Monday, September 29, 2008

The Power of 2

Do you have a lucky number? I think many people have one number they feel is their favorite because it has brought them luck in the past, for spiritual reasons or it reminds them of some life experience. Well, I have always thought that my favorite number was 7 like many people, but my adult life has been centered around the number 2. Here are a few examples:

During my college career, I attended not one, but two colleges.

In August 2002, my husband and I got married and also bought our first home. (Two very stressful life events that I would NEVER recommend doing at the same time.)

We bought not one, but two puppies - Sydney & Blayney - two days in a row. (We got Sydney, she cried all night and then the following day, we went back for Blayney.)

I have lived in two states - Ohio and Florida.

We have twins - TWO girls.

I may have a split personality - one nice, one mean. (This is self diagnosed, so it may not be true. It could just be hormones...)

So, what brought all this up today? Well, as a dedicated mama who is constantly trying to smash as much knowledge into my little 19 month old's brains (can we say pressure?), I have been teaching my little ones to count. Okay, c'mon, now! I know they aren't going to be mathematicians anytime soon (especially considering the gene pool they inherited), but it can't hurt trying to get them to learn algebra or calculus before they go to pre-school. I want them to be prepared for learning, right? Just kidding.

We are practicing how to count to 5 right now and if we get that down, we will shoot for 10. But what is cracking me up is they really have figured out 2. If I start off saying, "oooonnne...", they both chime in, "twwwoooo...". So, I say, "thhhreeee....". They come back with, "twwooooo..." They love the number 2. They pick up cardboard numbers and count them all as 2. I hear them counting by themselves and it is a garble of baby babble and then in perfect, clear voices, they say, "two."

Two. The number to live by. The number that resonates in my memory and circles around in my present. My two little girls showing me the power of 2. There is such a power to the number 2.

How could 2 be more powerful than lucky number 7 or scary number 13? Here is what I think: Two represents a relationship. There is power in our marriage, in friendships, in our family relationships and in our walk with Christ. Two reminds us that it isn't about what society as a whole says or doesn't water down our thoughts like a group can. Two people build each other up and share intimate moments together. They help each other, they work together and they have a trust that is strong. No other number can boast this special bond.

And that is why I love hearing ,"twwoooo!" all day long. My little girls share a special bond as twins and I share a special bond individually with them as their mother. We may be a family of four but our individual 2's are what will always keep us strong.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Promising Pieces

Ever heard the story about the church with the windows that continued to break? The church suffered vandals and storms to see the beautifully colored windows of the building destroyed each time. Finally, the church couldn't afford anymore new windows as their treasury had run dry. Distraught, the pastor and elders of the church thought they would be forced to close the doors since it wasn't suitable for usage without windows to block the elements of the weather. That is, until one person began picking up the shattered pieces laying all over the floor and began fitting those colored shards of glass together into something more beautiful than the congregation had ever seen...a stained glass window.

That is how I feel my family's life is like right now. We have been trying very hard to move in to our new home, get settled, baby proof so the girls can enjoy where they are living, remodel, start new jobs, etc. Just when we think we have repaired our "windows" some sort of oppressive force comes and shatters them. And as hard as we are trying, these issues have made it very difficult and stressful for everyone involved.

Last week, it was the wind. It whipped through the Midwest like a bully wreaking havoc on homes, personal property and trees. Hundreds of thousands of people were without power and we were amongst this lucky bunch. Like I posted earlier, we were forced to stay with family until we regained power and thus this put us back many days without making progress on our new living arrangement.

Once moved in, we began to get settled, but quickly our lives have changed again as I am now babysitting. On Friday, our new little one came and now that is a process of socializing three very young children who believe that only they should be the center of my universe. He is twelve months old and since my girls are nineteen months old it is definitely a challenge, but we are working hard to make it work.

The following day, my daughter, Jelly Bean, began throwing up and didn't stop until Sunday morning. Right when she stopped throwing up, Peanut started. It was a great time. At one point in the middle of the night, as I was frantically trying to find clean clothes & blankets, she began saying, "Sorry....Sorry..." (I was saying it to her as I was rocking her because she was crying from being sick so much, but to hear your child say it back after they have thrown up, well, it broke my heart.)

