Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We'll Miss You

Our family lost a very special someone on Monday.

My grandfather -- Lily and Eve's great-grandfather -- passed away at a hospital on Long Island. He was 87 years old. When I think of Grandpa, the very first thing that comes to mind is how he'd have us cousins lining up every Christmas for that photo session at the kitchen table. Year after year, we'd all stand in our spots. (Or in the early years, sit on the table...) I also think of the videos. The big old camera set up on the stairs. Each person opening their present and showing it to the camera. I recall being rather ... impatient as a child. But those were good times and we'll always have the memories -- and the photos and videos -- to remember them by.
I also distinctly recall a swimming tube ... on Grandpa's head. At Tupper Lake. For those of you who don't remember, or never met or saw him ... this would be the tube in question. On his head. And if memory serves me, there were other funny head-pieces that he sported over the years. I only have the picture of the one. Looks like he ought to be steering a boat down a canal in Venice or something, doesn't it?


Before he was a grandfather, or a great-grandfather, Grandpa was a soldier. My father and brother followed in his footsteps and served in the armed forces as well. My brother is currently in the Marines. The three of them got together last year before my brother shipped out to Iraq and chatted about many things, but the one that will always stick out in my mind was ... them chatting about an old firearm.

We are going to miss Grandpa, especially around Christmas. But I am immensely glad that he got the chance to meet Lily and Eve and that we captured the moments on camera. Here he is with one of the girls, and Grandma with the other. And yes, I'm admitting it, I have no idea who they are holding...



We know he's in a great place now and someday we'll all meet again. For now, we'll have to content ourselves with memories, photographs and stories.




Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ice storm and Ice cream

They're calling it the worst ice storm the Capital Region has seen in 21 years, and I would have to agree with that assessment. We got pretty lucky, I guess, since they projected up to 1 1/4 inches of ice for our region and I think we came out with at most one inch. Albany got blasted with closer to two inches. Here are a few pictures the day after the storm:

First, I have to do my artsy ice coating pictures. The first, a leaf and the surrounding grass. Each blade of grass was encased in ice and you could pick up the leaves like mini-ice sculptures.


I thought the dog leash encased in ice was another neat picture...

This is our driveway, covered in downed pine tree branches. More came down to the right and blocked half the road in front of our neighbors' house. A tree also fell across the street in the park and landed on a power line and there was a downed line right across from our house.

These branches snapped off our neighbors' tree and if the fence hadn't been there, might have landed on Eric's car. We were pretty lucky that they didn't actually hit it, you can see how close they got though...

In the backyard, five or six branches came off another pine tree and landed on the back of the garage and the pool. Thankfully, the pool isn't in use nor will it ever be in use, so it isn't really damage we are unhappy about. We're going to eventually take it down anyway.

And now, for the "ice cream" partof the post. I put up the video of the girls eating their ice cream. Here is the happy aftermath: First up is Lily and second is Eve.




Thursday, December 11, 2008

We did it!

I'm a little short on time, but I wanted to post this video I took tonight.

The girls finally figured it out -- how to feed themselves with a spoon. Okay, okay, so it was only ice cream and when we give them a spoon and "real food" they just give up on the spoon and eat with their fingers. But this was too cute to pass up!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A few pics and an update

First, the update. Evie's neurology appointment was fine. She actually only went from 50 to 50 1/4 cm in the 6 weeks since the last appointment, and is still on "her" curve -- albeit way over the normal curves. We go back in 3 months for another check. The appointment would have been fine, if we didn't have to wait 45 minutes. I had both girls, by myself, and they played like angels for the first like 35 minutes. Evie would take her two balls to the nearest other patient and hand one to them. Then take it back and hand them the other. And keep doing it. And doing it. And yeh, doing it again. One old man was having a great time. Lily sat at the little table and chairs nearly the whole time and played with the same toy, over and over again. Then, they got tired. And cranky. And by the time we were called in, Evie was rolling around on the ground yelling and Lily was climbing everything in sight -- the chair, the stool, the other chair, crawling under the desk. It was nuts.

Ok, enough of that. Some pictures!!!
I don't exactly remember what the heck had them laughing so hard, but I THINK it was the cats when we first got them and the girls weren't used to seeing them running around.

NOW, they are quite used to them and Blue will sleep anywhere. Lily didn't seem to mind. She just pet her a little and the cat was in kitty heaven. I'm glad the girls know not to grab and smack the cats.

AND Evie. What can you say about her? She climbed into that toy basket all by herself and was just happily watching Pooh entirely too close to the television. I don't know HOW that could be remotely comfortable with all those hard toys in there, but she was content.



Friday, November 14, 2008

New trick...

I was making the girls grilled cheese, and apparently Evie knew it was time to eat.

She pushed a box over to her highchair and proceeded to climb into it. I went in to put them in their chairs and saw her sitting there, not buckled in, and asked Eric if he had put her in. Nope. She'd done it all herself. Evie was obviously happy with herself, sitting there swinging her legs and looking at me. I put the tray on and then Lily, using the same box, decided I wasn't quick enough and SHE climbed into HER chair too. LOVELY. At least they like them, right?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New words/actions

"Buh" means "bye" -- at least to Evie.

Today she started waving and saying "buh" "buh" and it was very cute! It's pretty consistent too, she did it a number of times. Not always in response to the first FIVE times you say "bye bye", but eventually, she usually does say it and wave. She also learned a new, not-so-nice trick today -- climbing onto a kitchen chair and then climbing onto the kitchen table! She did it again and again, no matter how many times you pulled her off. She can also climb on the end of the recliner, and will if you are sitting in it. Oh, and Evie loves to make a loud, drawn out "oooohhh" sound now too. I almost think she was trying to say "more" the other day, but not sure about that. We're still working on "mama" and "dada" too. No go there.

As for Lily, well, she MIGHT now understand what you want when you say, "Give me a kiss." She sometimes leans her head in toward your face. She doesn't actually kiss or anything, but it's a start. She's great at climbing into recliners too. At home, she'll climb on the recliner and then nosedive across the arm onto the couch and climb across that too. At Grandma and Grandpa's, she climbs on the fireplace hearth and then into the rocking chair recliner and then stands on that to turn the light switch on and off. She isn't doing the "buh" "buh" thing, but she is making all sorts of other noises.

They are both making a lot more noise than they used to so I guess the next step is to get the noises to become words and real sounds!

On another note, we'll be going to the new pediatrician Friday. Finally... and Evie has another neurology appointment on the 19th. We'll hope that is just another in and out appointment. She's gone up .5 cm in weeks. And Lily has gone up the same...sooo....yeh.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween

Here are a few pictures of the girls in their Halloween costumes. We aren't going OUT this Halloween, but my mother brought these from Florida so we put them on and the girls ran around in them. I don't have time to post much else, so hopefully this will hold you all over for a bit.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Scenes

Here is a few moments of our life. I hope you enjoy them.

First, the girls dancing to Pooh singalong tape.



Next, Evie has something she wasn't supposed to have...



And lastly. Lily saying "dog" and some other...stuff.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rebel Lily

The last few nights Lily has decided that sleep is for the dogs and Evie and she has no interest in sleeping in her crib. She sits there, feet stuck through the crib bars and hands playing with them, crying. Just tears falling all over, cry cry cry. She has a little runny nose and is teething, but this has never been a problem before. She was perfectly willing to sleep on me in MY bed this morning, but that's it, no where else. Her bed is taboo or something. I've tried giving her something to drink, a bite to eat, Tylenol for her teeth, Orajel, anything and everything. But she just won't go to sleep. She does it at nap times and at bedtime. She won't sleep for more than a few hours at a time at night, when she used to sleep a good 10 hours. Evie will wake if Lily gets loud enough and THAT is torture!

I'm hoping it's just a little sickness. Evie is on medicine for her cough and runny nose, and I think Lily might have caught whatever her sister has. Lily isn't coughing, but has the runny nose and a lowgrade fever which I've been trying to keep down with medicine and lots of fluids. Maybe this no-sleep thing is just a consequence of her not feeling great. But judging by the girl that crawled and walked all over the baby shower we went to today, I'm not sure she's all that sick...

