Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mourning motherhood

Dear girls,

If I sit still long enough, and think deeply, I can still easily remember that gutter-like feeling that nestled deep into my heart each day I left you at day care.

I had a job, an I-love-humanity kind of job. Before that, a career that evolved out of blood, sweat and tears One that I gave up in hopes that you would come to me some day.

And, when I knew you were going to arrive, I didn’t know then the immense feeling of loss I would feel within myself for having to leave you with strangers for the better part of your awake time.

It was not guilt.

I mourned and grieved for you each day, even though my work days included coffee breaks, quiet walks and conversation with adults.

Like a widow who lost her great love, I lost my two great loves each day, five days a week for six months.

Even when I knew you were in the best hands, I hurt. I regret even writing the word hurt, because it was so much deeper than that. I felt empty inside. I felt raw. I felt lost.

I would sit at my desk and picture you, J, kicking your feet in your bouncy chairs, and you, L, refusing bottles by caregivers, again. Both of you sitting there – you weren’t able to sit alone, yet – watching as other women, who are not your mother, care for you and a half dozen other children.

You were only a block away, but I felt like you were a million miles away.

After you were sick nearly every other week for six months, The Da! and I grew tired. Fees to keep you there added up each month to more than our home mortgage. In the end a mere couple hundred dollars was left over to pay me for the heartache I endured leaving you each day.

With proper budgeting, and many tears, we realized we could manage on one income better than we were managing on two. We sold a car and paid off the other one. And, we made a few other cuts.

And I cannot imagine it any other way. Yes, we need more money. Yes, I need to find ways to cut expenses on food and diapers and clothes.

But it is all worth it to me, to be here and watch you grow and learn. To be the one giving you your milk, your meals, your toys. To be the one to taking you outside under the glorious sun and not just watch you run and play, but help teach you how to play. I’m not the one to just tuck you in to bed each night and wake you the next day.

And, it’s beautiful. As hard as some days are, memories of those early days – carrying you both in to that day care in your infant carriers and handing you off to other moms – are far, far harder, even now, for me to bear.

This post is part of Mammablogga's group writing project. To read more letters like this go to her site.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In a flash, it was found!

Dear girls,

When I tell you that your father has had one disability in our marriage, I'm referring to his inability to sometimes find the obvious things for which he's searching. You know, like something in the refrigerator that might require the shifting of one or two items in order to see it. It's been a long running joke for us.

So, last Friday night, after my bickering began because I was so upset I lost one of my brand new earrings, you can imagine my hesitation when The Da! asked me if he should go search for it.

If he has trouble finding the salad dressing under the bright light of the fridge, how in the world would he find something the size of his pinkie nail in a rocky, woodsy, hilly park at dusk? It would be challenging.

But, he was up for it, and I felt we needed to do something. I had looked at our pictures of the day and saw that pictures at the park proved the earring had already fallen out.

To the park he went. The sun was setting over the river. He arrived shortly before the gates would close, and all park keepers would head home.

He walked straight to the picnic table where we ate that day's lunch -- you know the one you sat on top of, but refused all of the foods we brought for you? That's the one.

At just about 8 p.m., he called me. I was here at the computer, preparing for the bad news.

"I found it," he cheered. I immediately sensed the pride in his voice. As if finding that little earring -- part of my anniversary gift -- makes up for all of his, "I can't find its."

And, in many ways, it did.

For a while, at least.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

In a flash, it was gone

I'm not terribly big on sentimentality. I don't dwell on the fact that Unromance seems to attach its big ugly head to each and every wall in a house raising up twin girls.

Yet, yesterday, when I received my very first jeweled gift from The Da!, I was singing inside.

The day started off on a proper high note that a fourth wedding anniversary can offer -- after all we are still newlyweds, according to our widowed neighbors. Snuggling, kisses, easy conversation, extra long smiles -- and, gifts -- set the tone for the day.

In two very special boxes, I found sparkling silver earrings and a beautiful necklace. I wasn't even sure if the holes in my ears would accept such nonsense since it had been that long since they saw light of day. And, my neck, it felt glorious draped in something other than, nothing.

With the new bling to decorate myself with, I felt inspired. I had a special meeting at a local college regarding a class proposal. I had to get dressed in something other than cargo pants and a T-shirt. Still donning a nice new haircut, I put makeup on, the jewelry and even painted my toe nails for the first time in months.

The new old me was starting to shine through. Memories of the life I led before all of my day's work took place on these three floors of this 1800s home or just around its perimeter began to seep out of the pores of my skin. Maybe I found myself. Perhaps I was never lost.

J & L were mesmerized by the jewelry hanging from my ears, my neck, the silver buckle on my high heels, the perfect pink of my toes. I was instantly a bedazzled toy of which they couldn't get enough.

I nailed the interview. Enjoyed feeling grown up again. And felt as confident about myself on the outside as I usually do on the inside.

Later that morning, I changed my clothes and we took a picnic to a local park over looking the river that exactly four years prior heard our whispers of vows before a small crowd of 70. Just like that perfect day, there was an overcast, but unlike that day, rain wasn't an option, not even a blip on the forecast. You girls, loved the big rocks and tree stumps that knocked you to the ground. You toddled fast back and forth along the paths, giggling at each step.

We later placed you in the very spot where our altar stood, and took pictures. You wouldn't keep still, and quickly lept down the hill, toward the horses, out of the picture.

And, I was elated.

That day, four years ago, was so incredibly perfect. I remember smiling for two weeks as our love swept us across the oceans to Grand Cayman for a blissful 10 days.

And, yesterday, was one for the books as well.

At least until last evening, when I snuck in the bathroom for a quick peek at the mess I'd become over the course of the day to see just how much I would scare neighbors during an evening walk.

That's when I realized one of those precious new earrings -- the very things that started this day off right -- was missing. Gone.

Rarely have I felt more empty inside than that very moment.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Girl fight!

Yes, dear readers, my precious little girls fight. Here is living proof of that, and some team work as well. This is a video entry into the Multiple Mom Movie Madness contest going on over at The Twinkies.

I hope this works!

Happy Anniversary!

Yes, girls, today your father and I will celebrate our fourth anniversary. It will not be anything fancy. Money is tight around here since we became a one-income family. Perhaps you sense the tension. I know we try to keep it light, and simple.

Today will be just another day, but more like a Saturday because the Da! has taken some days off of work. It's nice having him around to play with isn't it?

