Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New couch

I felt like such a grown-up when I got my first 'real' job as a teacher. In just a few weeks I had to rent an apartment, move north 70 miles, buy a washer and dryer and my first furniture; a couch and recliner. I remember going to Sears Home (which no longer exists) and walking to the back, to the clearance section. There were two couches that would fit; a floral print and a blue plaid. I kid you not, I chose the blue plaid so my future husband would like it too. How silly is that?! I also bought a pink recliner; we call it the big pink chair. It has an integrated phone, massage, and heating element, although the last time it was plugged in was in my old apartment.

William decided that we would get a new couch about 2 weeks ago. My couch has been deteriorating badly. It sags from years of everyday use. It is covered in bodily fluids. In fact, early in our parenthood I bought an upholstery cleaner just for that purpose. The fabric began to wear thin and we started looking for a new couch. Then 6 months ago I leaned on the arm of the couch and heard a rrrriiiipppppp. So we invested in a pricey slip cover, after all it looked nicer than the blanket we had thrown over it. We washed the slip cover a dozen times too - more fluids (thanks, kids).

But on a Sunday night at 6 pm Caskey and I decided to have pizza. I treated myself to a coke with my pizza. William climbed up onto the couch and proceeded to dump the soda ALL OVER. The entire can was dumped on the couch. I am sure after many hours of cleaning and sopping up sugary soda the couch would have been saved. But it wasn't really worth it, not after all the wear and tear this couch had been through.

[caption id="attachment_497" align="alignnone" width="360" caption="Playing in a puddle of Pepsi"]Playing in a puddle of Pepsi[/caption]

We rushed out and bought a new couch right away. But it was hard to let go of all the memories that first couch were a part of. We brought home our first three babies to that couch, we propped them up and took pictures and late at night Caskey and I took turns sleeping on it while the baby would sleep in the bouncy. Good-bye blue plaid Sears couch.

Connor's Bike

Last year Lainy Ann got a bike for Christmas. Well, this year Connor got a bike for Christmas. I know the experts say not to compare your children, but its hard not to when they are so drastically different. Today, December 26th, we finally took the bike outside. My patient and understanding Connor has waited 24-hours before trying out his gift from Santa.

He is doing a fantastic job on it. Riding it fast down the street. He is so polite too, "Daddy when we go down the street and back to the house, can we go again?" I wish we had more flat concrete so the kids could ride their bikes all the time. Right now Lainy Ann's bike is kept at Grandma Lou's and we have to go to the park or in the street to ride the bike.

UPDATE: He has already fallen, 5 times. He is SUCH a boy. Whoever says that a boys attributes are a factor of nurture versus nature is just crazy. He came in from outside filthy. I have never seen Lainy Ann that dirty, ever. He has dirt under his fingernails and streaks of dirt across his face. He told me that he went fast like Lightening McQueen and he fell five times. The first time Daddy caught him. He cried the first time and hiked up his pants to look for blood. When he realized he was fine he hopped right back on the bike. Subsequent falls were just as quick. I think we will be heading to the park later this week.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Staying Home

I love traveling to Oregon for Christmas. I love seeing the snow and the excitement of being on vacation. I love the old traditions of having Christmas at the school house and just hanging out doing nothing. I enjoy the jello salad, mashed potatoes and stuffing. The kids have a blast running around, playing, and knowing the rules have been relaxed for the day.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Cemetary

Today we visited the cemetary. Finally, after 2 years and 3 months the twins headstone has been placed. This is the first joy I have felt in regards to their loss. It really makes me happy to see they are acknowledged and not forgotten.

I hope you like it as much as we do.

Headstone DONE

Thursday, December 13, 2007

He doesn't Speak

But he is definitely communicating. He just pushed the high chair all the way into the living room and banged on it yelling, his favorite word, "Aaaahhhh". I guess he is hungry. :-)

He has really figured out how to get his point across. When he wants milk he gets me to follow him into the kitchen, points to the cupboard with the bottles, tries to open the fridge where the milk is, and waits (semi) patiently while I fill a bottle.

And when he finds his pacifier or blanket it is pure delight on his face and a giggle in his chest.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Fairies in our World

LA: Mom, for my 6th birthday party I would like it to be fairies.
M: We will see, that's a long time from now.
LA: Its because I want to be a fairy when I grow up.
M: Why?
LA: Because fairies fly and I want to fly.
M: You can be a pilot and fly airplanes.
LA: I would rather be a fairy.
M: Well, you know fairies are pretend. (I regretted saying this immediately.)
LA: Really? There aren't any in our world?
M: Well, I haven't seen any.
LA: But I see one right there (out the window).
M: Oh, what does it look like?
LA: Well, its far away, so its hard to see. Its trying to get through the clouds but its wing is caught in a cloud and the rain [in the cloud].
M: What color is it?
LA: White like the cloud.
M: Well, maybe I am wrong.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Santa Came!

I know its still early in the season, but Santa visited our house last night. I didn't see him, in fact, no one did. But he must have been here, because he left behind some very special gifts. This morning when my kids went to get their bananas there were 3 neatly rolled red pieces of paper. They were tied elegantly with gold and red ribbon. They were magical. Three bananas were set out with three matching scrolls.

I was quite surprised as they weren't there when I went to bed last night. The kitchen was clean and all the bananas were together, at the back of the counter, but someone had moved the bananas and added a surprise!

Friday, November 30, 2007

GATE in CA

*********** DRAFT *************

These are mostly for California residents.

Join this if your child becomes identified:
http://www.cagifted.org/

Educate yourself on the laws and policies. I am happy to decipher any jargon for you:
http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/gt/

For the Children (and God)

Recently a friend sent me a forwarded email. I detest these. They have some promise of "forward to 6 people in 24-hours and you will be blessed with good luck" or they have overly-cutesy images that slow down my computer. I usually just hit delete, especially if it requires watching a video or slide show.

This particular email about Invisble Moms arrived just in time. I had been feeling badly about my job as a mother. Lainy Ann is going through a rough time as she is exerting her independence since she has started Kindergarten, we are often left butting heads and I am left scratching mine trying to figure out how to remind her not to wear a summer dress in winter without yelling and tantrums. Connor is testing me - just flat out ignoring me. And William sleeps great all night long provided he is being held or is in my bed.

Rain, Rain, Come Every Day!

I can't remember the last time it rained here - at least 6 months ago. Last year it only rained 3 days during the 'rainy season'. It rains so infrequently that we don't own rain boots, rain slicker, or other rain gear. We have a few umbrellas that I have owned for close to 8 years. I have probably used them 2 dozen times, total.

Well, today it is raining, technically. It is more like drizzle or even a fine mist. The ground is barely wet and it will be like this most of the day. In fact, Caskey hasn't even put on his 'winter roof' on the jeep yet.

But it is a red letter day for us in the Dickson household. The kids (and I) are so excited about the rain. You see, Granmda bought these ridiculously expensive and frivolous umbrellas about 2 years ago. The kids have used them 3 times and only once while raining. So, today we got dressed early, ate a quick breakfast and headed outside to 'use' the umbrellas.