Hoping to get more sleep tonight, though I promised the readers of my "Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" fanfiction another chapter soon...and I haven't even started it! So much for the update a night trend I had going. Ah well. I wrote 67,000 in two weeks. Spending only about 3-4 hours a day on it. (I say only, but I guess that's quite a bit for many people...)

Monday, September 15, 2008

We may be all right.

I finally got a call back from the pediatrician.

After fretting ALLLLLL damn weekend, not sure what the heck his partner had said on Friday and not getting a call back from him. Worrying over what turns out NOT TO BE THE CASE.

He said he looked at the CT report and the fluid is around the outside, (outside being KEY) and he said that means it should go away on its own. We still have to go see a neurologist for more information and closer monitoring. And we are changing pediatricians since I can't believe they couldn't take one minute out of their day on Friday to make this clear for us. We were beside ourselves all weekend.

We can still use prayers and thoughts, since it still has to GO away on its own, not get worse. Thank you to all of you who kept Evie in your thoughts over the weekend. We appreciate it!

I'm nearly positive we have more CT scans, maybe even an MRI in the future, depending on what the neuro says when we see him or her (I'm hoping for a her for once...) Best case, we go in and they look at the first scan and say, keep an eye of out "this, this or this" and if you don't see anything like that, we'll see you in 6 months. Perhaps measure ourselves in the meantime, whatever, I'm a pro at measuring from NICU.

I think that's all for now. By the end of the week we should have the girls' medical records in hand to deliver to our new pediatricians, who were the ones who my brother and I saw as children. Let's hope they show a little more regard for our feelings and more care for the children.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Not so good news

The CT scan was easy as pie. Thankful for that.

But the results showed there is excess fluid. I'm trying to get a confirmation that it is OUTSIDE or AROUND the brain, not inside, which is the worse of the two. Doctors take forever and a day to call back. If they haven't gone home already. We go back to ped on Tuesday to "talk" and have to go to a neurologist for a consultation. We can expect more CT scans in the future. And the likilhood they'll be as easy as this one? Don't know. There was no contrast for this one.

First momos, then the debacle with Lily in NICU and now this. I thought we were finished and could go on and be happy and normal, but NO, not us. I'm so very ready to get goods news right now. I just want this stupid fluid to GO AWAY on its own. I don't care how, evaporate, drain, whatever, but GO AWAY. If it's around the outside, supposedly it can. But he head has gotten bigger each measurement. So whether that means the fluid has increased or not, I don't nkow. I suppose we'll be needing CT scans on a schedule to determine that. I HATE THIS. Simple as that.

I'm pretty sure the doctor said it was around, so we aren't the worst case scenario. I was so hoping that it was just a big head, like so many of our relatives have. I suppose i was hoping we would have dimo twins to, but that never happened, I shouldn't be that surprised.

Prayers are greatly, greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Big Head Brigade

Well, it seems Evie has joined the big head brigade. At the girls' 15-month check up, the doctor charted her head size and it is off the charts again so he ordered a CT scan, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday. Then he proceeded to explain the areas that COULD have retained water, if it is a water retention problem, and which one would be left alone and disappear on its own and which one would require surgery.

Decidedly not the type of thing to tell ME.

I understand that they have to, but still...

So we somehow have to get an over-active 15-month-old to remain sleeping in a strange place, this big machine thingy all around her, for 10 minutes. So not possible unless we drug her...

The doctor said to keep her awake for 4 hours before and give her Benedryl. I'll give it a shot, but I don't see Evie, who walks everywhere and never stops moving, being still without help. (I get that they can strap them there, but still, that would mean still but screaming brains out instead...)

Here's crossing our fingers she "just has a big head." More on Friday...I hope. Depends on how fast CMH reads the thing.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Funny story

I knew the girls were being too quiet yesterday, so I went into the kitchen to investigate. I found both of them with a banana in their hand, chowing down on them -- skin and all...

One of them (or both??) had stood on the bottom of their old bouncy activity seat and reached into the bottom cabinet to get the bananas. I pried the skin out of Evie's mouth and moved to take the banana out of Lily's hands.

The little stinker tightened her grip on the banana and next thing I know it's a banana slushy and rips in half. There was squashed banana all over my hands and all over Lily's hands and it was YUCKY. She thought it was hilarious of course.

I did put them in their highchairs and feed them bananas and pears after that. I figure they MUST have been hungry! :-) Now that they know how to climb and Evie can walk everywhere, things are getting interesting!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Walking and a little jig.

Evie walks everywhere now, so here is a snippet of her doing so. She can go a lot faster too. Lily does walk, just not a whole lot. She isn't doing much in this video. Evie is the one who walks and dances a bit. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunnyside Sunday

I've decided to TRY, I repeat TRY, to start doing "Seeing the Sunnyside" Sundays. Taking something not-so-fun going on in our life and trying to see the sunnyside of it. For my first post, I need to see the sunnyside of home renovations.

Usually I just look at all the half-done things like the uncovered heating elements, lack of door and window trim, raw sheetrocked stairwell and so on and I just sigh and hate it. It's sooooooooo much work, and messy. And the kids always manage to find some piece of drywall or of sheetrock joint compound, or a dust bunny stuck in the heating elements or something that they can try to eat. It just feels like the renovations are so much work and THEN on TOP of it the kids getting into it all makes it ever more work.

The sunnyside: Our house will definitely be worth more! We paid $104,000 and it was in ROUGH shape when we bought it. Picture this: You walk in the door and are greeted by a cabinet above the sink that is drooping, as in you put dishes in there and they'll slide off. To the right is a beautiful set of old cabinets -- marred by the countertop that had been hacked out for a washer and dryer. To the far left is a weird cabinet area where a stove can barely fit and with a peeling laminate countertop. The floor is peeling linoleum. And it gets better...or worse. The room off the kitchen is faux wood paneling that clashes with the lovely coming-up stick on tiles. And the next room, which is led into through a large opening, is a different type of faux wood and an equally clashing tile floor. Only redeeming quality is the stairwell's staircase.Gorgeous and still is rather nice.

So that is what we had. Now we have all wide-board red mahogany-stained pine floors, freshly sheetrocked and painted walls, new kitchen cabinets and a Corian countertop. So we are definitely getting something for our money...That and it's what WE want it to be, not someone else's style. So I guess there is a sunnyside to the not-so-fun renovations.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

N.C., Florida and a milestone

Long time no update! Been busy. We drove down to North Carolina to visit Eric's cousin Michael and his family, Chris, Audrey and David, down in Winston-Salem. We all had a great time playing with the kids and the girls got to try a bunch of new foods -- including shrimp gumbo. Evie got her first split lip when she toppled over and smacked into an armchair, but she weathered it well. Here she is fast asleep a few minutes after she did it...

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Lily had a GREAT time in the playroom, and here she is living it up there... (those are audrey's legs behind her!)

Photobucket

After N.C. we trekked down to Florida to visit my parents in Fort Myers. The girls had a good time with their grandparents. They got to play with bubbles (in Evie's case, EAT them in this picture...)



They also went to the beach...



And Evie wasn't keen on the wet sand on her knees when she crawled off the towel! She has a sort of "ugh" look on her face!!!



And for some fun the girls each tried on Grandma's old wig that she doesn't use anymore. At least I don't THINK she does...



They also got to visit our old favorite restaurant, which we won't be going back to since it has changed owners and is no longer worth the money or the hassle of going there. So here we are for the last time at Wahoo Willies on Fort Myers Beach.



When we get the pictures, we'll have to put them up, but the girls also went to visit their great-grandmother, my Aunt Kathy and Aunt Eileen, cousins Lauren and Shannon; visited the Calusa Nature Center again; and went to visit Mildred and Dolly again.

The MILESTONE I mentioned. BOTH girls can now take about 6 steps on their own! Lily went from NOTHING to doing that tonight! What a birthday present, huh? I turned 26 yesterday, so that is a great present for me!

