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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Sugary Good Day

Today, the twins ventured to the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, California, located about an hour north of San Francisco.

What a sugary day it was! Paige and Taylor got to see where more than 150 different sweet treats get cooked up daily. They enjoyed seeing the legendary Jelly Belly jelly beans and discovering other yummy, gummy candies in the Jelly Belly Sweet Shop.

And, of course, we didn’t forget to pick up a few bags of the infamous Belly Flops. To complete our visit to the Sweet Shop, the twins each got a plush “Mr. Jelly Belly” toy and their very own “Jelly Belly” purse filled with Jelly Belly beans! Their grandma, visiting from Virginia, also joined the twins today on their tour of the Jelly Belly Factory.


Be sure to check out the slideshow above...you'll see just how much fun Paige and Taylor had today eating jellybeans, exploring the factory and shopping at the Jelly Belly Sweet Shop.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Changes


The twins will be 3 years old in just a couple more months. It’s amazing how much can happen in just 3 short years…how much they’ve changed. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a fairly sentimental and nostalgic person, so reflecting on how much has happened in our lives led me to pull out some of the twins’ mementos as a reminder of how much they’ve grown and what a difference a couple of years makes from when they were such tiny little babies in the NICU.

Paige’s first knit hat:


And, now, just big enough to fit one of her little baby doll's heads:




Taylor’s first knit hat:


And, now:


Paige’s shoes then, roughly the size of a small AA battery:


Taylor’s shoes then, roughly the size of a small AA battery also:


Paige's first pair of sunglasses (in the NICU) and her first "binky". That green binky and those sunglasses are bigger than her head!


Taylor's first everything (in the NICU)...first IV, first breaths of oxygen, first assisted breathing. She was a sick little girl:


The leg bands the babies wore in the hospital NICU. These fell right off their tiny feet all the time…I don’t have pictures of these since I gave these as gifts to the grandparents but trust me, they were TINY, TINY leg bands! And, the diapers too. From XS Preemie sized 3 years ago to today's size 5's!!!

And, now just look at them today...





Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Day At The Pumpkin Patch


Today, we traveled to the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas to enjoy a day at the pumpkin patch! The twins also took part in their first hayride. A photo montage is featured above in the "Day At the Pumpkin Patch" slide-show featuring some of the highlights of the day.

And, just for kicks, a few miscellaneous pumpkin facts we learned today to help you also get in the Fall spirit.....

* Pumpkins are not vegetables ... they're fruits.

* Pumpkins, gourds, and other varieties of squash are all members of the family Cucurbitacae, which also includes cucumbers, gherkins, and melons.


* Pumpkins have been grown in America for over 5,000 years. They are indigenous to the western hemisphere and were completely unknown in Europe before the time of Columbus.

* In 1584, the French explorer Jacques Cartier reported from the St. Lawrence region that he had found "gros melons," which was translated into English as "ponpions," or pumpkins.

* There was probably some kind of pumpkin served at the first Thanksgiving Feast. Pumpkins and other forms of squash made up one leg of the triad -- maize, beans, and squash -- that once formed the basic diet of American Indians.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Distractions to Blogging

So, I've been pretty bad about posting any recent updates to my blog since Wednesday...why, you say?

I've gotten sucked into the world of FaceBook. My friends warned me about it - that it can totally "suck you in" and "take over" your free time. In just two short days of having my account up and running on FaceBook, I can't believe how many people/emails have been exchanged with people I'd totally lost touch with (folks from back East, folks from high school, etc.)

Maybe I'll be back to posting on the blog sometime this weekend. Until then, come find me on FaceBook.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday Update

Sometimes, the twins are just not very cheerful. Yesterday, was one of those days. I blame part of their crankiness yesterday on the fact that they did not have a nap. On Tuesdays, there is a therapy appointment that takes place at 2:00 PM – which is usually when they’re snuggled in their beds snoozing away every other day of the week. When they don’t get their nap, as was the case yesterday, there is a very good chance that no one (including me) will be cheerful by the time dinner/bedtime rolls around. Bedtime was unusually early yesterday for the twins as a result of not getting their naps….they were both in bed at 7:00 PM.

Today, however has been a far more delightful day with the girls. The morning was calm and relatively quiet at the house. I always love when the day starts out that way because those kinds of mornings are the exception and certainly not the rule. We had physical therapy at 11:00 today and Taylor was particularly well-behaved and very cooperative during the therapy session. Very cooperative at therapy, you say? Yes, and that should have been my first indication that something was wrong.

By the time we got home from physical therapy, unloaded ourselves from the car and finished off a bite of lunch, Taylor was definitely not acting like herself. Shortly after lunch, Taylor threw up. Poor girl. So, Taylor must be coming down with some kind of cold or bug. Both girls are currently down for their naps. If Taylor continues to act sick or throws up again later today, I’ll likely be calling our pediatrician to get her into the doctor sometime tomorrow.

Paige, on the other hand, is having a really good day! She played very nicely with her little friend Elise today while we waited for Taylor at therapy. She was quite content to sit and play with Elise and the various toys. What a switch from just a week ago when Paige wanted absolutely nothing to do with her little friend.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tagged, I'm It. Here Are My Marriage Quiz Answers.

So, some other moms out there tagged me for the Marriage Quiz. As I worked on answering these questions, it was fun mulling these memories over in my mind and taking another walk down memory lane.

