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Taking one day at a time...

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  • DO SOMETHING GOOD
  • Monday, May 31, 2010

    Remembering...


    We should all be grateful to those who have helped protect our country and our freedom. Without them, this wouldn't be the place it is today.

    Sunday, May 30, 2010

    Laughter Is The Best Medicine...

    Seriously? I would just die if I found a frog in my bag of salad.


    Is this woman really that stupid?

    OMG. I have no kind words for this picture. Heh.

    Saturday, May 29, 2010

    Vacillating...

    I'm vacillating between all five stages of grieving; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Since Jack's IEP this past Monday, I've been battling the demons inside me to come to grips with his educational determination. Autism is not easy. I try to keep a positive outlook and I've been fortunate enough to get him into the school of my choice. However, when he flips out and screeches and squeals at Livie's ballet class (like he did yesterday), I just don't even bother to look at the other mothers. They just wouldn't understand.

    I know they're staring. I know they think he's a brat. What they don't know is that he's overwhelmed (small "waiting" room, lots of people) and pissed off that he can't go in the classroom, too. I get it and I get HIM. He may appear to be a brat, but he's just being who he is. I can't blame him for being pissed. That's the autism in him speaking. And he actually liked the sound of his voice echoing in the field house at the park. Who can blame him? He's an auditory boy. Once we got home, he was fine...for a little while.

    It's hard for me to vent here. There are very few I know who truly understand what this journey is all about and what it means. I want to vent so badly, but I just can't. I've spent so much time in denial, so much time being angry about this, so much time bargaining. I'm stuck in a back-and-forth of all three, plus depression. I have yet to accept this. I don't think I'll accept it until I get a medical diagnostic for Jack. If you don't have an autistic child, you can't possibly understand what I feel. He hates strangers and a medical diagnostic will do just that...put him in a room full of strangers where he'll be so overwhelmed he can't perform.

    I'm not angry at Jack at all. I could never be angry at him for this; it's not his fault and I'm sure it's even more confusing for him than it is for me. I'm angry at autism. I'm angry that it has taken my boy. The constant struggle to pull him through that "window," and he's still labeled autistic. The six therapists who assured me he wasn't autistic at all. The fact that he's not quite neurotypical, but not quite recognizably autistic. The gray area. I'm pissed off at that gray area. I'm pissed that I can't put autism out like a cigarette under my shoe.

    Autism is a blessing and a curse.

    It has opened my eyes to the genius I know is living inside my boy. He is smarter than all of us combined, but he has trouble communicating it. Autism has a silver lining, but I still need to find it. I have to go through the motions and survive the hardest part...the early years. It's just not going to be easy.

    I'd be lying if I said I'm not a mess. Today, I am a mess. Tomorrow may be different. I have good days and bad days, just like Jack. I just keep going back and forth with all these emotions. I'm wondering when I can get off this ride and live again. These feelings don't make me a bad mother; I'm only human. I just want him to have a full and independent life someday. I don't want to be a helicopter mom forever, but I need to protect him right now from people who just don't get him, kids and adults alike.

    There's so much to do, so much to plan. My head is spinning from the list of things I need to do. The only rest from autism I get is when I sleep and even that's not guaranteed. Autism never sleeps.

    Friday, May 28, 2010

    The Miracles Of Cod Liver Oil...

    A little over a week ago, I started giving Jack cod liver oil, twice a day. I'd be lying if I said I didn't notice any changes.

    Jack is eating better and has more of an appetite; he's eaten foods he doesn't normally eat (lemon meringue pie, bratwurst, PBJ's, etc.). He's sleeping better (less night waking could also be the result of more outdoor physical activity). He's also speaking better (able to articulate his thoughts clearer). And he's pooping better (once a day, same time of day, "normal" looking). Come to think of it, he's been dry at night for ten days...the exact length of time he's been getting the cod liver oil. Coincidence?

    He also gets acidophilus in the morning and complains less of tummy aches now.

    My husband thinks it's a load of crap, but I believe that the cod liver oil is doing great things for Jack. And I'm going to continue with it because I know it's doing him some good. I find it hard to believe that all of these positive changes all at once could be due to anything other than the cod liver oil. Call me crazy, but I think I've discovered something beneficial for my son.

    Do you believe that supplements can bring about changes in people?

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Everything Happens For A Reason...