Until next time, enjoy the pictures!!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

One step at a time ... or not

Today was GREAT. Evie is now taking not one, not two, not three or four, but FIVE TO SIX steps on her own! You can just tell she WANTS to walk because she will falter and look about to sit down, but STOP herself and stay standing and then keep taking steps. She is going to be walking in no time! I really think so! She is starting to do it even just in the midst of play, not to a person when coaxed.

Lily on the other hand, has NO interest it seems. She just lunges forward toward you or goes to her knees. She is doing better walking with one hand held instead of two. But I think she is always in such a hurry that she tries to walk too fast and falls. So she does bother trying... That's my thoughts anyway!

They are doing so well right now! Things are coming together. And it's funny that is has been a few days since their original due date when I was thinking about their development and presto, it feels like they are moving better already. Even the speech therapist said they are chewing wonderfully, starting to take an interest in imitating our actions, not words or sounds yet, but hey, something it better than nothing. And I SWEAR today when we got home I was repeating HOME to Evie and she came out with "ome" twice in a row. I didn't think it was a coincidence, she was looking out the car window and staring at the house...it was so cool!

Now, on to "mama", "dada" and walking!

Friday, July 11, 2008

The "shoulda been" birthday

I have six minutes before tomorrow so I have to quickly type this out.

Today, July 11, is the one-year anniversary of the girls' original due date. They are, in body, one year old now! Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the day Lily came home from NICU and our absolutely horrible journey at that hospital ended. If I never step foot in those doors again, I will be happy. The only reason I would go back is if I was flown/driven there half-dead or something, because they are quite good with emergent care. Bedside manner? WRETCHED.

Anyway. As this day passed I couldn't help but think what it would be like celebrating the girls first birthday today. How different COULD they have been if they weren't monoamniotic and born those 7 1/2 weeks early. What different memories would we have had of their early days, if they hadn't been in hospital for 42 and 52 days. Would I have been able to breastfeed Evie? To this day I wonder that and I feel cheated. I know many NICU babies go on to breastfeed, but it was so hard with her breathing problems, I didn't push it. Would they have been developmentally behind like they are, still not saying anything like Mama or Dada, and not imitating noises or most actions? I know it'ssilly, but I do wonder.

Now we have celebrated all our one-year anniversaries, really. Birth and NICU leaving. Yay.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Just an FYI

Don't know if anyone has seen this, but I'm passing it on. A recall on unsafe onesies. Something about pieces coming off and posing a choking hazard.

http://www.babycenter.com/204_recalled-baby-onesies_5233995.bc?scid=momsbaby_20080708A:1&pe=2U5ThB1

Neat thing

Got this from Debra over at Tales from the Zoo Keeper. I thought it was really accurate for my name. But when I checked my husband's, it couldn't have been farther from the truth...




What Kate Means



You are a seeker of knowledge, and you have learned many things in your life.

You are also a keeper of knowledge - meaning you don't spill secrets or spread gossip.

People sometimes think you're snobby or aloof, but you're just too deep in thought to pay attention to them.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are a seeker. You often find yourself restless - and you have a lot of questions about life.

You tend to travel often, to fairly random locations. You're most comfortable when you're far away from home.

You are quite passionate and easily tempted. Your impulses sometimes get you into trouble.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

"Kitten"

Many who own cats have probably found them with a bird or mouse dangling from their mouths, calmly waiting to be let into the house (*ya-right, not happening) or prancing around with their catch.

Well, meet OUR new kitten -- as she was dubbed by Eric:



Evie has taken to carrying things around in her mouth. Just like a kitten would do! So far I've found the two pictures, a little bird she carries around by the tail feathers, stuffed babydolls, stuffed butterflies, teething toys, anything she has the jaw power to carry. It's rather cute actually.

BUT on the flip-side. I have removed all kinds of paper, plastic, bits of STUFF I can't identify from its resting place in the roof of her mouth. Yup, the other day she was EATING andI got to the fifth spoon full and noticed something peeking out her mouth. YEH, she was storing it up thereto chew after her meal or something.

Thank goodness Lily doesn't have a chew/dangle-things-from-mouth fetish too or I'd be totally grey by now.

So Lily doesn't feel left out, here is a Lily-bad-hair-day photo (she was REALLY grumpy and just woke up):


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


(A few words...this pic is from the winter...so they were chubbier then!)


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

LOVE

I am looking at my daughters and I realize -- I now know what intense love really feels like. I LOVE my babies with every ounce of my being. I can't even begin to describe the feeling. I look into their eyes and I am overwhelmed with LOVE. They are the most precious things in my life and I can't thank God enough for carrying them through and giving them to me. Just had to say that.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The 8 thing

Tagged by Jocasta to do this one...

Eight Things I Have a Passion for:

1) Definitely my babies.
2) Hiking and climbing. I miss it SO much and can't wait to get the girls out!
3) That feeling you get when you are in the middle of the ocean, with only water and the horizon around you. You realize how BIG the world really is out there.
4) Writing and reading
5) Graphic and newspaper design
6) Rummaging through "cheaper" antique shops for cool old things
7) Family and friends
8) Traveling to and exploring historic places

Eight Things I Would Like to do Before I Die:
1) Move to Europe (preferably Scotland)
2) Introduce my children to other countries and cultures
3) Meet my grandchildren!
4) Go to a joust
5) Locate and visit my host family in Germany.
6) Become a published young adult fiction writer
7) Lose weight and feel good about how I look
8) Go on a cruise, since I've seen the work side of a ship, I'dliketo experience the pleasure!

Eight Things I Say a Lot:
1) Lily
2) Eve
3) Hey! Get away from that!
4) Whatcha doing?
5) Dude
6) Sweet
7) Ya think?
8) Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight

Eight Books I Have Read Recently: (THIS WILL BE REPETITIVE)
1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
2) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
3) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
4) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
5) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
6) Harry Potterand the Half Blood Prince
7) Harry Potter " " The Deathly Hallows
8) Garlic and Sapphires - the book by the former NYTimes food critic Ruth Reichl

Eight Movies I Have Seen Eight Times:
1) Star Wars: A New Hope
2) Star Wars: EmpireStrikes Back
3) Star Wars: The Returnof the Jedi
4) Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
5) Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
6) Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
7) Coyote Ugly
8) Winnie the Pooh (a bunch of them...)

Eight People I have to Invite to Do This Meme:
If you haven't been invited, consider yourself invited because I have no IDEA who hasn't already been "tagged."

Can you see a pattern to some of those?I am a huge Harry Potter and Star Wars fan!!!! I am also a Lord of the Rings fan, but I read/watch more fanfiction than the actual books/movies.

What's this tab do?

Most mornings, the girls wake me up with their "chatting". Nothing too noisy, upset-sounding or worrying. But today I was pulled from slumber by the distinct sound of hysterical, tears-pouring-out-of-someone's-eyes crying.

I jumped out of bed and still blurry-eyed flung open the door to see what was wrong. Lily was fine, standing up as usual. Evie, on the other hand, was wrapped up in her blanket and bawling. When I got to her, she was sitting up in her blankets. When I removed them I found her problem.

Her butt was in the bare. She had taken her diaper off at some point and she was very upset about it! I didn't see any mess in the bed, but she didn't calm down until I got her another diaper downstairs.

It's not funny, really it's not, but I'm still laughing. It's not everyday I walk in to see a naked little butt sans diaper. After a little searching I found the diaper behind the crib. Thank goodness it wasn't poopy, right!? Or was it? ANd she ... gulp ... got hungry. Oh holy crap that is a scary thought.

Better go stop her from stealing her sister's bottle. Thought I'd share that!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

For your enjoyment

Just wanted to share a few pictures of the girls. I finally found the camera cord buried under a pile of clean laundry that hadn't been touched in ... a while. Seems to happen a lot in this house. It's all over, but at least it's clean!

First up is a cute picture of the girls playing in a laundry basket. (Fitting isn't it, there are clean clothes laying on my table, but an empty laundry basket ... well not when the girls are in it, but still.)