Finally by that evening the girls seem to be better, but then my husband & I came down with the nasty little bug and have both barely eaten since Sunday. Fortunately for the girls although the symptoms were harsh, it ended quickly. The adult version is nausea, weakness and lasts forever.

Crack, crack! Windows breaking everywhere. When can we catch a break? What is this adversity that seems to be upon us right now? Why isn't this move working out the way that we expected?

Well, I have a theory. I have been trying to do it alone. I haven't sought the help of the one source that controls everything and can provide me and my family the protection that it needs. I haven't been relying on God to handle everything and calm my heart when things don't go the way that I planned. God's plan is perfect and I haven't allowed Him to do His work in my life and in my family's lives.

So what do I do with all these broken pieces? Do I give it all up and run back to my old life? I have to walk away, but only to let God in to put the pieces back together. He knows there is hope laying all around me. Right now, the pieces are up in the air, floating around like small promises of a life that will come together. And if I let the Master Craftsman do His job arranging them, then I know the result will be simply breathtaking.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hiatus: Part Deux

We received word that our power is back on at our house! Whoo Hoo! Now, we have to pack everything up and move back in tonight...Ugghh!

Due to the power outages, our internet installation was cancelled this week, so I will be unable to write more until we can get another appointment. I hope to be back online again very soon so I can bring more information to my 'Bringing Up Twins' readers and check out my favorite blogs, too!

Talk to you all again soon! Please don't forget about me!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Wind

It never seems like anything goes like planned. I should know better by now that whatever I think is going to happen, will probably turn out completely the opposite. Well, it happened this weekend.

We moved into our new home last Tuesday night. It is a makeshift operation right now as I have been going through boxes, cleaning and trying to baby proof our new home. Did I mention that we are also re-doing several rooms? It has been absolutely crazy! So, what could make things even more stressful?

On Sunday, I thought it would be a good day to go back to my Mom's and get a few more things that we had to leave behind. Plus, I knew my Mom would want to see the girls. We left in the morning and it was a beautiful, sunny day. I thought it would be perfect to load up our truck with some remaining furniture. We arrived to our destination without any problems and visited with family for a couple hours. During this time, the sunny day had turned quite cloudy and we noticed that the wind had picked up a great deal.

When we looked out the back window, we realized that the wind was out of control. The entire backyard was littered with branches from Mom's trees. Leaves, branches and other debris would suddenly hit the windows in strong gusts. We also saw roof shingles scattered all over the neighborhood. The remains of Hurricane Ike had reared his ugly head in Ohio.

The wind continued for hours with periodic gusts that were quite strong and reminded me of hurricane weather when my husband and I lived in Florida. (We were around for Charlie, Francis, Jeanne, etc. in the summer of 2004.)

After all was said and done, there was a lot of damage along with about 700,000 customers without electricity in the Cincinnati area and almost 200,000 customers in Dayton without electricity. (Reports say that Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky all experienced damage and outtages.)

The girls and I were forced to stay at my Mom's and have stayed here because our new home doesn't have electricity either and since we have a well we are without water, too. Joy! Luckily Mom's electricity was restored yesterday thus the reason that I can even write this post.

My husband has since joined us and now we live the way we did prior to last Tuesday. Waiting for the opportunity to continue to get our new lives on track.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Attention: Bringing Up Twins readers!!

I will take a short break here at Bringing Up Twins beginning tomorrow and will return on Monday, September 15th due to my family's move. Please check back next week for more exciting information and resources for parents/parents-to-be of twins, young children and new posts from the "Looking Back" series.

See ya next week!

In The Middle

The girls and I strolled down the edge of the street and entered the park. It had been a week since we have had the opportunity to visit it and it was amazing to see the change that had taken place. Just weeks ago, I could find parents with their children climbing on the playground equipment and people playing tennis or basketball on the courts. Summer had been in full swing and it was obvious by the activity and the sweltering temperatures.

But today was different. The air was much cooler and the park was barren. No one was in sight with the exception of a few grounds workers way off in the distance. There were no children there to contend with on the baby swings and I couldn't hear the sound of a basketball hitting the pavement. Even though the calendar says differently, summer has officially ended. All of the kids are back in school and those lazy days of summer have been replaced with school buses and crisp mornings.

