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Taking one day at a time...

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  • DO SOMETHING GOOD
  • Saturday, July 31, 2010

    Say Ahhhhhh...

    Jack and Liv went to a pediatric dentist for the very first time yesterday. They both did such a great job!

    I'm still in shock. Jack actually let someone look in his mouth, clean his teeth, and smooth out (file) the ones that were chipped. I am in absolute awe of this dentist and his practice. It was kid-friendly from the moment we walked in, especially all the sensory stuff for kids like Jack. They had a great time there! Jack and Livie sat in the same chair while the dentist looked at Liv's teeth first, and then Jack's. The room had several dental chairs in it with lots of kids going through the same stuff all together. They had the chance to see other kids doing it, too, so they were very at ease with the whole thing. Jack and Liv honestly looked like they were enjoying it all. Jack's favorite part was smelling the dentist's rubber gloves; he liked the smell. Heh.

    We will definitely be going back there again. They even had a school calendar there so I could make their next appointment for when the kids and I were both off together. I am so impressed.

    There were several forms I filled out prior to bringing them there. On one of them, I gave a little background on Jack. The dentist read it all, saw that "Cars" was one of Jack's favorite movies, and he put it on all the TV's in the place so Jack could watch it and feel comfortable! I swear, if I wasn't already married, I would've married that man before I walked out of there.

    I hoped for the best, but was prepared for the worst. In the end, everything turned out wonderful. I don't think they'll ever be scared of the dentist, unlike me. That's all I want...better experiences for them. What a relief!

    Friday, July 30, 2010

    Let's Hear It For The Girls...

    It seems as if my girls have been getting a bit bored because they're much more fussy than normal lately. So, I dug out some of Jack and Liv's old baby toys and figured I'd let the girls navigate their own discoveries. Lo and behold, with a little help from us, the girls showed us their new trick.
    Leia is standing unassisted.


    Liesl is standing unassisted.

    Shit. Weren't these babies JUST born? WTF? They don't want to crawl like normal babies, either. They "army crawl," as if they're going underneath barbed wire. Liesl also likes to use her arms and hands to slide around on her belly, pushing and pulling herself into places no baby should go. Leia prefers to do push-ups...serious push-ups; she even does one-armed push-ups! One of my neighbors thought the girls were only four months old; when I told her they were 9.5 months old, she asked herself where the hell she's been! Time flies when your babies are growing!

    We helped them stand up just a little in the pictures above. Liesl didn't last anywhere near as long as Leia. Leia wants to go, go, go! She stood for quite a while, actually. And when Leia fell, she would fall on her butt and we would clap and cheer. She got a kick out of that.

    Ahhhhhh, babies...they bring so much innocence to such a cruel world, reminding us daily about what is always most important. Love.

    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    There Is No Debate...

    I think we're going to have to plunk down the cash and get a real pool for next summer. It's a worthwhile purchase, especially since we have four children. Jack absolutely loves the inflatable pool we have; it's not small, but he clearly needs more space. He's constantly doing daring tricks; the water wears him out like you wouldn't believe and he sleeps so well when he's been in the water. I'm thinking that it would be a worthwhile investment that all of us can enjoy for many years.

    Pools are not cheap, though. However, my kids are water babies and love going in one. Of course, my husband will have to kiss his grass goodbye, but that's beside the point. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Right?

    I think we'll be looking at above ground pools at the end of this summer, when they're cheaper here in Chicago. Then we'll buy one, learn all about how to care for it, and set it up next summer. I never had a pool as a kid; my husband did. I always wanted one, but it just wasn't possible. I want to give my kids everything I didn't have and a big pool is one of them. And then I can have a second childhood all over again, too. Heh.

    We will set up rules for the pool. Lifejackets are a must; only going in there when an adult is present is a must; safety first is a must. We'll go over all of that with the kids when the time comes and I'll make a nifty picture chart of all the rules so Jack can visually process it all. Until then, Hubby needs to figure out a way to mourn the grass he worked so hard to get. I know it'll be hard for him, but we need to do this if we want to preserve what little sanity he and I have left.

    Pool = busy kids = tired kids = sleep for all. Need I say more?

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    The Week Of Attacks...