    Yesterday, while I was on my way to work, Jack's case manager at school called me. She informed me that a VIP of Early Childhood Special Education was standing right next to her. The VIP offered to hand deliver Jack's application to our school of choice, reserving a spot for him there as a courtesy to me because I work for the same school system.

    Wow! I was floored. I took her up on her generous offer, of course. This meant less running around for me, less phone calls to make, and less noise making to get him in there. It's good to know people. Sometimes the system works for you; sometimes it doesn't. In this case, it's definitely working for us!

    I will be in contact with the case manager at Jack's new school within the next day or so. She and I are going to become very, very close if all goes well and he gets into that school without a hitch.

    I truly believe that the wonderful team of people I worked with on Jack's IEP were put into that room together for a very good reason. Each of those people came into our lives for a purpose...Jack. We all have his best interests in mind and I'm so grateful that we're on the road to something so beneficial for him. I'll still see them often, since Livie will continue to go to that school. Jack may even be back there for first grade. I won't know until his IEP gets revisited next May.

    I do know that everything happens for a reason. The school...the people...the meeting...the placement...the favor... All of this can only mean great things for my boy. I couldn't be happier for him and the good fortune we've seen. Autism isn't a death sentence; it's a brand new beginning. Optimism is everything.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Learning...


    I am the proud mother of Jack. He is a high-functioning autistic. I fought like hell to not write that last sentence.

    I'm still digesting the news from his IEP on Monday. We spent a little less than three hours writing it and I had so much input. I'm pleased with how it turned out, as I made sure to delineate everything necessary to help him succeed. I had a great team of people who really have Jack's best interests in mind, too. I'm grateful for them. The psychologist believes that Jack will one day be considered Asperger's when he's a little older. He's brilliant and has such an ear for music. He sings in perfect pitch.

    He'll receive a small class setting and get occupational therapy, speech therapy, and social work for independent functioning skills. Unfortunately, he'll have to be placed at another school for Kindergarten, as his home school doesn't have the program he needs at that grade level. It is this that I'm most sad about because he loves his school and the people there so much. I don't like that he'll have to take a school bus to and from school, either. I will also have to pull as many strings and make as much noise as I can in order to get him into the school I want and it won't be easy at all. First, though, I have to make certain that his home school absolutely, positively can't provide the setting he needs before I become the squeaky wheel up people's asses.

    Jack is brilliant, but his sensory processing disorder really gets in the way of what he can show people about how much he knows. He is socially behind and his communication skills are also behind. He stims and perseverates by making noises. The noises are purposeful for him, though. His hearing is so fine-tuned, so acute that normal everyday noises that don't bother you or me, bother him immensely. So, to cope with that, he makes his own noises to drown out the ones that overwhelm him. It's a constant battle.
    Let me give you an example. Imagine hearing a song. You hear the melody, right? That's not how it sounds to Jack. He not only hears the melody, he also hears each and every instrument playing, can identify each instrument, and can sing each of the parts each instrument plays throughout the song. Jack can "see" music, if that makes sense to you. What he sees when he hears a song is not what you "see." You think of a memory that the song brings back for you. Jack, however, "sees" the music. He just can't tell us how he sees it yet. You may think he's daydreaming when he hears a song, but he's not; he's busy working on the symphony in his head. Amazing, isn't it?

    If you think it's hard being the parent of an autistic child, try being the autistic child. His life is not easy. I've said it before, but he's like Andy Kaufman, Mozart, Bill Gates, Jim Carrey, and Robin Williams all wrapped up into one little boy. All five of them are/were on the spectrum, you know (formally and informally).

    My son is an amazing young boy and will be an amazing grown man someday. He needs help right now to make sure he succeeds in self-regulating, communicating, and reciprocating conversation appropriately. When Jack loves, he loves with his whole heart and body. He knows no malice. He's a good boy. I just hope people he comes in contact with will be able to see past the label. He's not the autistic kid in class; he's Jack.

    I am learning something from him every single day. He brings so much sunshine into my life. I am learning that everything he does, he does for a reason that is beneficial to him. He is easily overwhelmed by sounds and can become overstimulated quickly. We are learning how to teach him functional coping skills by trial and error, at times. Every minute might be different with him.

    This is going to be a very long, very hard journey for all of us. I'm not ungrateful for it, though. There's a reason Jack picked me to be his Mom. You read that correctly...HE picked ME. I believe with my whole heart that we both have a lot to teach each other and to learn from each other. This is my life's mission and I'm not going to fuck this one up because I was born to do this. How could I ever let him down? After all, I AM his greatest fan and I need him as much as he needs me.

