Saturday, January 26, 2013

Confessions of a trypanophobic mom

I confess: I once thought I wanted to be a doctor. After a short stint as a candy striper, I realized I did not like the pungent smell of hospitals, the sight of blood, or even the thought of needles.

As I grew older, my dislike turned into a downright phobia. When I had my tonsils removed at age 19, the nurse recorded in my medical chart: Patient has a phobia of needles. (And, yes, there is a term for a phobia of needles: trypanophobia).
Image Credit

I tried to believe people who told me when I got pregnant and had children of my own that these fears would lessen.

And, in some ways, those people were right. Not even trypanophobia kept me from the needle-intense fertility treatments or from bending over and gladly accepting the epidural before my c-section.


I confess: I still don’t like it. I know all about medical necessity, especially as a parent, but it doesn’t mean I can’t avoid it when possible. For example:

I confess: I’ve closed my eyes during every vaccination my kids have ever received. (And, with twins, that’s a lot of eye- closing). I passed the thermometer to Marty when it was time to take their temperature “that way.” I let Marty measure the Tylenol and force down all of the other yummy medications. I leave the nebulizer treatments to him.

I confess: I justify this sharing of responsibilities to myself by reasoning that Marty is a know-it-all pretty close to being a medical professional. He has a degree in sports medicine. He did an internship watching old people walk on a treadmill in cardiac rehab, and now, in his job in pharmaceutical contracts, he puts dollar amounts on negotiates documents that include words such as EKGs, MRIs, and CT scans. See, he’s practically a doctor’s worse nightmare doctor.

I confess: Marty doesn’t mind; in fact, I think he enjoys playing doctor and being important. And, for my part, I avoid the icky stuff that makes me cringe, all the while knowing that my Babies are in good, less nervous hands.

But, every now and then, I find myself squarely in a 9-1-1 situation where I can’t close my eyes. Last Thursday was one of those situations…

I confess: I knew as soon as Emily fell in the lobby of the Cheesecake Factory, onto the hard, cold marble floor, that we had a problem. In that slow motion, yet blink-of-an eye moment, I remember setting my wine glass down (good forward thinking, Melissa), scooping her up in my arms, and cringing as I saw the blood. I knew it was going to take more than a bandage to cover this boo-boo.

I confess: As I heard the wine glass break, I realized I hadn’t moved it far enough out of the swinging feet of the uninjured twin, Drew.

I confess: The broken glass was someone else’s problem, and I am grateful for my family who watched over Drew and the manager who handled the glass clean- up.

I confess: I was also grateful for Marty, who with the eye of a semi- trained medical professional, took one look at Emily’s chin (so I didn’t have to) and decided we needed to get her to an Urgent Care as quickly as possible.

I confess: I surprised myself with how calmly I handled the situation from there. I looked up the closest doctor’s office, arranged for Drew to stay with my family at the restaurant (where we were gathered to celebrate my mom’s birthday), and then drove us safely, in a cold, almost icy rain, to the Urgent Care that was thankfully less than a mile away.

I confess: Marty and I took turns holding Emily as she vacillated between wanting me and wanting Daddy, and as hard as it was to wipe the blood and hold the ice pack while she cried, I did it, even though, I was crying right along with her.

I confess: I got a little queasy (and a whole lot of emotional) when the PA decided the gash was too deep for the Dermabond glue and instead recommended stitches—three of them to be exact.

I confess: I let Marty hold her while she got the stitches while I nervously paced, back and forth, just out of view of the action.

I confess: Thirty minutes later, when we rejoined the family at the Cheesecake Factory, I sat amazed at the quickness of the whole ordeal, the bravery and resilience of my little girl, and the strength of my nerves when tested. (I was also grateful for the replacement glass of wine that tasted even better than the one broken earlier).

I confess: Five days later, as I sat alone in the pediatrician’s office with Emily, waiting for the doctor to come in and remove the stitches, I tried my best to put on a brave face.

I confess: I held Emily tightly as the doctor did a piss-poor job of trying to remove stitches from a wiggly, frightened two and a half year old. When his hand slipped and he snipped her little chin with the scissors, creating a new gash, it took everything in me not to yell at him to stop, to openly question how he ever received a license to practice medicine on children, and to request he send in someone more qualified. But, for the sake of my child, I remained calm, talking Emily through the worst of it, and remembering that any scar would be just that—a scar. Nothing more.

