Nathan ran from ride to ride chatting up a storm with me.

Lukie hid his ICEE from everyone so that they would not try to drink it.

Can you see the Blue Raspberry?

Bianca asked if we could buy more popcorn.

Gracie looked ready to take a nap after lunch.
We had a tremendous day and can't wait to go back again!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tiny Town, the second visit!

We've decided that Tiny Town is amazing! Gracie and Luke have so much fun there that we have to remind ourselves it costs $14 for our family to visit each time. They simply love the bouncies, the toys they don't have at home, and all of the new friends they meet.

They are on the go the entire time they are at Tiny Town. They especially love to climb on things.

Can you find the Twinsie in this picture?

See? It's Lukie! This is the Rescue Vehicle Jumpy Town. I could go on for hours about this one.

They like to race and try to take the small push cars on the slides. But, mostly, they just like to slide.

Of course, it is fun to try to drive the inflatables, but you don't really get anywhere.

Then, again, does it really matter when you are having this much fun?

Can we come back soon, Mommy?

Of course we can, my loves! But I need to save up another $14 first!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And then came yesterday...

And I jinxed us again.

Not only did Gracie have an accident at the park...on the playground equipment...but she had a meltdown of epic proportions last night.

I'm at a loss about this parenting thing.  Just when I think we are making progress, everything falls apart and we take 3 steps backward.  It's enough to drive me to drink...if I drank...but I usually don't.

I just really wish there were an instruction manual that worked.  Everyone has ideas and they are all great, but they only work about 3% of the time.

Graciela and Lucas,
If you are adults and reading this, I was at a serious low point when I wrote this.  You think you had it bad?  I felt like crying at every moment.  If you have kids, you'll feel this way too.  This isn't a threat or a wish that bad things will happen to you.  It is just a fact.  Parenting is hard and toddlers are crazed.  And they drive you to drink alcohol or Starbucks, whichever is closest.

Love, Mommy
I've decided to give myself a bit of a break.  Barnes and Noble is giving free chocolate to people who bring their nooks in.  Godiva and I have a date.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Because I love that I'm sharing my daughter's toilet training with the world

A few days ago, I was ready to toss all of the panties and go buy a huge box of Pull Ups at Sam's Club.  Saturday, Gracie went through 4 pairs of panties and two swimsuit bottoms.  I was so frustrated with her!  If you ask her where she is supposed to go potty, she will tell you in her sweet little voice: "In the toilet."  If you ask her where she is supposed to go poop, she will tell you in an even sweeter voice: "In the toilet!"  But Saturday, it was like she forgot everything about everything. 

Looking  back, I think she was really tired.  She never takes naps at home, but I managed to get both of them to take a nap for over an hour and a half on Saturday.  It is possible that she was so tired she just wasn't aware enough of her body.

So yesterday, when we planned to go to Sea World, I was on the verge of putting her in Pull Ups.  But when given the option, Gracie said she wanted her panties.  We packed extra panties and shorts, just in case, and headed off.  Gracie promised that she wouldn't have an accident and she was right!

I helped her by taking her every hour or so and watching the fluids she drank.  When she had a lot to drink, I would ask her to take me to the bathroom and, every time, she told me she would go first.  I won't give specifics, because I'm not that interested in embarrassing Little Whoville, but she did all of her business in the toilet yesterday and never had an accident!  She was such a big girl and we made sure to tell her how proud we were of her last night.  We had high fives, hugs, and lots of "We're so proud of yous!"

This morning, our fantastic almost three year old, woke up with a dry Pull Up for the very first time.  I'm really hoping this is a sign of the end of all diapers!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Surprise from Daddy

Daddy surprised us today by taking us to a fun indoor play place called Tiny Town.  Tiny Town is a lovely air conditioned play area with a huge jumpy, inflated climbing area, and tons of toddler toys.  It cost us just $14 and we got to play for 3 hours.  The awesome news is that you can show up at 10 am, pay the fee and play all day long.  You can even leave and come back without playing any additional fees AND you can bring your own food, no charge!