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Wrapping My Head Around It...

    I need to wrap my head around this and digest it before I write a post on it.

    All anyone needs to know is that I've made some decisions I am confident about. And it's not about me at all.

    I just need to figure out what the next step is. Nothing about this is ever going to be easy.

    It is what it is. However, I'm pretty fucking far from being "okay." And you can't possibly understand how I feel, so I'll just shut up for now...until I can articulate my thoughts clearly.

    A hug would be nice right about now.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    My Only Son...

    Jack...my only son...the first of four reasons I was born.
    I love him so much.

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    Clowns & Carnies...

    We're going to a carnival today at Jack and Liv's school. I absolutely can't wait! Both kids were able to watch it being built this past week, so to actually go on the rides will be exciting for them (I hope!). I'm going to bring my camera, just in case the kids want to get on some rides. I hope they see some of their friends there.

    Yesterday, Jack had a stellar day. He started the day off with five (yes, FIVE!) pancakes! He continued eating throughout the day, too. He even tried lemon meringue pie for the first time and he loved it! He had an all-around incredible day at my Mom's. Those are hard to come by with him. When I put him to bed last night, I thanked him for eating. I know it sounds crazy, but I also know that Jack likes to please. Maybe just that little sentence will plant the seed and get him to actually eat more on a daily basis. Hunger meltdowns are horrible and he gets those a lot because he just won't eat. Maybe he's turning over a new leaf? A Mom can dream, can't she?

    It's going to be blazing hot tomorrow and we're going to walk to the carnival, which isn't too far. Hopefully, the walk will do Jack some good and he'll be able to handle all the sensory stimulation there. If not, we can always come back home and it's no big deal. We've got to try, though. The boy can't live in a bubble.

    I hope today is as good a day as yesterday was. If so, I'm going to make it last forever. Tomorrow...who knows? One can only hope.

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    Unexplainable...

    Um, I don't even know what to say about this picture, except that it's bizarre. Care to try explaining this?

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    Slowing Down My Head...

    I am so glad it's Friday. This has been a very long week for me. I'm going to try and enjoy this weekend as much as I can. The weather is going to be warm, sunny, and beautiful. I need to make sure I have a great weekend because I don't know how I'm going to feel on Monday. It's a very important day for us.

    I wish I could say more about why. I just...can't. I need to sort out my feelings first. I like to articulate my thoughts well, but it's difficult to do when so many emotions are wrapped up in them.

    Hasn't that ever happened to you before?

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Think Good Things...

    Think good thoughts for my son today. Don't ask why. Just think good things and send positive vibes. I can't tell you why yet.

    That is all for now.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    A Very Yummy Surprise...

    Yesterday, when I got home from work, I made Bob's Red Mill Brownie Mix. It's gluten-free and it was something my Mom had picked up (along with 30 other gluten-free items!). I figured I'd try it out to see if it was worth purchasing again.

    Lo and behold, those brownies were amazing! You wouldn't even know they were gluten-free! They're so delicious that Jack ate three of them! Hell, I could eat the whole batch myself.

    If gluten-free tastes like this, I can't wait to eat more of it. Wow!

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Picky Isn't The Word...

    I've been looking into vitamin therapies and dietary changes for Jack. I'd like to get him on a reduced gluten and casein diet. This boy never eats, unless it's stuff that he shouldn't have. I can't tell you how many times a week I have to tell him that cookies aren't for dinner; chips aren't for dinner; chocolate chip muffins aren't for dinner, etc. He just wants to eat crap all day long and we have our boundaries on how much crap we'll allow. It's driving me crazy.

    So, I've been giving him cod liver oil in his juice twice a day and acidophilus once a day. I figure the cod liver oil will help with mental acuity and keep him more focused, hopefully creating some sort of balance within his head. He thinks too fast for his words and has been having trouble articulating his thoughts lately. It's as if his mind is on fast-forward and he can't think clearly enough. I'm suspecting there's some sort of vitamin deficiency, so I'm making some changes. The acidophilus will restore the good flora and fauna in his tummy, too. It can't hurt.

