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.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Possibly Mike's *MOST* Favorite Store

While Momo and Poppa were visiting us a couple weeks ago, and while we were all en route to Reno, Nevada, for a weekend getaway, Mike took all of us to his favorite store - Cabelas. Its reputation as the world's foremost outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear is what first attracted Mike to this retailer, but Cabelas also offers a unique in-store experience in its 125,000 sq ft retail showroom with its huge display of trophy animals interacting in realistic re-creations of their natural habitats. And, it is this attraction to which Paige and Taylor took their momo and poppa on a tour while Mike shopped at Cabelas....



















Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday School

I always enjoy hearing from the young mouths of Paige and Taylor what they learned in their Sunday School at church. Today, they learned about a time when the Israelites praised God for the Ark of the Covenant (Israel's national treasure). There's always an art project or coloring project to accompany their Sunday School lesson (see photos below for today's artwork); and Mike and I will always "ooooooohhhh" and "aaaaaaaahhhh" over their artwork and brag about "what a nice job" they did making their picture in Sunday School and then we will ask them what they learned in church.
Today, Taylor told us, "David was kept in a jar" which I could only surmise is her interpretation referring to the time when David mishandled the sacred Ark and God punished David for his mishandling of the Ark. So cute! "David was kept in a jar." Paige also added that, "The Ark was gold." It really is fun hearing what the twins learn at church and fun hearing how they relay their understanding of the Sunday School lessons. Paige and Taylor really love going to church, they love their Sunday School teacher, they love the donuts and lemonade at church, and if you ask them, "who are we going to see at church today" they will always tell you the same thing in their most excited, animated little way: "JESUS".

Taylor's artwork and coloring of today's Sunday School lesson.

Paige's artwork and coloring of today's Sunday School lesson.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me, I'm 29 AGAIN.

I don't know how I've managed to do it, but I have once again turned 29. Yes, this past Friday, it was my birthday. First things first - a BIG thank you to the friends and family who emailed me, called me, left messages, sent cards, sent gifts and generally indulged me in allowing me to think that I'm actually still 29. 29, I know! What good friends and family you are!

Okay, so I'm actually 35 now. Yikes, 35...could my life already be half-over?! That's a scary thought, so I dwelled on that thought for only a few minutes yesterday. Today, I am finding myself thinking that 35 is the new 25 and it's going to be a great year. I've been blessed beyond measure with a wonderful husband and two awesome children and if I gain nothing more this next year but another year of life and love with my family then 35 will be a GREAT year!

Although, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock says the biological clock and hello, I'm 35...so, could this be the year that we have another baby? Tick-tock, tick-tock. Then again, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock says the career clock and hello, I'm 35 and haven't worked in my field in 4 years...so, could this be the year that I return to the work force at some point? Tick-tock, tick-tock.

To tell you the truth, I don't know what lies ahead of me this next year, let alone what tomorrow, next week, next month will bring. And, that whole tick-tock clock thing, well, I'm just thankful it's still ticking. One thing I do know is this - God has granted me another year of life and whatever this next year brings, I want it to count for something, so let the journey of 35 as the new 25 begin.

An Interesting Day in Berkeley

We spent part of my birthday morning in Berkeley, California. Mike had just finished a 2-day conference for his work, and so we decided to extend our stay in the Bay area for another couple of hours with a jaunt to Berkeley for lunch before heading home. Now, maybe it's a matter of comparison and contrast along political and ideological perspectives, but Berkeley has long held a reputation for its firebrand leftist leaning students, its 1960s style Free Speech Movement staged sit-ins demanding all sorts of rights to freedom and free speech, and its local activists that would possibly make even Michael Moore look like a conservative. Now, I'm sure that not all liberals are leftists, and vice versa, but to walk down Telegraph Avenue as we did during our brief visit to Berkeley Friday morning, you'd be hard pressed to think otherwise. We saw a good number of homemade cardboard signs propped up with messages ranging from "The Media Is Only As Liberal As The Conservative Businesses That Own Them", "Jesus Was A Liberal" and "War is Terrorism" to name but a few.