Apparently the reality isn't as exciting as the fantasy. They were outside for 2 minutes until they realized it was barely raining - so the umbrellas got tossed aside. Then 10 minutes after that it was too cold and watching Blue's Clues with William was much more appealing.

I wish we had more 'weather', here in California. Especially when it is 80 degrees at Christmas.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Animal House

Something happened while I was growing William. He came out part-human, part-octopus, and part-monkey. He has been climbing before he could walk. He would dump his toys out of his toy table and climb right in. When I used toys to block cabinets, he used them to climb on top of. Then he realized the fine art of squeezing into a tight space. He would find 3 inches and squeeze past to grab our water glasses and get into our junk drawer. That was the weekend we got a new coffee table and I started to get dehydrated.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Daily Minutia

Over a year ago we saw them break ground on a particular property down the street from us. We drove past the property 2 to 3 times every day on our way to school. We would discuss the heavy equipment; the tractors, bulldozers, and cranes. We would suppose what they were building; a new store, offices, or apartments. This has been part of our daily discussion for a long time. When they coned off party of the street and it took an extra 3 minutes to get to school in the morning we wondered if it was for a delivery, plumbing or electrical.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Reluctant Mother

I'm not pregnant. All you long-distant relatives and friends who frequent my blog - get that thought out of your head. But I think you all know that we are accepting whatever comes our way. We weren't expecting the twins and although they died I can't imagine our lives without them, for that short bit of time. I think things are meant to be, so we are just accepting whatever happens.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

This is Why I Don't Garden

My mother has a green thumb. She has beautiful gardens and I love taking pictures of the kids for special occasions in her backyard. She has annuals and other plants that come out at different times of the year. She gets out in the yard in the cool spring to ready her plants for beautiful blooms in the summer.

Up until now I have convinced myself that I didn't inherit that gene, that I don't have the time or patience for that kind of commitment, and maybe I can do that when the kids get older. But Sunday I realized the real reason I can't garden.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Smiling Ear-to-Ear

I really love our local YMCA. They have a good selection of classes for the children, the childcare program is great, and they have a lot of support for those trying to get healthy including meetings with a counselor on how to exercise. But I think my favorite part of our YMCA is that the local fire departments are there almost daily exercising. The firemen always hold the door for a mom with a stroller, take the time to talk to the kids, and let's face it, firemen are pretty good looking. Also, the kids and I usually spend a few minutes walking all around the firetrucks and admiring the knobs, hoses and ladders.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

One of the Family

One of our favorite games in this family is tickling. The kids are tickled multiple times daily; after I buckle the car seat a bit under the arms, when I am putting on shoes a few pokes on the bottom of the foot, and when they get tucked in at night a tickle/nuzzle under the chin. It is who we are. We rough house and tickle and attack each other with love.

No one is safe. Occasionally the victim is mommy and daddy. And sometimes the tickling degrades into chasing and splashing water.

William has been observing this behavior for his 14 months in this house. And I think he has finally found his place; his job. Just the other day Caskey had Connor pinned on the ground tickling him. Connor was enjoying it thoroughly. So William decided to help. He crawled over to Connor and sat on him. Yup. Sat on him.

Then yesterday as I was in the throws of giggles on the floor while Daddy had a go at my bare-feet William toddled over and threw himself face down across my chest. He laid on top of me 'holding me down' and helping Daddy. Until, of course, he became the next victim.

Its Over

At one day shy of 14 months I believe William is done nursing. I'm a little sad about it. He is our only baby right now and as Caskey continually reminds me after each new milestone; new shoes, new stitches and now this; its only 10 more months until he starts preschool.

The last 4 to 6 weeks has been sporadic nursing. I think the weekend in August when he spent several nights at my mother-in-laws house started the decline in our nursing relationship. My supply lessened. William started enjoying bottles and how fast he was able to drink them. I enjoyed the free time it gave me to do other chores.

But tonight when I offered him my breast he actually pushed me away and lunged for the bottle. I guess I'm not really surprised since he hasn't nursed in about 3 days. But since he is sick and tired I thought he would like to suckle and go to sleep. I guess not. My baby boy really is growing up. Its time for that first haircut.

Don't throw it away, you might need it

My husband keeps everything 'just in case'; a broken toaster, different lengths of bungee cord from an old swim vest, ripped jeans, old sheets, and most recently he cut the leather off of a broken desk chair. I, on the other hand, accept the reality of our 1300 square foot, no garage, 3 kids and a cat existence. I keep baby clothes and baby gear because we aren't 'done' yet. I keep my old teaching supplies in case I go back to work. And I have a few boxes of memorabilia; my cap and gown, a ring pop, buttons that say 'bride', 'groom', and 'new mom' and other junk that is meaningless to anyone but me.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Grief Rights

Contributed by Kara Thompson

I have the right to find my own way to the light of day everyday.... I have the right to stay in the dark if I so feel..... I have right to decide that my new Normal is going to start at what time and I have the right to chose what my new normal is.... I also have the right to remember them in my own way each holiday and special moment that my heart sees fit.... I have the right to mourn a little each holiday as I learn to go forward.... I have the right to say Goodbye as many times as I need to.

You have the right to support me and to remember to say their name... They are not a he she or it or they... They have names and they have a special place in my heart.... They will never leave for thought they are gone they have not been erased from my life or my memories..... And for your strength that you give and the love you provide and the memories you keep open and share..... You have the right to hear I love you and thank you and you're special....

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Two Years, My Dear Sons

I really thought this year's anniversary would be better. I had a real good cry and moping about on Monday. I bought clothes for two NICU babies and thought about how I won't ever buy clothes for my sons. I cried, let the kids eat whatever they wanted for dinner, they watched too much television and went to bed late.

Thank you for my gift

Contributed by Laura (KS)


Hi. It's Laura. I just wanted to tell you that you have been on my mind all week and I have been praying for you as this weekend approaches. Having spent months terrified that I would lose the twins, I can only imagine the depth of your grief and my heart hurts for you. I hope you get through this anniversary okay and that the day you have planned with your family will help ease the pain if even just a little.

I also wanted to tell you that I think you are the reason my twins made it. When I went in at 21 weeks, the doctors did an internal exam and said all was good with my cervix and gave me the okay to fly and go on vacation. I remembered a post you made once cautioning me of the risks of twin pg. It made me just paranoid enough to ask for an internal ultrasound to check the cervix. Well, my cervix had already gone from a 4.0 to a 1.8 - and I was only halfway there. The doctors flipped out and put me on strict bed rest. I canceled my trip and spent the next 4 months with my feet up. I shudder when I think of what could have been. So thank you. I really do owe you an enormous debt. I often think of that when I look at the girls. I send a prayer of thanksgiving that God sent you here to help me.

I know nothing can make this week any easier for you. I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and thanking you.

I pray that this week is as gentle as possible on your heart.

