what are you eating? – WHAT ARE YOU EATING!?

In the 1993 classic Mrs. Doubtfire, Sally Field has an incredible moment in a very public restaurant when she discovers that Mrs. Doubtfire is actually her ex-husband, Daniel, dressed in drag.

“Daniel? Daniel?? DANIEL?? It was you- it was YOU?- it was YOU! The whole time… the whole time?  THE WHOLE TIME??”

Oh, the shock mixed with denial mixed with realization, all converging upon themselves simultaneously in an excellent mess.

Love it.

But lately, I found myself having the Sally-Field-My-ExHusband-Dressed-In-Drag-As-Our-Housekeeper moment on a lesser level.

Generally this happens when the girls are playing quietly on the floor in the family room.  Perhaps I am sitting and playing with one twin while the other goes nuts.  Or, sometimes I’ve stepped out of the room to load dishes into the dishwasher.  And still, there may be times that I am intently watching House Hunters and providing my own commentary on their home selections.

Whatever is going on, there is peace and quiet. I remember my mom saying that her most panicked moments were when there was quiet in the house. Quiet means that someone is doing something that they know they should not be doing.

It’s taken a while for this instinct to settle in, but I think I’ve firmly grasped the silence = trouble instinct. So when the not-so-subtle droning of baby babbling and innocuous crashing noises (dropping toys to check gravity, throwing dolls to check gravity, and unceremoniously dropping on their behinds from the standing position) stops and the reason is not apparent, I look over at the twins in a flash.

Sometimes this reveals that Carrie is trying to make her great escape, has gotten stuck and is now drifting off to sleep.  Sometimes this reveals that Ellie has found a remote control and is seconds away from turning the volume ALL THE WAY UP. OMG. (seriously, if you have poor bladder control, this is a liability)

And then, there are many times when the twins have stopped what they are doing because they found a day old puff/craisin/cheerio that fell under a couch or an interesting, and, by the way, DELICIOUS-looking fuzz on the floor. Oftentimes I catch them early in their investigative process.  This is where they pinch the item between their squishy little fingers and examine it very, very closely. And then? AND THEN! they put it in their mouth.

Wait – What?- WHAT?!

Who does that?

Toddlers, that’s who.

Crawlers, too.

If it is interesting, it must also, therefore, be DELICIOUS.


If I catch them late in their fuzz investigations, they are already trying to subtly chew the fuzz.  You can see their little cheeks working away ominously.  And that’s when I have to do the sweep.

If you have kids, you know the sweep well.  You pinch their cheeks to open their mouths, stick your finger in and fish around for the object.

“What is in your mouth? – WHAT IS IN YOUR MOUTH?!”

Personally, I think the best time to ask ANYONE a question is when you have a finger jammed in their mouth and you are pinching their face. I also think it’s great to ask infants questions that they can’t answer.

Sometimes I’m relieved when all that I pull out is a day old craisin that they found. Sometimes I’m horrified at the items I pull out. I will not mention these fuzzy, insectish-like items here.

And it always ends the same: the girls always look at me as if to say, “What mom? What did you expect?”

When the phrase, “from the mouths of babes” was coined, I now know what they really meant.


for posterity…

So, for posterity’s sake, and so our children know how crazy their parents are, I am posting a copy of the baby sitting notes we left for my awesome brother Andy and his fantastic girlfriend Lauren.  This was from a few months ago.

I don’t believe any further introduction is warranted.  The note reads as follows:

Andy, Lauren – Your mission, which you’ve already chosen to accept, is to KEEP THESE BABIES ALIVE FOR 8 HOURS! Also, they will try to kill you as well. Try to avoid that. Make no mistake, these are pretty indestructible little monsters, but they’ll try their best to test their indestructability.

  • 5:00-6:00 Play with them in their play–pen. They like to be tickled, play peek-a-boo, be bounced on a knee, and continue their nun-chuck training.
  • 6:00 They’ll start getting pissy around this time. This means they’re hungry. First, change their diapers. Diaper training 101:
  1. Remove outer garments.
  2. Slide clean diaper under soiled diaper
  3. Check for hidden explosives
  4. Remove soiled diaper. Place out of reach of little monster.
  5. Secure diaper at belly–button
  6. Replace outer garments.
  • It’s now time to feed the little “angels”. Their food is in the fridge. Bibs are on the chairs. It doesn’t matter who gets what, just so that it’s even. Throw it in the microwave for about 20 seconds so that it’s warm. When they’re done eating, give them a bottle. The bottles are put together and in the corner of the kitchen counter. Put 3 ounces of formula in each bottle. Then add 3 ounces of HOT water to the bottle. If they still seem hungry, give them some puffs that are on the counter (NOT the bourbon sitting next to the puffs – the bourbon is for you). These also placate them while you’re warming up the food.
  • 6:30-6:50 These gremlins LOVE to barf. It’s how they mark their territory. They need to stay in their seats for 20 – 30 minutes after dinner to let things settle. There are two suction cup toys that you can stick on their trays.
  • 7:00-7:45 Continue playing in the pen.
  • 7:45 Change diapers (see above) and put on pjs and sleep sacks. Sit on the floor and read a few stories out of the kiddie bible we set out.
  • 8:00 Lights out. Their vision is based on movement in both bright light and darkness, but they can’t see in dim light. Dim the lights to just above dark. Ocean sounds also seem to distract them and disrupt their plotting. Press the second from bottom button on the back of the sheep with the beret (I can’t believe I just wrote that) for wave sounds. They may cry for a bit. Let them cry. The taste of tears is a natural sedative for them. If still crying after 5 minutes, give them a binky. DO NOT PICK THEM UP. It’s probably just a ruse. We’ll be back around 12 – 12:30. Call if you need anything. God be with you.

