Sunday, November 30, 2008

Twinmama's Lifestyle Challenge (TLC)!

Do you need a little "TLC" next year? Are you ready to make resolutions for 2009 and are hoping you can keep them? Are you optimistic that next year just HAS to be better than this year?

I think there are a lot of people that are going through tough times right now. Some people will attempt to make New Year's resolutions while others will say, "Why bother? I never keep them anyway!"

No matter what camp you fall into when it comes to New Year's resolutions, allow me to give you a third, intriguing option. For about two months, I have been pondering a way to kick 2009 off with smart, healthful decisions and making changes to my life that will help me to be the best version of myself. Then it occurred to me that if I chronicle this journey, I would put myself out there thus making it REALLY difficult to slough off. Well, I am all about a little self-inflicted pain.

Then I thought, "Wow, if I post my journey, maybe others will want to come along for the ride."

And that is where you come in.

I am not suggesting that my loyal readers NEED to make any changes, by all means, I already know you are all perfect because you have impeccable tastes seeing as you read my blog. (Tee Hee) I just know as mothers we are quite the busy folk and usually we are the last people that we tend to take care of between the husbands and the children. I have not taken care of myself the way that I need to do for a very long time and I am ready for a change.

I am also not suggesting we come up with a list of New Year's resolutions and all of us try to muddle through them until we fail about early February. Personally, I think that resolutions are a joke and usually people bite off way more than they can chew and are destined to fail. I know that I have purchased a many gym memberships in January and by February, I never take out my gym member card ever again. (But, I still am required to pay the monthly fee that I contracted myself into. Nice, huh?)

What I am suggesting is in making very small lifestyle changes that can benefit our health, emotional well-being, our finances, our families, our faith, our hobbies or professional endeavours. Tiny little "tweaks" if you will, that will help to adjust our lifestyles and help us reach our goals in a much less painful way.

So here is Twinmama's Lifestyle Challenge (TLC) plan:

1. Every Sunday, I will post my one new challenge for the week. It will be a small thing that I am either giving up, a habit that I am trying to adopt or a modification to perhaps a previous challenge that needed tweaking (though I hope this is rare.)

2. Challenges will start officially on Monday and continue indefinitely. Even though there is a new challenge each week, the idea is to build on the challenges. Therefore, week 1 challenge continues even when week 2 challenge begins. I am trying to build habits and make small changes that will produce effective results for overall goals.

3. Bringing Up Twins readers are invited to participate in the challenges each week or follow their own challenge. I know my goals may not be the same as others, so if you would like to be a part of TLC, but don't like the challenges, by all means, create your own and go for it!

4. I will share my previous week's results with you all and invite you to do the same. When I post the new challenge on Sunday, I will share my results of the previous week's challenge and any other highlights to past challenges as appropriate. You are free to make any comments about the challenges. Also, if you create your own challenge, I would love to know what it was. It may become a future challenge for me, who knows!

So, are you in? Okay, you don't have to decide right now. I will give you time to think about it. And you can jump in at any point next year, I am not going to make you sign a gym membership contract, I promise. Also, I will write multiple posts on this subject throughout the month of December to get everyone geared up. (So eat up those Christmas cookies now! Game over in January! Ha, just kidding it won't be that bad, I promise.)

I plan on starting the challenge on Sunday, January 4th, 2009. Mark your calendars!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

MDA: Milk Drinkers Anonymous

Back in August, our pediatrician asked me how many ounces of milk the girls were drinking daily. After a moment of calculating the sippy cups throughout the day, I came up with a number over 32 ounces. She politely asked me to lower the amount of whole milk they were drinking down to 24 ounces a day since whole milk is fortified with vitamin D. Excessive amounts of vitamin D can raise the level of iron in the blood and can be harmful. I agreed.

Well, we are still working on limiting their milk intake. I haven't been very diligent in making this happen. The last few months have been so stressful with the move and my jobs that I haven't been following doctor's orders. Unfortunately, my little duo love their milk. They could do a "Got Milk?" ad anytime of the day because they usually have a sippy cup in one hand and are getting into trouble with the other. I do mix water into the equation throughout the day, too, and they don't get to drink fruit juice or soda.

As a result of all the milk drinking has come two little ones who don't want to eat during meal times. I am not unwise to the fact that whole milk is the culprit. After all, whole milk is filled with a good source of protein and fat. One full sippy cup of that stuff and who really would want their dinner? I tried a little swig one time and oh my...I drink soy milk and skim milk if I have to drink cow's milk. That stuff may as well have been heavy cream to me...

Finally this week I decided that it was time to enroll my girls in twinmama's Milk Drinkers Anonymous (MDA) program. I am limiting their milk intake to around 24 ounces a day (3 or 4 - 6 ounce cups). The rest of the time they receive water as normal. The trick to it is they cannot have this milk at mealtime. If given a plate of food and a sippy cup of milk, they will down the milk and then pick at the food. Instead, the milk is staggered between meals and they are served water at mealtime. The only exception to this rule is they are allowed to have a cup or two of milk at breakfast along with their cereal and fruit. This is usually the only source of protein they have in the morning.

The first day there was a baby backlash. I started the day off with a 6 ounce cup of milk along with their breakfast. When they finished this cup, they were offered another cup of milk to drink. At lunchtime, they were given water. When I gave them their cups, they both immediately began drinking. As soon as they took a couple gulps, they realized what it was and sat it down. Peanut tried to hand the cup back to me giving me a look like, "I think you gave me the wrong cup, mom. Try again." Jelly Bean just got really ticked and tried to hand me the cup. When I refused to take either and walked away, sippy cups hit the floor. There were howls of disapproval and cries of frustration. I calmly got their food and laid it down before them. Some food was brushed away as they protested, but again, I calmly got my plate for lunch and my water and sat down at the table with them to eat.

