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.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rush - Give 'Em The Business!

Today is Saturday, despite a rough night with the twins due to their colds, fevers and coughs, we did manage to get a few good hours of much needed sleep. Right now, both Paige and Taylor are napping...so, what am I doing? Well, probably what all good conservatives are doing right about now all over the country. Ha, ha. Watching Rush Limbaugh on FoxNews address the Conservative Political Action Committee!

Wow! Bring it home, Rush. I am lovin' what I am hearing and who else other than Rush to fire up our base!

Okay, that's about all I have time to write at this moment...Rush is in the midst of explaining Capitalism to the new administration and he is knocking it out of the park. Gotta' go! More Rush.

Rush, Rush, Rush, Rush, Rush, Rush, Rush....(if you've got the beat in your head, keep it going)....Rush, Rush, Rush, Rush....

Friday, February 27, 2009

Getting Sick, Runny Noses, Fever, Dry Cough

It is 8:00 PM and both girls have just gone to bed...that's pretty early for a Friday night around our house, especially when considering just last night they were up to 10:00 PM. Unfortunately, both girls seem to be getting sick and therefore have pretty much felt like doing absolutely nothing. Snot has been flowing generously all day between both girls, Paige has been running a slight fever and a dry cough just made its appearance about an hour ago. Fortunately, I have a Rx from the twins' pediatrician to help combat the night-time cough and I used it tonight with both girls at bedtime so hopefully they will sleep well and peacefully and won't be hacking all night long. I also am alternating doses of Children's Tylenol and Children's Motrin every 4 hours to combat Paige's fever, per the pediatrician's recommendation. Poor girls.

And this is pretty much how they were feeling today...

Paige, at one point, was having the chills so I bundled her up in an extra sweatshirt and blanket.

Taylor, other than a runny nose and the onset of a dry cough this evening, is faring better than Paige; but Taylor wouldn't leave Paige's side as she sat on the couch snuggled in her warm blanket.

Paige, staying warm under her blanket, watching a sing-along on t.v.

Even the girls' puppy Tukker took advantage of the down-time this evening and curled up quietly next to Paige and Taylor.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a healthier day for Paige and Taylor and hopefully they'll be back to their spunky little selves sooner rather than later.

Reflecting on Today's Headlines

Anyone who knows me in real life knows I can be pretty opinionated and pretty passionate about a range of issues and subjects, and while I have tried to leave politics and personal commentary out of this blog unless it pertains to my life with twins, well, sometimes admittedly I get sidetracked and venture into other subjects from time to time here on Twinsanity. Trust me on this one, if you read this blog long enough and often enough, you'll get a view into my life and perspectives on things beyond child-rearing, twins, toddlers, day-to-day stuff moms do, etc.

Well, today, I'm having one such moment and am finding myself reflecting on current headlines making the news...I don't have much time to write or wax poetic however because I'm in between loads of laundry, mopping the floors and cleaning the bathrooms while the twins are down for their afternoon nap but here are some of the top headlines that caught my attention today....

1. California's unemployment rate rose to 10.1%, it's highest level in a quarter century.
2. California's state capitol is holding its very own "Tea Party" to protest the continued government waste. (Nearly 40 "Tea Party" protests are happening around the country today and I say "Go, Go, Go All You Tea Party-ers!" I'm protesting with them in spirit!).
3. California, the world's eighth largest economy, continues to suffer from a prolonged housing downturn. (If you could just drive down our neighborhood streets, or for that matter, practically any neighborhood street in California, you'd find yourselves tallying up as I have how many homes are now listed as either "Bank Owned" or "Short Sale". In our neighborhood, the # of homes for sale just increased by 2 bringing our neighborhood's grand total to 11 homes currently on the market.).
4. Enemy combatants in the 'War On Terror' are going to be moving to civilian courts for prosecution. (Since when did foregin enemy combatants gain the same constitutional rights as our own citizens?)
5. "By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end" states President Obama to our U.S. military troops in Camp LeJeune, NC. (While I am not especially fond of the idea of an arbitrary withdrawl timeline, I imagine that there are many of Obama's base that are pleased and some that are probably not so pleased because it's not happening FAST ENOUGH for them).
6. President Obama wants to rescind a Bush administration rule that strengthened job protections for doctors and nurses who refuse for moral reasons to perform abortions.
7. Iran continues to pursue its long-range missile system with the launching of its first "Hope" satellite into space.
8. Israel prepares to strike Iran without U.S. consent. Israel is drawing up plans to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and is prepared to launch a strike without backing from the U.S.
9. The market continues its economic freefall with the Dow hitting yet another new 11-year low mid-day today.
10. The proud mother of 14 from California, better known as "Octo-mom", expands her newly developed web site: http://www.thenadyasulemanfamily.com/ (This one continues to be quite the responsibility riddle for me...1 mother, 8 newborns, 14 total offspring, 15 minutes of fame, no job, no viable plan for raising 14 children = ????)

