Monday, December 01, 2008

Love in the morning

The girls were playing in their room, and I was here in my room putting some stuff away. Lilly comes in asking for a headband. Kate follows her in.

K - "Oh, I found out where you was leaving to."

L - "But I still love you."

(hugs and smiles)

K - "We was having a group hug. That's why we was getting married!"

and then they run off. They crack me up!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A successful feast

Well, Molly was right. The turkey wasn't hard at all! And it came out fantastic, even with my bizarre method. I was making this awesome roasted pumpkin with cheese "fondue" from Gourmet magazine, and that needed to be in the oven at the same time as the turkey. My Mom gave me her roaster oven to do the turkey, but I wanted to do Alton Brown's cooking method, which involved starting the turkey at 500 degrees for 30 minutes, then turning it down to 350 for the rest of the time. The roaster oven only goes up to 450.

So, I improvised. I stuck the turkey in the roasting pan from the roaster oven, and put that in the regular oven at 500. Preheated the roaster oven without the pan, and after 30 minutes just pulled the turkey out of the oven (well, I made Ryan do this, actually) and popped it into the roaster oven. Worked out beautifully. The turkey was delicious, as were all the sides. The pumpkin, as you can see, was gorgeous and decadent and yummy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been in the kitchen all week. My father-in-law and his wife will be in town, so we're hosting them and my parents here at Casa O'Girlie. I've got a whole world of food prepared, but I'm anxious about this stupid turkey. Oy, the turkey! Wish me luck. ;)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I wanna be a supermodel

Today's kind of a junky day. Kate's got a cold and is cranky as all get out. I'm trying to clean up the house and re-cover my dining room chairs because my mother-in-law is coming this weekend. And I'm trying to assemble a meatloaf that Ryan and I have been craving since seeing the recipe on Americas Test Kitchen this weekend. It's hard to do all the above with one or the other child doing their best impersonation of a limpet.

So, instead of adding to the whine, I'll share some pics from this past weekend's big event (which is probably where Katie picked up her current cold). The girls were models in our local March of Dimes chapter's Prematurity Awareness Fashion Show. They had so much fun! It was also a pretty moving event, and I think if they hadn't been so freaking hilarious and excited about it all, I would've had a lot of teary moments. But they were so crazy and giddy and happy that my focus was almost entirely on the present.

Lilly's in the pink dress, Katie's in the plaid.

MoD Fashion Show

MoD Fashion Show

When their turn on the runway was up (while they were out there, an emcee from the local news station read their preemie bio - written by Mom - and they showed a few NICU pictures on the screen next to the runway) Katie didn't want to leave. The emcee asked her if she wanted to stay up there, and she just said "OK!" and hung out for another minute before we could get her away.

MoD Fashion Show - Kate

After it was all over, they ran around and played with the other kids (all former preemies) on the dance floor. It was so fun to see them become instant friends with these little kids like that. In the past they haven't done that so much. Lilly showed off some of her favorite dance moves -- she is really into dancing these days!

MoD Fashion Show - Lilly

And now she just climbed into my lap, so I think this post is over.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I'm glad I finally figured that out

It's not a well-kept secret that I enjoy shopping. I'm a girl, I'm Jewish, I was raised on Long Island - it's sort of my birthright, no? I enjoy the whole process, the looking at stuff, the trying to find something I love that looks good at a good price.

In the past couple of years, though, I haven't enjoyed it so much. I do like finding clothes for the girls, but when it comes to shopping for me, not so much. I've especially found I get tense and uncomfortable at the mall or at the outlet center - places I would always love to go in the past. I'll leave the girls with my parents or the babysitter, expecting to have this wonderful day of selfishness, and it doesn't materialize.

I'm fine for 20-30 minutes, but then I start feeling strange. Like I'm alone, naked, and vulnerable. Like I'm supposed to be somewhere else. Like it's wrong for me to be there when my girls aren't with me. I guess it's sort of like an anxiety attack. I end up not having much fun, only buying clothes for them, and hurrying out of there with this terrible feeling of guilt and doom that I can't understand.

It finally dawned on me a few days ago. I feel like I did when they were in the NICU. When everything was wrong, because my babies were in the hospital. I didn't go out much, but I did go to the mall once or twice and to the outlet center once (to buy clothes for them, of course). Maybe that was enough. But it's something of a relief to realize that this confusing reaction is probably related to PTSD.

It's also something of a disappointment, because I have been in therapy for this and really thought I was doing a lot better than that. I know I am in some ways, you don't have to point that out - I just really didn't realize I could have such a visceral reaction (I have had times when I've had to leave, heart pounding and about to cry, and I can't understand why) to an activity not directly related to the NICU. I would understand if this happened at the ped's office, or the lab, or even the drugstore. But the outlet mall? That was pretty much a dark horse in the PTSD-inducing race, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Pleased and proud

And it has nothing to do with my kids for a change! I'm just so glad and impressed that enough people in this country were able to see past the color of a man's skin and elect him to the white house. Right up until the end I wasn't sure if it really could happen, and it makes me cry with joy and relief that it did.

The only blotch on the experience is that I seem to have at least one sick kid, probably two before the day is out. Lilly developed a fever last night and still has it this morning, and both had a restless night. I have a feeling Kate's temp will be up any minute. No other symptoms, just a fever. We were supposed to have a playdate with my library friends, including Rachel, who just had her second baby. Cancelled that almost as soon as I felt that hot forehead. :(

Monday, November 03, 2008

This is the thanks I get?

I spent a lot of time and effort cleaning things up yesterday. Seriously, my bedroom has been a mess since...well...hmm. It probably was semi-clean at some point during the girls' lives, but that was probably an illusion.

Anyway, it's not perfect now - the dresser is a little cluttered and there are some odds and ends that still need to be put away. Still, the big rubbermaid bins of clothes are no longer in the middle of the floor, the toys that remain in here are contained to one box, and generally the place looks like normal people live here.

Lilly wakes up and says "This floor is very clean!" and I think that's adorable. Yes, it is, Lilly, and we're going to keep it that way from now on.

About 20 minutes later, Kate surveys the place from her perch on the bed. She looks at me sadly and sweetly whines "I like it messy."

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Well that sure was a long trip!

Did you think I'd been in Orlando this whole time, soaking up the sun and ordering room-service sushi? Yeah, I didn't think so.

The trip was OK. Kind of a bust. Got bumped from the swank hotel to the Residence Inn so instead of sushi I had to go down to the crappy bar and get a mediocre grouper sandwich and eat it in my room while watching the debate. Pffft!

But everyone survived. Ryan said the girls were just fine, and didn't cry much about me being gone. Oddly enough, tonight, when I mentioned that Grandpa Cesar (Ryan's Dad) lives in Florida, Lilly said "Just like you went to!" And then proceeded to tell me that she cried about me when I went to Florida and was very sad. She seemed in good spirits about the whole thing, so it doesn't seem any irreperable damage has taken place.

We had a very nice Hulaween. That's not a misspelling, as the picture proves.