Next we have Evie, appearing to be a bit shy. She ISN'T shy in any way, shape or form, but she looks a little bit like she is in this picture. Either that or she is being coy. I'd love to know what is on her mind. And the picture after that is one of Lily, smiling broadly as usual. I swear I love Lily's smile SOOOOOO much. She is so EASY to get a good smile out of for a picture.



And I want to share these two because in both pictures the girls are STANDING BY THEMSELVES. Even though Lily's hand is offcamera in her picture, it's only because I couldn't back up quickly and she tries to lean forward to reach me again almost everytime. I just know it is only a matter of months before they are walking, then running, then probably hands-first diving off the couches or something...




All right, that's all for now folks. I have a bunch of cleaning to do, and it is downpouring outside so we MIGHT lose power as our lights ALWAYS flicker like mad in the rain. Heck, they sometimes do that when it ISN'T raining here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Answers to some questions

When I was bored the other day, I asked people for some questions they were interested in me answering. I got a few responses and so I am going to answer those questions here!

Debra: How did you and dh meet?
Answer: In 1998 I asked my parents if I could join a martial arts school -- and they agreed! I started that April and progressed through the ranks. In 2002, yes after four YEARS at that school, I took notice (with a LOT of prompting from the school owner's wife) of Eric. She kept pushing me to agree to go eat with him. Finally I did so and we had a lot of fun, so we kept going out to eat and sitting in the parking lot afterward until 3 a.m. many nights. I was still in college, but I ended up spending more and more time with him. When my parents moved to Florida, we got an apartment together. The night of one of my black belt tests (he sat on the test panel so he didn't DO the test, I did) he said we were going for a drive to the waterfront. So we trekked back to our old apartment and that is where he proposed. Said something like, why don't we listen to some music and of course dense as I am I started going through the middle console for a CD, not NOTICING the box there...Fast forward to 2003, we bought our house. Fast forward even more to 2007 and we had our twins! What's ironic is that during those 4 years between when I started classes and when we noticed each other, he had actually tested me for one of my belts. Didn't remember him at ALL, and vice versa, even though he had to ASK ME QUESTIONS FACE TO FACE! Quite odd.

Arizona: Would you rather be Wonder Woman or The Bionic Woman? Here's another one: The Love Boat or Fantasy Island?
Answer: OKAY, before I give my answer, let me just say I was NOT familiar with ANY of those!!! :-) But since I wanted to answer the questions I did a little online research. On the first one, I would choose Wonder Woman. While the Bionic Woman is sort of more "possible" if you will, I like the "fantasy" aspect with Wonder Woman. I like her "undercover" persona, since I often feel that I had a similiar persona online. On this blog I'm mostly ME, but when I write stories I have to kind of become the characters and it's sort of like that here. I guess. Remotely. ANYWAY, yeah, so I like her better. As for the second question, THE LOVE BOAT all the way simply because I'm absolutely enamored with cruise ships (I went to school for two years aiming to DESIGN them, so yeah I like them.) Oddly I've only been on one and that was for a tour when our training ship was samwiched between two HUGE cruise ships in Copenhagen. It was interesting to come off the training ship where I got full of fuel oil, lube oil, grease etc etc in our engine room and then watch the chief engineer on the cruise ship in a Hawaiian shirt double clicking a valve on a computer screen...much more automated. I got a bit off topic there, but that is the one I'd choose.

Jaime: What's the best money you've ever spent?
Answer: This was a HARD one! Part of me wants to say the money spent to bring our kids into this world, but in a way that isn't something that I had to choose to spend, I was going to have those babies no matter WHAT they cost. And if I didn't have that insurance, it would have been over half a million! SO, I'm going to have to say the money somewhere within my massive student loan that paid for my time on the Maritime College training ship. Odd, perhaps, but those two months were really amazing. I learned SO much, got to experience things many people will NEVER have a chance to do and got to travel to Philadelphia, the Canary Islands, Copenhagen and Edinburgh. We sailed (using the term loosely there, it was a steam/diesel ship...) through a very large storm with 15-foot wave swells that actually tossed the ship around so badly that when the bow dipped down over a wave, it dug into the water and the propeller at the stern came OUT, which shook the heck out of hte propellor shaft -- which I was on watch checking things right next to... I spent five wonderful days in each foreign port and got to see things like the clear blue water on the beaches of the Canary Islands, and the sand dunes that looked a bit like the desert; the Scottish crown jewels, Edinburgh Castle, Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands when in Edinburgh (with the added bonus that my grandfather was from Scotland..); the "burning of the witches" festival of sorts, a shipping companies headquarters, Kronburg Castle (sometimes known as Hamlet's Castle) in Copenhagen. And then in Phillie I saw the Liberty Bell and got a tour of the battleship New Jersey before it had been "cleaned up" and opened to the public. We went into one of the engine room containing one of the EIGHT boilers on the ship and compared it to our own engine room. Quite a few parallels. The time I spent both on the ship and in the ports is unforgettable and well worth the $2,000 or so it cost to go on cruise.

All right, that's all folks! Hope some of it was interesting!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Right as rain

The illness is through, thankfully. It didn't get much worse than the occassional coughing and a little runny nose. We were fortunate I guess!

I can't really believe how fast these kids develop. It's like they get on a roll and NOTHING stands in their way! They both cruise all along the couch or the futon in the music room. And they are doing all right pushing a table along the ground and walking behind it. A few weeks ago I was worried that they weren't really crawling! Now...just TRY to catch them if you don't notice they are crawling away fast enough! I can't count how many time the girls have dumped the dog's water bowl all over their legs.

Last night was so much fun. We finished putting our music room back together (sans door/window/baseboard trim...) and I was sitting at the drum kit and just banging the bass drum and the both of them were laughing like crazy. Lily actually grabbed hold of it and stood there, leaning against it and laughing. She loved it! I'm not much of a drummer, I can only do REALLY simple things, but the girls liked it and kept laughing. I'll have to find the camera and post a picture of the room. It came out pretty nice! Not really baby-friendly, what with the 5-guitar stand that they can easily get to and knock over, but it is all right if we are right there.

I'm a bit bored right now, so I'm going to take a "leaf" out of a few other people's blogs and answer some questions people might be interested in asking me. I have a weird schooling background, and tons of cool stories from my time on the training ship (about 2 months...) so ask away! Anything (within reason, people ;-) )

And lastly, here is the picture I took for the girls' birthday announcement in the newspaper. It took ages to get them to somewhat cooperate. Eish...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Spoke (typed?) too soon...

Lily woke up in a wet bed. A diarrea wet bed. A really stinky bed. She was smiling, but she was sssssstinnnnnnnnky. And she was coughing. Not a drank-my-bottle-a-bit-wrong kind of cough -- a deep, chunky-sounding cough. And her nose was runny. Yeh, after a YEAR without so much as a stuffy nose, we have ONE party and BAM they are both sick. Evie was coughing too, though no diarrea show yet. They are in decent spirits, their fevers are gone, but now they are coughing and that is really sucky. Poor kids can't have cough meds like Mommy and Daddy, only dratty Tylenol for fevers or pain and of COURSE they can't TELL me if their throats start hurting from coughing or something! ARGH. You can't get around a first birthday party, but aside from the nice presents and company seeing and enjoying the girls, THIS is the result of ours.

Since this is the first time I've dealt with sick kids, I have NO IDEA what I'm doing. I'm just really trying to keep things normal. Eating, drinking, playing. Intermingled with the I-sound-like-I-have-a-smoker's-hack cough. Now we'll see just how developed their lungs really are. I'm more worried about Evie, since she was our O2-crazy baby in NICU with her BPD. Luckily she seems a bit better now. But it's nearly impossible to keep them away from each other. They play with the same toys, and it isn't easy to prevent it. At this point, i doubt it's worth trying since they both appear to already be sick. I guess the fever was just the start. But when they are better, I guess all these toys are going in the bathtub for a for serious disinfection!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

First time for everything!

