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.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving. This is to be my last post for several days since tomorrow our family departs for Southern California for the twins’ first visit to that most magical place on earth known as Disneyland. Over the next few days, since there won’t be any new postings, if you haven’t been stopping by Twinsanity on a regular basis lately, why not use the time that I’m away to get yourself caught up on the latest happenings in our lives as well as to get a glimpse at all of my latest musings and photos.

I will be back online again next week. And, let me tell you, you will have a lot to look forward to: lots of pictures and videos of Paige and Taylor capturing all of their zany adventures at Disneyland – some of the pictures and videos will likely include the twins stalking all their favorite characters from one Disney attraction to the next. Call it a mommy’s intuition, but I just have a hunch on this one. And, of course, there will be our trips to the beaches, to the zoo and whatever else we can squeeze into our 3 – 4 days of vacation in Orange County. And did I mention that the weather forecast in Orange County is sunny and mid-70s? Not too shabby indeed!

Now, as I write this posting, we’ve just finished up our Thanksgiving dinner. But before we officially began our Thanksgiving festivities, Mike took advantage of a fairly light showing of golfers at the driving range this morning and hit a bucket of balls. (I’ve learned through the years that you just can’t tell an avid golfer he can’t go to the driving range, even if it is a holiday). To me, it’s just one of the secrets (and sacrifices one must make) to have a happy marriage…you just have to make some concessions like that from time to time for the other half. And, besides it meant that I had the kitchen all to myself for a couple hours in order to prepare the whipped potato casserole, salad and other dinner fare. Our Thanksgiving was great! It included a nice evening spent with one of my good friends and her little girl who is a few years older than Paige and Taylor. This is now the 3rd year that my friend and her daughter have joined our family for Thanksgiving – perhaps we are beginning a tradition since it’s happened 3 years now….

….She is a good friend but is without any nearby family of her own to spend the holidays with. She is also not close to her own family, and since she is a single mom, the holidays can be a little lonely for her. Thanksgiving to me is all about giving thanks for all the blessings in my life and also helping those who might not be as lucky, even if it means just helping one person at a time. In a sense, my friend and her daughter are like adopted family members, particularly around the holidays, since she is someone who I know would otherwise be alone this Thanksgiving. It was fun having her with us at our table (again) this Thanksgiving, fun having her be apart of our little family for a day and especially good to let her take all the leftovers that she wanted back to her home!

From left to right: Taylor, Paige, Jamae


I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I also hope you experienced all the warmth and blessings in your own lives with family and friends during this special day. God bless.


Ashley, Paige (L), Taylor (R)

Paige (L), Taylor (R)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

From left to right: Ashley, Paige, Taylor

From left to right: Taylor, Paige

From left to right: Taylor, Paige

Taylor

From left to right: Paige, Taylor

From left to right: Paige, Taylor

From left to right: Taylor, Paige, Mike

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful Things - Top 10

Research has demonstrated that writing down the things you are grateful for on a regular basis can actually make your life happier. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d dedicate this post to the top 10 things I’m especially thankful for this year. And, while I could actually list far more things I’m thankful for, for the purposes of this blog, I’m going to limit it to just 10. And, what a great exercise this is in “glass mostly full”.

10. My children. Although they are rambunctious, prone to toddler tantrums, fits and spells with each other that include biting, pushing, pulling hair, scratching and all other manners of behavior resembling cat-fights to leave me utterly exhausted at the end of almost every day, they are the most wonderful blessings! I feel so honored and privileged to call them mine and feel so lucky God entrusted them to me. They truly do make me soooooo proud as a mom and are the apple of my eye.

9. My daughter Taylor’s success in overcoming so many of her challenges associated with her cerebral palsy. It seemed like such a big unknown for a while but just this year she has made such tremendous progress. She is walking, granted she trips and tumbles from time to time still, but what kid doesn’t?! I am thankful for God’s touch upon her life and for all the wonderful physical therapists who have come into our lives this year and who have made it possible for Taylor to not only walk today, but to also run sometime in our tomorrows.

8. My daughter Paige who is a playmate and best friend to her sister Taylor. Paige has such a sweet disposition and tender heart…she makes me smile so much and has so much energy that I can easily live vicariously through her! She also has come a really long way since her NICU days and her first year as a newborn when every feeding was touch ‘n go with her and when her little system was so delicate she had to be fed around the clock by the teaspoonful every 1-1/2 to 2 hours. She will always be a bright spot for me and has helped me to realize that I truly could survive twin babies and the seemingly endless days of no sleep whatsoever, and tedious feedings.

7. My darling husband, for "taking care of things" and for “taking care of us girls” so that I can be a stay-at-home mom to Paige and Taylor and so that we have a truly wonderful life. (Thank you, honey!)

6. My daily grande non-fat peppermint mochas with light whip cream from Starbucks – it powers me to start my day and has also served as “comfort” to me on more than one bad day with the twins when in the midst of the twinsanity of my life, the girls and I will just hop into the car and drive to our Starbucks and as the twins say, “get mom’s coffee”. Hey, better this vice than another, right?!

5. The mother and father that I had growing up and for the wonderful personal life examples and heritage of faith and character that they passed onto me.


4. The many blessings of living in such an awesome country as America! A country where everyone, regardless of faith, background and walk of life, has the opportunity to fulfill their every dream.

3. Family & Friends. Both on the East Coast and West Coast (and everywhere in between). And, while I don’t get to spend nearly as much time on the phone with you or see you face-to-face as I used to before the twins came along, you all have a very special place in my heart.

2. My health. God has blessed me with good health – both of mind and body – and, I hope that I will have continued health for the years to come so that I might watch my children grow and become all that God plans for them to be.