South Huntington Library party

They weren't really as grouchy as they look - it was very bright and the sun was right in their eyes. I think we may have overdone the Halloween events, though. Sunday the 26th was a costume party at Gymboree, then Wednesday we had a Halloween-ish-themed birthday party for some twins we're buddies with, Thursday was a costume party at the library (where this pic was taken) and by Trick-or-Treat on Friday, I was totally burnt out on the holiday! I think they might have been, too. They enjoyed the T-or-T but they were pretty quiet and got tired after maybe 10 houses. We do our T-or-T in my old neighborhood, with Grandma and Pop-pop, because they have sidewalks and it's more "neighborhoody" (plus they love it) so we went back to my parents' after that and that was that.

This weekend was recovery, house-cleaning, and general lack of excitement. I cleaned my bedroom and scrubbed my bathroom floor today. I can't tell you the last time that floor got scrubbed. Well, I could...but then I'd have to die of embarrassment.

Monday, October 06, 2008

How do they know?

I'm going away tomorrow. Only for one night. Maybe 32 hours from the time I leave my house until the time I return. It's my first business trip in over 3 years, and I'm both anxious and excited. I'm going down to Orlando for a meeting between the agency for which I do all my work-at-home freelance and another agency. I was very flattered to be asked to go, and I feel like it's a good idea for professional and personal reasons.

I haven't mentioned it to the girls yet, because they don't really have much of a grasp on time right now, and I'd rather not cause anxiety for longer than necessary. I'll tell them tomorrow and I think that'll be fine.

But somehow, they seem to know. Because tonight at bedtime they didn't want to listen to their usual bedtime CD of celtic lullabyes. They wanted me to sing to them. So I sang them their usual bedtime songs, For Baby, Duermete mi Nina, and Hele on to Kaua'i (I realize that last one is an odd choice - but for some reason it sprang out of my mouth one night when I was feeding them as tiny little infants, and it stuck). Then they made me sing Rocky Road, which is on Daddy's greatest hits list, and he usually sings a super-upbeat version. I sang it far more slowly. Then they were still awake but very quiet, so I pulled out My Favorite Things, and The Sound of Music.

After all that, they were soundly asleep, both smooshed up against me (I'm always in the middle at bedtime). They were so sweet, and so soft, and so snuggly, that of course I cried at the thought of leaving them.

I may feel differently around 3am when they roll on into my room screaming for whatever 2-year-olds are screaming for at 3am.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

This music will feel you big happy

That's what I heard Kate say to Lilly tonight when Lilly had been crying over banging her finger or something like that. I nearly choked on my water. Is she translated from Japanese?

That random little moment made up for a day filled with tantrums over toys forgotten at home, fighting over Legos, crying "I want to get out of here. I want to go to someone's house!" and then refusing to get in the damn car to go to the mall, and even the hour-long bedtime struggle, including the impromptu (and probably true, given how little they ate today) "I need a snack" 20 minutes after the lights were out (I got them cheese sticks and they fell asleep shortly after finishing).

They drive me nuts sometimes. But mostly, they feel me big happy.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Leema, Lima, let's call the whole thing off

I'm eating a big bowl of fresh lima beans with butter and salt, courtesy of my Dad's garden. The girls didn't have much interest, and Ryan is working late, so they are mine, all mine! I saved the smaller, more-tender ones for last, and they've been swimming around in the butter, so I'm savoring them one-by-one, sans fork. I haven't been over to my parents' place to survey the garden lately, so I don't know whether more beans will be headed my way. I hope so.

Why do Americans pronounce the "i" in "Lima" like "eye" rather than like "ee" as in the city of Lima, for which the beans are named?

I think my city-based work has ended for a while, which is fine for now. The money is great, but it's exhausting to go in there 3 days a week, then come home and deal with the girls. No decompression time, as Ryan is rarely home by their bedtime. I think there will be more home-based freelance coming my way. I do some work for a creative director I met last summer when he was at a big agency, and now he's at a small shop that just won some more new business. He asked me to send my resume so the account team can put together a team deck, so I assume that means I'm intended to be part of the team. I'm happy to do it. He's a great guy, both in the professional and personal sense, and absolutely a pleasure to work with.

I think we need some girlie pictures in here, don't we? Yesterday we went to Adventureland, with my friend Leanne and her family. To say they had a good time would be a massive understatement.


Adventureland - 9/21/08

Adventureland - 9/21/08


Adventureland - 9/21/08

Adventureland - 9/21/08

Adventureland - 9/21/08

Mommy (with Kate) had a good time, too.

5/52 - My kids and me

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Working. A lot.

I've been doing a lot of work lately, for me. For the past few weeks, I've been in the city at my old agency job for 3 days (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) and I've had conference calls for my work-at-home freelance stuff on Wednesday afternoons, plus assorted other stuff for that particular job in between at random times. It's been a bit rough! I'm appreciating the money, and the contact with my "old life" in the city, but I'm getting worn out.

Will try and come back and write more tomorrow. But other than being pooped out, things are fine.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bless this mess?

Really, I could do without the blessings if someone would just come and clean the place up. I have a friend coming tomorrow for a short visit, and my sister-in-law and niece coming Tuesday and staying until Friday. No one who knows me expects housekeeping perfection, but still...

I'm just pooped out from having Ryan gone for 3 days at Siggraph in LA, doing some freelance work, and trying to keep up with everything in the girls' world. It's a cute world, but very exhausting.

My favorite moment of the week had to be on Friday afternoon. I was folding some laundry in my bedroom, and they were playing with some stuff on the floor. Katie looked at me and said "Seeya later Mom, we going to play!" and they both walked out of my room and into theirs. I am pretty sure flies were going in and out of my mouth, it was hanging open for so long. First of all, when did I become "Mom"? And since when do they tell me their plans? Since when do they have plans? Crazy! A little while later I poked my head in and found them sitting together on their bed, with about 20 books spread out around them. Damn camera was downstairs, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Not much variation on the theme

Sorry to be all preemie all the time lately. I don't know why, but sometimes the experience haunts me more than others.

Today I was in a local outlet-ish mall, and I saw a woman with a double snap'n'go, walking with a friend who had a single version. All 3 babies were peacefully asleep in their carseats, looking as angelic and wonderful and healthy as could be. I asked how old they were and the twin mom said hers were 5 weeks.

Five weeks. She was in the mall with her peacefully-sleeping twins at 5 weeks. Where was I at 5 weeks? We had just been moved out of nursery A" - the highest level of care. The girls had been co-bedded for about a week. They were both still on a pretty decent dose of oxygen via nasal cannula, and both had NG tubes. We were able to hold them, but we had to check with a nurse first, tangle with the monitors and the tubes, and endure the stares of the nurses when they felt the babies needed to go back into their isolettes.

They were awfully cute, though.

(That's Lilly yawning)

Still, seeing her threw me into a weird place. No matter how good life is and how healthy and delightful the girls are (and boy are they ever!) I'm never really going to fully get "over" this, am I?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Party of four and not one more

A very lame, yet overly dramatic (on my part) pregnancy scare has been put to bed. That's a relief. I don't even feel that twinge of regret that I have felt in the past (before we were even trying to have babies) when a scare like that has turned out to be false. I really just feel like my family is complete. Aside from the practical considerations (I'd probably have to go back to work, we'd have to move or add on to our house, I'm scared of having another preemie) I just really feel like our family is complete as it is. There are times when I think I want to be pregnant or have another baby, but that's not really true.