Fall is absolutely my favorite season of the year. I love the coolness of the air and the beautifully colored leaves of the Midwest. It is the most comfortable weather and what follows is an exciting time of harvest, Thanksgiving and then Christmas. I know that good times lay ahead, but there is a part of me that starts to get sad. And it is right at this time.

Walking through the desserted park made me realize that transition time was upon us. The fun times of summer were fading away and would be distant memories. Even though the future held promises of more good times, we aren't quite there yet. I remember it being that way when I was in school. I knew that the school year would bring fun things, but the change from summer to fall was so hard on me.

Life is like that, too. My life is getting ready to change again. Today, we are officially moving into our new home and things will be different. The special times of living with my Mom and near my family with my two little babies is coming to a close and soon my husband, my girls, the dogs and I will live in our new home. I am very excited about having our own place and raising our girls where we are moving to, there is no doubt about that. I know we are embarking on more happy memories and special times. But like my school days, this part, the transition period, is so hard on me.

I don't mind change so much (we have moved 11 times over the past 8 years), but the time between the change is so hard. There is packing, moving, change of environment, change of routine, new activities, new people and I am praying that the girls will adjust quickly because that will add a whole new eliment to the process. I know that we all will eventually adjust and "our new life" will just become "our life."

But like the park, I feel desserted and barren. I am wrapping up old memories and placing them in boxes. My memories of what the girls looked like three months ago is quite foggy already. I imagine what they will look like by Christmas, but that still seems so far away. There is so much to do in order to get back to normal. Waiting for Fall...

Monday, September 8, 2008

A New Resource for Mamas!

Attention all Mamas and Mamas to be! From the makers of Similac (Abbott Laboratories) comes a new site for mothers and their babies with resources and information. At, you can find information about:

* Pregnancy
* Mom & Baby
* Tips & Advice
* Feeding & Nutrition
* Products
* Tools

While you are there, check out their products and the new package design of their formula. The new product is called "SimplePac."

Want a new nursery? Register to win a $10,000 custom designed nursery for your baby by Ty Pennington, host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition! Just submit a 100 word explanation of why you deserve a new nursery for your baby. The contest starts today!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Wanna Rock!

Jelly Bean is a sweet little girl. She is very girly and definitely has that edge of drama queen in her that will keep twindada and me on our toes for the rest of our lives. She loves her stuffed doggy and bears the best and is also known as the cuddle bug. As soon as I sit down, "plop!", she is in my lap.

In general, she is pretty well behaved and usually does what I ask her to do. I try really hard never to compare my girls, but sometimes when there are blatant differences it is hard to not notice them. Peanut is a little more rambunctious and active while Jelly Bean is more reserved and keeps busy with quiet toys like blocks or legos.

But Jelly Bean does one thing that is strange. She likes to rock. And I don't mean the type of rocking where you imagine a baby with spiked hair running around with her air guitar jamming to the latest music. (I am sure that is to come...that is, if it is cool to rock when she is old enough. Is it cool to say the word cool now? I don't know, I am so out of touch with what is hip. Oh, can I say that word anymore? Anyway...)

The kind of rocking that she likes to do is get herself situated on the couch, in the high chair, in her crib, in my lap, the rocking chair (the most appropriate place) and she rocks forward and backward. It isn't a gentle back and forth motion, but rather a forward-SLAM motion. She will rock so hard that she is literally bouncing off the back cushion of the couch.

This habit started off to me as being rather innocent, but it has turned damaging. I have noticed since it has started that she has tiny little bruises up and down the length of her spine. I spoke to the doctor about it and there isn't any cause that they are from an internal issue, but are just superficial.

The weird part is that it doesn't hurt her at all. She isn't upset or doesn't cry when she is doing it. She really likes the rocking motion. I remember when she was much younger, we could bounce her on our knee until our legs were tired. She never tired of it.

What does all this mean? Is this stage a metaphor for what is coming from my sweet innocent girl? Do I have a future rocker on my hands? Can I say rocker?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

They Won't Stop Dripping!