In the midst of the people watching and the cardboard sign reading, something else caught my attention that day as we walked about Telegraph Avenue. It occurred to me that Telegraph Avenue was perhaps a wonderful destination, once upon a time, to shop for local art and rare books; yet, as we walked about the sidewalks this past Friday, I couldn't help but feel that those more charming novelties had been replaced by junk shops and miscellaneous crap (for lack of a better word). The number of panhandlers was also quite striking, and it seemed that a good number of them were completely looney. One even coughed upon Mike, and Mike had to sweep off chunks of brown phlegm that had projected from the man's uncovered mouth. Shortly thereafter, Mike declared to me, "great, I probably just got the H1N1 virus."

The streets along Telegraph Avenue were quite dirty and the store fronts shoddy. There were several vacant looking stores and many that appeared to be operating in a completely unkempt sort of way. It was very sad in many different respects. I had visited Telegraph Avenue several years ago when first arriving to California and it seemed that in just a few short years, the condition of the area had dramatically taken a turn for the worse. It's still a very eclectic area and no doubt still maintains much of its appeal for both natives and tourists alike, but I couldn't help but wonder to myself if the city council of Berkeley, which seems to possess a reputation for being notoriously anti-property owner and anti-business, had not finally succeeded in that agenda. To walk about Telegraph Avenue in its current state would suggest that indeed they have achieved their goals in almost running the businesses and the street community into the ground. In reality, I don't know if its the fault of the city council of Berkeley or if it's just part of the resident culture, but regardless, it was sad to see portions of the city, such as what we saw on Telegraph Avenue, with the rich, eccentric history that it has, in such a pitiful, shabby condition.

The twins also didn't really enjoy their time in Berkeley either. They fussed and whined for most of the entire time that we walked the sidewalks of Telegraph Avenue. They also wanted to be picked up and held constantly and didn't want to go into any of the stores. It was actually a little out of character for the twins - they usually love cruising city sidewalks and shopping with mom and dad, but alas, no such luck while in Berkeley that day. We, therefore, didn't end up staying very long. Fussy twins is no fun for anyone...

Here are a few pictures taken during our short stay in Berekely while walking along Telegraph Avenue:

Mike trying to coax Paige and Taylor to walk rather than be held...

The fussing continues, but at least Mike looks up for a quick picture.
I take a turn for a family photo opp; unfortunately, Taylor is fussing still and Paige wants to be picked up again and is squirming so much she doesn't show us her sweet face for the photo opp.
Hold me, hold me, hold me.
Ahhhh, the joy. Just look at daddy's and Paige's face! Ha, ha.
A moment of success comes when Paige and Taylor are willing to hold my hands and walk rather than be carried through the streets of Telegraph Avenue.
It didn't last long...the tugging on my arms to pick them up started up again just moments later.
With much reluctance on their part, and a little coaxing on my part, I managed to continue walking with (rather than carrying) Paige and Taylor through the city.
Now, at some point, as we were hoofing it that day along Telegraph, our new Nissan Pathfinder was vandalized. We discovered the vandalism when we noticed that the front bumper on the driver's side was all scratched up as though a car had attempted to parallel park their car in front of ours and in doing so, drived right alongside our car leaving a good number of scratches and taking chunks of paint off in the process. Although this was a completely annoying and totally aggravating situation for us; after all, it's our *new* car, Mike and I couldn't help but laugh and find a little humor in the midst of our misfortune.
Let me tee it up for you in this way: Here we were in Berkeley, an area home to a good number of residents who would likely champion such phrases as "I am my brother's keeper" and "Do No Harm" and yet the irony of having our car vandalized by such resident(s), and leaving no note of apology or for further contact information to remedy the damage inflicted, somehow just seemed so ironic and quite hilarious. I even envisioned a character who might pontificate in large numbers and crowds when tv cameras are on them, but when the occassion to actually act in the manner in which they proclaim (i.e. such as when our car was vandalized), it was as if cowardice took over instead and the person(s) ran for the cover of darkness. So much for that whole "Do No Harm" thing and being a "brother's keeper"...Mike even laughed to me later about the whole situation that it at least makes for good bumper stickers even if there's no real substance behind those slogans. I joked back to Mike that I might even have been willing to overlook the vandalism and the person(s) cowardice of fleeing the scene had our car given them good "reason" to vandalize it. Oh, like say, if our car had any markings, bumper stickers or slogans that might have reflected our "right-winger" values. Ha, ha. Yes, I could almost understand then, ALMOST...
Unfortunately, we have no such slogans or bumper stickers with a "right-wing" bent anywhere on our new car leaving Mike and I to draw the following conclusion: that it was pure vandalism to hit our car, it was cowardly not to leave a note or contact information, and it certainly wasn't looking out for people and doing "no harm".
Needless to say, the time we spent in Berkeley on Friday wasn't so fun for us...
In time, the memory of that day will fade, the memory of Mike getting brown phlegm spit on him will fade, the memory of the deteriorating streets and store fronts will fade, the memory of the car damage will fade, the memory of the girls' constant fussing will fade, and perhaps we'll want to visit Telegraph Avenue again...someday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Buzz, buzz for our artsy-crafty day...Paige and Taylor made bumblebees.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Getting It Done

