Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween past....

Ever since I was little, I loved Halloween. It's probably my favorite holiday, besides Christmas, of course. I think it goes back to the fun memories I have of Halloween as a child...rushing through dinner, putting on my costume and meeting up with a bunch of my friends to run around the neighborhood collecting as much candy as humanly possible.

One of my fondest Halloween memories is when I was about 12 years old and my sister was 11 years old. We decided to collect our candy that year in empty pillow cases. We had gone out trick-or-treating with a bunch of friends (in that day in age, kids went out without their parents all over the neighborhood and there were never any worries) and we were heading home, with pillow cases full of candy. All of a sudden, a couple older kids came speeding by on bikes and one of them grabbed my sister's pillow case. She held onto it as if her life depended on it. I watched in shock as she was dragged quite a few feet on the pavement...I think the kid was just as shocked that she didn't just drop the bag. But my sister worked hard to get all that candy...we must have trick-or-treated for 2 hours to get our pillow cases full. She wasn't going down without a fight. The kid finally let go and my sister picked herself up off the ground, pillow case in hand, and said "let's hurry home". We couldn't stop laughing the whole way home...I mean, at the time it was happening, I think we were both pretty freaked out but afterwards we could not stop laughing at how she hung onto her pillow case as if it were attached to her body. No one comes between my sister and her candy! We still laugh about it every year when Halloween comes around when inevitably one of us will say to the other, "Hey, remember that one Halloween...."

Anyway, I always love to go back and look at past holiday pictures of the kids. Cole and Bella's first Halloween wasn't anything special because they were born earlier in the month and had just come home 4 days earlier from the NICU, after a 26 day stay. I don't even think I answered the door to pass out candy, out of fear that some kid would breathe his sick germs all over my newborn babies! But the next year, it was game on....I think I was more excited than they were, until they realized trick-or-treating meant "free candy".

Who knew Superman sucked on a pacifier while he saved the world from destruction?? This year, Garrett will wear this same Superman costume. Let's hear it for hand-me-downs!
Last year was Garrett and Landon's first Halloween....

Yes, I'm mean....I made Garrett be a devil. But, at the time, being so sleep-deprived and with him being so high-maintenance all the time, it just seemed so fitting. When I look at these pics from last year, I can't get over how much they've grown. They were both so pudgy and pinchable last year!! Awww, my babies have grown into little thinned-out toddlers who will probably prefer running alongside their older brother and sister this year, rather than be carted around in a stroller.
Happy Halloween!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hmmmm, what could this mean?

I can't help it but ever since I majored in Child Development for my undergrad degree and Psychology for my graduate degree, I've been fascinated by children's art. Awhile back, which feels like a whole lifetime ago, one of my internships was part of a school district. Many of my clients were children and most of the focus was on art therapy, role playing with dolls and sandtray (which I also loved). Most of the children were sent to counseling because of abuse that had gone on within the family, whether it be physical, verbal or sexual abuse. At first, many of them didn't want to talk, especially about the abuse, so I'd usually develop a repoire with them by having them do art. It seemed innocent to them I'm sure but to me, it was a window into their world through their eyes. There are so many things you can understand about a child and their surroundings when you look at the art they've created.

But since becoming a mom, my past career has fallen by the wayside. I used to read psychology journals, studies and research in my spare time because I honestly enjoyed reading that kind of stuff. Now, I read parenting magazines in the hopes of learning how to be a better mother without losing my sanity, how to discpline my children without them ending up in therapy for the rest of their lives and how to make time for myself while raising a house full of needy, dependent children. My focus is on my children now, not other people's children. Although I can give great advice to a friend about her child, should she ask, but when it comes to my own children I tend to have blinders on. The obvious doesn't occur to me for some reason. Their behavior throws me for a loop on a daily basis.

However, whenever my children bring home art, the psychology lover in me comes out from hiding. I find myself starting at their art, trying to figure out what was going on inside their little heads while they made their creation. I sit there and try to figure out why would they make the apple blue, why is the apple in the shape of a diamond rather than a circle, and why is the apple falling out of the sky??? Usually I can't find much meaning to it, so I'll say, "tell me about your drawing" and I get a simple answer, "I drew an apple and I made it blue so it matched the color of the sky. I didn't make the apple red because I like blue better and I like the sky without clouds when it's blue". Okay....simple enough.

But yesterday, when I picked Cole and Bella up from preschool, they both came running over to me all excited, waving these pictures in my face. Cole shoved his in front of my eyes first and said, "Look, Mommy, it's our family....there's you and Daddy and me....then there's Bella, Garrett and Landon". In his picture, there he was right next to Tim and I, all 3 of us look exactly alike. Then there's Bella further off to the side, along with Garrett and Landon (who incidentally also look alike, and are right next to each other, like two peas in a pod). I also noticed that he had placed himself a little above everyone else.

Then Bella shoved her picture in my face and said, "Look at mine....I made our family too". And she pointed out to me who everyone was. Cole was off to the left, she was right next to me and Tim and then Garrett and Landon were down below, together like two peas in a pod.

I couldn't help but analyze all this. I found it so interesting that each of them had put themselves right next to me and Tim, while the other twin was off to the side. Cole even made himself look just like Tim and me. Bella made the boys all look alike but made herself look different than everyone else.

It got me wondering if both of them are feeling a little neglected as individuals. Because they are twins, they tend to get lumped together an awful lot. Wherever Cole goes, Bella goes and vice versa. They're in the same preschool class, they share the same room, they sit next to each other in the mini-van...everything is in pairs. And when they were younger, maybe it wasn't such a big deal to them. In fact, I'm sure they preferred each other's company, rather than be alone. But now, as they're growing older, maybe they are craving that individual attention that most singleton children get. Usually, if they are without their twin, it's because they are with one of us. But I don't think there's ever really been a time where each of them has had alone time with both me and Tim, away from the other 3 children. They've never had that experience of having mine and Tim's attention solely on them, without having to compete for attention or to be heard over the other children, always having to hear "okay, just wait a minute, let me change Garrett's diaper real fast".

I'm sure if I came right out and asked them this, they may not react to it or even have a clue what I'm really asking them. However, as I studied both their pictures, it was clear to me that this issue is on their minds. Or, perhaps, I'm reading too much into my children's innocent artwork. But from my past experience, children may not have the knowledge or the words on how to express exactly what it is they want/need or how they see themselves within their family, but give them some art supplies and some freedom to create whatever they'd's pretty clear what's going on within their little heads.