Now, back to my daily chores...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Celebrating Potty-ing Successes

I bought a couple of balloons for Paige and Taylor to celebrate their potty-ing successes just the other day. On Wednesday, the girls went to school for a couple of hours wearing their "big girl" panties and since they both remained dry and accident-free, I made a big fuss over them and bought a couple balloons to help celebrate their success at being such big girls.

You Go Girl

A few 'you go girls' are in order this week...

First, Taylor is 99% potty-trained. Woo-hoo. 'You go, girl'! Just yesterday and today, Taylor began telling me when she needed to go potty. I feel that was the final piece of our potty-training puzzle to come together for her. She'd been consistent using the potty for a few weeks now, but it was only within the last two days that she started actually letting me know. So, Taylor, here's your shout-out: 'you go, girl'!

I still keep Taylor in a diaper at naps and overnight, but otherwise she is in her "big girl" panties all day. 'You go, girl'!

Second, Paige is potty-proofed. Yes, I said potty-proofed. Bet you never heard that term before? Well, let me explain...it's actually a term that my mom affectionately coined for Paige after spending the last 3 weeks with us. Potty-proofed refers to a style that is uniquely Paige's.

And, now for a little further explanation. Paige wears "big girl" panties all day and NEVER has accidents but she also NEVER uses her "big girl" potty either, no matter how much liquid or food she takes in throughout the day. There have been days where all Paige has done is drink milk, water and juices and still she manages to achieve bladder control that rivals most adults I know. Seriously. She can hold it, and hold it, and hold it, and hold it. I will ask her multiple times, "Paige, do you need to go pee-pee on the potty?" as I see her periodically hold herself and yet, the reply is always the same, "No."

And, then of course, there are the times when she will sit on the "big girl" potty. In these instances, each and every time, she sits on the "big girl" potty, she seems to enjoy the process and all the talk of being a "big girl" like Taylor and mommy, but still absolutely refuses to actually use the potty. I will praise her and say things like, "Great job, Paige for sitting on the potty, and now it's your turn to go pee-pee...all big girls go pee-pee in the potty." etc. etc. Even so, the replies from Paige remain the same, "No thank you" or "I'll try again next time" or "All done".

No bribes, no reasoning, no explanations from me of "all big girls use the big girl potty", and no tricks, stickers or candy offerings seem to convince her either...it's really quite remarkable. Like I said, I have seen few adults with the same stamina and endurance to hold their bladder/bowel like little Paige can. Not even her "Momo" (my mom) could get Paige to use the "big girl" potty. Observation of her big sister using the "big girl" potty also doesn't seem to sway Paige or interest her in using the "big girl" potty.

And so it is against this backdrop, hence the term potty-proofed has emerged in our house to describe Paige. Yep, she doesn't have accidents in her "big girl" panties which is great, but she's also not taking fully to using the potty yet. So, what does she do, you ask? Well, if you ask me, basically, I think Paige is gaming this whole potty-training system we've got going on. That's right. I suspect that Paige, sharp as she is, has figured out that she can outlast her bladder/bowel urges during the mornings until the time comes at naptime for a diaper to be put on. Then, I suspect that Paige games the potty-training system again following naptime by once again outlasting her bladder/bowel urges until that time of day rolls around when it's time to get into diapers again before going to bed for the night. Incredible, isn't she?! So, for now, we're going with potty-proofed to describe Paige...eventually, we will call her potty-trained but 'til then, potty-proofed really sums it up for her! And, for now, potty-proofed earns Paige a 'you go, girl' too because after all, that IS better than going on our couch, our pillows, and all the other various locations for which Paige has previously relieved herself.