And the number one thing that I'm thankful for this year...

...I am able to spend this Thanksgiving season with my three favorite people in the whole wide world – Mike, Taylor and Paige. I’m also thankful for the special pair of braces that I get to put on Taylor’s little legs and feet every day. They’re a reminder to me of how far Taylor’s come and how far these little braces will still take her in life! I’m thankful for the time I get to spend practicing our “S”, “F”, and “P” sounds with Paige and watching her show-off to me her reciting of the alphabet, her counting to 20, her shape sorting and on and on and on. And, finally, I’m simply thankful for remembering to pause long enough to be mindful and realize that life is really but a vapor and how quickly time passes from us and that we must make the most of it with the ones we love and with what God has given to us.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fabulous Fun Fall Day

We decided to have ourselves a fabulous fall day today. We took to the foothills of the Sierra Mountains to enjoy the colors of autumn with Paige and Taylor. The great outdoors became the twins’ playground…the crisp autumn air and gentle breezes made for a truly perfect day of exploring, climbing trees, meeting ducks, collecting leaves and just hanging out as a family. And, of course, lots of great photo opportunities and memories. Be sure to check out the latest slideshow (above) featuring some of our Fall fun with the twins today.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

All Things in Moderation & That Includes the Pumpkin Pie.

Watching your weight this holiday season?

Click the "Think Thin Thursday" banner on your right and join some of us on our quest to not eat everything in sight this year! With Thanksgiving coming in just 4 more days, what better timing than this simple little reminder to think positive and think yourself thin on Thursday. I don't know about you, but I know I'm going to be wanting to fit into the same pair of cute skinny jeans on Friday that I'll be wearing on Thursday at the Thanksgiving dinner table....

Think Thin Thursday. Yep, I could use this little reminder. I often find myself "dieting" before the holidays so that I can then totally indulge myself for a couple weeks (within reason), beginning with Thanksgiving, continuing through holiday parties and finally ending with Christmas. Then, as in past years, I would just hit the gym for a couple weeks really hard right after the holiday season is over and wham bam, I'm good. Well, this year, I've decided that I'm going to take the "all things in moderation" approach through the holiday season and not just so I don't feel guilty for indulging in all the excesses of the holiday season but so that I remain healthy and energized. And, isn't that really the best way to spend the holidays anyways?! Healthy and full of energy.

Saturday

It's Saturday. I've just finished breakfast with the twins and tossed some laundry into the wash. Exciting so far, huh?! Our family of 4 is going to be doing their own thing today...

Mike has gone golfing with "the boys". Probably won't see him again until well after his 18 holes of golf and drinks afterwards with "the boys" at the clubhouse. When I have a little more time on my hands, I will update all of you on "the boys"....

Paige and Taylor are going to be spending a couple of hours playing with some little friends at the kids' gym this morning.

And, I am going to get some much-needed errands done. I am, of course, making my first to-do item of the day a visit to my favorite drive-thru Starbucks for my yummy-to-my-tummy grande non-fat peppermint mocha with light whip cream. Hmmmm.

Lots to do this coming week between preparing for our trip to Disneyland as well as getting the necessary stuff done for our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner.

Sorry, I can't offer a more interesting, thought-provoking post today but life calls and I gotta' go.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Untraditional. That Is This Year's Menu.

Thanksgiving is a time to get together with loved ones, to reflect on life's blessings, and to eat from the bounty we’ve been given. Nobody says that bounty has to be turkey and dressing, right?!

This year, Mike and I are considering breaking from tradition and breaking the mold on the usual line-up of Thanksgiving fare to go instead for a family dinner with a less conventional Thanksgiving meal theme. We’re leaning towards a Surf & Turf theme that would include a Mesclun Salad with cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette and toasted French bread to get started. Then, for dinner, we’d proceed to Prime Aged NY Strip steak on the grill as well as Salmon Steak seasoned with lemon thyme butter. Sides are likely to be whipped potatoes, jasmine rice and steamed vegetables. Lastly, desserts – our favorite part of absolutely any dinner – will be the best part featuring homemade shortcake plus the more traditional Thanksgiving holiday desserts with pumpkin pie and apple caramel crunch pie.

So, why am I talking about the Thanksgiving meal already?! Well, it's next week so that got me thinking, but the more likely explanation is that it's because I'm a forward planner and that's what we forward planner personalities do....

Are you breaking from the traditional turkey, pumpkin pie and dressing this year for your Thanksgiving dinner? Are you also going for the untraditional? If so, I'd love to hear how you too might be thumbing your nose at establishment and breaking with tradition at your table this year to eat whatever you like!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving will soon be upon us!

It seems that in our culture and society, the focus of Thanksgiving is usually all about the food and the big bird that is in the oven. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love Thanksgiving – the turkey and stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the sweet potato casserole, the green bean casserole, the fresh, warm rolls and of course all the pumpkin pie and apple caramel crunch pie I can get my hands on. But, now that I have children, my perspective on Thanksgiving is much different than when it was just my husband and me. I now find myself wanting to move “beyond the turkey” to help teach Paige and Taylor what it means to be thankful from a very young age and to helping them recognize how God has blessed them.

In my desire to help develop a spirit of real gratitude and thanks in my children, which is no small task, I first and foremost must make sure that my own heart and mind are grateful. As a parent, I understand that that which I would hope to pass onto my children must first start with me after all and unless I model an attitude of gratitude to them, how will they really learn to be thankful? So, with that aim in mind, I’ve found myself reflecting on what’s been going on in my life this year, particularly as a wife and mother. Those of you who are regular readers of Twinsanity know much of what has been happening in my life and in our family’s life already so I won’t spend a lot of time on the specifics in this posting….