It's hard to believe that four years ago we were standing in front of that beautiful, flowing river saying our vows. It was the best day of my life up to that point.

Da! you couldn't be a better friend, father or husband. I'm a lucky, lucky girl. I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with you today, and the rest of the weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Twins in the news

Both times that I heard about the 60-year-old woman who this week gave birth to twins, I was crashed on the couch. Seriously. Not an hour goes by that I don't wish I had more energy. I wish I could keep up better, not just with you girls, but with housework and my fitness level. I wish I looked better. I wish I felt better. I wish I had time to do yoga.

And, I'm about 30 years younger than this woman. Of course, if she's in absolute great shape, perhaps she will have an easier time of it. Perhaps.

I do know that after my Cesarean, I refused ALL visitors and the idea of dressing up and participating in a television interview was the last thing on my mind. I was consumed not just those first few days, but the entire first year with my two glorious, amazing babies.

"It's wonderful," this mother said this morning on the Today show.

She's not even out of a wheel chair and she's saying it's wonderful. And, who's watching the babies while she's spending time on television?

Talk to me in three months when you've had nothing more than three-hour sleep intervals. Talk to me in a year when they are toddling in different directions.

I hope she has a gazillion more energy and stamina than I, because she will need it. Perhaps she'll have some helping hands to give her a 10 minute break now and then, though. Something I only dream about.

For more twin parents' opinions on this matter, go here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Look, it's a bird, a plane, a scary experience!


Mama's got a big boo-boo on her heart after last night's bath experience.

Once, not long ago, I read this great tip that said parents of a toddler hung a poster or piece of art over their bathtub. The idea being that when it was time to rinse the babe's head of soapy shampoo, the parent could say, "Hey, look at Elmo," or whatever the picture is, baby would look up, avoiding water in the face.

I thought that was a great idea. But, that would require so many things like getting a poster, finding a ladder tall enough to reach the ceiling in our very small bathroom and, well, taking a break from my real job, which is caring for you -- the Uber Twins.

So, last night, when The Da! called saying he was running about a half hour behind, I was doomed to giving the bath on my own. No poster or anything. I've been helping gather the two of you into the bathroom, but then leaving, as you know, so that your Da! has some responsibility, I mean quality time.

When your heads of hair were so soapy that I could get them to stand up in great little Mohawks, I began worrying about the soap/water hitting your precious faces. I know you do not like that. I hate making your face wet. I know it doesn't hurt, but you both stand up, cling to me like wet noodles and try to climb out of the tub -- at once. I don't like that so much.

So, right after a few good swigs of warm bath water, but right before play time with your squirt toys, I had what might be my Worst Mother of the Year moment.

Pointing to the ceiling, I said, "There's a bird." It's not quite a poster, but I know you love to watch birds. And, truthfully, our butt-ugly wallpaper -- a legacy of our home's pear tree-loving previous owner -- does have birds on it. And it does climb up to the ceiling. But, you might not have seen those small white birds, though. I know you didn't. How could you? You were just enjoying splashing around in a bath.

Because after looking up long enough for me to dump some water over your tilted heads, searching the blank ceiling innocently for a bird, you both ended up screaming in terror at the idea of birds being in your bathroom.

I signed, "All gone." You still cried, real tears, in fear.
I said, "No bird. No bird. No bird." You still cried, and clinged, and tried to climb out. At once. All while looking around for some scary bird flying above your warm bath water.

It wasn't until you were both out of the tub, on the floor, snuggled in towels that you started to calm down. And then, it was only because I had pointed out your little scraped knees.

"Look, it's your boo-boo."

Now, I'm on the hunt for the perfect poster to hang on the ceiling. And, I think it's definitely time for the bird wallpaper to go. Clearly, it will be my Yellow Wallpaper from here on out.

I'm truly sorry, girls!

No bird.
No bird.
No bird.

If only I had know then, what I know now

I might have had a different blog title, like The Uber Twins. I might have had a different style of writing all together. But I didn't know anything. In fact, this blog was started to simply practice blogging as I anticipated blogging on a more public forum. Then, I learned that that opportunity wasn't going to happen.

But, now it is. I think. And then another opportunity still lies out there in waiting, in purgatory, in leave-my-nails drumming on the desk anticipation. So, perhaps those ideas in the back of my mind will see the light of the screen, some day.

Yet, here I am, Letters to my Daughters. Our blog title is on blog rolls -- like, 3 of them. Including this one, which truly cracks me up. I love the blogger's ability to express herself. I love that she included me on her blog roll.

So here we are. Where are we? Readers are growing, but only because they like my menus on Mondays. Or because I leave obsessive-compulsive please-come-visit-my-blog comments all around this here Internets. I can't help if if I can write and watch television (Go Blake!)and conduct phone interviews in the same block of time -- newsrooms do that to a woman.

My point to this post, believe it or not, is to announce that I have finally created a Gmail account. Much like joining Technorati, Feed burner and Google Analytics, Gmail is one of those "it will make you feel good" geeky things that bloggers tout.

Blogging truly has turned my tired, antiquated self into someone who actually knows what the heck she's doing in terms of Web site design and using modern day technology as well as social marketing. And, to think, I had to become a stay-at-home Mama to do it! Take that Leslie Bennetts.

Wanna give me a shout out? Email me at ubertwins at gmail dot com.

I am not sure why I didn't just give the actual e-mail address, but this is how all the cool bloggers do it so they must know something I do not (spam, probably). I guess I'll figure that out some day.

Stay tuned for that public blog I'm talking about, which will debut in a couple of weeks. It will be uber cool. That I know for sure.

What? Quit coffee?

That was my first reaction to this article that popped out of the page on Steve Pavlina's personal development Web site. I'm all about personal development. But, I'm also all about coffee. When I pry open my eyes in the morning, I like the focus to land on a nice hot cup of Java. If it's not there -- The Da! makes it for me each day -- then I just want to close my eyes again. I don't think it always used to be that way. Am I addicted?

I know that to get through a day with the two of you pulling me in a million directions, it doesn't hurt to have some coffee. I mean, this T-shirt saying wasn't invented by me. Then, maybe another cup later on to revive the day, especially when a pile of deadlines await an action of some sort. So many things, so little time.

Still, Pavlina makes some good points, like spending too much time on lesser important tasks (hmm. like blogging?) And, then he offers this link, which makes even more good points.

I have to wonder, am I actually being less productive than I think I am on caffeine?

