Monday, October 14, 2013

Walking on Stormy Waters

Sometimes you try to keep your head above water and the waves just keep hitting you in the face, but when you can rise up just a little, then you are strolling upon undulating hills of fluid. It takes enormous amounts of focus, concentration, hope, and faith. It takes courage to know that the things you can't control may merely be stepping stones for the future.

I don't think I slept much last night, but every time I woke, I was able to go back to sleep by thinking about smells. Apparently the smell center is close to the sleep center in the brain and suddenly I have a non-medical tool to help with my circumstantial insomnia. It is a great blessing.

I have spent my life doing for myself. It is in my blood, this independent streak. It isn't pride. I remember being this way as a tiny child, wanting to do it alone, by myself, as if that was the only path I could see. It is physically painful to accept help from others. I eventually came to the conclusion that this was some form of great strength, doing things alone, when in reality, I was left exposed to the elements, blasted by the wind and storms.

I suddenly and painfully came to the conclusion that this lone tree was in a storm that could not be weathered alone, and there was a forest of support nearby. As it turns out, the forest does not weaken, it is strength, and when I am about to fall I find myself sured up while my roots dig a little deeper. It is a beautiful phenomenon, and not the crutch I had always supposed it would be. I was always willing to be there for others, but something magical happens when you are able to graciously receive the hands extended toward you.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Should I say this is an attempt to catch up? This past year is something I can't recover and the storms have stripped me to the bone, exposing raw flesh and at times an unstoppable fountain of bitter tears. At times? Oh you brute, Honesty! You drive a deep nail when you remind me that those acid tears burn straight through my heart almost daily. 

My pantomime of fairy dust isn't enough these days to mask the real desert in my heart. I have seen despair in spades that has cropped up and replaced the garden of hopes and dreams I nurtured for years. How could this blade of reality strike my life with a bitter winter at the moment it should be blossoming with the tender dreams of a rich and prosperous life? Blight, disease, cankerous rust eating away at the beautiful moments I once dreamed of for over a decade have taken me from unsinkable to unthinkable sorrow. 

Were you always waiting in the wings, like a dark shadow, waiting to darken my glittering sunshine? Did you laugh as you thought of that most glorious moment when my heart should soar on wings of joy only to be shattered by your fleet of burning arrows? Did you taste the rotting flavor of my defeat as I could no longer hold onto my prized hope and it fell from my clutches while I spin out of control toward the daggered blades of stone? Here I lie, bleeding, aching, cast from flight to bruised and torn disrepair, unable to soar to the aid of any other. Those few who catch some glimpse of this hell toss bandaids at gaping wounds and occasionally pour an ounce of fire into this charred and uninhabitable space. 

The very salve I require is not available to heal. Instead caustic words brand deeper in never healing wounds and cripple, weaken, crush the last remaining bits of me that are reaching out for the cure that I now see as only a mirage. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Potty training

Today I thought I would attempt potty training. Two babies, two potties, a fail-proof plan... Both girls commando with 15 minute playtimes followed by potty breaks. I even gave them each an iPod to watch UP! while they sat. It wasn't easy watching them like a hawk. I knew if I looked away for even an instant they would poop behind my back. I was vigilant. Within the first few minutes, Peanut peed on the cool air vent. I should have known she wasn't just "airing things out." No big deal, right?

During one of our potty times, Cricket stood up, walked over to the bath mat and peed on it. Okay, okay, still not going so well, but at least we were staying away from pooping, right? As we were headed to the potty on one occasion, Cricket started to grunt. I quickly hurried her down the hall toward the potty (dropping a rabbit pellet along the way) and there she sat... and sat... and sat... with no more pellets.

We had one more session, and the girls were tired and hungry. We ate, sat again, and then went down to the front room before it was going to be nap time. There was a distinct smell in the air, the smell I kept expecting in the bathroom, but that never happened. I turned to see a small pile of hard droppings sitting on the air vent. How and when they arrived there, I was not sure, but when I calmly but firmly explained that we poop in the potty, not on the floor, Cricket got upset.

When I came back down with diapers in hand, Peanut fessed up and sobbed her confession (without any real words, mind you). She felt so bad. I comforted her and said it was okay, wondering if I had scarred her for life and if she would be afraid of the potty from here on out. Hmmm. Well, that sums up my epic failure on the potty frontier. Don't know how it goes for everyone else, but maybe my failure will make someone else feel a little better if things aren't going so well.