Finally, there's a 'you go, girl' for me. Okay, so I know that sounds like a shamless plug to give myself a shout-out, but nonetheless I earned a 'you go, girl' too. I have continued in my commitment to staying fit and healthy (one of my New Year's resolutions) and am happy to share that I ran 6-1/2 miles this week as well as managed to squeeze in some time to lift weights at the gym earning me my very own 'you go, girl'. And, last but certainly not least, Mike is heading to a 3-day golf tournament where I'm sure he'll be one of the best players on the greens so he definitely gets a well-deserved 'you go, boy'!

Okay, well, that's it for the shout-outs for this week from our house. Have yourselves a great weekend everybody and be sure to give yourselves a 'you go, girl' or a 'you go, boy' for your own milestones and/or achievements whatever they may be!

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Mom, I Can Walk Like You"

I thought I would update Twinsanity readers on Taylor’s progress with walking since some of these posts related to Taylor’s cerebral palsy and her overall progress have become some of the more frequently viewed posts on this site.

We have been having some difficulty of late getting Taylor to wear her AFO’s. AFO stands for ankle-foot orthosis which basically describes an apparatus designed to support the ankle and foot. While these may look very intimidating at first glance and somewhat intrusive, they can make a world of difference in a child’s ability to walk and maintain flexibility of their Achilles tendon. They have made a tremendous difference in Taylor’s ability to walk and have helped her gain strength and proper alignment that she would otherwise struggle with as a result of her cerebral palsy.

- Taylor's AFO's -

So, as I was saying, lately it has become increasingly challenging to keep Taylor in her AFO’s. The other day, as I was getting ready to put Taylor’s AFO’s on her feet, Taylor looked up at me and said as if to object to me proceeding with the placement of her feet into the AFO’s, “Mom, I can walk like you.”

I paused for just a moment to reflect on that sentiment from my 3-year old and it occurred to me that for the first time, my dear, sweet Taylor was communicating to me that she understood that she was different. At that moment, I saw nothing else but Taylor's face looking at me expectantly awaiting an answer back to her and in all of about 5-seconds I assessed the perspective that Taylor must be having towards her AFO’s. My feet, as well as her sister’s, are always bare; hers are always donning something else, something unusual to her sister and to her mommy. Taylor also always observes me (and her twin sister) put on shoes that look quite different than hers and she now wanted me to know that she could "walk like me" and by that statement, I believe Taylor was also telling me that she wanted to be like me - bare footed and apparatus-free.

My heart literally sunk heavy into my chest, and for the first time, as I sat face to face with my daughter Taylor, I was presented with a moment that I always knew would come since Taylor was diagnosed with cerebral palsy – a moment when I would be faced with offering explanations to Taylor. My husband and I have often talked about the day when Taylor would begin to become more self-aware, to notice that she might be slightly different than her sister and her peers and we have often talked about what we might say to Taylor and how we might say it when that time comes. Well, despite how many times you talk about that day coming, let me be the first to say, you're never ready for that day to come...

When I heard Taylor say simply, “Mom, I can walk like you” - since it caught me by surprise - the words that came to me were: “Taylor, you’re right, you CAN walk just like mommy but guess what, these will help you walk even better than mommy.” (I especially emphasized "EVEN BETTER THAN MOMMY")

It was a tough and sad moment for me. Tough because I knew this was perhaps the first of many more similar sentiments and conversations to come with Taylor in the years ahead. Sad because, in that moment, I longed for my daughter not to HAVE to be different for her sake. It was also, strangely enough, a happy moment for me. Happy because no sooner had Taylor uttered her words to me about wanting to “walk like me”, it was as if God had long ago already placed the words in my heart that my daughter would need to hear at that exact moment. It was as if, God in all his wisdom and love, knew that this conversation would take place on Sunday, February 22, 2009, as Taylor and I sat together on the floor preparing her little feet and legs for her special shoes.