What do you think? Is coffee helping or hurting you? Do you think quitting caffeine would help or hinder your productivity?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Menu Planning Monday

As an aside this week, I had to laugh when I was putting this week's menu together, The Da! made quite the funny as we sat watching television. I asked him -- he the man that loves sweets -- what he might want as a dessert this week because I want to start incorporating one dessert into the menu each week. He stared blankly, like he didn't understand. So, I began to list items such as cakes, brownies, muffins, pies, etc. I paused, thinking he'd have an idea by this point.

This was his response: "I'm feeling very overwhelmed right now."

He requested the ultimate dessert in our book: Eclair cake. The basic recipe can be found anywhere, but we leave ours in the refridgerator for one day prior to eating -- keeping the indulgence at bay for several hours. If only it didn't make so much!

I'm also incorporating one freezer meal a week. This week, I'm preparing our favorite Polynesian Pork BBQ. I'm a huge fan of ethnic foods and anything that even remotely resembles takeout foods. This is one of those dishes that's easier and tastier than most Chinese take out, yet it's healthier and cheaper. I usually fix it Friday nights with some rice. Anyway, we aren't eating it this week ... just preparing it and freezing it for another week.

What we are having this week:

Sunday: Nana’s BBQ
Monday: Moroccan Chicken (Rachael Ray) Note: I use chicken thighs instead of lamb for this.
Tuesday: Freezer Food Apple Pork (prepared two weeks ago)
Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan, the easy version (baked Perdue chicken, topped with spaghetti sauce and mozzerella and baked in oven until warmed and bubbly. Served with salad and multigrain rolls.
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Pizza Pancakes

Nana's BBQ

1 Pound hamburger, browned with onions and celery
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
2 T vinegar
3 T brown sugar
Paprika and salt, to taste.

Brown meat and veggies, add rest of ingredients and simmer until celery is soft. If you don't use celery, since it's optional, simmer about 15 to 20 minutes. Put on soft whole wheat rolls and serve with gourmet chips and a salad of your choice.

Poor, Laura! I have forgotten more than once to give her credit for hosting Meal Planning Monday. Please check out her menu and many, many others!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Life is zipping by Part II

Here is the first post I wrote, back when being a Mama was still profound for me every single day because at that time, when you were just a year, it seemed every single week you changed before me eyes.

Life still zips by, but at a much slower pace now. I have more time to reflect in a day that you now know certain buttons to push to get me up off my fat butt, or give you my big Bug Eyes "don't you dare" touch that look.

I like how you, J, will put your hand close to the electric cord to the entertainment system and then, whimper softly my way, "Uh. Uh. Uh." You never touch it. You might glance at it. But, mostly, you want me to tell you, "No, touch." That's the fun part, isn't it? Seeing me worried, seeing me concerned. Seeing me pounce to save you.

I like how you, L, will not just grab my papers with one hand, but when I push that one paw away you will swing with both arms flailing about until you grab something, anything at all and destroy it with one impeccable crush of your tiny fist. Your strength is amazing. I love how when you do this you have the biggest smile on your face, like this is all you live for, to crush my writing to death, to kill it fiercely, to make it unreadable.

I am in awe of all that you both understand, and all of the orders you follow. Stand on one foot. Bounce like a frog. Show me your smile. Where's your knee. Pat your head. Rub your belly. Walk in circles. Go backwards. Crawl like a baby. Grab that basket of laundry and take it upstairs ... nah, just kidding.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by your immense curiosity, that of course, has me spinning in a day. No touch in the kitchen to you, J, while L starts grabbing anything she can off the dining room table. No touch in the living room, while J starts hitting all the buttons on the remote. Room to room, object to object, proof of my child non-proofing spilled all over the floors. My kitchen utensils. All the wash cloths, all the plastic wear, toys, more toys, socks, shoes, and before I know it it's another meal time and you're crying and I'm wondering what the hell I've just been doing for an hour that I now have to rush to fix you something to eat.

Only for you to toss it over your shoulder, rub it through your hair and wrinkle your nose. Again.

And that was just this morning.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Toddler speak

This was a conversation today -- well, every day -- on the front stoop, where we like to sit/stand/bounce/scream/breathe/laugh/head bang to the neighbor's rap music at least once or twice a day ...

A large, 18-wheeler truck whizzes by.

L: (Waves her arm requesting "The Wheels on the bus")
J: (Waves her arm, too)
Me: I didn't see any buses go by.
L: (Waves bye-bye with her hand)
J: (Waves, too)
Me: I meant, I didn't see any buses pass.
L: (Waves her arm requesting "The Wheels on the Bus")
J: (Waves her arm, too)
Me: The Wheels on the bus go round and round ... (rolls eyes)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What is it about food?

Dear J and L,

It's important that you understand that from day one of knowing that you were inside me, knowing that I was sustaining you, I have tried to do everything right. From the first bite in the morning to the last bite in the evening and all of the tastes in between, I wanted you to have a good start in life.

I wanted so much.

Lucky for me, I didn't suffer from many odd cravings, and I didn't eat too badly either. In fact, I would say I ate the best in my life when I was pregnant with you. And, when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I ate even more food than what I thought I needed and wanted because that is what I was told to do. Meal, snack, meal, snack, meal, snack. It was a whopping diet, one that I also took seriously.

So it was no wonder that I wanted to breastfeed you. I wanted you to have that more than anything else. But, things were out of my control. First, there were two of you and only one of me -- an imperfect one, at that. And then there was the stitched up wound in my stomach that left me in so much pain for those first couple of days. I wasn't prepared for it. I barely could move. I wanted desperately to snuggle with you. It was impossible. There were two of you, and only one of me, and an imperfect one at that.

With so little support that had any knowledge of breastfeeding, and after learning that a prior decision in my life that was made purely out of cosmetic dreams, I was not able to produce the kind of milk production needed to sustain one of you, let alone two. We tried. You lost weight. I felt immensely depressed. I cried. A lot. Over and over. I don't remember an hour without tears, without fears, without extreme hatred for myself. There were two of you, hungry, crying, and only one of me, and an imperfect one at that.

A little more than a week into breastfeeding, I decided to pump and supplement with formula. I write that sentence with such ease because my fingers know this keyboard so well that my indentations make up its presence. It was far from an easy decision. I fell into deep depression. I felt ruined. Like I was ruining you. I wanted desperately for you to have the best start in life, the best possible nutritional intake. I felt the pressure from myself more than society, but I know now that society is who put it there on my shoulders in the first place.