I confess: Hours later, at opening night of our favorite NHL hockey team, the grisly memories of our doctor’s visit earlier in the day seemed so far away.

Until Emily decided to lean too far forward and popped her forehead on the seat in front of us... And, I thought, “Oh, ^&%$. Here we go again…”

I confess: The pre-mom Melissa might have freaked at this point. But twin-mom Melissa has responsibilities—namely another child who needed me to get him safely up the stairs. I remained calm as I gathered our stuff and wrangled Drew up the stairs. Marty, with Emily cradled in his arms, was already halfway to the first aid station.

I confess: Relieved doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt when the nurse could find no signs of a concussion—a big, blue bruise, yes—but no concussion.

I confess:While I contemplate buying a bubble in which we can enclose Emily, she seems to be taking all of this doctoring in stride, perhaps even using it as an opportunity to explore a future career in medicine.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

P&C: Week 3

In a house with hundreds of children's books (many of which litter our living room floor and lurk under car seats), it is funny how certain books make their way out of the pack and into the category of favorites.

Way back in February 2011, I shared some of the books that had already reached classic status at our house:

Are You My Mother?
Love You Forever
How Do I Love You?
Time for Bed

Almost two years later, we still love these books, and I love how the Babies can "read" the books back to me: filling in the words or re-telling the story, page by page.

(I can't believe I've never shared how much we love, When Mama Comes Home Tonight, a sweet little book about a working mom and the time shared at the end of the day.)

Just because we have tried and true favorites doesn't mean I have stopped trying to broaden their interests.

Getting new books is one of our Christmas traditions, one that I started with my niece and nephew before I ever had children of my own. Each year, they get a hardback book with a note in the cover.

This year, at the suggestion of Julia from Pontifications of a Twin Mom, I bought Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site.

This book was second only to the train set in the "Best Christmas Gift of the Year" category!

While Emily enjoys the book, her interest doesn't take on the same ardor as Drew's does.

Of course, seeing him love a book makes me smile. But, I absolutely swell with pride when he says the words along with me, adding his own inflection and mannerisms...

You should hear him sigh with the Crane Truck.

Or whisper, "Good night, ex-ca-bator, good night."

Makes me smile--like peas and cheese.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Conquering Dinner...One Meal at a Time

Yesterday, fitness blogger and concerned aunt, Carolyn of Full-on Fit, shared some practical tips on how to help kids stay active, and in turn, fight obesity and Type II diabetes.

Faithful MaMe Musings' readers know that the topic of healthy eating is one that is important to me, but it is also an area where I find myself in a constant struggle.

Eating well and exercise do not come easy to me.

When you see me posting recipes and health tips, it's not because I am a culinary know-it-all or an always-eats-my-veggies braggart.

Quite the contrary...I am just trying to pay it forward (and perhaps hold myself accountable, too) by sharing what I have learned either (1) the hard way or (2) as the result of hours of online research).

It's not that I don't want to be healthy. I do.

It's just that lack of time, my love of carbs, and my disinterest in exercise work against me.

And, sometimes, like yesterday, it's just laziness.

I had the day off work, and in a moment of motherly weakness, I decided to keep the Babies home from school instead of taking them and enjoying a kid-free holiday. (That's the topic of another post all together--"Do you send your kids to school when you are off work just so you can get a day of peace?" But, I digress...)

We didn't get out of our pajamas all day. Lunch was left-over crock pot chicken tortilla soup. Seriously, this is the first crock pot meals I have ever cooked that was eaten all gone! We will definitely be adding this recipe to our rotation.

At the suggestion of my nutritionist, I now only buy 2% reduced fat cheese. She actually recommends 2% over fat-free since 2% doesn't have the fillers used in fat-free. Since I do the grocery shopping, we have also switched to 100% whole grain, much to my husband's chagrin. (He loves some white bread)!

Another way I've been trying to conquer dinner, one meal at a time, is to plan our meals on Sunday and then shop from a list for those meals. I think I've posted details about this planning process before, but to recap, I try to do one meatless meal, one meal containing fish, and something easy in the crockpot. The fish night is always a hard one.