Well the girls made it a full year before getting sick. Lily got sick at 3 a.m. on her actual birthday with a 102 fever. Tylenol knocked it down, but she was miserable and we got little sleep. It lasted about 24 hours, and she would only sleep on someone, but she ate well. The doctor said it was probably a virus and to just keep up the Tylenol. Fast forward to last night at 3 a.m. Evie woke up and had a 102 fever! Hers seems to have lasted less than 24 hours. We hit it with Tylenol pretty fast and she napped a lot today, but wasn't nearly as clingy as Lily. All in all, i think their first illness went "well" if you can call it that!!

As for their first speech therapy session, since Lily was sick that day it was mostly just Evie. The therapist was a very bubbly woman and fell in love with the girls. She fed Eve and told me that she has a good bite and good tone. She can maneuver her tongue well and seems to have no trouble with the stage 3 baby food we tried her on. She is confused with the new textures, but doesn't choke and gag. She told me to try letting the girls bite pieces of cracker *i.e. saltines...* and work on adding some lumps to their pureed food. So we've been doing that. She also said to try adding one more "solid" meal a day. As for the "speech" part, she said to repeat words over and over and over again. Drop a toy and keep saying "bang" or something or other. Same thing with "Mama" and "Dada" and to always call them by their name, not "honey" or "baby" or "sweetie" until they learn their names, which they seem to be having a spot of trouble with!

The physical therapist was impressed with how much they had improved since the evaluation. They are now cruising along the couch and Evie was pushing their activity table and walking along behind it. They can put a ball into a toy of theirs and push it through a holeover and over again. They can also stand with one foot on a toy or a book, and not fall over. And they can kneel upright without any support. So they are doing really well. They can balance without any support for maybe a 5 count, but that's not too shabby.

In other news, I might be starting a full time job -- from home. My old newspaper called me and mentioned the possibility. It would involve some feature-writing, pagination/editing/layout, and would, after 4 months, include full benefits. That is KEY. We want to have more children, but can't afford to pay for a pregnancy/delivery out of pocket. The job would pay about $28-30,000 a year. I would have to go to the office for meetings, probably once a week and go in a few times a week for a bit to send pages to press. But the rest would be from home. The only issue barring it now is whether they can acquire the laptop I'd need to paginate with. I have been thinking though, that it might be worthwhile to purchase my own if they can't because I'll be gaining a good salary for very little investment in the scheme of things. But hopefully they will be able to get one out of the budget! So I'll keep you up to date on the news there!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Our First Birthday party

First is a little photo story of our birthday party yesterday. (Our actual birthday is Wednesday...) There aren't many pictures of gift opening and whatnot because it was a CRAZY mess of kids handing me presents and trying to stop Lily and Eve from eating the paper strewn about. We also didnt' get too many people pictures. Or many pictures in general! But here is a little bit of their special day! When I have more time (working tonight) I'll try to write more about it.



And next is a video of the girls' cake-eating antics!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

To all you moms out there -- I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day! (Debra, hope your little ones weren't still sick with RSV...) We had a good day. Went to my sister-in-law's house and celebrated with them and both sets of grandparents. I got a few things from Eric, Lily and Eve -- including a necklace with the girls' birthstone, kind of as a place holder because Eric wanted to get something with two of their birthstone and two with our birthstone, to represent the whole family! They match so well too, with the girls being dark green (emerald) and ours being light green (peridot)!

And if that wasn't enough, Lily can now cruise along the couch. Slowly, but she does it. And Evie can stand up without holding on or being held for about 5 seconds. She needs balance work, but that is definitely progress. Lily doesn't do as well at that as she will fling herself forward to grab onto me when I try to let her go! They are so cute though. And their birthday is 9 days away!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Can't believe it.

One year ago May 11 I was admitted to the hospital with the girls and I still really can't believe it has been that long already. It feels like yesterday in some respects, though thankfully a majority of the NICU is a blur. Unfortunately, the parts that aren't a blur are the WORST parts of it...and I would love to forget those.

Anyway, I promised a blog post about fanfiction, so here is a little bit about that for those who are interested. I started writing fanfiction back in middle school, when I was an avid SeaQuest fan. Basically, it is where fans take the show, movie, book, comic book, etc, and use those established characters, settings, sometimes even plots, and change them to their liking. Some are short pieces, others, like one of my Lord of the Rings pieces, are 100,000 words or more. They are so much fun to read and write! Currently I have posted online stories from Star Wars, from when I was MUCH younger, and stories from Lord of the Rings, Dukes of Hazzard and Pirates of the Carribbean, from more recent years. Some of mine are unfinished and might never BE finished. Others are complete. I post at www.fanfiction.net under the screenname Gwenneth. My old fics are under the name rialin2032. I love that site because so many visit it and I love to get reviews from readers. I have written for a few other places, but that is the most accessible. I'm working ona few more Star Wars fics, in the Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith time period. I'm also working on a few Harry Potter stories. I'm a HUGE fan of Draco turning good stories, so those are predominantly what I write.

Anyone who wants more info can always comment or e-mail me! It's a great deal of fun and very relaxing for me.

Friday, May 9, 2008

This question thingy

I'm bored, figured I'd participate...

4 things I was doing 10 years ago (1998):
♥ I was still in high school, didn't graduate until 2000
♥ In April of 98 I began my training in Tae Kwon Do (I'm a third degree black belt now)
♥ Preparing for a band trip to Germany that would last two weeks (ended up being totally awesome!)
♥ I turned 16 that August

4 things I was doing 5 years ago (2003):
♥ bought our first house that November
♥ turned 21 in August and went to Ozzfest in Pennsylvania that day
♥ got my second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do
♥ working hard at college on my journalism degree

4 things I did yesterday
:♥ had a horrid migraine and slept a lot
♥ wrote a little of my fanfiction story
♥ started making my mother's day presents for my mom and mom-in-law
♥ rocked a cranky, teething baby to sleep

4 shows I love to watch: (since I don't have television, I don't watch tv regularly, but I love these series')
♥ the pretender
♥ hannah montana
♥ seaquest
♥ dukes of hazzard

4 things that make me really happy:
♥ going into the nursery in the morning and finding both my girls standing in the cribs and having them laugh and smile at me
♥ a hike in the spring when all the green starts to show on the trees
♥ reading a wonderful fanfiction story
♥ getting reviews on stories i've written

I'm not going to tag anyone as most people I visit in the blogosphere have already done this. But if you haven't, do it if you want to and consider yourself tagged!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Not much time...

I wanted to update quickly. EI came and we are definitely qualified for speech therapy. The girls both performed at a 3-6 month level in that area. There was a 15 percent delay and a 20 percent delay in the gross motor skills area. Both girls were age appropriate in fine motor skills (they corrected to 10 months for their prematurity). All in all it wasn't bad and the women were really surprised how well-behaved LIly and Eve are, but we knew that! We will have a meeting to discuss the therapy. The PT lady was going to talk to the service coordinator about PT for hte girls but because they weren't delayed 25 percent, but 15 and 20, they TECHNICALLY don't qualify.

AND a new video to enjoy!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

On the Move

It's been a while since that post with Lily's first crawl and BOY are the girls completely different kids already! Now they both crawl, both can kneel and play with toys, both can stand on their own at the gates or in bed, and both are advancing in leaps and bounds with their play. I swear, Early Intervention, who is coming tomorrow afternoon, is going to find that in the month since the referral, the kids have completely changed. Maybe even caught up!

And their first birthday is right around the corner. For those family and close friends who read this, YOU'RE INVITED, even if you didn't get an invitation yet. (Because I haven't had a chance to send any...) The party is May 17, a Saturday, at 2 p.m. at our house. You can get their later if you so desire, but not much earlier if you can help it! Anyone is free to bring some food if you like, as well, though there will be food there.

Back to the babies. Let's see, they can both hold their own bottles now, though we are still behind in terms of chewing anything. Perhaps they'll be far enough behind in speech to qualify for a speech therapist! I wouldn't mind as I don't have a clue how to help them learn that. I mean, I look like a cow chewing grass trying to show them how to move their mouths. And all they do is smile and laugh at you!