1. Where/how did you meet?

The short answer is at a gym in Northern Virginia where we both worked out.

2. How long have you known each other?

We met in February 2000 but I think we’d eyed each other at the gym well before that….Mike was 28 and I was 26 when we met.

3. How long after you met did you start dating?

Our first date was sometime in February 2000. I don’t remember specific dates but do remember that we agreed to meet up at a restaurant for dinner. Following dinner, we watched a hockey game at a sports bar. From that very first date, I was getting an introduction to the hockey sports enthusiast that Mike still is to this very day! So, why did I “meet” him at a restaurant, you ask. Well, although, I was pretty interested in him, I wasn’t about to have him pick me up at my apartment and know where I lived ‘til I knew a little more about just who I was going out with…after all, he could’ve been a psycho or something. Ha, ha, ha.

4. How long did you date before you were engaged?

We dated exclusively for about 1-1/2 years and got engaged in September 2002.

5. How long was your engagement?

About 8 months. We had moved from Northern Virginia to Northern California while we were engaged, but returned to Virginia in May 2003 to have our wedding ceremony.

6. How long have you been married?

About 5-1/2 years.

7. How many people came to your wedding reception?

I think around 120 – 130.

8. Where was your wedding?

We got married at a church in Northern Virginia.

9. How many people were in your bridal party?

My sister-in-law Kimberly was my matron of honor. My friends Hillary, Tresha and Jennifer and Mike’s sister Karin were all the bridesmaids. Mike’s friend Doug was the Best Man. Mike’s brothers Doug and Derek and my brother, Greg, and Derek, a long-time hockey buddy and former roommate were the groomsmen. We did not have a flower girl in our wedding party.

Oh, you mean you just wanted the quick number in our bridal party: 10.

10. Are you still friends with them all?

Considering that a majority of them are family – well, absolutely. The others, the non-family ones, are all on the East Coast. And, while we are certainly still friends with them all, we’ve lost some touch with them over the years while we’ve been in California.

11. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony?

No, he did not. But, I sure did. There were a handful of sweet moments when my dad, who was also the officiator of the ceremony, and I exchanged our handkerchiefs, passing them back and forth wiping tears and yes, even exchanged a little snot between our runny noses.

12. Most special moment of your wedding day?

Walking down the aisle with my dad, having so many of our family participate in the ceremony, exchanging our vows, our first kiss and the announcement that I was now officially Mrs. Michael….it was all very special.

13. Where did you go on your honeymoon?

We went on a 10-day trip to Hawaii and island hopped between Kona and Maui. The best part about our time in Hawaii was that we stayed in 5 star hotels every day, like the JW Marriott, and flew first-class on all the flights. Oh, and did I mention that all of it was FREE too? Yeah, maybe that was really the best part; because Mike travels so much for his work, he wracks up tons of airline miles and reward points every year so we simply cashed in a bunch of points and miles and enjoyed a truly first-class honeymoon at no personal expense!

14. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change?

Invite more people. The church could accommodate a great deal of people, but the location of the reception could only accommodate around 130 people. I would choose a larger reception venue if I had to do it over again because there were quite a few people that I simply couldn’t invite.

15. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

I sleep on the right side of the bed. But, if you ask Mike, he’d tell you that I sleep all over the bed. I usually start out on the right side of the bed then sometime in the night, I end up gravitating into the middle and eventually over onto his side.

16. What size is your bed?

California King. And, yes, a California King is larger than your standard King-sized bed. Everything in California is done bigger so I guess it’s only fitting that we Californians would also have our own bigger version of a King-sized bed.

17. Greatest strength as a couple?

We enjoy a lot of the same activities such as: hiking, travel, camping, biking. Granted most of these extracurricular interests have fallen by the wayside since the twins came along, but hey, we still love these activities and spending time together.

We also are both very tenacious and focused so when things get tough in life, we don’t give up. We also share the same faith and share a lot of similar views in politics, parenting, life goals, etc.

18. Greatest challenge as a couple?

I am probably a terrible roommate sometimes. By that I mean, I like a clean house and spend a lot of time doing housework…there has been more than one occasion where I’ve been flitting around from one thing to the next after the twins have gone to bed, straightening things back up at the end of the day, and lo and behold, I end up cleaning up something that Mike wasn’t finished with or something like that. Whenever I inadvertently do toss something or clean something up that he wasn’t finished with and I see that it has irked him, I apologize and try to be a little cutesy about it by saying “Well, y’know what they say ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’”. Ha, ha, ha. I suppose the fact that Mike hasn’t strangled me yet over my housekeeping and organization, is a testament to his love for me. Ha, ha, ha.

Another great challenge in our relationship is Mike's travel schedule. As a geologist, he travels alot for work, so sometimes I find myself feeling much like a single-mom.

19. Who literally pays the bills?

That would be Mike. We used to be a DINK family. Y’know dual income, no kids family. Once the twins were born, I decided to be a stay-at-home mommy. Mike has done an awesome job taking care of our family and supporting us for the past 3 years. He rocks!

20. What did you dance your first dance to?

Sarah McLaughlin’s “I Love You".