Okay, so it occurred to me today that I am officially a busybody. Yes, a busybody. Perhaps it's due to having had twins where ever since their birth, I've found my hands full taking care of 2 babies while also managing a home, maintaining a marriage and attempting to retain a sense of myself through it all. So, just what kind of busyness am I talking about? Well, as I sat down to type this post tonight, pondering over what I might pontificate upon, it occurred to me that today was such a busy day, I simply couldn't choose just one or two activities and that I should just run through some of the highlights and let the day's busyness stand alone as tonight's post. So, here goes...

Working Out
Long gone are the days when I would spend 2 hours in the gym, but I do still find time to get to the gym for at least 30-45 minutes a day. Today, was no different. After breakfast, the twins and I loaded into the car and headed for the gym. Paige and Taylor are so cute about going to the gym. They go to their "kids gym" to play while I exercise with the "big people" and every time we walk through the gym together, Paige and Taylor point out the other people to me saying things like, "look that man is walking, or look that lady is exercising like you, mom". Today, Paige even told me that when she grows up, she's going to exercise too.

I don't know what it is about the gym, but for the busybody that I've become, I find the gym the perfect environment. You can move about from one piece of equipment to the next, crank out a series of reps and sets, then move to the next exercise machine. It's great, and feels so productive, exhilirating and healthful too....I just love it! Plus, working out in the mornings gives me an extra boost of energy to tackle the rest of my busybody-ness for the day. Ha!

Crafting
Summer weather with 3-digit temperatures, like today, meant that we were cooped up inside the house for several hours today, and believe me, the twins were looking for action! Keeping them from destroying the house (and each other) by creating some homemade arts and crafts today was key. So, we did everything from coloring fairies, building with playdough to even making our very own bumblebees (pictures of the homemade bumblebees to be featured tomorrow on Twinsanity, so check back).

Reading
Ahhhh, reading. I love reading with Paige and Taylor, but it's an undertaking at times and today was pretty typical. The common scenario plays out like this: first, the twins hardly ever agree on which book to read; second, they will compete for lap space with me and painfully jockey for their position in front of the book, jostling one another with their knees and elbows. Finally, they interrupt the reading as they talk over each other (which is okay with me because that's how they learn) but two little girls talking over each other about the same story simultaneously makes it an interesting effort to making themselves heard. While I love reading with Paige and Taylor, I admit that I spend a good chunk of the time reminding each of the girls to wait their turn to turn the page, wait their turn to sit on my lap, wait their turn to choose a new story, etc. What I loved about reading with the twins today, however, was that I started to change out some of the words to their favorite stories and loved watching the girls "catch" my "mistakes" and correct me with how they're used to reading the stories. So funny!