Here's what I will say though...as I’ve been reflecting on my life, I admit that it’s really easy to get sidetracked with stuff and daily life. It’s easy for me to forget what’s truly important and to lose proper perspective. As Thanksgiving is drawing closer, I find myself renewing my focus on all the wonderful blessings that I have in my life and what God has done for me and my family this year. (Of course, it shouldn't take a traditional annual holiday to make me pause and reflect but alas that's what I find myself doing).


I am truly blessed; and I’ve been reminded of a very simple, yet profound Bible verse:

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12).

When I stop to think about this verse, I begin to find real contentment because I’m reminded that I’m exactly where God wants me to be at this point in my life and that contentment really has nothing at all to do with what’s going on in my life but everything to do with what’s going on in my mind. That’s an important distinction.

So, while I am practicing my own attitude of gratitude this year for Thanksgiving, I’ll also be trying to give Paige and Taylor some special opportunities to begin to learn how to have thankful hearts. We say prayers as a family with Paige and Taylor at every meal, and since they’re young, it’s a short and sweet prayer that we say with them and it goes simply:

God is great
God is good
And we thank Him for our food
AMEN

The girls know this prayer well and enjoy folding their little hands and praying. They love praying so much that usually after the “AMEN”, both girls will clap their hands and smile and say “YEAH”. It’s very sweet!

Well, I am beginning to build on this prayer to now include a few more simple verses and am trying to expand the girls’ prayer ever so slightly as we look ahead to Thanksgiving next week to:

God is great

God is good
And we thank him for our food

By his hands we all are fed
Give us this day our daily bread
Thank you for the birds that sing
Thank you, God, for everything
AMEN

It’s a prayer that I remember from my own childhood. It’s short and easy to recite and memorize, perfect for little tots like Paige and Taylor.

So, we’ve been practicing our new prayer together a lot lately. It’s so precious to watch how Paige and Taylor take to heart their little prayer and how they try so hard to do their part of folding their hands and bowing their heads. I snapped a few quick photos during prayer today…I just couldn’t resist! Today, Taylor was being a little shy with saying her prayer so Paige did the honors of saying the prayer. While it’s such a small thing, to me, it’s a small sacred moment to watch my little ones praying.




Taylor (L) and Paige (R) Praying Together

Shucking Corn

Shucking corn. An interesting topic, don't you think? Well, let's get right to it then.

There are gadgets for removing the silks of corn. There are gadgets for holding the ears. There are gadgets for separating the kernels form the cob. There are gadgets for buttering the corn. There are gadgets for steaming, grilling as well as pressure cooking corn. There are even posters of people shucking corn at Amazon.com.

But, let’s face it. Isn’t the only really useful gadget for shucking corn the good ol’ fashion way – with little ones who are young enough to be convinced that it’s a lot of fun to shuck corn?!

With just the right motivation, little ones can shuck a whole heck of a lot of corn. If you’re a fan of the more conventional way of shucking corn, well just check out Paige and Taylor shucking (and dancing) with their corn this past weekend with their grandparents. And, while we won’t be trying to make any posters out of their experiences shucking corn like Amazon.com, we will do a little shameless plug right here on Twinsanity of just how great these little twins are at shucking corn!!!!


Finally, to get in the spirit of it, let me help you get that popular children's tune in your head: "Jim Crack Corn - I Don't Care, Jim Crack Corn - I Don't Care..."

Taylor - A Heap More Frolicking Than Corn Shucking Getting Done.

Paige - No Sitting Down and Shucking It Out for Her.

Paige Is Aw' Shucks.

Taylor Making A Pile of Corn This High...

Taylor - "All Them Purty Girls Will Be There Shuckin' Corn..."

Paige - You Ever Seen Such Shucking Corn?!

If There Is Such A Thing As A Corn Shuckers Dance, Taylor Has It Down.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Drum Roll Please...This Is My 100th Blog Posting


In accordance with all blogging traditions, I am posting my 100th blog posting, albeit it is actually 11 days past due for the blog page, but oh well. I will now share 100 not-so-interesting and curious things about myself.

1. I was born weighing 9 lbs. 9 oz.
2. I was a perfect shade of porcelain pink. My mom told me so!
3. Because of this, I was the most beautiful baby. Again, my mom tells me it’s so!
4. I was born a few days late, unlike my twins who came 8 weeks early.
5. I may have been late for my birth, but I am rarely, if ever, late wherever I go to this day.
6. It is not my fault, it was ingrained in me at birth and as I grew up by my strict, somewhat authoritarian-style parents. My parents would lecture: “How rude it is for you to be late!”
7. I have an older brother who thought I was very cool when I was first brought home. (I think he probably still thinks I’m cool).
8. I was a girly-girl growing up and had tons of Barbies and baby dolls. I’m a girly-girl even still today.
9. The Barbies and dolls each had a special name, although I can’t remember their names now.
10. I grew up in a time that was much safer than the cities and neighborhoods are today. I was able to roam free and unsupervised.
11. I had one of the best childhoods, thanks to two of the best parents a girl could have hoped for!
12. I went to private Christian schools for elementary, middle and high-school.
13. I had to wear uniforms every day. I hated it at the time.

14. Looking back now, I’m so glad my parents sacrificed so much to keep me in private schools all my years growing up. I hope to do the same for my twins!
15. I was always a talker in the classroom, always getting in trouble for being too social and for passing notes in class.

16. I did so poorly in high-school one year, I had to go to summer school. That was also the year I got my first real boyfriend.
17. I was always in trouble for not properly tucking in my uniform shirt at school.