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Here are your choices...better make it a good one"

As I was driving home from picking Cole and Bella up from preschool today, I heard them chattering in the backseat. This is what I heard:

Cole: Okay, Bella, listen to me. Here are your choices...better make it a good one. The choices are for Mommy to drive your way home* or choose a movie to watch at rest time. (there are 2 different ways we can drive home from preschool so I usually let them choose which way we take)

Bella: Um, hmmmmm, I'll pick the movie today.

Cole: No, I'm going to pick the movie today.

Bella: But you gave me the choice.

Cole: No, I just TOLD you the choices but it's really up to me. And I'm picking the movie.

Bella: Mommy, Cole said I could make the choice and then he told me I couldn't pick the movie.

Me: You both work it out amongst yourselves.

Cole: Bella, here are your're gonna tell Mommy which way to go home and I'm gonna pick the movie.

Bella: That's not fair. I get to decide because you gave me the choices.

Cole: No, I gave you the choices but I decide.

Bella: Cole, you are frustrating me. I don't like you anymore. Don't talk to me.

Cole: Okay, so we decided....Mommy, go Bella's way home and I'm gonna pick the movie today.

All I could think of while listening to them discussing this is that Cole would make one hell of a presidential candidate some day in the future. Make someone think they have a choice but then when they choose something you don't like, twist things around so you come out the winner in the end anyway. It's all about persuasion...

By this point, Bella was in tears over all this, insisting that Cole had given HER the choice. Between her sobbing, Cole yelling at her, and Garrett and Landon totally freaking out because they did not give a rat's ass which way we drove home or who was picking the movie because they were just so hungry they wanted lunch...I called for total peace and quiet.

Once we were home, I said, "Since you two can't work it out, here's what we're gonna do...we'll flip a coin". Cole immediately said, "I'm tails" and I said "you're sure you wanna be the one to choose first?" and he said "yes". Can we all see where this is going? Bella agreed to be "heads". I flipped the coin and it landed on heads, fair and square. Guess who's pouting now and screaming how unfair it is??

Once the little twins were down for their nap, it was time for Cole and Bella's rest time and Bella chose her movie (only this time it wasn't Barbie in the Diamond it was Barbie in The Nutcracker....Barbie, Barbie, Barbie....I'm sick of Barbie). She ended up falling asleep within the first 15 minutes and then Cole fell asleep shortly thereafter.

So ultimately I was the winner....I got to turn the tv off and relish the quietness of our home. I plopped myself down on the sofa in the family room and got lost in a book....for 2 hours.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's definitely time to face the music...

So in my post before this last one, I wrote about Bella's weight issues and I received some very encouraging comments. Thank you so much for those...I felt so comforted reading them and appreciated many of you sharing your experiences about your children who have also been through this.

I took Bella in for the blood work that her dr requested....a lipid panel, as well as a thyroid check. I also had to have all my stuff checked too so we went together on Saturday to the lab. She was so brave while having her blood drawn but then afterwards, she started bawling. And of course seeing her cry made me cry...we were quite a sight, I'm sure. We both walked out with bandages around our left arms and we were both sobbing. I'm a huge wimp when my kids just makes me crumble into a million pieces.

I got our results back via e-mail from the lab and, while my levels have improved in the last 3 months, Bella's were quite shocking.

Total cholesterol: 212
HDL: 48
LDL: 144
Triglycerides: 100

I had to read her results three times for it to really sink in that this is very serious. Much more serious than just the issue of her weight. It's time to face the music and make some changes. I just kept thinking she's only 4 years old with these high levels, what does that mean for her when she's, say, my age? It made me wonder how much damage has already been done. I just felt so sad and I kept saying to Tim, "I feel so bad...I feel so responsible".

Her thyroid levels were fine, which is good, but it also means we can rule that out as something that may have been contributing to her weight.

Everytime I look at Bella now, my heart still feels so heavy over this. She's just a baby, really, and already having to face adult issues...she has no clue what any of this means for her health today and in the future. She's only supposed to be concerned with learning how to swing on the monkey bars and learning how to skip without falling. But I guess that's where my job comes in as her make necessary changes without making a big deal out of it or make her think she's done something wrong.

Everyday will be a challenge but I'm feeling encouraged, sad but encouraged. I've been on a special diet to lower my cholesterol and I've been having success so I'll start including some of those things with her meal and we'll just keep moving forward. Hopefully by this time next year, things will be very different.

On a final note, for some reason, the lab went ahead and ran some bloodwork that my ob/gyn had requested a few months ago. I had seen her for heavy bleeding every month and at the time she had suggested the Novasure procedure or a hysterectomy. She wanted me to wait until my next cycle and on day 3, get my FSH level checked. Well, I haven't had a period since wierd is that? So it's been something like 4-5 months since I've had a period (totally not complaining at all!!) and I had e-mailed her a couple weeks ago to let her know why I hadn't gotten the bloodwork done yet. I got those results back with the other ones, with a nice little note from my ob/gyn (does she really work on Sundays??), "your FSH level is 32....since you haven't had a period in 4-5 months, we can assume that you are in early menopause". So I'm a 39-yr old woman in early if the hot flashes and mood swings weren't enough of a sign??

Garrett and Landon really were conceived with the very last 2 eggs I had left. I know God has a sense of humor, obviously, but I guess in this case He also wanted me to out with a BANG.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm paying it forward...finally!

I got a couple awards a few weeks ago and I have NOT forgotten about them!! It totally makes my day to come online and see that I have an award waiting for me! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

Angela at Unexpected Art sent me this award:

I feel especially honored that she passed on this award to me because she is one of the most inspiring, most positive people you'll "meet" in the blogging world! Thank you, Angela, for thinking of me!

So, here are the rules for the Shiny Object (or "Brillante Weblog Premio" Award):

1. Place the logo on your blog.
2. Link to the person who awarded you.
3. You can nominate up to 5 blogs.
4. You can then add their links to your blog.
5. Leave a message in the comment section to each nominee on their blog.

I'm passing this award on to the following:

Angela at Unexpected Art (gotta give her props back because her blog is brilliant!)

Kim at The Mommy Machine (because she always puts a smile on my face with her stories)

Lana at The Kids Did What?! (because she just changed the name of her awesome blog and I think it's pretty darn cool)

Amy at Multiple Madness (she has 2 sets of twins too!!)