At some point when they realized that twinmama wasn't going to give in, they both started picking at their lunch. After a moment or two, I calmly got up and picked up their sippy cups and placed them back on their trays. They both ate their lunches and had some water. I couldn't believe it. Peanut was always a good eater until lately, but Jelly Bean is horrible about eating and for her to eat her entire meal was proof that their milk drinking habits were getting in the way of them having other important food.

After lunch, they typically play and then settle in for an afternoon nap. After their nap, I allowed them their third cup of milk along with a little snack. They chugged their milk down. Once they finished, they both handed me their cup and said, "More?" while doing the sign language for the word, too. Instead, I got them some water. Again, there was a revolt. Water cups hit the floor and babies flopped on the floor next to the cups sobbing. You would have thought that I was starving these children.

A little while later it was dinner time and we got to experience the lunch stand off all over again. Again, they threw fits over the tasteless liquid that was presented to them, but both girls did decent jobs eating their meals. After dinner, they can have a sippy cup of milk as long as it isn't too late. I stop giving them liquids an hour before bedtime to avoid leaky diapers.

It has been almost a week since I began their "treatment" program and both girls are eating better at meal time. They are getting a healthful and fulfilling amount of whole milk to supplement their diet, but it is not their entire diet. I blame myself for allowing the girls to have too much milk. It was just too easy when one of them would cry. I knew that a sippy cup of milk would calm a crabby baby and I used that method way more than necessary.

I have been thinking a lot about this and I am glad that I am changing this habit. Knowing myself, this is something that I need to do, too. I have often used food as a crutch for a bad day or a sad moment. Sweets are my weakness, but they are also my nemesis because I know they are not healthy for me. I turn to them when I can't seem to cope with something. I have made whole milk into the girls' crutch when they are sad and can't communicate to me what they need.

This has to stop. For all of us.

So, last week, I set out to make my girls' diets healthier. This next week, I need to do the same for me. Time to drop the crutch and find healthful ways to deal with the blues. I want my girls to be healthy and make good decisions so they live enjoyable, long lives.

And it would be good if I do the same so I can see it all happen.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

There are a lot of uncertainties in the world right now. There are so many people out of work or close to lay offs. People are having money trouble and don't know how they are going to keep their homes. I know that we are concerned about our jobs and hope that we can continue to have the security of steady paychecks.

Despite all of this, this is a day to not dwell on the future or even lament on the past. Today is a day to count our blessings. Look around you. Look past all the worries and find the people that are with you on this very day. We have all made it to see another Thanksgiving Day. And in that, we should cherish this very moment.

No matter what the future holds for us, twindada and I are together and we have two very special little girls. Three Thanksgiving Days ago, they were merely a dream. A pipe dream to even think that I would get pregnant much less have twins. Two Thanksgiving Days ago, they were in my belly. I prayed for them to come into this world safely. One Thanksgiving Day ago, I prayed that we would survive the first year with twins and we did. This year, the girls are so much more fun and we look forward to spending time with family that we don't get to see very often. I am going to focus on today and enjoy it for what it is.

I hope you do the same.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Case of The Lurking Poop Cloud

It was a boring afternoon. No cases had come my way. I sat in front of my laptop, cruising around on my favorite blogs. Thank God for creative mothers out there to entertain, enlighten and inform me. You know who you are.

Being a detective takes considerable work. I have had to solve mysteries every day since becoming a mom. My most recent case was the missing sippy cup. It was clear that one was missing because twinmamas don't have odd numbers of anything. So, when I was washing sippy cups that had stacked up in the sink and realized there were five...well, that put me into my super sleuthing mode. I got my magnifying glass out and searched the house.

I scanned the playroom for the obvious spots, but my nemesis - the psyche of 21 month old babies - was making sure that I wouldn't discover it. I looked under the couches, the toy shelf and in the toy bins. No sippy cup. As it got late, this private eye called it quits. The case would be there for another day and it was. After breakfast the girls were playing in the room and as I tidied up the kitchen, I happened check in on the girls only to find the missing cup now in the hands of Peanut while she drank the day old who knows what that was still inside it. Never figured out where it was found, but it was promptly confiscated and taken in for questioning. It never confessed.

So, on this day while I was sitting around commenting on my favorite blogs, I was taken back by a cry from a damsel in distress. A moment later, it was followed by another damsel in distress crying. I got up and went upstairs to check on my little duo, but before I could hit the top step, the strongest, gaseous fume smacked me in the face.

It became quite evident the reason why the damsels were in distress. I was now in distress. No man or beast could breath in the presence of this bio hazard. The dogs wouldn't even come upstairs. I made my way to the girls to find them both hanging over the edge of their cribs. I stopped to check out the crime scene before I entered it. Nothing looked suspicious or out of ordinary, just some stuffed animals. Wait! They are all just stuffed animals, right? It does smell like something died in here.

I knew this was a hot case and it had to be resolved quickly for everyone's sake. I decided to inquire who the poop culprit was by asking, "Who poo-pooed?" Both girls stared at me with blank expressions until Peanut grabbed her diaper and said, "Poo Poo." Ah, ha! I have found the guilty party, this case is solved!

However during the diaper change, I discovered that she must have been a decoy because there was no poop to be seen. She was willing to take the fall for her sister, that was big of her, but now I could get her on accessory to releasing a lethal odor. That carried a harsh penalty of having to endure a diaper change while she wanted to play.