    This past Monday, the kids went for eye exams, which were very successful. I'd underestimated how well they would do, so I've made myself a glutton for punishment later in the week. On Friday, Jack and Liv will go to the dentist for the very first time.

    I know, I know. I'm a bad mother for not getting them in to see a dentist sooner. With Jack's sensory issues, however, I was just never sure how things would go and I, more or less, just shuddered at the idea of taking him in. Now that he HAS to have a dental exam for kindergarten, I don't really have much of a choice. And why not throw Liv in the fire, too? It's not going to be cheap at all. It's very expensive, actually.

    So, with the recommendation of one of my friends, I made an appointment with a pediatric dental practice not too far away. I'm hoping that everything goes swimmingly well, just like the eye exams. This dental practice has extensive experience dealing with kids on the autism spectrum, so I'm hoping that Jack is comfortable there. Livie will most likely LOVE it because she knows she'll get her Princess Ariel and the Princess and the Frog Barbie dolls, as a result.

    I don't get to go into the examining room with them, however. It just might be better that way. These people have experience with kids like Jack and they know what they're doing. I might just hinder what would come naturally to Jack if I weren't there. So, I'll get to sit in the waiting room while they get their teeth cleaned, X-rayed, etc. I hope it goes well. The last thing I want is to have my kids fear the dentist the way I do.

    I remember my first dental experience was when I had an abcessed baby tooth pulled by a dentist with fingers the size of bratwursts and the bedside manner of a death row inmate. I don't think there were pediatric dentists at that time and we probably could never have afforded one then anyway. As a result, I have a fear of the dentist and only go when I really, really have to go (i.e. I'm in pain). I don't want that kind of life for my kids, so I'm going to do everything I can to make sure their first experience is a pleasant one and one they never have to fear. It's my duty, after all.

    Keep your fingers crossed for this one, folks. Seriously.

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    Always Prepared...

    I should know better than to underestimate the things my kids can do. While I always expect the best, I'm also always prepared for the worst.

    Yesterday, I took Jack and Liv for their first eye exams. They needed their eyes checked because they'd failed their preschool eye exams at school last year. Last week, I took Jack to the place to show it to him, let him look at all the stuff, and made the appointments. Yesterday morning, the three of us went there. I got my eye exam first; Jack went second; and Liv went last. I knew Livie would be great, but I didn't know what would be the outcome for Jack. I was worried that he would be unable to test because of his autism and sensory issues. Lo and behold, I was terribly wrong.

    Jack was amazing! Liv was amazing! They were real troopers. They even cheated by giving each other the answers during their exams! I couldn't believe it. They were great. Jack only got overstimulated and giggly when Livie was getting her exam. At that point, he'd had enough. Honestly, I'm just glad he didn't freak out in the tiny dark room. And he wasn't obsessed with going to their bathroom, either.

    In an effort to get out of there quickly, I picked out my frames in mere minutes. And because the kids were so good, I just HAD to make a trip to the Disney store to reward them for their behavior. Livie got two new princess Barbies; Pocahontas and Mulan. And Jack got a Radiator Springs mat with three cars from the movie, "Cars;" another Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Ramone. They were happy campers when all was said and done. While Livie really, really wanted the Ariel princess Barbie, I let her know that she wouldn't be getting it until she went to the dentist. Now she's begging me to make the appointment.

    And I'll get to pick up my new glasses next week sometime. Jack and Liv, however, do NOT need glasses. I'm still glad I took them for the exams, though. I needed to know that their vision was fine, anyway. Jack is 20/25 and Liv is 20/30, in both eyes.

    Now all I have to do is find a pediatric dentist who specializes in kids with special needs and isn't too far from the house. That's the next thing to conquer on my list and then we're done. The rest of the summer is cake.

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    What Letter Is This?...

    Jack, Liv, and I are all going for eye exams this morning. I hope it is uneventful, to say the least. Last week, I took Jack to the place to make our appointments. I had him look at the machines, check out the glasses, and get a feel for the place. I'm hoping that by giving him a sneak peek at the place, he'll be able to take an eye exam and not freak out.

    Of course, my appointment is first, so the kids can see what happens. Jack goes second and Liv is last. Livie desperately wants glasses. I just hope Jack can be tested. He's not the best at communicating his answers and I don't know how they're going to test him since he's special needs. Liv will be fine, I'm sure.