Here's a sample of the first few verses:

I have a smile
Stretched from ear to ear
To see you walking down the road
We meet at the lights
I stare for a while
The world around us disappears

21. Describe your wedding dress.

Strapless, off the shoulder bustier-style dress, form-fitted with beading and large, flowing bodice and train. Here’s a picture of the dress – this is actually one of my favorite wedding photos of Mike and me.


Doesn't the dress look like something Cinderella would wear? I just loved this dress!

22. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding?

I forget actually, but remember that the flowers were an assortment of white and plum colors.

23. Are your wedding bands engraved?

Mine isn't. Mike's is.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Moms VS Dads

"Much of the value mothers and fathers bring to their children is due to the fact that mothers and fathers are different." - Dr. James Dobson

Moms versus dads...Who's really the better parent? This is a question that is being debated alot lately by the media, by feminists, by psychologists, by educators and by sociologists. In fact I've come across arguments that assert that dads are better while still other arguments insist that moms are better. I happen to believe that it is not a matter of mom versus dad at all, but rather it is a matter of the uniquely different contributions and distinct roles that each parent offers in the lives of their children. Call me a traditionalist, antiquated or old fashioned, but I really think it's just that simple.

Below is an article that argues that it is the differences in men and women, i.e. dads and moms, style of parenting, discipline, communication, play, etc. which ultimately benefit children. If you have time to read the paragraphs that follow, it's pretty interesting.

Being a parent and raising children is definitely one of the most gratifying jobs that there is but it is also one of the most difficult. The different parenting techniques that men and women have can vary widely. A significant difference in parenting styles can be one of the most difficult aspects of blending a family. Both adults arrive in the partnership with their own background, experiences, and different beliefs that they have associated with being a parent. However, is one type of parenting style a better way to raise a child? Is it better to be disciplinary and authoritative, or lenient and nurturing when it comes to raising children?

There are many parents who question the different ways that children are raised. Men and women do not always agree on the different parenting style that their significant other uses and have certain pet peeves about one another. For instance, men feel as though women are overprotective and too involved at times. They want women to be less controlling and less critical of their fathering style and instead be supportive and accepting. Fathers think that mothers worry too much about their children and parent with more intensity. They believe that women too often give tasks to their husbands such as what needs to be done and how they will go about doing it. They also feel neglected at times because women are too consumed with caring for their children that they sometimes put their relationship with the kids ahead of their relationship with their husbands. Fathers also believe that moms are too soft, nurturing, and tend to be peacemakers. For instance, when fathers try to discipline their children, mother tends to intervene rather than support the father. Fathers push limits while mothers encourage security.


When it comes to parenting, mothers display more affectionate behavior and discipline their children more than men do. They are more nurturing, comforting, caring, and emotionally involved. Mothers also pay more attention to children such as being more attentive to all of their sounds, expressions, and so on. They believe that fathers don’t spend enough time with their children and can sometimes be disengaged. They also believe that fathers try to push for more paid care when it is their turn to take care of the child. There is also an unfair distribution between chores. Women feel that they multi task a lot more than men do and take care of the children and house hold more, while men are more laid back.

Furthermore, one study shows that generally the most common family parenting styles are those in which both parents display the same style of parenting. Having two authoritative parents is associated with the most positive outcomes for children and adolescents h
ttp://faculty.virginia.edu/sexdifferences/article9.html. Whatever the differences in parenting may be, communication is key to resolving problems. It is important for moms and dads to present a “united front”.

The truth is that it is very important to receive father-love and mother-love because children need daily access to the different and complementary ways mothers and fathers parent. “Children need mom’s softness as well as dad’s roughhousing. Both provide security and confidence in their own ways by communicating love and physical intimacy.”
http://www.family.org/socialissues/A000001142.cfm. Mothers and fathers parent differently, play differently, communicate differently, and discipline differently but these differences are essential for children. The differences in parenting techniques can by themselves be unhealthy. One style of parenting can promote risk without contemplation of consequences and another style can avoid risk, which can lead to a low independence, confidence, and progress level. However combining the two different parenting techniques will create a healthy and proper balance in the family.

Birthday Wishes & Photos


I am married to a wonderful husband who I couldn't imagine life without. Of course, I know this EVERYDAY but on special occasions, or most recently, on his birthday, I am especially reminded of how fortunate I am to be married to him. It sounds so cliché but after just a couple of weeks of dating him, I knew that he was the ONE. From our first date, to our first kiss to our first cross-country move, and to so many other firsts I’ve experienced with him in just a few short years, I really am the luckiest, happiest girl in the whole world! If our first years together have been this good, I can only imagine what the next few years will bring….

Well, anyways, I am a couple days late posting some of the pictures taken from his birthday but hopefully, despite how late I am with the updates, our family and friends will enjoy seeing my handsome hubby and our even more beautiful little girls as they help to celebrate and eat Mike’s birthday cake. The twins got to help with the birthday cake this year. They were officially in charge of sprinkling the shredded coconut shavings on top, and what a fabulous job they did!!!

Presents included: various gift certificates to some of Mike’s favorite stores, gift cards – always a great thing ‘cuz they’re just like cold cash, a new laptop with web cam video, and a day out playing a round of golf with “the boys”. Thanks again to the many family and friends who really spoiled him this year for his birthday!

Paige (L) and Taylor (R) help blow out the candles.

Paige refuses to eat any of the birthday cake. Just look at that face.