Love,
Laura

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kindergarten is Going to Kill Me

We made the tough and controversial decision to enroll Lainy Ann in Kindergarten this year. She is just 4 1/2 with a birthday in March. In California the cut-off date is December 2nd. She misses this date by 4 months. We have literally been struggling with this decision since she was born. The conversation always resurfaced as she surpassed another major milestone; walking at 8 months, learning her letters by two, manipulating her brother and adult relatives into doing what she wants, and most recently when she started reading at 4 years old and spent her free time writing words and lists for fun.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Twin Stroller - with a lesson

You have heard this story before. But this time there is a twist ending.

The kids and I were eating at a restaurant. I noticed the double stroller from across the room, little boys. I snuck glances at the mom. I had difficulty paying attention to my kids because I was too busy watching this mom and her infant sons. They were so well-behaved eating jarred food from the stroller while she chatted with her friends.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Will it ever be normal again?

Recently I asked a friend if it would ever be normal again. She had her twin loss 4 years before mine. She has gone on to have 4 successful singleton pregnancies. I was hoping she would be able to give me some guidance in my own grief journey. Her advice was beautiful.


~~~~~~~~

No. It won't. Ever. You never get the normal back that you were use to or crave. But the todays that you do have get happier, sweeter, and easier.

Having subsequent children in no way replaces our lost babies. And it doesn't erase the scars on our heart. But it does ease the pain we feel. Because for every day that brings a painful reminder, there is a day that brings so much love.

This week will always be hard for you. Always. Just like random days throughout the year because something triggers the longing for an unfulfilled dream. But, as the years go by, you'll find that the pain that comes with those longings also have attached to it sweet memories of your other children. Again, it's not a replacement of your angel boys, it's a gift they give you to help smile when you think of them, rather than cry from the hurt.

I will be praying that during your tears this week, you are able to feel their angel wings wrapped so tightly around you.

Your Friend,
Joy

Sunday, September 16, 2007

4 at 13 months

How can you say you love a hospital even though you have spent almost 3 hours waiting for a 20 minutes procedure? Well, I'm going to say it anyway. I just love Glendale Adventist Hospital. We were fortunate enough to visit the emergency room once again. It has been a little over a year since we had checked in with the receptionists and triage nurse. I guess we were due back.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Penny is in the Pee-Pee

"Hurry, Mommy, Come Quick!!!!"

I dread hearing those words. Mostly because I do not need to come quick. It does not constitute the emergency I think of; calling 9-1-1, injury, illness. Instead it is because someone isn't sharing or William is getting into something, non-dangerous, that will create a mess.

Today it was Connor screaming from the bathroom. I got worried that he threw-up again since we are till getting over an illness. I rushed into the bathroom.

C: Mommy, my Buzz Lightyear penny is in the pee-pee.

I stared at the penny willing it to magically levitate out of the toilet. I wondered why I don't have gloves in the house. And I did the math on whether or not the flushing of the toilet would make the penny go down, because I don't mind sticking my hand into clean water.

M: I don't know honey. I think its gone forever.
I was resisting the urge to lecture him on not playing with pennies while we pee.

C: But, Mommy, you have to do something?!

Well, that was the magic thing to say. He was so devastated, but still asked for help without crying or throwing a tantrum. He was polite and used such a good and complete sentence. What can I say? I'm a sucker for my children.

So I found a wooden spoon that we never use and I fished out the penny.

I saved the day.

Friday, September 7, 2007

You Think

Do you think that I am over it
Better than before
Maybe I've forgotten
Doesn't hurt me anymore?

Do you think that I am doing fine
No tears are shed each day
Get up and just get going
Pain has all but gone away?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Getting pregnant so soon, was it right?

I remember being very detached the first twelve weeks of William's pregnancy - not really telling anyone and making endless trips to the bathroom to check for blood. I even told God to take the baby early if it was going to happen because I didn't want to go through labor again. It was a very depressing winter. I laid on the couch surrounded my tissues (I had cold after cold) watching feel-good movies and black and whites. I spent SOOO much time online obsessing about what could go wrong. It was such a dark time for me. Even worse than losing the twins.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Grieving for a Stranger

Someone I know of lost their daughter recently. I don't know this lady well. I have never met her daughter, but ever since finding out this news I haven't been the same. I know the loss of your child. I know that this woman likely lays awake at night crying, if she gets to sleep she is only greeted by nightmares. I know that there will be some mornings when she will wake, enumerate the list of things to be done, forgetting to add 'grieving' to the list. Then she will remember. Her breath will be taken away. The pain in her heart will return. Her face will be wet with tears.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

John & Kate + 8

Can I love and hate a show all at the same time? Well, I do. I watch this show and how the husband and wife interact and over and over think to myself, "that's me and my husband". Their six year old Maddie has so many of the characteristics of my Lainy Ann. I just watch the show and think, "wow, I'm not crazy. Other mothers are that meticulous and structured.

But then I tear up and think, "we would have been okay with 4 children under four years old. We could have handled it - they do" and it makes me sad.

So I watch the show when my husband isn't around and the baby won't ask me why I am crying. Why do I torture myself so much?

Queen Bees

I didn't like high school, at all. Sure, I had a few friends. I had a few 'first loves'. I enjoyed the dances and had some memorable times. But I remember high school with a pit in my stomach. I was not part of the 'in crowd'. I was always much too opinionated and interested in justice to be 'cool'. Sure there were other people much further down on the totem pole. I prefer to think of my high school career as easily forgettable by others.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fall is Hot

I can see all the traditional signs of fall; backpacks and lunchboxes for sale at Target, long sleeve shirts and pants at the mall, aisles and aisles of paper, pencils, markers and gadgety school supplies for sale, talk of Halloween and the 'holidays'. At home we are making our own fall preparations; Connor's birthday is in a few weeks, we have put away all the new school clothes, the kids have new shoes, and Lainy Ann will be starting Kindergarten.

Anger Issues or Just adjusting?

I'm my fault. But then again, its always my fault, I'm the Mother and its my responsibility. But its also my responsibility to fix it.

Lainy Ann has been particularly rebellious the last few weeks. In the beginning I blamed the vacations, then the confusion to her routine, the different bed, the fun activities and then her restlessness to have school start. But now that things are normalized I am realizing that she is angry from the moment her feet touch the floor until she is put to bed screaming and sometimes kicking, literally.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Flying, Not So Bad

I think we all have been a bit apprehensive of flying since September 11th. Although most people are more concerned about terrorists on planes. My big concern is the TSA and Homeland Security. The new laws and regulations cause me to lose sleep over the half empty 8 oz container of Creamy Desitin I have packed and whether or not it will raise "a red flag" and constitute a full body search. I don't worry about being labeled a terrorist. Its laughable quite frankly. Any bit of digging will find that I simply don't have the time to brush my hair much less launch an attack on America. But I don't want the hassle of being detained and investigated so that we miss our flight and our non-refundable tickets. I don't want to hear the words 'no fly list'. And I don't want to know what's behind those ominous windowless windows.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Walking