I am so motivated to potty train and Peanut is very ready. I hoped that Cricket, although not quite ready, would just go with the flow since I have heard it is easier to train both at the same time, but I am really starting to question that concept. One person trying to keep an eye on two busy little bums is NOT an easy task! We may wind up with three babies in diapers after all! SIGH. Junior is due right after the girls turn two, so we will have three children two and under.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


We took our lovies to the doc today and found out they had ear infections. Little Cricket has been very clingy and weepy and I assumed she was just practicing crying for fun, because there was no apparent reason for her to cry. I still comforted her of course, but just thought, wow. Back-to-back meltdowns are something I could do without.

The girls are great little communicators. They use words in German and English and ASL constantly. When the doc asked me to list their words I really tried, but the minute we left I thought of at least 20 more without even trying. It's not a test, of course. The proof is in the pudding. It is about them, not showing off for a doctor, but it is nice to know that my investment of time is paying off. I had to giggle at some of the questions like, "Does your child try to turn the pages of a book?" I thought, yeah, and they have been for the past 14 months. They have books in bed, in the car, and EVERYWHERE they look!

You know those electronic books with a stylus where the child can point to a picture or a word and the book tells the child what the word/picture is? Well, Peanut has never seen one of those books. Instead she grabs us by the finger and moves our finger to an object. WE are the electronic book. Most children can learn to read by about three or four by reading 20 minutes a day and focusing on words rather than pictures. My mom taught us all how to read when we were three. I remember chiding my brother because he couldn't write his name properly and was getting ready to start Kindergarten. Looking back, he could write his name, but the 'R' was backwards. "You can't go to school when you don't know how to write your name!" My sister exclaimed, and so we taught him how to write his name and made him practice it to perfection. Poor kid. I don't know how he survived his sisters.

At any rate, I don't intend to push my children harder than they are ready for. I love letting them go to the playground and seeing what they are ready to do. Peanut thrives on physical challenges. She just eats it up and feels good when she stretches beyond her previous achievements. Cricket is one who will not be pushed at all. She will do what she is comfortable with and will not concede no matter what. If she won't do something there is always a good reason for it. She is such a sweet and good girl. She is so obedient and very thoughtful. She is very constructive, and seems to find helpful things to do. She is also a very tender plant and requires extra TLC. She pays close attention and wants to do what's right. She has a strong compass and I try to listen to her needs like she listens to me. She also needs to feel how important she is as an individual and gets her feelings hurt if she feels slighted. We work very hard to keep things fair around here.

Peanut has so much energy and loves to help. She is a bit more mischievous, but not is a negative way. She just needs a bit more redirecting and a lot more supervision. She has incredible upper body strength and will hang from anything and everything. She wants to do everything by herself and will try to do things on her own if she doesn't get what she wants right away. She is very excited about the potty, so I am hoping that her enthusiasm will work to my advantage. Who knows, maybe we can get diaper-free by the end of the year! Peanut is very sweet also and very generous with kisses and hugs. She knows she is important and doesn't seem bothered when sister gets loves. She just wants to join in, which isn't always what Cricket wants. She has no envy or jealousy. She just knows she belongs and the world is hers to conquer.

I look at these girls and I hope so badly in my heart that they will find joy in this life and that they will always know how much I love each of them so deeply and purely. They are my sweet angels. I have little moments with them that no camera will ever capture, and that no words can rebuild for future eyes to recreate. I make sure I smile at them every day, every minute possible. I look them in the eyes, and even when they throw applesauce all over the place, I am patient. I still let love shine through flavored with disappointment rather than anger.

I also seek for opportunities to help Cricket know she is valuable all by herself. Tonight I was writing a list and pulled her out of bed to help her hyper sister settle down. She gently took the pen from my hand and drew all over my list with her little baby hands. I smiled and watched her as she said many words to me but spoke softly and thoughtfully as she drew. Her pen wandered to the bed sheets and I gently explained that we should write on the paper instead of the sheets. She pointed to the sheets and said, "Uh-oh." I just held my sweet little girl with her gorgeous curly locks and thought how rich these moments are with my daughters. They are my priceless little treasures.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


I think I have reached every emotion on the spectrum in the last three months. I never thought that this year would be so conflicted. I always appreciate an adventure but sometimes adventures are difficult, and even tragic. I feel like I have been through the fires of hell and now I am bobbing around somewhere between heaven and hell. You know this song, perhaps. It feels very applicable these days.