What I want is my twin pregnancy back. I want to know what it's like to be so big and pregnant that people stare at you in public and wonder aloud how many babies are in there, for pete's sake. I want to know what it's like to drive to the hospital, happy and excited to finally be in labor. To birth my babies, have them placed on my bare chest, and have them nurse. To hold my newborns and smile for photos. To take them both home together, no oxygen tanks, no monitors, no trauma under our belt. To only use a breast pump here and there, so I can get a little break from nursing, or go out on a date. To go out alone that first year without an overwhelming sense of guilt and anxiety and the need to rush back home.

A third baby isn't going to solve any of that.

Plus, I love my relationship with my girls. It just works. Although they have to share me, somehow it works out OK. It's weird sometimes, when I realize that genetically, they are more closely related to each other than they are to me. But I love being their Mommy, their go-to-girl, pretty much the center of their world. I love being able to observe the amazing interactions between them. It makes me ache to think about diluting any of that.

I'm sure some of that is normal, and some is not. How much comes from the trauma surrounding their birth, I don't know. How much of that will subside with time and more therapy, I have no idea. But tonight, I'm relieved to be just me, not +1.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It's been a nice, dry summer so far

So of course the morning I'm supposed to have my "library friends" (we all met during a 10-week play class for the kids) over, we had thunderstorms at 7am and it's still raining on and off. The plan was to play in the yard. I have a pretty small house and no dedicated playroom. And I'm a lousy housekeeper. I have until 10:15 to hope the yard dries out, or build an extension on my house and clean it all up nicely.


Everything went fine. The rain stopped, the yard dried out enough for us to play back there. The kids had a great time, the moms had fun, and I even got a good nap out of the girls afterwards. Then we went to see my parents, who hadn't seen the girls in over a week - heaven forbid!

We had a nice time there, got in the car (all jammied and ready to sleep) just before 9. I pulled into my driveway after the 20ish-minute drive, and Lilly was just-asleep, while Kate was staring blankly. I decided to just go for it, since Kate was clearly relaxed enough to go right to sleep. You see where this is going, don't you?

I open Kate's door, figuring I'll bring her up, ask her to wait while I get Lilly, and then maybe sit with her for 5 minutes as she passes out. She looks at me through bleary eyes, then spits out her binky, gives me this face, and cackles loudly, waking up her sister, who says "Ooh! We are at my home!" and giggles maniacally.

I should've driven around the block a few more times, apparently. About 30 minutes later they were both happily asleep anyway.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sleeping beauties

I was coming up to bed and just peeked in on the girls. Something about the way Lilly was laying reminded me her as a teeny tiny baby in the NICU. I don't know really what it was, but I just got such a powerful feeling of looking back at her in those days.

We spent a lot of time watching them sleep back then. They didn't do much else, other than drink milk, and back in the very earliest days they didn't even do that (they were fed by nasogastric tube for about the first month). I couldn't really bear to be anywhere else most of the time, so we sat there and watched them sleep. They were the most compelling little sleeping people I could ever have imagined.

They still are. I went back to take a picture, but in the 30 seconds I was out of the room, she moved and I missed the moment. It's OK - that and all the other sleeping moments are in my heart forever.


Friday, August 01, 2008

That's right, just throw the camera out now

Because really, can it get any cuter than this?

Haven't posted much lately because I'm so burnt. The babysitter, Janine, is awesome, but the girls won't take a normal nap when she's here, and that is causing havoc with their entire sleep "schedule." The late summer nights (like tonight) at the beach and various other venues probably aren't helping, either.

What it means for me is a lot of cranky afternoons for all of us, because they are tired but can't settle for a nap (or it's too late for one) and I didn't get 10 minutes to myself all freaking day. Nothing good can come of that, ya know?

But damn, when they are cute, they are cute!

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's getting hot in here

But not too hot, thank goodness. Today I am grateful to my husband for putting the air conditioner in the dining room window this past weekend. It's 93 degrees, and although says it's only 38% humidity, it sure doesn't feel like a dry heat.

We spent the morning at a local play place. We've been there twice before, and the college-aged girls who work there now recognize the girls right away and like to play with them. The place is awesome, and has this great climbing thing at one end, which gives you access to a big curvy slide and the treehouse. When we first got there (as usual) it was pretty packed with the bigger kids, and mine were too intimidated to really do much - Katie more so than Lilly, but still, both of them kind of hung back. After lunch, the place really clears out for naptime. Rather than deal with the tantrums, I always let them stay until 2pm when they kick everyone out, and that last hour is heaven for the girls. There were maybe 6 other kids left, so there was plenty of space for all.

We got out of there at 2:15 without much protest, and by 2:18 they were out cold in the car. Luckily, they have developed the ability to transfer from car to bed for naptime without waking up. All I have to do is climb up all 26 or so stairs between my driveway and their bedroom. Twice. Then go back and grab the bags, or the giant McD's sweet tea I couldn't resist on the way home. Then sit back and enjoy the air conditioning and hope for a nice long nap.

I'm not sure what the rest of the day will hold. I don't really even want to go play in the yard, it's so hot. Maybe I'll take them shoe shopping. I think their feet may actually have grown another size. I wonder if Stride Rite still has any sandals left? Every other store seems to think it's September. Grr.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Do they know it's (not) Christmastime?

Is it Christmas already?
Originally uploaded by betseeee
We decided to hit the kiddie pool this afternoon, as it was quite hot and humid. I got the girls in their bathing suits, and before we went outside, they decided they needed to have their Santa hats (which are in their toy bins always, because they love them so much.) They wore them for at least an hour before getting them wet. Aunt Beth, Bobby, and Sarah came over and were greatly amused by the unconventional headwear.

In other bright news, we had the exterminator back in on Monday and have only seen 3-4 fleas in the basement and garage since then. I think there's definitely light at the end of that tunnel.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Reading is fun(damental)!

Did anyone else's school participate in the RIF program when you were a kid? I was an avid and early reader (according to my Mom, I taught myself to read at 4, and basically convinced my parents that preschool had taught me, and preschool that my parents had taught me) so for me it was primarily a way to reinforce an already-existing habit. I loved it, though - free books! Right up my alley.

So when I found this on Emilie's blog, I thought it'd be fun to do. Instructions are as follows:

"The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your blog so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them ;-)"

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling - I can't bold this but I've read a few of them
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving - my all-time favorite
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - I tried so hard to read this. One day I will succeed.
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Looks like 41 for me. Some (Jude the Obscure) I remember reading, but wouldn't know again if I tripped over them. Some (Anne of Green Gables, A Prayer for Owen Meany) are my "desert island" books. I could, and have, read them over and over and over again. Some (Watership Down, Lolita) I read when I was too young for them, and probably ought to read again. I only italicized a few on my "to read" list, because really I'd probably like to read all of these but don't imagine I'll have the time until I'm quite old.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If my blog suddenly stops one day

It'll be because all the "that took 5 years off my life" moments these children have given me have finally added up to shorten my life expectancy down to the present day.

