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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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gymnastics!

Let me start by saying that I failed in the picture department.  I wish I had them, but there were too many kids and I only had my phone.

Gracie and Lukie had their first gymnastics class today and they had so much fun!  The teacher is great with little ones and he kept them active and giggling the entire time.  They ran backward, forward, made tables out of their bodies, made bridges!, and walked on the balance beam. The class ended in the giant foam pit.  Lukie's favorite part.

They did very well for the first half of the class, but about 30 minutes in, the class became more individual and, as I expected, they started acting up.  We had had a talk about behavior before class, and we had to have another at the end.

What made me happy was their absolute joy in the class.  They loved every moment and I will never forget them trying to do the splits.  It was fantastic!  We have 3 more weeks of classes before we decide whether or not to renew.  I have a feeling I will be saving up our money to allow them to continue.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Can we get a big sister?

Among the conversations we have had in the car is one about siblings.  Gracie and Lukie are fascinated by the idea of more than two children in a family.  They are still trying to grasp the idea of siblings not necessarily being twins.  I've had to explain, more than once, about two babies in a mommy's tummy versus one.

We've also had discussions about other ways for children to come to a family.  We found our way into a conversation about adoption last week and about foster families.  They were very sad about the idea that some children don't have mommies and daddies.  They asked a lot of questions about foster families and the children.  They were very concerned about homeless children and about them having a place to sleep.

They started asking me a few days ago if they could have a sibling.  Specifically, a big sister.  I stared at them for a few minutes and then asked why they wanted one.  Here's what they said:

"Mommy, we were thinking that we could ask one of the homeless children to come be our big sister.  That way, she would have a place to live and we could take care of her and she would have food to eat.  She could also take us to the park."

"Mommy, do you think one of the homeless children that does not have a mommy or daddy would like to come live with us?"

Can your heart break while it is swelling with love?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Morning Child vs. the Non-Morning Child

Gracie is a morning child.  She is always the first to wake up and because she is loath to be awake alone, she generally wakes someone else up to keep her company.  About 60% of the time, that lucky person is me.  She'll wake up 30 minutes or an hour before I really want to be awake and crawl into bed with me.  She'll start a conversation about how she wants to go see her cousin, Bianca, or how she is going to be the pink Power Ranger for Halloween.  Sometimes, she whispers questions to me or asks me about things that have peaked her interest.  Other times, it's "Mommy, will you come to the bathroom with me?" or "Mommy, I'm hungry.  Can we go get our breakfast and watch Dora?"

Lukie, on the other hand, is not a morning person.  If Gracie is absent from the room, he will sleep for an hour, sometimes two hours more.  One time, Gracie and I decamped to the living room and I closed his bedroom door on the way.  My boy slept until 11:14 a.m.  Clearly, he needed sleep.

The 40% of the time I am not the person Gracie wakes up, it is Lucas who gets the friend in his bed.  She'll climb up his ladder to the top bunk, cuddle next to him and start her conversation.  I can never hear what they are saying, but it definitely wakes me up.  The murmur of voices and eventually the sounds of Legos and cars being played with will being me to consciousness.  I often try to pretend I don't hear it, but it does not last long.

Gracie and Lukie look forward to the weekends.  The weekends are Ssssss days.  Days that start with "S" are days we get to Sssssleep in.  We used to only make it until about 5:30 a.m., but nowadays, we often make it until 7 a.m. before I have children crawling into my bed.  School days are a little more challenging.  Kindergarten is wearing Gracie and Lukie out.  I mean, fall-asleep-as-soon as-your-head-hits-the-pillow worn out.  Monday morning, I wake up early to take a shower and then I wake them up to get ready to go.  Monday and Tuesdays, they are usually awake quickly and we can get moving.  Around Wednesday, it takes a couple of tries to get Lukie out of bed.  By Thursday, he starts to cry because he is so tired.  By Friday, I have to go back multiple times and employ Gracie to help Lukie find his slippers.

It kills me to have to get them up this way.  I wish that I did not have to drive so far for work, maybe then, they could get a few more minutes of sleep.

Tonight, Gracie has decided that we are having a slumber party.  She's chosen the living room for our sleepover. I'm predicting that they will make it until 9 p.m. before they ask me if they can sleep in their beds.  Then again, how awesome would it be for us to make the memory of sleeping together out there?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

God, Angels, and the Devil. Oh, my!

