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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Friday, January 22, 2010

Operation Bye-Bye Binky - A Success!

I'm here to raise my hand and say: "My toddlers are binky free!"

I'll admit, I thought it would be awful. I thought bedtime would be a battle and naps would completely disappear. I thought the world would come tumbling down around us. And it didn't.

The first few days were really tough. Last Saturday made me want to cry and tear my hair out. The couple of nights we've been up for a few hours around 2 am made me want to cry and lock myself in my room.

But, every day, they've asked fewer and fewer times for their binkies. Then, yesterday, nothing. No mention of the word "binky" at all! And today, nope! No mention of binkies!

I think that qualifies as a success!

What I find most amazing about saying Bye-bye to the binkies is the change that has overcome Gracie and Luke. They were chatty before, but I couldn't understand most of it around the binkies. They played before, but were calmer and more likely to sit than play in the house. Now, they are talking all the time and running around our living room like crazy. They hop, skip, jump, play hide-and-seek. They smile and laugh and sing and read books to us and make monster sounds. They seem to have more energy and more joy.

Were the binkies really holding them back? Were they keeping Gracie and Luke from talking and singing and becoming? It frightens me to think so, to think that because we waited so long to boot the binkies from our home that they might in some way hindered Gracie and Luke from becoming who they are meant to be.

At this point, Daddy and I are blissfully happy to say, "Bye-bye, binkies! You were helpful while we needed you, but we are glad to see you go!"

So, Bye-bye binkies!

And good riddance!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Black Mail Picture for Lucas

My boy is ALL boy. He is rough. He is a daredevil.


He is in touch with his feminine side.

This boy is rockin' the rain gear and tutu. Oh, yeah.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Operation Bye-Bye Binky - Sunday Update

We're here! We've survived!

Lukie and Gracie are going to sleep fine at night. Frankly, I'm surprised it is going so well. They are mostly staying asleep, but are waking up at 5 am.

They have asked a few times about the binkies. We remind them that they are broken and they threw them away. It has been taking a few times of reminding, but they are slowly internalizing the fact that the binkies are gone.

I'm glad we gave them the opportunity to decide to throw the binkies away. It made the process something they chose to do. Mommy and Daddy did not take them away. They chose to throw the binkies away. They had control. It has been incredibly helpful.

Gracie and Luke spent the day with Grandma and Grandpa. They were exhausted by the end of the day. Tomorrow, I have the day off from work and we are going to see how bad the rain is. We may actually go somewhere!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Operation Bye-Bye Binky - Saturday Update

Gracie and Lukie slept very well until about 2:45 am at which time Gracie woke up and started to cry. When she was still crying 5 minutes later, I went into her room to comfort her and put her back into bed. Crazy Kid! She rushed past me and was in our bed faster than I've ever seen. I decided to let her stay and about 5 minutes later, Lukie started to cry.

So, both Twinsies got into bed with us. BIG MISTAKE! HUGE!

At 4:05 am, I was finally done with wriggling and twisting and I took them back to their bedroom. There was much screaming and crying and general unhappiness. I stayed until everyone was back to sleep and then I tried to go back to sleep myself. We were up again at 6:45, well, Gracie and I were.

We spent the day on a road trip with Nana and it was awful. Nana was wonderful. The Twinsies, not so much. The lack of binkies coupled with traveling in Nana's car meant that Gracie and Luke did not nap. At all. Our trip to Ventura and our trip home included screaming, kicking, crying and tears on the parts of Gracie, Lukie and me.

"Go away, Momma!"
"No, Momma! No like you!"

Whenever we weren't in the car, things were great. We visited a beach and I took a lot of great pictures.







We made sand piles, walked with doggies, scaled walls and threw rocks (no matter how many times I told them not to.)

Saturday night, they passed out in record time for Daddy. There were a few questions about binkies, but a reminder about what happened seemed to calm them. They well Saturday night, but did wake a few times. I had to go in to calm Gracie, but they did it! They survived.

Not sure if I will or if my ears will ever be the same, though.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Operation Bye-Bye Binky Commences - Day One

I can honestly say that I do not know how many binkies Gracie and Lukie have had in their short lives. We had a huge stash just in case we lost some. Remember the binky drawer?

Daddy and I decided recently that the time to say goodbye to the binkies had come. We've been planning and planning, but never really got around to ending the binky usage. Last weekend, we agreed that Friday, January 15th was as good a day as any.