Next, I picked up Jelly Bean and decided to interrogate her. "Did you poopy?" I asked. She looked at me, but wouldn't answer. This is highly suspect because she knows more words than Peanut so she probably could answer. She was playing hardball with me. So, I inquired again and she looked at me and gave me her most maniacal laugh, "Heh, heh, heh!" It was at this point that I realized that I had the right lead to the source of this offensive odor.

I prepared myself for the changing of the toxic diaper, but I really should have called in a HazMat team. It was going to be big and a doozy. As I pulled the diaper off, I suddenly found absolutely nothing in the diaper...what?

The case was building now. If neither baby had pooped in their diaper, where did the poop cloud over the room come from? I knew that I would have to investigate further, but fortunately I didn't have to. As I began to wipe Jelly Bean clean, I see a little poop kernel fall from her bottom. It was tiny...but the deadly source of all the nastiness that was in the room.

"That's it?" I looked at Jelly Bean. She giggled as I wrapped up the diaper. I immediately removed it from the area and took the offensive diapers to the trash can outside. The case is solved and clean air fills the upstairs once again.

So another mystery is revealed. As a mother, I am often trying to figure out how to do something for my kids or how to make a situation or routine better. I think this does make me have to put on my detective's hat and solve the case. Often, I learn what works and what doesn't work and how to approach a certain situation.

And I have learned from this kids really need to potty train...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Images of Mother

I received this forward email recently that contained little tidbits and quotes about moms. Something really got to me about the piece below. Take a look...

The Images
of Mother

4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mommy can do anything!

8 YEARS OF AGE - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!

12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.

14 YEARS OF AGE - Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either.

16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She 's hopelessly old-fashioned.

18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!

25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it!

35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.

45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?

65 YEARS OF AGE - Wish I could talk it over with Mom.

Could this stab me in the heart any more? It was interesting because when I read it, I didn't immediately think of my own children. I thought about my relationship with my own mom. I am blessed to still have her in my life and she has done so much for me and my family. I think about how I was when I was a child and I know that I went through a similar progression like above. Right now, I am definitely in the "35 Years Of Age" category. I call my mom when I need advice on the girls or if I need someone to cheer me up. She has always been my biggest cheerleader and I will forever be grateful for that.

I hope that I can do the same for my girls.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tears & Irony

Yesterday was one of the scariest days of my life. It started out as a pretty normal day, but around mid morning, Peanut went into complete hysterics. I thought she was just tired, so I put her and Jelly Bean down for a nap. Jelly Bean settled in for a snooze, but Peanut got even more upset. She turned bright red and cried so hard that she made the most horrible grinding noise in the back of her throat. Typically I will let them fuss if they are refusing a nap because they will usually settle down. However just after a few minutes, I picked her up and brought her back into the playroom. I took her temperature and it was completely normal, but went ahead and gave her some Tylenol in case she had any pain.

I tried rocking her to sleep, but she wouldn't settle down. I figured she just wanted to play, so I put her on the floor and turned on the TV. She would just walk around aimlessly bawling. Every once in a while, she would start cough and gagging. This went on for some time and finally I picked her up again. Even though I was holding her, she still couldn't calm down. She continued to cry really hard and at one point threw up white foam all over the both of us.

By this time, I was starting to go from concerned to worried. I stripped her out of her soiled clothes down to her diaper, wrapped her in a blanket and held her on my chest until she fell asleep. I figured at this point that she must have had a sick belly and would feel better after a snooze.

She seemed better after she slept for about twenty minutes, so I sat her down and got Jelly Bean up for lunch. As soon as I put her in her high chair, she completely lost it again. I quickly got her out and tried to give her something to eat while I held her. She pushed away the food which is completely unlike her.

Now I have gone from concerned to worried to scared. Her screams wrenched in the back of her throat and sounded like she had just had a shot at the doctor's office. I called the pediatrician and they immediately told me to bring her in, but I knew that I couldn't handle both kids with Peanut in such bad shape.

I called twindada. I broke down while telling him what was going on and begged him to come home. Of course, he hurried out of there, but he is working an hour and a half away right now, so now we just had to wait. Her appointment wasn't for a few hours. (I should mention we are in between pediatricians since we moved, so her old pediatrician is who we are using until we get one here. This pediatrician is an hour away.) By the time that twindada got home, Peanut was not better.

We decided to scrap the hour's drive to her pediatrician and just go to the emergency room at the nearby children's hospital. We arrived at the emergency room and after registering Peanut was taken back to have her vitals checked. Her temperature was 102 degrees and they gave her some medicine. Once we got back to a room, the doctor checked her ears, throat and chest. Everything checked out okay. He decided to order chest and abdominal X-rays and also put on a catheter bag to catch urine so they could check to make sure she didn't have a urinary tract infection.

The X-rays were not fun. Of course, it doesn't hurt, but it is simply torture for a 21 month old to have to lay still. If she wasn't mad before, then this certainly did it! I had to hold her arms and she kicked wildly to the point that the tech had to have someone else take the pictures and she had to hold her feet.

We returned back to the exam room and I started giving Peanut water and graham crackers. By this point, she started to return to the normal Peanut that we know. Now we were just waiting for her to pee and then we could leave. We were now in the emergency room black hole known as "waiting."

Meanwhile, twindada and Jelly Bean were there with us, of course. Twindada kept having to walk her around the hospital because she didn't like hanging out in the exam room with us. Hand in hand they would walk up and down the halls stopping to look at the fish aquariums, the Christmas tree (yes, they already had it up!) and all the toys and pictures that a children's hospital would have on hand. After we got home, twindada admitted to me that he enjoyed the one on one time with Jelly Bean and that she was really good and cute. This makes me feel good that even though he doesn't care for them all day long like I do (somebody has to be the bread winner around here), that he really cherishes the moments that he has with them and enjoys taking care of them. He's a good, involved twindada.