    The only thing I'm worried about is the actual picking out of frames. It could take quite a while. Yeesh. What was I thinking?

    Now I need to make dental appointments. THAT'S going to be REALLY fun (insert sarcasm here).

    Sunday, July 25, 2010

    My Rock...

    Happy Birthday, Mom!
    You are an incredible source of strength and love for all of us! We love you for being the amazing person you are! You love unconditionally, with all of your heart, each and every one of us. I couldn't have asked for a better Mother and Grandma to my children.
    I love you all the way to the moon and back. I could never have accomplished as much as I have without you right there, encouraging me every step of the way. I hope you know just how much you mean to me and to all of us. You are the heart of this family and you always will be.

    Saturday, July 24, 2010

    Changing The World...

    My Jack is one of those people who is going to change the world someday. I couldn't be prouder!
    I have learned that autism is not a disability...it is an ability, a way of life, a silver lining. Others may see it differently, but I choose to see it my way. Some days are hard, I won't lie. Some days can test my patience. Overall, I still see it as a gift. Each day is a mystery that teaches me something about myself, my son, and autism. And it is a journey I proudly take with my son and our family. The very things that make Jack unique are the very things I embrace. He completes me.

    This Is Very Cool...

    If you stare at this picture of the rotating cat long enough, you can literally make it go in the opposite direction! I can't stop staring at this fucking thing!

    It's awesome how your eyes and brain can work!

    Absolutely awesome! I think I need to take a break.

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Professional Baby Sleepers...

    I must say that having infant twins that sleep well is a blessing. They are incredible sleepers...professionals. Leia has always loved her crib and can sleep 12 hours a night! Liesl transitioned beautifully from our bed into her crib last week and continues to sleep 12 hours a night, as well, without a fuss! I guess she let me know that she needed her own space and I was happy to give it to her. I am amazed and baffled as to why my twins are such good babies, but I won't dare take it for granted. Everything can change so quickly.

    Leia has two teeth now, top ones that appeared within a day of each other, which make her fussier than normal lately. Liesl has four teeth now. And both babies are thriving! Such good babies all-around.

    There was nothing I didn't read in preparation for having twins. The one thing I totally didn't expect was that it would be easier than having singletons. Perhaps I only view it as easier because we know what the hell we're doing and have been parents for quite a while now. Having four children, pretty much one right after the other, kept our momentum going. We never got out of "baby mode," so lack of sleep, teething, and constant diaper changes didn't affect us much when we had the twins.

    I am grateful that my body has given me so much joy. I can't remember exactly what it was like before I had children. I know I had fun, but I know that the kind of fun I'm having right now is so much better. Life is good.

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    It's Magic...

    Melatonin works magic on my kids. If Jack and Liv are too jumpy and rambunctious right before bedtime, I give them melatonin and it knocks them both out completely. It starts taking effect in twenty minutes; at the half-hour point, they're begging me to put them to bed. I love it!

    I don't, by any means, "drug" my kids. I do, however, believe in a little natural help at times, which is what melatonin is. I give them 2.5mg sublingual tablets, which they just wind up chewing anyway. It still works. I could probably cut the dose in half and it would still produce the same result.

    Melatonin ensures my kids will get a good rest at night, especially when their circadian rhythms are messed up. I am so glad we have it in the house. Everyone can rest when Jack and Liv aren't keeping the whole house awake. It's a win-win!

    Have you ever tried melatonin?

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Her First Bully...

    Liv's been crying at camp for quite a while now. We've just started Week 4. Apparently, she's been teased about her name. Another little girl told Liv that her name wasn't real. WTF is that all about?

    I told Liv to tell that girl (who has a very, very common name) that her name comes from Norway and it means, "life." I also told her to ask the girl what her name means and if she knows why her parents gave her that name.

    You see, Liv knows where her name comes from, what it means, and why we gave it to her. She is a sensitive little girl, though, underneath her sparkly sassiness. It doesn't surprise me at all that she feels shot down when she tried to make some friends. And lots of these kids already know each other, so she automatically feels left out. She's basically just sticking with Jack and his aide. She seems to have fun for part of the time, but then she gets sad all over again. Daily.