    Jack's picky eating is not easy to deal with. He is BEYOND picky. I used to think it was a texture issue and it might still be, but sometimes it's just stubbornness or a control issue with him. I'm grateful he'll take his vitamins in the morning. And he drinks the V-Fusion juices made by V-8, so he's getting his fruits and veggies that way. Anything other than bread or bananas is very challenging to get into him. I can't help but think he's trying to tell me something and doesn't know what's wrong or how to express it. And I can't help but think that the very things he craves are things that might not be good for him, after all.

    So, I'm going the vitamin route. And I'm going to be making some gluten-free recipes and breads to see if that changes anything with him. I know that gluten-free/casein-free is not easy to do, but Jack very rarely eats any casein, so we're in luck with that. If I can't go completely GFCF with him, at least I can lessen the degree to which he consumes such things and maybe that'll make a dent. At this point, I'll try anything for that boy.

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    About A Month Left...

    I have about a month left of work before I'm out for summer vacation. It's good being a teacher because I have plenty of time to spend with my own kids during the summer. It's the perfect career for someone who wants a family; in my case, a large family. Heh.

    So, I'll be counting the days left on fingers and toes. And in two weeks, I'll just be counting on my hands. Ahhhhh...I can smell the summer creeping up on me already.

    Flip flops, sunscreen, and nonstop sunshine. Sigh...

    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    Not Just One Thing...

    I am exhausted in so many ways. I can't even begin to describe it, except to say that it's bone-deep. I need some serious rest, in more ways than one.

    It's not the babies keeping me up at night, despite their teething. On the contrary, they're doing remarkably well with it. It's not the end-of-the-school-year funk because it's like this every year and I accept it. It's not the lack of warm sunshine. It's not the kids. It's not the hectic Friday afternoons, racing to get to ballet on time with Liv. It's not the classes I need to take this summer to put another endorsement on my teaching certificate. It's not the laundry list of things I need to get done at home and at work. It's not the anxiety I have about certain things I have yet to mention here.

    It's all of it. And thinking about all of it makes me very, very tired. My plate is way too full these days. Deep breathing and taking one thing at a time does not work right now because it's all happening at once. I just want it to slow down a bit so I can catch my breath every now and then. Yeah, I'd like to be able to breathe again without sucking in the fumes from my burning brain that thinks too much.

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

    So Freaking Excited...

    Today is going to be a good day. There's a 100+ family garage sale in my Mom's neighborhood and we're going to be there all day long. I think it's the first time Hubby will actually get to go, since he isn't working anymore. We can all enjoy hunting for crap together.

    Jack and Liv will be playing in my Mom's backyard on the gigantic playset they bought. By the end of the day, both of them will be so tired from swinging, climbing, and sliding. There's nothing better than sweaty kids; you know they're busy and will most likely be going to bed on time that night.

    I'm looking forward to seeing people's junk. After all, one man's junk is another man's treasure. It's the little things in life that make me happy these days.

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Oompa Loompas Are Not Welcome Here...

    It's been about five weeks since we started Liesl and Leia on solid foods. I must say they're doing incredibly well. That Beaba Babycook babyfood maker has already paid for itself. We're saving so much money by making their food fresh ourselves. And it's fun, too!

    The girls have had sweet potatoes, butternut squash, sweet peas, green beans, potatoes, peaches, apples, pears, oat cereal, rice cereal, and mixed grain cereal. There are only two foods they aren't too crazy about...green beans and potatoes. I'm not surprised about the green beans, but I can't believe they don't care for potatoes! I bet once they get a plate of French fries in front of them, they'll change their tune. Heh.

    In another five months or so, they'll be eating the same foods we eat, albeit in teeny tiny pieces. It's hard to believe so much time has passed since they were born. Liesl is 17lbs, 4.5oz and Leia is 17lbs even. Amazing, isn't it? They babble, roll all over the place, practice sitting, etc. They're not newborns anymore. Sniff, sniff, sigh. They're infants on a mission. Liesl likes to lay on her belly and stick her big ass in the air, like she's trying to crawl somewhere. Leia did that, too, yesterday. I think they'll be crawling before I can blink my eyes again. And then all hell will break loose.

    Their next food will be bananas, followed by avocado, mango, and then carrots. I'm a little hesitant to do the carrots because Livie had carotinemia; she turned bright orange from them and it took forever for it to go away. We'd used commercial babyfood for Liv and every single dinner had carrots in it, so she turned bright orange from them. I hope the girls don't have that kind of reaction; that's why I'm going to limit their carrot intake. There will be no Oompa Loompas here ever again.