And guess what was on the plan for last night?

Fish. Cod with Italian Crumb Topping, to be exact.

Apparently, lounging in one's pajamas all day doesn't leave one craving fish.

No, it leaves this mama wanting something saucy, something cheesy, something greasy...

Like pizza!

With the husband standing ready to call our favorite pizza place for carry-out, I decided to jump ahead in this week's meal plan to Friday: homemade pizza.

Except, I wasn't feeling up to making my own dough. (Hey, it was only Monday).

So, I made a last-minute adjustment that turned out to be a big hit: homemade pizzas on English muffins.

Before you start conjuring up images from your college dorm room days of those English muffin pizzas laden with fatty cheese, let me share how we made these pizzas a bit more healthy...

  • whole grain English muffins
  • reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • sautéed veggies: red onion, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms
  • fresh sliced tomatoes
  • turkey sausage and turkey pepperoni
  • organic pizza sauce
  • a spinach side salad (for mommy)

    Emily and Drew loved helping add the toppings to their pizzas and they ate the whole thing and asked for seconds.

    Prep was minimal. Cooking time was short. And clean-up a breeze.

    And, just like that, I've knocked out two meals this week and have made it to our first "eating out" night. We're headed to the Canes' opening night, where all kinds of temptations await...

    Hey, hockey's back. What can I say?

    Did you know that MaMe Musings has a Facebook page? We do!

    If you're interested in getting in on the meal planning action, "LIKE" our page and check in on Sundays when I post the meal plan for the week and beg ask for your suggestions.

    Surely, together, we can conquer this dinner thing--one meal at a time!

  • Monday, January 21, 2013

    Helping My Cousins (Guest Post)

    In today's guest post, Carolyn shares how the smallest members of her family inspired all of them to make some big changes. As someone who is always struggling with what to cook and how, this post reminds me that while eating well and exercising might not be easy, it's definitely worth it, especially since I am setting the standard of normal for Emily and Drew.

    After reading Carolyn's advice here, be sure to visit her blog for more tips on healthy living. Then, come back to MaMe Musings each day this week as I share different ways we are making small changes for better health.

    Helping My Cousins: Diabetes Prevention for 2013

    The New Year came really quickly for my family. It seemed like we were just preparing some diabetes-friendly meals for Christmas when all of a sudden, it was 2013! I'm grateful for so many things, particularly my little cousin's ongoing progress after recently being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Last November, during American Diabetes Month, I learned that my family wasn't alone in this kind of struggle. More and more kids every year develop Type 2 Diabetes. The two main controllable factors of type 2 Diabetes are a healthy diet and physical activity. According to St. Joseph’s Hospital Cardiac Center, 1 in 3 of today’s kids are diagnosed as obese, with a large majority of them obtaining a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis as well. So with the New Year, my resolve is still the same. I want to help my cousin achieve better blood sugar levels while also educating those who have a similar situation on how to help their kids stay away from this chronic illness.

    Getting Started in 2013

    My cousin has come a long way from where she started. With a love of sugar, kids really develop these unhealthy eating habits that help lead them along a path towards diabetes. All of my cousins have struggled with this recently, but my younger cousin really had the worst time and was actually diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Throughout my family, that was a wake up call and we started to plan meals better. That's really what it takes to beat diabetes. You have to make sure that you regulate blood sugar, stay away from fast food and processed snacks, while also providing lots of energy foods.

    Portion control became my little cousin's mantra. Non-starchy vegetables, some lean protein and something hearty like mashed potatoes (we have now switched to mashed cauliflower though, because it is a healthier substitute) or corn was allowed. Treats were also allowed but only for complex sugar like strawberries, melon and oranges (my cousins looove to get frozen yogurt and add these fruit toppings!). My cousins still aren't used to eating this way but this is how habits start, and it's a journey.

    Exercising in the New Year

    Kids don't really jump to the word exercise, but they love dancing, being silly, competition and sports, and playing. Outside, I love a game of basketball or 21 with my cousins. They love the competition and are always running around. Some other fun games to play inside include Dance Dance Revolution and Zumba for Kids. These are wonderful programs that really get kids moving around and burning off all the energy that they take in with food.