For a time, I knew it would be best to put you on all formula as pumping was not going as smoothly or producing enough to justify the time constraint it was putting upon me. Instead of napping or resting, I was pumping. Instead of making me feel better about myself, all it was doing was bringing me down more.

Eventually, after many internal debates, it dawned on me that I was raised on formula, as was Da! and every single other person that I know because that is the way it was for our mothers and grandmothers. When realizing this fact, and knowing that I turned out OK and so did so many other intelligent, thoughtful human beings, I decided formula was our answer.

Even bottle feeding and formula feeding didn't bring ease, but I was much better as a mother at that point. You were both diagnosed with reflux after long bouts of lots of crying, arching and low-intake. It was not easy, but we survived.

When baby food and, then, solids were introduced, life got easier and easier. You have been sustained on a diet of whole milk and regular food since you turned 13 months old. I still have many internal battles, though.

Which is what led to this post, actually. This past week, I surrendered some control and we ate at fast food restaurants for the first time. The first, which was planned, felt good. I knew I was doing something right by allowing you some indulgences, by allowing myself to let go a little of the meal preparation stress.

The second time was out of emergency because we were running behind in our schedule due to yet another spontaneous decision on my part, which I do not regret. Still, when your Da! dumped a packet of salt on your french fries I nearly had a conniption.

Behind all of our eating out ventures this week, as well as my ability to let go a little, I had one person, one blog, one idea in the back of my mind. Momfidence. She preaches letting go of the world of stressful mothering and doing what is convenient for a mom, including allowing some non-healthy foods into your diets. While I do not believe everything she writes, I think she is getting to me.

But, my eagerness to keep you nutritionally sound with good fats, fresh vegetables and fruits and low salt and sugar is not out of society's pressure, necessarily. It's to keep my own body images and weight challenges as far from you as possible.

You see, I struggle. Even if I don't eat anything bad, my weight hardly fluctuates. I'm not a huge fan of vegetables, either. I like many, but would much rather have a heaping helping of a carbohydrates like potatoes or bread, or some protein like chicken or fish. And, I'm a sucker for ethnic foods, none of the healthier versions either.

I recall as a young girl, about 10, being told by a relative that I was fat. I remember hiding outside after that and crying, thinking why on earth did that person need to tell me that. I was never fat as a girl, just so you know. I now realize that this person was just a mean person. I was never the same after that. I dressed in baggy clothes. I felt ashamed of my body.

In many ways, I am still that little girl, hiding, when it comes to my body and my weight. Imperfect.

And, that is why I want you to eat the best possible foods.

Yet, those times when you won't touch a thing I've made for you, I want to force you to eat. I worry. I stress. I wonder.

And, I know, that nothing I can do can make you eat if you don't want to eat. I do not want that, anyway.

I do not want that.

I'm learning to let go of some of those earlier wants.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Inspiration Wednesday

I'm feeling scattered, like my brain is a bucket of shapes that are never in the sorter. Too many ideas are floating around in my head. Too many thoughts are crowding the organizational stream of brain waves.

So, I want to give you some things to think about.

T-shirt sayings I love: This is a MUST for moms with twin toddlers. I mean, what better way to describe how we feel like collapsing at the end of a day of just being a mom? Plus, check out Wendy's tips ... these are fresh and new ideas.

Food toddlers love: Can you say Quesadillas? Yeah, see recipe below. Perfect toddler fare. This perfect food can be made in various ways, just look at this one!

Inspiration. Period: Raising Small Souls. This video has been going around and around, but it's worth viewing over and over. And, if you haven't seen it before, thank me later. Be sure to click on the purple box, "Animal School."

My version of Quesadillas is super simple and healthy. I use whole wheat flour tortillas, organic refried black beans and taco seasoned shredded cheese. I have a quesadilla maker, but find that spraying a skillet with spray and cooking it that way turns out better, especially for my tots. J&L love them and if they like them a lot, your children will, too.

Do you have any version of quesadillas to share? A T-shirt saying you'd like to wear today? Or, some inspiration for this lovely Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Some Top Fives to help parents

As it turns out, much of the Top 5 lists have a lot to do with blogging, self-help or something else entirely. Not much in Mamaland. But, in my first real quick scan of the list of nearly 900 lists ... here are 5 of the 5s that I think are worth checking out. I warn you that I might feature another set of 5 next week if I find some I like. You'll recall that I listed my Top 5 last week ...

First up, is from blogger Patricia Smith Gundry of Enjoyville, who lists Top 5 things to do (on computer) for a 5 minute break. I know I tend to spend it blogging, surfing blogs and on my twins forums, but now that I have these tips perhaps I'll take a real break sometime.

Next, is a funny post by Raising4Boys about why boys are better than girls ... and then another for why girls are better than boys. I like how she keeps it balanced, and fun.

My third choice, is by What is the Secret? and gives a list for how to stop being a perfectionist. Is this possible? The list says it is so. Let me know if it works for you.

Fourth: I like how this post speaks to dads, especially single and divorced dads. Dadvisor gets it right.

And, finally, the last Top 5 I'll recommend today is Parenting Sites list of Top 5 children's craft sites. We can never have enough ideas in the backs of our minds to keep our tots happy ... at least I don't.

What's your song?

Ah, music. When just the right song comes along, it can really ease the pain and soothe the soul. Or, in other cases, it can open the wound right back up and tear off the nasty scab, leaving you blinking in shock. Funny how it works that way. Songs that made me cry when I was just an adolescent girl still leave me feeling hurt inside, like it was yesterday. And, believe me, it was far, far, far from yesterday.

Still, I'm in a much better mood when I'm listening to music. I realized that the other day. Going room to room, upstairs and downstairs, inside and outside, walks, car rides, diaper changes, fixing meals, cleaning up after meals, writing projects due yesterday ... music -- great songs -- have been elusive in my schedule.

This is where you come in. I need help. I need song suggestions to put on my spankin' new, hot pink iPod. I'm clueless. I go to itunes and I'm blank. I have a whopping nine songs on it, and one was an accidental download of "Silent Night" from Christmas time. It was a freebie. I am so not technical that I didn't know how to NOT put it on my playlist on the iPod. Now, I'm forced to fast forward every time I hear it. It's the Sarah McLachlan version so it's beautiful, but come on, it's 70 degrees outside!

