Thursday, December 25, 2008

I got Christmas for Christmas!

So finances are a little light this year, so I had pretty much come to terms with not springing for a Christmas tree or many presents. That's fine - we'd make Christmas about love and fun artsy activities instead. The kids don't know the difference, right?

Well yesterday I got home and what did I see?
A bunch of presents, under a lit Christmas tree!
I was astounded; the kids' eyes were alight;
Kyle had worked all day to get the mood right.

The stockings were hung on the DVD shelf,
And the decorations were up, complete with an elf!
(Technically, it was not one elf, but two,
and a few stuffed reindeer completed the crew.)

I shrieked and I jumped, and hugged my dear man,
For I hadn't even predicted that this was his plan.
He'd been saving up dollars and coins for ages,
Just to see this look on all of our faces.

LOL, ok, enough sillyness. ;)

Kyle had set up the Christmas tree during the kids' nap yesterday, and when they got up, Roman came around the corner and said "WHOOOAAAA!" and what Kyle said sounded a lot like "What the hell?" Since then, Roman has been obsessed with the tree, pointing out all of the ornaments "Bear? Ball? Light? Handle?" (candy canes apparently look like handles to him, lol). Giovanna was more interested in the multitude of stuffed animals and Santa-ish elves Kyle had set up all around.

They went to bed late Christmas eve (we joked that they were trying to wait up for Santa, but really, they had just had a late nap), but that didn't keep them from waking up at their usual BCOD (butt crack of dawn, as Kyle delicately puts it). We were all up by 8, and after a brief banana and crackers snack, we got down to opening presents. The big ones for the kids were a temporary tattoo kit and a firetruck that beeps, talks, and plays a little music. Giovanna opened the kit, and was very excited, but nothing could compare to Roman's reaction opening the truck. Squealing like a little girl:

video

We also did some cookie decorating (we made them a few days earlier), drawing, and a lot of temporary tattooing.

BUT THE MOST UNEXPECTED GIFT OF ALL??? POTTY TRAINING!
Of course, we're not nearly ready to go to underpants yet, but Giovanna asked to go the potty once on Xmas eve, and three times (actually more, but three times she was willing to take off her diaper, lol) and peed in the potty every time! And once she got her sticker, Roman peed pretty quickly after that, so I know they both have the ability to control it. The last time, he even stood up to pee (he could use a little practice with his aim, but that's what cleaners are for, right?). I think he was really excited to be able to pee like Daddy. :)

Anyway, I'm still in shock about it. Granted, we did spend a LONG TIME in the bathroom over the last 27 hours. About an hour or longer each time they wanted to go potty. But they WANTED to be there. I couldn't drag them off to put their diapers back on until they had stickers to show Daddy!

Well, the kids are in bed and we will be shortly (watching our traditional Xmas movie: Die Hard!).

Here are pictures and video of the kids' third Christmas:
http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/Brieshon/Year%202/2008-12-25%20XMAS/

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holy snow, Batman!

This is what our porch looks like right now:

Yeah. So, we're pretty much snowed in. I even get a snow day from work tomorrow!

It snowed last weekend, too, but it was just enough that we could take the kids out to play (link to pics below). Now, it's too much! Kyle walked to the store this morning for a few needed items, while I stayed home with the kids. No way am I going outside unless absolutely necessary!

Another fun stay-home activity today was painting ornaments! I made some out of salt dough last night, and since we don't have cookie cutters they came out a little uneven and lumpy, but luckily you can't really tell from the pics. :)

Note the kids' vastly different styles. For the first 5 minutes, Roman had nothing but one red dot in the middle of each of his 5 ornaments, and by then Giovanna's were already smeared with 3 colors, lol!!


Photos of playing in the snow: http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/Brieshon/Year%202/2008-12-14%20SNOW/

Photos and video of ornament-decorating: http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/Brieshon/Year%202/2008-12-21/

Monday, December 8, 2008

First trip to the ZOO!

We made a trip to the Oregon Zoo here in Portland on Sunday. Of course, it rained a lot, but we still had a great time.

Kyle and I talked awhile back about giving the kids time apart. He would take one and I would take the other, and we'd go do separate activities. We partly wanted to do this to give them each an opportunity to bond with each parent without competition, but mostly to give them a sense of self that isn't linked with their twin. I've heard from other twin parents that their children had a hard time carving out their own identities - they are always labeled as a "twin." I can't imagine how that must be!