    I did let her group leader know about the name incident. He took her under his wing when I left yesterday. Hopefully, it gets better and she doesn't keep asking me if she can stay home every morning. Sigh.

    If it doesn't get any better, I'm going to burn that little girl's hair right off her head if she says one more word to my kid. And then I'm going to tell her that her father isn't really her father. And that her mother makes a living being on her back. And then...

    Nevermind. You get the point. Nobody messes with any of my kids.

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly...

    Yesterday, there was this particularly annoying fly zooming around the house. It was a kamikaze fly, no doubt. I kept trying to find it and I think it knew because it kept zooming past our heads at breakneck speed, aiming for our faces.

    You didn't think I would let that pesky fly off easy, now did you? Jack, for one, is terribly freaked out about flies and won't even go into a room if there's one in it, even though he knows they're harmless. And I just can't have him flipping out every time he sees it.

    Oh, no. I found it between the blinds and the window in our living room and I swatted it. Damn thing was resilient and got back up. I swatted it again and it fell, but it wasn't dead; it was stunned, but got right back up and was determined to live. Well, I'm no killer, but I do believe in the food chain.

    I fed the damn thing to our turtle, Gamera. And she loved every bit of it. Gamera is a red-eared slider from Jack's classroom and we're taking care of her for the summer. I had read that red-eared sliders are meat-eaters, so I thought she might eat a fly, if given the chance.

    That fly was still alive until it hit Gamera's stomach. Ahhhhh, the food chain is alive and well in this house. And Gamera is one happy turtle. Heh.

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    The Best One Yet...

    I have been having a great summer, so far. The kids have adjusted nicely to summer camp; the babies are growing in so many ways; I've been able to spend quality time with Hubby. It's turning out to be a very fulfilling summer.

    I try not to think about September, when I have to go back to work. To me, it's faaaaaaar off. I'm just going to keep enjoying my dog days, going in the pool with the kids, and getting browner every time I step out my door.

    I'm never going to forget this summer. It's the best one yet.

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    Mad Skillz...

    My son Jack has discovered a love for using a laptop. I'm not talking about the kid laptop toys he has that he masters in a matter of days; I'm talking about MY laptop. He's absolutely amazing! And he instinctively knows what he's doing. That's what freaks me out.

    I have a rule that I've always followed...I'm never on the computer when my kids are awake. They need me more than I need the Internet, so I never use it while they're up. The other day, I used it to go on PBS Kids to see if there would be anything the kids would be interested in viewing, since they love all the shows they see on that station. Lo and behold, Jack took over. I don't know how he did it, but he can navigate that site using the touch pad; he doesn't like a mouse because he's a lefty. HE'S FIVE YEARS OLD AND HE'S NAVIGATING A WEBSITE LIKE HE'S BEEN DOING IT FOREVER. Exactly how does that happen? How did he just KNOW what he was doing like it was second nature? Seriously.

    I don't know how he figured it out, but he did. And he's very, very good at it. In fact, I caught him on Chuck E. Cheese's website, which he clicked on purpose. Imagine THAT! I never knew he could do this because I never tried it with him until now. Before this, both kids had never been allowed near our laptops! Livie's using it, too, but she needs help when she wants to change games, videos, or music. If she would let Jack help her, he would do it in a heartbeat. Yeesh.

    I've always known that this boy of mine is a genius. He may not be a social butterfly like all the other kids, but he will master the QWERTY keyboard before he's in first grade. I know it.

    And he's going to be the next Bill Gates. Mark my words.

    Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Hoping Not To Jinx It...

    Liesl is the most perfect baby ever. She seems to be making a very effective transition into her crib from our bed. The first nine months of her life, she has slept right next to me, nursing whenever she wanted to. I firmly believe in attachment parenting and co-sleeping. I've done it with all my children, but I only did it a little bit with Leia because it was too hard to do with twins, for safety reasons. Liesl stayed in my bed while Leia went into her crib as a newborn. Truth be told, Leia LOVES her crib, so it was painless when she went into it.