Anyway, I like just about any music. Some of my favorites and the ones I have uploaded now are Nickelback, Doughtry, John Mayer, and Evanescence. I like singer-songwriters, low-tempo R&B, and stuff like Nickelback and Mayer ... where we live there isn't anything ever good on the radio so I stopped trying to search when you were born, girls. I just can't focus on finding something for so long.

The problem is now that I am so unhip in so many ways -- being musically challenged is one of them. I used to be able to at least know enough to search for a name of a band or a song, but not so anymore. Now, all the songs in my repertoire go a lot like this, "The Wheels on the bus go round and round ..." or "I'm a little tea pot ..." or, my personal favorite, "Brush, brush, brush your teeth ..."

So, dear readers, can you offer up some great ADULT song titles or artists that I should check out for possible download? I want to be moved, inspired, energized, soothed (when the babies are out of hand).

Please, no country or Gospel/Christian music selections. It's not that I'm not into those, I'm just not into them when I'm taking a quick walk for some exercise, which is mainly when I'll be using my iPod. No holiday music, either.

Oh, and no hard core rap lyrics ... I get enough of that kind of talk from my fellow neighbors.

What soothes your soul?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Menu Planning Monday

Dear sweet girls,

You amaze me more each day with your funniness and smartness. L, you have been so sick and so miserable. I hope this clears up soon. You are such a fun girl when not feverish, coughing, and tired. Your curiosity is immense, evidenced by how quickly and easily you grab everything you shouldn't.

J, your silliness is really showing through. You are talking more and more and you clearly enjoy getting attention from The Da! and I. You make such funny faces and moves with your skinny body. Just today, for instance, you head banged on the front stoop, to no music, and looked back to make sure we were watching.

I'm not as organized this week for our meals, mainly because my head is still spinning from sickgirl interupting my sleep, my breaks, my sanity breathers, and all that. Plus, waiting until mid-week to go shopping again. Not that we haven't had to go to the store. The Da went twice yesterday. But, that was his fault, not ours.

Like always, we will have a variety of fresh fruit, cereal, scrambled eggs and pancakes or toast for breakfast. Lunch will have to be peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese or chicken salad. Dinner will be Florentine meatballs or pasta with tuna, until I get to the store. I hope you will bless me with eating well this week.

So, this week, here's what's hot:

Monday: Beef BBQ in slow cooker served on rolls with salad
Tuesday: Turkey florentine meatballs served with pasta
Wednesday: Garden salad topped with Chicken and Ken's rocking Raspberry Walnut Vin
Thursday: Pasta with tuna and peas
Friday: Blackberry Balsamic Chicken (for us) and Chicken Tenders (for you)

Blackberry Balsamic Chicken

• 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
• Cooking spray
• 1/2 cup chopped red onion
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1/2 tsp dried thyme
• 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
• 1/3 cup seedless blackberry preserves
• 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over med. high heat until hot. Add onion and sauté until translucent.
Sprinkle salt, pepper, and thyme over the chicken. Add chicken to skillet and saute 6 min on each side or until done. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm. Reduce heat to med. low. Add preserves, vinegar, and salt and pepper, stirring constantly until preserves melt. Spoon the sauce over the chicken to serve.

Sweet Juicy Chicken Strips
Original found by: djmastermum

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup of your choice of jam
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter butter
Cut breasts into strips. Heat Jam, and then roll chickenstrips in the jam. Roll chicken caoted in Jam in bread crumbs. Put chicken and butter in a baking dish and cook for 30 mins in a preheated oven at 180 C or 350 F oven until golden. (Makes 5)

A bittersweet Mother's Day

J and L:

This is only my second Mother's Day, and last year you were so little, so needy that it wasn't really a day for me at all. Today, though, is proving to be not as perfect, but hopefully it's still early. I'm having a typical day -- full of emotions that run high and low.

First, Happy Mother's Day to my mommy, who will celebrate her first Mother's Day 12 hours away from me, her first child. I'm sorry I can't be with you for the first time in my memory. This distance-thing is hard; holidays make it harder. I hope you enjoy it in Georgia on this Mother's Day. Hugs.

Second, Happy Mother's Day to Mom Mom, who is not quite as far, but we're still having trouble connecting. I hope you have a great day enjoying this perfect weather. We will see you soon. Promise.

Third, my baby Lbyrd is sick, again. After just recovering from an infected lymph node it seems she has caught a nasty cold. Bless us with some sleep today -- like right now for a nap -- and especially tonight, my sweet. Please.

Fourth, my awesome husband knew I would not win that darn iPod in that 5 Minutes for Mom contest ... so, he bought me one!! Yes.

Fifth, could this weather today -- at least here -- be any more perfect? Goly. I best not complain about anything else because a spring day can't get any better than this. Glorious.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are moms today. Take comfort in the fact that you are loved and needed, even today.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I'm in love!

Yes, it's true.

I met someone. I felt like we really connected. For once, I felt understood. Like every word I said was being heard. It was a whirl-wind feeling, like being swept off my feet and then twirled around and around and around. I never felt more beautiful --at least not since long before the two of you were pulled harshly from my body. It was just an hour, but one can learn a lot in 60 minutes. Just think of all the messes you create, that I clean up, and then you recreate in that time.

Yes, my sweet girls, I have found a hair stylist that I know I will be loyal to for the very first time in my life.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mamas! Read your blogs!


Some of our readers are a little new to The Blogosphere. Remember the days when Mama read her first blog, or two? Oh, the nights -- the long nights. A year later, I'm even more addicted.

So, I decided to write a Top 5 for why all moms, even the busiest among us, should read blogs:

1. To connect with people in our Big, Big World: There are people out there who think like you, in fact, they just might be everywhere. You can hang all day at the local playground, or all night in a bar, but to really get someone, you need to read their diaries. Blogs are an easy way to do that, without all the weird sneaking.

2. To get the real news: Aren't women, mothers especially, tired of today's mainstream news? Blogs offer a fresh perspective on newsy and non-newsy topics.On blogs, you'll find unique, moving, inspiring, heart-tugging stories that can educate you, motivate you, improve you and let you walk away unscathed.

Just because you can find positive, inspiring stories and posts in Blogworld, doesn't mean it stops there. Bloggers every day are uncovering news stories that big fancy news reporters can only dream of. And, it's alternative news so think of it as knowing something that very few know. It's also a great way to fact check the news stories you have heard or read today. By looking deeper into a topic that interests you, you are doing yourself, your children and this world a service. You are seeking the truth and realizing the big picture. That is invaluable.