So much to be happy about. So much to be sad about. Just keep on moving.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Metabolism Boosting Kitchen

I'm sure that you have heard someone tell you about some conspiracy theory with the government, or some myth or superstition and you nod politely while thinking, is this person really so stupid or gullible that he/she believes this? Yup. I have been there too. For years I have heard these myths. Usually they are from people who don't live in the USA. I was raised in a family where one of my grandmothers tossed salt over her shoulder and walked backward around a pole to avoid a fight with the person walking beside her and similar superstitions so I was not one to fall for silly ideas. I wanted to see the science behind it, the fact.

As it turns out, some of those myths are actually true. You may see companies posting labels like, "BPA Free" and nowadays, "PVC Free." You may see "Eco-friendly" non-stick pans, and see glass water bottles.

We wonder about the days when ma and pa used to work on a farm and people never got crazy obese from eating eggs and bacon. They cooked on regular steel or cast iron, they drank out of glass jars or ceramic cups. They didn't eat and drink every day from some source of plastic. They wrapped things in paper. Today we eat off of plastic plates, store food in plastic wrap or containers, drink out of plastic water bottles, cook on metal covered with synthetic coatings. We wash our dishes in plastic machines, cool our food in plastic boxes, and drive around in plastic covered machines. What we fail to realize is that some of these synthetics are actually making it hard for our bodies to work properly.

Teflon coatings on automobile parts, irons, pots and pans will put off toxic gasses when heated to 500 degrees or if they are damaged through scratches and regular wear. Most plastic water bottles, old plastic fillings, plastic wrap, and even plastic dishes heated in a dishwasher will leech synthetic estrogens.

Those who like to share this info often like to use the panic mode. That doesn't help people learn the truth very well when those sharing the info are bell ringers. I finally slowly started transitioning my kitchen over to a non-toxic kitchen. It isn't easy to let go of plastic spoons, plastic mixing bowls, plastic measuring cups and spoons, and tupperware containers. It is not easy to think about giving up stick-free pots, pans, and baking dishes. I recycle, but mainly because it is convenient. I am not looking for any awards in saving the environment. Plastic water bottles are CONVENIENT and keep me hydrated! I finally broke down and started using glass covered in a silicone wrap. I fill it up and reuse it. It is easy to wash and refill, but I have to think about it, and strangely, I notice a difference!

I already had stainless steel pots, pans and skillets, but then Jillian Michael recommended cast iron. Really? The last cast iron pan I owned is now used to scoop salt onto the driveway when it is cold! It is filled with rust and I can't imagine eating anything off of it. Well, I bought a pre-seasoned cast iron skillet. You can't wash them with soap, and I imagined I would spend hours scrubbing it. As it turns out, cast iron is just as good as non-stick! I cook the bottom of an omelet on the stove top, toss it under the broiled for a few minutes and flip a perfectly fluffy omelet onto a glass plate with not so much as a crumb left in the pan! Foods taste better. Meats have more flavor. If I do need to scrub a bit it doesn't happen very often and it comes off reasonably easily.

I purchased bamboo or wooden spoons, silicone (high quality without dangerous filler ingredients) spatulas and dish covers, metal or glass measuring utensils, and glass or steel mixing bowls. I purchased one eco friendly, teflon-free pan for my husband who likes to make breakfast for the girls sometimes, and even purchased plastic bags that don't leech into foods for those moments when a baggie is needed. I requested BPA-free fillings from the dentist to replace old toxic ones. I stopped eating foods made with chemicals as much as possible. Over time I have really noticed a difference and suddenly I am getting back to my high-school figure with very little effort on my part. Bear in mind that I exercise and eat right, but I also feel better when I avoid products sold in #1 plastics and other metabolism-hampering products. I know it isn't perfect, and many of the harmful, manmade  ingredients appear in everything from the electronic devices we use to our fingernail polish and shampoo, but it is a start and it feels good.