Elizabeth at Three Channels (I'm a huge Elizabeth fan...she has such a way with words)

And then, Mrs Bear at Outnumbered Two to One gave me this award:

I absolutely LOVE her blog! Her posts always make me smile! And I can relate in many ways to her when she writes stories about parenthood...I find myself nodding my head in agreement with her many many times! Thank you Mrs Bear for thinking of me!

This award in particular requires that I list six things that make me happy along with six other worthy bloggers that I’ll bestow this trinket to.

In order of importance, these things make me happy:

1) My family (of course, although after the long, tiring day we had today, I did consider listing them as #4)

2) My sleep number bed (seriously, the best bed invented...I admit it, I am in love with my bed)

3) Wellbutrin (I've mentioned this many times....I love the stuff...I surely would've been in a psych ward muttering to myself a long time ago without it)

4) Melatonin supplements (I love these as much as my Wellbutrin...I have my two friends, Leslie and Linda, to thank for turning me onto these wonderful little magic pills that help me get a good night's sleep)

5) Books (yes, books make me happy...I'm a total book worm)

6) The fall weather (everything about it makes me happy...the color the changing leaves, the crispness in the air first thing in the morning, all the holidays that come with it...I'm loving it!)

The 6 ladies I want to pass this award on to are:

Twinmama at Bringing Up Twins

Elizabeth at Parenting Pink

Elle and Stacey at Blue Monkey Butt

Stacy at And So We Laugh

Cathy at Scrapcrank

Nina at Juggling Mama

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My heart is so heavy over this...

Cole and Bella had their 4-yr old well-child check yesterday afternoon. As typical for a well-child exam, the nurse checked their weight, height, hearing and vision. That nurse gets an "A" for patience....for the life of her, she could not get Bella to follow instructions on the hearing test and Cole kept fooling around during the vision screening. But that nurse kept a smile on her face and kept encouraging them to focus.

The pediatrician, Dr M, came in shortly thereafter to examine the kids. He showed me a printout on Cole first, discussing the percentile's for Cole's growth. Currently, Cole is 37 pounds and 40.5 inches tall. For his height, he's in the 50th percentile and for weight, he's in the 50th percentile. His BMI is good for his height/weight at 16. There really was nothing much to discuss about Cole's growth. Dr M said Cole is exactly where he should be for his age and that I should expect him to become thinner over the next year as he grows taller.

Then we discussed Bella. Her weight is a serious issue. Even though our little peanut was only 3 pounds at birth, she has more than caught up in her weight and does have a little extra baby fat around the middle. To see her in pictures, she doesn't look like a typical overweight kid, not like the ones you may see on a talk show or in a magazine. Currently, her weight is 46 pounds (which was really shocking to me actually...I had no idea she weighed 46 pounds) and her height is 39 inches tall. For weight, she's in the 95th percentile and in height she's in the 50th percentile. When he showed me her growth chart since age 2, he pointed out that her weight has gone up significantly, especially in comparison's to Cole, which has pretty much stayed the same across the board.

Then he told me her BMI is almost 21....way over the 95th percentile. I wanted to cry....seriously, right there on the spot. I just looked at my baby girl who was happily playing with her twin in the corner of the exam room and I felt my chin quivering and tears were beginning to sting my eyes. All I could feel was did it get to be THIS bad without me noticing? What have I been doing wrong? Am I a total failure as a parent? All these thoughts were running through my head as we discussed this issue.

We talked about family history of obesity but there is none in our families. I told Dr M that I feel Bella eats a well-rounded healthy diet (though there are some areas we could do better in) and she gets plenty of exercise. She has 30 minutes of recess at preschool in the morning and then every afternoon, she's either playing at the daycare at the gym (they have a huge climbing structure which she loves) or we're at the park running around. She doesn't sit in front of the tv for hours, completely motionless, snacking on junk food.

First things first, he wants her to have some blood work done, including her thyroid. He said it could be a metabolic issue. If that's the case, it's an easy fix. But if that's not the case, we're looking at a problem that could follow her through childhood and into adulthood, which absolutely rips my heart into a million pieces. There are lots of things I know she'll encounter and have to deal with in her young life, like dealing with peer pressure, dating, her first broken heart...but I never expected her weight to be one of those things she'd be dealing with.

I asked for a referral to a nutrionist, which Dr M said was a very good idea. The nutrionist will follow Bella's weight and help us come up with a plan to get back on track. My biggest fear was that the nutrionist would put Bella on a on earth do you put a 4-yr old child on a diet? All I could think of then was the eating issues I had as a child. My mom had so much control over me and my food intake, even though I was never overweight as a child (actually quite the opposite as I was a skinny child). She controlled every little morsel I put in my mouth. She went overboard by never allowing us to eat sugar cereals, candy, junk school, I was always the child who had a sandwich and an apple in her lunchbox while the other kids had leftover pizza, ding-dongs and juice. I didn't even know what a twinkie tasted like until I left home for college. Seriously. During high school, I became bulimic....I would gorge on anything I could find outside our house. I worked at Burger King when I was 16 and I was constantly sneaking fries into the bathroom and scarfing them as quickly as I could, only to force myself to puke them within 15 minutes.

Now I'm not saying that eating healthy in my childhood was so horrible, but it was more about the control my mother had over every little thing I ate. I took back that control once I was out of the house and out from under her control. But I abused my body horribly trying to fight for control.

I never want Bella to have to deal with that. I never want to be the type of parent who makes her feel bad about herself. I don't want her to ever think there's anything "wrong" with her or that she's not beautiful. And I don't want this to be a lifelong problem for her. I want her to be healthy and feel good about herself and how she looks, especially in this day and age when all people seem to focus on is outer beauty and how skinny you are. Plus, I don't want her to have to be concerned with issues such as high cholesterol (which shockingly could be an issue already for her at such a young age, according to Dr M), high blood pressure and diabetes. my heart is feeling so heavy over this. I feel like I have contributed to this issue wearing blinders and just thinking "oh she just has a little bit of baby fat...she doesn't even look overweight". But the scale says a different story. Who knows, maybe she will hit a huge growth spurt and then we'll see a change. But in the meantime, we'll meet with the nutrionist and go from there.