In parenthood, the title could mean many different things including different types of goo from various sources. What I am referring to in this post is snot, nose goo, nose juice or nasal sludge. Whatever you want to call it, it doesn't matter. It happens with kids and it ain't pretty. But surprisingly it becomes as commonplace as changing the rankest poopiest diaper and then asking your husband what he wants for dinner. It so doesn't bother me anymore!

Before I became a mommy, I definitely thought it was quite gross to watch other people wipe off various things from their kids' bodies without a bit of thought. Kids in general are germy, crusty little people despite our best efforts to bath and wipe them down regularly. But since the day my girls were born, it has not bothered me one bit to wipe up anything coming out of them.

Well, that is good thing. Because both girls have colds and for the past four days all I have been doing is following them around with tissues, tackling them and trying to wipe off the endless stream of gunk that is coming out of their nose. A simple sneeze has me running to the tissue box for reinforcements.

So, it got me thinking about something that years ago would have never crossed my mind...the snot brigade...all of the enemies of the goes...

1. The Racers - These are the streams of snot that pour out of both nostrils at the same time. They will send you racing for the child with a tissue in hand almost knocking the child over because they are heading in one direction and if you don't get there quick the tongue will take them out.

2. The Nose Bubble - This is the small biosphere that surfaces on a nostril and quietly resides until it can be popped away. Some clean up is required after its demise.

3. The Pulsating Nose Bubble - It is like the Nose Bubble, but with every breath, the bubble pulses in and out like a heartbeat. It is also messy to clean up and if the child sneezes or breaths in too deep, the bubble will burst before you get there causing more widespread damage.

4. The Hanging Chad - This is the strong stream of snot that is so tough it can hang in the air. It can be long or short, but it so sturdy it might take a couple of tissues and require some follow up wipes. (Watch out the tongue will try to clean this one up, too.)

5. The Inverted Hanging Chad - Like its southward facing brother, this stream of snot is pretty tough, but is stretched from the nose to the forehead.

5. The Smear - When the tissue is too late, this is what happens. It requires some overall inspection because it can go all over the face, clothing or hands. It can cause widespread damage, too, and may require a wet wipe instead of a tissue. (A secret weapon.)

6. The Relentless Fringe - The ring of crust that builds up around the nostrils is one of the hardest forces of the snot brigade to overtake. It takes a wet wipe to remove it, but within an hour it returns...

7. The Peek-a-boo Booger - This little booger (Ha!) peeks out when the child breaths or when tissue attacks, but it holds on for dear life. Wiping it away takes some diligence and may result in becoming "The Runaway" (see #9.)

8. The Bonus Prize - Sometimes the snot brigade sends in a surprise - the bonus booger! (Can be a #7 or a floating booger.) In addition to the stream of snot, a booger may surface that requires further wiping, aspirating or a shot of saline solution. (Another secret weapon.)

9. The Runaway - The snot brigade is quite stubborn, so sometimes a section will break off from the group and sticks itself to the face, hand or another part of the body. Wiping it away isn't very easy and may require more "picking" it off. Also, be forewarned, an hour later it may still be present...on you.

Happiness Looking Back

Ever caught your little ones doing something and they didn't know you were watching? Sure, we all have caught our kids doing something that they weren't supposed to be doing! But what about those moments when you want to hit the pause button? Those moments when you need a professional documentarian here capturing it on film so you can replay it to your child when they are older and the pressures of this world have got them down.

I caught my Peanut looking at herself in the mirror. She walked right up to it and just stared. She has looked in the mirror all the time since she was quite young with wonder and amazement. Like other babies, both Peanut and Jelly Bean would look in the mirror and it was written all over their face, "Who is that? How did Mommy get in there?" And the cutest thing ever has been when they would look in the mirror and see me waving to them and turn around and see me waving to them. What confusion, but oh how adorable to see their reaction!

This time was a little different though. She stared...I mean, walked right up to it and looked deeply into the eyes of the person looking back. She was truly checking herself out. She touched her hair and her face. She would turn her face to one side and then the other. Apparently she couldn't get close enough to see everything so she ended up having her nose right up against the mirror. And then the most beautiful thing happened. She smiled.