Still, even though I fully understand the benefits of separating the kids from time to time, I also had a very hard time making it happen. I'm not sure why, except that it was out of the norm for us (we always do everything as a family when I'm home!), and while I looked forward to the opportunity to spend time alone with each kid, part of me still felt like I was taking mommy-time from the other one. Kyle and I talked about it for awhile until we decided on a compromise. We would all four go to the zoo, but each parent/child pair would take a different path, then loop around and meet at the primates. This first time, I took Roman and Kyle took Giovanna.

Once at the spot where the path split, my anxiety raised again. I braced myself for Giovanna crying for me as Roman and I walked away, or Roman wanting his daddy. But we all said "bye bye" and the kids were off in their separate directions - no problems at all! Roman and I went to look at the penguins, sea lions, polar bears, seals, fish, turtles, ocelots, and tigers. Kyle and Giovanna went up to the mountain animals. Ro was extremely excited to see the seals and sea lions. A little girl, about four or so, was there also, and was all excited with him. All of the exhibits were very fun, but the best was the orangutans. They were right by the glass, and one woke up and turned his head toward Roman a few times. He giggled and gasped and grabbed my leg, his dimples getting quite a workout. Giovanna had a great time, too, of course!

We all met back up as the kids were falling asleep on their feet (we made them walk the whole way!). We fed them a snack and headed home for a nice long nap. Kyle and I watched "The Other Boleyn Girl" which was actually pretty good.

It was a very successful outing, and easier than I had anticipated. Next time, I'll take Boogie and Kyle will take Ro. We may go to the aquarium, or one of us will go to the Children's Museum and the other may stay home. Then we'll switch again!

Daddy trying to show the kids the bear was ok:

Finally got the kids to go near the bear:

I guess the smaller bear was less scary!

Riding the wood goat:

Oooooo - otters!

With the faux penguins:



For more pics: http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/Brieshon/Year%202/2008-12-08/?start=all

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Post Turkey-Day blues

Well, it's back to work tomorrow. I like my job, but not as much as vacationing with family! I took an entire week off from work (my first vacation since MATERNITY LEAVE two years ago!! And that wasn't exactly vacation...) so we could visit family in Bellingham for a decent length of time. And visit we did!

We stayed at my mama's house, and the kids greeted her with "GRAMMY!" for the first time! They finally started saying it on the way to her house. Of course, she was thrilled. Her hubby, Rick, is Pop. The kids also started saying Temi (for Aunt Temi), GG (what everyone calls my grandma), and a bunch of other folks' names! We got to see Auntie WeeWee (my Aunt Wendi) and Uncle Dewain, who both flew in from across the country, and almost all the rest of my family (sorry everyone - too many to list!). My sister (Aunt Temi) and her hubby (Uncle Matt) also traveled up from Portland for the week, so we got to spend a LOT of time with them - very fun!

We spent one rowdy evening with our friends Suman and Jason, Rachael and Justin with their son Sam, and Suman's sister Nav. Much pizza-consuming, hugging, squealing, baby-chasing, and "awwww"ing ensued. It was a blast. :)

The entire week and weekend were absolutely fun (minus the terrible sleeping by the twins). They were sooooo happy to get back home today with the animals and their own cribs. They fell asleep tonight with almost zero fuss. Awesome. :)

For pics of the epic weekend:
http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/Brieshon/Year%202/2008-11-30/?start=all

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Autumn!

A few new phrases:

"Ruv yoo" (love you)

"Booogeee push" or "Whoa-man push" (indicating their sibling pushed them)

"Aleth off!" or "Aleth down!" (telling the dog to get off or down)

"Bat-dat!" (Batman)

"TV on?" (greeeaaaaat)

"Daw lurckle" (draw circle)

"Dimme!" (Gimme - yeah, that's a fun one)

"I theee youuuu!" (I see you - whenever they find something they are looking for. Often accompanied by a triumphant arm-waving jump)


And new pics at the park and the children's museum!
http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/Brieshon/Year%202/2008-11-16/?start=all

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Poop and pockets

Hi all! No new pics to post today, but I'll give an update anyway. :)

After about a month of completely losing interest in potty training, Giovanna POOPED ON THE POTTY last night!! She had come out of her room grabbing her bum going "POOPIE POOPIE!" Kyle said, "Ok, lets go potty!" and took her into the bathroom. A few minutes later (and a few "it's ok - I poop on the big potty, and you poop on the little potty!"s later), she pooped! A small one, but a poop nonetheless. Before yesterday, the kids had each peed on the potty 3 times, but that was all over a month ago. Today, she seems to have lost interest again, but at least it's a step in the right direction, right? :)