Bon jour!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Few Words About Boxing

Step 1. Order some wrist wraps. 180 in length.
Step 2. Acquire a heavy bag. 60-100 lbs.
Step 3. Order some boxing gloves with gel padding. 12 oz, 14 oz, or 16 oz depending on your height and weight.
Step 4. Watch some vids on how to wrap your hands.
Step 5. Watch some vids on how to hit and move your feet.
Step 6. Get some good tunes.
(Love this next song for boxing, but the video is VERY interesting...
Step 7. Have fun while getting in shape!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

So What Have I got to Say for Myself?

For every post that makes it live on this blog, I have at least five that are just sitting unfinished. Such is the life of a twin mama. Every thought left unfinished. Every room left untouched by my little lovie whirlwinds. Every shirt left rightfully wiped by a wee one. I pick her up to wipe her little nose after a tearful burst and before I can reach the tissue box... Well, that's what mamas are for, right? Wiping tears and drying bottoms and noses, however that may come about.

Somehow I am resisting the urge to correct that fraction sentence. I can do it. Yes I can. This past week has been so full and this week is even more full somehow. It's good to keep myself busy, I suppose. Last week I was sick and the week before that the girls and C were sick, so I was grateful that there was a delay. It is easier to take care of healthy children when you are sick than to take care of sick children, I suppose. Once the sun started to spring through the clouds it was up with the tent in the backyard and up with the hammock! Hurrah! The backyard is alive with activity once again. We were concerned about the beehive... did I mention my beehive? I put it in the backyard because I was worried about fallout from the neighbor spraying fruit trees for bugs. Bees are fragile, you know. They are very busy and I am enjoying this new hobby. So far there has been no problem with the bees and the girls. They don't even know about each other,  so that is helpful. My little dancing fairies just tottle from the hammock to the tent where they dive in and eat snacks, read books, sit in their tiny Adirondack chairs, and giggle and play. In addition to our backyard adventures we had a birthday party last week where my little ones played with balloons and toys and ate lovely snacks with their birthday girlfriend.

We had a campfire picnic, visits to the park, a visit to the zoo and a farm, and a hike. We have read many books, played together, built towers and knocked them over, and my little ones always enjoy running errands with me and have the most fun trying to pull things off of the shelves as we pass by in the grocery cart. Those glass jars are especially enticing, but so far we have avoided any catastrophes. Mother's Day was delightful. It is amazing how all of those empty, sad mother's days melt away like the morning dew and all I am left with is tiny fingers and toes and sweet little voices that call for mama and that means me!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It's been a LONG year already...

Words can't express everything that has happened this year. Suffice it to say that challenges come our way when we least expect it. I think I have handled this one reasonably well, all things considered, but sometimes you think your life is on track and suddenly you find the earth crumbling beneath your feet and begin to wonder what was or is real anymore.

I have a family member who says things to me like, "Trials will come your way! Just wait!" I always silently muse because it is proof of how private I really am. This, too, will pass unnoticed, but I will hear those words again and smile to myself. Of course I have trials. I just don't make them everyone else's business.

At any rate some things have set me back this year, so I now have this big to-do list hanging over my head. I have turned down some amazing business and professional opportunities that I normally would never give up, but at this time it was simply the right thing to do. I am submitting to the human side of myself instead of turning on superwoman and trying to work miracles from a grain of sand. It has been a comfortable place, and a part of me is grateful that for once I am not pushing myself so hard.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

You do that to sick kids?

There is something so sweet and vulnerable about sick children. Sure, they are tired, grumpy, weepy, clingy, and it's a lot of work to get them comfortable and feeling well. There are hours of worry and sleepless nights. Nobody wants to see a child miserable, and yet, I don't want to forget that sweet innocence as they relied on me for comfort, so I did it. I photographed them and even videotaped them. I captured the tears, the weariness, the sad little countenances because it helps me never take for granted the happy little faces of health.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Seven Hours

It is possible for a human being to cough for seven hours straight. I know from personal experience. Usually that also involves losing the contents of one's supper, but hey, I hit a record weight the next morning!

I think I have this whole weight thing down. I have only been able to exercise once this week, so I have cut out my snack and behold, I still lose weight! Hurrah! I lost 35 with Jillian's program before getting sick, so I am starting over again. I have another 15 lbs to go and I will be so very pleased to just maintain at that point. I will be swimsuit ready by summer if not earlier. I will say it again, it has been worth the journey, both gaining and losing. Nothing tastes as good as baggy clothes feel.

