Welcome!

Welcome to my blog - it's like a diary only better. This is my soapbox containing a collection of my thoughts and the experiences of my life raising twins.

Prior to this blog, prior to marriage and prior to the twinsanity that I now call my life, life was quite different for me. When you visit this blog, you won’t find me writing much about my life pre-twins – I hope that’s okay. Why? You ask. Because life with twins changes everything and my life pre-multiples is now just a dizzy, distant memory. And while it’s true that life years ago may have been a little more glamorous, the life I live now is a whole lot more rewarding and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I’m glad you’ve stopped by...there’s a really strong chance that I won’t offer anything extraordinary here, but by the same token there is also the possibility that you will experience a taste of the adventures, challenges and many joys that come with my life with twins. Hopefully that will be enough to bring you back here again.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Since You Asked...

It’s nice to know that I actually have some loyal readers of my blog! Some of you emailed me recently to ask for more information about some of the nutritional products that I give to the twins, particularly to our finicky eater Paige (aka “the nibbler”).

Resource Boost Juice

You wanted to know about the nutrition facts of the Resource Boost Juice which I’d referenced in a previous post. Well, I figured the best way to give you the information you’re looking for was to pull some nutrition details listed directly on the product panel:

Total Calories: 250
Total Fat: 0
Cholesterol: 0
Potassium: 20mg
Total Carbohydrates: 54g
Protein: 9g

Daily Value Vitamins/Nutrients in 1 Boost Juice Serving:

Vitamin A: 15% DV
Vitamin C: 60% DV
Iron: 15% DV
Vitamin E: 20% DV
Vitamin K: 15% DV
Thiamin: 25% DV
Riboflavin: 25% DV
Niacin: 25% DV
Vitamin B6: 25% DV
Folic Acid: 15% DV
Vitamin B12: 25% DV
Biotin: 15% DV
Pantothenic Acid: 15% DV
Phosporous: 15% DV
Zinc: 25% DV

I know I’ve said it before about this juice, but this is not your ordinary juice. You won’t find even a fraction of the above vitamins/nutrients in your typical grocery store selection of juices. You’ll pay a little more too but if you’re like me – concerned about your young ones getting the most vitamins/nutrients in their daily diets, this juice is great!

Another Product Endorsement from Me – Boost Pudding

Another recent item I’ve added to the twins’ diet is Boost Pudding, and since there was some interest from some of you who emailed me about the Boost juice, thought you might also find their puddings worth a look too. I used to give the girls Jell-o brand puddings as a snack occasionally until I came across the Boost Pudding. Now, I’ve sworn off the Jell-o brand in lieu of the Boost brand. Here’s why:

The Boost Pudding offers better nutrition than your average pudding.

One small 5 oz pudding cup offers 240 calories, 9 grams of fat (only 1 of those fat grams is the unhealthy saturated fat), 33 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of protein.

Plus, just check out the other vitamins/nutrients in just one 5 oz cup!

Daily Value Vitamins/Nutrients in 1 5 oz Boost Pudding Serving:

Vitamin A: 15% DV (50% as Beta-carotene)
Vitamin C: 60% DV
Calcium: 25% DV
Iron: 15% DV
Vitamin D: 20% DV
Vitamin E: 50% DV
Vitamin K: 25% DV
Thiamin: 15% DV
Riboflavin: 15% DV
Niacin: 15% DV
Vitamin B6: 20% DV
Folic Acid: 20% DV
Vitamin B12: 20% DV
Biotin: 15% DV
Panthothenic Acid: 15% DV
Phosphorous: 20% DV
Zinc: 20% DV
Selenium: 15% DV
Manganese: 20% DV
Chromium: 15% DV
Molybdenum: 15% DV

If you’re okay with a pricier pudding, I highly recommend the Boost Puddings. For a package of 48 pudding cups, you’re going to pay about $70.00 plus tax, shipping and handling. While I know that’s A LOT more than what you’d spend on the Jell-o brand or comparable brand of puddings in the grocery store, you can’t beat the nutritional value.

You can find ordering and product information for the Boost Puddings at:
http://www.nestle-nutrition.com/Products/Product.aspx?ProductId=d01ab52e-5352-4f05-8a0a-5501410044ea

Happy shopping!

P.S. Our girls like Vanilla and Chocolate. Butterscotch is also available but we haven’t tried that flavor yet.

Part 2: The Little-est GOPers / McCain Rally

Sorry it’s taken me a couple days to post these, but I’ve been experiencing technical difficulties (yes, again). Anyways, as promised, here are some videos from the rally for McCain earlier this week.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Little-est GOPers / McCain Rally

It was an early start to our day today. The girls and I were up at 6:00 AM making our final preparations in anticipation of attending the John McCain event today.

- Pink Elephant Republican Gear for Paige & Taylor. Check.

- Republican Team Color Bows in Our Hair. Check.

- Homemade "McCain 2008" Sign. Check.

- Balloons for Paige & Taylor. Check.

- Republican Elephant Lapel Pin for Paige & Taylor to Wear. Check.

- Happy, Smiling Faces Full of Republican Pride. Check.

I managed to snap a few quick photos this morning before we headed out the door.










Today turned out to be an awesome day. The girls and I joined fellow Republicans in the Capitol today to rally for McCain. Young and old alike, of all backgrounds and walks of life, raised their McCain campaign signs and chanted:

“Who de want? John McCain”
“McCain in 2008”
“Go McCain”

to the passersby on the street. We also enjoyed lots of honks and thumbs-up from many of the drivers as we all waved our signs and cheered our support. And, of course, there were a few supporters from the "other" camp too which helped to keep the day even more interesting.

Paige and Taylor made lots of friends today too – with other rallying Republicans who shared their signs with the girls as you’ll see among the photos shown below.

Paige and Taylor also made friends with the local media who were in attendance. I guess even the liberal media can enjoy a cute set of twins, even if they’re decked out in Republican gear and holding McCain campaign signs! Ha, ha, ha.