Finally, Peanut peed. They hurried off with the sample and came back to say that it was normal. I was happy that everything they checked came back fine, but of course now I was questioning why we were even there. As moms, I think it is so easy to feel foolish for some of the decisions that we make even if they weren't foolish. The doctor probably could sense my embarrassment and quickly told me that I did the right thing by bringing her in. He said after an hour of crying without the ability to sooth is usually a red flag that something may be wrong.

I know how Peanut was yesterday and it scared me. She is a pretty laid back kid and to have her inconsolable for almost 4 hours almost drove me to call an ambulance. Of course, many irrational thoughts can present when that level of stress takes over someone especially when they are caring for someone who can't tell them what is wrong. On the drive home, I thought about whether I would have done the same thing and the answer is, "yes." I did feel a little funny after all the tests came back normal and she seemed content after a couple of hours there at the hospital, but knowing how bad she was and not knowing if there was something wrong or not put me into action mode. I would have done the same thing because my possible embarrassment is nothing compared to a possible problem go unaddressed. My child's health is more important to me than people's perception of my decision making ability.

Have you ever stalled making a decision about your children because you were afraid what others would think? There are probably mixed responses to this question. It probably really depends on all of our personalities. I generally like the approval of others even though I think that I really despise this about myself. I shouldn't worry about others, but it just comes naturally for me to want this. However yesterday it was about Peanut and her only.

We were given our diagnosis - fever caused by viral infection. The reason for crying was unknown, but probably just a response to the fever. The doctor gave us some basic instructions and told us to call our pediatrician if she has any other symptoms. I am happy to report that this morning, she seems to be doing okay.

So, we are drinking lots of liquids and giving her...(cough)... Motrin.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mama Mafia Strikes Again

A word to all companies out there: Don't anger the womenfolk. If you want to sell a product, the best advice is to suck up to the person making the buying decisions. In most families, that person is dear ole Mom. And because of this, we have serious leveraging power to make or break any new or old product out there.

This weekend was a perfect example how the Internet is used in social marketing. The drug maker Motrin released a new ad targeting Moms who wear their babies in slings or carriers. It was supposed to be edgy and satirical in a sense, but they got the presentation way wrong. Instead, it made baby wearing a fashion statement instead of a well known way to comfort and bond with your little bambino. (And I might mention this is a global practice, not one limited to those who have access to Bjorn products.)

To even suggest that baby wearing is a fashion statement is completely sickening to me. My immediate thought was that Motrin was trying to compare baby wearing to those clueless, vain actresses on the red carpet who carry around a rat dog as an accessory.

Babies are NOT accessories!

Another serious flaw with their whole message besides the fact that it is offensive, is that slings and carriers are able to help parents physically. Instead of having to carrying a little one around in your arms all the time, these devices will allow the user to proportionately distribute the weight of their little one and provide LESS body strain. Thus making this argument that Moms out there need Motrin pretty much useless.

Didn't quite think that one through, huh, Motrin?

Over the weekend, there was a serious backlash from Moms around the Cyberworld including youtube videos like this. Twitter Moms went crazy over this and I know I am not the only blog out there writing about it. News and opinion travels fast in this day and age, so companies need to be more in tune with this form of advertising.

So, it begs the question - are Mamas more organized than we think? I mean, we are the largest organized gang in the world! If we don't like something, it will go down. If we find something that we absolutely love, it will probably be one of the best selling products on the market.

Companies beware - Mama Mafia is watching.

And one thing that you can be sure of - we will tell others.

Update on this post: has issued an apology and is pulling this advertisement. Check out their website for more information. But keep it short, we don't want to give them anymore attention. They need a time out!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Not Quite A Love Tap

My little Jelly Bean is hitting me. This week she has been quite frustrated with me and has decided to whack me for everything that I do wrong in her eyes. I am apparently doing a lot wrong because I have been hit quite a bit.

We have been having minor issues with hitting for a little while, but it has mostly been a little hand swipe when a toy is fought over between sisters or a personal space invasion by the other twin. In both of these cases, although I do not condone hitting, I understand that it is a response to frustration with the situation. That is something that I can understand though I do not want my girls hitting each other of course.

This week, Jelly Bean decided to focus her 21 month old diva issues my way and every time I try to get her to do something that I want, I am reminded that she does not want to that by a swift swipe of both hands and a whine to accompany it. What do I want her to do? Oh, you know, let me change her diaper, wipe off her face after a meal, get dressed. You know, really mean things...

Today, as I was changing her after a nap, she freaked out and decided to bat her arms at me and kick her feet as hard as she can. The second before that she was perfectly fine and I didn't think we were having a rift. Apparently, I was quite wrong. She cried and batted her arms at me, arched her back and got pretty much ticked off. I was baffled because we weren't having any problems whatsoever the moment before that.

Later, I asked her to sit down on the couch and she took one look at me and continued to jump up and down. She purposefully disobeyed me because she kept watching to see my reaction. reaction wasn't too great. Inside I was upset, so I picked her up and put her in time out.

Now I really don't think that time out is effective for their age group, but I seriously don't know what else to do. She kept trying to get up and I kept sitting her back down. And she got really mad. She threw herself on the floor and went into a tantrum. I tried to ignore it until it went on for awhile and I didn't want Peanut stepping into the line of fire, so I picked Jelly Bean up and her and I sat on the steps until she calmed down.

Through tears and gasps for breath, she looked at me with complete anger and frustration and I lost it. I started to cry myself. I couldn't contain myself at all. I knew that she was upset and I was tired of all the drama. It really affects me to have my children angry with me to the point that she responds by hitting. Sure, I can make decisions that either child may not like and if they are the best choice for them, I can live with the fact that I may be unpopular. But to have my child hit breaks my heart.