Oh and then Dr M mentioned that Cole should have his herniated belly button looked at by a surgeon, since it has never popped back in. And we'll be going for a surgery consult for Bella for her arm, which Dr M noticed that she doesn't have quite the range of motion in her right arm, from the damage from the hemangioma, as she does in her left arm. So it may not even be an issue of cosmetic surgery at this point but more an issue of repairing muscle damage to her arm.

So the weight issue, along with discussing surgical procedures for my 2 babies, was enough to burden my heart for the rest of the day. Thank goodness, we had already done the "camel apples". No one ever said parenting was easy but no one ever explained how much your heart could hurt when your child has a problem. It's gut-wrenching and you wish so much that someone could give you a magic wand that you could wave and make it all go away. Now wouldn't that be nice?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Caramel Apples 101

The kids wanted to make caramel apples the other day. Oh wait, excuse me...I meant "camel apples". That's what they called them and everytime I said "caramel apples", they corrected by rolling their eyes and saying "Mom, it's 'camel apples', say it right'". Once I agreed to refer to the apples as "camel apples", we began our project.

So here are my instructions for making "camel apples"....

Take 2 anxious, excited 4 yr olds and sit them at the kitchen table. Get 2 small apples (to save yourself a huge migraine, make sure beyond a doubt that the apples are the SAME EXACT size or a battle will ensue), the caramel coating, some sprinkles and chocolate chips, a plate and gobs and gobs of paper towels. Also put a popsicle stick in the bottom of each apple (whatever you do, make sure the top of the popsicle stick is NOT sticking out through the top of the apple or you will hear plenty of whining).

Take the caramel coating and wrap it around the apple. If it doesn't cover the entire apple, just stretch the caramel to make it fit. It will stretch, even though the 4 yr olds will insist that it won't stretch, that it will break and the whole world will come to a screaching halt right at that very moment.

Pour your chocolate chips and sprinkles onto a plate and sprinkle them onto the apple, in the hopes that they will stick. If they don't stick, feel free to just roll the apple in the chips and sprinkles. If they still don't stick, it's okay.....but do not let the 4 yr olds talk you into allowing them to pour Elmer's Glue on the apple to get the chips and sprinkles to stick. They will beg, they will plead, they'll promise they'll clean their room every single day....DO NOT FALL FOR IT. Convince them that pouring glue on a caramel apple is a very bad idea because the glue will ruin their taste buds and then there won't be any point in going trick-or-treating on Halloween since they will never be able to taste candy again (make sure to add that they will, however, still be able to taste fruits and veggies).

Once the apples are decorated to satisfaction (the satisfaction of the 4 yr olds, not your own satisfaction...that's very important to remember), have them give cheers to one another. They'll groan and roll their eyes but somehow they need to be convinced that this is a very important moment that must be captured forever in a photo.

Then give permission to the hungry, drooling 4 yr olds to eat their apples. And giggle as quietly as you can as one 4 yr old takes her eyes off her apple for a couple minutes too long and you see a 19-month old toddler coming up behind her with his hand outstretched, ready to snatch the apple out of her hand.

As soon as the 19-month old toddler realizes that his sister is quicker than her thinks, he'll head over to the other 4-yr old, with the false hopes that he might be able to grab the other apple. Little does he know that his 19-month old twin has already got his eye on the prize and has no intention of sharing.

Note: the 19-month old toddlers will get tired of simply standing around and hoping the 4-yr olds will share with them. They will revolt...and formulate a plan of they climb onto the kitchen table.....

The 19-month olds will swoop down on the plate of chocolate chips and sprinkles as if they were starving vultures in a barren desert, who have just discovered a fresh kill laying on the side of the road.

Finally, realize that this is the kind of moment you want to treasure, even though the toddlers are sitting on the table, one 4-yr old is standing up in his chair, and the other 4-yr old is about to freak out because the caramel is peeling off her apple. Enjoy the giggles, the laughter, the shrieks of excitement while you can because this is a memory in the making. And, whatever you do, DO NOT LOOK DOWN AT THE FLOOR UNDER THE TABLE! You will not like what you see, especially if you had just swept your kitchen floor for the 5th time already that day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Okay, everyone smile and say cheese....

A friend of mine had her son's birthday party this weekend at a pumpkin patch. The kids had a blast!! They loved the hay ride, they enjoyed climbing the huge hay pyramid, they totally dug the petting farm, and jumping in the huge piles of hay. They played for 3 hours straight and they were begging to stay longer when we said it was time to go.

While we were there, I kept hoping I'd get the perfect picture opportunity of the 4 of them, sitting on a bale of hay with their arms around each other, smiling happily at the camera....when will I ever learn?? This is what I managed to get each time I tried to take a picture....

That last one I was SO hoping would be the best picture...I had lined the 4 little pumpkins up perfectly (1 for each of them) and they were all standing there, I snapped the picture, Landon and Bella took off and Tim moved in to wipe Garrett's hands after we noticed he had brown stuff all over his hand (um, we had just left the petting area....yuck!)

I honestly just have to give up the crazy notion that I will get a beautiful, happy, smiley, faces-looking-at-the-camera picture of my 4 kids. At least for the next few years. So when my kids are older and they ask to see pictures of themselves, I'll show them what I have and say "well, here's the back of your head"...."here's the side of your head"...."oh, here's a picture of your arm....wait, no, that's your leg".

Friday, October 17, 2008

Never underestimate the memory of a toddler!

Today, while Garrett and Landon napped, Cole and Bella wanted to watch a DVD. The Diamond Castle of course. Actually it was Bella's choice today to choose what they would watch and Cole had no choice but to go along with it. Usually after I turn the tv on, I put the remote up on top of the tv so Garrett and Landon won't grab it and fool around with it. God forbid, they reprogram everything.... Tim finally programmed one remote for the whole system...there's no way I was gonna figure out how to manually turn it all on and have it working right. He's an electronics nerd...I am not....simple as that.

I must have accidentally left the remote on the ottoman next to the sofa because when I was trying to shuffle all the kids out the door after the little twins woke up from their nap, Bella was pointing at the tv practically having a breakdown, saying, "Garrett has the remote and he did something to my DVD". Apparently, he had turned the subtitles on. Crime of the century. That was the last time I saw the remote. I just got so tied up in trying to get the kids out the door that I never bothered to take the remote from Garrett and I never saw it again from that point on.