He took the occasional unassisted step before he was one. But since I usually bribed him with a chocolate chip I figured it didn't count. But on Friday evening my mother-in-law says to us, "William has taken 4 steps for you too, right?" YAY!!!! Our answer was no, that she was indeed the first one to see purposeful steps. But I was so pleased that at 12 months and one week my baby was attempting to walk.

Ever since then he has been acting like a toddler instead of a baby. He purposefully walks, stops to gain his balance, and then walks again. He hasn't accomplished more than 8 steps, but he is now walking from table to chair instead of crawling. And each time he accomplishes this feat he "aaaahhhhs" at me so I can see it too and congratulate him properly.

He will go to a toy and then take it to another part of the house to put it into a bag or cup. He fills up cups while in the bath. He knocks on the bedroom doors to play with his siblings. And his food preferences are very obvious with him tossing food he doesn't want onto the floor and when he wants more of another food he points and "aaaahhhhs".

I can't believe how quickly he is growing up. Now if I can just get him to sleep through the night. *yawn*

My Animal Family

In the last few days the baby has morphed into an octopus. I know he was born with only two arms. And when I put his clothes on there are only two arms. But when he wants something its like wrestling an octopus. I swear he is stronger than me and has more arms than me. While I wash his hands he frantically grabs at anything he can get his hands on; dirty dishes, soap dispenser, water faucet, eye glasses. The soapy hands don't even seem to slow him down.

When he is cruising around the house I spend most of my time just moving things from one side of the room to the other. His current favorites are my computer, remote, cell phone, and headset. Just as I move them to one semi-safe spot he scoots in behind the chair, sometimes gets stuck, and then makes a mad grab. I have to drop everything to run and rescue our delicate belongings. When I put them on the desk he pulls out the bottom drawer and climbs in to reach the things on top! What a stinker!

I guess its time to learn the word 'no'.

We chose Connor's Halloween Costume yesterday. My normally angelic well behaved shopper was literally climbing displays after he tried on his new costume. He is going to be a shark. As soon as the last zipper was zipped he was racing around the store, "chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp." He was attacking his sister and brother, just as a shark would. I struggled to get the costume off of him, but he just continued terrorizing his siblings, "CHOMP".

I finally found him on top of a shoe display. I suppose he was up there to get a higher vantage point of 'the sea'.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Leaving for Las Vegas

We are leaving for Las Vegas in a few hours and the whole family is spending a rare moment together without a real agenda - only mommy has a list of things to do.

Each person is showing their love for one another in their own ways. Daddy keeps stinking mommy's finger up his nose (gross) and otherwise terrorizing her. Connor is playing hitting/tickling games. And Lainy Ann is giving daddy a to-do list complete with instructions on how to do it while she is gone. "Daddy while I am gone in Las Vegas can you hang this picture in my rooom? Hmmmmmm . . . . I think I want it over here by the door." And William is just trying to be involved; he is watching Connor put shoes on, sitting next to the child being tickled, and crawling after each person when they leave the room.

Its funny how our personalities are so evident at such an early age. And even funnier how different genders express their goodbyes.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Its Next to Curves

Call us crazy, we have been called worse, and quite frankly 'crazy' is a compliment. In fact it defines my life. But my mother and I have spent the last few days completing the Southern California Quilt Run with three kids. As my mom likes to say, we have a disadvantage against the other ladies. Most of the 'runners' are retired ladies who got to start at 9 am on Thursday. We had our first full day on Friday and only because my mother took a day off of work.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Sara Joy was not a 'just' fetus

Contributed by Belinda (KS)

Some people would see Sara Joy as just a 22 week fetus and wonder why we grieve so much over our loss of her. They do not see the 3 yrs of blood, sweat, tears and the dream she was. We lost our precious 3rd daughter. Stephanie and April lost their baby sister.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Scott Bakula, take me back!

I look longingly at the pictures of houses on magazine covers. The perfectly dressed dining rooms, the carefully adorned coffee tables and the soft light on the house plant in the corner. I have always wanted a magazine-house; no clutter, no baby toys, or carpet stains.

Where did it go?

William has started to drop things behind his head. It is such an important developmental stage - dropping something so you can't see it, but it doesn't disappear. The problem is that he has been wearing clothing with a collar. And his toy balls are so light that they end up getting caught on the collar. He keeps turning around looking to see where his balls went. Then he feels it behind his neck and can't quite reach it. Poor guy! I hope this doesn't ruin him for life. But it sure is fun to watch.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

When I Grow Up

On the way to school the other day the kids were discussing what they want to be when they grow up. I am so glad they are such close friends.

LA: I'm going to be a soccer player when I get older.
C: Me too.
LA: And a doctor.
C: I'm going to be a baseball player and a soccer player.
LA: I'm going to be on the pink team, what team are you going to be on [Connor]?
C: black
LA: But we should be on the same team. Don't you want to be on the pink team with me?
C: No
LA: Alright (with a sad voice). I will be on the black team.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Murphy's Law of Parenting

My baby, as most babies, was born a lump. I quickly fell into the habit of placing him anywhere, high or low, and not worry about his safety. Unlike his brother who flew off the kitchen counter during a diaper change at 6 weeks old or his sister who started rolling on a hotel bed at 3 months old, William has never rolled anywhere. Nor has he scooted, squirmed or otherwise moved. I will place William in the center of my King size bed to nap and 3 hours later he is still there, tucked as I tucked him, cooing at the ceiling. When I plop him on the couch after bath time and dash for a diaper and jammies he stays put happily tugging at his towel. And when I prop him in the big pink recliner while I tend to another child he is content to sit there and gaze at the kitty, television or whatever else is playing out in front of him. It has been like this for 9 months.

Best 20 Days of My Life

Contributed Anonymously


I woke up on Tuesday with bad cramps and spotting and pretty much knew what was happening. So I called my doctor. Only I don't have a doctor, I have an HMO. So I actually called an advice nurse, who advised me to go to urgent care. I went to urgent care. They saw me right away and the nurse did a urine pregnancy test, which came back negative.

Here's my first question: Is it too much to ask that when a woman is losing the baby that she has waited her entire life for, that she has endured months of invasive tests and procedures for, that she has been celebrating and loving and dreaming about for a few short weeks, is it too much to ask that her husband be called to come help her? Because apparently it is. The nurse informed me that she could not access his medical records without his permission. My cell phone was dead, my baby was dead, and they don't have any way of contacting my next of kin.

He's going to Law School

He has no choice. I will only pay for law school and no other. I will not pay for medical school or even a Liberal Arts degree. And if he wants to go to Clown College, well, he better look into student loans.

Connor is already debating me. Our conversations these days are like a ping-pong match, we volley about 7 times before he finally complies. And I usually fall back on the "because I said so" logic.

Just yesterday he requested more carrots at lunchtime
C: Can I have more carrots?
M: Finish your sandwich first.
C: I'm done.
M: No you aren't. There is still food left.
C: But I'm done.
M: Okay. You can have more carrots when the sandwich is gone.