Gracie and Luke had a fantastic time.   They played and played, made new friends, climbed, played.  In the end, it was Lukie who was done first.  He was clearly tired and told us it was time to go.  Gracie was not ready to go and gave us a fight.  It wasn't pretty, but we decided to let her have her moment in her car seat as we drove to Baskin Robbins.  There, Daddy treated us to chocolate ice cream and Gracie and Luke finished every single bite of their ice cream.  It was a first.  They really enjoyed it!

 
We can't wait to go back to Tiny Town again!

Well, who'da thunk it?

The message about eating seems to have been heard loud and clear. Ever since Gracie and Luke refused to eat and we put them to bed without letting them have any more food, they have eaten almost everything we've put in front of them. We've limited snacks and limited television when they get home from pre-school and that has really helped.

I know I joked about it in the last post, but I did read the BabyCenter.com article on finicky eaters and learned some interesting things. Two things really resonated with me: 1) portion size and 2) the amount of choices we give them. I started paying attention to how much food we were putting on their plates and it was HUGE. It might be the right amount for an adult, but it was enough for at least 3 toddlers. It was the first change I made. We started putting less of each food item on their plates two nights ago and have had real success with them finishing more. The other thing, which is contrary to everything we were told a year ago, is to give them fewer choices on their plates.

Fewer? They just told us to give them lots of things to choose from!

This parenting thing can get super confusing. The article says that some kids can't choose when given too many items on their plates. This is an argument reflected by John Rosemond about toys. His has stated that when children have too many toys, they don't play with any of them because it is so overwhelming. It makes sense, but so did the "give them lots of things to choose from" argument.

We tried that on Tuesday night with lots of success. I bought a roasted chicken from the store and served it with raw broccoli and ranch dip. It was devoured! When they started playing, I reminded them that if they wanted to play that dinner was over. They both sat right back down to finish their food.

On Wednesday, Daddy made dinner and got a little excited with the food choices. They finished some of the food, but not all of it, and left a lot of food. When they started getting up and playing instead of eating their dinner, we declared dinner over and had them take their plates to the kitchen. We told them that if they asked for more food, they could finish their dinners, and left the plates for them to come back to. An hour later, Gracie and Lukie started asking for apples and I reminded them about their dinner. They switched to asking for cookies and again, I reminded them about their dinner. They did not like this at all. I did eventually let them each have one cookie once they had their jammies on, but limited it to just one despite repeated requests. We will try going back to less food and fewer choices tonight. I'm really thinking that less is the key here.

We've had some definite steps forward and I feel inspired to continue begin stricter with them about food.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eat or don't. It's up to you, kid.

There are picky eaters in the world.  Many of them.  I just never thought my kids would be some of them.  When it was just Gracie, Lukie, and me in the apartment last year, they would eat most everything I put in front of them with some exceptions. Recently, however, they have really been testing my patience.

Things Gracie will eat:
turkey, cheese, crackers
chicken, green beans, and noodles from Panda Express
bacon
pizza
plain chicken
cheese
yogurt

and, sometimes, she'll eat:
apples
lettuce
quesadillas
carrots
cookies
milk/chocolate milk
corn
melon
bread
tomato

Lukie will pretty much eat anything we put in front of him, except when he decides he doesn't want to.  Yeah.  He's fun like that.

We don't really have any control over lunch at day care.  We have them help us make their lunches, but when they are at school, they eat only what they want to.  All of the rest of their food comes home in their lunch boxes.  Of course, it would be great if we would make them eat what was left over, but not very safe given it hasn't been in the refrigerator.  Dinner has been the real challenge.  We make dinner.  We put it on their fun plates.  Lukie will eat most of it, especially if it has meat and noodles or meat and rice.  Gracie...She pushes it around and refuses to eat.  Then, she'll ask for crackers or cheese an hour later.

A couple of nights ago, I had enough.  I resolved to let them go hungry if they would not eat what we put in front of them.  So, last night, Gracie said she wanted turkey, cheese, and crackers and Lukie agreed.  I made each of them turkey, cheese, crackers, and added some sliced tomatoes and carrots. 