Paige watching Taylor eat the birthday cake.

Taylor wasn't so keen on the birthday cake either.

Taylor chooses to gnaw and nibble on the wax candle instead.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Terrible 2, Meet Terrible 3

A friend emailed me an article this weekend, and since it’s Sunday night and frankly my brain is a little tired tonight anyways, thought I’d simply copy and paste some insights from a veteran mom on that misnomer popularly referred to as the terrible 2s. In fact, I think that is why I'm tired tonight...battling the terrible 2s stunts and spells of Paige and Taylor.

Anyways, here is the article:

“Those people that tell you that the "Terrible 2s" are bad aren’t telling you the whole story. The whole truth is that Terrible 2s really last into the Terrible 3s. And both years are challenging.

Calling it the Terrible 2s slash 3s, just didn’t roll off the tongue. So the good people who cleverly name these sorts of things must have decided, given the choice, to warn people at the earliest possible time. Thus the name, Terrible 2s.

Millions of people look forward to their kid’s 3rd birthday hoping, that as they blow out the candles on their cake, out go the demons that took over their 2 year old bodies. That just doesn’t happen. The tantrums continue, the different ways your child can contradict you grows, and the time-outs (and sometimes swats to the bottoms) increase.

When my daughter turned three, I felt like I lost my excuse for her behavior. She wasn’t 2 anymore so clearly it couldn’t be the terrible 2s! I was wrong. You just need to know that even though your kids have grown a little older, and their vocabulary has grown larger, their behavior has not grown as quickly. So don’t just think your kid is a brat. Your kid is just figuring out what it means to be mobile, how to deal with being able to communicate, and how to deal with feelings.

So how do you solve it? You don’t. You stay consistent in your methods of discipline. You clearly communicate results of their bad behavior and you follow through with the punishment. Remember, you have as much experience with toddler tantrums as your child does. For every time your kid throws one, you have dealt with it. Just stay the course."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Horseback Riding

Today was Taylor's first day of horseback riding. We arrived at the ranch in Northern California about 20 minutes before the start of Taylor's riding lesson so that we could walk around the ranch and do a little exploring including a quick stroll down to the lake and then back again to the horse barns. The twins love to see anything resembling "the country" because after all they're pretty much just city girls and their 2-1/2 year old vast worldview of "the country" has largely been experienced only through some favorite stories and videos that talk about the sights and sounds of the farm and the farm animals. Bringing to life what they've only previously read about with mom and dad was a real treat for them today!

We took a moment to snap a few quick photos of the twins before and after Taylor's riding lesson.


Paige trying to wiggle away, Taylor trying to yank off her riding helmet.

Mike with Taylor (L) and Paige (R) sitting atop the farm well.

Taylor (L) and Paige (R)

Taylor (L) and Paige (R) sitting atop the farm well.

The horseback riding session was great! Taylor only fussed for the first 5 or so minutes when she first mounted the horse; however, by the time we'd completed one full lap in the arena, Taylor was having a blast. She was taught to pat the horse on the back while at the same time to give the command "walk on" to direct the horse to keep moving. Taylor seemed quite pleased with her little self.....it was as if she realized that she was in control and that just by giving the horse some simple commands, the horse would obey her and she absolutely loved that power!

During the riding session, Taylor was also given opportunity to sit in a number of different positions on the horse - forward facing, side riding and rear facing. The therapist and horse leader shared with me that eventually Taylor will be riding horseback while standing up and that that position will really help to facilitate an improved walking pattern for Taylor. WOW! A little tyke like Taylor riding horseback standing up! Now, that's going to be impressive!

Taylor was led through the arena by a trained horse handler and a trained sidewalker who acted as the lead equestrian/physical therapist. I walked alongside Taylor as well to be an extra set of hands and to help Taylor enjoy her first riding experience. My job pretty much consisted of helping to steady Taylor on the horse and of cheering her on with lots of "look at you, Taylor, you're riding such a big horse" and "Wow, Taylor, this horse really likes you" and all sorts of other 'atta girls.

There were a few times that "Star", Taylor's horse, was unsettled and was acting skiddish. That made me a little nervous at times. As the horse would occassionally jerk and jolt, it was a sobering reminder to me that this is a true test of our faith and trust as parents in the cooperation, obedience and patience of this several hundred pound creature to take care so that our little 20-something pound daughter would utlimately remain safe as she sat 6' feet above the arena's hard, dirt floor below. I asked the therapist if this was typical behavior of the horse and asked if there was anything wrong or if there was something bothering the horse. The therapist assured me that Taylor was very safe and that the horse would not do anything to jeopardize Taylor's safety. And, while I did believe the therapist and took her at her word, even so, whenever that horse would suddenly jerk its head or act a little more excitable than usual, I would wonder....

Taylor will continue one-on-one horseback riding instruction with trained equestrian/physical therapists every Friday and as the weeks go by, the horseback riding will be more and more customized to Taylor's specific needs and to advance her riding at her own pace.