When we got home, even though I had no plans to turn on the tv, I wanted to find the remote. I turned the house upside down looking for that darn thing....under the sofas, between the cushions, behind the toy shelf, behind the tv, in the kitchen, upstairs, in the family was NOWHERE.

Tim came home and I mentioned to him that I couldn't find the remote anywhere. Then he turned the house upside down. Still no remote. I said "Garrett was the last one to have it". And there was Garrett, running around happy as a clam, completely unaware that we were searching high and low for the remote. It didn't dawn on us to ask HIM where the remote was....after all, he is just a toddler and he couldn't possibly remember what he did with the remote 4 hours ago.

Finally, after dinner, I continued to look for it but still couldn't turn it up anywhere. I was beyond frustrated by this point and so was Tim. Garrett was in the living room and Tim called out to him, "Hey Garrett, where did you put the remote?" That boy came running into the family room with a huge smile on his face and pointed at the big container next to the tv where we store the DVD's. I just stood there watching him. He ran right up to the container, squatted and pointed....sure enough, there was the remote, completely visible from the outside of the container. In less than 5 seconds, the mystery of the missing remote had been solved by a 19-month old toddler.

Tim and I just looked at each in total disbelief. I said, "For the last 4 hours, we've been looking for this stupid remote and it never dawned on us to just ASK him where he put it???"

Lesson learned....never underestimate the memory of a toddler!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Have mops, will travel...

I have a new cleaning service! And the best part....they work for cheap!! They accept graham crackers or vanilla wafers as payment.

"Okay, what's up with all these lousy dust bunnies under your stove, lady? Do you have a house full of dirty kids or what?"

"Hey partner, looks like we're gonna need to attack this mess double time...good thing we're, you take the dust pan while I sweep up all this mess...the people who live here are's gonna take us hours to peel all these stickers off the shelves too...I'll need to ask for an extra graham cracker today for sure".

"Whistle while you, la, la, la, la, la...."

"I've been sweeping for a whole 5 minutes already and I'm wiped out....gotta go with the one-handed sweeping method to give my arms a break"

"Oh wait, Yo Gabba Gabba just came on the tv....this seems like a good time to take a much-needed break....I just love Foofa...she's always so happy"

"Honestly, how do these people get spider webs in the wierdest places?"

"Yo bro, I found a really cool way to use the swiffer...and, get this, it doubles as a I mop, lift, mop, lift....I'm gonna have biceps the size of Popeye's when I'm done with this house"

"Don't the boss's kids know how to clean their toys up? Geez, can you say 'spoiled kids'? We're really earning our pay today"

"All this sweeping and mopping has made me thirsty. I'm gonna sneak a sip of this here snapple and hopefully our boss won't notice. This could cost me a vanilla wafer or two".

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Just pile on the guilt, why don't ya?

As a mom, I feel guilty every day about something. It's inevitable. I wake up in the morning and pray for a good day but at some point I lose my patience with the kids and I end up raising my voice. Okay, I yell. Sometimes it's the only way to get them to listen to me. Good God, I sound like my mother. I used to always ask her, "why do you yell at us so much?" and she'd always turn it around on us and say "I have to yell because you don't listen".

On Friday, I was just plain worn out. See, I always start off every week feeling refreshed and rejuvenated from the weekend (where I've had hubby's help both Saturday and Sunday). On Sunday night, I come up with a plan for the week as far as activities that we can look forward to: Monday AM is playgroup for Garrett and Landon through the school district; Tuesday AM is playgroup for Garrett and Landon through my SAHM's group; Thursday PM is playgroup for all 4 kids through my SAHM's group and Cole has soccer practice right after that; and Wednesday and Friday mornings are usually saved for either running errands, taking Garrett and Landon for a walk or dr's appts. Every afternoon, with the exception of Thursdays, I usually take the kids to the gym so I can work out and they get to burn off some energy in the gym daycare.

So yeah by Friday I'm worn out...exhausted, ready to desperate need of some relaxation. While Garrett and Landon napped, Cole and Bella were fooling around instead of resting. And by fooling around, I mean, they were running around the family room, talking in loud voices, asking me question after question about the DVD they were watching "The Diamond Castle" (the latest Barbie movie), and rummaging through the cabinets for snacks. All I wanted...all I asked for was just 1 hour of quiet time where I could read a book. That's my way of relaxing...I just wanted to zone out and get lost in a good book that I had started and was dying to finish (a Mariah Stewart mystery!).

I could imagine an hour to Cole and Bella must have felt like an eternity. Maybe I was asking too much of them to let me read my book for an hour. Needless to say, I didn't even get 5 minutes to read the book before the chaos started. I knew the best thing would be to just forget the idea of reading a book...I could've turned off the DVD and gotten engaged in an activity with them.

But, darnit, it was Friday....and I just didn't have any energy. I wasn't even going to the gym that day and instead planned to take the kids to the park. The stress was starting to build inside me from listening to Cole and Bella talking in extremely loud voices, running around throwing toys all over the place, spilling Sunchips all over the floor....I lost it. I started yelling at them, mainly so they could hear me above their own loud voices. Sure, it wasn't the right way to go about it...I realize that now. Sometimes I get lost in the moment and react without thinking.

They did quiet down though....probably because they know when I start yelling, I've just about had it with them. That's when they start losing privileges and they really wanted to go to the park. So they settled down but by then I just felt too guilty about yelling to even enjoy my book. They both looked so.....well, broken....that's the best way to explain it. I broke their little spirits in just those few minutes when I yelled at them.

After the little twins woke up, I was getting them all into their carseats to head over to the park. I felt it was important to apologize to Cole and Bella for yelling at them so I did and I told them how frustrating it is for me when they don't listen to me. Cole said, "sometimes you frustrate me too". Okay, I could see that and good for him for expressing that. But I couldn't foresee what he would say next...."Mommy, sometimes you're mean but I still love you".

Talk about a dagger through my about piling on the guilt. Well, he didn't pile on the guilt, I did that to myself. But those words stayed with me all afternoon and into the evening. And I will remember those words next time I get frustrated with them and I'm on the verge of yelling. Next time I want to hear, "Mommy, you're so nice and I love you" because I will have earned it by not yelling and showing a little more patience. Afterall, I am the parent....but it's still a learning process. Everyday as a parent is a learning process.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The best thing about being a mom of multiples is...

Normally, wherever, I go with the kids (especially when it's just me by myself with all 4 kids), I get stared at and I hear all sorts of comments from "are they all yours?" to "how do you do it?". I don't know if people are expecting me to bitch and complain about it or if they really want me to tell how I do it, day in and day out.