    It's so exciting trying new foods with the twins. I can't wait to start mixing them together in interesting combinations for their dinners!

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    23 & Counting...

    Pretty soon, the school year will be over. I will no longer have to wake up early to start the morning routine with the kids. Of course, they'll probably still get up early, but that's a given; they're kids! After all, their summer camp will start at the end of June, so no rest for the wicked. Heh.

    I'm looking forward to 23 more work days until my students graduate. Then, it's pretty slow that last week. So, I'm just going to keep counting the days.

    Last year at this time, I was pregnant with my twins. It's hard to believe that so much time has passed. They're seven months old now. Liesl is 17lbs, 4.5oz and Leia is 17lbs even. Both girls are 26" tall now. Wow! My baby beasts are growing. Last summer, I was hugely pregnant. Now, they're giants. Sigh...

    Summer is approaching quickly and life will be hectic. It'll be a fun hectic, though. The noisy chaos in my home will be the noisy chaos children bring. I'm looking forward to it and I'm grateful to have a career that allows me this much-needed respite every year.

    Before I know it, we'll all have tan lines. Heh.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Educated By The Best...

    In a sea of uncertainty, there is always the love of my family. Nothing is ever certain in life, or set in stone, or guaranteed. There is always family, though. And family is everything.

    Money, time, daylight...we're always burning right through them. Family, though, is always evolving. Relationships change and grow; they are cultivated from a primitive desire to love. My children are everything to me. No matter what happens in life, they are symbols of all the hard work we've put into them.

    I love my not-so-little family. I love the smiles I get, the hugs I receive, the kisses they give me. My children are the products of a very happy marriage. Without them, I'd be lost.

    I no longer have to make a mental note to stop and enjoy things as they happen. It's become second nature for me to do so. Every step in my children's development is something I don't take for granted. I am happy for them as I watch them succeed in accomplishing something new, whether it's reading a new word, mastering writing the letter, "S," or sitting up on their own. And, lucky me, I get to see it all unfold before my very eyes.

    Sure, we have our ups and downs, but life would be boring without the natural ebb and flow of relationships. I am one of the luckiest people in the world and I do not take it lightly.

    I am an educated woman with a Masters degree in Education. However, my children have taught me more than any textbook ever could.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    Mack The Knife...

    Liesl has cut her first tooth at seven months old. It's one of the middle lower ones, of course. Leia, however, has been teething since she was four months old, no lie. The same tooth wants to poke out, but it's having a hard time breaking through the membrane. With Liesl, we never even knew she was teething because she never complained, really. Leia, however, has been a beast lately. That tooth is being very stubborn. Liesl's tooth poked through a few days ago when she was chewing on a silver rattle. She screamed like there was no tomorrow, but only for a minute or so. Lo and behold, she has a tooth!

    I'm hoping that Leia's tooth pops out soon because it's taking so long and she's been so miserable lately. Unlike Jack, the girls seems to be getting bottom teeth first. Jack's first tooth was a top one...and he got eight teeth all at once. Yes, you read that correctly...EIGHT...AT...ONCE! It was awful for him...and us. I remember it well. I'd just gone back to work from maternity leave for him, wasn't getting much sleep because of his horrible teething, and I'd just found out I was pregnant again with Livie! Talk about survival! I'm really, really happy that the twins are getting their bottom teeth first. Hopefully, they won't teethe in massive clusters, like their brother did.

    Twins and teething...this is going to be quite a journey. Heh.

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Summer Fun...

    We've registered Jack and Liv for Summer Play Camp, which is day camp for 4-5-year-olds through the Chicago Park District. It's not at the park that's a half block from our home, but it isn't too far away...just a short drive. They'll be going to Play Camp three days a week for three hours a day. They won't lose "momentum" this summer.

    My biggest concern this summer was having enough for Jack and Liv to do. I didn't want them to get out of the groove of having to get up and go somewhere during the week. Right now, they attend preschool for three hours a day, four days a week. They're busy. I didn't want them to lose a "sense of purpose" for their days just because school wasn't in session and I know just how much they're both going to miss school. The thing that sealed to deal for summer camp for me was that I could get a one-on-one aide for Jack. That means the world to me.