A handful of TV and print media stopped to remark “what cute little girls” and “they’re doing a great job waving the McCain signs” and “it’s great to see kids, at such a young age, being apart of this process in their own way”. I even had one film crew come over and say to me, “I’ve been filming you and your children from across the street…what are your names, I’d like to include you among our coverage of today’s rally participants.” Really? Well, how cool is that?! I guess the twins ended up being a draw for the media because by the time we left for the day, I had been interviewed by both TV and print reporters and Paige and Taylor had had their little mugs filmed and their pictures taken as well a handful of times – I counted six media outlets altogether (3 local TV News Channels and 3 or 4 print, including the Associated Press). I was interviewed about my reasons for supporting McCain, what my ‘hot-button’ campaign issues are in this election, etc. etc. Here’s a little snapshot of some of the Q&A:

Q: What is one reason that are you supporting McCain?
A: I believe McCain will continue to take us in the right direction on our national security as well as help to continue driving the success of the surge in the war in Iraq. Obama, on the other hand, will take a cut-n-run approach…

Q: Why do you like McCain – the man?
A: He has an extensive record of experience, he’s been tested in the most difficult of circumstances, I respect his record on some conservative issues that are important to me and my family and I also appreciate his long-standing military service.

Q: What do you think of Obama’s decision to choose Biden as a VP?
A: I was surprised. There seems to be quite a disconnect in Obama’s philosophy on the Iraq issue. He has long campaigned against the war in Iraq, as far back as his votes on the floor years ago following 9/11 and now again throughout his many months on the campaign trail. Obama has continually refused to support the war efforts in Iraq from the beginning, yet now he has chosen a VP pick who was supportive of the initiative to go to war and cast a definitive “yes” vote. That record is a direct contradiction to Obama’s position on the war in Iraq. The choice of Biden just doesn’t make sense on that one issue – and it’s one of THE main issues that Obama has staked his entire campaign upon.

Q: What do you think McCain’s chances are of winning the electoral votes in the state of CA?
A: I believe that his chances of carrying CA are very slim but I’m choosing to be optimistic. More importantly than how CA votes is how the rest of the nation votes and I believe that nationally, McCain has the support of the Americans and that he will be our next President.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah....

There were a handful of other questions from the media, but why bore you with them now?! I’m keeping my eyes peeled for any news articles and interviews that I participated in today that might be saved from the cutting room floor and if they are, I’ll be sure to post them here for you. So, stay tuned!

Today’s crowd was really diverse. There were a good number of other children today who had joined in the efforts to champion McCain in CA. It was awesome to see so many families with their young ones out there too and getting them involved in this process even in the smallest and simplest of ways such as passing out McCain bumper stickers, clapping their hands and chanting “We love McCain”, and donning their McCain Campaign tees and hats.

Definitely a fun day. I won’t soon forget it! As fun and exciting as it was to be with other Republicans rallying for McCain, the true highlight of the day came when John McCain stepped out of his SUV, amidst a stream of cars in his motorcade and escorted by police and secret service, and began his approach towards us. I got to see the next President of the United States up close and personal as some of the video footage shows. The most exciting part of the day was when he shook my hand!!!! He even greeted little Paige and Taylor!!! After he departed, and after Paige, Taylor and I started back towards our car, I stooped over and said to Paige and Taylor: “Guys you just got to meet John McCain, and he’s the next President of the U.S.” And, get this, Paige shouted back at me: “YAAAAY”. She really is a precocious little girl!

Today made for a great memory, one which as the girls get older we will always be able to tell them about….the day that they met John McCain and helped his campaign for president and helped our great country.





And, finally, one sampling of some of the handiwork of the supporters of the opposing party in the rally today....

Please check back again tomorrow for the actual video footage of our day at the rally for McCain in "Part 2 - The Little-est GOPers / McCain Rally".

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Answers

So, some fellow moms are circulating this questionnaire in our little blogosphere and I finally have a chance to fill it out:

How it works:
1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers questions about themselves.
3. Let the person who tagged you with the questionnaire know that you’ve posted your answers on your blog.

Where were you 5 years ago?
I was adjusting to life on the West Coast in sunny California after being an East Coast Virginia girl. I was working in marketing for a large, publicly traded homebuilder. I had also just recently become a newlywed and was probably still transforming from that bride-to-be role into the wife role. I was also working out 7 days a week for about 2 hours each day…oh, how I miss those workouts!

What are 5 things on your to do list for this coming week?
1. Make 3 meals and 3 snacks every day for the twins.
2. Do laundry, mop the floors, vacuum, dust, and clean the bathrooms.
3. Go grocery shopping.
4. Go to doctor appointments for the twins.
5. Buy a horseback riding helmet for Taylor – she starts horseback riding in September.

What are 5 snacks you enjoy?
1. Sweet ‘n Sour Peach Rings
2. 100 Calorie Pack of Entemann’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
3. Smoothies
4. Skinny Cow Ice Cream
5. Low-fat Popcorn

What are 5 things you would do if you were a billionaire?
1. Pay off all debt – house mortgage, 2 car loans and credit cards.
2. After paying off all of the above, then go out and buy a new home in the country with lots and lots of land for the twins to run and play.
3. Donate to some of my favorite charities and to worthy faith-based Christian organizations.
4. Travel, travel, travel.
5. Get plastic surgery when I turn 40! Nothing too crazy, just a few snips, nips and tucks here and there to help me age gracefully. And, while 40 is still several years away for me, a little forward thinking never hurts. Ha, ha, ha.

What are some of your bad habits?
1. I am addicted to Starbucks.
2. I like to eat out a couple of times a week.
5. I love a clean house. Most would think that’s a good thing right, but sometimes I can’t go to sleep at night unless the house has been picked up and a little organization is re-established after a day of the twins playing and dragging their toys to the far corners of every room.