Tonight, while Gracie and Luke were eating chicken nuggets, french fries, dip, and chocolate milk, I went into the kitchen and snipped off the ends of all of the binkies and placed them back inside the cupboard. I think I got all of the known binkies in our house. I can never be sure, though. Every time I think we have all of the binkies, one turns up under a bed or in a toy box. We will have to keep our eyes open for rogue binkies.

After bath time, we went through our usual routine of diapers, jammies and binkies. I set one altered binky out for each of the Twinsies and waited for them to ask for one. A few minutes later, I heard:

"My binky. I want my binky," from Luke.
"Here you go, buddy," I replied and handed it to him. I glanced over at Daddy to see his expression and we just raised our eyebrows at each other.
"My binky. I want my binky too," came from Gracie.

They each sucked on their binkies a few times, but Luke was the first to realize that something was amiss.

"Look-it!" he said. "Look-it!" He held his binky out and looked at it.
"What is it, buddy?" Daddy asked.
"Look-it, my binky!"
"Oh, no!" I said, "Your binky is broken! Oh, no!"
Gracie joined in. "Look-it! Look at my binky!"
"Is it broken, too?"
"Yes!"
"Oh, no. If it is broken, we need to throw it away."
"Throw it away?"
"Yep, we need to throw it away." I walked them over to the trash can. "Do you want to throw them away here?"
"Okay, I throw it away." And they did just that. In the next second, they asked for another one.

We went through all of the binkies in the cupboard. Gracie and Luke tested every binky we had, declaring each and every one "broken." Every "broken" binky was tossed in the trash until there were none left.

"All gone. Okay, let's go read some books," I told them.

We read Where the Wild Things Are in Spanish and a Winnie the Pooh book. Occasionally, Lukie or Gracie would say "It's broken, Mommy. My binky is broken." I would tell them they were right and that was why they put them in the trash.

When it was time to turn off the light, we had a moment when Luke refused to go to get into bed without his binky. I reminded him that they were in the trash and he told me he wanted to see them. Gracie and Lukie and I walked back to the kitchen and they opened the trash can to look at their binkies. There was another chorus of "broken" and we went back to the bedroom.

We tucked them in and Daddy settled in to sing the "Elephant Song." Forty minutes later, he came out, telling me that they were both asleep. So far, it has been an hour and a half and no sounds.

The true test will be how tomorrow and tomorrow night go.

Wish us luck!

The Blame Game

"Moooommmmmmmmyyyyyyyy, Becki hit me!"

"Moooommmmmmmmyyyyyyyy, Jennifer told me to shut uuuuuuuuppppp!"

There was a constant litany of "Moooommmmmmmmyyyyyyy" tales in our house growing up. One of us was always tattling on the other. We'd blame each other for everything: water on the floor, stealing stuffed animals, drawing in our picture books (that was mostly me, but I digress).

I thought I had a few years before Gracie and Luke started the Blame Game. But, when daycare/school started, they started encountering other children who heard all kinds of things at home. They hear all that whiney, yucky talk and they inherit it. I still remember the first time Gracie sing-songed: "Mommy, look at hi-im!" and pointed at her brother. Of course, 5 minutes later, Lukie sing-songed it too: "Mommy, look at hi-im!"

"Gracie's a girl, Lukie. It's look at her, not him."

That went on for about a month. I tried ignoring it, but it was SO obnoxious. I've noticed that the dreaded phrase has not been spoken recently and I hope it never comes back.

The new thing is blaming each other for things. You know. It wasn't me, it was her?

Me: "Ew! Somebody went poop. Lukie, did you go poop?"
Lukie: "No. Gracie went poop."
Me: "Nope, I'm pretty sure it is you that is stinking up the house."
Lukie: "No! Gracie!"
Me: "Gracie, did you go poop?"
Gracie: "No! Lukie! Lukie went poop!"

You can see how we go around and around about this. If I did not just grab a child and check their diaper, we'd be there all day! It's not just about poop.

Me: "Oh, no! Look at this mess! What happened?"
Gracie: "Lukie did it."
Me: "Lukie threw all of your toys all over your room?"
Lukie: "NO! Gracie!"
Gracie: "Lukie did it!"
and so on....

I'm sure this is just a small portrait of what the next 16 and a half years will look like.