Now, I would’ve just scanned in a copy of the actual note and/or saved the original in the twins’ baby boxes.

Unfortunately, I can’t do that.


Because the next day, the twins ate the note.

No really.  They. ate. the. note.

Have you ever had to tell your childcare provider to check the diapers for a quarter sheet of 60# bright white copy paper?

We have.

It rocks.

one year

It’s incredible to think that a year has gone by. I feel like I have so much to say about all of this, but, at the same time, I don’t think there are words adequate to describe all that has happened in just one short year. I guess you could say that I am speechless. A rare moment, indeed.

That picture was taken in the NICU.  Both girls were on feeding tubes, monitors and, for a few days, IVs.

Ellie, the baby towards the bottom of the picture, was born weighing in at 5 lbs 10 oz and 19 inches long.  The girls were 32 weeks 5 days along, gestationally speaking.  Neither girl needed oxygen or extra warmers, which was AWESOME.  Ellie did need some time working on her tan:

Ellie working on her tan.

I wrote some additional thoughts on pregnancy, labor and delivery of our girls a few months ago.  Today, as I was flipping through the photos from the day the girls were born, I was drawn to the first photo of me holding Ellie in the NICU.

Ellie and Mama

I remember that moment so vividly, through lots of tears.  It was almost as though this sweet little girl was saying, “Hey, Mom, I know this whole thing is kind of scary, but I promise I will try my hardest to be OK.”

Oh, and she and her sister are more than just OK – they are thriving!  This week we took Ellie and Carrie in for their 12 month check up.  Both girls weighed 22 1/2 lbs and were 29 1/2 inches long.  Not bad for babies who made their appearance into this world almost two months early!

Miss Ellie enjoying her first cupcake.

Ellie is clapping, making conversational sounds, cruising and generally getting into everyone’s business.  She just as the sweetest little soul – always looking for a snuggle or a cuddle.  Ellie also has a marvelous attention to detail, examining my necklaces, glasses and other accessories whenever she climbs up onto my lap.

Carrie was not pleased to be disturbed from her warm abode just one year ago:

Carrie making her entrance

Carrie and Dad, moments after her arrival

Carrie weighed 5 lbs 6 oz and was 18 1/2 inches long. Since making her way into this world, Carrie has been a woman on a mission.  She has been walking for the past two weeks – increasing her distances and her targets. She can spot a cell phone, remote control or other forbidden object within 2 seconds.

Nom nom nom

Carrie sings. Sometimes, when she is playing or looking out the window in the car, I hear this melodic tiny voice, and it is Carrie just making up a song.  When I “sing” with her, she grins.  It is so sweet!

The girls have been playing with each other more and more.  In the morning, they will sit in their cribs chattering away with one another, waiting for Frank or I to get them out of their cribs.  When they play in the family room, they occasionally succumb to the most adorable fits of laughter.  Well, I thought it was adorable until I considered that they might be using twin language to plot against us.  Hrm.

It’s hard to believe a year has come and gone.  It occurs to me often that these sweet little ones are only ours for a little while, and then they will be off exploring this world and making their own lives.  But while they are tiny and sweet, Frank and I are committed to holding and cuddling these girls as much as we can.

Happy Birthday, Elliana and Carrigan!  Your dad and I love you so very much!

eleven months. ELEVEN MONTHS.

A year ago, I was pregnant. Very, very pregnant. And I loved it! I thought I still had another 10 weeks to go. Oh, how wrong I was!

And now?

Now our girls are <THIS CLOSE> to walking. Carrie stands up on her own, not even needing anything to pull up on.  Ellie stands up by pulling up whatever she get her hands on.

The girls are deliciously perfect, even in their imperfection.  Sure, they resist having their faces washed or noses cleaned, but whatever. They are my messy little loves and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Miss Carrie & Miss Ellie watching a documentary on foreign cultures. Or Baby Einstein... What?!