What are some of the places you’ve lived?
1. Northern Virginia – many different areas of Northern Virginia but always within a 20 mile radius of Washington DC
2. Northern California

What are some jobs you’ve had?
1. Daycare teacher (during my high-school and college years).
2. Communications Coordinator for Arthur Andersen. (Remember this firm? It’s the now defunct accounting/consulting firm that went under a couple years ago due to some questionable accounting practices).
3. Marketing Manager for American Express.
4. Marketing Manager for VNU Marketing, Inc.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rah, Rah, Rah! Senator McCain Visits CA Capitol Monday

I am so EXCITED for this Monday, August 25!

Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain will be at the CA Capitol for a campaign event. The McCain Campaign Team has invited its base of CA supporters to join the festivities – and guess what – I’m going! I can’t wait.

Although my better half will have to be at work that day, the twins and I are going to go to show our support. I’ll be donning the twins in their finest Republican gear and I’ll be doing the same to show our McCain support and our Republican pride. I had a couple of McCain Campaign yard signs that I would also be taking to the event, but unfortunately those were stolen from our front yard about a month ago by I can only assume the other party’s supporters. Oh, well…that will just mean that the girls and I will have to get a little creative this weekend and do a home-made sign. It will be a fun art project for the twins. Besides seeing McCain up close and personal, I’m also very excited for this opportunity to make a little family history with the twins too – it will always be a great memory to share with the twins later in life as they get a little older. And, since he's going to be our next President, how fun it will be to tell the twins one day that they got to be apart of a historic presidential election at such a young age!

TGIF!!!!!!!!

Friday! Finally! After wrapping up 3 hours of therapy for Taylor this morning, we decided it was time to officially start the weekend. The best way for the 3 of us girls to start our weekend was to go see dad at his office and steal him away for an hour from his busy day. Woo-hoo.

We picked up dad from work and went for a bite of lunch. We decided on Mexican food at Chevy’s. The twins split the Cheese Quesadilla platter from the kids menu. Taylor pounded the fries and nachos and took a couple bites of her cheese quesadilla. Paige, on the other hand, true to her “nibbler” ways, consumed MAYBE one tiny nibble off the ends of 2 fries and an even more infinitesimal-sized nibble off the cheese quesadilla. (Paige’s pediatric gastroenterologist and pediatric dietician who have managed Paige’s acid reflux issues since her early NICU days would soooooooo not be impressed with her micro-nibbling at lunch). Fortunately, the ice cream that followed lunch today was a bigger hit with Paige so lunch wasn’t totally calorie-free for Paige.


Paige Enjoying Her Ice Cream

Taylor Eating Ice Cream

The outlook for the rest of our weekend will most likely be pretty low-key for me and the twins. My poor husband on the other hand will have to be working in the office through the weekend. He's been putting in 70-80 hour work weeks lately + weekends finishing up a big proposal for his firm. Hopefully, after this proposal is completed, he will be able to take back some of his weekend time again. His girls and I miss him!!!!

The CA state fair is in town this weekend. So, maybe I'll try to spend some time there with the twins, if the weather isn’t too, too hot. The twins went last summer and had a good time. Now, that they’re another year older, it should be even more fun!

Plans for Sunday will include morning church service for us and Sunday school for the twins and beyond that, hopefully we will have nothing much else that we have to do.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tuesday Thoughts

“Children are a gift from God; they are His reward.” -- Psalm 127:3

I came across an interesting statement the other day:

“A mother must be a resident psychologist, physician, theologian, educator, nurse, chef, taxi driver, referee, fire marshal, and occasional police officer. And if she succeeds in each of these responsibilities, a mother gets to do it all over again the next day.”

I spent some time thinking about those couple of statements and about my own responsibilities and challenges as a mom. The job of mommy can be boring and monotonous sometimes. (Do I really have to read THAT story again? I've already read it a jillion-million times) The job of mommy can be really exhausting. (Think 5 days a week of some kind of physical therapy activity or appointment to run to for our daughter Taylor) The job of mommy can be a real test of endurance and patience (How 'bout cleaning up throw up, pee piddle, poop (or insert any other young toddler bodily function mess) without a). the puppy discovering it before I do and attempting to "clean" it up or b). without the other twin - the one who didn't make the bodily function mess - discovering it before I do and taking a stab at further spreading the mess or making some other menacing concotion of the mess. You're always working against the clock with double-duty cleanup of messes with twins!) There are difficult days and difficult moments. (Like when the twins fight over the same toy, won't listen and/or obey dear ol' mom and dad, assert their toddler wills in any number of different ways including stealing a book or doll from one another, biting one another, throwing a temper tantrum, etc.)

Few professions offer continuous heart-thumping excitement, ease and thrills at every moment. Yet, in terms of significance, I don’t think that there is a greater job in the world than my daily tasks and responsibilities as a mom to Paige and Taylor.

My husband and I have the REALLY awesome privilege of shaping and molding two little human beings. That’s pretty incredible! Sure, our girls are a lot of work and require the investment of our resources – time, money, energy, patience – but, they give us back so much more!



Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An Update

It’s Monday night, the kids are sound asleep, the kitchen is clean from dinner and I’ve just sat down to enjoy a nice evening in front of the boob-tube.

Last week was really hectic and crazy since my better half was on travel for work. He is back now, so the weekend was great! I loved just being able to hang out with the twins and my husband without having to rush to any appointments for the kids and without having any schedules to contend with.

But, today, it was back to the grind of appointments….Ugh.

I had a meeting with some service coordinators this afternoon related to Taylor’s therapy services and programs. We discussed what changes may come in her continued need for therapy services when she turns 3 years old. She’s made such awesome progress that there is a really good chance that we may be able to start scaling back some of the therapy appointments that have been keeping us so busy Monday - Friday the past several months. It sounded like from my meeting today that we may only need and want to continue with the physical therapy in order to further help her overcome her disability. She is already doing great. And, she’s definitely an independent walker now. So, independent in fact that when you try to reach for her hand as I often do with both Paige and Taylor whenever we’re out somewhere, Taylor pulls her hand back and says, “I’ll do it myself.” And, I just think, “Yeah, you go, girl!”