    Additional activities we have done:

    - Swimming at the indoor pool at the local college
    - Yoga and Pilates in my “workout room” in my basement
    - Scavenger hunts and obstacle courses when the weather was warmer
    - Neighborhood games of kickball, soccer, capture-the-flag, and tag
    - Nature hikes in the woods by my house

    Whatever activities you choose, it’s easier to get kids on board if they don’t think of it as exercise. Use the things they like and get creative with it are a sure way to get kids more active on a regular daily schedule!

    Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at!

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    Love is bigger

    I confess: I am one of those people who remembers important dates and recalls exactly what I was doing on those dates.


    April 30-the day I bought my first house on my own

    December 12—the date I first met my husband.


    October 8- the day I found out I was pregnant

    I confess: January 18 is one of those dates for me.

    I confess: Despite how my eerie recall of this date might look, I am really okay.

    I confess: The past year has been a time of healing and looking forward.

    I confess: At various points throughout the year, I’ve found myself sad and wistful while simultaneously calm and satisfied.

    I confess: Over the past year, I’ve figured out some things that were so unclear in the face of loss.

    I confess: I’ve figured out I can do hard things even if that just means putting one foot in front of the other.

    I confess: Physically, I know I don’t want to go through another pregnancy. I know I am done.

    I confess: That doesn’t mean we are done growing our family.

    I confess: Marty and I have been seriously exploring the possibility of adoption.

    I confess: We don’t know how this process is going to play out. Just like the decision to try to have a baby, the decision to adopt is fraught with questions, uncertainties, and a wee bit of insecurity. It is a leap of faith.

    I confess: What we do know—that our hearts are being called to grow our family though adoption—is, however, stronger than those doubts.

    I confess: I don’t have a lot of details to share beyond what I already have. We are researching, attending seminars, talking to parents who have been through the process already. Most importantly, we are still prayerfully considering options and remaining faithful that the path and the timing will be made clear.

    I confess: we’ve hesitated to share our plans because there’s always the chance it won’t work out. Oh, wait. Isn’t that the way it is with anything in life? I learned last January that telling or not telling doesn’t change outcomes…

    I confess: I am sure people will still say (unintentional) hurtful things, like, “Your family is perfect already.” Or “How in the world will you manage with a third?” or “Do you have any idea of how much money it costs to adopt/raise a child?”

    I confess: I don’t care anymore. It’s another thing that has changed for me this past year. As I was told last January, “God’s in control.”

    I confess: Love is bigger than my pride, my bank account, our diaper stash, sleeping in, my obsessive need for a clean house…

    and, finally,

    I confess: on this January 18, I know I still have a whole lot of love to give.

    One hundred years from now,
    It won't matter what car I drove,
    What kind of house I lived in,
    How much I had in my bank account,
    Nor what my clothes looked like,
    But, the world may be a little better
    Because I was important in the life of a child.
    - Unknown

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

    Peas and Cheese: Week 2

    In an effort to catch up with the calendar, I am backtracking and posting weeks 1-3 of Peas and Cheese/Project 52.

    Here's a peek at what was making us smile last week...

    Peas and Cheese: Week 2

    People often ask how Emily and Drew get along.

    Best friends?

    Best enemies?

    A little of both?

    Truthfully, most days around here resemble a wrestling match in which Marty and I are constantly refereeing a fight.

    If one has something, the other is sure to want it. One of them simply picking up a toy suddenly makes it the best toy in house.

    Then there's the competition over limited resources. Drew wants Mommy to carry him down the stairs? Well, of course, now Emily is going to want Mommy to carry her downstairs, too--at the same time.

    And, the tattling...

    "Mommy, Drew pooped."

    "Mommy, Drew threw the train car."

    "Mommy, Drew is on your computer."

    Or, the intolerance of the other's habits...

    "No, Emily. Don't sing!"

    "Drew, stop singing so loud."

    (Okay, maybe that issue is more about their singing in general).

    There's no romanticizing the twinship here.

    The reality is they are 2 and a half and they want what they want.

    So, what's making me smile?

    Sometimes, they just want each other.

    Like walking into their school, looking through the class window, and catching them riding the same tricycle--with smiles not screams.

    Or walking into their room and finding them in the same bed, reading a book together, laughing.

    And, before bed, hearing them tell each other...


    Makes me smile like peas and cheese.