Today, I had the kids at the park but not the park that's just down the street from our house, which we visit quite frequently. This time, we went to a park in another neighborhood. Landon hadn't been feeling well due to a cold so I wasn't even sure if he would want to play but he did. They all had a blast....Garrett can now climb up the ladder rungs to get up the climbing structure. The kid has no fear. So he can't talk yet but he can certainly outclimb any other toddler I've seen (just to mention it so I don't forget, he had a hearing test today and passed with flying colors so now I'm gonna give it another month and if there's still no expressive language, we'll go for the speech therapy referral).

There were plenty of other mothers at the park with tons of kids running around. It was difficult to tell which kid belonged to which mom. But me...I'm sure I stood out like a sore thumb...with Garrett and Landon dressed alike and Cole and Bella dressed in similar colors. A couple moms smiled at me and said "twins?"..."yes, they're twins"...."oh and are the other kids twins too?"..."yes, 2 sets of twins" I'm met with the typical wide-eyed, open-jawed "OMG, are you serious?"

After a few minutes, while I was pushing Landon on the swing, a mom walked up to me and started pushing her daughter on the swing next to us. She said "I overheard you talking to those other have 2 sets of twins?" and I said "yes", totally expecting to have to explain my situation yet again. But she surprised me and said "so, tell me...what are the best things about having twins? I have a girlfriend who just had twins 8 weeks ago and she's really struggling. I'd love to be able to tell her some positive things for her to look forward to once she gets past this newborn stage". Then we chatted about how the newborn stage is difficult for anyone, whether you have 1, 2 or 3 babies, especially when you're a new mother. I totally remember being a new mom to 2 newborns and having absolutely no freakin clue what I was doing every minute of the day.

Finally, though, I was happy to be able to talk about the positive side of having multiples. So here was my list that I rattled off to her:

1) Twins always have a playmate. Once they get past the newborn stage and start developing their personalities, it is amazing to see them finally discover one another and to start interacting.

2) It's fun to watch them learn new things together. When one learns to walk, the other twin is usually right behind them, following in their footsteps. When one twin learns to build a stack of blocks, the other twin is right there to figure out how to knock down that stack of blocks.

3) When twins share a room, you could laugh for an eternity listening to them interact with one another from across the room. Each set of my twins have shared a room and still do. When Cole learned how to climb out of the crib before Bella, we moved him into a toddler bed and she was still in her crib. Bella would point at what she wanted and Cole would hop out of bed and go get it for her. Garrett and Landon stand up in their cribs and yell to each other and start laughing. They play peek-a-boo with one another too, hiding behind their blankets and then uncovering themselves while the other one howls in laughter.

4) One of the best things about twins is that your arms are never empty, literally. I loved being able to hold both my babies at the same time and snuggle with them. And neither Tim or I have ever had to argue over who was going to hold the "baby" because we each had a baby to we have 2 children each to hold.

5) Bathtime with twins is a fun experience. Two little bodies to clean, two little heads of hair to wash....and lots of splashing, giggling and bubbles. And when they reach the age that Cole and Bella are at, they'll wash each other so you can just sit back and relax and let them do all the work!

6) Being greeted in the morning by 2 smiley, happy babies...well, there's nothing I could imagine is better than that. Hearing "mama" from 2 different voices is enough to make your day.

7) Lastly, I know it sounds so cliche, but the absolute best thing about being a mom of multiples is everything is times 2 (well, in my case, times 4). 2x the hugs, 2x the kisses, 2x the snuggles, 2x the laughter. I could be having the worst possible day but then Garrett and Landon will both come up to me and both wrap their little arms around each of my legs and squeeze me with a big makes the stress just melt away.

So I encouraged this mom to tell her friend all of those things....the first 6 months with twins is very challenging. Oh hell, why lie....the first 12 months with twins is a blur. But I wanted her to tell her friend that someday she'll be able to see the positive things about having twins, just like I have.

Now, why hasn't Jack Canfield written a book called "Chicken Soup for the Multiples Mom's Soul"? If I'd had a book like that to refer to when my twins were all newborns, especially during those rough periods when they never slept or they cried endlessly for hours with colic (times 2), that would've meant the world to me. But until that happens, I guess new twin moms will have to rely on us other twin moms to get them through the rough times!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Yeah, as if it would really be that easy....

Call me crazy but I am so anxious to be done with diapers....forever....that I finally dragged out the 2 potty seats we used to potty train Cole and Bella so I could start working on training Garrett and Landon. Sure, they're just a few days shy of being 19 months old but my grandma (my dad's mother) constantly used to brag that she had my dad potty trained at the tender age of 9 months. My dad swears it's true.

Through Cole and Bella, I've learned you can't really push kids to be potty trained. It's all about what THEY want to do, not what WE want them to do.

I still dragged the potty seats out, nevertheless, to at least introduce them to the concept. They are very intrigued when we all go to the bathroom and I figure, why wait? The first few days they practiced sitting on the potties (oh and they figured out how to drag them out of the bathroom and use them as stepstools to reach the DVD player...but that's a whole 'nother story).

So this morning I let them run around with just their jammie tops on and nothing else. Might as well jump in with both feet, right? Trust me, I had the clorox wipes on standby to clean up any messes. I had 1 potty seat in the bathroom and 1 in the family room, where I was playing with them.

I was reading a book to Garrett when I noticed Landon going into the bathroom. After about a minute, Landon comes running out of the bathroom with a huge smile on his face...I'm thinking "this can't be good, he probably crapped all over the floor". But he's so excited and he keeps pointing to the bathroom and screaming "uh, uh, uh"....apparently he wants me to follow him into the bathroom. I had been planning on having both boys sit on their potties within the next few minutes anyway so now I'm starting to wonder if he really did use the potty...holy cow, could it really be THAT easy?! It wasn't this easy with Cole and Bella and I'm practically adding up in my head the amount of money we're gonna save when we don't have to buy diapers anymore.

I look in the potty and totally expect to see some pee or a little poop while Landon is shrieking "uh, uh, uh" and practically jumping up and down with excitement....

Alas, it was a red gummy vitamin that he had placed in the potty....

And if that wasn't bad enough....after I took this picture, he scooped up the gummy vitamin and ate it. Then he smiled, all proud of himself and all I could think was "thank God it WASN'T poop".