C: (Mouth full of sandwich) Can I have more carrots?
M: Swallow first. Then ask.

*sigh*

Every request from 'put on underwear' to 'come here' goes back and forth as to why my request must be complied with now or the merits of the request. And sadly I end up threatening with time in his room in order to move through our day.

Caskey says I should be proud that he is thinking in such a complex way at just 2 years old, that he is taking me literally, and that he isn't just following my word blindly. But each step all day long is so infuriating. And if I have to spend the next 16 years debating this brilliant mind of his, then he is going to law school.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Real Drill

Many, many years ago, before we were married. My husband got a hard hat. Living in the city and not doing construction it was a very nifty momento of an afternoon. We have kept that hat for years. Moving it from house to house, never using it.

Today I dug it out, blew off the dust and gave it to Connor, who is 2 1/2. He immediately wanted to know where his tools were, the same tools he hasn't played with in 6 months. He worked hard opening the closet, digging out the big bin of tools and carrying it to daddy so he could open it. I could hear the grunting and groans from the kitchen. He never whined or asked for help. He was determined.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Left and Backwards

William is cruising. After 9 months of not rolling over or rocking or trying to crawl he finally took his first steps, left. Now, about 10 days later he is a pro at walking around the coffee table, left. He can even manage to get around the corners, left.

The same day he finally rolled over, once. He hasn't done it again. He will roll onto his side. But he has only rolled over once.

He is really moving though. He is our little wiggle-worm, squirming and trying to get all bits of paper or electronics, cell phones, or remote controls. Anything not deemed safe for under 3 years of age.

Nowadays when I leave him playing quietly on the floor I lose him. Several times I have come back to a seemingly empty room, only to find him under the bed, coffee table or behind a chair. He just scoots, scoots, scoots to the closest crumb on the floor and then mouths it silently.

He goes from a seated position to his knees to get toys and then back onto his bottom. He sure does make his way around a room. I was surprised to find him crawling today, backwards.

I told Caskey, "He's going to be a democrat."

Happy MaMa's Day

It started a month ago with 'dadadadadadada', then he started to say 'dat' (that). William also says a word that sounds kind of like 'hi'. I started working on mama with him. He says dada and I say mama. I have even wrangled the kids into my agenda. Lainy Ann and Connor will endlessly repeat 'mama mama mama mama'.

So on Monday night he said 'ball'. Its laughable really.

But on Thursday night, while he was laying on his belly and griping he said "mama".

Why is it that "dada" is always a happy sound, but he only says "mama" when he is angry? You know Lainy Ann was the same way.

So Happy Mother's Day to me a few days early. Thank you, William, for the best gift a mom could hope for.

Friday, May 4, 2007

False positive or pregnancy

It was Christmas time and we were getting ready to go on our annual trip north to visit the relatives. It was our first Christmas with our daughter and a huge undertaking. As we got ready to go I realized my period was late by about a week or more. So I carefully packed a pregnancy test in a place where my mother-in-law, who was traveling with us, wouldn't accidentally see it. In a mediocre hotel room in central California off of the I-5 I peed on a stick. It came up positive right away. I told my husband and we quietly rejoiced while my daughter slept. We agreed not to tell anyone for a bit. We didn't want to overshadow the holidays.

Mother's Day - Thanks Hallmark

As a teen I remember thinking Mother's Day was made up by Hallmark. Another day for my mother to be greedy and collect gifts. She received gifts for all the traditional holidays like my sister and I; Christmas, Easter, and her birthday, but she was being selfish by 'asking' for another gift.

Well, now that *I* am a mom, I no longer feel that way. I am excited about Mother's Day. It will be my 4th. Since I am a mom I can also appreciate what my mother (and mother-in-law) have done for their children over the years. It didn't stop when we were potty trained, started school or even moved out. The worry and concern has been there forever and will continue forever.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Slightly Used Baby for Sale

For Sale: 9 month old baby boy. Underweight, average height. He has ringworm and rosiolla and two teeth. Allergic to chocolate, Singulair and Nyquil. Shots up to date. Must go to a good home.

Well, I think his siblings may have something to say about it. So I guess we will keep him.

My first 2 kids were a breeze. I say that now, but my husband insists I had trials with them too and I don't remember them. But William has been to the doctor or hospital so many times. At just a few weeks old I was worried because he was gagging and not breathing. After several hours at the ER and a tube up the nose he was diagnosed with reflux. I had to cut chocolate, soda, and too much processed sugar out of my diet or he would spit up each meal.

He was diagnosed with RSV after one of his many colds. My other kids never had RSV. He was put on Singulair as a precaution for future asthmatic issues. He started spitting up each meal.

His last well-baby visit was at 6 months. He visited the doctor at least 6 times in 3 months. He has been to the doctor twice in the last week. This weeks diagnosis were ringworm (prescription given was lotrimin) and rosiolla. And he has only gained 3 oz in a month. *sigh*

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Scream of Joy

My mother and I went to a quilting show this past weekend. It was fantastic. I had such a great time looking at the fabrics and imaging all the quilts I would make. I took William with me in his stroller and all the ladies enjoyed his chubby legs and big smiles. We were gone for about 6 hours.

When I got home I decided to take all the kids to get take-out for dinner. I had really missed them and I just wanted to be with them after a long day without them. They climbed into the car where William was already buckled. And I heard a scream. It wasn't an owie-scream or a leave-me-alone-scream. This one was of pure joy and it came froom tiny little William. He has found his siblings and was screaming because he was happy to see them. It just warmed my heart. At just 7 months old not only does he recognize his siblings, but he misses them when they are gone. In that moment I wanted to have 5 more kids, just so I could create more of those relationships of sibling love.

Twin Strollers - the enemy

I can spot them a mile away; twin strollers. This one was a tandem Babytrend Snap 'n' Go, blue, with two matching car seats, blue with green animals. I could tell from the door as I entered McDonald's. I stopped dead in my tracks, but my children bounced into the playroom hollering about food and playing first. I didn't have much of a choice except to follow them and prepare their meals. The kids scrambled to their seats and I plopped William into the highchair. I unwrapped burgers, squeezed out ketchup and opened containers of milk. I settled down to start spooning orange goop into William's open mouth when I realized I was staring right at the stroller and their mother. They were baby boys about 5 months hold. I couldn't see them very well except for the fuzzy light brown hair, chubby little legs, and the occasional arm swiping at their hanging toys.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dear Abby Original Text

Photo creates awkward situation


Published February 5, 2007

Dear Abby: I am writing on behalf of my friends at work. We have a co-worker, "Madge," who had a stillborn baby last year. It was tragic. Our problem is, she keeps a photo of the deceased infant on her desk in plain view, so that if we must interact with her (we have an open cubicle layout) we have to see it.

Is this appropriate? Ninety percent of the employees here are women. Most are appalled. Others say, "Well, it's all she has."

Madge is expecting again, and we are rooting for her and the baby. However, in addition to all this, she is mean and gossipy. Madge tells everyone what to do and how to do it -- which is not in her job description. I hope that when the baby arrives she will soften and not be so bitter. But, Abby, how on earth do we blow off that photo.

-- Appalled in the Midwest