To say that they ate little of it is an overstatement.  Gracie threw her cheese at Lukie and said that she didn't want it.  Neither of them ate the turkey.  Lukie ate some of his tomatoes and that was it.  Daddy and I told them that they either at their dinner or they would go to bed.  Lukie turned his plate over and dropped his food on the floor.  So, that was it.  At 5:15 pm, they went into the bath tub, and were in their room, in their jammies, at 5:45 pm.  Daddy and I read a few books to them and, then, at 6:30 pm, the lights went off.  There was a lot of crying and kicking of feet, requests for bananas, etc., but Daddy held firm.  They were asleep a little while later and, thankfully, slept through the night.

This morning, they had cereal and when they started to play instead of eat, I asked if they were done and reminded them that if they did not eat their cereal, there was nothing else to eat.  This got them both to sit down and finish a little more.  I don't expect it to be super easy, but I'm sticking with this method.  I thought about trying something flashy and fun to get them to eat, but why?  If you don't eat what we make, then you don't eat.  It's a simple equation, one that Gracie and Lukie need to learn quickly.

Here's something funny:  I started this post about two hours ago and just got an email from BabyCenter.com about finicky eaters.  Let's see if the "experts" can help with the issue.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Our First Trip to the Library

On Friday, I planned a special trip for Gracie and Luke. We have a number of books at home, but we've read them all. Multiple times. Gracie and Lukie love, LOVE, to read and so I decided to take them to the library. When I picked them up from school, we talked about the library and what we would get to do there; how to use quiet voices and how many books we could bring home. In hindsight, I'm very glad that I had that conversation with them. Otherwise we would have brought home about 20 books!

Gracie was at home from the moment we arrived. In fact, if Lukie hadn't needed a diaper change, I suspect Gracie could have sat at her little table for an hour or more. She loved looking at the books and sitting at the table in the Children's section. I think she read 5 books in the 15 minutes we were there.



Alas, Lukie did need a diaper change, rather badly as it turned out, so we walked to the counter and they each put their book up for the librarian to scan. They were so excited! We will definitely be going back soon!

Cool Pool, Hot Day

We spent $20 on an inflatable pool and hand pump.  It was the best $20 we've spent in forever!

This video is from a few weeks ago, but it shows just how much Lucas loves to be adventurous.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lukie and the Flamin' Hot Cheetos

Clearly, Lucas is his father's son. Daddy used to search for the hottest salsas and peppers. He once ate a fresh habanero pepper like it was candy. He has issues with heat. He likes his food hot, hot, hot!

That's not to say that I don't like my food spicy, too! One of my favorite snacks is Flamin' Hot Cheetos. When I first started eating them, years ago, they were so spicy, I had to keep milk nearby to cut the heat. When I was pregnant with Gracie and Lukie, they were one of the few chip flavors in the vending machines at the hospital. I would buy a Dr. Pepper and a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos. I was a happy girl (despite being stuck in the hospital).

Lucas has inherited our love for spicy foods. His current favorite, like mine, is Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Recently, we were at the park and he snagged a bag from my backpack.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

If I told you how many unfinished blog posts I have

I have about 15 unfinished blog posts just waiting for me to share them with the world. Hopefully, I'll finish them soon. In the meantime, Aunt Bec caught these pictures of Gracie and Lukie at Rainforest Cafe as we celebrated Bianca's 7th birthday:


Can you believe these two? I feel like I blinked and they grew up all of a sudden! They don't look like babies (even though their favorite past time is to pretend to be babies) and that makes me sad. They are going to be big kids soon. Waaaa.

Speaking of Big Kids, Bianca as 7 is just something I cannot comprehend. She was 4 when we took this picture:
Gracie and Bianca
That tiny little baby is Gracie Lu Who. Do you remember her being that small?

And what about this one at my hospital baby shower:
Photobucket

It just amazes me how quickly time passes.