    So, Jack and Liv will be busy having fun outdoors all summer long. We'll have time to go on vacation before AND after Play Camp starts and ends. I'll be able to take a couple of classes during that time. Hubby will be able to enjoy some golf after he drops them off and can pick them up when he's done. I'll get one-on-one time with Liesl and Leia. Most importantly, Jack and Liv will have something to do to get out of our hair for a little while. They're not bad kids, but they get mischievous when they're bored and all hell can break loose. This is the perfect thing for them to do. We all win!

    I can't put into words just how happy I am about all of this! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sunday, May 09, 2010

    Mama...

    I hope everyone has a wonderful day! I have four reasons why today is a wonderful day for me:
    Jack, Liv, Liesl, and Leia.

    Before I was a Mom,
    I never tripped over toys
    or forgot words to a lullaby.
    I didn't worry whether or not
    my plants were poisonous.
    I never thought about immunizations.

    Before I was a Mom,
    I had never been puked on.
    Pooped on.
    Chewed on.
    Peed on.
    I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
    I slept all night.

    Before I was a Mom,
    I never held down a screaming child
    so doctors could do tests.
    Or give shots.
    I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
    I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
    I never sat up late hours at night
    watching a baby sleep.

    Before I was a Mom,
    I never held a sleeping baby just because
    I didn't want to put her down.
    I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
    when I couldn't stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small
    could affect my life so much.
    I never knew that I could love someone so much.
    I never knew I would love being a Mom.

    Before I was a Mom,
    I didn't know the feeling of
    having my heart outside my body.
    I didn't know how special it could feel
    to feed a hungry baby.
    I didn't know that bond
    between a mother and her child.
    I didn't know that something so small
    could make me feel so important and happy.

    Before I was a Mom,
    I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
    every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
    I had never known the warmth,
    the joy,
    the love,
    the heartache,
    the wonderment
    or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
    I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
    before I was a Mom.
    Becoming a Mom was the best thing that I've ever done.
    It is the most important thing I've ever done.
    Motherhood completes me.

    Saturday, May 08, 2010

    Linguistic Minds...

    The other evening, I wrote down over a dozen random words and tried to see if Jack knew what they were. Lo and behold, he did. The boy read the words! I couldn't believe it. He can read many numbers that are spelled out, many long words, and many different short, common words from the Dolch lists for preschoolers and kindergarteners.

    And then Livie wrote the word, "go." And, "up." And, "me." She sits with books and tries to sound out all the words now.

    WTF is going on here? For being five and four years old, these kids sure are good with words and they are natural-born readers. I hope I don't have to take down my framed, cross-stitch "Do Not Fuck With Me" sign in my kitchen anytime soon. I love that thing. Heh.

    Friday, May 07, 2010

    The Art Show...


    We had such a great time at the Art Show at my children's school last night! They had such an amazing exhibit! Liv even had one of her pieces framed...


    and one of Jack's drawings was what greeted everyone at the door as they walked in!


    I'm so excited about it that I can't stop using exclamation points! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I took a bunch of pictures, but had a hard time choosing which ones to post here! Gah!

    Leisl was wonderful and calm; Leia was freaked out by all the people, at first. She warmed up, eventually. Jack had a hard time with all the noise, but he was a real trooper. We visited the baby chicks in the hallway to calm down; it worked. Liv talked the principal's ear off. That's my girl!

    It was a wonderful time! I have never doubted that I picked the BEST school for my children! How lucky we are!

    Thursday, May 06, 2010

    Mysterious Package...

    The other day, Livie had brought home an interesting package from school. It was an envelope that was sealed and wrapped in masking tape. She'd also written Jack's name on the front of it. When I asked her what it was, she told me that Jack got her a present.

    Knowing that Jack couldn't possibly have gotten her a present, I asked her if this was something that she had taken from school, wrapped up to conceal it in order to bring it home. She just looked at the floor and said, "I confess."

    I felt the envelope and it felt like some sort of stamp. I asked her if it was a stamp. She nodded her head. She said it was the letter, "x." I told her that I didn't believe that the letter, "x," was her favorite letter, that I would think it was a different letter. When I opened the envelope, I was right. Inside the envelope was the capital letter, "L." No surprise there.

    I told her that it wasn't right to take something from school that wasn't hers, that she was depriving other little kids of playing with something they enjoyed as much as she did. I told her to think about what she did. About ten minutes later, she was sitting on the potty in deep thought. I asked her what was on her mind. She told me that she wanted to bring the stamp back to her teacher, that she felt bad and knew it was wrong of her to do.