While Taylor and I were inside the horse arena, Mike and Paige explored the great outdoors. Paige got to visit with some of the other horses and run around outside. While I know that Paige enjoyed herself in the country today, in the future, I will most likely not bring Paige with Taylor to the ranch because it's not really fair to Paige to not be able to ever ride the horses like her sister. Unfortunately, the ranch only allows riders who are part of the therapeutic riding program...bummer. It would be fun to have Paige experience the horseback riding too but at $100.00 per half hour riding session each week, we just can't do it. Besides, Paige is such a little busy-body, now that I think about it, I'm not sure if she'd be a good candidate for horseback riding yet anyways - she probably wouldn't stay on the horse, she'd probably try to jump off or run underneath the horse or pull its tail or ears.


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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Typical Wednesday

The day started out pretty typical for a Wednesday. Up at 7:00, breakfast by 8:00, play for a couple hours at home then hit the road by 10:00 on our way to physical therapy at 11:00. Physical therapy went very well today. According to the therapist, Taylor only fussed for about the first 20 minutes. The remaining 40 minutes of the session were very productive and Taylor was very cooperative. As a mom, I always like to hear that! Paige on the other hand was giving her momma’ quite the fit today during the hour that Taylor was at the clinic. Paige didn’t want to play nicely with one of her little friends, Elise, a little girl Paige’s age who is at clinic on Wednesdays also while her older brother receives physical therapy. Paige didn’t want to share with Elise today. Didn’t want to play outside and/or climb the trees at the clinic today with Elise. Elise’s mom and I spent most of the hour just chatting and watching Paige reject any and all gestures of play from her little friend Elise. I chalked up Paige’s behavior to Elise’s mom as “she’s just having a bad day.”

After therapy was over, the girls and I grabbed a bite of lunch at a nearby restaurant then headed back home. It’s a good hour drive back home and I kept hoping that the girls would fall asleep on the drive home. That didn’t happen.

The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out at home. Paige laid down for a few minutes on the couch and I thought for sure she’d doze off. Unfortunately, Taylor made sure that a nap wouldn’t happen for Paige. Taylor wanted to play ball with Paige. Wanted to give Paige hugs and kisses. Anything to play with her sister. And, so it was neither girl napped today.


This afternoon, the girls also spent a little time hanging out on the front porch. In our neighborhood, the builder is nearing completion on some of the homes directly across the street from our house so the girls are totally fascinated by all the construction trucks, cranes, crews of workmen and contractors that come and go.

I captured a bunch of different photos today as we hung out at the house this afternoon….check them out in the featured "Slide Show" at the top of the blog!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Update: Paint Project Finished! YAY!!!!!

As a follow-up to my "Get 'Er Done" thread from last week dated Wednesday, September 10, I am pleased to report that I was able to finally complete the paint project which I'd begun several weeks ago and which had remained virtually untouched up until this past weekend. My husband afforded me an entire day to which I could dedicate myself to painting our downstairs bathroom by taking the twins on a field trip to San Francisco. (I will post more on their San Francisco adventure in a later posting this week).

Those of you who have visited our home know that I absolutely love the "Naturals" collection and lifestyle of Ralph Lauren Interiors, so I decided upon the Antique Brown hue for the overall walls and the Desert Caftan earthen hue as the accent finish for our downstairs bathroom. I am thrilled with the final result.

http://www.ralphlaurenhome.com/rlhome/products/paint/items.asp?haid=50&f=lp&start=0

Monday, September 15, 2008

Feel Rejuvenated in Just 10 Minutes



My friend gave me a gift the other day and when I looked at it I was like, "Huh? What's this for?" She explained to me that a few series of exercises using a couple little rubber balls on the parts of the body that carry most of the body's weight and motion - hips, shoulders, pelvis, neck - can create total relaxation. I graciously thanked her for the gift and still quietly in my mind was thinking, "how are these little balls going to create utter Nirvana?"

As someone who has used exercise balls before at the gym many times, I was skeptical of my friend's "gift". Skeptical because whenever I have used these rubberized exercise balls, it's always been for the purpose of doing lots of ab work and crunches at the gym. My tummy always feels tight afterwards but I don't get a sense of total relaxation from the exercise balls as my friend was trying to convince me I would with her gift.

Well, later that same night, I was upstairs in our bedroom, the twins were fast asleep and my hubby was sitting in our bed working on his laptop, so I decided "why not give these little balls a try?" So I did. I laid down on the floor on my back and began to place the little grape-fruit sized rubber balls underneath my hips and lower back as illustrated in the little booklet that came with the starter kit. No sooner did I do this, did I feel the little rubber balls soften and "give" beneath me and I was amazed. After a couple good stretches along my spine, I then started rolling those little rubber balls under the backs of my arms and again, I was amazed. I thought, this is unbelievable. My friend was so right! This was the perfect gift! I felt like I'd found Nirvana. Like magic, as my body began to release its weight onto those little rubberized balls, the tension in my back, shoulders and neck instantly went away.

10 minutes later, I lifted myself from the floor and felt totally rejuvenated. What a great way to end the day. In fact, what a great way to end every day from this point forward....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Loving Twin Time Dollhouse


What little girls don't love a doll house?!

After all, a doll house is pretty much a scaled-down version of their own home.

Yesterday, I purchased Paige and Taylor their first dollhouse. It's a little Fisher-Price dollhouse and you'll never guess what it's called. The "Loving Twin Time Dollhouse". I know, how apropos!!! That's what I thought too when I bought it.