ReStocking and Getting Organized
I shuffled about today doing random organization of Paige and Taylor's stuff. For example, I restocked their toddler bag, finished folding and putting away their laundry in their bedroom and did an overall clean sweep of their bedroom. I like to try and keep the twins' room very organized so I have everything where I need it.

Staying In Touch
In between crafting, reading, lunches and snacks, I would steal away a few moments for myself on FaceBook. In the midst of getting stuff done throughout the day, I try not to forget that part of getting it done also entails having a little bit of breathing room for me. So, today, for me, that was FaceBook where I can connect with other friends and stay-at-home moms about almost anything - what kind of coffee we had today, what's happening in the world of politics, what our weekend plans are, etc. - and what I've found is that posting a comment here and there and chatting with my friends helps me feel like I'm still in touch with people I care about which makes it easier for me to stay at home as well as get the STUFF done that I was getting done today.

Tidying
Throughout the day, I spent ten or fifteen minutes here and there (all day long) putting things away and just tidying up. Not a massive cleaning, but spending a few minutes to straighten up just a few things in each room. Oh, and then I vacuumed the whole house after tidying up...

Phone Calling
In addition to being a busybody today around the house, I was on the phone a bit more than usual. I was scheduling doctor appointments for the twins, re-arranging physical therapy schedules for Taylor, ordering supplements for Paige. I feel like I was on the phone so much today that my ear is now numb...grrrrr.

P.S. Trying to talk on the phone and trying to have any meaningful dialogue is nearly impossible with Paige and Taylor around. It's as if they have this keen awareness that mommy is now distracted by someone else on the phone and that is somehow their moment to create all-out mayhem and mania around the house...

Relaxing
After the twins went to bed, I absolutely refused to do any chores tonight other than cleaning up the kitchen for the next morning. I have sat on my bum tonight, sipped some coffee, watched tv, read and blogged on Twinsanity...anything but chores. For me, chores are for the daytime which gives me the motivation to get things done during the day, with the thought of rewarding myself with all-out relaxation once the girls are in bed. Plus, the rest and relaxation tonight will refuel me for tomorrow!


Top 10 Things to Love About Twins

While I didn't write this "Top 10" list myself, I agree with virtually every observation by the mother who did write it. Being a parent of twins is an awesome experience full of ups and downs. There are many challenging times, for sure, but also plenty of moments where I feel like I am just soooooooo lucky and blessed beyond measure to have them....

Top 10 Things to Love About Twins

1. Armfuls and Handfuls
Every child fills their parents' hearts and home with joy. That's what I really love about having twins. The love and joy are compounded. Cradling two twinfants in my arms was so incredibly, almost unbearably, sweet. Holding hands with two toddlers -- one on the right, and one on the left -- while crossing the street made me feel complete. Double hugs, double kisses, mommy-in-the-middle "sandwich" cuddles on the couch... life just doesn't get any better than that.

2. Single-Mindedness
Parenting happens in stages. For people with a one-track mind, like me, it's much easier to manage two infants or two toddlers than to juggle the needs of a baby and a preschooler. The phases of parenthood are experienced more intensely, sometimes, because they are simultaneous, but I love it that way.

3. Shared Accomplishments
It's always exciting to see your child meet a milestone. The achievements of milestones are even sweeter because the twins will be happy for each other.

4. Private Jokes
It's such fun to hear them share jokes, call each other by nicknames and role play their special scenarios. As one laughs, the other laughs; they spur each other on. What a sweet sound those twin giggles are; it is sweet to hear them laugh together, not at each other, but with each other.