Anyways, so while today was a hectic day, the appointment to discuss Taylor’s progress was pretty positive in terms of the overall outlook for Taylor. As far as her physical therapy goes, soon we will be adding horseback riding as well to her physical therapy program. Horseback riding will offer Taylor some physical therapy benefits but it will also be something that I know she will absolutely LOVE. And, from my perspective, anytime we can keep the physical therapy fun and make it an enjoyable experience for Taylor, I’m all for it!!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bubbly Faces

Bubbly faces to make you smile. Granted, I'm biased since I'm their mom, but gosh, these little girls are just so cute! (Paige is in green, Taylor in pink)

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One-On-One Time

Taylor had a therapy appointment at the clinic today. This gave me an hour of one-on-one time with just Paige. During this hour, I decided to take Paige to a nearby park to walk around the lake and look at the ducks.

It was a real treat for me to just spend time with one of the girls since this is always a rare occurrence for me. As we walked along the water’s edge, Paige and I chatted about all the ducks. Paige was very talkative since she didn't have to compete with her big sister Taylor who usually likes to dominate the conversations. She would point out a couple of ducks resting under a tree and would say, “Look, ducks are sleeping.” We walked a little further and happened upon a little family of ducks with 3 or 4 little ducklings and Paige said, “Momma and dada ducks and baby ducks.” Then, she would count the ducks saying, “One baby duck, two baby duck, three baby duck…”

Once we’d finished talking about the ducks, Paige directed her attention towards the water fountains shooting up in the center of the lake and said, “A waterfall, how vonderbul.” (Translation for vonderbul – that's Paige speak for wonderful).

I really enjoyed this time with just Paige. My only regret was that I didn’t have my camera with me today.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Too Hot to Play Outside Today

It's Saturday and things have really been hopping around here today. The temperatures are hitting 3 digits today so it's way too hot to be playing outside. This means that the twins need a lot more stimulation and structured activities indoors to help channel all that energy!


We've done puzzles, sang songs, played music and band, colored some pictures and chased the puppy around and around the living room. We managed to squeeze in some lunch right before the girls went down for their afternoon nap. Their naptime is always a welcome time of day for me - it gives me time to do this quick post on the blog and also affords me some extra time to do a little housekeeping and laundry. There aren't a lot of pictures to post today because I've got lots to do during the next 2 hours around the house while the kiddos are sleeping. After their nap and later tonight, once the temps drop some, I'm hoping to chill on the front porch with the girls, enjoy a slushy smoothie from Jamba Juice and give them a cute little pedicure with their "pretty in pink" polish.


P.S. Dad comes home tonight after being on travel in Denver, CO for the past 5 days for work. The girls and I are very excited that he's coming back home!!!

Taylor Coloring. And, Just Look at How Nice She's Holding that Crayon!



Taylor Checking Out Her Artwork

Paige Doing Multi-Tasked, Two-Handed Coloring. Now, That's Talent.

Clean Up, Clean Up, Put Your Crayons Away
- Photo: Taylor (L), Paige (R) -

Taylor Sorting Her Colors

Paige Putting Her Crayons Away

Friday, August 15, 2008

Today

Today has been a day. Quite a day.

MY DAY


It started with an early rise at 6:00 AM for both the twins and me followed by a mad dash out the house at 7:30 AM. I dropped the twins off at a children’s play gym for a couple hours so that I could go solo to my OB/GYN appointment.

You might remember from my previous thread, posted one week ago, that I was going to chat with my doctor about what I might need to be doing (and not doing) IF we decided to try to get pregnant again sometime in the near future. I wanted to talk with the doctor about all things pregnancy related: my odds for having another multiples pregnancy, any risks that I might face with either another multiple pregnancy or singleton (one baby) pregnancy. http://ashley-twinsanity.blogspot.com/2008/08/to-have-more-or-not-have-more-that-is.html

We spent a good chunk of the ½ hour consult talking about the difficult pregnancy and the various complications that I experienced with Paige and Taylor as a result of the very rare type of twin pregnancy I had – Monoamniotic, Monochorionic. We also spent some time chatting about my life today raising and managing a child with a mild disability as a result of the pregnancy complications and the premature birth. The OB/GYN at one point said, “while I know that it hasn’t been easy for you, you’ve got to remember the odds you’d faced during the pregnancy”. He continued, “you’re actually very lucky to have the children you have and that they are even alive today. Both of them were at such great risk in utero for all kinds of disabilities and could have even died in utero so for one of the twins to have only a mild disability – one which she can manage and in time overcome – is still a real miracle.” It was soooooo nice to hear that from my doctor and be reminded of that today. Day to day, it’s very easy for me to lose perspective sometimes on where we are today and where we COULD HAVE been. It certainly could have been a very different outcome for both of the twins.

Now, as far as the whole getting pregnant again thing goes….the OB/GYN said that I shouldn’t feel anxious about my chances of having another multiples pregnancy. He said it would be “pretty unlikely”. (PHEW. What a relief. I think I could easily handle one kiddo next time around; but two or more, I don’t even want to think about that scenario.)

The OB/GYN did say there were some things I’d need to give up though if we should decide to try and get pregnant again. Among them, alcohol and caffeine. The alcohol is no big deal. I think I may have a glass of wine or other cocktail of some kind maybe a couple of times a year, if that. The caffeine, on the other hand, could be tough! My Mountain Dew and my grande, non-fat, peppermint mochas from Starbucks would have to cease for a few months. Oh, my!

Then, the OB/GYN informed me that there were a few other current beauty regimens which I’d have to temporarily give up too should I want to try and get pregnant. I won’t cite these by name but they’re of an aesthetic, cosmetic related nature and they do wonders for us girls who are fighting the frump and the aging process. I’ll let you decide for yourselves what those might be.