3. To get mothering advice: Even if you aren't looking for the answer to a specific question, you might learn a new activity, find a new way to connect with your child, or improve your relationship with your partner. What better way to grow than to read about other women who have experienced something similar. And with the vast number of mothers blogging, you are sure to find one that gets you at hello.

4. To uncover the world at your finger tips: Just because you live in Middle America and can't afford a vacation doesn't mean you can't travel in your mind. What better way to get to know other destinations, other cultures, than to read stories written by the people who live there. Travel blogs are a great way to uncover a new community, too, so if you are considering moving, check out a blogger's site in that dream spot.

5. To find new recipes: Come on, we all love food. Many of us love to cook, or maybe just like to cook. But all moms have to cook sometime or another. And we're always wondering what the heck to make for dinner as we eye the takeout menus. Food blogs are amazing resources for tried-and-true recipes. It's not enough to go to a standard recipe site, you need real women's stories about The Keepers -- those that will go down in their hall of fame, or shame. You want to read how to improve it, how the kids liked it, or, which of those will be sent along with the mounds of junk on trash day.

So, go now, get reading. Start here, where many other bloggers are forming their own Top 5 lists. Who knows where you will end up ... just make sure the kids are sleeping. It could be a long, long night for you.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Captionless Photo

Re: captionless photo

Go ahead, give me a caption or two for this photo. What's going on in this picture? Please put your captions in the comments.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Though, if you know me, it's hard to keep quiet, period -- let alone when it comes to this photo, which by the way was taken by one cracking up Mama. Just one more shot, J, then I'll help you down! Really

This is my first time participating in Wordless Wednesday. Be sure to check out more photos of my beauties in my new Flickr flash badge to the right.

T-shirt sayings

I do not profess to be just a mother of twins. After all, I am just a mother.

However, now and then, like when I'm spotting two toddlers going up the stairs, or trying to make one walk, while keeping the other one from knocking down a store display, or when I'm trying to keep one starving baby at bay while the other one wants nothing to do with food ... I have to think about this T-Shirt.

And, when I'm walking, and the fourth person in that hour asks, if my girls are twins, I really want to have this T-shirt on.

But, more often than not, I would like to wear this T-shirt.

What would your T-shirt read today?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Suffering from Good Book Syndrome


Right now, I am suffering. My heart aches.

I have the worst feeling. The one that means nothing can take me back to that feeling ... that cozy, warm sensation of reading a really good book -- the one I turn to in time of happiness, sadness, tiredness. The one that keeps me up later at night, the one I turn to in the middle of the day instead of writing, instead of cleaning.

I have been suffering from what I call "Good Book Syndrome" for more than a week. It might be closer to two weeks. This is when I search and search for the next Perfect Book. I skim pages and pages of First Pages. I go scowering about the house, asking, "Have you seen (SUCH AND SUCH BOOK)." Shouting, "Well, it has to be here some where." I dig through shelves upon shelves -- moving about from first floor, to second floor, to, finally, the third floor. I check the Waiting-to-be-read piles around my bedside table. Nothing clicks. Nothing sticks.

For a small book club I'm in, we read "Water for Elephants," by Sara Gruen. It was so good that when I was done, I immediately handed it over to The Da! because I knew he would read it in, like a day, and then I'd have someone to talk about it with since book club was a mere two weeks away. I was right ... he was done in no time. The last time I felt this way about a book was "Bel Canto," by Anne Patchett. But he didn't read it. This is the first time we've read a book and then discussed it. More on that in another post.

Since then, since I closed that Great Book with a smile, I haven't been able to latch onto anything else. And, I have tried. Very hard.

I started first with "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time."
Since I do most of my reading before bed, this novel -- as refreshing as it seems -- was too much like a textbook from grade school that I should have read. In fact, it's a great refresher book. I couldn't tolerate all that information being junked up in my head just before trying to get a good night's rest.

So, I tried "The Bean Trees," by Barbara Kingsolver. It's the book's 20th anniversary. I read an article by Kingsolver in GH, so I felt it was time to read this great one of hers. It has been on my shelf for years. I know Turtle. I know Barbara. I'm a big fan. Still, it wasn't working. I had to put it down.

That's when I started "The Orchid Thief," by Susan Orlean.

Still, I can't help feeling a great loss, a little empty inside. Crawling into bed to read, just isn't the same when I'm not in love with tonight' book. It's a lot like, well, you know. I can't write THAT here.

But, unlike the others, I think I will stick with this title ... at least for a while. It is the next best thing. I think. At least it is until my next freelance check arrives and I have a little money to spend at the book store.

Menu Planning Monday

Weekly menu

I went ahead and made a few things to get us through this week over the weekend, like the Thai chicken, which was really good. I only cooked it for 3 hours and the chicken didn't dry out.

I'm glad this menu is mostly slow cooked or already cooked. I'm not going to be home any evening this week ... so many things going on like book club, Mothers of Multiples meeting, teen mom group meeting and, a long overdue hair cut.

So, this menu is perfect for such a week. Recipes are below because most of them were already in my computer. Unfortunately, I didn't write down where I got these from so they may be from other bloggers, or they may be from just somewhere online.

Monday lunch: Easy Thai Chicken (leftovers)
Monday dinner: Toscana Soup (Leftovers)
Tuesday: Hashbrown Casserole
Wednesday: Apple Marinated Pork Chops (freezer meal)
Thursday: Honeymoon Stew (Crockpot meal)
Friday: Chicken Enchiladas

Easy Thai Chicken (crockpot)

Easy Thai Chicken (Recipe Tuesday)
This recipe is very yummy and simple to make. You can make it in your slow cooker and if you buy the Reynolds Liners the clean up is super easy!
• Chicken Breast 1lb or more
• 3/4 cup Salsa
• 1/4 cup Peanut Butter, creamy
• 2t Lime Juice
• 1tsp Grated Ginger
• 1t Soy Sauce
Put chicken in slow cooker. Mix all the ingredients together and pour on top of chicken. Cook on high for 4 hours. Enjoy!
I just used the lime juice in the plastic lime and used pregrated ginger however you could use fresh in both if you wanted to.
This dish is great with white rice so I cooked rice just before I served the chicken. You can use both mild or hot salsa depending on your preference. Also to make it milder for children you can cut down on the ginger and increase the amount of peanut butter you use which will make the sauce creamier.