5. Alike, But Different
It's fascinating to be an observer of twins. With so many similarities, but such stark differences, it's always interesting to see how they develop as individuals. Where parents of singletons may say, "Oh, you are just like your sister was at that age," parents of multiples have an instant basis of comparison and contrast among their children.

6. 2-For-1 Bonus
Short and sweet .... one pregnancy = two babies! Such a deal! Although a pregnancy with multiples will have more risks, and typically more complications, it truly is a two-for-one deal.

7. A Sense of Status
Okay, I admit it. I get a little thrill of pride in being a mom of twins. It's like being a part of an elite club. You feel an instant bond with other parents of multiples. I love the reaction I get when I tell people I have twins. "Wow!" "I always wanted twins..." "I don't know how you do it..." It's almost like we enjoy an exclusive status in the parenting world, earning a slight nod of respect for pulling double duty.

8. Sharing
Twins share everything -- their birthday, their parents' attention, and many of their belongings. Although they may get frustrated with their situation, as a parent, it's very gratifying to witness their "what's mine is yours" attitude in a moment of unselfish benevolence.

9. A Beautiful Bond
The twin bond is more enduring than any other relationship on earth, starting even before birth, and often outlasting many friendships and even marriages. Despite their squabbles, it's comforting to know that they will (hopefully) enjoy their unique relationship for all of their lives. As their mother, I feel really privileged to be a party to their special bond, and to have the opportunity to nurture it.

10. Confidence in Companionship
I love the confidence that my twins exhibit simply because they have always had each other to rely on. I love to watch them enter new, unfamiliar situations with surety because they are together. I love seeing all the ways that being a twin shapes their personalities, both as an advantage and a disadvantage. They have never known loneliness because they've always had each other as a companion.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mike's Birthday Weekend

FRIDAY

Mike's birthday celebration started on Friday when Paige, Taylor and I spent a couple hours in the kitchen baking the birthday cake. Now, this birthday cake might not have gotten so much as even a nod from Martha Stewart, but in our household, it was a truly fabulous cake! Here's why: as Paige and Taylor helped to blend and stir the ingredients in the big bowl, there were lots of "oohs" and "ahhs" as we watched the cake turn its lovely golden yellow AND as we put it in the oven and talked about the cake baking, we also talked about "what a surprise it will be for daddy" when he sees the cake that we made! Later, as Paige and Taylor sat at the table side by side and iced the cake, the girls told me that their cake tasted "mighty good" as they licked their spoons, dipped them back into the icing, licked the spoons again, then smeared what icing remained on the spooons onto the cake. Finally, Paige and Taylor decorated the cake with rainbow colored sprinkles - the same type of sprinkles that the girls always like on their ice-cream when we go to their favorite ice-cream parlor. While the moments and memories of baking the birthday cake were pretty awesome in their own right, it was also pretty cool that the cake actually tasted good too! In fact, it's Sunday night now as I type this posting and we're still enjoying the left-overs of Paige and Taylor's birthday cake for daddy...

Paige helping to stir the ingredients for the cake.

Taylor taking her turn stirring the ingredients together.
Onto icing the cake.
Adding the sprinkles.
Adding more sprinkles...in between taking mouthfuls themselves.
Almost done decorating now...
SUNDAY
The day began with Mike getting a surprise from Paige and Taylor with a couple of Happy Birthday - You're Toadally Old froggie balloons. (Check out the short video). The twins had fun surprising daddy with the balloons and later had more fun chasing after each other with the balloons. About mid-morning, we ventured downtown to walk around the state capitol before the 3-digit temperatures rolled in...we even took Tukker with us on our walk so it was truly a family affair! video
Then came golf. Mike got a new golf club for his birthday, so naturally, he wanted to take some time to hit golf balls and get on some greens. While Mike golfed, Paige, Taylor and I went to a nearby park for a couple hours. The day wrapped up with a cook-out and a rather early bed-time for Paige and Taylor. All this partying today really tuckered the twins out! A fun day for daddy. A fun day for all of us.

Friday, September 18, 2009