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 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!