One of the reasons Daddy and I chose a Catholic school is because we wanted Gracie and Lukie to learn about God.  To be honest, on our own, we haven't done the best of jobs.  Catholic school, however, makes it a daily thing.  Every day, Gracie and Lukie learn new songs about God and the blessings we receive, they learn about the world and how God created everything.  With these lessons, of course, come questions.  More questions than I was prepared for.

To date, I have fielded questions on whether God is a man or a woman, where God is, what God looks like, whether God made the sun, Earth, and moon, and when God was born.  It has been interesting for me.  How do you take complex ideas and break them down for a 5 year old to understand?  The good news, for me at least, was that I stuck to the truth (or Catholic teachings, which ever you prefer) as much as I could.  Some people think God is a man.  Some people think God is a woman.  Others think God is just God.  He's not a man or a woman (This was Auntley!  Those B.V.M.s are so progressive!)  God is so big he is everywhere, all over the Earth.  No one knows what God looks like.  Each of us can picture God the way we would be comforted to view him.  I got creative with Creationism.  I'm a proponent of Evolution.  I think it is silly to think that the world was created in 7 days.  Rather, I believe that God started it all: the Big Bang, the development of life, etc.  However, God's version of 7 days is not like our experience of 7 days.  Seven days to God is more like billions of years to us. The explanation of when God was born was a tad trickier. Instead of trying to explain that God has no beginning and no end, I explained that I wasn't alive when God was created.  That God has lived for so long, no one knows.

It wasn't until they learned the song I've Got the Joy Joy Joy Joy Down in My Heart that things got more challenging for me.

"If the devil doesn't like it, he can sit on a tack.  Sit on a tack, sit on a tack. If the devil doesn't like it, he can sit on a tack.  Sit on a tack, sit on a tack...." (imagine this over and over)
"Mommy?" came Lukie's voice.  "Who is the devil?"
"Oh, um, the devil used to be one of God's angels."
"Why isn't he an angel any more?"
"Well, he decided that he was just as important and powerful as God. He told God that and God said, 'Nope.  I'm the Father and I am the most powerful.  I created you.'"
"Was God mad?"
"I think He was frustrated that one of His angels was trying to talk back to Him. When the devil would not change his mind, God told the devil that he had to leave Heaven and the devil was even madder.  He was so mad, that he tried to talk other people into thinking that they were better than God.  He told them that they could steal things and hurt other people. This made God sad."
"Mommy, is the devil still alive?"
"He was an angel, honey, they don't die.  He just lives in a place called hell with all of the other people and angels he convinced that they were better than God."
"Mommy?" came Gracie's voice.  "Will the devil hurt me?"
"No, baby. He won't hurt you.  The devil likes to try to talk people into doing mean things."
"Like hitting friends and being a litter bug?"
"Yes, kind of like that."
"What about stealing and killing people?"
"Most definitely.  The devil tempts people.  That means he tries to tell them that they should do mean things so that they feel better.  Even though they know that God wants us to be kind to each other, the devil convinces people to be mean."
"Mommy, will the devil try to make me mean?"
"He tries every day, sweetheart. Whenever you want to hit your friend or use mean words about them, that's the devil trying to convince you to hurt people.  But, when you choose not to, that is you deciding to fight against him.  Sometimes, your guardian angel will help you."
"What's a guardian angel?"
"Oh, it's the angel that God sent to protect you.  They watch over you and try to help you make nice and kind choices."
"Who's my angel, Mommy?" asked Lukie.
My mind worked frantically. 
"I think it's my Daddy, your Grandpa.  He's your guardian angel."
"Where is he, Mommy?"
"I'm not sure.  Maybe he is sitting on your right shoulder."
"Right here?"
"Yep, right there."
"If I pat my shoulder, will I hurt him?"
"Nope.  I don't think you can hurt an angel."
"Who's my angel, Mommy?" came Gracie's sweet little voice.
"Hmmm.  I think it is my Aunt Loretta.  She's your guardian angel."
"Is she my angel because she died?"
"I think so."
"Are the dinosaurs sitting on my other shoulder?"
"WHAT?"
"The dinosaurs," she repeated.  "Are the dinosaur angels sitting on my other shoulder?"
"Yes!" exclaimed Lukie.  "That's where they are!"

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A few days later, Gracie climbed into my lap.  "Mommy, I don't want a dead person to be my guardian angel."
"You don't?"
"No.  If you are dead, then you turn into a zombie."
I tried to take that in.
"A Zombie?"
"Yes.  I want the dinosaurs to be my guardian angels."
"OOOO-kay, then.  Why don't you let God know that?"
"Okay!"