    I put the stamp in a plastic bag and brought it to school with us when I dropped them off. I saw her teacher in the hall and asked her if it belonged to her. Then I explained what had happened, that Livie had put it in an envelope with Jack's name on it, sealed it, and wrapped it in masking tape, telling me that Jack had gotten her a present. Surprised, her teacher said that it was hers and that she was pretty impressed with how clever Liv was.

    And we both agreed about how incredibly intelligent she, in fact, is. Heh.

    Looking back, if I hadn't been so rushed to get to work, I would've made Liv give the stamp to her teacher herself and apologize. However, it is what it is and I can't change that. She really was remorseful and knew she didn't make a good choice. And she came to the conclusion, herself, that it was best to return it. I think the lesson was learned and that is important to me.

    Deep down, however, I am tickled pink that I've raised a little thief. She's a chip off the old block. If you ever knew what I've stolen in my lifetime and how clever I was about it, you'd absolutely die just from being impressed by it. Yeah, I know I'm going to hell. I'll see you there, I'm sure. Heh.

    Wednesday, May 05, 2010

    Art Show...

    Tomorrow evening is the Pre-K Art Show at my children's school. I can't wait to go! We're going to bring the babies, too. Jack's and Liv's teachers remember me when I was OUT. TO. THERE. I was soooooooo pregnant, I can't believe I didn't tip over back then. Now, the girls are seven months old. Unbelievable, really.

    I can't wait to see what the exhibits are and how much work all the kids put into it. It should be a really fun time. I'm so excited!

    I think I'll take pictures, too. They're so proud of their work. I can't wait to share it with you!

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010

    My Goils...


    Liesl and Leia are seven months old today. SEVEN. MONTHS. OLD. Holy shit...where DID the time go?

    They laugh, make faces at us, roll around on the floor, blow raspberries, try like hell to sit up on their own, gnaw on anything they can get their tiny hands on, etc. They do what babies do.

    They're eating solids like crazy. We've been making their babyfood with our new Beaba Babycook. One medium butternut squash yielded 20 ounces of babyfood! They've sampled sweet peas, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, green beans, pears, rice cereal, and mixed grain cereal. They'll be starting peaches tomorrow. Of course, with the advent of all these lovely foods has come the decreased time at the breast. Liesl loves to nurse still, but Leia is getting harder to nurse. She wants it easy out of a bottle, but I still put her to the breast, even if it's only for a little while. Liesl will nurse until she chooses to wean herself, which is fine by me. I don't see her stopping anytime soon. And I'm glad about that because I'm not ready to give that up. She's my last one, you know.

    Both girls are over 16 pounds now, maybe closer to 17 than I think. They're even wearing 9 month clothes. Leia's eyes are blue like the ocean and Liesl's eyes are a striking gray, like Liv's. Leia's hair is still light and wavy; Liesl's hair is still dark and straight. Leia is the "round" twin and Liesl is the "pointy" one. Liesl is also an inch taller than Leia.

    Thinking back to their time in the NICU, I never thought they'd ever be this big. It was a dark, dark time, but the sunshine they've brought into my life since then has certainly made up for their rough start.

    Seven months old. Twins. As different as night and day. Best friends with a secret connection that was present long before they came out of my womb. Miracles. Tiny little feet made by me. Smiles that make the world a sunnier place.


    Liesl and Leia...my goils.

    Monday, May 03, 2010

    You Can Thank My Friend Lucas...

    My friend Lucas sent me this picture. It's a gem, isn't it? Heh. I believe it's a toilet paper dispenser at a restaurant. There's just one question for this that is fitting...
    If the toilet paper snaps off inside, would you
    put your finger inside to get it?
    Heh. Thanks, Lucas. I'm sure seeing this picture has caused many people to upchuck their lunches. Ugh!

    Sunday, May 02, 2010

    Killer Smiles...

    This is one of my favorite pictures of Liv with my niece, Blondie. They both have such beautiful smiles! I love looking at this photo. It warms my cold, dead, black heart. Heh.

    Saturday, May 01, 2010

    Welcome To Holland...

    WELCOME TO HOLLAND
    by
    Emily Perl Kingsley.

    c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

    When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

    After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

    "Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

    But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

    The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

    So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

    But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

    And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

    But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.