There's a window in the girls' room, over their bed. They really aren't tall enough to sit in it if the bottom is opened, but I still never let it stay open at the bottom - I only open it from the top, which is virtually impossible for them to reach and fall out of, without some serious Cirque du Soleil action. Still, I worry sometimes.

Like today, when I came out of the shower, and heard Katie saying quietly and sadly "my stistah..." and I see that she's sitting alone on the bed. I immediately looked at the window, and the screen was intact, nothing had changed at all, but my heart still jumped.

Then Lilly popped out from under the covers and said "Here I am!" and they both laughed maniacally. I ran back into my room and tried not to cry.

Did some laundry today in the basement. There are still fleas down there. Goddamned fucking fleas. Not as many as before, that's for sure. But they are still there. On the upside, our basement floor is the cleanest its ever been, what with us having to vacuum down there every single day. We're also supporting the Eureka vacuum bag industry, what with having to throw out the vacuum bag after each vacuuming, lest some fleas should escape and lay more eggs in my home.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A little less itchy

I think we may be turning the corner in our flea battle. Last night Ryan threw out some stupid old carpet tiles that the previous owners had put down in the basement, and ripped some old junky carpeting off the bottom step of the staircase. I don't know why I didn't think of that before. I did ask him to toss the carpet tiles earlier in the day, but somehow I guess I thought the carpet on the step (which was really really old and crappy and only on that one step for some reason) was immoveable. Not Ryan - he attacked and vanquished that carpet!

About an hour later, he went down there barefoot and only found 2 fleas on him. Prior to last night, there would've been at least 20 within a minute. So, I think this is progress! I have not been brave enough to reproduce his experiment today. Maybe after the girls are in bed and he's back home.

Another good sign - I haven't had to use the hydrocortisone except for one time since we came back from the hotel Thursday night. Please let this trend continue!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I pick, you eat

That's apparently what Katie thought the sign said at the pick-your-own strawberry place today. She was grabbing those suckers out of the basket almost as fast as I could put them in, at one point.

Strawberry picking

Strawberry picking

Eventually she either got bored, hot, or full, and went off to play with her sister. Ryan caught a few spontaneous huggy-kissy moments while I was busily filling up our strawberry basket.

Strawberry picking

Strawberry picking

For kids out picking strawberries at high noon (that's what happens when you decide at 9:50am that strawberry picking is the plan for the day) they did remarkably well. Only a little cranky towards the end.

These beauties are waiting in my fridge for tomorrow, when I should have the energy to make jam with some, stuff our faces with some of the others, and maybe cover some with chocolate before stuffing our faces with those. Yum!

Strawberry picking results

Friday, June 20, 2008

Overheard in the car

There's nothing funnier than listening to the girls chatter away in the back seat. I've gotten to the point that a lot of times I don't even turn on the radio, because I am having so much fun eavesdropping.

"Look at dat big airplane! It is a blue angel!"

"No Lilly. Dat is not a blue angel. Dat is a different airplane."

"Oh. OK."

(we drive past a daycare center with an outdoor playground)

"I want to go there! I want to go there, Mommy!"

"We cannot go there, Lilly. There are all the kids in that house. We do not have the key to that house."

"Oh. Hey look! Sliday's!" (TGI Friday's restaurant)

"We go there with Grandma and Pop-pop and we eat food!"

This was all one conversation. It's surreal. I remember when the only "conversation" I heard in the car was one baby crying and the second baby joining in, just for the hell of it. It's amazing how far they have come.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

That was fun, but...

We still have fleas. I think I'm going to shoot myself. Or burn the house down. With the cats in it.

The exterminator used Ultracide and Suspend, which are supposed to be these awesome flea killers. He said he absolutely saturated our basement, which is where the problem was so horrendous. The Ultracide information did say we might see a few residual fleas because those that are in the pupal stage have to hatch and then die. OK, I was prepared for that.

I was not prepared to go down to my basement 24 hours after treatment (wearing white knee-high sweatsocks - I'm not stupid) and be attacked by at least 50 fleas. I swear, it seems like it was worse than before he sprayed. I think I may have a breakdown over this. I'm clearly going to call the exterminator company in the morning and find out if this is their definition of "residual."

It's a shame, because we really had a lovely time at the hotel and the rest of today. We went swimming after breakfast in the indoor pool (it was actually too cool this morning to swim outside), and then after the girls took a nap in the car we went to a local petting zoo/play place and had a really great time, followed by a pleasant dinner. I was on a big happy high until I went downstairs and became engulfed by critters.

I don't know what could have gone wrong. The only thing I can think of is that the spray doesn't work on unfinished concrete. All the label stuff I've found about it talks about using it on carpet and upholstery. But that feels like a pretty flimsy reason. There are other sorts of random dead bugs around, so I know we weren't completely scammed or anything, and this company has been around for decades. My friend has been very happy with their general services, which is why we used them in the first place.

We need to solve this, fast. I'm going through 1% hydrocortisone cream faster than any human ought to.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Exterminator

The guy who came out to our house today was really nice. One of the first things he said when he looked around my livingroom was "Wow, that's the most beautiful ketubah I've ever seen! Ours is nowhere near that cool!" That made my day. He was also kind enough to call my cell a few minutes after I left and let me know I forgot my camera, and he'd put it on the front porch. What a mensch!

Right now we're in the Hyatt Regency, where the girls and I enjoyed a quick but nice dinner in the hotel restaurant (we were the only people there for most of the meal, which is always good when dining with toddlers). The only mishap was when Katie grabbed my placemat and spilled my strawberry lemondrop martini all over my pants. Bleh. The waiter was sweet and got me a new one.

Ryan didn't get here until nearly 9:30, and given the excitement of him arriving, being overtired and in a strange place, and generally being crazy, the girls went to sleep pretty easily. Right now they are parked on the bed and we're headed there momentarily. Smart move of the week goes to Ryan for saying we should just get the king bed and sleep with them, because if we got 2 doubles they'd never stay in theirs if we were in the room, and then we'd all be squished in one.

Tomorrow, the plan is to swim swim swim! The girls saw the pool and went nuts, so it's got to be done. There's an outdoor pool and an indoor one, so very little could foil that plan, right? (Why do I tempt fate this way?)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Scratchy times

We've been attacked by fleas. It's partly my own fault. We have 2 cats - Cleo, who goes outside a lot, and Serena, who hardly ever does and spends most of her time in our basement. Stupidly, last month, I put Frontline Plus on Cleo, but not on Serena. Well, surely Cleo brought in a couple of fleas, they found Serena in the basement, and set up shop. I went down there late last week and they swarmed me. I have never seen so many fleas on my feet. Absolutely horrifying.

Over the weekend we put down some herb-based powder on our only rug upstairs and on the furniture, and we bombed the basement. I went down there the next day and was hit with only a slightly smaller (and seemingly angrier, though I am probably anthropomorphizing with that last bit). So, we called the professionals.

I am not thrilled to have to do it, but they are coming tomorrow afternoon to treat the basement and the lower level of the house. The inspector guy recommended not treating the bedrooms right now, because the big problem is in the basement. He tried really hard to find some fleas in our livingroom rug, and couldn't, so he figures it's not too bad up here and it'd be best to avoid chemicals in the bedrooms if possible.