18. I was voted Class Secretary my junior year of high-school.
19. I was voted Class President my senior year of high-school.
20. I was once voted “Best All Around” by my high-school classmates.
21. I had a great church youth group I was a part of as a teenager.
22. My best friend was Christy and she moved to Texas when we were juniors in high-school.
23. Her family welcomed me as one of their own.
24. She was the athletic one.
25. I was the cheerleader one.
26. She is now married to a doctor who graduated from Duke University.
27. I haven’t talked to her in years.
28. I have no living grandparents today.
29. Paige and Taylor have two sets of grandparents.
30. I was married at 28.
31. I think it is a great marriage, although we definitely have our share of disharmony and disagreements from time to time.
32. I wouldn’t want the “perfect marriage” whatever a “perfect” marriage would be.
33. It’s the imperfect elements to our marriage that makes us unique.
34. We have been married for nearly 6 years.
35. We have two beautiful children.
36. I am amazed at how beautiful and special each of our children are in their own way.
37. I look at my children and see all that is good and true in the world and thank God for entrusting them to us.
38. I might want more kids someday. Maybe even sometime next year…
39. I lost the 70+ pounds I gained from my twin pregnancy in a little more than 5 months. Fortunately, I also have very, very few stretch marks. Lots of ab crunches deserve the credit for that!
40. I was a size six before getting pregnant.
41. I am a size six again and holding. YAY!!!!!
42. I have developed a daily habit of enjoying Starbucks mochas.
43. I tend to drink more than one Starbucks on really bad days.
44. I love shopping.
45. I love shopping for me, our house, my husband and especially our daughters!
46. Shopping can be therapeutic.

47. I have a tattoo with an insignia on my lower right side of my stomach.
48. I got my tattoo when I was 21.
49. Very, very FEW people have seen it as it is, by design, very well hidden.

50. I have contemplated getting the tattoo removed since having children.
51. Someday, I will discourage my children from getting tattoos and how can I do that if I have one myself?
52. I finally have accepted the fact that I live in California.

53. It has taken more than 5 years to accept that.
54. I also still hold onto the hope that one day we might move somewhere else.
55. I really don’t want to raise Paige and Taylor in California or have them attend the public school system in California.

56. I used to get to the gym 7 days a week.
57. I used to work out an average of 2 hours each time.
58. I now get to the gym to work out only 4-5 days a week, if that.
59. I had a great career in Marketing for several years.
60. I miss it sometimes.
61. I don’t miss it enough to leave Paige and Taylor in daycare however so that I can return to a lofty career.
62. I am applying to grad schools.

63. I had completed 1-1/2 years of my Master’s before getting married/pregnant.
64. I am hoping to return to grad school part-time in 2009.

65. I would love to travel to Africa.
66. And, go on a safari with Paige and Taylor.
67. I met my husband at the gym.

68. I am a “good housekeeper”, according to some friends and family.
69. I love to be organized.
70. I wish I didn’t care about a clean house sometimes.
71. I wish I had a paid housekeeper sometimes.
72. I don’t because I probably wouldn’t be happy with his/her cleaning service.
73. I can follow a recipe.
74. But, my husband is definitely the better cook.
75. I wish I enjoyed cooking more.

76. My mom didn’t especially enjoy cooking so I think I got that trait from her.
77. I love to read, blog, hang out with friends and family.
78. I am a speed reader.
79. I love all types of music.
80. I wish that I was a better photographer.

81. I love the smell of Yankee candles.
82. I love the smell of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.
83. My favorite color is black followed closely by white.
84. My favorite flower is a simple wild orchid.
85. I love to eat sweet n’ sour peach rings.
86. Spiders and snakes really scare me.
87. I am a very tenacious, focused person.
88. Those attributes drive my husband crazy sometimes.
89. And, that's ok.
90. I have met my true life partner in him.
91. I love him very, very much.
92. My children are the most important people, next to my husband, in my life.
93. I hope that my daughters grow up safe, healthy and have every opportunity that they wish for in their lives.
94. I love to take long hot showers.
95. I have naturally dirty blonde colored hair, however, I dye it and highlight it so it’s even more blonde. I have recently dye-d my hair to a chestnut brown color.
96. I wish I had really short hair, it would be so convenient.
97. I am unlikely to ever cut my hair really short.
98. I prefer chocolate ice cream to most any other flavor.
99. I have wonderful friends in real life (Hi Erin! Hi Kim! Hi Jen!)
100. I think I am a pretty great person most of the time. My husband probably agrees. Ha, ha, ha.

Whew! That was pretty tough. Could you tell I was grasping at straws with some of those? Want me to expound on anything you read? Send me an email.

Our Trip to Half Moon Bay

While Momo and Poppa (the grandparents) were visiting from New York, Mike and I took advantage of the opportunity to get away - just the 2 of us - knowing that Paige and Taylor would be in good hands! Well, it was sorta' just the 2 of us.

We decided to take our puppy, Tukker, along with us....we decided upon Half Moon Bay, situated along the beautiful coast and the scenic Highway 101. We spent Saturday and Sunday enjoying the beaches and walking along the trailways running along Highway 101. Tukker especially loved running all around the beaches and splashing around in the ocean. We officially realized and decided that our dog was the most ill-behaved dog on the beach...she couldn't help it though...she is after all a city dog. She just had no idea what to do with herself between playing with the other dogs on the beach, running in and out of the water, and chasing her own tail and leash up and down the beach. Oh, and did I mention that our other discovery about our puppy this weekend was that she is a very narcissistic dog...on the beach, she seemed to be under the impression that EVERYONE at the beach was there just to meet and play with her! Oy vay. (How did we raise such an ego-maniac for a dog?)