We've also really REALLY gotten into drawing lately. Kyle bought a roll of butcher paper and some ultra-sturdy crayons, and they go to town. We have several collaborative works up on the wall in their room right now. :) Sooooo fun. The funny thing is that Giovanna draws mostly circles and spirals, and Roman draws mostly lines and zig-zags, and he is more likely to stab the paper to make lots of dots. Just another way these twins are so different. I'm sure their doodling styles have some kind of psychoanalytical meaning, but I'd rather just enjoy their processes without the analysis. :)

New words in the last couple weeks: Water ("vah-luh"), circle ("lurkle"), crayon ("kay-oh"), pocket ("pocky"), bucket ("bucky"), blanket ("bankie"), tunnel ("tuh-nah"), excuse me ("new-me"), and, as of today, monkey ("muh-kee"). They also repeat the colors of the crayons, and can pick them out correctly most of the time. Most colors are apparently yellow ("leh-low"), lol. They're really using the simple sentences clearly now: "I eat peas" and "I draw circles" are a couple examples. This stage is so freakin' awesome.

Otherwise all is well. Kyle's back to being a stay at home dad after the restaurant he was working at briefly didn't work out (for several reasons). It had already taught him a lot about curing and preserving meats and veggies, so we've had a lot of experimenting going on at home! Delicious! Giovanna especially liked the pickled peppers (papa packed a peck of pickled peppers) - she wolfed them down, causing her cheeks to redden and her eyes to water, then asked for more. Little nut. Roman was not so thrilled, but got a kick out of Giovanna's reaction. :)

My new job (the promotion) is awesome - it's sooooo busy it makes the workday FLY by so I can get home to the kiddos. :) We have two big events coming up in the next couple weeks, which are taking up a portion of my sanity, but come Thanksgiving week... I'M TAKING A VACATION!!!! A whole week off. It's the first time I've had more than 2 days off (except for weekends and holidays) since MATERNITY LEAVE almost 2 years ago. I'm sooooo excited. I know it will just zoom by, but I'm really looking forward to visiting family and friends without feeling rushed to see everyone within 2 days. YAY!

That's all for now. I hope to have new pics posted in the next week or so. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween and fingerpainting

~FINGERPAINTING~

Kyle bought some gel fingerpaints, laid out a plastic dropcloth and some paper, and let the kids go to town. I came home from work just as they were finishing up...



~HALLOWEEN~

Kyle suprised me by finishing the Luke/Leia costumes yesterday!!! We hadn't gotten them done and had decided to do the Poatoheads costumes again. But, the Luke/Leia ones turned out soooooo awesome! It was rainy here, so we went to a mall that was doing Trick or Treating. The kids walked the whole circuit (of the first floor, at least) and we got soooooo much attention.


Kyle and I didn't dress up since we didn't get our costumes done, but the kids had fun trying on the Darth Vader mask:



For all pictures, click here: http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/Brieshon/Year%202/2008-11-01/

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Birthday!!!

In honor of the twin's second birthday, here is the very long story of their birth. Enjoy!
_______________________

At 30 weeks, 3 days, I woke up at 2:30 in the morning thinking I'd peed the bed. Not too unusual for carrying twins, right? I hobbled to the bathroom and realized I couldn't stop the flow... and it wasn't pee. I called out to Kyle who immediately woke. I said "Honey, I think I peed the bed, or the cat peed in bed." He said "Hon, if it's cat pee, then he exploded." We slowly realized it was my water that had broken, we got very scared. Kyle called 911 and the medics came and asked me a bunch of questions while I sat pantsless on a towel (with another towel over me). They hauled me into ambulance #1, and I was whisked away to hospital #1. Kyle quickly grabbed a few items of clothing and followed in the car. The medic kept asking if I was feeling contractions, but other than being wet and tired, I felt fine!

A hospital #1, they determined that yes, indeed, my water had broken. Duh. The fluid was clear and I wasn't dialated at all, and was having no contrax. They gave me a steroid shot for the kids' lungs, and some meds to stave off labor, and said they would have to send me up to hospital #2, where they have a state-of-the-art NICU. I was carted into ambulance #2 and drove 45 minutes, sirens blaring, to the next hospital. Kyle stopped at home to feed the cats and change the litter box, and grab everything we might need for a long hospital stay. I think I texted him several times to remember the camera (he did, without me having to remind him, lol).

During ambulance ride #2, I started feeling a mild crampy sensation and knew they were contrax. The medic (who I think had 4 or 5 daughters!) talked intelligently about pregnancy and labor. At hospital #2, they checked me again - still not dialated. The docs said they wanted to keep me pregnant for as long as possible, hoping for at least 4 weeks, up to 6 weeks. All in the hospital. Fun. But the kids had other plans.

