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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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Daddy's home!  All of his tests came back negative and his doctors took very good care to test everything possible.  They think the chest pain and pressure he had was due to a strained muscle from a fall he had last week combined with his use of crutches. They believe he will be completely fine in a week or two.

Daddy came home Friday night.  He's had a few rough days with some nausea, but seems to be much better this morning. Gracie and Lukie are totally happy to have their daddy home.  They dog piled on him yesterday morning when they found him in our bed and keep talking about him to me.

We may have been fine on our own for a few days, but we definitely need him around us.  We miss him when he is gone.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Back in the hospital he goes

Daddy is in the hospital again.  He was having chest pains yesterday and was taken by ambulance to the ER.  So far, he is fine, but the pressure isn't going away.  He's had several tests which have come back normal and is having a procedure this morning to check and see if there are any blockages in his arteries.

I was expecting Gracie and Luke to be a mess last night and in some ways they were.  But for the majority of the time, the three of us were fine.  I don't know if I should be happy about that or sad.

Anyway, we are hoping Daddy will be home today or tomorrow and feeling much better.  Please keep him in your prayers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Today's Score: Twinsies 298 - Mommy and Daddy 0

They're winning.
How do I know?
They whine. They cry. They throw themselves on the floor. They run away.
They get what they want. Because it is easier that way.
I don't know how it got like this. We were doing really well. Then, it seemed like overnight our pleasant Twinsies turned into mean talking, hitting, whining, and generally unpleasant 2 year-olds.
Daddy and I have started to sound like the parents we never wanted to be. We yell, we threaten, we use time-out as a punishment instead of a time to step back. Everything is a battle and we are weary.

Just like with everything else in our lives, we know what we are supposed to do, we know what we are supposed to say and yet, we don't. Why is that? John Rosemond, in his book, Making the Terrible Twos Terrific, says that the battle we do now to establish our role as the parents and the Twinsies role as the children will have long lasting effects. In fact, he says that if we don't establish our role as the "alpha dog", if you will, then the Twinsies' teenage years will be the most horrific of experiences. He isn't talking about us beating them down to always do our will because they are scared of us. Rather, he is talking about them doing what we ask, behaving as we ask, because they know it is what they are expected to do.

So, I sit here now, weary, heartsick, and feeling beaten. Why does this have to be such a battle? Why can't they be good listeners? Why can't I find the right words to inspire them to listen to me? Why do I have to fail at every turn?

Because really, they aren't winning. We are all losing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The challenge of having a Daddy with health problems

For most of the time Gracie and Luke have been alive, Daddy has been sick or laid up because of his leg.  There is something poignant about 2 year-olds understanding that Daddy has to go to the doctor every Saturday.  They are especially protective of their Daddy.  They ask him if he is okay,

"Are you okay, Papa?  Okay?  Okay." is heard often around here.

This week, Daddy started to develop a problem with his short leg.  All of a sudden, he developed a huge pocket of fluid on his knee.  The doctors say that they could drain it, but are worried about infection.  Instead of getting smaller, it keeps getting bigger and bigger.  It has gotten so big, that he can't put his prosthetic on.  He's been getting around the house using his wheelchair and, until Friday, was getting to and from his car using his crutches. 

Friday, Ed picked up Gracie and Lukie from school.  He used his crutches to get inside and one of the teachers helped him get Gracie and Luke into the car and secured.  When they arrived home, he got Gracie out of the van and started around the front of the van to get Lukie out of the other side.  Somehow, he lost his balance and fell hard onto the ground.  He lay under our carport, hidden from the street by the van, hurt and wondering how he was going to get up.  Gracie was upset and came to check on him. 

When she realized that he could not get up, she came into the house to look for me.  I wasn't there, in fact, I was more than 25 minutes away.  For some reason, she grabbed a phone and brought it to him, "You call Momma, Papa."  Every time, I think of this, I just want to hug her.  She knew Daddy was in trouble and she knew Mommy could help.  Ed's cell phone, usually in his pocket, is across the country being fixed, so having that phone was critical. 

The rest of the story is pretty boring.  Daddy called me, we both started calling every number we had of people who live close to us.  Finally, someone at the guard shack answered the phone and called our neighbor, Linda.  Linda came next door and helped Daddy into a chair.  She let a crying, screaming Lukie out of the van and got Gracie and Lukie to go into the backyard where they could play safely until I could get home. 