Dear Appalled: While a person's desktop is usually private territory, I agree that the photograph you describe is inappropriate in an office environment. Because Madge feels the need to keep the picture of her stillborn baby close, it should be kept in her purse with other family photos, or in her desk drawer.

How very sad that poor woman must be. The person who should deal with this delicate problem is the boss or the supervisor.

For the complete text click here: Chicago Tribune

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Dear Abby II

This was written in response to a Dear Abby letter in which Abby suggested the coworker speak to a supervisor about a lady who chose to display a picture of her deceased child on her desk. Abby mentions that it is inappropriate to have such pictures displayed at work.

Dear Abby,

I am writing in regards to your February 5, 2007 response to Appalled in the Midwest. Personally, I am shocked and appalled not
only by the ignorance of the writer, but by the fact that you have written a response that was so inappropriate and so hurtful and
harmful for the millions of families who have suffer a pregnancy or infant loss.

Years ago it was socially acceptable for people to ignore the loss of a baby. In fact, the thinking of the time was it would be best
for everyone involved to forget about the baby and move on, if you ignore what happened, all the pain would go away. We now know that type of thinking was not only wrong, but caused great damage and suffering for everyone involved. This type of thinking, along with the ideas of the writer and your response, are long outdated, and again, hurtful and harmful or the millions of families who have suffered a loss.

I get so lazy

With my daughter I was compulsive about babyproofing and cleaning, by the book. I obsessed about how many inches apart the slats should be on the crib. I refused to use baby equipment that my husband had used as a baby, the concerns of lead paint and safety rang clear in my ears. I wouldn't let my daughter in certain rooms of the house because I didn't feel they were clean enough. When she was placed on the floor it was on a blanket rather than on the dirty carpet.

Funeral, Burial, Cremation, Oh my!

These are your babies. You must decide what to do with them. No one would admonish a wife for choosing how deal with the remains of her husband and the same should be true for a mother. You must choose what is right for your family.

We chose to cremate our sweet sons. I don't know why. But it seemed right. It didn't cost us any less since we still had to buy a casket and it got cremated too. The plot wasn't any smaller. I don't know why, but it felt right. My mother-in-law offered to let us use the plot next to her husband. She purchased a double plot when he died. And then we could bury her with the twins when the time came. But we visited the infant/child section of the Catholic cemetary and it felt right. There were beautiful trees and statues. It seemed appropriate that all the young children be together.

How Many Children?

It used to be such a simple question. Akin to regular or decaf coffee, cash or credit, paper or plastic? Now a whole debate occurs in my head in the seconds between the question is asked and when I answer. A series of qualifications go through my head; will I ever see this person again, what do I gain in telling this person my story, am I strong enough today to get through the story, do I want to watch this person's face go from inquisitive to sympathy, how much time do I have to explain my story?

Today its the grocer and I smile politely, "3, 2 boys and a girl". But yesterday it was a fellow twin mom. I knew I couldn't ignore my twin sons with a reminder of what they would have been staring me in the face. I answer, "3 living children, and twins sons in heaven". I can't be this woman's friend with a lie between us. I must acknowledge my sons. Another day friends are talking about their pregnancy and I say, "when I was pregnant with the twins . . . "

Another day its a stranger in Target. I was feeling like I needed to aknowledge them that day. So I answer again, "3 living children, and a set of twins in heaven." Her reaction is obvious. She is so upset by this news. Now I am consoling her. Why do I have to console this woman? I find myself saying things like, "its okay, it was last year. I am alright now."

Now I am so careful when asking women seemingly easy questions. I know how much pain I endure with such a simple question. No one knows the debate in my head as I remember my sons and pray that they know I have not forgotten them when I answer, "just 3".

Monday, February 26, 2007

Are you done?

We started dating when we were 17. I clearly remember sitting at a table for two at the Barkley resturaunt when we decided how many kids we would have. He said, "I'm having 8 kids." Because I was in-love and 17 I said "that sounds like a good number."

After we had our daughter we decided to have 5 kids, then after we had our son the number changed to 4. When we got pregnant with the twins it was perfect. Although it wasn't planned we were very excited - we would be having 4 children, like planned, all before I turned 30.

But now that we have lost them I feel a big empty hole in my heart. My arms ache. I couldn't get pregnant fast enough after we lost them. And I have spent the last 7 months secretly hoping to get pregnant again. I now want a dozen children! Not realistically, but in my heart. I feel like if I have enough kids they will fill that hole. I know its not rational. I know we can't possibly afford that many children, not to mention that I would be too old to have that many kids. But I can't imagine 'being done.'

The twins death has thrown a monkey wrench into our plans. That wrench is SO big that I can't even begin to make an alternate plan. Maybe we will have 8 kids, if you count the twins.

Hi. My name is Leslie and I have a secret.

Sunday my daughter had her first birthday party to attend. It wasn't the first birthday party she has attended, but for once she was invited, not the family. We were at the party of a little girl in her preschool class and the little girl's twin sister. It was crazy on a Sunday at noon. There were 300 people there and at least 5 different parties. Amid all the buzzing, squealing, and laughter I was choking back tears. They stung my eyes and I had a lump in my throat.

I followed my daughter from arcade game to arcade game, walking with a jingle of the tokens in her cup. Keeping an eye out to make sure she didn't get lost and hoping to find a familiar face, for me or for her. We don't know the preschool families very well. The moms just nod and smile at pick-up time and quite frankly all that I remember of her preschool class is that they are all short.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Lessons in Life


Contributed by Amy Rocka in loving memory of
Clark Daniel and Jake Matthew Rocka 5/28/06 (21 weeks)


I've learned that you can keep going long after you think you can't.
I've learned that learning to forgive takes a lot of practice.
I've learned that friends can become strangers, and strangers can become friends.
I've learned that ignorance isn't an excuse for the lack of compassion.
I've learned that some people will never, ever - "get it".
I've learned that the community of sorrow is the strongest of all.
I've learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.
I've learned that your life can be changed in a matter of minutes.
I've learned that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon.
I've learned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
I've learned that love isn't measured by the amount of time you have with someone.
I've learned that some sorrow is so deep that it has no words. But so is love.

Pelosi

My blog tends to be a political-free arena. I have my beliefs. I stand by them, but no one is going to change my opinion nor do I want to try and change someone else's opinion. I am content with letting people be wrong. :-)

But Pelosi has been making the news as the first female speaker of the house. Diane Sawyer has been doing a follow-up and interviewing the women of the senate. It has been an interesting series of interviews. The views these women have are unique to senators, yet at the same time are the same concerns and thoughts many women in many different jobs have. One woman spoke of preparing for a speech while making her child a peanut butter sandwhich for school. How many millions of women across America prepare for work while making their child's school lunch?

Travel Tips

I wouldn't say we are expert travelers. But we have done it a few times; to Wisconsin, Oregon in the summer and at Christmas countless times, Arizona, Carlsbad, and Las Vegas. Our preference is definitely by car. We are able to set our own schedule, change the schedule when necessary, and take all the stuff we want. We pack snacks and toys and are able to stop whenever the children need to stretch or the baby needs to eat. Its great.