Toscana Soup

Toscana soup.
3 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup (or more) heavy cream
3 russet potatoes
2-3 cups chopped kale
1 lb spicy Italian sausage - We usually use smoked sausage.
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1. Combine the chicken broth, cream, and cans of soup in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Slice the unpeeled potato into 1/4 inch slices, then quarter the slices and add them to the soup.
3. Add the kale.
4. Grill or saute’ the sausage. If I’m using smoked sausage or Kielbasa, I slice it before I cook it and then add it to the soup.
5. Add the spices and let the soup simmer for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

Hashbrown Casserole

Hashbrown Casserole (like Cracker Barrel's but better!)

2lbs Hashbrowns (you can get this in the freezer section made by Ore Ida)
1lb Shredded Cheddar Cheese (set aside 1/2 cup)
1/2 yellow onion chopped (can omit if you want)
8oz Sour Cream
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 stick unsalted butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

Pre Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a LARGE bowl. Grease a large casserole dish with non stick spray. Pour all of the mixture into the dish and press down gently to slightly pack. Take the 1/2 cup of cheese remaining and sprinkle over the top.

Bake on 350 for 1 hour.

Serves up great and taste good for leftovers too!

Apple Marinated Pork chops (Freeze and serve meal so need extra)

6 (6 oz.) Pork Chops
1 C. Apple Juice
1 tsp. Dry Mustard
1 t. Basil
½ C. Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Garlic

Add all of the above ingredients into a one gallon freezer zip lock bag and then seal and freeze. Thaw completely in the refrigerator to prepare. Remove chops from marinade and grill for 4 minutes on each side until center is just pink. Serve with applesauce, salad, and croissants.

Honeymoon Stew with Egg Noodles

Put in crock pot:
One large package stew beef
1/4 cup each brown sugar and soy sauce
1/2 to 1 whole jar salsa (enough to coat the meat)
Cook on low all day.
Sometime close to dinner, add some frozen corn. I also have added a can of kidney beans. Serve with rice or egg noodles.

Chicken Enchiladas (Kraft)

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Recipe Rating:
Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 40 min
Makes: 6 servings, 2 enchiladas each

2-1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT Shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
12 flour tortillas (8 inch)
1-1/2 cups TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Salsa

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Mix chicken, soup, 1/2 cup of the sour cream, 1 cup of the cheese and 3 Tbsp. of the cilantro until well blended.
SPOON about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam sides down, in greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Top with the salsa and remaining cheese.
BAKE 25 min. Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. cilantro; top with the remaining 1/2 cup sour cream.

Nutrition (per serving)
Calories 720 Total fat 33 g Saturated fat 15 g Cholesterol 120 mg Sodium 1680 mg Carbohydrate 67 g Dietary fiber 5 g Sugars 6 g Protein 38 g Vitamin A 25 %DV Vitamin C 4 %DV Calcium 45 %DV Iron 25 %DV

Sunday, May 6, 2007

I AM a good, Mama! I am!

Dear girls,

A bizarre request has popped up at Girl's Gone Child and I can't help but to participate and send all of our readers to some of the great posts that are included in Rebecca's list.

I read Rebecca's blog often, but not as frequently as I should. She is a gal who will tell it like it is and there aren't enough of us out there in the world.

But, this request is for Moms everywhere to proclaim their greatness, instead of their weaknesses.

This brings me to a story I've wanted to tell you for some time now. About your first year. About how difficult it was for me. Sleep deprivation is a real mood killer. Two crying babies, another downer. I will not ever lie, it was dreadful.

But, recently, I looked back at the photos. I took so many. And, I realized that we did have lots of great moments that year. You were smiling. There are even some photographs of me smiling.

That's when I realized that I not only survived it, but I think I did the best I could do. When you were still waking a couple times a night at 6, 8, 10 months, I didn't let you cry just so I could get some sleep. (Neither did The Da!)

When you refused bottle after bottle because of reflux, or whatever, I didn't just let you suffer. We propped you up for 30 minutes after every feeding until you were 7 months old, we gave you medicine to ease the pain, we fed you more often than average to help keep the liquid light on your tummy. All of this meant less sleep, less downtime.

I read books to you even though you couldn't have cared less.

I held you as much as possible, even though that's really hard to do when you are by yourself with two babies.

I could go on and on saying how great of a mother I was that first year despite the challenges. But, I think we all know that the real issue is now and I think I'm excelling at being your mom now.

When you throw a fit, instead of ignoring you, I hug you. Instead of deciding which of you is at fault in a daily squabble, I make sure you both know that that kind of treatment of each other will not be tolerated. We are always doing new activities, and playing hard with toys or non-toys.

Being a Mama is not easy. It's very hard work. But, I'm good at it and I think it is exactly what I was meant to be.

So, thank you, girls, for bringing me to my full potential.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Check it, ladies!

So, the other day, in an egomaniacal moment, I wanted to see if any Google searches would lead to my blog. Yeah, yeah ... if you're a writer, you understand this. I've Googled my own name for as long as I can remember. Get over it. You just never know where the heck you'll find your writings.

My results led me to a rather surprising find: another blog with the same title! I'm pretty sure I searched high and low (or UP and Down, as you both like to mimic!) and never ran across such a title. Well, when I read through this blog, the first thing I read is that she read another woman's blog that involved letters to her daughters and she thought this was a good idea and so she started her own -- within the last month or so!

I wasn't sure how I felt about this, as I hadn't done anything to protect my name or writings, because I never thought what I had to say or write would be interesting enough to be stolen. Not that her content was the same, but she is also the mother of toddler twin daughters and so it was eerily similar. Yikes!

Not cool, lady, if you are reading. Create a new title for your blog! I know she didn't know better and was just genuinely trying to do something nice, but it's the whole creative license thing to consider. You could title it something like ... Dear Such and Such, or whatever.

The Da! and I discussed it and I decided to take matters into my own hands. You know me, I don't like to be held down by The Man, or The Woman, in this case.

So ... Announcing:! Check it in your subject line! Yup, I own a Web site domain. Righteous! Or, can I make up the word, Writeous!

Anyway, I also have protected the original content in this blog under a creative license, which can be found at the bottom of the site. Basically this means you can quote anything I write as long as you give me credit. This is just basic writing rules, but clearly not everyone understands this. If the other blogger had known this, she might have used my URL in her post when she talked about my blog. That is just a courtesy thing.

I'm excited to have my own URL, so this has been a fun, learning experience. Much like learning that going to Target with two fairly new walkers and only one cart that can strap a baby in is definitely not as enjoyable as going alone. But, still, worth doing and definitely fun!