Normally, they require you to stay out of the house for 4 hours. But because we have kids with a history of lung disease, we get to stay out for 24 hours. We can go to Grandma's, or we can find a hotel. Ryan wants to find a hotel with a pool, which would be fun if he's actually going to take the day off - otherwise it's just a tease as I cannot go swimming with 2 toddlers all by myself.

Still, as much as it'd be cheaper to stay at my parents', I kind of like the idea of a hotel. I love hotels. I'm going to try and convince him he needs to take the day off.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy 5th Anniversary, Happy Father's Day

June 15, 2003

I'd do it all again, even the hard parts. And now that we have our two beautiful daughters, it seems even nicer that we got married on Father's Day.

It's been a whirlwind, like late May/early June always is in this family. Mother's Day, then Memorial Day, then my birthday, my mother's birthday, our anniversary, and Father's Day, all within a 4-week period. I'll try and get back to regular posting now that the madness has passed for a while.

Monday, June 02, 2008

It's my birthday and I'll blog if I want to

I already had the day mentally planned, nothing too exciting, but some time for myself. I have a noon appointment with my therapist (made without noticing the date) so my parents were coming to get the kids at 11, and I figured I'd grab a quiet lunch, maybe do a little shopping or go up to the beach for a bit, then meet them for dinner somewhere. But Ryan ended up taking the day off at the last minute, so now I am thrown for a loop! It's a nice change, but I'm not sure whether I should cancel my parents' coming to take them or not.

I'll figure it out later. Right now I am enjoying sitting upstairs with my laptop, quietly checking emails and posting, rather than what I'd normally be doing right now, dodging flying yogurt and oatmeal bowls in the dining room.

Friday, May 30, 2008

What's in a name?

Should I rename this blog? I mean, I don't knit much these days, and even when I do start knitting again, it's probably not going to be a knit-centric blog anymore. There's just too much other stuff in my life. I feel kind of attached to "betseeee knits" but I also think it's kind of silly to write all this stuff about my kids, house, and random personal stuff under that title. What do you think?

Monday, May 26, 2008

What a great weekend

We really had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. The weather was basically perfect - warm, not-too-hot, bright sunshine, no rain. We had an early playdate on Saturday with the neighbors who live behind us. They have an almost-5-year-old daughter, and an almost-3-year-old son, and a 10-week old daughter. The kids are adorable, and the parents are super nice. Really super nice. Like, Ned Flanders nice. They brought sticky buns and used the phrase "yummers" when I said we had bagels and lox.

On Sunday we had a BBQ over here because my cousin Rachel was in town with her boyfriend, who none of us had met before. Her Mom came down from CT, and my parents came over, of course, too. I made yummy chicken wings and cedar-planked salmon, which everyone seemed to really enjoy. Actually, I really want more of those wings right now. Yum. The boyfriend is really a great guy and very personable. I hope they get married. The girls loved everyone and everything, doing all their "tricks" including a new one - blowing off their afternoon nap completely. Ack! Bedtime was early that night, but their sleep was very interrupted and today's nap was shortened, too. I hope the fallout does not continue tomorrow.

Today we laid low at home, other than lunch at the diner and a trip to the Home Despot. While the girls napped, I weeded my garden, put up a new little edging fence around it (the reason we went to the Despot in the first place), and planted tomatoes and peppers. I wasn't really sure I was going to do a garden this year, but my Dad (who starts his own veggie seeds) had a bunch of extra plants and offered them to me. I accepted, thus forcing the issue. I'm so glad I did. There's not much yummier (yummers-ier?) than fresh ripe tomatoes in the summer.

The only dim spot in the weekend was a situation with my next-door neighbor. She is a very nice, maybe not-so-bright single mother of a very bright, very manipulative, but also very personable almost-7-year-old who I'll call Jenny. We don't have fences in our neighborhood, and since we moved here 3 years ago, Jenny has always come across to our backyard and we've played with her. Ryan more so than me. As she's gotten older, her mom has given her a lot more freedom, and basically just lets her come outside and pretty much counts on me letting her play in our yard, and keeping an eye on her. Most of the time she doesn't even come out herself until it's time to call Jenny in for dinner.

I find this pretty frustrating. I have 2 kids to take care of already, and the thing is Jenny doesn't want to play with the girls. She spends a couple of minutes pushing them on the swing or whatever, but for the most part she wants me to play with her. I know she's very high-energy and her mom runs out of steam, but it's not really fair to constantly pawn her off on us. But then, I have never sent her home (successfully, at least) and when her mom has said "I hope Jenny's not bothering you" I've never said "Well yeah, she kinda is..." because who can say that without coming off as a bitch?

So on Saturday when everyone was here, Jenny saw us outside and came right over. Her mom said "Jenny, stay away from the kids - you have a fever."

OK, what? Your kid has a fever and you let her come over here to play with just a lame warning? I know I should've said something right there and sent her home, but I felt so uncomfortable with the confrontation, and I assumed that her Mom would come back out in 15-20 minutes or so and say come on home, you're sick, or something. She never did, and Jenny was at our house for the whole afternoon. Ryan told her she needed to go once, and my Mom told her twice. But she just lingered. Short of taking her by the arm and walking her home, there was no getting rid of her. I actually don't even know how she ended up out of here at the end of the day - she just eventually disappeared, as far as I know.

This afternoon, she showed up again. Her Mom came after her to remind her not to get too close to the girls because she's still sick. I looked at her Mom and said, pretty sarcastically, "Well, she was here all day yesterday..." and she smiles brightly and says "And the girls are OK?" At that point I was so pissed-off that I just said "That wasn't exactly my point. She was sick, she was here all day, and she was asked to leave several times." (I'm pretty sure Jenny wasn't paying attention to this conversation, but not certain) Her mom looked at me and said "Oh. That wasn't what I was told." and I said well, that's what happened, and she said "Well we're going to have to have a talk about that," looked towards Jenny, told her they had to go, walked away without saying goodbye and went in the house.

Ryan thinks I was absolutely in the right, but not very diplomatic, and now thinks that Jenny's Mom is pissed-off. I interpreted what she said as embarrassment - partly at her kid's behavior, and partly at her own negligence. Either way, I'm glad I said something, and this was really my only opportunity to do so, but I don't know where to proceed from here. I don't want her never to come over, but I can't be responsible for someone's high-needs kid (who isn't even really a playmate to my kids) for hours at a time, and even more so when I am having a family gathering, not to mention I don't want a sick kid hanging out with my kids for hours on end.

I wish we'd had the stupid confrontation yesterday, so it wasn't the last thing lingering from the weekend.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thinking about acronyms

I was invited to and joined an industry group with a very intentionally amusing acronym as its name. For months they just existed as a group on but earleir this week they had a get-together at a hip bar in the city. I didn't go, and didn't think twice about it.

Today I got an email with a little photo recap from the event, and it made me feel strange. I saw a bunch of people I used to work with and really used to enjoy hanging out with at work, in bars, wherever. And it made me miss that life a little bit.

Not enough to want to go back to work full time, but enough to make me want to go to the next party, and to get out a bit more, try and find some balance in my life. I don't know if that last bit is actually possible. But I think I can manage to find someone in addition to my parents to watch my kids so next time I don't have to either sit this one out, or beg my parents for a nighttime favor.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My belated Mother's Day

Well, we got a swingset and it almost immediately started raining. Sorry, fellow NYers - it's our fault.