A Christmas Letter

Contributed by Pat McDougle

Hello my family and friends,

This time of year is extremely difficult for those of us who have lost our children. It is also difficult for our families for they are not sure how to treat us. Some want us to return to who we once were. That is never going to happen, so I pray those reading this will understand that our lives will never be as they once were. I also pray that those of you whom have not suffered a major loss of a child, know the best way to support us is to allow us our time and feelings. There are no rules for grief, or grieving, nor are there any rules for this. Each of us handles it in our own way. After 8 years for my loss, I have come to know that educating the families is harder then helping those who have lost the child or children. I have also come to know that our children would not really want us to become the way we are, but once again, we are all learning as we go along. My Gift this year is to help those of you have a family member who has lost a child or children. After the loss of the boys, Yes I buried both of my boys 7 months apart. After this happened, I soon found out how blessed I was to have a family who not only allowed me my grief, but also my feelings of despair, anger, hurt, and most of all my feelings of not really knowing what to do next. I found through all of them I healed sooner then some and not as soon as others.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dear Abby

This was written in response to a Dear Abby letter in which Abby suggested the coworker speak to a supervisor about a lady who chose to display a picture of her deceased child on her desk. Abby mentions that it is inappropriate to have such pictures displayed at work.

Dear Abby,

I was almost speechless to see your reply to "Appalled" on February 5, 2007. My first thought was not how sad it was that this woman had a picture of her deceased child on her desk but how truly infuriating the woman writing to you was. I was hoping for a nice reply from you educating the woman on infant loss and instead I felt slapped in the face by a reply that I know your mother, the original Abby, would never have written.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Like Yesterday

Why do babies die? I don't know. I wish I did. I know what gifts my sons have given me. But I wish that others didn't have to have the same kind of pain. I belong to so many groups that it seems I meet a new loss mom at least once a month. It devestates me each time. I go back to laying on the table and hearing those words, "I'm so sorry." I remember not really understanding until my husband squeezed my hand too tight, then I realized. I remember looking at their tiny bodies after they were delivered. Realizing that they were perfectly formed, little tiny wrinkles on their toes. I remember leaving the hospital empty handed - no flowers, no baby, just sadness. I felt like everyone was looking at me like I was weird.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Act

By: Leslie Jacob

I never considered myself a performer,
to be skilled in the art of drama.
To be able to transform into a role
everyone wants to see.

I know the lines of the role I now play.
The “correct” response to
all the conversations thrown my way.

Others want to see that I’m OK.
That I am back to my normal
That my life has gone on
So theirs can too.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Date Night

Last night I had a date. Don't start thinking of candle-lit dinners, wearing slightly uncomfortable, but really good looking clothes. There were no flowers, kisses good night or even snuggling in a dark theater. In fact, I was alone. Again you are thinking about a long soak in a tub. The night off so I can read, sleep, or put some overdue time into my hobbies. NOPE.

My date lasted about 12 miles and 30 minutes. I was grubby after cleaning the house, making dinner, and putting the kids in bed. I wore wrinkled clothes that are either a half-size too big or a half-size too small. I didn't wash the car or do any of the classic pre-date stuff. It was fantastic.

I got into the car with my 8 Bose speakers and NO children. This doesn't happen often. The freeways were clear since it was after 9 pm. I found my favorite country CD and turned up the volume. WAY UP! I finally set the cruise control because my speed was keeping up with the loud music. I sang loudly, but the volume was so high that I couldn't even hear myself.

It isn't often that I am without the children. And that 30 minutes stint of singing in the car and driving down the dark road was enough to refresh me for the next day. I had a date with myself!

An Angel Never Dies

Don’t let them say I wasn’t born,
That something stopped my heart.
I felt each tender squeeze you gave,
I loved you from the start.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ice Skating, less than smooth

I am a sucker for Christmas. I love the holiday and will begin decorating on December 1st. I will leave our house lights on until we are the last house on the block. So as the holiday approached I starting tivoing all the family Christmas movies and specials I could find. A few of my favorite were the Charlie Brown specials, The Santa Clause, The Santa Clause 2, and Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. The kids really took a liking to Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. My daughter epsecially liked the ice skating short with Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse. Later that month Grandma purchased Lainy Ann 2 new stuffed animals; ice skating Minnie and ice skating Daisy. She slept with them for weeks and carried them everywhere.

So as we started our drive north for Christmas, the car laden with Santa gifts, my daughter announces, "Santa Clause is bringing me pink ice skates."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Her Bike: Part 2

Her first fall.

Her first fall was actually in the house. She has been riding the bike around inside the house. She barely has room but she is making it work. I gave her a big hug and reinforced how good it was that she was wearing a helmet and told her to get right back on.

But a week later at the park she fell again. We were on the other side of the park when my husband ran across to rescue her. She was fine. Just a little scared. Each time she falls I am afraid she is going to throw in the towel. And when she doesn't I am so proud. But I keep having to remind myself this is part of growing up. She needs to learn to fall and get back up. I hate it. At 3 1/2 I can't protect her. And its just going to get worse.

Her Bike: Chapter 3

The bike is still inside the house. We don't have a very good biking area and until the weather improves it will stay in our house. So Lainy Ann walks around the house cleaning everything out of her way (she puts stuff away rather than just shoving stuff), straps on her helmet and rides around the house for a little bit. The funny part is that her brother rides on the bike too! He sits on the fender of the rear wheel and holds onto her around the tummy. And they just keep going around and around the house. They have such a great time together. I think I need to get him a helmet too.

Confession Time

Alright ladies. I know a lot of my friends frequent my blog. It's confession time: I talk about you behind your back.

Must Have Baby Stuff

I'm not going to presume to know what is right for you or your family. But we have had three children and I think I am getting pretty good at this 'baby thing'. All of our kids have been different in their needs, demeanor and their parents experience.

So here is my list of must-haves. It is from the experience of living in a suburban life-style with three young children in a small house with little storage. We have purchase more things than are on this list, but those items became broken, were inefficient and/or were quickly discarded. The items below are the tried and true items of our house, the items we are willing to store in our not-so-big house for long periods between babies.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sitting

It didn't happen overnight as I like to let myself believe. Instead it has been happening every day for the last 5 1/2 months. William has been growing up. He mastered nursing, then thumb sucking, sleeping through the night, cooing, kicking, raspberries, and grasping. But yesterday he sat on his own. I can prop him into the gorilla pose and he will sit for a few minutes, until he gets so excited that he is sitting that he kicks his legs and falls over. I may cry. I was so happy when the other two kids showed signs of growing up. But this just makes me sad. My baby is growing up.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Induction, right or wrong?