    What's making you smile like peas and cheese?

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Bringing Back the Peas & Cheese


    Halfway through January and I am already trying to catch my breathe.

    Don't get me wrong.

    I am not complaining. It's not that things aren't good.

    It's just feels like we haven't completely found our groove yet.

    There's so much we're working on: waking up early so I can have time to read a morning devotional, getting the Babies to their new school, getting myself to work and back, doing grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, surviving our bedtime routine that takes forever, spending time with my husband, carving out time for my friends, exercise, showering...

    And blogging? You know, that thing that was supposed to slow me down so I could savor and remember all the little things?

    Oh, right. Blogging--

    One of the things that I haven't worked into my 2013 routine--yet.

    Today was the first day I've really been able to get around and visit some of my favorite blogs, respond to all of the kind comments, and think about some more riveting content to share in the new year. As I caught up with my blog buds, I realized, once again, how blogging, writing, and sharing enrich my life in so many ways, making me better at all of those things I struggle to balance.

    Instead of feeling eaten up by all of the minutiae of daily life, blogging reminds me to look for the beauty and purpose in it.

    Two of my favorite twin mom blogs, My Twintopia and Cherry Pie Twins, are both doing a Project 52 photo challenge. The goal of each is to document those ordinary extraordinary moments of daily life--once a week, all year long.

    A year in pictures? Documenting the little things?

    I'm in!

    As I thought more about the project, it reminded me of something I started last year and didn't follow through on: Makes Me Smile Like Peas and Cheese.

    The idea behind Peas and Cheese was to post, on a regular basis, some of those little things that made me smile and to invite others to do the same.

    So, without further delay, I'm bringing back the Peas and Cheese and swirling it together with the fabulous Project 52 to create a deliciously adorable weekly post in which I post a picture that makes me smile.

    If you blog, join in and post a link in the comments so I can visit! If you follow just on Facebook, why not post what's making you smile like peas and cheese? Or, just click over here and get a healthy helping of sweetness.

    Peas and Cheese: Week One

    Surprisingly, the piggy banks Santa brought Emily and Drew have been one of their favorite gifts. They love it when we give them a couple of coins to drop in their banks before bedtime.

    What's making you smile like peas and cheese?

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    They come by it honestly

    On our way home from school today...

    Emily: Mommy, where are we going next?

    Me: Home.

    Emily: No, Mommy! Let's go one more place!

    It's not her fault.

    As we say around here, she came by it honestly.

    Both her mommy and her daddy love to go, and we've been beating the winter blues by taking advantage of all kinds of going.

    Ever since we broke through those fearful early days, we have been on the go.

    People often ask how the kids do with all of the going.

    The truth is, it isn't always easy or pretty or quiet or relaxing.

    (However, it is, usually, cheaper, since we take advantage of all of the "free until 3" discounts).

    And it's always memorable.

    Here are some places we've gone this winter along with some toddler travel tips we've learned along the way.

    Disney on Ice

    In early December we decided to once again try Disney on Ice. Last year's trip wasn't necessarily bad, but at 18 months, they weren't terribly interested in the show after about 5 minutes.
    Image Credit

    Our seats were perfect--not too close but still close enough to really enjoy the detail. Choice of seats is an important consideration. As we learned at Sesame Street Live in June, you can be too close, which can be just as bad as being too far away.

    Notice how Emily is sitting all by herself in her seat? She should be. We had to pay for that seat. I will say, however, that this cost is totally worth it. They don't want to be held the whole time, and you don't want to hold them the whole time. Yet, I have a hard time paying full price. I've had people ask where I find deals. Travelzoo frequently offers ticket discounts, and I've found some good deals there, including discount tickets to Disney on Ice.

    It's good that we save on tickets because we are more lenient when it comes to sweet treats when we're at a show.

    The park

    Back during the Crazy, we took advantage of an unseasonably warm day to go to a local park.

    Nothing shows you how much your babies have grown like seeing them play on toys in new and different ways. They enjoyed the see-saw for the first time.

    Riding the train is always a favorite part of visiting the park, especially when the ride includes Cousin Kaelyn and Papa.