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My little munchkins....

Okay, so how cute is this???!!!

The boys are suddenly becoming very lovey but they are rarely lovey with one another for some reason. The other day I was fortunate enough to be standing right next to the counter where the camera was when I saw them hugging. Everytime I look at this picture, it melts my heart. And if that wasn't enough, yesterday they were feeding each other goldfish at snack time. Landon wanted his sippy cup so Garrett went and got it for him. Awwwww....

I took them for their 18-month appt a couple weeks ago and the stats are pretty good:

Landon - 27 lbs (75th percentile); 32.5 inches tall (25th percentile)

Garrett - 24 lbs (25th percentile); 31.5 inches tall (25th percentile)

I had a feeling that Landon would be heavier than Garrett. It's very noticeable when I hold him versus holding Garrett. Landon is solid...all muscle. Garrett is very lightweight and seems much more petite (can I even use that word to describe a boy?). Small-boned would be the best way to describe Garrett. Holding off for now on the MMR, which seemed rather disturbing to our new pediatrician. He lectured me on all the risks but my gut just tells me to wait until the boys are at least 2 yrs old. I'm definitely going to get them the MMR vaccine but I'm more comfortable waiting until a few more months has passed, until they start becoming more verbal.

Landon is our little happy guy. No matter what, he's always smiling. Always happy. Unless someone takes something that is his (or that he thinks is his). He puts up a pretty good fight, surprisingly for an 18-month old...well, soon to be 19-month old in a few more days). The other day, Cole was building a train track and Landon wanted to help. Cole pushed him away and Landon came right back and pinched Cole, then tried to bite him. They "fought" like this for at least a few minutes before I finally had to step in and break it up. I would've thought that Landon would've come crying to me the first time Cole knocked him down but he was out for blood...he fought back. Cole seemed surprised by it too, which is probably good for him because now he knows that Landon will give him a good ass-kicking right back.

Garrett....well, Garrett is Garrett. He's always been my little high-maintenance Mama's boy. He is as cute as they come though. He's recently started giving kisses and he gives the best bear hugs. He just grabs onto me like a baby monkey and just clings as if his life depends on it.

Neither boy is talking as of yet. Just a few words here and there but nothing like where I thought they'd be. They are still just imitating words and sounds. I'm trying to spend at least 30 minutes a day reading to them and they happen to love books so I always enjoy that time with them.

Yesterday my MIL was telling me that she thought I should put the boys in daycare if not full-time than at least 2 days a week. But I just can't do it. I don't have any desire to go back to work right now and I can't see putting them in daycare while I'm staying home. Plus, they are my last babies and I want to enjoy every day with them while I can. I'm in no hurry for these little guys to grow up.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I knew I shouldn't have watched Oprah....

On Wednesday, I went to the gym, as usual, at 3:30 pm. Dropped the kids off in the daycare and then headed over to the treadmills. I always work out at this time because I love watching Oprah while I'm working out. Who could ask for more, right? The kids are having fun in the daycare, I'm getting my exercise and I get to watch one of my favorite talk shows to boot!!

That day, Oprah's topic was "overwhelmed moms need to slow down" and they featured, Brenda Slaby, as Oprah's guest. Brenda Slaby is the woman in Cincinnati who left her 2-yr old daughter in the car on one of the hottest days in August last year for 8 hours while she worked. Apparently, she had forgotten about the little girl because she wasn't the parent who routinely took her daughter to the babysitter's house but her husband had an appt that day so she took the little girl that day. On the way to the sitter's house, Slaby thought it might have been too early to drop her daughter off so she decided to go pick up some donuts for her co-workers. The little girl was sleeping in her carseat during all this. Slaby got the donuts, drove to work and then left her daughter in the car. The daughter died. Slaby was never charged with her daughter's death.

So there I was on the treadmill, practically sobbing....I mean, I got chills listening to this mother tell her story. My heart went out to her...she kept saying it was an accident, that she was so overwhelmed that day that she honestly forgot her daughter was in the car. My heart broke for her poor little girl, who died a horribly painful death. Watching her crying in the police office after she discovered her daughter in the car was too much for me and I had to turn my earphones off for a few minutes. Putting myself in her shoes, I would want to die too. I don't think I could survive something like that, especially knowing I was the reason my child had died.

Oprah featured other moms who talked about feeling overwhelmed and needing to slow down. It was a very touching show...a very realistic show...moms were finally stepping up from all over the country and admitting they, too, were overwhelmed and forgetful. The whole point of the show was for Slaby's story to help others in the same overwhelmed state of mind. People were calling in to the show and standing up in the audience applauding this mother for being so brave in sharing her story.

I could not get the story out of my head the rest of the day. You know, there are certain things you hear about on the news or that you read in the paper and you don't give it a second thought. But then there are some stories that just weigh heavy on your heart and you simply cannot get it out of your head, no matter what. This was one of those stories. I went to bed that night and I could hardly sleep, just thinking about what that poor little girl endured, envisioning her clawing at the belts on her carseat, crying and no one hearing her, thinking her mother would come back for her but she never did.

The next day I decided to go to Oprah's site and post a message on her bulletin board about how much the show affected me. There were over 111 pages on the board about this particular story and I couldn't but read them. Apparently, the whole story was not told on the Oprah show. There were tons of women, who either knew Slaby personally or lived in the same town as her, who wrote messages saying that the whole truth was not revealed and several people encouraged other readers to read the police report, which was easily found if you googled it.

Curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to read if these ladies were really telling the truth. My jaw dropped as I read the police report. Not only had Slaby left her daughter in the car on this particular occasion, she had left her daughter in the car on 3 other occasions as well. She was even warned about it by her daughter's preschool director, when a parent who saw the little girl sitting in the car unattended was disturbed enough to report it.

The most disturbing part, as if leaving her daughter in the car unattended wasn't bad enough, was the video they showed of her BACKING UP her car to the cafeteria to unload the boxes of donuts. How did she not see her daughter sitting in her carseat while she backed her car up??? Regardless of whether she used her rear-view mirror or actually turned around to back up, I can't believe she didn't see her daughter! Then they show her walking past the window where her daughter was sitting several times...they show her opening the hatch back to her SUV to get the donuts out. She walked back and forth several times to the car. Then she got in the car and drove it to another parking space and went into the school to work for the day.