I'll be uploading a couple video clips of Tukker's Half Moon Bay beach adventures shortly, but in the meantime, here are a few photos from this past weekend...


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

In search of lost toys in the black hole...underneath the couch.




In the girls' quest for lost toys, you can't help but notice those little "bear bottoms" featured so prominently in nearly every photo. If you want your own "bear bottoms", just go to www.Gap.com These little cutie bear bottoms were gifts from Momo and Poppa in New York - thanks for keeping the twins sooooo cute!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Little Personal Reflection & Waxing Poetic

I came across a mother today at one of Taylor's therapy appointments whom I struck up a conversation with. During our hour-long chat in the clinic's lobby, I learned a lot about her and her child. Her child, as I learned today, was born at 25 weeks premature weighing less than 2 pounds. Her baby spent more than 3 months in the hospital NICU in a daily, hourly struggle for his little life for the entire duration of his stay in the NICU. He faced multiple surgeries, experienced several brain bleeds and suffered from retinal bleeds while in the NICU. I also learned that the little boy's mother had been told that he would never walk, never see, never talk, never be able to feed himself, never experience life as most children and adults experience life...and that was just the beginning of the struggles he would contend with in life. It was a truly heartbreaking story.

Fast forward to 3 years later...

Today, as I sat and listened to this mother tell about her child's diagnosis and his difficulties and learned about her little boy who had been given such a dismal outlook on life, you'd think that the little boy would be in quite a state. Well, I was amazed at what I saw before my eyes considering his early beginnings in life. Here was a little boy who was not only walking, but talking and laughing and doing what appeared to be what any other little 3 year old might do. And, that whole diagnosis that he would never see, heck, the little boy wasn't even wearing glasses!!!! It was truly incredible to learn this mother's story and that of her little boy. It served as a powerful reminder to me that God can do amazing things - things that defy all medical diagnoses, predictions and statistical outcomes for children born prematurely and with disabilities. I know I have witnessed the hand of God in my own little Taylor's life and have seen Him at work in her life these past 3 years...and, I am so very thankful for his presence in Taylor's life. I simply don't know where Taylor would be without a lot of prayers and God's help and mercy!

As I left the clinic today with Taylor, I was reminded of just how blessed and privileged I am to have a child with a disability. Yep. You heard me correctly. That's not always been something easy to say or come to terms with...there have been many times where I have found myself asking God, "why us?" while at the same time reasoning back to God that He has really overestimated me on this one, that he somehow misjudged what I could handle. But, as I talked with this other mother today and as I listened to her story, I felt God quietly whispering in my ear and I couldn't help but recognize that God had planned this all along, not only for me but for this young mother also (as well as the thousands of other mothers who have been hand-picked by God to love and raise such special children).

It was as if God had destined this other mother's little boy to come into the world very early, struggle for his every breath, his very life for many months only to remind us that God is ultimately in control. No matter what the doctors said to that young mother, no matter the discouraging, hopeless news she received, she loved that little boy in a way that only a mother could. She hoped against all odds. She saw that little boy's promise for life and his potential though the medical "experts" said otherwise! She persevered and persisted with the little boy's therapies, day after day, and now 3 years later, he is a real miracle!!!!

Finally, as I have reflected upon this little boy a little more today and my own little special needs child, a poem I once came across popped into my mind. Tonight, I did a little hunting and pecking on the internet in an attempt to find it and read it again. And, voila, I found it. I am posting the poem below as an encouragement to all other mothers out there who, in the midst of life raising a special needs child of their own, might like me forget just how truly lucky and blessed we really are!


The Special Mother
by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice,
a few by social pressure and a couple by habit.
This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of special needs children.
Did you ever wonder how these mothers are chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth
Selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.
As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.
"Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew."
"Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia."
"Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint...give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."
Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a special needs child."
The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."
"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give such a child a mother who knows no laughter?
That would be cruel."
"But does she have the patience?" asks the angel.
"I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.
Once the shock and resentment wear off she'll handle it."
"I watched her today.
She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother.
You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of it's own. She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."
"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."
God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."
The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive.
Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect.
She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word.
She will never consider a step ordinary.
When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it.
I will permit her to see clearly the things I see
Ignorance, cruelty, prejudice -- and allow her to rise above them.
She will never be alone.
I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life
Because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."
"And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.
God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

Monday, November 10, 2008

No Lazy Sunday

Yesterday was no lazy Sunday. After church, Mike, Paige, Taylor and I headed to San Francisco for a fun day in the city. We were joined by some of Mike’s family, who are visiting from the East Coast – his folks, his Aunt as well as his sister, although she’s no out-of-towner, she’s actually a fellow CA transplant from the East Coast just like Mike and me.


What a day! We took in a sightseeing cruise on the San Francisco Bay where we were nearly a stone’s throw away from the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island and the legendary Alcatraz. Paige and Taylor loved hanging out on the boat and took right to the open waters. Following our cruise, we returned to Fisherman’s Wharf – a busy, bustling waterfront great for people watching and for Paige and Taylor – some really yummy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and smoothies! Another highlight for the twins was dancing and grooving to the sounds of the Fisherman’s Wharf street musicians – man, could one of them really bang out a beat on the drums. Taylor even tipped him she loved his sound so much!!! Later in the evening, we hung out in the San Francisco Hilton Hotel for a couple hours lingering with family and friends…cocktails and wine for most of us and Starbucks Frappucinos for the twins…the day concluded for Mike, Paige, Taylor and me with a peaceful drive back home…the best part – the twins were fast asleep the whole drive home – a sign that they truly had enjoyed themselves that day.

A montage of pictures of our family from our day in San Francisco can be viewed in the above slide show. Plus, a few fun ones to follow of just our happy 4-some in San Francisco! Enjoy.