I realized I never got around to recapping my fabulous solo Saturday. First off, the mailman brought my beautiful bracelet, which I absolutely love.

Then I was off to the mall, to try and spend my Banana Republic gift certificate left from Chrismukah. First I stopped off at Starbucks and got an iced caramel latte and a tarragon chicken sandwich. I sat and ate in absolute peace right in the middle of the mall.

That might not sound noteworthy, but if you have toddler twins (or infant twins, or any age twins that are still riding in a stroller while you shop) there is no such thing as peace. First there's the not-peace that exists as a natural offshoot of having two small children with you. Then there's the not-peace that comes from all the people who come over to admire your twins and ask you questions about them. I won't get into all the specific questions, but "are they twins?" is the opener, and from there we delve into birth methods, birthweights, personality differences, opinions on whether I should dress them alike/put them in the same class, and usually a detour into the cousin's friend's sister-in-law who had preemie twins and they turned out great, too.

It makes it sort of hard to just relax and enjoy a snack and a drink. But being there alone, I was totally anonymous. No one paid me any attention, and I felt so free! I found a shirt and some jeans at BR, failed to find a bra at Victoria's Secret, and went on my merry way to the car wash. I had Ryan's car and felt like I wanted to do something kind for him, so I got it washed while I was out. Aren't I just so nice?

The centerpiece of the day was a manicure and pedicure. Sitting there for an hour with no one climbing on me was lovely, and it really felt nice to treat myself a little bit. I was seated next to an older mom whose younger child had just gone to his senior prom the night before, so it was fun to compare notes on the different stages of motherhood we're at.

Post-mani/pedi I went to TJ Maxx and found a black belt to replace an old one which was too narrow for today's styles, and a cheap-but-functional armband for my nano. (I'm hoping that motivates me to start running again.)

I hit Trader Joe's for some groceries, and then met the girls and Ryan at home and headed out for sushi. The ladies were almost-perfect at dinner, and I really thought to myself what a perfect day it was.

Then 5 minutes before bedtime, Lilly found a tube of 1% hydrocortisone (used for her occasional eczema) that I had probably left too close to the edge of her dresser and bit into it. Ryan lunged at her to scrape the cream out of her mouth, scared the crap out of her, and she got completely hysterical. I took her to my room so I could get the phone and call Poison Control to see if we needed to do anything* (even though we were both pretty sure she had ingested a minute amount, if anything). Then she stopped crying. And barfed edamame, noodles, rice, and salad (and not a single visible trace of hydrocortisone cream) all over me.

Maybe just-slightly-less-than perfect.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Anyone into swinging?

It's here!

Posted by Picasa

None of these are really great photos, but we really didn't get to play long outside. It was unseasonably chilly today, and the girls and their friends Bobby and Sarah who were over actually wanted to go inside. The moms agreed. But boy did they enjoy it while they were out there! I'm really annoyed that tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy, chilly, and rainy in the afternoon. How am I supposed to keep them inside now that this thing is out there?!

I think the whole swingset adventure put them in a better mood than usual tonight. They were adorable in the tub, and afterwards. I wrapped them up together in a big towel, and they were all snuggly and warm and started hugging and kissing. Lilly told Katie "You are my best fwiend, Katie." And Katie took a cue from this song we listen to a lot in the car, looked her sister in the eye, and said "No one can take me away from you, Lilly."

I almost had to explain the idea of crying when you're happy to them. And then they were off and running, so I got to cry a few happy tears in private.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mother's Day Redux

Since last Sunday was not quite to my liking (to understate the facts) Ryan offered me a do-over today. I got to sort-of sleep in (well, I got to go back to sleep after being awakened at 5 and 7 by my children) and I'm going to go out for a pedicure, some shopping, and who knows what else for the afternoon. I'm very excited.

I don't often get to do this on the weekends, because we're always trying to have family time. But if I don't get some me time, the family time just isn't going to be very fun. I do sometimes get out alone when the girls are at my parents, but it's never enough time, it often involves some frustrating logistics (dropping them off, picking them up, or generally trying to figure out how to get them a nap since they won't sleep at Grandma and Pop-pop's house). It's so nice to be able to just leave them at my own house, with their own father, and let him deal with the logistics for an afternoon.

In other news, I am almost excited for the weekend to end, because on Monday, Wood Kingdom is delivering a (not-wood) swingset for the girls! I can hardly wait. We were looking at a small Step2 set, but then Grandma stepped in and upgraded us to the big honkin' Naturally Playful Adventure Lodge with Glider.

This is fantastic news. We do not have fences around our yard, and our next-door neighbor Emma (who is in first grade) has a big wooden swingset and a playhouse that the girls love. But they don't understand that they can only play on it when Emma is home, and that leads to a lot of conflict and chasing when we are outside, as you might imagine. I think this set will more than satisfy their swingy, climby, slidey, playhousey desires.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I saw this place for the first time today and the name really caught my eye. The girls were asleep in the back so I stopped to take a picture. I was even more amused when I noticed the direction on the door. It's like a test before you've even enrolled!

I assume the subjects in question here are canine, but the idea of them being human really tickles me, and seems apropos in light of my last post.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day?

I guess you can say "I don't need a fancy gift, the card and the thought behind it are what matters most" 'til your blue in the face, but your message may or may not get through to its recipient. Mine sure did not. No card or gifts from my husband or kids. The kids have an excuse - they don't drive and the only money they have is the change they swipe whenever they manage to climb into the front seat of my (parked) car. The husband has no such mitigating factor, ergo, he did not fare so well today.

I did get him to vacuum my car and promise to buy me the bracelet I want. I may get some new running shoes out of the deal, too. Still, I'd have preferred to avoid the conflict and just have had him buy the stupid cards. Or make the stupid cards. He's a freaking visual artist. He could've sent me a jpeg and at least it would have demonstrated some effort.

Oh well. We went to lunch with my parents and the girls had a good time. Here's an underexposed, but still cute shot of me and Lilly.

Kate looking like she's at a board meeting.

Lilly, demonstrating her mastery of the cheezy grin.

The upside is my birthay is in 3 weeks, and he's never been known to screw up 2 in a row.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 09, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

It's pouring today, after a solid week of beautiful weather. Oh well. We trudged out to Gymboree this morning and had some lunch afterwards at the wrap place in the same shopping center. Lunch wasn't my idea - I was all set to come home. But we often eat at the wrap place with Daddy, so they just sort of dragged me there and I went along for the ride (and paid).

Speaking of ideas, yesterday Lilly woke up and said to me "I have a good idea!" I asked her what her idea was and she said "We go to aquarium, we go to gymboree, we go to pizza place. That a good idea!" I agreed with her that it was a great idea and we would do all of that another day. "Another day" is a big concept here. Anytime we pass a playground or mention something fun, someone pipes up with "I want to go there/do that/see them another day!" I wonder if they really understand that concept or not? There are variations - sometimes it's " week," or my personal favorite " 2 minutes."