All in all, it was a good appointment today with the OB/GYN. Now I know what to give up, what to change in my current habits and lifestyle and I suppose the only next steps are for my husband and I to think (long and hard) about whether or not adding another little one to our nest is something we want to take on…..and, in the event that we do decide to try again for another little blessing, the OB/GYN has already prescribed an Rx for me for my pre-natal vitamins (just in case).

THE TWINS’ DAY

After my OB/GYN appointment, I rushed back to the play gym where the twins were, picked them up and we hurried to an 11:00 AM physical therapy appointment for Taylor.

It was a therapy appointment which I shall not soon forget. It began with the usual stretching and leg strengthening exercises with only some slight fussing and protesting from Taylor. It quickly progressed however to all out screams, cries and major meltdowns from Taylor which continued for the entire 2 hours that we were at the clinic today.

While I know that all these activities that the therapists require of Taylor are ultimately for her own good in the long run and in that sense are therefore a necessary evil, it does not make it any easier on me watching her endure the session and watching her get pushed to her physical limits. For 2 hours, Taylor kept crying “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, moooooooooommmmmmy” with her arms and hands outstretched towards me in a manner which screamed “rescue me, please”. I can’t tell you how hard it is to have to witness this. Everything within me wants me to stop the therapy session at that moment and just grab her, hug her and leave. Of course, that’s not what Taylor needs though. She needs to be pushed and stretched. I know it’s making her stronger. I know it’s making her achieve new milestones. I know it’s ultimately what is making her more able to overcome her disability so I swallow my own anxiety, and fight back tears of my own, as I watch Taylor as she cries and calls for me.

Meanwhile, Paige is running and jumping about the therapy clinic having a grand old time. She periodically runs over to where Taylor is as if to check in and see what all the fuss is about. After a short time, she’s off again to play on the swings, slides and in the pool of balls. I am always happy to see Paige having such fun and watching her play helps to take my mind off of Taylor’s struggles at the physical therapy clinic, even if it’s only for a few seconds.

Finally, the 2 hours are up. It’s OVER AT LAST. Taylor is off the hook for any physical therapy sessions for the weekend. I am glad for her (and for me). Therapy appointments like today require a little down time afterwards and we all seem to need a little recuperation. Of course, we’ll go through this process all over again in therapy next week but that’s two days away and until then, I want to enjoy the weekend. A weekend where Taylor can just be Taylor. Where there are no leg exercises and strenuous stretches. Where there is simply no physical therapy pushing her and making her work so hard.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Other People & Strangers


It’s really funny how Paige and Taylor interact with total strangers.

This morning, Paige had a doctor appointment. The waiting room was full of other children and their respective moms/dads and during the brief 15 minutes that we were waiting for our turn to see the doctor, Paige and Taylor managed to circulate through the entire waiting room, walking up to nearly every person and chatting it up with them. Paige showed people a picture she had colored, Taylor pointed out the fish, turtles and other sea-life images appearing on the doctor's office walls and proudly named each of the images for everybody she encountered. She wanted everyone she talked to to know exactly what was on those doctor's office walls! Wanting to be a considerate mother, respectful of other people’s time/space, I tried to corral the twins back to their seats several times but to no avail. Fortunately, most of the people in the waiting room didn’t seem to mind the twins coming over to them and jibber jabbering away. To those who did seem a little annoyed by Paige and Taylor’s friendliness, I apologized and simply said, “So, sorry, somedays they think that everyone in the world wants to meet them.”

Following the doctor’s appointment, and upon our departure from the office, Paige and Taylor, just as we were exiting through the doors, turned and waved to everyone in the waiting room and chimed together, “Bye, everybody, see you next time!” Too funny.

Later in the day, we stopped at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants to grab a bite of lunch. It was lunch time and the restaurant was packed. We managed to find an open table next to an elderly couple. No sooner did the girls and I get settled into our seats did Paige and Taylor start turning on the charms and start chatting up the elderly couple next to us. The elderly couple asked lots of questions about the girls and talked to the girls periodically throughout lunch. Paige and Taylor took turns smiling, laughing and talking to each other and the couple next to us. I just kept thinking to myself, "these girls really know how to turn on the charm."

One of the great things about having twins is that you really don’t ever need to ‘socialize’ them. I’ve heard about other kids and young children, who might not be used to being around other babies, children or adults outside of their own family who might be strangers, and that these kids can be shy or a little reserved. I think they call it ‘stranger anxiety’. Anyways, I guess because Paige and Taylor have always had each other, interacting with other people so easily and quickly is a given for them and that whole socializing thing just seems to come naturally.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Coloring Pictures

Today, the afternoon was spent coloring pictures. As Paige colored she said, "I make circles" while Taylor colored and said, "I make a crab." Bear in mind these are circles and crabs in their most abstract artistic sense and are subject to the artistic interpretations of 2-1/2 year olds.













They Listen & Understand So Much

Today, I must give Paige and Taylor more credit for what they know and understand. I chatter and jabber with them all day long and I must say there are many times I know I take it for granted. I often don’t consider how much they are listening and/or understanding. Well, did they make me stop and take notice today!

Event #1: We're preparing to leave the house and to get in the car for a few appointments and errands. I say to them, "Okay, let's get on our shoes."

Their Response: They both walk over to the corner, grab their shoes, and bring them to me and sit down side by side one another. Just like that. (I was really impressed that they also brought me their socks too since I didn’t actually mention anything about socks.)

Event #2: Preparing to leave, I grab my purse, toss my cell phone and keys into it and head towards the door.

Their Response: Paige goes over to her toy box and pulls out her pink “Hello Kitty” purse, slings it over her shoulder and says to Taylor: “Come on, Taylor, follow me” and heads towards the garage door too. (I thought it was so cute to see her imitating my own behavior and mimicking my own actions). I gave Paige a quick smile and said, “good job, Paige, you’ve got your purse; looks like you’re ready to go.”