    Liesl has slept three nights in her crib without a fuss at bedtime. She has a slightly different schedule than Leia, so I was worried when I placed her into her crib on Wednesday night. She just didn't seem like she was comfortable next to me and she was very fidgety, so I told her she was going to sleep in her crib now. Lo and behold, she knocked out right away and woke up almost seven hours later. Thursday night, she slept almost eleven hours in her crib! Amazing! No fussing, no restlessness, no crying at all. Just bliss. I think she just wanted her own space and she was ready for it.

    She was ready and so was I. It's bittersweet for me, though. I'll always miss it because she's my last one. Sigh.

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Again?!...

    OMG. Is it Friday again? Why do the weeks go by so quickly in the summer? I hate that! And, of course, the winter seems sooooooooo long. Sigh.

    I must admit, though, I love having four seasons here. I just wish summer didn't race through so quickly. It's already mid-July. Didn't July just start? Gah!

    C'est la vie, I suppose. I'm going in the pool now.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    All Aboard!...

    Jack has been having a difficult time getting on the school bus for his summer camp field trips. If he doesn't get on the bus, he just doesn't get to go, unless we take him ourselves. Since he's going to have to ride a school bus to and from school this coming school year, we wanted him to adjust to taking one once a week during camp. He seemed scared of that which he did not know or understand. Yesterday was a field trip day. I worked on a custom made social story for him about riding a school bus prior to it, but I could see that he was terribly anxious as we left the house.

    At 10am, his camp aide called me to let me know that Jack wouldn't get on the bus. The bus had come early, so she tried to get him to check it out. He wouldn't budge. Five minutes later, I showed up and asked him if he would take a look at the bus with me. He was willing. I had him touch ALL the seats, bang on stuff with his feet and hands, touch the back window, etc. Jack is a sensory kid; he needs to physically touch stuff to understand it. The bus driver even offered Jack his seat so he could "drive," but Jack didn't want any part of that. I asked him which seat he wanted his to be and he picked it right away (first window seat opposite the driver). He was no longer scared of the bus and was willing to go on their field trip. The other kids were so happy to see Jack get on the bus and Livie was proud of her big brother.

    As the bus pulled away, I couldn't help but think that Jack achieved a major milestone. He conquered his fear of the bus by going on it with me and taking a "tour." It had to be me doing the tour, though. While he likes his aide at camp, he hasn't known her long enough to trust her completely. I was more than happy to help.

    It is true that we sometimes fear that which we do not know or understand. It's that way for children and adults, alike. My Gram always used to say, "There's no such thing as can't." A little encouragement goes a long way when you're trying to familiarize yourself with something you've never experienced. After all, knowledge is power!

    Go, Jack!

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Current Stats...

    We took Liesl and Leia for their 9-month check-up yesterday morning. My, have they grown! When I look at the post I wrote about their last doctor visit, I still can't believe how big they've become. Weren't these babies just born? It sure feels like it sometimes.

    Currently, Liesl is 18lbs, 8oz and is 27.75" long. Her head circumference is 17". Leia is now 17lbs, 14oz and is 26.75" long. Her head circumference is 16.75". I am amazed at how much they've grown and how far they've come since their birth. Unbelievable! And their growth is pretty steady in comparison with one another; Liesl is always a tad bigger, just like she was at birth.

    At this rate, they'll weigh more than Jack (aka The Boy Who Eats Nothing But Air) in no time. Heh.

    Hooray for healthy babies!

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Better Than Sleep...

    Yesterday, I had a taste for something salty and sweet. So, I opened my fridge and saw some leftover cooked bacon and a bag of dark chocolate Hershey's kisses. Hmmm. Guess what I did...

    Yep, I ate my cold bacon (which I love, love, love) with the chocolate and it was absolutely fantastic! And odd combination, yes, but it was stellar for my taste buds. It hit the spot.

    This is not something I've never heard of doing, though. There's a chocolatier in Chicago called Vosges that has this product. While I've never tasted their product, I can bet that it's outstanding just because of the bacon and dark chocolate combination.

    If you've never tried bacon and dark chocolate together, you must put it on your Bucket List. It's an orgasm for your palate. Heh.

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    Trying Hard Not To Think About It...

    This past Saturday was our block party. It was wonderful. There was only one thing that truly disturbed me deep down.

    I had to give my Mother the Heimlich Maneuver. She was choking. It took me four pumps before the food was dislodged. I didn't think about it then, but she keeps telling me I saved her life. Nothing can be more humbling than that...to think that I almost lost my Mother...my rock.