My first two kids were born naturally. My water broke around 37 and 38 weeks and 12 hours later my babies arrived. The twins of course were induced since they were still. That took a long time since my body was not ready to deliver at 18 weeks, but it was uncomplicated.

But when I was pregnant with William I was a wreck. I had come to terms with his 'death' several times throughout the pregnancy; when I had cramping several times in the first trimester, when he would stop moving in the 2nd trimester, before every ultrasound where I thought the doctor would find his heart had stopped, and once as I frantically drove with tears streaming down my face to L&D when I was 38 weeks pregnant and he hadn't been moving regularly.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

LeapFrog Dominoes

I am a walking talking advertisement for Leap Frog and their products. We have the DVD's; Letter Factory, Word Factory, Math Circus, and all of the sequels.
We have the fridge toys too; Word Whammer, Fridge Phonics and Fridge Farm. We have purchased the radio and duplicates of these items for friends. We love Leap Frog.

I was so excited when I saw the board games at the store this past summer. It was a little early for Christmas, but I decided to just buy it and save it until December rolled around. There were a few games to choose from. I shushed the kids while I debated the difference between the different games; Dominoes, Bingo, and the In Line Game.

I decided on Dominoes since my daughter had been playing match with grandma's dominoe set for several months. They have been counting the number of dots and matching the right ends together. I thought this would be a nice educational spin on a traditional game. She would be able to match the number to the right number of objects, match rhyming words, or shapes and colors. Her little brother could even play too.

I purchased it for a reasonable price, excited that we would be able to take our favorite brand to non-electronic play. However, I wish I had read the reviews and done a little more research before purchasing it. I didn't realize until Christmas morning what a poorly designed product it is. The cardboard pieces easily slip out of the pods. It is too much to expect toddlers to hold the pods level to keep them from falling out. I could tape them in, but that would negate any future flexibility of play. I truly wish I had ready any of the reviews on amazon, like this one, to see what an awful product this is.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Santa Ana Winds

Last night we lost power. It was pretty amazing. First the lights dimmed, then they shut off completely. I am always amazed how dark it really is without any lights, no digital clocks glowing, street lamps shining from outside. And so quiet; no hum of the several computers in our home or of our Tivos. So still. It reminds me why people went to sleep earlier before electricity and why they lived their lives with the sun as their clock.

GeoTrax

GeoTrax by Fisher-Price
This by far is one of my favorite Christmas gifts. I say 'my', but it was actually a gift for my 2 year old son. I had been drooling over the GeoTrax as soon as I saw the commercial of family tranquility where the father plays with his son as the mother looks on from her spotless kitchen after a healthful dinner. Fortunately grandma and auntie blessed us with two sets and a few accessories. I was actually pretty concerned that my two year old would have difficulty with the remote control, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Then as we got two trains going on the track I was worried about crashing and the kids being able to set the trains on the track correctly. This began to seem like a toy I would be endlessly fixing or refereeing. This could be further from the truth, provided that each child has their own train.

The children quickly figured out how to stop and wait so the trains don't crash. And if they did crash, as Papa showed them, they were able to put the trains back on correctly and even realize if the trains weren't on exactly right.

They will play with this train for a long period of time, quietly. Its absolutely amazing for two children who seem to compete over everything. After a week of this toy they became bored with it. We picked it up and put it away. Just a few hours later they were asking for it to be set up again. It seems that this toy isn't able to escape 'toddler boredom' (defined as: if I can see it I don't want it), but a few hours out of sight and they were clamoring for it again.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Finances of a Loss

We found out we were expecting quite suddenly. When we started getting used to the idea of a surprise third child we went for an ultrasound and found out there would be a surprise fourth too. We panicked for a bit trying to figure out how to fit 4 small children in our 3 bedroom home. We thought of ways to make our baby gear for one child work for two. I spoke to other twin moms to find out which baby gear items they had duplicates of, I researched the pros and cons of newborns sharing a crib, and figured out a way to get our two older kids into the same room. We started talking about childcare after they were born. Then when the pregnancy began getting difficult we talked about getting childcare while I was still pregnant. We redid the budget a dozen times; trying to figure out how to make this unexpected expense work.

Just as we were getting used to the idea of having twins we got the terrible news that we had lost them.

Automated Voice Recognition System

Many companies are using this feature now; banks, utilities, credit card companies. Instead of pushing the buttons on the phone that correspond to your social securtiy number, account number and zip code you can speak these things into your phone. I am sure the goal is to make your life easier. Let me explain the problem with this.

Twin Time Dollhouse

We just received the Twin Time Dollhouse for Christmas. It is our first dollhouse and I am loving it. The pieces are quality, as is anything Fisher Price makes. But the best part of this toy is that the sides slide in and the bottom floor closes with the porch as a door to store all the pieces. We have a small home with three young children and storage and keeping the pieces together is key.

My daughter (3 1/2) and son (2) have been playing endlessly with this toy. Even quietly. I love that it looks nice and stores everything neatly. But then again it is hard for me to find anything that Fisher Price makes that I don't like.

Twins in Our House

There are twins in our house. On September 22, 2005 I thought I would never utter those words. But here they are; 2 sets. They are fraternal boy-girl twins. They weigh in under 1 lb total and are made of plastic.

After we lost our twin sons I swore no more twins. I have avoided playgroups and broke down crying after seeing brown-haired twin boys in public. Then when Dora (from "Dora the Explorer") had younger siblings, twins, and all the new toys and books came out - Dora with a baby carrier for two, a book labeled 'Super Babies' and even the doll house with twins - I swore they would never be in our home. I have spent months diverting my daughter's attention from the colorful packages at the store and the enticing commercials on tv. I wouldn't even let her watch the episodes featuring the siblings. I felt it cruel that just as my grief process had begun the media began to realize that multiple births were on the rise and therefore began to market new toys and movies to siblings of multiples. Even the new Barbie DVD features a set of triplets and two sets of twins in the dancing sisters movie.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Her first bicycle - PINK

It started a few months ago. We were driving in the car when I hear from the backseat, "I think I am old enough for a bicycle". I was really surprised. I didn't think I would start hearing sentences like that for years. I calmly told her that I would discuss it with Daddy. She then proceeded to explain to me ALL the reasons why she needed a bike and that she knew bike safety. She had her facts straight, she knew the rules, she was ready.

A month later we took her to the store to "try on" bikes. And today I came home with a pink bicycle in my trunk. She will be so happy when she sees it under the tree on Christmas morning.

UPDATE: She found her bike and is in love with it. I love that it is generic pink, not themed after Cinderella, Barbie or Dora. Daddy took her out riding it yesterday morning and she took off right away. We knew she could pedal since she has been riding tricylces at school for over a year now, but steering on a bike is much different. She was able to do it though.

She even rides it in the house, for now, until we put it outside. But each time she puts on her helmet - even indoors. She doesn't even need to be reminded. She is growing up before our eyes.