They are definitely a lot more fun now that they can play. They have gotten good at picking up little tiny things, and so we ahve to be extra careful in the house now. They still beeline for the dog food dish if they get out of the corral we use to block them into one and half rooms of the downstairs. We can put things in and take things out of boxes and toy bins now too, which is nice, so they can pull out their own toys if they really want to.

All right, back to work now...I've got a deadline to meet!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

AH. Crawl!

Okay, so I was wrong. (Erin, immediately after I said Eve would crawl first, Lily had to prove me wrong!) Yup, Lily just crawled. To reach a pepperoni wrapper, no less. That's right, an empty wrapper. And here she is!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Some milestones!

All right! Our milestones are Lily-centric. She can now sit up all by herself from a laying/rolling around position. And get DOWN from sitting up without falling. She is SO close to crawling, but still no go there. She can also clap! It's rather cute because she gets soooo excited.

The other news is that the girls officially got their first feel of grass today! It was about 65 outside and we took them out at their grandparents' house and sat them in the grass. Eve wasn't at all thrilled with it, and Lily took a few minutes to warm up to it before proceeding to roll around and sit up and everything. Eve preferred to stand propped against someone. She would tolerate sitting, but didn't want to lay on her tummy. She would turn onto her side and balance herself there, seeming to try and minimize how much of her made contact with the grass.

All right, that's it. Babies are ffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuusssssssssssssssssyyyyyyyyy. So I have to go!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Developmental appointment

Well here I thought the girls were doing great! BUT the developmental people are "worried" and so we got a referral to early intervention. I didn't know there was a specific WAY in which the girls were supposed to be playing, versus just picking things up and moving and toying with them. But I guess there is! So when they focused on one toy, or when they held two but didn't care to "figure out" how to hold a third in front of them, they are considered behind for their adjusted age. Actual is 10 and a few weeks, so adjusted is 8 and a few, nearly 9 months.

Lily plays more, bangs things, slides them around, passes from hand to hand, but doesn't tend to hold one toy in each hand. Eve does much the same, but held things in both hands a little more. So Lily is further behind there, totally not how I figured it!

They aren't making enough sounds either, apparently. They make dada, baba, mama sounds, but no vowel sounds really. It's all so confusing. If they hadn't been NICU babies I doubt we'd even be doing this.

It remains to be seen whether early intervention will deem them eligible when they come evaluate them. We'll have to wait and see next week. Of course, I'm WORKING next week, go figure.

So yeh, they aren't as caught up as we thought they'd be and they want us back in 6 months at developmental. They didn't comment on head size or anything, so I'm guessing that is good to go seeing as they did measure them. And they didn't think they would be eligible for any physical therapy assistance, just possibly speech and play therapy. THANKFULLY, EI is at home, so I wouldn't have to lug them into an office for that. And hey, if they are eligible, perhaps I would have something to look forward to that would break the monotony of the week.

Anyone have EI experience that they can share?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tagged...

OK then.

I was tagged by Debra.

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are my Facts:
1. I am an avid fanfiction writer. I write in the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings fandoms, predominantly, but I started a little something in the Dukes of Hazzard fandom that I never finished. Fave characters are Legolas, Aragorn, Obi-Wan, Anakin (before he's Vader), and Bo and Luke.

2. I studied Naval Architecture for two years at SUNY Maritime in the Bronx and spent two months aboard the school's training ship. As an engineering major, I was stuck in the really hot engine room, but I loved it. I learned amazing things, got to do amazing things. I could go on and on about the things I did.

3. While on summer sea term, we visited Philadelphia, Edinburgh, Copenhagen and the Canary Islands. I also visited various spots in Germany during a band exchange program in middle school. Traveling was so much fun!

4. I attended DEC camps for a few years in middle school and I remember we got caught in a downpour, lighting storm and had to hike MILES back to camp in it before we got completely flooded out. I was scared I'd get zapped by lightning because I had metal buttons on my raincoat...

5. I met my husband at my Tae Kwon Do school. I'm a third degree black belt, he's a fourth degree. Funny thing is, we both went to the same school for 5 or so years before we even knew the other existed! I didn't even know his name, though I'd seen him all the time. He even tested me for my green belt, but we don't remember each other.

6. I loved doing .22 rifle shoots with my father when I was younger. I started when I was about 12 and did pretty good, though I never really had competition in my division. I am still a good shot, if you ask Eric! I own a .22 rifle and also am permitted to carry/conceal a .22 caliber pistol. I have a Walther P22.

7. Ugh, what else... Well, during my Maritime days I marched in a number of New York City parades as a part of the school's marching band. Pretty nifty to be marching in the big apple. I mean, c'mon, not everyone can say they've done that!

SINCE I don't have the wherewithall to go look up who on my list of blogs I visited HASN'T been tagged, if you read this and weren't tagged for this...YOU'RE TAGGED NOW! Hehehe. Yeh, that's me being lazy...I didn't mention that fact about me, did I!? So yeh, if you didn't do this, consider yourself tagged.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Teeth, teeth and more teeth...

I was looking at the girls mouths today and one of Lily's top teeth is officially through now! The other is visible, but hasn't broken out yet. And Eve, the stinker, I can see THREE, count them, THREE teeth on top -- both middle teeth and the one to the right of them. No wonder they've been cranky! I didn't think they would be getting so many teeth at once! We haven't started anything like puffs or anything, because they tend to still suck food off spoons and I haven't seen evidence of them mashing anything. I guess it's also because I'm too chicken to try it... So when the teeth are in more I'll try to get some really toothy grins!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Some pics

Like Evie's "duck face" as we call it, Lily also has her trademark face. It looks like she is putting up her dukes for a fight! And she does this snuffing sound through her nose when she makes it!

And here is Evie playing in the kitchen under my scarf. It's really silky and she didnt seem to mind that I draped it over top of her, just went on reaching for her toys on the blanket. I thought she looked cute!

Not much new to report ont he girls, except that Lily has gotten a LITTLE better in the walker. Eve is still cruising everywhere and is very good at manuevering it. She was going from cabinet to cabinet trying to reach the handles, which she can't; pulling things off the low shelves and the refrigerator...nearly time for some serious baby-proofing.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

And she's off...

Evie suddenly figured out the walker today and was roaming from room to room downstairs! It was pretty exciting. She rolled into the kitchen and I called her name and she backpedaled into the dining room again to see me! She was doing really well. I had to pull the tablecloth up so she didn't pull it down. Time to get some clamps on that or do away with it...LIly wasn't so into the whole walker thing. She'll get it eventually I guess. She IS pulling up on her hands and knees now, just not GOING anywhere!

So, all you experienced preemie moms out there. The girls are caught up in size, so do we feed them according to what a normal 10monthold would be eating, or do we still do the adjusted age? I'm a biiiiit confused. And on that note, at 10 months, how much solid food were the kids eating? We give the girls half a container of 2nd foods around 12:30 or 1 p.m. and a whole container around 5:30 or 6 p.m. They get a 7 ounce bottle when the wake up (after 12 hours of nothing!), then a 5 ounce at 2:30 or 3 p.m. and another at 6:30 or 7 p.m. Before bed they get their 7-8 ounces, usually around 10 p.m. or 10:30 p.m. They go to bed 11ish. (I'm not a morning person and this way, I dont' have to be...I know we will probably ahve to scale things back as they get older and closer to school.)

I'm going to take a leaf out of a friend's book and make the girls headbands to go with their easter dresses. Ijust ahve to go out and get them! I want to get yellow adults stretchy bands and tie little colored bows on them. Nothing that will be tight or leave marks on their heads like some of the baby headbands I've seen. I'll post pics if I am successful!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

By the numbers

Not too baby related...sorry.

I've been doing some number crunching because we NEED to get out of debt and it looks like we have a "drum roll please" whopping $50 a month to play with! WOW...Eric makes that alone. I'm not counting my not-so-usual payments, so that will be more play money if we need it. (Or perhaps go into a little savings cushion.) WE have two high APR credit cards of Erics that need paying off. Mine has a fixed 4.99 percent, so we can put that on the backburner with minimums. Then we would pay that off. Then we could paydown the medical bills. Then work on the bigger things like student loans and the car. I know it will be along process and the most important thing RIGHT NOW will be to avoid late payments.