From left to right: Paige, Taylor, Ashley, Mike



From left to right: Taylor, Paige

Ashley and Paige "Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay"...



Mike and Paige sharing Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream



Mike, Taylor, Paige, Ashley "Watchin' the Ships Roll In"...



..."And, I Watch 'Em Roll Away Again"...

Taylor: Physical Therapy Progress Report

I have just returned from the mailbox and opened the packet containing Taylor’s quarterly progress report from her physical therapist. Listed below are Taylor’s previous goals and her achievements in these areas to date as noted by her physical therapist:

SHORT TERM GOALS:

Stand in good alignment without assistance – MET.

LONG TERM GOALS:

Develop movements to assist in transitioning from one position to another using good alignment and good trunk rotation.

PARTIALLY MET – Taylor is able to transition fairly quickly from position to position however, her physical therapist noted that she “continues to lack some strength and stability that provides for safety in a school setting where she could be easily pushed, fall and/or hurt herself.”

NEARLY MET – Taylor is able to come to a full stand through half-kneel with minimum assistance.

MET – Taylor is now walking independently (praise God) however her balance and posture continues to need improvement while walking; in addition, the therapist noted that “Taylor will face some safety issues both in the classroom and on the playground” making it imperative that Taylor continues to receive ongoing physical therapy until she has further mastered her walking and her balance while walking.

PHYSICAL THERAPY GOALS FOR 2008-2009:

The physical therapist has outlined several new goals for Taylor for the remainder of this year and early next year:


1. Taylor will build continued strength and balance when walking and will progress to running, hopping and jumping.

2. Taylor will gain continued trunk strength to do several 2-foot hops simultaneously.

While these seem like fairly small, easily accomplished movements, for Taylor, it's not.

We basically have to break down each desired goal and movement into great levels of the most minute detail and sequencing and then have to facilitate one muscle movement to another again using the right sequencing and form...it involves a lot of repetition to create just the right movement patterning so that Taylor learns to associate how one movement varies over another and how one movement has to occur versus how another movement does. As we do the movements over and over and over and over again, Taylor begins to create "muscle memory" so to speak in how to move, in how to coordinate her movements, etc. and over time (what sometimes, as her mommy, feels like a really long time), Taylor then begins to master the movement on her own in a way that is desirable and in a way that is "normal" looking. And, looking "normal" is always our underlying goal of every physical therapy goal and activity that Taylor is a part of.

I continue to be amazed at how far we've come and how much farther we still need to take her! I also continue to be amazed at the physiology of it all!!!!! The body truly is an amazing thing....

So, while I am really pleased with Taylor’s overall progress to date….because there was a time when I thought she might never walk…and she is now walking independently….there is still so much more work to be done!

The physical therapist is recommending that Taylor continues to receive physical therapy at the clinic twice a week to further improve Taylor’s motor abilities and to help her progress further towards overcoming her disability. (Of course, I am completely on board with that and am 100% committed to following whatever program Taylor’s physical therapist advises). Maintaining Taylor’s physical therapy, at such a young age, will only continue to help her build the right foundation allowing her to continue to advance and eventually successfully overcome her disability as well as keep up with her peers physically, educationally, emotionally, and socially.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cooler Temps...


Cooler temperatures are now officially upon us keeping us indoors a lot more...the girls don't really mind not being able to get outside as much because they've got some fun new toys to keep them entertained.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Update on Stroller Dilemma

This is one reason why I love blogging and bloggers! You get some great advice from other moms all because they read each other’s blogs. For example, you might recall from my Disneyland Here We Come post a couple weeks ago http://ashley-twinsanity.blogspot.com/2008/10/disneyland-here-we-come.html that I was grappling over whether or not to take one of our own twin double-seater strollers, rent a couple singleton strollers from Disneyland Park or buy a couple of cheap umbrella strollers at Target for like $10.00 and just take them with us…well, thanks to a fellow blogger mom who emailed me to share her Disneyland-with- two-kids-in-tow experience, I have made my decision. I will be taking our double-seater stroller with us.

This blogger mommy was telling me that her kids did best with their own stroller and also assured me that a stroller was definitely the way to go even for toddlers who are walking. She told me that the park is just too large and the kids would tire too easily and not really enjoy the experience as much if they had to walk all over the place from exhibit to exhibit, ride to ride, place to place.

So, it’s settled. I love strollers for the twins still anyways if we have any significant territory or walking distances to cover. The twins still like their stroller too – they get to sit side by side, hold hands as they ride while looking at all the sights and sounds around them. So, in addition to packing swimsuits, clothes, toys and the usual vacation stuff, we’ll be bringing our stroller too. Hard to believe we'll be heading for southern CA in just a little over two weeks....Disneyland, here we come!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President Elect Obama

An Open Letter to My Fellow Friends, Bloggers and All Others Who Read This Site:

Well, Barack Obama is our next president. He is our first African-American President, and he is our second hyphenated American President. (Yes, hyphenated. His full name is Barack Hussein Obama). Congratulations President Elect Obama.

Unlike the sorry folks (I’m trying to be nice) who after Bush was elected claimed, "he is not my president" I will recognize Obama as our duly elected Commander in Chief, and wish him well. I wonder if all the idiots who moved to Canada and beyond will now come back to America? I hope not. This is not a nation of quitters; those people who defected and who ran away after Bush’s election quit, we are now better off without them because again we’re just not a nation of quitters.

As for those who claimed ‘George W Bush is not my president’ and stayed the term loyal opposition is obviously lost them. In 2004, 62M Americans voted for GWB and therefore the reality was otherwise; such is the tyranny of the many.