Event #3: I start running around the family room tossing toys into the toy boxes in preparation for leaving the house for the day. Although the main reason I do this is to keep the puppy from chewing up or destroying toys while we’re out of the house, I also like the fact that the twins are being shown how to help out with small responsibilities around the house and that they’re learning that it’s important to clean up after themselves.

Their Response: Without even my asking them to help me this morning, they started picking up their toys and putting them away and singing our little clean-up song: “Clean up, clean up, put your toys away. Clean up, clean up, put your toys away…” (Seeing them jump up and help me without my even asking was pretty cool.)

Event #4 – We’re in the girls’ bedroom, getting them ready for their mid-day naps. I pick each of them up, give them a hug and kiss and put them into their beds.

Their Response: Taylor, while standing up on her bed, leans over and picks up one of her babies – her “Quincy” baby - and gives it a big hug. Paige, also standing up on her bed, holds onto one of her dolls – her “Hoppy Bunny” - and says, “Time to go to sleep” and then gives her doll a hug. Awwwwwwww.

So, while none of this is earthshaking, it was really fun to watch them acting out and saying so much of what we do each and every day together. Today, I had a chance to see them initiating some of these little actions, in their own ways and of their own leading, and it hit me, “Wow, they really do know and understand so much.” I just love ‘em to pieces!


P.S. They are napping as I type this posting. I wonder what other little surprises they will have for me after they wake from their naps that will also make me stop and take notice.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesday Thinkings


"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

The above Bible verse pretty much sums it up! Watching Paige and Taylor interact and seeing them grow and change continues to be an awesome experience. We’re so thankful and blessed that God gave Paige and Taylor to us, and each of them to each other as playmates, sisters and best friends! Their special bond will remain always.


- Photo: Paige (L), Taylor (R) -

- Photo: Taylor Standing, Paige Crawling Away -

- Above Photo: Taylor -

- Above Photo: Paige -

Monday, August 11, 2008

Potty Training Mayhem *UPDATE*


Ahhh, the potty zone. It’s become a world filled with very few piddles in the actual potty, plenty of poo poo deposits onto the carpet, and lots of attempted bribes from me.

Trying to teach the twins how to pee and poo in their potty continues to be a real challenge. In fact, I’d have to say the twins don’t even seem close to being potty trained yet; but believe me, I'd like them to be. I calculated the other day that, conservatively speaking, they’ve probably gone through more than 9,120 diapers (2-1/2 years old X estimated 10 diapers/per day). Not only is that a lot of money for diapers and diaper supplies, but it's a whole heck of a lot of pee and poo.

With twins, I think we moms of multiples have double trouble when it comes to potty training. I can’t even imagine how those moms of higher order multiples – triplets, quads, sextuplets ever do it!!! Hats off to them.

So, anyways, as I was saying I am trying everything….

Wherever the twins are playing I am trying to make sure that I have their potty chairs nearby. That way if they have to potty, it is just a few steps away and not a long walk to the bathroom. Unfortunately, when I catch the familiar look of strain or grunting coming over their faces, as soon as I start moving them towards the potty, get them undressed and pop them onto the potty, they’ll start saying, “all done, all done”.

I am also trying to keep it fun. Candy, treats, music, stories, dance parties to the potty – anything that gets them more interested in going to the potty than what they might currently be doing. Lately, I’ve been singing the ABCs with them while on the potty because that at least gets them to sit still for a little while as they sing along with me and we run through all 26 letters.

I have also begun perching over the potty hoping that as the twins witness me using the toilet, they would begin to make the associations for themselves and we’d start to get some more consistent pee pee and poo poo in the potty from them. Unfortunately, that isn’t inspiring them yet either to imitate me. But, I should tell you Paige is always super-excited whenever I go to the potty…she cheers and claps and showers me with praise saying, “oh, mommy, you did it!” Now if only I could get her and her sister to show the same interest in using the potty.

I have also tried the approach of getting one twin trained before the other. That sure seems a whole lot more reasonable and manageable, right? Well, much to my chagrin, that is also proving to be difficult as well because no sooner do I start working with just one twin does the other twin come alongside and start distracting the other twin from the potty efforts. Okay, so I decided I’d close the bathroom door to give the one twin some one-on-one time and get her really focused on our potty efforts without the distractions from her sister. Well, lo and behold, once that door is closed, the other twin is standing outside knocking on the door and screaming to come in. And, guess what that means? Total distraction from the twin I’m working with…she wants to be wherever her counterpart is and vice versa. Arrrrgh.

Now, according to the self-proclaimed Potty Guru, I should be getting worried since the girls are 2-1/2 years old. According to the Potty Guru, I should be buying every book on peeing and pooping at this point, hiring a team of consultants to tell me how to make the potty more engaging, etc. The Potty Guru also maintains that, "All you need is one day in the bathroom.” "That's simply all it takes."

Well, despite the Potty Guru’s claims that ALL KIDS can be potty trained at 18 months, my twins appear determined not to rush things and not to fit into the Potty Guru’s stereotypical mold. I think that the twins prefer marching to their own beat and even at the spry young age of 2-1/2 are already showing me that they will go pee and poo in the potty in their own sweet time. Hmmmm, I wonder what the Potty Guru would think of that.

I’m still keeping the faith though in spite of the Potty Guru and in spite of the continued lack of interest and utterly inconsistent successes with the twins in their using the potty. Someday, I know I’ll look back on these days where I feel as if all I’m doing right now is taking the twins to the potty with not much success in their peeing and pooing in the toilet and marvel at the fact that I will have potty trained not one toddler but two! And, what a day it will be when that day finally does happen. I can’t wait!!!!