I was also happy because in that moment, Taylor was right and I was there to tell her so – that she absolutely could "walk like me" and that with her special shoes, she would "walk even better than me”. Taylor seemed to like hearing that and allowed me to put her AFO’s on…

In just the short 24 hours since Taylor and I had this chat, I have since observed Taylor to repeatedly take her AFO’s off. She pulls at the little velcro straps that cross over her little ankles and at her calves. She simply will not keep them on…she can walk without the AFO's, which is awesome, however it’s not the best thing for her to do because the AFO’s provide stability for her, improve her overall gait and protect the overall physiology of her legs. I have not made a big fuss the last 2 days about Taylor keeping the AFO’s on knowing that I see her physical therapist this Wednesday and I plan to talk with the physical therapist about this new development and the new resistance Taylor is showing towards her AFO's.

The physical therapist had prepared me many, many months ago that at some point, Taylor would begin to resist the AFO’s and that we’d have to work together on devising some creative strategies to help Taylor become interested in her AFO’s again. Well, that day of Taylor's resistance to AFO's has come. I am looking forward to talking with Taylor’s physical therapist this week as I know Taylor not wearing the AFO’s opens up a host of adverse consequences that can impact her mobility and gait including physical damage to her ankles, hips and knees.

More posts on this to come after I speak with Taylor's physical therapist, so if you're interested, be sure to check back again later this week....

Parenting Twins & Keeping Them Unique

I suspect that parents of twins are the first to recognize that, regardless of DNA similarities, the children are different. Each child is unique.

I get bombarded by well-meaning folks (ALOT) bent on asking “are they identical, how do you tell them apart, how do you get anywhere on time, it must be so fun to dress them up!” Just today, at the mall, we had no sooner entered the double doors into Macy’s department store did I catch the eyes of presumably a husband and wife…they zero-ed right in on us as we walked into the store, first with a studying glance at each of the girls, then at me, followed by a smile and then finally stopped right in front of us to begin asking the ever-familiar questions that after 3 years I know so well. While all this is indeed part of the joy of raising twins I often find myself thinking that it’s important to recognize and highlight them as individuals. And, while I always entertain a curious onlookers’ questions, I do find myself thinking quietly about how they are not just a pair of children but two separate children. Granted, my being mindful of their twin-ness and individuality does very little to quell the barrage of questions from well-meaning friends and strangers, but it will hopefully do wonders in the coming years as my husband and I help to build the self-esteem in each of our girls.

I suspect that twins realize very early the unique nature of their relationship and come to rely heavily on one another. I have seen this time and time again with Paige and Taylor. Each has their own gifts and unique traits and while I want to help them cherish their special relationship, I also want them to celebrate their identities and uniqueness as individuals too. In my experience, what has worked for one doesn’t work for the other; so I simply try to help each child meet goals and milestones specific to them.

I find that I often celebrate the joys and successes that are important to them, individually. For example, Taylor is doing a stellar job potty-ing on the “big girl” potty. Just within the last couple of days, for the first time since we embarked upon this whole potty-training adventure, Taylor said, “I need to go pee-pee.” THAT was a first – Taylor telling me she needed to go potty. Now, Paige on the other hand, has responded a little more slowly and reluctantly to potty-training; however, Paige did have an exciting first just yesterday. As she was playing in the living room, suddenly she dropped drawers and took off running to the bathroom. She didn’t quite make it to the potty and instead piddled on the floor next to her “big girl” potty. Understand though that from a little girl who has been very resistant to potty-training, that was a HUGE success! I praised both Taylor and Paige equally – Taylor for telling me she needed to go for the first time and Paige for knowing where to go for the first time (in the bathroom versus her previous potty-ing locations – our sofa pillows, our couch, at the kitchen table, etc. etc.)