"Who painted the wall?"
"Lukie did!"
"Gracie did!"

"Who ran over Mommy's flowers?"
"Gracie did!"
"Lukie did!"

"Who drove the car and did not put gas in it?"
"Lukie did!"
"Gracie did!"

"Whose actions led to World Peace?"
"Mine!"
"Mine!"

That's what I thought.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On Why Strollers are Evil

Strollers are a necessary evil. When you are a twin mom, you rely on them to contain your children whenever you go anywhere. They open quickly, restrain your children, and carry all of your junk. They are awesome (especially if they have cup holders!). They are also huge, take up an enormous amount of room in the back of the car, get filthy from spilled things, and can be unwieldy. See? A necessary evil!

A few months ago, I took both of my strollers (a single and a double) out of my car.  It was amazing having the space in my trunk available to me!  I forgot how much you can fit back there.  Then, the last time we went to the zoo, I borrowed Daddy's stroller because it was clean.  My strollers have been sitting out in the car port getting dirty.  So, into my car went the 3 pieces of Daddy's stroller.  I like the stroller; it has lots of space and is easy to push.  However, it is still in my car.  Sitting there.  Taking up space.  Since the stroller has been hogging the back of my car, any bags have had to be evenly distributed around the sides.  Most bags stay where I put them, but several have fallen behind the stroller, their contents disappearing from view.  I've been very careful to check all around the stroller to make sure nothing, especially perishables, is left in my car.

You probably know what is coming.

Over the past week or so, I've noticed a strange smell in my car.  At first, I thought it was a diaper.  The smell seemed to come and go and I wasn't too worried about it.  That is, until Monday morning.  When I got in my car, it smelled like someone had died in my car.  It's an unmistakable smell.  If you've ever driven through Mexico, where animals die on the side of the road and are left to rot, you know that terrible smell.  Horrified, I opened my trunk to see if the smell was indeed coming from the trunk.  I searched for a few minutes, moving the stroller and finally, stuck my hand down into a bag behind the stroller.  My hand encountered something plastic and I grasped a hold of it to pull it from the bag.  As it came into my line of vision, I flinched.  I could not believe what was in my hand.

What was it?

On December 27, I went grocery shopping to buy supplies for a chili dinner for our friends.  I bought two packages of ground turkey and one tube of ground beef.  When I unloaded everything from the car, I was in a hurry and did not check as carefully as I could have.  I remember briefly wondering where the tube of ground beef was as I browned the ground turkey for the chili, but then it left my mind.

The item I pulled from my trunk was indeed the tube of ground beef fifteen days after I purchased it.  A tube of beef that had been trapped in my car through very cold temperatures and several days of 80 degree weather.  The smell was awful.  Even more disturbing was the softball sized air bubble distending from the side of the package!  I walked it as carefully and quickly as possible to the trash can (thank goodness it was trash day) and threw it in.  I used several wipies to scrub my hands and I still felt dirty.

Since then, my car has not had any other smells emanating from it.  I can't help but blame the whole incident on that huge stroller.  It is the stroller's fault that I almost had an exploded package of ground beef in my car.  Can you imagine if it had exploded?  Oh, eeeeewwwwww!

Strollers.  Necessary.  Evil.

Monday, January 4, 2010

How Santa Found Us

Cousin Bianca was quite concerned when she found out that we don't have a chimney.

"How will Santa find you?" she asked me. "How will he get inside?"

To the rescue came a letter from Santa. In it, there was a ton of confetti for us to sprinkle on the grass so that Santa could find us. Sadly, it never made it past the front porch.



Sorry for the wobbliness of the camera!

Some new hair styles

I've been experimenting with different hair styles for Gracie and Luke. One morning before Christmas, Gracie let me French Braid her hair:

This picture is in the afternoon after school! Her hair stayed in all day!

On Christmas, Lukie's hair was a mess. Aunt Bec and Auntie Ten Ten created this for Lukie:
So handsome!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Visit to the Zoo with Cousins

Just a quick moment to share a fun picture from our trip on December 18th to the LA Zoo.

We took Mariah (Tio Joey's daughter) to the Zoo and met Auntie Ten Ten and her crew there.  We saw reindeer and the line-yons (lions) and so much more!

Here's a quick picture taken as we entered the park:

Can you tell that Gracie was not happy to be in the stroller?