The girls spent the evening playing with their new dollhouse. Paige loved moving the little family characters that came with the dollhouse in and out of all the rooms. She re-arranged all the furniture testing the dining room furniture in the living room area, then in the kitchen area and then again back to its rightful place, the dining room. Taylor enjoyed taking over the "mommy" character and playing the role of tending to the "baby" and making sure "baby" got to see all 3 stories of the house pointing out little things along the baby's way such as the kitchen, the potty, the toys, etc.

It was really cute and fun to watch them use their little imaginations as they put together their own little connections between their real world and their pretend dollhouse world.







Exceptional Equestrian Tot in the Making


RIDE TO WALK

References to the physical benefits of horseback riding date back to some very early writings in the 1600s. However, when Liz Hartel of Denmark won the silver medal for dressage at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games - despite having paralysis from polio - medical and equine professionals really took notice. It wasn’t long before therapeutic horseback riding was being used for rehabilitation in England and later in North America. The first centers for therapeutic riding in North America began operation in the 1960s.

BENEFITS OF HORSEBACK RIDING FOR TAYLOR

The components of normal movement are very similar to those used in equestrian horseback riding skills and horseback riding lends itself especially well to physical therapy. Because horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider’s body in a manner similar to a human gait, Taylor will achieve greater flexibility, balance and muscle strength enabling her to have an even better walk than she currently does.

We feel very fortunate that Taylor is currently participating in the ONLY program in the Northern California area that focuses exclusively on the therapeutic aspects of horseback riding for children. She starts weekly riding sessions, which will be conducted by specially trained physical therapists, this coming Friday.

Today, we took Taylor to get fitted for her very own custom horse-riding helmet. While Taylor was getting fitted for her riding helmet, Paige enjoyed checking out all the horse supply products including the bridles and bits. She also enjoyed squatting down in the riding boots/shoes section and looking at herself in the mirror. Finally, the visit concluded with both girls test-driving some of the many saddles on display in the showroom. We managed to leave the shop without tearing up the store or disheveling the shelves adorned with innumerable horse products.








Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ridiculous Bling Bling

Okay, this is going to be a pretty ridiculous post tonight, but hey, it’s my blog and I’ll post what I want to...

Tonight’s focus is all about bling, bling. Baby bling, that is. We’ve all heard about those celebrities having babies (and twins seem to be really in right now in the celeb world) so let’s take a quick look at just how some of the disposable income gets used for their posh babies.

As you read through this, I’m sure you’ll be like me and think to yourself, this stuff is just so outrageous…keep in mind, there’s obviously a market out there for this stuff or these companies selling the stuff wouldn’t exist.

ORBIT INFANT SYSTEM

The Bugaboo is soooo very last year. This year, everyone is going ga-ga over the Orbit Infant System. If you like this “cream of the crop” stroller, car seat carrier, just drop $900.00 and it’s yours.

HIGH HEELS FOR TOTS

Novelty pumps that let infants channel their inner Carrie Bradshaw from Sex & The City make their debut in six colors - leopard satin print, hot pink patent, black satin, zebra satin, black patent, and hot pink satin.

Celebrities like Nicole Richie and Elisabeth Rohm are getting a kick out of their kids with Heelarious' high-heel crib shoes for their babies. Their little girls just might develop a footwear fetish with these silly pumps that are meant to be "her first high heels."



While these aren’t expensive – just $35.00, per pair - the idea is still pretty ridiculous so it makes my ridiculous baby bling post. http://www.heelarious.com/


SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL TRICYCLE


Now, this is bling! Swarovski Crystal encrusted tricycle by Glitzy Bella, sold at Hard Rock Store at the Hard Rock Store & Casino in Las Vegas to the tune of $2,000.00.

PRINCESS CARRIAGE BED


Fairytale dreams really can come true, but they can be pricey. If you want to give your little girl a “happier ever after” experience, look no further than the princess carriage crib. And, hey, it’s only $15,000.

I told you this was going to be a ridiculous posting tonight, but admit it, you found it as interesting as I did. And, who knows, there may just be a "Bling Bling Part 2" sometime in the future if I should happen to come across more outrageous tot stuff.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wonderful World of Potty-Training

I am fairly certain that no one else will find this news as exciting as me today…but, nonetheless, it’s an exciting day for me so I absolutely must share!

In the world of potty-ing, I am pleased to report that our little Taylor did her first ever poop in the “big girl” potty just moments ago! I'll say it again...let it sink in....first ever poop in the "big girl" potty by Taylor.

As all of you know, I’d made the decision to introduce potty-training to the twins for the very first time when the twins turned 2-1/2 years old. Neither of the girls were ready for it back then, so I called it quits after just a week.


About a month later, I re-attempted potty-training with the twins and it’s been pretty hit or miss ever since. Sometimes they would have a successful pee-pee in the potty but those have been few and far between. Additional challenges to our potty-training efforts has been the utter, near impossible schedule Mondays – Fridays each week that we have to maintain due to all the therapy appointments. We run the roads non-stop from one appointment to the next and it’s simply been unfair to challenge or expect the twins to get this whole potty-training thing when there is little opportunity to provide them with consistent time every day to just sit on the potty and make lots and lots of potty runs to and from the bathroom. Plus, to further complicate matters in the world of potty-training, all the therapists with whom we have appointments with had specifically requested that diapers be in use while the therapy sessions were taking place (to avoid any ‘accidents’ during the therapy sessions). So, straight away I learned that it was unfair to have the girls in “big girl” pants on the weekends and to concentrate our efforts on potty-training all weekend to only then have to put them back into diapers again come Monday through Friday. Talk about mixed messages to a toddler, right?! Can you imagine? Today, you wear "big girl" pants. Now, the next 5 days, you're back in diapers. Okay, weekends here again so back to "big girl" pants. How confusing and tormenting that would be to them.