POTTY TRAINING PLAYTIME - A PHOTO ESSAY

Paige and Potty Playtime

Taylor and Potty Playtime

Side by Side Potty Playtime

My Own Thing 1 & Thing 2 Have Taught Me Much

Dr. Seuss' Thing 1 and Thing 2

My own paired set of the mischievous duo from Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat story have taught me many things in their 2-1/2 years. Here is what I’ve learned so far from my life with twins:

1. I really don’t remember much about the first six to nine months. I was too sleep deprived.

2. I can manage roughly 50 pounds sitting on my hips at one time while also opening doors, picking up toys, walking up stairs, etc.

3. I really can live on much less sleep than I ever thought I could.

4. Lifting 50 pounds daily and chasing two babies all day WILL really help me stay in shape, especially if there are days that I just can’t make it to the gym.

5. There is nothing more precious than twin love and seeing how much these little girls love each other! It’s such a gift.

6. If I didn’t have patience before twins, God sure has granted me patience now.

7. I have to come to accept that there are times when there are simply unavoidable crying spells and tantrums from the twins and I can’t console or effectively discipline them both at the exact same time hard as I may try.

8. I have learned that they’re not just a unit of more than one child and that each of them have their own needs and interests and benefit from one-on-one time from me.

9. Getting poop on me is not the end of the world. Very gross, yeah, but somehow it gets less and less gross as time goes by.

10. I always make it through the day, even on the worst of days. And, Starbucks sure is a big help in getting me through the rough days.

11. I find the twins so sweet when they’re playing and laughing together and giving each other hugs and kisses.

More will be added to this list as I continue to discover all the amazing little adventures and as my life and love continue to grow for Paige and Taylor, my Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Shoe Shopping *UPDATE*


A quick follow-up to my post from last Tuesday, August 5…
http://ashley-twinsanity.blogspot.com/2008/08/shoe-shopping.html

Today is Saturday. My husband joined me today as I traipsed through the mall venturing into Stride Rite, Nordstrom, Nike and Kids Foot Locker in my quest to complete the marriage of Taylor’s latest AFOs with a new pair of shoes.


My husband was such a good sport to spend several hours at the mall with me as I traveled from store to store looking for shoes that would fit Taylor’s braces. The shoes would need to be deep enough, long enough and wide enough to accommodate her AFOs and as I mentioned in my previous posting from last week, I wanted the shoes to be cute and stylish too.

When shopping for shoes to fit Taylor’s braces, most of my options are of the sneaker variety as these tend to offer the best fit with the AFOs. After a couple hours of shoe shopping, I settled on two pairs for Taylor. I ended up purchasing a cute pair of Nike and a cute pair of Vans from Nordstrom.

The Vans shoes from Nordstrom totally surprised me!!! They’re just so stinking cute and girly too with a fun animal print in a satin material. When I saw them, I said to my husband, “now that’s girly” and “Taylor has to have these”.

Taylor tried on the Vans shoes and when I asked her if she liked the leopard print, she said, “look, my zoo shoes”. So, the Vans are now officially called “zoo shoes”.

Of course, because Taylor was getting a couple pairs of new shoes today, I managed to convince my husband that Paige had to get a couple pairs too. With twins, that would only be fair right?! So, Taylor and Paige both got a pair of Nike and Vans zoo shoes.

I am planning on making a future visit back to Nordstrom to make another purchase or two of shoes for the girls because I saw a couple more really fun pairs of shoes for them. However, I figured I’d done enough damage shoe-shopping for the twins today so we called it quits...


As promised, here is a viewing of the new shoes:


Friday, August 8, 2008

To Have More Or Not Have More - That Is The Question


Question: Should I consider having another baby, knowing there is a chance that I might have another set of multiples?

Choose among the following:

A). Yes, I’m nearing that magic number in another couple of years - “35” - at which point, the risks/complications of pregnancy tend to increase. Do it before this magical “35” creeps up on me.


B). No, I’ve gotten my body back to its pre-pregnancy condition and am loving it!

C). Maybe. After all, I’ll receive another incredible gift – a baby, or maybe even two again.

Answer: All of the Above.

So this is my dilemma. My family has a history of having twins and with my first pregnancy, I proved to have the genetic propensity to keep that family legacy going. After having a set of identical twins naturally, I have recently been wondering, if I were to get pregnant again, what are the chances that I’d have another set of multiples?

Here’s what I do know:

- Giving birth to multiples once raises your odds of having multiples again to 1 in 12 – about 4 times greater than the average woman.
- Being taller and nearing the age of 35 increases your odds of conceiving multiples again.
- Having a family history of twins increases your odds of having multiples.

I currently meet all the above criteria.

Lately, I've been toying with the idea of getting pregnant again. There is a part of me that says Paige and Taylor can’t be my last babies. Then, there is a part of me that says I can’t imagine going through another pregnancy while also having to care for toddler twins. I also think to myself, perhaps I’d be lucky enough to do this one more time, whether it’s one baby or more.

I vacillate again.

If I did get pregnant again, sleep will be in short supply. And, if I were to have a set of twins again (oh my), supplies and diapers will have to be purchased in double again. Would I be up for the physical drain again of the first 6 months? Would I be able to manage twin toddlers and a newborn?

Let’s jump ahead to next week….I have an appointment to see my OB/GYN to discuss all these matters. To get my OB/GYNs advice. To talk about any future plans for transitioning back into motherhood again should my husband and I decide that yes, we want to experience something rare and wonderful again – the blessings of a newborn baby (or maybe two babies). Perhaps after talking with my OB/GYN next week, we’ll decide definitively that yes, the romance of motherhood and being pregnant should continue….we’ll see.

What's In A Name?


So what's in a name? A lot more than most people think and in case you’re interested in the meanings of our twins’ names, well I’ve provided a little personality profile on each of them using the number of letters and how many of those letters are consonants, vowels, etc. derived from name assessments featured on Baby Zone.

The twins’ names suggest the following personalities and clues about their personalities. While I don’t put a whole lot of stock in these assessments, still a pretty fun read.