I know they are young and it is probably a phase. I don't like this phase. How about a phase where they won't eat broccoli? Or all they want is a certain toy? Or a phase where maybe they are not minding too well, but they are still fun loving?

No hitting. I hate hitting. And my child is hitting me. I love her and Peanut more than my own breath and all I want to do is care for them and protect them and my reward is a tiny hand pushing me away. It destroys me inside.

Certainly I would never do that to someone else. I would never repay someone who cares for me by turning my back on them. Or would I?

Do I do it every day of my life when I don't pray and thank God for all that He has given me in my life? Do I symbolically swipe my hand at my Creator when I choose to not live the life that He wants for me? Am I shaking my fist at Him every time I give in to the world and let outside influences - worry, greed, stress, anger take over who I am?

My Creator loves me. He loves all of His children. He cares for us. He wants to see the best for us. Sometimes He steps in and sometimes He doesn't. But He was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be close to Him by giving up His son. And there are days where I fail to the be best Christian that I can be by batting my hands at the only One that can see me through these days.

How does God respond? Does He throw up His hands and walk away? Does He leave me to fend for myself? Does He stop loving me?


So I need to respond to my Jelly Bean the way that our Lord responds to us when we aren't making the best decisions. Although I may feel pain when she exerts this independent behavior, I need to stay strong in one thing: I will never leave her. I will always love her. When she feels anger or frustration, I will be strong for her. When she needs to be independent, I will pray for the best choices for her. And when she needs me, I will scoop her up and say, "I love you. I love you. I love you."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Question Meme

It Is Nap Time tagged me for the below question meme. It looks interesting, so I thought I would give it a whirl.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No, the name is all mine. My birth certificate says so.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? On Saturday because I thought that I was losing my mind and then twindada reminded me that I have a lot on my plate right now and therefore I am losing my mind.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Just recently I have accepted the chicken scratch that my left hand produces, but typing is way faster.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Boar's Head Sausalito Turkey Breast. I am a lunch meat snob - only Boar's Head. Otherwise, it is peanut butter.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Yes, twin girls Peanut & Jelly Bean!

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I think so, but that would be weird because we would be so much alike. I mean, how exciting is that really?

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? No, not me...


9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? and heights don't really get along. So jumping from a high place to my death doesn't sound too appealing...

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? The grown up me says Total. The child trapped in me says Honey Nut Cheerios.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Yes, it is important to take good care of your shoes as a runner. (My shoes look quite exceptional right now seeing as I don't have time to do this activity.)

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? During certain situations I think that I am very strong, but not all the time.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Hands down the very best ice cream in the world is Haagen Daz Strawberry. Don't try to challenge me on this. I will not agree.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Their smile. I like friendly people.

15. RED OR PINK? Red.


17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My Dad - I wish he could have met my husband and daughters. My grandma - she taught me how to be a good Christian. My friend, Niki - she was one of my oldest friends and while I grow old, I will always remember the fun, special 20 year old that she was.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? I think this started as an e-mail.

19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? None - naked pigs, baby!


21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW ? Classical music online

22. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Black (I know, weird, but read my other meme online and you will understand why.)

23. FAVORITE SMELLS ? The smell of my girls after a bath, new puppy smell and the smell of a good glass of wine after uncorking.


25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Yes, she seems like a very nice person. I wish that I could have a cup of coffee and chat with all my readers!

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Football (College)

27. Hair Color? Brunette

28. EYE COLOR? Green


30. FAVORITE FOOD ? Seafood, but I really like Italian, Thai, Greek and Indian


32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED ? uh...what are movies?


34. Summer or winter? Summer


36. FAVORITE DESSERT ? This is tough...I love ice cream, chocolate cake with white icing, sugar cookies and cherry pie, but not all mixed together. Can I say a sampler platter?

37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Back to the e-mail thing.


39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW ? I read my bible. That is all I have time for right now.

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Don't have one

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? Nothing, I worked. However twindada watched House re-runs and I could hear it in the other room.

42. FAVORITE SOUND? Belly giggles from the girls.



45. Do you have a special talent? Who knows, maybe I haven't discovered it yet!


Okay, so there you have it. A little more about me. Now, I am going to be a party pooper and not assign anyone else this meme, but if you would like to post it to your own site, let me know and I would love to read your answers.

Okay, breaaathe!

I have officially stopped holding my breath. I am breathing regularly again though it is still too soon to know if it is safe to do so. But I am optimistic that we have turned a corner on all of this "newness" and we are finally coming into our routine.

Back in September, I wrote a sad, almost desperate post that I was not looking forward to the transition for us out of my family's house and into our own house. I don't mind the change so much, it is just all the stress of packing, moving and new routines. And though there are many things that we still need to do, it just feels like we are getting into our groove. I can't believe we have been here for two months.

We have accomplished quite a bit since we have moved into our new house. From a remodel standpoint, we have pulled all the old carpeting out of most of the main floor exposing wonderful hardwood floors that just need a good sanding and sealing. Twindada laid new flooring in the dining room (which is a new addition so it doesn't have hardwood). The dining room, girls' room and our bedroom are painted. The playroom is filled with toys and gets heavy use by my little duo and their friend.

The girls are doing good. They have figured out their schedule here and enjoy the playroom because it has lots of space for them to run and trash with all their toys.

On a personal note, I have started three jobs that keep me very busy, but I enjoy it all the same. It is a good supplemental income for my family and I am proud that I get to stay home with Peanut and Jelly Bean plus support our finances, too.