Friday, May 4, 2007

All in a day's work -- Part I

J & L,

I was going to write a post about something pretty dear to my heart, but then this morning -- still groggy from working on writing projects until midnight and it's now 6 a.m. -- I decided I would comment a little on something I found this morning on Mother Talkers.

When I first became a mother, and really for many months after that up until recently, I was shocked to learn how hard mothers work, period -- whether they stay home, work inside the home or work out of the home -- and I've done all three, so I know. And, of course, I realize that with two who have the same needs at the same time at the very same second of every day, it makes the job a little more difficult for me.

To learn that a stay-at-home mother's salary would be $138,000 if she were paid for all of her jobs in the home is not too surprising. In a 12-hour day, which is the time your Da is away, I easily fill my time with tasks that, if I'm lucky, includes a shower and a bite to eat. Most of the day involves a lot of playing and interacting with you. I don't think any of that counts as work, but it sure does feel like it at the end of the day!

But, since I'm now working during every minute of both of your naps as well as getting up early and staying up late to get my writing projects done, I think the Mommy Wars debate can end here.

Working from home while also being the primary caregiver of children is the most difficult job any parent can do, but it is the most rewarding. It puts both sides of the Mommy Wars to rest, yet it is a side that is often overlooked in the gazillions of discussions. Moms who stay home complain -- and often -- that they feel like they've lost their identity as a woman. Moms who work outside the home feel guilty for not being with their children more.

I have never felt I lost my identity and perhaps it's because I just always wanted to be a writer. The day I quit my job that's when I finally could say that. Besides raising you, I've been raising a writing career as well.

I have found the perfect option. Really.

And, I'm not alone. Many other women are doing the same from around the world. If they aren't writing, they are doing something -- or they are starting their own businesses to provide a more flexible option for their family. Working for the Man -- and living in a country only ever run by men -- has put us here, in this debate.

The real conversation, which is being left out of the mainstream media, is the discussion of what needs to change in the workplace to help both moms and dads be home with their children so that they can raise them.

Who's with me?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Thursday Toddler Theme


We are going to continue our exploration of the outside world. After months of being bottled up like a jar of Hoisin sauce in the pantry, we are enjoying being able to run about in areas larger than the average sized room. I don't care if you get dirty. I don't care if you experiment with the tastes of mulch or mud, for that matter.

Among our activities recently, we have been painting with water with old paint brushes. You love to see how the water "colors" our red steps, the concrete, the bricks. And, no mess for me to clean up! You love pushing your toy trucks and even being pushed on them by Mama at the same time. You -- not me -- have tried picking up ants, but haven't had any luck. We've enjoyed spotting every single bird that enters our yard.

We've learned to point out body parts on the ornamental frog:


We've learned to share:


We've learned what twigs taste like:


And, we most recently discovered that we don't need to drop a hefty buck on a sand and water table because we have a Lawn Buddy. It is a perfect tool for dipping paint brushes in for water, scooping up bird seed with plastic spoons or just plain splashing around.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Music to my ears


Ya know how we're always walking or going outside or something ... wouldn't your Mama look cool with a hot pink iPod slinking about on her body? Don't worry ... I know it's out of the question for this Mother's Day (a nice meal fixing-free day would be another great gift). Still, I'm trying to win one as well as other great prizes at a cool blog called 5 Minutes for Mom. Check it, ladies.

What will you win today?

More cool giveaways and contests coming your way soon ...

Yummy Toddler Food Wednesdays

Dear J and L:

There you were, lying there, in the middle of the kitchen floor, snuggling both together and with your teddy bears.

Quiet. Still. Nothing more.

I grew concerned as the lunch hour grew closer and closer and as I fixed your meal in a much less panicked manner than usual and you were just laying there. Quiet.
None of the usual shirt tugging, leg hanging, pick-me-up whines. None of the fights over toys that inevitably occurs when you are so hungry. None of the crying fits that result in Mama dropping what I'm doing -- which only delays your meal longer -- so I can tend to your broken heart.

Cowering above you, I kept saying: "Are you OK?" 'This is not normal." "What's wrong?"

Having just spent a rocking time outside for about an hour, I knew that you had seemed healthy and fine then.

You just needed to be still -- nothing more. Just for five minutes. It started as a game, but I think you realized how nice it felt to just relax, to just let go for a bit.

Toward the end of that spell, some kicking at each other began and then some soft wrestling/hugs began.

And then you were up in a flash and normalcy kicked in. But, this time, I was ready. Your lunch was on the plate, just waiting for your little hands to dig in.

Here's our Yummy Wednesday Food -- just for toddlers.

I hope you give me some time today to make it. Just five minutes.

Nothing more.

Edited to add that this recipe was not a hit with the girls, though Lbyrd, who loves most veggies, did try a bite or two. Jbyrd used to try everything once or twice, but now that is out of the question. I usually re-try foods about a month apart, but I have to say that even I wasn't that thrilled about these. They were easy to put together, but the flour dredging was time consuming and messy. Not exactly easy work with two tots under feet.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

You are talking!

Just not orally.

That should get your grandmothers worked up!

When you were just 10 months old, I started teaching you sign language. I had heard that some twins will have a language delay and so I was planning for that in case of an emergency. I had a book, a couple videos and my own knowledge thanks to my grandmother bringing me along to a sign language class when I was about 8 years old.

Milk was your first sign and super easy to learn. Since then, I taught you a few other essentials like "eat" and "cracker" and "more." Sometimes you get cracker and more a little mixed up, but I think we've discovered a way to make it work. Sometimes you'll sign milk when you just want something, period. Like to go outside.

I stopped teaching you most signs, but will do one here and there. Now, at nearly 16 months, you know how to sign the words: clothes, fish, hat, sleep, up and down, "all done" and probably some more that I can't even think of right now because there is so much commotion in my office right now (think The Da and think The Dog).

I do think that you, Jbyrd, have said a few words and both of you will mimick any sound I throw at you like cha, ba, shhha, ta, etc. You also do great gorilla, dog and fire truck noises.

Now, if we could just work on those sudden tempers that flare up so quickly that sign language didn't rise to the surface fast enough to let me know what you need.

When I don't know a sign, and it's not on the Videos, I just go to one of these two Web sites.

Still, as great as all this non-verbal communication, it will be really wonderful when you can finally tell me, "I'm hungry, Mama."