Paige Trinity





The name reflects drive, a pioneering spirit, leadership, independence and originality. The energy behind this name is strong and forceful and promotes an unconventional, innovative, and decisive approach. Highly focused and self-reliant, the name Paige Trinity carries with it an unmistakable "can do" attitude. It reflects confidence, energy, strength and perseverance. There is a definite sense of danger and risk-taking as well.

The name Paige Trinity does not inspire patience and sensitivity, and does not promote cooperation or a diplomatic approach to problem solving. Think of this name as an aggressive, creative force.

Paige Trinity’s most positive characteristics: Strength, originality, courage, imagination, creativity, confidence. Good for competitive, high-risk ventures.

Paige Trinity’s most negative characteristics: Pride, intolerance, excessive aggressiveness. Not good for people-oriented ventures or healing, counseling and retail businesses.

Taylor Mackenzie





Powerful, a conqueror, devours the weak and rules the strong. The name Taylor Mackenzie reflects money and power. It is a carnivore, a winner at all cost.

Taylor Mackenzie has the power and potential to achieve great things. Whatever the enterprise, it strives to be the best and most successful in its field. Extremely competitive and not afraid of challenges or challengers. A visionary, a realist, and a planner. Discipline and perseverance. Dynamic and efficient.

Rewards the faithful and hardworking, but has no tolerance for the incompetent.

Taylor Mackenzie understands the balance between giving and taking, generosity and greed. When it loses that balance, it self-destructs.

Taylor Mackenzie’s most positive characteristics: Strength, perseverance, potential for greatness.

Taylor Mackenzie’s most negative characteristics: Financial ups and downs. Lacks compassion. Can be self-destructive.



Thursday, August 7, 2008

Even MTV Loves Our Teeny-Tiny Preemie Babies

Okay, so I came across a post on another mom to multiples blog and just had to do this posting!!!!

I'm sure you've seen this MTV anti-tobacco commercial. It's got a real catchy jingle and it's so darn appropos to my twins since they were after all, tiny preemie babies, just like the ones featured in the MTV ad. Gotta' love it....well, everything but the smoking part. That definitely wasn't me when I was pregnant.

Anyways, who doesn't LOVE tiny babies popping out of incubators to do little dances!

View the ad by clicking here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypn3xpvA1eQ and don't be surprised if you catch yourself singing this little jingle around the house if you've got your own teeny, tiny babies. Ha, ha, ha.

Some of Taylor's Therapy Is Actually Fun!


This week, Taylor began warm water therapy through Easter Seals. Her physical therapist recently recommended warm water therapy to further help Taylor improve her range of motion, muscle strength, endurance and overall mobility. The warm water of the pool is maintained at 92-94 degrees F allowing the physical therapists who work with Taylor to use the water’s buoyancy and resistance for therapeutic purposes.

Taylor loves the warm water and loves playing with some new toys in the water with the therapists. She was initially a little fussy and resisted some of the exercises that the therapist wanted Taylor to do, but eventually Taylor tolerated the in-water exercises and by the end of the session was having a great time!

As Taylor’s mom, I love the warm water therapy program because I get to see Taylor having so much fun in the water; and while she’s having all that fun, she is also still accomplishing something constructive and positive to further help her overcome her disability.


Taylor with Her Physical Therapist

Taylor Sitting on Kickboard, Strenghtening Her Trunk & Doing a Little Protesting

Taylor Playing on the Pool Ramp, Practicing Her Transitions from Sit to Stand



video


video

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Shoe Shopping


Today, Taylor was fitted for another pair of orthotics, known as ankle foot orthotics (AFOs). The AFOs basically just help to stabilize Taylor’s ankles when she walks and give her a little extra support when she’s walking by improving the positioning of her ankles. Without the AFOs, Taylor’s ankles tend to roll in slightly so not only do the AFOs help with proper positioning of her ankles when she stands and walks but they also help to protect the overall joints and bone alignment so that she can stand and walk at her highest potential. The AFOs are worn inside of Taylor’s shoes and are custom-fit to her feet.

Taylor Tolerating The Orthotics Fitting, Paige Crawling Around in the Background



Taylor: Are We Done Yet? I'm Ready to Get Outta' Here

As a mother, the orthotics fittings always lead me to experience a range of emotions. On the one hand, I’m excited to get Taylor a new pair of AFOs because each time we get a new pair for her it is ultimately bringing us closer to her FINAL PAIR.

Eventually, Taylor will not have to wear orthotics at all because the intensive physical therapy program that she is in, coupled with the positive alignment corrections we are making with the use of the AFOs, will eliminate Taylor’s need for orthotics entirely.

Getting the orthotics is still a reminder however that my child is not like “typical” kids. I’ve often struggled with that as I find myself juggling a variety of physical therapy appointments each week and attending to the needs of Taylor on a daily basis. Plus, new orthotics also means new shoe shopping! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE shoe shopping for myself and for the twins. What mom doesn’t love shopping for their kids?! Unfortunately, fitting Taylor for a pair of shoes that will also be compatible with her orthotics is very challenging. And, when I shop for Taylor’s shoes, I always bring a little fashionista mindset to my search for her shoes. I often vacillate between the need for function and fashion in Taylor’s shoes. Taylor’s shoes must be functional with her orthotics of course; but I also want her shoes to look good too.

And, so, Taylor’s newly designed and meticulously crafted orthotics that we picked up today will now be followed by many hours of me shoe shopping and searching for the perfect pairs of shoes for her. I’ll travel from store to store looking for those just-right shoes that will fit nicely over her AFOs. At some stores, I’ll find the cutest shoes only to discover that they won’t work with Taylor’s braces. I will get frustrated and sad. I will conquer many stores in my quest for new shoes for Taylor as I seek out fashionable and durable shoes that will fit easily and quickly over Taylor’s AFOs. The search will eventually bring me to a few magical pairs that will fit perfectly over Taylor’s braces while still also being stylish and girly-girl cute too.

I, will, of course be sure to show off the final shoe selections to you in a future post, so stay tuned...