So, life is going. Our life. Not our new life, just our life. There is something so common, so ordinary, so, well routine about just saying our life. And I love it. I don't want to move anymore. I am tired of packing up and starting over. Instead of running toward something like we have done over the past seven years, I am ready to stand still and enjoy what is in front of me.

Do you know what is in front of me? My God. My babies. My husband. My home.

What a great life, it is.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Peanut's Beauty Marks

Yesterday was a day that I had been dreading for over a month now. We had a dermatologist appointment for Peanut after a recommendation by her pediatrician. One of her birthmarks had sprouted hair over the summer and it was looking a little suspicious. I had noticed it, too, changing colors slightly and an odd looking dark spot in the middle of it.

Of course as a freaked out, crazy mother I start panicking internally (especially when anyone throws any "-ologist" and my precious baby in the same sentence), but I have played it pretty cool waiting for the appointment to arrive. Inside my mind wanders down a million different paths of irrational thoughts that are horrible suggestions while my rational self is saying, "Whoa, nelly! It is JUST a consult. It isn't that bad!"

After some mulling over whether I should take Jelly Bean with us or drive the additional one hour's drive out of my way to have her stay with twingrandma, I opted to be brave and take them both.

We arrived at the doctor's office and I loaded them up in the stroller with snacks, sippy cups and books on hand. They usually know the routine once we are in there - they have to sit in the stroller until we get into a room and then I will let them out to run around and wreak havoc. Once I let the wild animals out of their stroller, I am usually saying, "Peanut, get your hands out of that. Jelly Bean, leave that alone. Girls, stay away from the door. Don't eat that!" It is truly a fun time, really.

By the time the doctor entered, I was slightly out of breath, extremely hot and ready to leave, but oh, right, we haven't had the actual appointment yet. Fortunately, the kind doctor entered the room and immediately put me at ease by saying, "I have twins, too." (Yes! Another member of the stressed out posse!) She tore off a little piece of paper and gave it to Jelly Bean along with a pen to draw on while we looked at Peanut.

Peanut has 2 birthmarks that came about after she was already born. (I always thought they were present at the time of birth, but that is not always true. Plus, my girls were born six weeks early.) The most obvious birthmark is her "strawberry" or hemangioma (if you want to get all technical.) It is smack dab on the side of her cheek and it is actually shaped like a strawberry. (My new banner picture displays it quite well.) The second birth mark is the hairy nevus on the back of her arm and the reason why we were at the doctor's office.

The strawberry showed up the weekend that we brought them home from the hospital, so they were roughly about two weeks old. It grew with her face and got puffy and bright red, but over time it is now flat and fading with patches of white. The dermatologist explained this one will be gone completely by age 10. The rule is that by age three, 30% of it will disappear. By the age of 5, 50% of it will be gone and then by age 10, it should have faded completely. There will probably be a silvery white mark left in its place somewhat resembling a stretch mark.

The birth mark on the back of her arm showed up while at the hospital (within her first week) and of course was much tinier than it is now. It grows while she grows and up until recently has been quite innocent looking. I am sure many people have some sort of birth mark that just looks like darker pigment than the rest of their skin. Usually these are completely harmless. When Peanut's birth mark became dark, splotchy and growing hair, this set off alerts in my mind.

The doctor measured it and checked it out and was completely unimpressed by it. It wasn't large enough to be considered a higher risk of skin cancer and it was doing exactly what these type of birth marks do. Because the mark is deeply rooted in the skin, it is able to produce more pigment and dark, course hair. She explained that it will get bigger as she grows and the hair will be thicker, too, but there is no reason to do anything about it.

We left with our instructions: Take a picture of it every year on her birthday and keep them to show her pediatrician. Come back to the dermatologist only if the pediatrician feels it is needed in the future. Peanut can decide in the future if she wants it removed, but there is no guarantee that it won't leave a scar anyway.

So, there we have it. My worst fears have dissipated. I feel better that we have had it looked at and know what we should do to be responsible about keeping track of it, but we aren't going to pine over it anymore. If in the future Peanut pines over it, then we will discuss options.

I know that it could be a challenge in the future when she wants to go to the pool or wear that strapless prom dress, but I can so handle that. I figure the worst part of the birthmark is the hair -we can take care of that pretty easily. The actual existence of it will just make her different and since it is behind the arm, I don't think it will be too bad.

I am a little concerned about her strawberry because that one is right on her cheek. While she has no concept that it really is there and Jelly Bean doesn't think anything of it, it will take some little punk to make her feel bad about it. I know it will happen - so I need to be prepared for that.

It is strange though, I can't imagine Peanut without it. And that is how I am going to help her with it, should I ever need to help. It is so part of her. It is her strawberry. She came with a little stamp displaying how special she is. My little cabbage patch doll, if you will. Except our Maker left His seal of approval on her instead of that ole Xavier Roberts guy.

And over time it will fade. She may be happy to see it go. Or maybe she will accept it like I have and embrace its beauty for the time she has it. All I know, the day that I can no longer see the little strawberry, I will feel sadness because it can only mean one thing: my baby is growing up.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

They Really Are Listening

It is amazing how often I feel frustrated that the girls aren't getting something. I work with them regularly on learning about animals and their different sounds, modes of transportation, shapes, opposites, colors and general vocabulary. I am not a teacher and do not have a background in education of any sort, but before I became a parent I liked the idea that I could teach and mold my children. I wanted them to learn things because we worked on it through play, association and experience. Just when I think that I am talking to brick walls, they start repeating something or perform a task for the first time. It is so rewarding.