Daddy and I are so lucky to have Twinsies who are so aware of his condition and are so smart to figure out how to find help.  I hate that they have to be aware of Daddy's sickness and his frailty.  However, I am proud of them both for being so very giving and caring.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nana's Birthday at Fortune Inn

Nana's birthday is March 10, but it falls in the middle of the week this year. Normally, we would meet her for her birthday and go where ever she wanted to go for dinner. She's been wanting to go to Fortune Inn in Glendale for more than 2 years. She keeps mentioning it and we never seem to go. That is, until tonight!

We met Nana and Gracie and Lukie's cousins Hailey, Bianca and Brandon for a dinner at Fortune Inn. All the same waiters are there! It's amazing, considering they have been there for the past 10 years I have eaten there.

We ordered Hong Kong Chow Mein, Smoke Flavored Beef (OMG!), Mongolian Chicken, Broccoli Chicken, and something else that Daddy wanted, but I forgot the name of. All 8 of us had a ton of food and we were very happy.


Gracie and Lukie especially enjoyed the Hong Kong Chow Mein.


Nana had chocolate raspberry gelato for her birthday cake and we ordered a mango coconut to share.  We passed them around, each taking a bite until they were all gone.

Gracie and Luke were starting to get antsy (we'd been there for over 2 hours at that point), so the head waiter bribed them with lollipops.  You'd think someone gave them a huge slice of chocolate cake!



My favorite picture!




In the end, we had a great time, but Lukie was ready to go.  It's a good thing I have fast reflexes!

We had enough food leftover for lunch the next day!

Happy Birthday, Nana!  We hope you had fun!

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Day at the Zoo

Daddy and I crazily took Gracie and Lukie to the Zoo without a stroller. Cuz we're cool like that.

We had fun. We held hands. We ran after dashing two year-olds. We saw monkeys, gorillas, sleeping lions, very tall giraffes. It was great!

At one point, we sat down and had a snack.


See that bag? They finished the whole thing. All the Moms were staring at us. I know what they were thinking, "She lets them eat Cheetos?"

I don't care. They were happy.

Of course, when your son carries a fistful of Cheetos, you can expect to be judged a bit.

Unfortunately, we missed nap time. And when you miss nap time, you get this:





In the end, we planted ourselves on a bench, ate Cheetos, drank lemonade, and had this conversation.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Conversations with Gracie and Lukie

Things have been happening around here faster than a NASCAR pace car!  Everyday, I am blown away by how verbal Gracie and Luke are.  They seem to take on new words faster than I can figure out where they are coming from.  I find myself constantly wishing I had the FLIP permanently attached to my arm so that I could capture this all on film.  Alas, I keep forgetting it in the car.

Last night, Gracie and Lukie were especially verbal.  From the moment I arrived home, I was inundated with stories from their school day.  They were talking so fast that I could hardly keep up with them.  Here's what I gleened from their conversation:  Apparently, their friend, Nathan, at school, was grabbing and hurting Luke.  Lukie said, "No, Nathan!  Stop!"  Nathan would not stop, so the teacher came and put him in a time out.  Then, the teacher held Lukie and told him he would be okay and he stopped crying.  Then, Nathan came and said "Sorry" to Lukie and gave him a hug.

Do you see what I mean?  This is some crazy involved stuff!  No more, "Look, Momma!  Elmo!"  Nope.  Now, I am getting complete stories about their day and things they did.

After bath last night, Gracie (freakishly awake) recounted the entire story again for Daddy.  Daddy stood there staring at Gracie as she went on and on about how Nathan hurt Lukie and got a time out. Daddy looked at me with wide eyes.  "Don't look at me!" I said.  "She's your daughter!"  Daddy laughed because he likes to tell me very long drawn out stories and I usually lose him halfway through because I am drowsing off.

Flash forward to this morning:  Gracie woke up at the crack (well, just before the crack) of dawn.  I got her out of bed and put her in our bed so that I could go get ready for work.  When I came out of the bathroom 20 minutes later, I heard a voice in the darkness:  "Mommy, the monkeys were jumping at the zoo and they were eating leaves (she pronounces it lee-bs) and standing up!  And the lions were sleeping and the giraffes were eating leaves high in the sky!"