I also find that as time continues to go by, I gain greater understanding of the joys and suffering of raising twins like no other. It truly can be wonderful. Some days, it can be horribly tiring. I’ll certainly never forget the “twin-screaming” days and nights when Paige and Taylor just wouldn’t let up…but, I also reap the awesome love they share with me and with each other. In short, while my kids do indeed drive me crazy, that is totally normal with twins. I have also learned not to let the difficult times outweigh the joy. Admittedly, this can be tough, especially after sleepless nights, constant crying, sick kids, sibling rivalry, laundry, diapers, potty-training.….you get the picture!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chatty Happy

Usually once or twice a week, Paige and Taylor call up their "Momo" and "Poppa" from New York on their laptop and thanks to the technology of web cams, get up close and personal despite being more than 3,000 miles away from each other. Last night was one of the nights Paige and Taylor chatted with their "Momo" and "Poppa" on the computer...and, well, as you can see, the girls sure were having a GOOD time. (Oh, and it just so happened that Paige and Taylor were opening some awesome presents from their "Momo" and "Poppa" from New York at that same time! Thanks so very much, "Momo" and "Poppa" - the girls LOVE their presents!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

XOXOXOXO (Happy Valentine's Day)

Today is Valentine's Day and all across the country, candy, flowers, jewelery, balloons and other gifts were exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of love! Whether you celebrated a quiet Valentine's Day at home, at a romantic restaurant or some other venue, I hope you and yours enjoyed all the blessings and bounty of your special love and romance!

At our house, Valentine's Day kicked off with Paige and Taylor discovering what Cupid had brought them overnight - 2 HUGE "I Love You" balloons. These were the mother of all balloons...comparably sized to that of a bean bag and nearly as big as Paige and Taylor. (I don't think I've spent $10.00 on one measely balloon EVER, but this year, I spent that twice because these were THE coolest balloons in the store and I just knew Paige and Taylor would love them for all their big red HUGE-ness). The twins also received some other goodies from Cupid -- Valentine's Day M&M's, (2) Webkin Valentine's kittycat stuffed animals and a couple of little miniature-sized Cupid dolls including those infamous novelty conversation candy hearts! It was candy and sugar overload and it was only 9:00 AM....wow, what a way to start the day! Oh, and did I mention that before Cupid gave the Valentine's Day candy and goodies to Paige and Taylor, we all sang "Happy Valentine's To You, Happy Valentine's To You, Happy Valentine's Dear Paige and Taylor, Happy Valentine's Day To You".

Following the little song, we all gave each other hugs...mommy and daddy gave each other hugs, mommy and daddy gave hugs to Paige and Taylor, Paige and Taylor gave each other hugs and since their "Momo" from Virginia is still visiting us, hugs to "Momo" as well.

Below are a few photos of Valentine's Day at our house this morning.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Seeing Is Believing

Sometimes a person just has to see for themselves to truly believe.

For the past few weeks, I've been telling my husband that Taylor is near potty-trained. I've told him how she stays dry in her "big girl" panties for the day and that the only time she has been in diapers has been overnight while she sleeps and during naptime during the day. I have also told him about how Taylor has the occasional accident still, but that's to be expected as you're learning to potty-train.

Well, in spite of my telling him how well Taylor has been doing...I could tell he still wasn't quite the believer. Sometimes a person just has to see for themselves to truly believe. Besides, he spends all day at the office so why would he think otherwise since most times he still sees them in diapers when going to bed at night and when waking in the morning. He is not at home all day to see the progress that I see moment by moment, day by day. Well, today, I think my husband became a believer of what I'd been saying about Taylor and her potty-training.

This morning, while I was downstairs, Mike asked Taylor if she needed to go potty. She said, "Yes". After about 1 minute on the potty, Taylor stood up and said, "I did it, all done." My husband then proceeded to tell me all about it. He was very excited too. As he talked about how impressed he was that Taylor told him she needed to go and how about she just sat down on the potty and did her pee-pee lickety-split, it was at that moment that I knew my husband (finally) believed me because he had seen it first-hand for himself!