Right now the little angels are sleeping and I am dragging my feet about cleaning up my house. Not my whole house - that is an impossible dream right now. The whole place got even messier than its usual baseline messiness because I've been working a few days a week for a few weeks. But I have a friend coming tomorrow to visit, so I at least have to make the livingroom, dining room, and kitchen (the rooms you can't avoid seeing when you come in) presentable. I'm waiting for the giant iced coffee I just slurped to kick in.

I'm also dragging my feet about calling a babysitter. My therapist actually recommended this person, and I have had her number for months. I don't know why I can't manage to pick up the phone and call. I start getting bogged down in the logistics of when I want to ask her to come, what I'll do with the time, whether I would ever be able to let her put the girls down for a nap (would they let her, is the real question) and then I procrastinate calling. It's ludicrous, because having somoene even just a few hours a week would help me get a lot more done and reduce my stress level, making me much more pleasant to be around, I'm sure.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I meant to post this last night, but didn't have a chance. The girls almost have the alphabet song down pat. Pretty good for just shy of 28 months, I think. They are tremendous camera hams these days - they seem to like to try and steal the spotlight from one another. My favorite part of this one comes at around 2:21, when Lilly goes hopping through the frame.

The UFO in my closet

When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to knit my baby a blanket. When I found out it was twins, two blankets. When I found out I was going to be placed on modified bedrest at 25 weeks as a precaution, I saw my big opportunity. I wanted to make these pretty blankets with their initials on them. They might be from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies or they might be from another book. If I take the time to look now, I probably won't get to finish this post before the Cherished Toddlers wake up.

Since my sister-in-law was also pregnant and due the same week as I was, I decided to make 3 blankets. One purple, one pink, one yellow. We decided quite randomly that the purple one would be for Kate, pink for Lilly. Not that we had told anyone the names we were using at that point, so I would have to knit in secret. Pretty simple. I was so excited about the blankets, because I knew my girls could use them for their dolls later on and would always have them.

When I went into the hospital at 27 weeks, the yarn had just arrived--All Seasons Cotton ordered from Colourway in the UK. Once I was off mag sulfate and had no more IVs, I had Ryan bring all the necessary stuff to the hospital, where I knitted as much as I could manage. I can't recall exactly what day I started, but it had to have been at least day 5 or 6, and I ended up giving birth on Day 14.

I knitted some in the NICU after they were born, but it was so hard to focus, even on the practice that had brought me so much peace and happiness over the years. The only time I could sit still other than holding my babies was when I was pumping. When I was home and pumping, I spent most of my time online, but when I was at the NICU, I pumped and knitted.

I made it a little more than 2/3 of the way through Kate's blanket, which is rather fitting I suppose, since that's about how far I made it through the pregnancy. Then my little lovies came home, and craziness ensued. We also received about 30 baby blankets as gifts. The little K blanket got stuck in the back of my closet, where it remained until this morning, when it took a trip out onto my back porch for a photo or two.

So, now I am trying to figure out what to do with it. And with the 8 or 10 (I can't remember) balls of pink I bought as its companion. I don't know if I can bring myself to finish it, but I know I can't bring myself to frog it, either. What's a mommy to do?

My heart is hurting tonight for Ahuva. And I'm being interrupted and can't type more.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Being Mommy is hard some days. I have children's songs running through my brain and can't get them out. These two statements are related, but not necessarily directly.

I'm too grumpy to post any more. Seeya tomorrow.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

And the #1 reason you know your two-year-old is sick? She looks at you imploringly at 7:45 p.m. and whines "I just want to go to sleep, Mommy."

Poor Lilly. Poor Kate, too, but she's not taking it quite as hard as her sister. It's "just" a cold, but they're also running fevers with it and feeling pretty junky and cranky. Yuk. And I am feeling like a bad Mommy right now because I didn't start Kate on her meds yet - I guess I was in denial that she really had a cold.

Officially, Kate has a diagnosis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD, which is used interchangeably with chronic lung disease - CLD - so you can choose your weapon here). This is partly because of her prematurity, and partly because of the time she spent on the ventilator after her birth. On a day-to-day level, this doesn't affect her functioning one bit. But it makes her more vulnerable to breathing problems when she gets sick. So far, she's only had one cold that got her wheezing, back in October, and she had pneumonia over Christmas. But in 2 years, we've only been to the ER once (October) and she hasn't been hospitalized at all - that's pretty damn good.

Anyway, when she gets a cold I am supposed to start her on either albuterol and Pulmicort via nebulizer, or albuterol and Flovent via aerochamber (an attachment that goes on a regular inhaler to make it effective for little kids). She was just runny all day, not coughing, so I kept putting it off and thinking she was going to be OK. So of course she starting coughing at bedtime, when it was pretty much too late to do it.

I guess if she gets worse, I can sneak in with the nebulizer, hope it doesn't wake her, and give her a treatment in her sleep. Otherwise I'll just go ahead in the morning, unless she's miraculously cured.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Nobody ever warned me that I could be more tired at 27 months than I was with two newborns. So I'm warning you!

The girls started getting stuffy/runny noses yesterday (right in the middle of a playdate - great!) and by nighttime they were cranky and definitely having trouble breathing through their noses. This means that if they have a binky in their mouth while they are sleeping, they are going to wake up unable to breathe and cry. Over and over and over and over and over again.

There were a total of 4 wakeups during last night's episode of "Lost." I gave up counting after that, but I know I finally fell asleep for the first time at 1:30, and was back up sometime during the 2, 3, and 4 o'clock hours, ending up with everyone in our bed.

The only moment of levity was at some point when Lilly asked for water, and I couldn't find the sippy cup that I usually keep at my bedside. Somehow she just let it go, and a few minutes later, Ryan rolled over and I heard a "clunk" which was clearly a sippy cup hitting the floor. I said very quietly to myself "Ah, there's that sippy cup" and Lilly (who I thought had gone back to sleep) laughed out loud and said "That funny, mama!"

It wouldn't be so bad except I am at a freelance gig today, staring at a screen, waiting for client comments to a project so I can actually do some work. It's really really hard to stay awake at this point, and it's tempting to just give up a couple hundred bucks so I can go take a nap while the kids are with my parents.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm supposed to be working right now. The girls are with Grandma and Pop-pop, and I have a lot to do. But I just got these pics from our aquarium/ice cream day, and I can't resist.

Me and Katie

Me and Lilly

Four happy kids, about to get messy.

Sophie sharing her cone with Lilly.

Katie sharing a laugh with Sebastian.

Katie's blissful mess.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Right around the girls' second birthday, they apparently decided to stop liking their cribs. They have never been great nappers or nighttime sleepers, but putting them down for a nap or bedtime was always very easy. Maybe 1 night a month I would try to put them to bed too early and they would cry, but otherwise they'd kiss me, lie down, and go to sleep. I knew I had trouble when that stopped working, and putting them into their cribs became very much like trying to put a cat in a tub of water.

We had a thick tempurpedic mattress pad that used to be on our bed, so we put that on the floor in their room, and they slept on it much more happily than they did in their cribs. About a month ago it was obvious that we weren't going back to the cribs, so we took the plunge. Ryan and I bought a king size bed for ourselves, and gave the girls our queen.