From day one, I would talk out loud about what we were doing. Whether I was changing a diaper or dressing them, I would say exactly what I was doing each time I performed a task. With a little Peanut in my arms, I would say, "Now I am going to put on your onesie. Left arm through the left hole. Right arm through through the right hole." I certainly never expected them to pick up their left and their right at 3 months of age and they haven't mastered that this day, but I try to be as descriptive as possible so they can learn many words. Also, I would talk about other things that we couldn't see like, "Where was Daddy?" Sometimes he was there, sometimes he wasn't. I always told them and still do that during the weekdays, "Daddy is working."

We read lots of books, too. Peanut loves a book about animals and will point to each picture and I am supposed to say the name of the animal and will provide the sound (if I know it - do you know what sound a guinea pig makes?) Jelly Bean will "read" books all the time and sometimes I get to read them to her. Both girls point to all types of things throughout the day expecting me to tell them what they are and I know this is building their mental vocabulary databases.

We have mini "lessons" as the atmosphere invites. I wait for moments when the kids are quiet or engaged in something that I can tie to a learning opportunity. For example, if Jelly Bean is playing with the shapes and the shape sorter, I will get a hand held dry erase board or a piece of paper and draw the shapes out and name them as we look at the drawings and feel the plastic shapes. Having several examples made entirely different I think provides them a well rounded understanding about what they are learning.

Also, we do what I like to call "cross reference." Peanut really started this, but now it just makes sense. If we talk about something whether it is an animal or any object, we will look in the room for something else just like it. We have alphabet books that contain many words and pictures and usually we can find a toy or stuffed animal that is the same thing. An example of this is when we found a penguin in Peanut's animals book. She pointed to it, "Dah!" I repeated back, "Penguin." Suddenly her eyes lit up and took off for the toy shelf coming back a few seconds later with a plastic penguin that squeaks.

Jelly Bean has mastered the shape sorter now. She puts them through the correct hole like she is racing. She is starting to point to the appropriate shapes when I ask, too. I have noticed that she does well when given a job, so I will give her a basket and ask her to pick up the shapes. This is not work to her - she loves the hunt. In addition, quiet activities suit her very well, so I will always try to incorporate puzzles, legos, etc. into her learning because she finds great enjoyment in building and figuring out how to solve something.

Peanut learning style is to stay active and engaged. When she is ready to learn, I have to jump on the opportunity because she doesn't always sit still for very long. I have learned however that she is one of those type of people that used to urk me to no end. She doesn't look like she is listening, but she really is paying attention. She has the gift to run around and get into everything while still listening to the lesson and pretty much retaining everything. While Jelly Bean is sitting in front of me concentrating really hard (this is so me), Peanut is goofing off, but probably able to retain more (this is so twindada).

So, we are learning. Just when I think they aren't getting something, then, bam! We have a break through. What was impossible last month is easy this month. Jelly Bean repeats new words regularly. Peanut is picking up more words now more than ever. And just when I think that nothing new has happened, they surprise me.

No matter what, I will always be engaged in their learning. We will always encourage them and be actively involved in their education. (Hey, we will have 2 in college at the same time, we need all the scholarships we can get!) I hope the girls will be ahead in things as we get ready for pre-school and elementary, but if they are just cruising along for their age group, then we will be blessed.

Guess what happened on Friday? I was changing Peanut first thing in the morning and she said, "DaDa". So, I asked her,"Where is Dada?" She replied, "Working."

Wow, they really are listening.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kissy Faces

I don't know if it is a little girl thing - I figure it has to be because my twin girls are really into kissing right now. No, they aren't kissing each other a great deal and twindada and I are not especially smothered in affectionate pecks though we do get our fair share from our little duo. Rather it is the budding romances of all their toys that has me raising an eyebrow.

Last week, I noticed there was something going on between the Fisher Price Little People garbage man and the My First Baby Baby Doll. Jelly Bean had them in a lip lock that lasted, uncomfortably, at least 15 seconds. I watched as these two inanimate objects had their faces smashed together while Jelly Bean gave them their sound, "Moooahh." I asked her if they were in a relationship (they could at least be exclusive, for crying out loud!), but I didn't get a response that I could translate. I figure it was best left alone.

Later on, I noticed the two lovebirds rendezvousing upstairs in the girls' bedroom while they continued their courtship according to the world of Jelly Bean. Hmmm...we may have to have the talk with garbage man and baby doll, this apparently is getting serious. It would be rather weird, too, she is like at least 6 inches taller than him and is mostly made out of cloth. He is a piece of plastic that is no more than 2 inches tall. I guess he likes tall, soft women.

I thought perhaps this was Jelly Bean's fascination, but what one does, the other does too. Today our little friend who comes to visit came with his special Pig in hand. At one point when he dropped it, Peanut scooped it up and it began a passionate smooch with her baby doll. NOT, the same baby doll as garbage man's woman. No love triangles here.

Now it begs the question: WHERE ON EARTH IS THIS COMING FROM? They are not allowed to watch grown up TV and twindada and I do kiss each other, but it is like a peck here or there, not this long lasting lovin' that these scandalous toys are partaking in!

Well, the apples don't fall too far from the tree. I recall (and have been reminded) of me sitting on my dad's lap when I was probably 3 or 4 trying to teach him how to kiss. He would hold me and peck me on the lips. I would get frustrated and tell him that he wasn't doing it right. Why? Because I picked up on the fact that the people on TV (soap operas) kissed for a very long time. Clearly, my dad did not get the message. I would say, "Dad! You need to kiss longer!" He would laugh at me getting the biggest kick out of the fact that I felt it was necessary to teach my father how to kiss. So, I guess Peanut and Jelly Bean do get it quite honestly.

But I don't let them watch soap operas. In fact, I don't even like them. Sure, I knew more about what was going on with Roman and Marlena when I was little rather than who was on Sesame Street (a sad fact, but true.) However I have broken that trend and the girls watch Noggin and I have never seen make out sessions on Dora or Blue's Clues.