We sold our fitness center today. It was something that C wanted years ago and we bought it from a doctor who never used it. I have used it several times, but I have since learned that machines often don't provide the kind of resistance and muscle stability strengthening that can be had from free weights and plyometrics or metabolic training. I appreciate having the extra space to build a system that works better for me. We also sold the spin bike because I never wanted that either. Since C never uses our home equipment, this is my time to really build what I want since he had a great deal of say in what we purchased previously.

The past week has been a bit rough. We went to visit a family member two weeks ago and they failed to mention that one family member was very ill. We came home and due to weather didn't leave the house for a few days except to run some car errands. Within a few days Cricket sounded just like that sick family member! Grrr. Another day or two and Peanut had it, and then C and I. We have been to the hospital several times for suctioning to help them breathe and eat. Yesterday was very hard and today wasn't much better because of my all-night coughing and getting sick while trying to care for the little ones.

Well hello there, eyelids. You claim it is time to catch up on those lost hours of sleep over this past week. Okay, okay. Uncle.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Little Lovies

Today while attempting to make lunch, my little lovies both came up and hugged my legs at the same time. They made their lovie noises and then wandered back off to explore the bird's room. I stood there all covered in sparkley lovie dust and I think I flew a few inches off of the floor.

I ran in to check on the girls a few minutes later because Cricket sounded alarmed. Peanut had tipped over the vacuum cleaner and pointed at it with much animation on her face as if to say, "Mommy, I saw it move all by itself!" Needless to say, Cricket has a fearful fascination with the vacuum and is always a bit wary of its presence.

After lunchtime the girls went about exploring the kitchen and pulling out the stainless steel pots and pans which they have done so many times before, but this time Peanut stepped into the cupboard and then couldn't figure out how to get back out again. She has done this before when she climbed a stepstool and then tried to figure out how to get back down. The first attempt was less than graceful, but the second try turned out much better as I showed her how to use one foot at a time.

Last year I picked up a little push car for the girls at a yardsale and lately it has become a hot item. I discovered a second one online for $7 and the girls were a little excited about the new purchase.

We planned a trip to the zoo this week, but a big storm got in the way, so we ate some snow and then everything was better.

Lovies love yogurt, so I mix a little honey or Stevia into some plain Fage and then toss in some frozen berries. They love it and I love giving them something healthy, albeit messy!

We moved a plastic slide inside that a neighbor gave us and the girls are professionals now. They love to slide and also love to send things down the slide as well.

I never tire of hearing their giggles, their songs that usually consist of the word Mama repeated over and over, and even their little cries for help. They are my little lovies, and I hope that I can be worthy of their chubby little arms wrapped around an arm or leg or neck. They are so perfect and I can't imagine anything more perfect than being a mom.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Tidbit of Blissful Irony

I miss writing. I really do. It's like going without exercise and your whole body starts yelling at you, "Hey, what's up? We want some MOVEMENT around here!" And if you fail to listen, it rebels with unsightly lumps and flab.

Thankfully, unlike my lack of writing lately, I have been listening to my body and the results are pouring in. 75 days into Jillian Michael's 90 day Body Revolution fitness program and I have dropped from a size 16 to a size 8. I still have two weeks left of the program and will get a little closer to my goal by the end, but I don't intend to stop there. I still have my flabby kangaroo pouch skin that will someday be rock-hard abs, but for now, it is just a sweet reminder that I really did carry two precious little souls inside of me.

While getting ready in my bathroom yesterday, my girls were excitedly emptying the vanity drawers of thrilling items like sparkling gold twisty curlers, a salt crystal deodorant stick from years ago when I thought that I could survive without antiperspirant, a colorful retainer case, a tube of lotion, and then my firstborn held up a little white package. It was an ovulation test. I stood there and smiled to myself at the irony of my child handing me an old ovulation test.

There are moments when I dance with my girls to love songs and I catch myself in tears at the beautiful truth that they are mine. I made it. I survived the long wait. I didn't have to wait an eternity after all, just a little more than a decade. I want them to know that I enjoy them, that I cherish them. I don't want their memories to be of me yelling at them. I want them to remember me looking into their eyes and smiling, knowing that no matter what, I still and always will love them.

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