At nearly 11 months, the girls are still sleeping CHAMPS. In bed by 8 at the late end, up between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. I gotta say, it’s much easier to have twins when you can get a full night’s sleep…

Miss Ellie

All about Ellie

Miss Ellie is just a snuggling, cuddling bundle of love. When I think of her, I think of a peaceful summer morning, when all is quiet and still and the dew is just starting to evaporate under the warming sun.  She reminds me of the quiet, radiant expectation of the day to come. When she wants to be held, she crawls right over, trying to get in my lap and get her cuddles.  She is a good little eater, trying everything I give her. She is a little bit more apprehensive about strangers, but she warms up when she’s given some time to absorb the new people.  She is a FAST crawler – getting across the room with her quick, staccato crawl in no-time flat. Ellie loves to look at books, examine small tags on toys and hunt down fuzzies on the ground. No doubt her vision is excellent – she finds the smallest of fuzzies on the floor!

It also appears her red hair is here to stay for the time being.  We’ve even noticed a few curls coming in, which is fun since I’ve spent most of my life trying to add curl and volume to my hair.

Miss Carrie's signature smile/laugh!

All about Carrie

Miss Carrie is a vibrant sparkler.  She and her sister are from the same warm summer day in my mind, but Carrie is definitely the mid-afternoon.  Hot sunshine, kids playing and splashing in the water, boats racing around the lake with water skiers in tow and the sound of screen doors clapping as children dart in and out of the house.  She is a sharp little cookie – she notices things and is constantly pursuing something – my cell phone, her sister’s pacifier, the remote control, etc, etc. Carrie loves people.  I put her in the front of the stroller because I can tell how much she loves engaging everyone. She is a little more selective in what she will eat – girlfriend LOVES her carbs (um, like her mom much??) and chugs liquids like it’s going out of style (that is totally her daddy).

Carrie is finally getting some hair in and it’s coming in a medium brown, but it is mostly growing in the back… with any luck it will even out before high school!

It’s hard to not compare the girls since they are the same exact age. I find myself wondering at how different they are, even though they are twins.  Ellie has this beautiful swirling colic in the back of her head, like an angel swirled Ellie’s hair around their finger delicately.  Carrie’s colic is almost like the same angel laughed joyfully, spreading Carrie’s hair straight out from the center.

The girls play so well together, imitating each other and us. Tonight Carrie was raising her hands over her head and laughing and Ellie mirrored her.  They have also made a game out of stealing each other’s pacifiers, wrestling one another to the ground to get the pacifier, even if they each already have a pacifier to begin with.

One month left of their first year.  It’s incredible to think of what a journey this has been. I wish there was a way to save these moments permanently.  I am sure I will come back to these days often in my memories.

happy new year!

So, here we are in 2012. Frank is already disappointed because he believes he was promised flying cars by now. He has been drowning his grief in ham, cheese and a variety of pastries we absconded with from his mother’s house.

Since I keep track of pretty much all of the highs and lows on this blog, I don’t feel like it is necessary to rehash the entire year.  I mean, you can probably guess that the beh-behs were the highs... and accounted for a few lows, too. (like, the barfies, the no-sleepies and the poopies)  But hey, I’m gonna go ahead and say that we finished 2011 with way more checks in the “awesome year” column than in the “holy crap, what happened???” column.

Now that 2011 is in the rear view mirror and 2012 is the date I will be reminding myself to write on all of my documents from here on out, I think it’s always positive to kick off the new year looking forward.

In the vein of a fresh start, I am back on the running bandwagon (Couch to 5K, baby!) and am starting the weight loss circuit.  After stalling out just over 12 pounds into it during the middle of last year, I’m ready for a do-over. And of course, proceeds from this round will still go to ending human trafficking.

So, there’s that.

Because I enjoy being cliche and having New Year’s Resolutions and all that, especially resolutions relating to weight loss and working out, I will undoubtedly need to post every stinking day about my resolutions and what I am doing to acheive them.

Until I stop achieving them.

And then, if my previous behavior is any indication, I will hide out and post cute pictures of my beh-behs. You know, to distract you from burning questions like, “So, Em, how’s the weight loss?” or “Hey, did you run today?”

My beh-behs have a hard time with flashes:

Carrie trying so hard to keep her eyes open...

Ellie. She hates me for taking her picture with the flash on.

Seriously, Mom? TURN OFF THE FLASH!


So yeah, weight loss and working out.

But I think if I work on those two things, that will just continue to improve the quality of life for my family and for me.

Aunt S didn’t realize that she was helping us get in the mood for a healthier new year when she sent us coordinated pink Puma track suits.

We're ready to go jogging!!