Obama has many challenges ahead of him. I categorically disagree with his solutions to many of the problems and many of our social, cultural, financial, political issues. In the end though, I hope whatever he does end up doing does not fail because my loyalty is ultimately to my country before it is to my party. It is a shame the likes of Pelosi, Carter, Reid and Murtha will never learn this lesson. As for the Dixie Chicks, and all those college-aged kids who turned out enmasse to vote for Obama, well they are still young, I will therefore have hope for all of them.

Another congratulation is also in order - congratulations America. Hopefully we have exorcised some of our historical demons by voting for someone from an officially oppressed, disenfranchised group. And, now I hope that we can all get over it. We voted for someone with NO real accomplishment outside the campaigning arena. We voted for someone who, given the scanty information on his current job application, could not get a professional position with any large firm I am aware of…and, I’ve had my share of working for large, publicly traded firms for about 10 years. We voted for someone who, while a multimillionaire, ignores the financial needs of his own relatives. I would have expected something more from a man who wants to “spread the wealth around.” Well, Obama before you come sweeping my front porch, perhaps you should sweep yours first and spread your own wealth around to your own family. We voted for someone who has a relationship with a domestic terrorist, and went to a racist church that championed Israeli oppression, praised the likes of Louis Farrakhan and just days after 9/11 ranted with “God d#*@ America” for 20 years. So congratulations America. We have made this choice to excise the festering guilt? I hope it is worth it. Time will tell fairly soon after Obama takes office.


According to some, if we voted against Obama, we are racists. This was stated both blatantly and surreptitiously. Therefore, since we voted for Obama, which we did collectively as a nation, Americans as a group can no longer be called racists. Can this hoary old canard FINALLY be put to rest? Martin Luther King wanted us to be judged by the content of our character. Instead, we voted Obama in by not voting against him because he is Black. So, can we all ‘move on’ for real?

Obama is the President Elect of the United States. For the good of the nation I genuinely do wish him success. I am sure the press will accentuate the positive. I am sure every benefit of the doubt will be extended to Obama. We, as a nation, will all feel good about ourselves. I pray though that enough dignity and honesty is left in us to bring ourselves to put a hot light on the Obama administration. We as a nation need this scrutiny for all administrations, not just the Republican ones. Obama is the poster child of the media, now that he is safely ensconced in the White House, will the media finally do its job and be ready to investigate the man, and scrutinize his actions in the future?

We have Elected Barack Hussien Obama President of the United States. We have done this seven years after 9/11. We have done this after a huge bubble in the housing market has burst. We have done this after the Fed has devalued our currency for the past 6 years. We have done this while in a state of energy dependency on countries and people who hate us. We have done this in a time when both China and India are emergent economic super powers. We have done this at a time when Russia is returning to its socialist-dictatorial-imperialist roots and just today is flexing its super-powers in threats with Poland. Obama will have his hands full; for our sakes, I really do wish him success. My family and my children Paige and Taylor are counting on him and his judgement. Especially Paige and Taylor. When I think that President Elect Obama will have the power to appoint Supreme Court judges who will sit on the bench for many future years of my dear children's lives, I admittedly shiver and shriek at the thought of it...but, know that if there is any doubt among you of my well-wishes for Obama, let my love and concern for my children's futures put you at ease. I know what's at stake and what's at risk and now that Obama is to be our next President, I truly do only wish him well for all of our sakes!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bummed Out

So, it's Tuesday night, a historic night indeed for America...my husband and I have just spent the last two hours watching the election returns and in spite of the historic significance of this election, I must say it was a disappointing night for me. I won't speak on my husband's behalf, but for me, very disappointing. Paige and Taylor were equally disappointed, I think. So disappointed in fact that they turned in early and went to bed instead of the watching the returns ring in on the TV.

I will post more thoughts and personal commentary on the election results very soon....to all of my avid readers out there, give me a little time though on this one because on Wednesday and Thursday I'm tied up in therapy appointments for most of the day. I will return to the blog however to post my reflections and musings on the election. Promise!!!! After all, I know some of you will be waiting with baited breath to hear from me on this and I don't want to let you down.

Future Voters Made Me Proud

I am pleased to report what perfect little twins accompanied me at the polls today.

Not only were they on their best behavior - waiting patiently at my side while in line, not pushing one another, and helping mommy carry the ballot and pen to the voting booth - but they were also delightful with their little repertoire of manners. Yes, that's right. When we turned mommy's ballot into the registrar, Paige said politiely "Here you go, all done." Then, when the registrar passed out the "I Voted" stickers to each little one, both Taylor and Paige said "thank you". That's right - a nice, gracious "thank you" and the best part, it was totally unprompted by dear ol' mom. I simply can't remember the last time I saw a 3-year old dole out a "thank you" to a stranger totally unprompted by either dear ol' mom or dad.

Needless to say, I was very impressed with my kids!!!

Now, as for the actual teachable moments for voting today....I explained to Paige and Taylor that mommy had to fill out the circles and color them in nicely and be sure to pick good men and women to help our country...Paige and Taylor looked on with earnest.

Finally, my most favorite teachable moment at the polls today was as we were leaving, Taylor turned to me and said, "let's vote again, let's vote again, let's vote again!"

I used this opportunity to talk with Taylor and Paige about that important election rule of only voting one time. I didn't venture into the territory of explaining how some people try to vote more than one time and that some people try to cheat or steal...I simply told them: "When we vote, we only vote one time. We don't get to vote over and over again today. We will get to vote again another day..."

Our Final Push

Today, we make our final push from the homefront.

Bright and early this morning, I added additional McCain/Palin yard signs to our front yard - these are in addition to the signs we already have placed in our front windows.