So, my logical deduction is that they are just affectionate. Period. They obviously have no clue that "long" kissing is more intimate than short kissing. (Or we would probably have less PDA from the action figures...) They have just found how to express love and now want to watch others express love, too. I think this is how God probably feels when He sees His children expressing love toward each other. He wants to see us happy, He wants to see us love and be loved and He wants us to reach out to others with this compassion.

Maybe we all won't go around kissing each other. That would be really weird. But maybe expressing compassion for each other is the best way to show our children how to be loving, charitable and giving people in this world. Maybe a symbolic "kiss" is the olive branch that we can bestow upon one another that will lift each other up.

Perhaps twindada and I should do more kissing in front of the girls. You know the short, appropriate ones. I have heard that children feel secure when their parents' relationship is solid and one way to show this is by affection toward each other. Just maybe if our children always know they can count on us to keep it together, then they stand a chance of growing up into healthy relationships of their own.

So, what will happen next? Who will hook up with who?

Who knows, but I hope garbage man and baby doll make it for the girls' sake.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What To Do While You Stand In Line To Vote

Hopefully everyone out there is heading out to vote today. No matter who you are voting for today, one thing may happen to many voters - waiting in line. So I have thought up some things to do while you are waiting to partake in your civil duties!

1. Catch Up On Your Reading! What a great way to finish that book that has been sitting on your nightstand.

2. Bring Your Ipod and listen to something other than nursery rhymes and Disney songs. Wow, some time to listen to grown up music? Dare to dream, huh?

3. Write out your grocery list. Just a pad of paper and a pen and you can have your shopping trip planned out.

4. Consider your choices in the election. Are you voting for the person who matches your views? Are you sure?

5. Make friends with others in line. You might find some interesting people to talk to. Heck, you might catch up with old friends and neighbors in line, too!

6. Wrangle your children. If you have to take your kids to the polls, then really don't need this list. Sorry.

7. Look up the internet on your cell phone and read Bringing Up Twins!

8. Call your friends and family and remind them to vote! And catch up on all those phone calls that you need to return. (Just don't talk so loudly that people down the street the hear you. This will annoy the people standing in line with you, thus making #5 hard to do.)

9. Write out your Christmas gift lift or start filling out those Christmas cards.

10. Figure out a good enough excuse to take the rest of the day off from work.

PSA: This is meant for humor and enjoyment. Please note that at Bringing Up Twins we respect everyone's opinion, but since my blog is not a politically focused blog, we will not participate in any type of endorsement conversation.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Meme Game

Lip Zip tagged me for a meme several moons ago and I am finally getting around to posting mine. (Things get done slowly around here...)

The rules:

1- Link to the person who tagged you
2- Post the rules on your blog
3- Write 6 random things about yourself
4- Tag 6 more people
5- Let the taggees know they have been tagged
6- Let your tagger know when you have completed your meme

It look me a while to come up with 6 random things, but here you go...

1. I am green eyed and am left handed. Some researchers say that green eyes are the result of mutations that change the melanin structure of the eye. (Melanin is the pigment of the eye.) Though percentages differ depending on study, about 13% of the population is left handed.

This makes me a genetically rare mutant. How did I even spawn children?

2. My dream since I was a little girl was to be a writer. In elementary school, I attended young author's conferences several years in a row and also one in high school. I loved to write when I was younger and did so regularly. Finding the art of blogging only recently brought some of this childhood passion back to life for me. We will see where it goes.

3. My favorite color is black. Doesn't that sound so depressing?? Well, it's not really. I think of black as style, sophistication, sleek and simple. Think the little black dress or that sharp brand new black sports car. Black sports cars show classiness with a wild edge. (I should also mention that I don't own one of these.) Black is a slimming color. Enough said.

4. I secretly wish that I could live in the wine country of California. Twindada and I went to Napa Valley for our honeymoon and I have loved it ever since. Yeah, while I would be writing that great American novel (see #2), I would be sitting outside looking out over my vineyard, drinking a glass of wine (made from the grapes of my vineyard), laptop in front of me (okay, I like technology a little bit!) and chronicle about my life in such a gorgeous place. (Don't ask me who would be doing the work on the vineyard, I haven't figured that out yet. Twindada, I have a new job for you!)

5. My philosophy in life is that good always results from bad. I mean this one with all my heart though I pray that I am not tested on it again anytime soon. However, I truly think that no matter what bad things happen in our internal world or outside world, good will emerge from it. Sometimes it takes weeks, months, even years for us to find the good that resulted when life throws us a tragedy, but it will happen. Sometimes we may not be the ones that even see it, but rather our loved ones will reap the blessings. I truly know that God takes care of His children no matter what.

6. One book changed my course of thinking about frugality - Your Money Or Your Life. When Twindada and I first married, we were constantly running after the big dollar. We wanted to make as much as we could, have the brand new house, brand new cars and all the latest, greatest stuff. And then one day, we were tired, realized the hole we had dug ourselves into and then I was turned on to reading this book. It helped us to prioritize our life and what we really wanted. It was after this that I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up - a stay at home mom. That was a turning point for my family and we have continued to learn more about living simply and being financially wise. And in this day in age that is going to be the key to surviving our current economic state.

Whew! I did it! Okay, now I am supposed to pass this along to others. Now, this is part of my obligations for completing the meme, so if you lucky folks I picked don't want to participate, no problem.

1. Lip Zip - Sorry to tag you back, but there has to be 6 more random things that you can share with your readers!

2. The Mommy Machine

3. I'm Living Proof That God Has A Sense of Humor

4. It's Just the Everyday Humdrum That People Make It Out To Be

5. And So We Laugh

6. It Is Naptime