Could I have this moment bottled up for all of eternity? My child saw who she was and liked what she was seeing. She inspected every inch of her little self and approved. It was such a marvelous moment of happiness and contentment. Her little innocent soul - unaware of the pressures of this world placed on beauty and style. Not realizing that she is not the only one in her life that will be "sizing her up". Others will come in to build her up or tear her down - no matter what she looks like.

How can I keep her smiling at the person in the mirror? How can I show her that she is and always will be beautiful? How do I explain to her that beauty truly exists deep within her soul and only rises to the surface by the love and kindness that comes from her heart?

There will be boys that break her heart and there will probably be girls that she feels that she doesn't measure up to in her life as she gets older, but I am going to try my best to bottle up this moment and remind her that she and her sister are truly perfect in the eyes of God. They are His perfect creations and I am blessed to have been here to bring them in the world and care for them.

Happiness was looking back in the mirror today and God willing happiness will be looking back always.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What Is Up With This?

My girls have learned to do something that really bothers me. In fact, at their last appointment the doctor hadn't even heard of it. My children think it is funny to stick their fingers down their throat until they gag. And sometimes they have even thrown up.

Isn't this WEIRD? I mean, who likes to throw up? Jelly Bean is probably the worst and she started this strange behavior. Peanut just kind of thought it was funny and copied her actions. They stick their fingers in their throat and gag..gag...heee, hee, hee! The reaction their body has literally makes them happy. WEIRDOS!

I have noticed that many times it is after they have finished eating. It isn't like they are having trouble eating or are sick at all. I thought at first maybe they were sick, but they act perfectly normal with the exception of this bizarre behavior. And it definitely doesn't happen all the time. I notice it once in a while, but when I think we are past it, then somebody remembers this crazy stunt and down the throat the fingers go.

My reaction has been everything from panic, scolding, ignoring and now I am trying to be proactive and make sure it doesn't happen. I figure that by limiting their time in the high chair and making their meals quick, may eliminate the opportunity for them to remember that this is a fun, post meal activity. So far it seems to be working...

But really, who has had this problem? Are my babies just plain strange or what?

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Art of Moving

Did you know there was such a thing? Well, I assure you there is definitely an art form to moving your junk from one place to another. That is why there are so many moving companies out there that are willing to do it (for a large fee of course) for others. It isn't has easy as it would seem and poor unsuspecting people who have never done it are left feeling overwhelmed.

My husband and I are almost professionals. In the eight years we have been together, we have moved eleven times. For some reason, we just can't seem to stay in one place for too long without getting the itch to find new scenery. I really don't know what it is - perhaps boredom, goals, circumstances, opportunities, who knows. My mother calls us "gypsies" and I think we have had a problem with getting antsy about getting too settled. The thought of having twins was "cool!", but the thought of buying a home was, "Are we ready for that commitment?" We clearly have strange priorities...

We finally put the stake in the ground, bought a house and God-willing are settling down for a long time. So in order for all of this to happen, our junk had to make the final journey from the storage unit that it was being stored in for the last year to our new digs. It was like the last voyage for a great cruise liner.

In the eleven times that we have moved, I have learned a few things about how to move efficiently, quickly and with as few arguments with your honey as possible:

1. When packing, you can utilize anything from old gift wrap, paper towels, plastic grocery bags and newspaper to wrap your personal items. No need to go out and spend a fortune on special packaging materials unless it is absolutely necessary.

2. Start hoarding boxes as soon as you know you are going to move and don't forget to ask your family and friends to bring home boxes from their workplace as able. If you have babies like I do, start keeping the economy sized diaper boxes - buying in bulk is cheaper anyway and those boxes are sturdy and the same size so easy to stack.

3. Organize the items for the boxes by room, so you can easily set the correct boxes in the rooms at your new place. Mark on each box what room it should go into at your new place.

4. Assemble the troops! Ask your family and friends for help. Chances are someone will need your help at some point in the future. Just make sure you can return the favor!

5. Rent a truck through Budget Truck Rental. We have tried UHaul and Budget both. We have priced Penske (ouch! very expensive). Budget is the best deal and was the best experience by far. The truck was ready for us when we got there, fairly priced and the reservations and pick up was met by friendly, knowledgeable people.