Get this...if I make the minimum on my credit card LATE...I pay $50 but get charged late payment fee of $39 so I'm only paying $11 a month! Just paying on TIME will help reduce that much faster. Imagine what that would do to a credit card with a 20 percent APR...you'd probably end up owing more than you used in the first place! We averaged about $400 a month in groceries, so I'm going to see if we can STICK to it. Baby formula is a given, you can't fudge it. But for us...I'm going to see what I can do to reduce it.

Any suggestions on getting the grocery bill down? That's the one place where I really think we have the power to make strides. You can't do much about gas when Eri needs it to get to work. You can't do much about oil and electric really either. Sure, shut off lights. I could go the extra mile and unplug everything at night to save a penny or something...but groceries are key I think.

All right, enough rambling. We are trying to do our taxes now, and hoping to get $2,000 or so back (yah right....) That's why we started thinking about debt reduction. And if we can do it ourselves, why pay someone to do it for us. I thought about calling to see if I can negotiate something witht he medical bills. Maybe I can, who knows. (I dont' see pigs flying, so that's probably going to be a wasted call!)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What we've been doing

Two new things for the girls. The first, I whipped out the "CAGE" as I call it. Here it is in all its baby-filled glory...

the CAGE (ehem baby gate)

At first, the girls were looking at me through the holes like "Mom, what the heck is this thing and why are WE inside and you're not?" Then they just went about their business and played and rolled around. I had them sitting up in it with pillows too, but not in the picture. Lily can sit up for like 45 minutes without any trouble now. Eve CAN, but she seems to like her tummy more. Funny that, she used to be our tummy time trouble maker.

The other little development in our house, Evie's beginning to undress herself. Okay, okay, she pulls her arm out of her shirt if it is loose enough and longsleeved. Here she is, happily chewing on it after getting it off her arm...

halfway there

About it on the news end. Both girls are just eating and playing away the days. They've gotten pretty good about sleeping when I put them down for naps (two a day and sometimes a third...like Lily falling asleep in the bouncer chair...)

We go to the developmental pediatrician on April 4. I can't wait to see where they stand now. They were both low normal for their adjusted age in November. I'm hoping they are close to their actual age now. But having no other kids of our own to base things on, we have NO idea. And every kid is different anyway, right!?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Evie finds her rhythm...

She finally took to it and boy was she having fun!!



And so we don't leave Lily out today...here she is. She likes eating so much that when she was finished with her meal, so wouldn't let go of the spoon. She kept it in there for a few MINUTES. Not just seconds.

AND THEN, to make the situation even funnier. Eve felt left out and...



Monday, March 3, 2008

It always hits me...

This is going to be a somber post, so steer away if you don't want to read it.

A 15-year-old local high school freshman was killed in a car accident this past week. We have determined that she was the niece of a man we knew from our martial arts school. It always hits me particularly hard when a young person dies. Not that older people don't mean as much to me, but it hurts when it is someone who is just getting their feet wet in the huge ocean of life. I look at my girls and I still sometimes can't believe I have children. I can not begin to fathom what this young lady's mother (and father) are feeling right now. Another 15-year-old is in critical condition at the PICU of the hospital our girls spent their time in the NICU. While I know how it feels to stare at your baby and not be able to do anything, i don't know what it means to stare at your child and not know if they will live. I sit here and wish there was something I could do besides just pray for these people.

If that isn't enough, I open Yahoo news and find the story of 6 people found dead in a Memphis home, including two children, as well as three other children wounded-- all under the age of 12. And the killings at the Wendy's. And the killings at the universities. And the stores like the Lane Bryant shootings. I can't help but wonder what motivates people to kill. I know I know, I might as well contemplate the meaning of life while I'm at it.

Why am I blathering about this? Because part of me wants to live in the middle of nowhere and live off the land because as unlikely as it is, I hate that one day WE could be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Have you ever thought that? Maybe I'm just a tad nutty. Not to sound like Rambo or anything, but I'm very glad that I have a carry/conceal pistol permit and a martial arts background. Both of which I would not hesitate to use to protect my family. It is so senseless.

I guess aside from prayer the best we can do right now is cherish what we have and enjoy every second of life with our families, friends and children.

*Getting off my soap box* And now, we return to our regular scheduled programming of happy-go-lucky babyness. Uhm...later, though, as it's rather late.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A good laugh

Just a little something my father e-mailed to me today...I thought it was funny and decided to share it with all your moms out there with kids that are at this age now!

> One day my mother was out and my dad was in charge of me.
>
> I was maybe 2 1/2 years old and had just recovered from an accident.
>
> Someone had given me a little 'tea set' as a get-well gift and it was
> one of my favorite toys.
>
> Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when I
> brought Daddy a little cup of 'tea', which was just water.
>
>
> After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my
> Mom came home.
>
> My Dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of
> tea, because it was 'just the cutest thing!'  My Mom waited, and sure
> enough, here I come down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy and she
> watches him drink it up.
>
> Then she says, (as only a mother would know... :)
>
>
>
> 'Did it ever occur to you that the only place that baby can reach to
> get water is the toilet?'

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The middle name thing

Got tagged by Arizona...so here is my middle name thing. I'm using "anne" because I definitely do NOT want to use my maiden name...who would if their maiden name was as long as Kirschenheiter...

Here are the rules:

You must post the rules before you give your answers. You must list one fact about yourself for each letter of your middle name. Each fact must begin with that letter. If you don't have a middle name, just use your maiden name. After you've been tagged, you need to up-date your blog with your middle name and answers. At the end of your post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged and need to read your blog for details).

A- Arc welding is something most people can safely say they have never done. Not me! I did arc welding in my machine shop class at Maritime. Along with metal work using a lathe, oxyacetaline cutting, case hardening etc. etc.

N- Naval architecture was my first college major and I spent two years at SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx studying it. I still love everything about ships and their inner workings, but I left the field to pursue writing. Silly me.

N- Nature lover here! I attended Department of Environmental Conservation education camps when I was younger and I still love hiking and climbing in our state parks. We have a bunch of them. I loved camping and hope to take the girls on camping trips when they are older.

E- Eric, my husband, and I met at our Tae Kwon Do school. We both attended the school together for MANY years before we even noticed each other. Actually he noticed me and asked a bunch of times if I would go to eat with him. I kept saying NO until our school owner's wife pushed and pushed and I said yes. The rest is history, as they say!

That's all. I have to figure out who I can tag. Most likely everyone blogger I know has already BEEN tagged...so I might not be able to tag anyone!! :-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The pediatrician

Today was our February RSV shot appointment and I had forgotten how HEAVY it is to carry two babies in their carriers, along with a diaper bag that kept falling off my shoulder until I put it over my head -- where it proceeded to strangle me instead. Then the pediatrician's office can't have one entrance door, NO it has to have one door then a SECOND door to the right, so I have to bang into walls getting through the two of them and there is no chance the girls would remain asleep after I do that!


I get there 15 minutes early -- and end up waiting over half an hour because the previous baby has asthma and the doctor had to describe how to use the nebulizer thingy, and call the pharmacy, and so on and so forth. So I had my girls sitting on blankets on the bench because they were NOT about to sit in their carriers quietly for half an hour! I didn't let them touch anything but their blanket. When it was our turn, I lugged them into the office and learned I was now lugging 44 pounds of baby around, as they each weigh 22 pounds!


THe RSV dose they need now is large, so they get it in two shots. One in each arm. And when I'm trying to hold two babies, one who is getting shots, it isn't that easy. I gave Lily to the receptionist, Anna, to hold while we finished up with Eve. And now we have to go BACK next week bcause the snow prevented the lab from picking up blood samples so the girls didn't get their 9-month blood draw. UGH.