Now, if only I could find these in adult extra long.

Happy New Year, world.


ten months? really??

Nothing makes time fly faster than two very mobile little girls.

Carrie has been crawling for a while now.  She’s added pulling up and climbing to her tactics that allow her to get into trouble.  Just yesterday, Frank and I left the girls in their bedroom while we got ready for church.  We heard a thud and went to check on the girls, only to find Miss Carrie in an unusual position:

Ellie was a little bit later in learning how to crawl, but once she had the proper motivation, she can bust a move with the best of ’em! Ellie hasn’t started pulling up on much, but we are pretty sure that milestone is not too far away.

The girls have a ton of teeth in varying stages of protrusion.  Both have at least four teeth with a few more on the way.  They have been teething champs – requiring no ora-gel and muscling through teething like it was no big thang.

Carrie continues to be a vibrant, electric soul.  We love the bright smile she is so quick to flash at everyone. And she has this awesome laugh that just warms my heart. Every morning, when we walk into her room, she is standing in her crib, GRINNING at us. There is, in my opinion, nothing better than that.

Ellie is our peaceful soul.  She loves to snuggle and study books, pictures and anything with intricate detail.  She has two plush, rosie cheeks that are like little apples – just perfect for smooching! She was the first twin to really lock down feeding herself – her fine motor skills are excellent.

Miss Ellie enjoying bath time.

Watching the girls interact is one of the best parts of having twins.  They started laughing at each other and playing together more over the past month.  The other day, Frank’s mom was watching the girls play.  Both girls had pacifiers and were sitting facing each other.  Carrie casually reached over and plucked Ellie’s pacifier out of her mouth, spit out her own pacifier and started enjoying the stolen pacifier. Without blinking, Ellie picked up the discarded pacifier until Carrie noticed and the cycle repeated itself several times. Carrie was remorseless and Ellie was unruffled throughout the entire exchange. The perk of having twins is that they have never had the benefit of an existence without a sibling, so their tolerance for such antics seems to be much higher.

The nice thing about this stage of their lives is that they are eating pretty much anything we eat. This proved to be quite helpful this weekend when Frank and I spontaneously went out for brunch after church.  The girls enjoyed watermelon, blueberry muffins, mac & cheese and a few other items with gusto.  They were perfect little angels, delighting the staff with their sweet selves.  Let’s hope their dining prowess continues and they don’t start doing the screaming thing they do at home. That screaming thing is pretty annoying.

a tuesday night.

It’s Tuesday night at 8 p.m.  I am lying on the floor watching the twins play.

Carrie, who has methodically crawled and climbed on every piece of furniture I’ve allowed her to crawl to and climb on, is cruising along our coffee table trying to, very nonchalantly, get her hands on the large black remote control.

I am watching her side-step along the table toward the remote, while simultaneously watching Ellie writhe on the floor. Miss Ellie has to be very motivated to want to crawl and, coincidentally, very few things motivate her.  She has crossed about eight feet of floor space in our family room through a series of rolls, pivots and shuffles.  Along her path, she’s stopped to study fuzz on the floor, blinking lights on the receiver and to plant her face on the carpet while sticking her rear as high up into the air as possible, creating a human pup tent.

And at this very moment, watching Ellie give her face rug burn, I am comforted by the fact that I have twins.

When you have one baby,  you compare your child to other children. With one, I imagine you wonder if you’re doing something wrong and, invariably, congratulate yourself for something you had nothing to do with. The joy of twins is that I know I’ve raised both girls almost exactly the same.  They have faced the same challenges, they have had the same opportunities and they share the same genetics (pro or con, who knows). And yet, with so many things similar, they are nothing alike.

Ellie ate first, Carrie crawled first.  Ellie rolled over first, Carrie rolls over most. Ellie is more calm and patient, Carrie is more… um… dynamic?

I’m sure there will be plenty of other times where one child does something before the other. But for those of you out there currently wondering why your baby isn’t crawling/walking/rolling/scooting/cruising as far or as fast or as frequently as another baby, hopefully I can offer you some comfort there are some things (many things, even) that as a parent that are far outside of your control.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Parenthood is of Steve Martin watching his son run headfirst into the walls with a bucket on his head.

Yeah, I expect my kids will probably do ridiculous things like that.  I suspect there will be times that I will be somewhat embarrassed even.  And of course, I am sure I will document those embarrassing moments on my blog because, well, I want my kids to know that what they do has consequences.

So yeah, Carrie is right now screaming at the remote control that magically (thanks to mommy) moved to the other side of the coffee table.  She is slamming her little fists of rage against the coffee table, incredulous that her calculations of distance and time to said remote were so off.

And Ellie, well, she’s been rubbing her face into the carpet for about five minutes now.  I think it’s time for bed.