During our latest round of potty-training efforts, I’d been told by lots of different people that the twins simply aren’t ready for potty-training and that I should wait until they’re 3 years old. Many of these folks encouraging me to wait ‘til 3 years old happen to be other mothers of multiples and 3 years old was the starting age for potty-training for nearly every one of them. One of the moms even shared with me that 3 years old is the age to start because it said so in “the books that give a checklist of things to do for potty-training.” When I heard that, I thought about my Mom, and her mom and her mom and all the previous generations – who, I’m pretty sure didn’t use books when they decided to work on potty-training.

Well, anyways, I have been maintaining a no-pressure, they’ll get it when they’re ready approach to potty-training for the past few weeks. It may be 3 years old, maybe 3-1/2 years old, maybe sooner. Who knows.


Well, back to what I was saying....we’ve not been able to concentrate too much on potty-training Mondays – Fridays since we compete with so many out-of-the-house appointments, but on the weekends when I’m home, I try to provide the girls with opportunities to sit and go potty but again, there’s been no pressure on them or me.

Today, Taylor came over to me and said “need to poop”. This was a first!!! So, we scurried to the bathroom, pulled down britches and sat. As soon as she sat down, she immediately started saying “all done, all done, all done, all done.” I told her, “let’s just sit and sing some of our songs for a few minutes while you go potty.” We ran through “Jesus Loves Me, Itsy-bitsy Spider, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and got half-way through the ABCs song when all of sudden, splish-splash a little poop appeared in the “big girl” potty. Taylor cried a little bit at first, struck, I think, by the mystery of what had just happened. I praised her and showered her with lots of “WOW’s” and “You Did It”!!!! Pretty soon, she was feeling pretty stoked and like such a big girl.

When we came out of the bathroom, lo and behold, there was Paige saying “need to go poop.” So, Paige and I ventured into the bathroom and did the sit on the potty, sing songs routine as I’d just done with Taylor. Like Taylor, Paige started up with the “all done, all done, all done, all done” as soon as she sat on the potty. We ran through all of our little songs together – twice, actually – and still Paige kept saying “all done, all done, all done, all done.” And, so we pulled up britches and came out of the bathroom. About 30 seconds later, Paige went poop in her pants. Yep, she was right on when she was telling me that she needed to go poop, but she was not about to go in THAT potty. Ha, ha, ha.

So, while we are still in the trenches of the wonderful world of potty-training and while it is probably taking us a little longer than most, today was a good day because Taylor finally did her first poop in the “big girl” potty! I think when we say our daily prayers later today, we’ll be adding a new prayer of thanks to God! We can thank God for helping Taylor learn to be such a big girl today and for helping her go poop in the “big girl” potty. We’ll of course say roughly the same prayer with Paige too but modify it slightly to something like: “Thank you, God, for helping Paige to sit like such a big girl on the “big girl” potty today. Please help her to go poop next time we sit on the potty.”

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today's Swimming Therapy

Taylor has only been doing the aquatic therapy program for a few weeks now, but already I am noticing some big improvements in her overall walking and motor planning, not only during the swim sessions but following the swim sessions on dry land too.

This type of therapy is proving to be a great addition to her overall therapy regimen! She’s still getting all of the physiological, motor skills exercise and stretching routines that are achieved in her in-clinic physical therapy sessions each week, but the water therapy is definitely one of Taylor’s favorites because she doesn’t realize that she’s “working” and just thinks she’s playing in the pool. Once thought of as a ‘faddish cure’, water therapy, when combined with Taylor’s other physical therapy programs, seems to be netting significant benefits to Taylor.


Taylor is now showing improved coordination when walking independently and also when entering and exiting the pool. She is also improving her overall trunk/abdominal strength from all the exercises she’s doing while sitting on the kickboard in the water. Additionally, the swim therapist has been working with Taylor on improving her stair-climbing skills. This is a task that still presents quite a few challenges for Taylor on dry land. In the water, however, because of her weightlessness within the water and the warm water to keep her leg muscles relaxed, Taylor is now starting to walk up and down the stairs pretty efficiently in the pool. Today, she walked up 3 steps and only required minimal assistance from the therapist and walked down the same 3 steps with moderate assistance from the therapist. The challenge that Taylor is still encountering when walking down the steps is that she is not quite coordinating her weight-shift from one leg to the next. The therapist tells me that in time this will be achieved but it's one of the harder skills to acquire. In the meantime, the therapist is going to continue focusing on Taylor’s downward stair-climbing skills. The therapist has also recommended that we modify our house’s stair-rail system to a kid-friendly handrail which will make the stairs safer for Taylor when she's practicing walking up and down and to help facilitate correct form and movement patterns even further. Below is a picture of this kid-friendly stair-rail.

During today’s swim therapy, Taylor joined in a game with a few other tykes receiving therapy as well. She had a great time playing ball with them!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

No words necessary when you have such cute pictures! That's why I'm calling this posting Wordless Wednesday.