Our Front Yard

Mike got up this morning and donned his Republican-red tie (my, my did he look sharp) and then he was off to vote and then to work. I am sporting my red team colors also today and once the little girls wake up, they too will be matching mom all decked out in their finest Republican-red! The twins and I will head out to vote together later this morning...looking forward to a great day with Paige and Taylor and their first taste of Democracy and voting (long lines and all).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Your Vote Matters

It's been a long day so my daily blog post will be shorter than you might usually encounter here on the eve of Election Day 2008...tonight, a short post is all that is needed. Somehow a short 'n simple post seems most fitting and yet this short post will serve to be one of my most important posts to Twinsanity as well. (I know I have a few followers to this blog, so I'm seizing the opportunity for one last political play for my audience of readers before we all cast our votes tomorrow)

You have heard it said many times...elections have consequences and the outcome of this election tomorrow will have a profound impact on the lives of the American people, this great country and future generations of Americans. Especially to those of us who are Christians. Your vote can make a difference, so please be sure to take the time to brave the long lines and cast your vote tomorrow.

For those inquiring minds, here is precisely how I'll be voting in tomorrow's elections:

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

President Ronald Reagan will be forever remembered for his ideals of limited government and personal freedoms...these same ideals have been passed onto Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin. I will be casting my vote in the Presidential election for the McCain/Palin ticket.

PROPOSITIONS

Yes on Prop 1A for faster, cheaper, safer transportation.

Yes on Prop 2 for protection of the health and safety of our food.

Yes on Prop 3 for support for the Children's Hospital Bond for the investment in all of our children.

No on Prop 5 (Prop 5 reduces penalties for meth dealers and drunk drivers who kill).

Yes on Prop 6 to stop gang violence and improve neighborhood safety.

No on Prop 7 (Prop 7 will increase electric rates by $340.00/year).

Yes on Prop 8 to restore and preserve the traditional institution of marriage as defined by a husband/wife, to strengthen families and protect our children.

Yes on Prop 9 to protect crime victims from murderers and rapists with Marsy's Law.

Yes on Prop 10 to reduce our dependence of foreign oil and creates no new taxes or bureuacracies. Can I get a shout-out for "Drill Here, Drill Now"!

No on Prop 11

# # # #

After tomorrow's elections, I will be back to writing and talking once more about life with twins including all my various memos and musings as a multiples mommy! I know there are some of you out there who enjoy that banter from me far more...and to tell you the truth so do I....but for a season, sometimes even our favorite things to talk about, think about and swoon over have to get replaced by other things. Not because they are more important, but because they require some consideration at the moment when they are most relevant. Thanks to those of you who hung in there through the politic-ing on my blog and continued to come back in spite of it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Creeps, Weirdos & Other Blogosphere Jerks

I wish that I could include the Comments feature on my blog.

I had the feature available when I first launched the blog, but almost right away I began to get a little creeped out and freaked out by some of the folks visiting the blog. While some of the people visiting the site and leaving comments were perfectly harmless and welcome dialogue, there were a handful of visitors to the site that made me frankly very uncomfortable leaving me no other option than to deactivate the Comments feature.

I recall one weirdo in particular who posted some comments about his quest for a wife. Huh?! Talk about creepy!!!! I read this guy’s comments to me and was like: “Hey, jerk, didn’t you read the opening paragraphs on my blog that tells all about what a happily married girl I am?” And, what about my adoring praise of my loving husband as a truly wonderful man? Did you see that also?

And, so it was that I decided to eliminate the Comments feature. Because of some creepy dudes (I’m trying to be polite here) and their inappropriate comments, I just had no other choice. I apologize to those of you bloggers out there who want to leave a thought or comment but aren’t able to on my blog…but, it only takes one or two freaky jerks to ruin it for everyone.

And to you, creeps, weirdos and other blogosphere jerk posters out there, especially the dude who stopped by to let me know he’s looking for a wife, well please go find something better to do with your life than read about my family. And, by the way, I’m not on the market…I’m very happily married!

So, sorry to those of you who aren’t able to leave comments. I really, really love reading the comments people leave and perhaps I’ll revisit the Comments feature for my blog again at some point in the future….

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Hippish-ly Halloween Good Time

I hope that everyone had a great Halloween!

The twins really enjoyed themselves…this was their first true taste of the trick or treat experience. Instead of going through the neighborhoods, we decided to take the girls trick or treating at Mike’s office instead, partly because the weather was cold and rainy last night and partly because we wanted to celebrate Halloween with Mike's second family - his office friends and co-workers. Plus, we knew the candy would be safe and Mike would get to show off his girls to all his friends and co-workers as well as giving the twins a chance to run around all candy-crazed with lots of other trick or treaters at Mike's office.

This year, the whole family got into the costume-ing festivities. We were one big happy, er, I mean hippy family! We were CA stylin’ hippies…I was decked out in my favorite head-wrap in honor of Janis Joplin, Mike was right at home in his best Jim Morrison impersonation and Paige and Taylor were spreading a little peace and love in their flower power dresses, beads and face paint.

The twins got more than enough candy trick or treating…so much in fact that Mike and I are set on our candy stash for at least a couple weeks. And, today, I’ve already eaten enough candy that my jaws ache now. I don’t care about that really, but I do hope that my candy snacking doesn’t show up on my face with any breakouts in the next couple of days....

Here are a few Halloween pictures of our hippy clan. Be sure to also check out more of the pictures from the twins’ trick or treating at Mike’s office in the slide show above. Enjoy!


That's me above, tree-hugger mommy!

That's Paige above saying give peace a chance.

And, Taylor spreading the love.

Finally, Mike...peace mon.