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Daily, there is a new question about God.  I'm doing my best with them and I hope I'm not messing this thing up.

Oh, one other side effect of all this God talk and trips to Mass?  Gracie serenades us with songs from Mass every day.  Last week, it was her version of Alleluia.  Last night, for 3 straight hours, it was the Lord Have Mercy version they sing at our church.  I'm pretty sure she is not singing the right words for part of it.  I can't make any of it out.  No worries, though.  She doesn't mind.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Birthday PAR-TAY



Gracie and Lukie have long asked to go to Disneyland for their fifth birthday, but when it came to it, they just wanted a party with their friends.  We planned a great time at Scooter's Jungle in Valencia and everyone had a blast.  We purchased cupcakes with balloons and messages of "Happy Birthday" on them and a giant sheet cake on which was printed 5!  Alas, these were the only balloons at the party.  There is a worldwide shortage of Helium at the moment.  :(

Sadly, I did not get a lot of pictures at the party, but my sisters and my mom may have some pictures to share.  A great time was had by all and Gracie and Lukie have a room full of Batman, Hello Kitty, Angry Birds, and Barbie to remind them of their big day.

I leave you with this video of the best toy ever.  They were having way too much fun racing on these little scooters.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Big Bikes for Big Kids

Last night, Gracie and Lukie informed me of the following:

"Mommy," said Lukie.  " I want a big kid two wheeler bike that goes really fast!"

Gracie followed up with: "And I want a big kid two wheeler Barbie bike with a little bike for my Barbie."

This was a tad overwhelming for me.  Somehow, I thought I would wait until Saturday to give them their presents.  Instead, I left work early today, picked up Daddy and made my way to the store.  There, we found the perfect bikes: A pink Barbie bike for Gracie, complete with sparkly streamers and glitter gems that she can attach whenever she wants and a green Hot Wheels bike for Lukie, featuring a revving handle and working RPM gauge.  They were completely perfect.

I bought them and brought them home to hide them.  We had to take Gracie to the dentist about her extra baby tooth and after the dentist we finally came home.  They were a mess the entire ride.  They kept asking and asking me what I got them.  What presents did I buy?  How many?  Oh, good gravy!

We pulled into the drive way and I readied my camera.  They jumped out of the car and ran to the hiding place.  Squeals of happiness and excitement sounded in the air.  They completely loved their big kid bikes!

Lukie and his Hot Wheels bike

Moments after they discovered their bikes.

Gracie and her pink Barbie bike.
They hopped on and after only a few minutes, they started to get the hang of it.  Occasionally, they hit a point where they forgot how to move their feet or a section where the asphalt was uneven.  They could have kept going for hours if the sun hadn't gone down.

I'm so very happy we bought them these bikes!

Golden Birthday = 5!

You want to make a kid's day?  Wake them up singing "Happy Birthday" to them.  Smiles all around this morning for my two big Fives.  (We shall ignore Gracie's epic nose bleed upon waking.)

There shall be Hello Kitty and Angry Birds cupcakes for school and Picture Day for Gracie and Lukie's Golden 5 Birthday.

My how they have grown.

Gracie - Less than 5 minutes old

Lukie - 24 hours old

3 weeks old

5 Years Old!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

4 years and 364 days

We have been so looking forward to five. I mean, countdown every day, "Is that a long time, Mommy?", "Are we almost five?" kind of looking forward. With all the build up, the excitement level has reached its boiling point.

Our last night as 4 year olds did not start well. Tears, mean words, tantrums. Then, we discovered Lukie's completed homework was lost, so we had to copy Gracie's pages so that he could redo them. We discovered we were supposed to cut out A words to paste on the letter A in our folder. Not surprisingly, there are only so many A words in the junk letter mailings from the past few days. More tears, more frustration. At 8 p.m. I called it a night.

We cuddled on the floor of their room and read The Bear Snores On and The Kissing Hand. We kissed each other's hands so that we could keep each other close and I shut off the light. Good-bye, 4.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Love

It was quiet in our house.  No Twinsies yelling.  No hitting. No Gracie bossing Lucas around. Suddenly, I heard the pitter-patter of feet and the refrigerator door opening and closing.  I found this scene out on our front porch.


Just a brother and a sister enjoying some cheese on a Monday morning, rocking and chatting.  No cares in the world. Just love.