I turned on the light in my closet and saw Gracie Lu Who sitting up in bed brushing her hair from her eyes, wide awake and ready for the day.  After she climbed out of bed, she walked over to me and asked me what I was doing.  "I'm getting dressed, Little Who."

"What are you going to wear, Momma?"

"I don't know.  I need to pick out something.  Do you want to help?"

From there, the fashion advice started.  I should wear pink.  I should wear a dress.  I should wear "dees" shoes.

I think I have finally realized.  We are in BIG trouble.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

and Pirates! Oh My!

Apparently, monsters aren't the only thing that scares Lukie!

The other night, Daddy thought that it would be fun to capitalize on Gracie and Luke's obsession with money.  They like money.  They like playing with coins.  They especially like putting coins in their piggy banks.  So, Daddy took all of the coins he could find and scattered them all over the floor of our bedroom.  He turned off the lights and told Gracie and Luke they were going on a treasure hunt to find the buried treasure.  He handed them their flashlights and showed Gracie and Luke how to find the coins. 

Gracie was all over it!  She found 5 coins before I could even get Lukie down off of the bed.  He immediately balked.  He did not like the lights being off and he most certainly did not like looking for buried treasure. 

"Lukie, look for treasure like the pirates!"  Daddy said.  "Arrrrr!"

At this, Lukie started to cry.  He grabbed a hold of me and would not let go.  "No piwats!  No piwats!"

I turned the lights back on and showed him that there were no pirates in our room.  We had to walk through every part of the room and shine the flashlight in each nook and cranny.  After I proved there were no pirates, Lukie finally settled down.

Flash forward to tonight:  Standing in the bathtub, bubbles all over his head and body, he declared, "Momma, no monsters and no piwats!  Okay?"

"No monsters and no pirates?" I asked.  "Alright, I'll look for them."

After the bath, we went on a Monster and Pirate Hunt.  Flashlights in hand, we checked every corner, under the bed, and in the closet.

"No monsters, Lukie."

"No monsters and no piwats!  Right, Momma?" 

"That's right, Lukie.  No pirates.  Too bad that means no Johnny Depp!"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monsters

As a grown up, there are plenty of things I am afraid of. Scary drivers on the freeway frighten me. I don't like the idea of terrorists. The nightly news' recounting of home invasions scare me to death. Reports of North Korea's crazy leader make me shiver. Adults have lots of "monsters" to contend with. But when you are very little, it is the unknown that is scary. The unexplored where there are monsters lurking.

I don't remember when or where Gracie and Luke first learned the word "monster." It seems like they have been saying it for months. Lukie's favorite thing to do is growl like a monster and holdup his hands like claws. Gracie will scream (playfully) and run away. They've both watched Monster's Inc. about 150 times as of today and they love it completely. They talk about Mike, Sully and Boo all the time. When we talk about Randall, the villain, I always describe him as mean. Randall is a mean monster. Mike and Sully are nice monsters. (Wait, can you be a nice monster?) Gracie and Luke have been fine with monsters so far, but recently, nighttime and monsters seem to have taken on a whole new meaning.

I first realized things were changing when Luke started balking at bath time. Lukie loves water and he loves splashing. He started crying and running from us to keep from getting into the bath. At first, I thought it was just his attempt to avoid bedtime. But when it escalated into being afraid of book time too, I realized it had to be something bigger.

The other night, after we got them jammied up and we were cuddling in Mommy and Daddy's bed, Lukie said to us, "Momma, make the monsters go away. Go away, monsters!"

I stared at my son as if he had grown another head. Monsters? Where had that come from? I asked Lukie where the monsters were and he pointed at my half opened, dark closet. Then, everything started to click. We put their jammies on in our bedroom every night. Every night, my closet is hanging open. Every night, he has been balking at bath time and jammies.

My jog? Rid the closet of any monsters. So, I borrowed Lukies "flylight" (flashlight) and went monster hunting in the closet. I made a big show of calling for them to come out and saying, "Go away Monsters! Go play somewhere else!" It took about 5 minutes before Lukie started to look relaxed.

When I was done, I slid the huge closet door shut. "They're all gone, Lukie. No more monsters." As I reached the bed, Lukie launched himself at me.

"Thank you, Momma!" he said and gave me a very wet, slurpy kiss.

Hey, kid, anytime! And keep those kisses coming.