In other news from the potty-training arena, Paige is still quite uninterested in using the "big girl" potty. Oh, well, I'll take 50% potty-trained in my pair of twins with Taylor for now. Practice makes perfect and eventually, Paige will get it. Until she does, I'm now revelling and basking in how easy life is getting have one of the twins well on her way to truly being a potty-trained "big girl"!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day (4 Days Early)

Paige and Taylor just couldn't wait any longer...

...to give their daddy their first homemade Valentine's Day card.


...to give their daddy their hand-picked, from Jelly Belly's finest selection of gourmet jellybeans, candy hearts.

Tonight, when Mike walked in the door from a long day at the office, I had him sit down at the dining room table and instructed him to close his eyes. As he waited - with baited breath, I'm sure - Paige and Taylor joined me in the kitchen gathering up their homemade Valentine's Day cards and candy hearts from Jelly Belly. Then, both girls walked over to daddy and shouted out, "SURPRISE" and "Happy Valentine's Day". It was very, very sweet!

As fun as tonight was watching Paige and Taylor give their daddy their Valentine's Day gifts, we still have 3 more days to go in anticipation of the REAL Valentine's Day! What can I say...when there is this much love to go around in our house from the twins, ya' just can't limit it to one day!!!!

Here are a couple pictures of each of the girls' homemade cards:

Friday, February 6, 2009

In The Spirit of Valentine's Day

I find that I begin to celebrate the festivities and seasonal occassions much, much earlier than I ever would have prior to having children. For example, Christmas tends to last for about 2 weeks at our house beginning with the trips to the mall to sit on Santa's lap, to decorating the house and Christmas tree, to the grand finale of opening all those presents from Santa; and of course, there are always lots of photo opportunities to capture every moment along the way of Paige and Taylor. Now, it's February and although it is only the first week of February, I find that I am already participating in the spirit of the coming Valentine's Day. First, it was a trip to the photography studio to have the twins pictures taken (yes, for Valentine's Day)...today, it was baking cookies with Paige and Taylor - those ol' familiar slice 'n bake cookies with the little red, white, pink hearts on top - and, yes, these too were done in the spirit of Valentine's Day.

The twins were eager to help placing their cookies on the cookie sheets, then waiting patiently while the cookies were in the oven. Oh, and Paige and Taylor's "Momo" from Virginia is visting us, so baking the Valentine's cookies today was a little more special for the twins (not that baking cookies with dear ol' mom isn't special, but come on, mommy makes cookies with the twins a lot so it's no longer that 'big a deal').

Each girl started with their own plate of cookies...

Paige and Taylor helped place each of their cookies onto the cookie sheet...

Paige does a quick counting of her cookies...

Taylor waiting her turn to add her last 3 cookies...

Tada! The cookies are on the cookie sheet...

Watching and waiting at the oven door...

The longest 8 minutes of their lives...

Cookies are almost ready, but not yet...

Still waiting for the cookies, but a slight change of venue...

Still waiting for the cookies, but now doing a choo-choo train to pass the time...

Still no cookies?! What's taking soooooo long?!

Seriously, what's taking those cookies so long?!

Mom, do you hear me...seriously, I'm asking you what's taking the cookies so long?!

But we're trying to wait patiently...

After what probably seemed like the longest 8 minutes of their little lives, the cookies were at last ready. When the timer chimed to mark that their cookies were in fact done, the girls both started clapping and shouting, "the cookies are ready, the cookies are ready."

So, with 8 more days to go 'til Valentine's Day, besides baking a lot more fun, festive cookies, the twins will likely be taking a stab at making their very first "homemade" Valentine's Day card for their daddy. Now that they're 3, they are quite the little color-ers, glue-ers, and best-all-around crafty kids. But, shhhhhhh, that is a surprise for daddy!

P.S. Seriously, how cute is it that Paige and Taylor are sporting their "big girl" panties in these pictures?! Elmo and Barbie "big girl" panties are a big hit in our house. Even better, their "big girl" panties stayed - oh, how should I put it - unsoiled for a good couple of hours today! Awesome.