The contrax didn't respond well to the meds. They'd slow for an hour or so, then start back up again. At about 2 pm, my contrax were so bad, I couldn't talk through them. The docs checked me and I was 2-3 cm. At some point, the docs realized I was having those babies and stopped the meds that were supposed to be keeping me from going into labor. At 3pm pm I was 4 cm. The nurses started getting everything prepped. At 4pm, I was 9-9.5 cm. Yes, I dialated 5-5.5 cm in an hour. The nurse who checked me just about tripped as she scampered to tell the doctor. The doc came in and confirmed dialation and left again.

The goddess anesthesiologist gave me my epi (while I curled awkwardly around my giant belly) and said "you'll probably feel the next couple contractions before it kicks in..." she looked at the contrax printout "or not." It kicked in immediately! The nurse enthusiastically said, "Let's do a couple practice pushes!" so I did. So she said "Stop! You're too good at this!" and they whisked me into the OR (in case of emergency, since it was high-risk with preemie twins.)

I asked them to turn the florescent lights down, and they did. Strangely, I think that was one of the most important things for me, because it showed they listened to my concerns and had my best interest at heart.

Once set up in the OR, I started pushing for real. Then I realized the epi had already worn off. So. Much. Pain. Kyle told me later that I screamed "OH SHIT THAT HURTS!" but that was my only swearing. :)

5 pushes later, at 5:27 pm, Giovanna Amelia Kae came out, tiny and skinny, but still larger than I had expected. They cleaned and bundled her up, held her up so I could see her, then took her off to the NICU. I would have started crying right there, but I had more work to do, lol.

The contrax had slowed way down, so I got a refill on my epi (yay!). After 4 or 5 tries, the docs finally broke Roman's water, then had gone to another delivery room to deliever another baby (a 27 week preemie!), and the nurses told me to tell them when I felt like pushing. I said "NOW" and one of them ran to get the docs back!

3 pushes and Roman Markus made his way into the world at 5:48 pm. Again, the nurses cleaned and wrapped him (he was a screamer!), held him up to me, and took him to the NICU. I asked the nurses a lot of times if my babies were doing ok. Each time, they told me they seemed big and healthy for 30-weekers, and kept saying how happy they were I got to 30 weeks - anything earlier than that was much scarier!

The docs delivered the placentas (they were fused on one corner), cleaned me up, and I was taken back to the other room. I told Kyle to go with the babies - they needed a parent there. I thought it would be hard to wait alone, but I knew they'd be ok with their daddy there to watch out for them. :)

Shortly after I returned to my room, family and friends started showing up. Everyone took turns going to visit the kids in the NICU, while I recovered the use of my legs. As soon as I could prove I could walk from my wheelchair to the toilet, they wheeled me down to the NICU, too. It was over an hour since the kids were born.

I was so nervous going in to see them - I didn't know what to expect. They were in incubators, with lots of tubes and electrodes, but having grown up being exposed to hospitals and medical equipment (my dad's a pharmacist and my stepmom is a nurse), it wasn't as scary as it could have been. I was instructed as to how I could touch the kids without causing them stress (head and feet only - their torsos were too sensitive), and I just sat there crying and talking to them for ages. Eventually, I went back to my room. Family and friends all hung around for awhile, then headed out.

Giovanna was in the hospital 6 weeks (came home Dec 9), after a little jaundice and a lot of growing. Roman was in for 9 weeks (Dec 29), having had a lung tear (still has a scar from a chest tube), a heart valve that didn't close properly (medication fixed it without surgery), and reflux issues.

Giovanna, 2 days old:

Roman, 2 days old:

Our first family photo:

The day Roman came home:

And now!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Intro to The Art of Monkey

Hi everyone! Babycrowd started to put annoying ads in annoying places, so I moved to blogger. It works in a similar way - new posts show up at the top of the page, and you can scroll down (or click the "archive" link) to view old posts.

I put a permanent link to my photobucket page in the links column (on the right of this screen), and I will continue to post direct links to the most recent photobucket folder each time I upload a new set of pics. (Please note that I have moved around some of the older pictures so they were better organized. That means some of the old links posted in my old Babycrowd blog may not work.)

A new feature here is that you can subscribe to my blog! Just enter your email address in the box below and you should get an email every time I publish a new post here. Pretty cool!

In the past, my blog posts have always been about pregnancy and parenting. As most parents know, once you have kids, your own identity get hidden in the new "parent" identity. In an effort to reconnect with my own identity, I may sometimes be posting about topics not directly related to parenting. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing. :-)

Here are the new pics I posted today: http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/Brieshon/Year%202/2008-10-25/