    So, I'm trying really hard not to think about what could've happened and am trying to concentrate on the good that came from it. Nevertheless, I am still very grateful that it was in the stars for my Mother to still be with us and I'll never take it for granted...ever.

    I love you, Mom!

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Why I Love The Weekends...

    I love weekends because they're sooooooooo busy. Yesterday, we had our block party, which was a big hit with the kids. By the time it was time for the kids to go to bed, they were beat tired; we even let them stay up a little later than normal. This doesn't happen every weekend, but it's nice to have a little change in routine every so often.

    Today, we go to my Mom's house. I'm sure there will be plenty to do to wear the kids out. They'll be exhausted when we leave and they'll sink into their beds like clockwork. We'll recuperate on Monday and be ready for summer camp on Tuesday. It's a perfect recipe, if you ask me.

    I love the weekends. There's so much to do, so much to play with, and so much to wear us out. I'm tired, so you know yesterday was a good day. Heh.

    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    Diehards...

    We have our annual block party today. It should be great fun. There's always a bouncy house, a dunk tank, and a movie for the kids in the evening. It's an all-day event. Usually, the kids are already asleep in the house by the time they put the movie on, so I don't think they'll be seeing it this year. And they're still too little for the dunk tank, but the bouncy house is always a BIG favorite with them.

    Let's hope it doesn't rain too much and that the forecast is wrong. I don't think any amount of rain will keep Jack and Liv from jumping their heads off in the bouncy house. They are diehards!

    Friday, July 09, 2010

    Fridays...

    Now that I'm on summer vacation, Fridays seem to come a whole helluva lot faster. I don't like that. While I was working, Friday took forever to get here; now, not so much. Sigh.

    Planning our Fridays isn't exactly easy, either. Jack and Liv have summer camp every day except for Mondays and Fridays. That means we must focus only on the kids all day long on Mondays and Fridays. Mondays are easy, though; they're recovering from their busy weekend. With four of them, two of them infants, it seems as if we're pulled in all directions on Fridays. Yeesh. So, Fridays aren't exactly chock full of home improvement stuff or leisurely gardening while the babies nap and the kids are at camp. We have to keep Jack and Liv busy so they don't kill us. Heh. That is no small task. Jack and Liv can run anybody ragged; they take turns melting down. Throw two babies into that mix and it's pandemonium around here sometimes. I wouldn't trade it for the world; I just wish kids came with an instruction manual so I could look at the troubleshooting section from time to time. I guess that's a manual we write together as we go along, right?

    And I wish Fridays took longer to get here in the summer. Sigh. I'm not complaining, though. I'm just thinking out loud. Is that bad?

    Thursday, July 08, 2010

    Happy, Happy...

    Yesterday, Jack received a new one-on-one aide at Play Camp. I couldn't be happier. It's not that I didn't like the other one; it's just that she had no background whatsoever in autism or sensory processing disorder. She'd only read about it, which didn't sit well with me at all. This week, she apparently had a "death in the family" and I was told that Jack's new aide will probably be permanent through the remainder of the summer.

    I am so happy. She has a background in working with kids with autism; she understands sensory integration issues; she was a former camp director who took time off to have her baby and is now getting back to work; she also had configured her own inclusion program for special needs kids previously. She knows what she's doing. I. AM. ECSTATIC. I even hugged her and thanked her from coming into our lives.

    Yesterday, Jack wouldn't get on the school bus to go on a field trip they were having. He was scared shitless, so his new aide stayed behind with him at the park and they did all kinds of fun "Jack stuff." He had a good day, despite his fear of the school bus. Livie went on the field trip without Jack.

    Hopefully, Jack's new aide will be a much better fit than the one he previously had. I'm hoping for all good things. Fingers crossed. Now if only we can get him used to a school bus now, since he'll be taking one to Kindergarten in the fall. Sigh.

    Wednesday, July 07, 2010

    The Heat Is On...

    ...and I don't mean in the house.

    It has been unbelievably hot here in Chicago lately. Today, my weather station clocked it as being 97 degrees in the shade! Next week, it's supposed to be in the 100's! Wow! I'm not complaining about it at all. I'm just surprised at how hot it gets here sometimes. And we're in the city, not the suburbs!