It's not like she just parked her car and ran into the school in a hurry to get to work. She had so many opportunities to see her daughter sitting in the carseat. The other thing that really bothered me was for the whole 8 hours that her daughter was sitting in that 165 degree car, she never once thought about her child??? She never once thought to check on her daughter at the sitter's house?

I just find the whole thing absolutely unbelievable. After reading the police report, I felt sick to my stomach. I don't think she did this on purpose obviously but at the same time, how could she FORGET her daughter is in the car after having so many opportunities to see her in the backseat, when she backed the car up, when she went out to her car several times and passed the window where her daughter was seated, when she got back in the car to park it in another spot. She remembered to bring the donuts into the school, she remembered to lock her car and grab her purse, but she forgot her daughter??

I understand the whole "I'm overwhelmed" story...I get it, I really do. I'm overwhelmed every minute of the day. There are days where the only thing that will get me through another hour is to cry as quietly as I can in the bathroom where my kids can't see or hear me, as I pray to God for a bit more strength and patience. I have 4 kids, 4 and under. But I don't think for a minute I'd forget my kid in a car. Sure, we can all sit here and say "well, you don't know until you've walked in her shoes". I've walked in her shoes....I've had days where I have a million errands to run and very little time to do it in but I always drag my kids out of their carseats (4 carseats!!) to go with me into the stores, even if they are asleep and even if it's just for a couple minutes that I need to be in the store. I had to run out the other day to get bananas from the was the only thing I needed. I had all 4 kids come into the store with me even though it only took me literally 5 minutes to get the bananas, pay for them and get back out to the car.

As much as I want to be sympathetic towards this woman and the hell she's been through, I can't get the police report details out of my head. She was warned about leaving her daughter in the car, yet she continued to do it. She says she simply forgot her daughter was in the car, which is somewhat believable, but how come she never once thought about her daughter that day and at that point, an alarm might have gone off in her head that said "Oh shit" and made her run out to the car, perhaps preventing her daughter's death.

When my kids are not with me, I'm constantly thinking about them and worrying about them. When Cole and Bella started preschool, I called the school at least 3 times a day to check in on them.

Now in no way am I tooting my own horn and saying "look at what a wonderful mother I am" because Lord knows I'm not supermom. I'm not anywhere close. I've made mistakes with my kids...some of which I've even written about in my blog. But I just have a really difficult time with this story. I have a hard time commending Slaby for coming on the Oprah show and sharing her story, while the audience cries and feels sorry for her. If she had never left her child in the car before or she hadn't gone out to her car several times that morning, I probably would feel differently but that's not the case.

The only person I can feel sorry for now is her poor little girl who died a tragic, preventable death. And I pray that she never leaves her other child in a car ever again....

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy 4th birthday Cole and Bella!

It's a habit I just can't stop. For the last 4 years, about 2 days before Cole and Bella's birthday, I start in with the "hey you guys, at this time X years ago, you were still in my belly and I was in the hospital laying around, trying to do everything I could to keep you in my belly for a little while longer". Then the day before their birthday, I start in with the countdown..."hey you guys, exactly at this time X years ago, you were still in my belly and I was in the hospital but I was able to take a shower for 3 minutes...a whole glorious 3 minutes"...."hey you guys, exactly at this time X years ago, I was hoping I would be able to eat another hospital lunch without puking my guts up"..."hey you guys, exactly at this time X years ago, the dr said I could go home as long as I stayed in bed for the rest of the time you were in my belly"...and then....

"hey you guys, exactly at this time X years ago, I was only home from the hospital for 6 hours when my water broke unexpectedly and you both were on your way into this world"....

The funny thing is that they actually like to hear all this and I should probably enjoy that fact since I know when they're teenagers, they'll probably roll their eyes when I start in with the birthday countdown. I can just hear it now..."oh Mom, do you have to do this AGAIN, EVERY SINGLE YEAR?" I'll be calling them when they're 32 years old and saying "hey, at this exact time 32 years ago...." and I'll probably hear a click and then a dial tone.

So yesterday I started the countdown, as usual, but this year, especially, they were very into it. They wanted all the details....the whole enchilada from start to finish....their birth story in total completion. And they were so cute...they added in little things here and there, like when I told them my water broke and they asked what that meant, I kinda had a hard time trying to explain it to them. The best I could do was to say "you were in my belly in your own little bubble of water and the bubble popped and all the water leaked out"....hmmmmm, yeah, that sounded pretty good. But of course I got the "why and how did it break"....then Cole surprised me by saying "I did a karate chop, like this" and he got up and demonstrated a huge karate chop, "and then I said 'I'm outta here' and then I said to Bella 'later chump'"....(and a huge thank you to Tim for letting them watch Spiderman 3 repeatedly, where they learned the line "later, chump").

Then they wanted to hear, again, exactly how the dr took them out and then they wanted to see my c-section scar. They asked who came out first and what they did as soon as they came out. I said "Cole, you were very quiet so much so that Daddy and I worried about you but you just needed some oxygen to help you breathe better....Bella, you cried the minute you came out". They giggled over that and kept asking over and over again, "tell us again what we did when we came out". Thank God they didn't ask how they got in my belly in the first place....I'm just not ready to go down that road yet. Plus it's a complicated story anyway...what do I say "well, it all started when an egg was fertilized by a sperm, which was injected into it with a huge needle in a petri dish in a lab in Las Vegas under the steady hand and the watchful eye of an embryologist....". Sure, the whole "the stork dropped you off on our doorstop" story is easier but someday, when they can understand it all, I'd like to really be honest with them about how they were created.

As I tucked them into bed last night, I couldn't help but say to them both, "thank you for being born" and Bella said "thank you for borning me". And I told them when they both woke up in the morning, they would officially be 4 years old. My little miracle babies....the babies I never thought I'd be able to have.

Last night before bed, we watched a video I had made for them to celebrate their 4th year. They watched it over and over and over...they loved it. They loved that I had included one of their favorite songs "Rainbow Connection", which I sing to them every night at bedtime.

So...happy 4th birthday, Cole and Bella!! I can hardly wait to see what this next year holds for you both. You are growing up right before my very eyes and in a way I'm happy about that but in a way it makes me sad because I wish you could stay little forever. You'll understand that someday when you both are parents yourselves. You both have brought such sunshine and joy into my life...I simply could not imagine my life without either of you. You both are my heart, my soul, my life....

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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