Things are a lot better. The only problem is now they won't go to sleep on their own - I have to be in the room. And I have to lie down between them. And it has to be me. They will pretend to let Daddy put them to bed, but when the lights go out, they scream for Mommymommymommy.

Most of the time I am OK with this. It takes 5-10 minutes for naps, 10-25 minutes for bedtime, usually. Sometimes I find it incredibly frustrating (mostly if they are hyper and can't calm down, so I am in there too long) and I have to work really really hard not to become mean Mommy.

Sometimes, though, the simple act of putting them down for a nap becomes pure bliss. I don't know why, but today everything was perfect. Lilly said she wanted to snuggle, so she rolled onto her belly and flung her arm around my neck. Katie just wanted to lie on her back with her hand on my arm. I could tell Lilly was asleep halfway through the 2nd song on their lullabye CD (a beautiful Celtic compilation, by the way, given to us by Karen and her son Neil William).

I turned to look at Katie, and her eyes were flickering up and down, and I could see she was looking at the picture on the wall in front of the bed. (It's a picture I drew in elementary school, of a cat, and my Mom gave it to me right before I got pregnant, so now it's framed in their room.) I watched her eyes open and close a few times, and she didn't notice me at all, so I continued to gaze as her eyelids gently closed for real, and she relaxed into sleep.

And then I lay there for another 5 minutes, sobbing uncontrollably. They are so beautiful, so precious, and I am so lucky to have them healthy and alive and lively as they are. The moments when that realization hits me are some of the most perfect I've ever experienced.

Monday, April 28, 2008

What a Monday. It just felt like a Monday all day long. Emphasis on the "long" part.

We did a lot of fun stuff this weekend, and the girls didn't get a lot of naps in. Yesterday was the March for Babies (we raised $2080!) in the rain, then the Children's Museum, and they really only slept in the car. So this morning they somehow slept until 9:15 (not straight through, of course - if you know my girls you'll be unsurprised that I was up at least 4x overnight with them, which I will admit is far more than I have been most nights lately). That messed with their circadian rhythm, I guess, because they were tired, but not sleepy during their usual naptime of 1pm-ish.

I ended up throwing them in the car at 2:15 and they fell asleep in about 10 minutes. I went to the drive-through Starbucks and got a latte, then headed back home because I needed a quick pit stop. I left them sleeping in the car (not running!) inside the garage with the door closed. They woke up in about 10 minutes, for a total of maybe 30 minutes' nap. There was enough time to go to Gymboree play gym at 3pm, so I headed over there. They were all excited, and tragedy struck - darkness in the gym and a sign on the door informing me that play gym is now at 1:45pm. Nooo!

Luckily, I had noticed there was a 4pm class we could attend at a Gymboree a little further away, which just opened. So I psyched them up for that, and my little loves totally went with the flow. The class was really crowded, but they had a good enough time. Did a little shopping afterwards (the gym is in a mall with a bunch of kids' outlet stores) and gave them pizza at the food court. Then we came home, got jammied up, took some cute video of them being silly in their room (I'm too tired now to download and edit), and they were asleep only a little later than normal, by 8:45-9ish.

Now that I read all that, why did it feel like such a junky day? Cramps, nausea, headache - they really do mess with your whole outlook, don't they?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I don't have anything much to say. But I'm trying to get back in the habit of blogging regularly, not just when I buy a house, have some kids, or need donations to a cause.

Took the girls to our local aquarium today with Leanne and her 2 kids. It was crowded. Very very crowded. I think even the kids (ranging from 18months to 3.5 years, mine in the middle) were bothered by the crowd because all 4 of them spent way more time in the stroller than I have ever seen. Leanne had her sit and stand stroller, I had my double side-by-side, and the kids swapped in and out. After we had a not-very-relaxing lunch al fresco, I suggested we bail and go down the road to a cute little ice cream place. On the way out the door, I had Sebastian and Kate, and Leanne had Lilly and Sophie in her stroller, so that's how we drove to the ice cream place (with Lilly and Sebastian's consent to the switch). It was so fun to listen to Kate chat with her friend in the back seat on the way there.

K: "We going to have ice cream!"
S: "I'm going to have chocolate ice cream."
K: "I going to have chocolate too!"
S: "I am going to have chocolate with chocolate chips."
K: "I going to have chippies, too."


I didn't have a camera because Ryan brought it into work today, but Leanne got some cute pics of me with the girls, and some nice shots of all 4 of them sitting on a bench, messily eating ice cream. The former are very rare photos these days. I hope I get to see them this decade. It's amazing how few pictures I have of me and my children. Between my husband who would rather play than shoot (understandable, but frustrating) and my friends who shoot but don't know how to download and post, it's rather pathetic! I end up feeling like an idiot, begging people to take pictures of me with my kids, which just doesn't end up feeling natural, ya know?

Monday, March 03, 2008

As we did last year (and will every year as long as I am physically able - which I expect will be a long time) my family and some friends are participating in the March of Dimes March for Babies. It used to be called WalkAmerica, but they finally changed it to something a little more telegraphic.

Since giving birth to my girls so premature, there's nothing I want more than to prevent them and anyone else from experiencing the heartache of a premature birth and NICU stay. We are forever indebted to the March of Dimes for funding so much of the research that helped created the NICU which saved our babies' lives. But there is so much more work to be done in preventing premature birth in the first place.

If you want to support Team O'Girlie, you can visit our team page.

If you need further convincing, watch the video.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Oh crap. When I changed my template, of course I lost all my old comments. Aaaaagh!
And she's back. Just like that.

I've toyed for months with the idea of blogging again. But I couldn't decide how to go about it. I didn't really want to start a new blog, and abandon everything here, even though this was primarily (and certainly by title) a blog about knitting, something I haven't touched in nearly 2 years. But I felt funny coming back here after so much time. I have even had the passing anxiety about who's going to find this blog now. I use this screenname on a few message boards, and as always happens, there are a few people there who don't like me. Do I really want them finding me here?

I still don't know the "right" answer to any of the above, but I decided what the hell, I'll just start posting again. I need the outlet, and maybe this will help reconnect me to the person I was before I became a mother. Anything that furthers that goal is probably a good idea at this point. I'm actually at a freelance job in the city right now, which seems a fitting place to start bloggign again, because it was on a slow day at another freelance job that I started this whole thing in the first place.

I don't really know what I am going to talk about here. Twins. Motherhood. Writing. Photography (a recently-rekindled interest). PTSD. All of these are part of my life, in varying degrees and not necessarily in order.

The easiest thing to talk about is Twins. My girls are doing wonderfully. We celebrated their 2nd birthday a few weeks ago, and they could not be more amazing. They had their follow-up appointment at the high-risk infant clinic (all the NICU grads go there until at least age 3) last week, and to say they did well is a major understatement. Their verbal skills are generally at the 3-year level, and above.

I don't know why it would surprise me that my girls are highly verbal at such an early age (other than the fact that twins and premature babies commonly have language delays.) I was an early talker and reader, as was my brother. And I talk to them all the livelong day. But still, I did not expect to have 2-year-olds who can count as high as 12, know most of their colors and shapes, talk in 5-6 word sentences, and say "please" and "thank you" at least 50% of the time.

To say I am blown away barely scratches the surface. We are extremely fortunate.