    Christmas Town

    This past year we bought season passes to Busch Gardens. Given the number of times we went and the discounts season ticket holders receive, we certainly got our money's worth and then some. While roller coaster and water rides are out of season, Busch Gardens offers a winter version of its park called Christmas Town.

    After learning that season ticket holders get 1/2 off tickets to Christmas Town, we decided to take advantage of the offer with a spur of the moment trip to Williamsburg. Since it's off-season, the hotel was insanely cheap, too. With an indoor heated pool, the Babies would have been just as content if we had skipped the park and just played in the pool all day. But then they wouldn't have had the chance to wear their cute new hats, scarves, and mittens.

    Or enjoy their very own mug of hot chocolate...

    The symphony

    One of our best outings this winter was also our most unexpected. My cousin called and offered us free, last minute tickets to the NC Symphony's Kids Young People's Concert.

    With the recommended age being 4 and up, we were a little apprehensive about how they would handle a symphony performance. There was only one way to find out...

    From playing new instruments to making our own instruments, the pre-show activities were a big hit.

    Once we made it to our seats, a new challenge presented itself--box seats! This picture isn't very good, but it gives you a good idea of how high we were--without glass or wire or chains--to hold curious toddlers from hanging over the side.

    This was one instance where sitting in mommy and daddy's lap was preferable!

    With babies secured, our attention could now turn to the show. As long as the music played, it was as if they were in a trance. They swayed and hummed. It was a beautiful thing to hear Drew say he heard "birds."

    Sure, they got a little fidgety, which, in turn, made me nervous. But, on the whole, they were awesome, and we're already making plans to attend the next performance in March.

    Japanese Steakhouse

    We love hibachi grills, and while we have taken the Babies several times before, our last trip showed us just how big our Babies are getting. Sure, Drew still freaks out when the fire flames, but look at how they are handling the soup. (And, look at how Marty looks like someone stole his soup).

    Checkers Game

    It's been a rough winter for hockey fans. With the NHL still arguing over money, rabid fans like my husband were glad to see the AHL affiliate team come to town.

    I decided to let this outing be a boys-only event, so Drew and Marty grabbed their jerseys and headed to the arena. Scratch that. Marty grabbed his jersey. Turns out, Drew had grown just a little bit since last season. In yet another sign that my babies are now Babies, Drew got a new jersey. Check out the size. It also appears Drew was the good luck charm since shortly after this picture was taken, we learned the lock-out was finally over.

    Tonight, I sit and I rest.

    I get tired all over again when I look back and recall the spilled drinks, the meltdowns, the chases, the "I wanna do it myself" moments...

    But I also smile.

    My heart is full, and with a little rest and some more coffee, I'll be ready to go again.

    They get it honestly...

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Summer Dreaming

    January in North Carolina is generally one of my least favorite months of the year (and not just because all those Christmas decorations have to be taken down).

    Statistically speaking, January is our coldest month. With an average high of just 51 degrees, it's usually just cold enough to produce a chilly, annoying rain, but not cold enough to give us a real snowfall. If it's going to be cold and wet, could we at least get a little snow??

    As someone who prefers flip flops to boots, sunshine to frost, green to gray, I say, "Enough already! Bring on summer!"

    One upside to winter in North Carolina is its fickleness.

    Don't like the weather?

    Wait a day or so and it's sure to change.

    Last week I was late for work because I had to wait for the frost to melt off my windshield; this weekend we were sitting on the beach with our toes in the sand, soaking in 70+ degree weather.

    Just as Drew stared longingly at his dream boat waiting just off in the distance, this weekend left me staring longingly at the calendar, dreaming of the warm days of summer.

    Until then, looks like I'll need to keep my jacket and boots out a little longer...

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    The Darndest Things

    Lately, Emily and Drew have been saying the darndest things.

    Thankfully, the things they are saying aren't quite as troublesome as those darn kids in Tammy's song. Really, they are quite funny--most of the time.

    Here are just a few of the darndest things they have said lately...

    Emily (to me): You stay right here. I'll be right back.
    Um, who's the boss here?

    Emily: Don't you tell me what to do!
    Marty (in shock): What did you say?
    Emily: I love you, Daddy.

    After leaving Trader Joe's where we bought wine for our Christmas party...
    Emily: Mommy bought lots of beers!
    Marty and I: silence
    Emily: Mommy bought lots of beers!
    Marty and I: silent giggles
    Emily: Mommy bought lots of beers!
    Marty and I: Okay, Emily. We heard you.