    The pool is up; the kids still go to summer camp on these hot days (lots of sprinkler time); and we're keeping the family hydrated. I've got a killer tan already and July just started!

    I hope you're keeping cool wherever you are. It seems to be pretty hot everywhere these days. So, if you'll excuse me, I need to go run some errands before it gets too hot to do anything but play in the water with the kids! Ciao!

    Tuesday, July 06, 2010

    Great Times...

    This past weekend, My Sister was in town and we had an absolute BLAST! Yesterday, she rented a hotel room and Hubby and I took all four kids swimming there. It was such a great time! All four kids went in the pool and enjoyed themselves. Afterward, my Dad took us to Portillo's and we enjoyed a great meal before going back home.

    What an exciting weekend! What a wonderful visit! I'll post some pictures when I get a chance. Right now, I'm still exhausted from all that fun. I hope My Sister and her family have a safe drive home today. It was great to see them all, but I will miss them terribly until the next time we see them.

    Sigh.

    Monday, July 05, 2010

    It's Never Long Enough...

    My Sister is in town. She arrived on Friday afternoon, but she leaves tomorrow morning. No matter how long she's in town, it never feels like it's long enough. I wish we could spend more time together. I love being around her. And I love her seeing my children grow right before her eyes.

    Kansas isn't that far, but it is if you want to travel with four children ages 5 and under. I wish I could see her more often. It really sucks.

    Today, we're going to go to a hotel with her and swim in their pool with all the kids. It should be a lot of fun. I wish it didn't have to end.

    She's not gone yet, but I miss her already.

    Gotta go now. I need to go have some fun with My Sister. Every moment counts.

    Sunday, July 04, 2010

    Make It A Safe One...

    We hope your holiday is a safe one! Remember why we're able to celebrate today.

    Saturday, July 03, 2010

    Not Even The Same Blood Type...

    I can't believe my twins will be nine months old tomorrow. They've officially been outside of my body for longer than they were inside by a whole month now. Amazing, really. As physically difficult as my last month of pregnancy with them was, I miss them being in there. I've learned a lot about my girls since they were born and everything about them is different. They are not alike at all, not one bit.


    Liesl is very laid-back, very cheerful. In the last few weeks, she's gotten three teeth and you never would've known. She never complained once. She's as happy as can be most days. If she's fussy, there's a reason because she's never, ever fussy. She smiles and is very vocal. She's the only one of my children who sucks her thumb to soothe herself. She can already clap her hands, too. She has a sparkle to her gray eyes and it's very captivating. Liesl is taller than Leia and weighs almost a pound more, but you'd never know it by looking at the two of them together. Liesl's face is pointier and not as round as Leia's, so she looks smaller.

    Leia is high-maintenance compared to Liesl. She is very wary of strangers and doesn't like surprises. When she gets fussy, the whole world knows about it. She hasn't cut any of her teeth yet, either, so that may be why she's fussier these days. She's a great sleeper. She can sleep twelve hours straight. She uses a pacifier to fall asleep, but doesn't rely on it to soothe her all the time. She has the bluest eyes I've ever seen. She has a perfect head and a very round face with chubby cheeks that are great for smooching.

    My girls are growing up faster than I ever thought. Our NICU days are so far away from what they are doing these days. There was a time when I didn't think my girls would ever eat. Now they eat so much. They love all kinds of solid foods. Leia has pretty much weaned from the breast already and Liesl only gets the breast at night now, which I'm fine with. I nursed my twins exclusively for over eight months, which is quite an accomplishment. It wasn't easy, but we did a great job together. And their growth just proves that.

    Nine months old tomorrow. We've come a long way. Sigh.

    Friday, July 02, 2010

    One Of My Favorite Pictures...

    This picture of Jack and Liv was taken at the wildlife park we visited while on vacation last week. It's one of my favorite photos of them together. I must frame this!

    Thursday, July 01, 2010

    What To Make...

    I found a really easy recipe for Patriotic Cupcakes for our Fourth of July party on Sunday. I think I'm going to make them. I'm on the lookout for other recipes with a patriotic theme, as well.

    Any ideas? What do YOU make in the kitchen to celebrate this holiday?