I got some samples of formula, the Enfamil concentrated liquid, and then had to figure out how to add THAT to my load when I was leaving. Thankfully a pharmaceutical rep was there and offered to carry it and open the doors for me. That was VERY nice! I wish more people were nice like that! I drow home in the HUGE snowflake flurries, which got heavier as we went. Now it is really snowing and I'm glad I don't have anywhere else to go. The babies aren't that grouchy, considering they got RSV shots. YAY I might give them a nice warm bath later and sit down and read or something. But right now, food...must make me some food. A pic...for you loyal readers.
Lily wouldn't fall asleep so I gave her a toy mirror to play with. I went back in a few minutes later and found her like this. I guess maybe she felt like she was sleeping with Eve?? :-)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Contemplation and Coolness

Pics speak for themselves...

Contemplation. She sure looks like she's thinking hard about something to me...(it's Lily...)




And Miss Coolness. (Eve at the nursing home visiting her great-grandmother)


Friday, February 22, 2008

Bounce away!

Hah, Lily likes the Johnny Jump Up thing! She took a few tries before she got the hang of the jumping but she seems to enjoy it now. Eve still hangs there, or rather spins in circles, and will eventually start to cry. It might just take a few more tries, or she might not like it at all. Here is Lily enjoying her new toy:

video

And some cute pics for your enjoyment, since I finally got around to uploading them from the camera! First is Eve, eating a toy as usual.


Second is just a cute Lily!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Eating and sleeping

Our girls have taken NO interest in holding their bottles. Today they took to baby food like it was the last food on earth finally. Usually they spit it all out. So it looks like they are ready. They are almost 7 months adjusted age, so it's about time, right? They just snacked on 1/2 a jar of rice cereal and applesauce. Eve would launch herself forward to get to the spoon. Lily just sat and waited, but kept pulling my HAND forward when I wasn't fast enough. They are not too messy anymore either so that's a good sign. I gave them 8 ounces this morning at 11 a.m when they decided to wake up finally. Then at 2:30 they got their half jar each and now they are playing. I'll offer them a 6 ounce bottle at 3:30 or so and see what they take. Our prob is the girls NEVER refuse a bottle or only drink part they drink they wholllllllle thing. And we already know for preemies they are big. Not obese big, but already caught up in size and in a higher percentile even for their actual age. So we worry they eat tooo much if you let them just go at it. I'll try giving them some peas for dinner. They tolerate squash, sweet potatoes, rice cereal, applesauce and carrots so far.

I've been surprised by their sleeping habits. Eve will go to bed at 10:30 and sleep until 11 the next morning without whining. Lily, on the other hand, wants to stay up til 1 a.m. and then will sleep until 11. I like the sleeping later sometimes but I think they are sleep a LOT at night. But even if I wake them up earlier, they don't go to sleep any better. Maybe they're just going through a phase or something. I'm clueless when it comes to sleeping and eating norms. And my ped isn't the best with advice. He's the "get-em-in-and-out" kind of appointments and I don't like it. As soon as we finish up the RSV season we are swtiching peds.

On the standing up, our girls love to stand up when you hold their hands (or their shirts). If you pull on their arms, they don't go into a sitting position they stand up. They both like sitting on the floor between pillows. They dont need the pillows much, but they scream if they hit the floor when the fall over, so this avoids them. They take toys away from each other now, but they don't really really play with each other. They do make noises at each other from across the room in bouncys sometimes which is cute. They each have two teeth. We haven't thought about anything SOLID yet, like finger stuff. I don't think they are ready for that! Some people I talk to on message boards are trying bananas and stuff already.

No signs of crawling yet. Sometimes I think they might go, but nope. Eve rolls all over. Lily just kind hangs out. I'd like them to crawl but at the same time, maybe not. It'd be nice so they can reach the toys they toss away but then I have to get the gate up and make sure they can't get anywhere dangerous.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wake UP!

Since both girls seem to be REALLY awake at their bedtime, I am going to try to get them up earlier in the morning. Apparently they are sort of up around 9:30, but don't CRY until 10:30 sometimes 11 now. They fall back asleep! And i think that might be making them stay up later and later, which is becoming a problem. So I went in and got them this morning at 9:30 and they are eating now at 10. Instead of up at 10:30, eating at 11. The hour might help, who knows. They seem happy about it. Tonight will probably tire them out anyway because Eric and I are going out somewhere for Valentines Day and dropping them off at their grandparents' house. So it is going to be a long night for them (and us...) We aren't sure where we are going yet but we'll find something.

Right now I have to get the place semi-cleaned up for when (or if at this point) the hazard insurance claims adjuster comes to check out our water damage. We had a mini-Niagara Falls in the house. This one wall, which is partially redone, has a cascade of water running through it. If we hadn't had a piece of sheetrock off still, we would only have see the water seeping through the joints and not the extent of how MUCH water is really running through the wall. It was literally a constant drip that filled about 6 full sized bath towels during the day yesterday before it slowed down. And this is drenching 100+ year old wood framing! So I called the insurance company, because it is OBVIOUSLY a roof leak. They said to get a contractor in here and fix the leak (patch, whatever) asap. Of course the company I've contacted has YET to call me back. If they don't respond by noon or 1ish, I am going to have to call someone else. ERic's father is a contractor, but we're afraid having the same last name as the contractor we hire might jeopardize the claim or something. I'M worried that not getting the leak fixed NOW is going to jeopardize it. We probably have like 48 hours from the leak's discovery or some crazy, impossible-to-obey rule like that. It be so LIKE the insurance industry.

Anyway, the girls are playing on the floor between a bunch of pillows. It's the best way to keep them from toppling. They CAN sit up for a long time, but if they get overzealous they fall over and bang their head and get upset and I might as well build them a pillow-fort! If I locate the camera cable, I COULD post pictures. But I can't seem to find it right now.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

New layout

SO, my husband and I spent 12 hours...yes, that is a LOT of hours, making our living room our dining room! Switching the rooms! It was nuts, and we had to remove and move a massive built-in entertainment center, but the way itis now gives us MUCH more room and the living room is now cozy and warm feeling. We DID block off a doorway, but I LIKE it. Of course, when we move, which we will someday, we'll have to remove the built-in thingy and reopen that doorway for buyers. This is OUR style, not theres. But really, the new looks and the open space is SO much nicer. We're not done, I am going to try to finish up the rest of the organization/moving/cleaning up. (Yeh, ME cleaning and not complaining about it.) I'm sure I'll run out of steam, but this is good for now. I'll try to post pics, just cuse sometimes it's neat to be able to SEE what someone is talking about!!!

I have been offered ANOTHER temp job at my old employer but I'm not so sure I want to take this one. They are trying to leave it so open-ended that I'm afraid they are going to try to push too many hours on me because they won't give me a definitive "here is what you would work." The county gov't reporter, which was my old job, is taking a 4-5 week leave of absence and they need someone to cover her meetings. FINE. For two weeks out of the month (the final two) that would be 1-2 meetings Mon-Thurs for only 30 minuts to an 1 at most. Sometimes you get a story, sometimes you don't. NOW, if they just wanted me to go and cover the meetings, then go home and write up anything I get, that would be fine. BUT they are trying to push me to "man the office" a couple nights a week too and I don't WANT to do that. It's why I left the job in the irst place. I don't want to work all day with the kids and then work ALL night at the office. So, I'm in a dilemma. I'd like the extra money, but I don't want to do anything more than cover her meetings or do stories she might have been assigned. And FROM HOME. None of this office stuff. I mean, c'mon, this is EXACTLy the job I left to take care of the babies, how could they even imagine that I'd come back on a temp basis to do it!? I don't know. I'm temped to just fill in for her next week and let them get someone else to do the rest. Money is wonderful but at the expense of sanity???

Lily is still being a cranky butt at bed time. She is WIDE awake from 11 to about 12:30 in the morning and it is annoyyyyyyying. You try to put her in bed, it's a scream fest. But you sit her on the couch and she's happy to bang on the pillows. Thankfully I was up anyway last night, so I put her to bed when I went up to bed and she cried for a few minutes then fell asleep. They're napping now so I'm going to see about some lunch.