    At random times, Drew will start yelling, "Baby Red Bird! Where are you??" Then, he will look all around and say, "Oh, there you are!" before squatting down and scooping up the invisible sweet Baby Red Bird, at which point, we all stop to pet the bird.

    If you are like me and have never actually seen Baby Red Bird, let me introduce you:
    Image Credit

    Me: Emily! What are you doing?
    Emily: Getting my boogies out.
    Don't ask an obvious question unless you want an obvious answer.

    We were all piled in our bed watching one of the original Star Wars movies--the one where Darth Vader says, "Luke, I am your father."
    Marty (playing around with Drew in his best Darth Vader voice): Drew, I am YOUR father.
    Drew: No, Mommy's MY father!
    I appreciate the loyalty, son, I really do, but I can promise you. I am not your father!

    Marty (calling from downstairs): Melissa! You up there?
    Emily: Melissa, Daddy's calling you.

    Drew has been fighting sleep lately--regardless of where we try to put him. We've tried it all--sitting with him, laying down with him, putting him back every time he gets up, etc...Sometimes, in sheer frustration, I will have to go downstairs, mentally regroup, and then go back up to start all over again. He has learned that when I go downstairs, he can really get the party going. This line is his new favorite:

    "You go downstairs!"

    Apparently, he even has a version for his preschool teacher. On the first day at his new school, the teacher pats his back trying to get him to go to sleep.
    Drew: No, you go pat Emmy's back.
    Teacher: Emily's already asleep.
    Drew: Oh.

    Speaking of new their new school, I asked Emily and Drew to tell me all about their first day.
    Emily: All my friends watched me eat my lunch.
    It must have been quite a show.

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    Our Whole World

    Have you seen it? Heard about it? Wondered about it? Sensed it?


    The Crazy....

    The Crazy we've been hiding behind the calm facade of this blog.

    In truth, we've been living in Crazy Land--doing our best to hide it-- for almost two months...

    ...the two months since we took the Babies out of daycare.

    And, yes. We are still working full-time--kind of.

    How did we survive?

    Without going into the messy details, let's just say we've made it with the help of generous family and friends and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and vacation days that were anything but a vacation.

    Originally, we planned just a short break while we found a new daycare/preschool, but after we looked at the number of days they would be out for holidays, we decided to try to wing it until after the holidays. (Oh, think about the money we'll save for Christmas!)

    Winging it doesn't even begin to explain how crazy hard it's been, especially when you factor in the hectic Christmas season.

    There's an old joke that goes something like, "You know why divorce is so expensive? Because it's worth it."

    I am convinced that quality childcare is expensive for very similar reasons.

    All bad jokes aside, I am actually quite thankful for the time because it allowed us to be thorough and thoughtful in our choice of a new preschool.

    After all, as their new teacher said, "I know when you leave your children with us, you are leaving us with your whole world."

    And, so, this morning, we packed up our whole world (along with change of outfits, winter coats, pull-ups, wipes, blankets for nap time, enrollment forms, a large check, and fruit for the class fruit bowl) and headed off to their new school.

    Within seconds, they were at home, digging into the Lego Blocks, barely looking up to tell us good-bye.

    Our whole world.

    While I was in NYC, Marty called one of our friends, Selena, to help watch the Babies so he could get some work done and get out of the house (for his sanity more than anything).

    She's great with the Babies and not just because she works in a preschool during the day. Of course, it doesn't hurt, especially when she uses her teacher creativity to leave me some surprises.

    Seeing these sweet pieces of candy hanging unexpectedly on my plate rack in the dining room made me smile, and it reminded me of how much I missed getting handmade goodies from the Babies' daycare.

    Then, I walked upstairs and found these reindeer waiting to bring me some more Christmas cheer. Since it's my side of the vanity, I guess it's okay if I leave them up until at least Easter, right?

    I even found a surprise in the Christmas tree. These Babies were craft machines!

    So, today, as I breath a sigh of relief as life returns to its normal pre-November 2012 state of chaos, I want to pause and say THANK YOU to each of you who has ever watched over and nurtured "our whole world." You've changed our world more than you'll ever know.

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