Get 'Er Done

Life right now is really crazy ... besides the usual variety of weekly physical therapy appointments that keeps us running the roads, I am embarking on a couple of decorating ventures at the home. For the past two weeks, I’ve had the millwork, walls and trim in our downstairs bathroom prepped for painting. Unfortunately, I’ve not made any further progress in actually starting the painting process – there just is no time to tackle the project with the twins around. Of course, there’s always nighttime after the twins have gone to bed; but even in spite of another strong cup of coffee, I just haven’t had the gumption to take on the painting at night either. I am just so exhausted by the end of the day. So, for two weeks now I've been looking at our downstairs bathroom all prepped and trimmed out for painting and have told myself over and over and over again "you just need to get er' done".

I’m often amazed by the fact that here they have one another as built-in playmates yet they still want to be near me at ALL TIMES. If I dare to leave them, even to run upstairs and do a load of laundry, I’ll hear them yelling: “Mommy, mommy, mommy, wanna’ play now?” While it’s very sweet to be pined over by these little girls, every once and while, I must admit that it would be really nice to sit down and not be instantly swarmed by a throng of little darlings and all of their accompanying playthings.

This weekend, my time will come however! Mike is taking Paige and Taylor to the zoo so I’ve already mapped out my upcoming weekend and my “free” time. I’m FINALLY going to finish that painting in the bathroom this weekend. At last! And, after all that hard work of painting, I may just need a little extra pampering so a standing pedicure appointment will be in order for sure!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Books I'm Currently Reading

Two books that I'm currently reading are: The Strong Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson and Parenting By The Book by Dr. John Rosemond


Picture respectful, responsible, obedient children who entertain themselves without television or video games, do their own homework, and have impeccable manners. A pie-in-the-sky fantasy? Not so, says family psychologist and bestselling author Dr. John Rosemond. Any parent who so desires can grow children who fit that description—happy, emotionally-healthy children who honor their parents and their families with good behavior and do their best in school.

In the 1960s, American parents stopped listening to their elders when it came to child rearing and began listening instead to pop-psychology professional experts. Since then, raising children has become fraught with anxiety, stress, and frustration for many parents. The solution, says John, lies in raising children according to Biblical principles, the same principles that guided parents successfully for hundreds of years. They worked then, and they still work now!

- Above text excerpted from “Parenting By The Book” by John Rosemond

So, how did I arrive upon reading these two books, you ask?


Well, the twins’ pediatrician, who over the months of taking our twins to see him for routine doctor appointments and who we have come to know personally is also a Christian, recently recommended Parenting by The Book by Dr. John Rosemond. During my discussions with the pediatrician at one particular appointment, I was impressed that a). he would be so open about his Christian faith with me and b). that he would recommend a book that promotes a truly traditional approach to raising children according to Biblical principles. It was really refreshing to chat with a well-respected medical professional who doesn’t advocate for the pop-psychology and psycho-babble approach – which is so prevalent today - to raising and disciplining children.

As for the Strong-Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson, I have long known about this book and have heard it referenced many times from a number of other Christian parents, so I decided to take a closer look at this one too now that I'm a parent and dare I say it but a parent to a strong willed child myself.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Toddler-Proofing? Don't Overlook That Armoire!

We’ve done a bang-up job toddler proofing our home. Electrical cords for our entertainment systems are bundled and concealed. Blind cords on the windows throughout the house are retracted. Dangerous cleaning products are out of reach. All electrical outlets are covered. We’ve even still got a couple of security gates set-up in the home – at the kitchen area and the stairwell.

In spite of our toddler-proofing measures, sometimes however I discover that we still can’t thwart the most relentless explorers. In our family room is a large – no, very large – armoire that holds our television and other entertainment system components. Well, recently the twins have discovered a new use for the armoire - a secret hiding place.

Here’s what they do: One climbs into the armoire and settles onto a shelf which resides underneath the television. As the other one is hiding inside the armoire, the other twin will close the armoire doors creating a secret hiding place. The one inside will holler out “oooh, it’s dark in here”. The one outside the armoire will then open up the armoire doors. They’ll laugh and then proceed to take turns hiding and opening, closing the armoire doors.













I do NOT like this game at all!!!!!! Every time I see the twins doing this, it makes me very nervous. Nervous about how well that shelf is really constructed that supports the television that sits above their "secret hiding place". Nervous about whether or not that shelf could ever collapse while one of the twins is inside the armoire.

And, so I scold them EVERY time that I see them exploring, climbing or hiding in the armoire (with the exception of taking these photos this weekend). Lately, they’ve been wanting to get inside the armoire several times a day. In turn, I am scolding them and pulling them out of the armoire several times a day. I say in my firmest of voices “No” and “You do NOT get in there” followed by an explanation of “That’s not safe” and “You can get hurt so do NOT get in there”. My husband hates this game too. He scolds the twins also, for the same reasons and with other iterations of the same warnings and cautions I do.

Anyways, we’ve got to do something about this armoire. We either have to move it from the family room entirely or we have to reconfigure the shelving inside the armoire some how so that the twins can’t climb into it and hide. It’s just too dangerous…as the photo collage above clearly illustrates. Until we can move this armoire to another location in the house, watching them like a hawk around the armoire is a big must these days!