an open letter from the twins

Hello world, it’s us. The twins.  Well, it’s me, Carrie, writing on behalf of both of us.

We thought it was about time the world heard our side of the story.

Sure, you’ve heard all the “wah, wah, my bey-beyz barfied on everything” nonsense our mom and dad still whine about on a regular basis.

News flash: we have not puked since like, December. Except for that one time that Ellie puked like 6 times in a row.  Not sure what was up with that, but whatevs. Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

So Mom and Dad are all like, “Get off the coffee table!” and “Point to your nose!” and “Say, ‘more please!'”

It’s all well and good that they want us to be all verbal and respectful and stuff, but Ellie and I have been talking it over and we think it’s pretty amazing that we can climb on the coffee table.

I mean, a year ago, it was a big deal that we could roll over.  Now? We can hurl our 25 pound bodies up on the glass coffee table faster than you can say, “Babe, you watching the twins?”

Y’know what else? We rock the tech. Give us an iPhone or a remote control and we can do some serious damage.  Two weeks ago, we got Siri to call one of Mom’s work contacts.  Three weeks ago, we turned on Telemundo AND set the DVR to record it.

Doods – there are people like five decades older than us who can’t figure out how to record stuff on the DVR.  We got it LOCKED. DOWN!

So yeah.

Also? We are good babies.  We know we are. Sure, we don’t like the nursery at church and get all up in the sweet church ladies’ grills, but ya win some, ya lose some.  It’s all in the name of scoring a few extra gold fish crackers and cheerios while you’re up in church and we’re doing time.

And sure, we tend to run off in opposite directions when you try to play with us outside.  It’s called strategy.  Ellie and I figure that if we divide, we will conquer. And it works.

While it seems like we’re smart cookies, we do a few repetiviely dumb things, like walking straight off the step down into the family room.  Mom, Dad, I don’t think we’re Mensa material, but I don’t think we’ll be a total bust either.

You gotta take the good with the bad, for sure.

Guys, I know you’re gonna be all up tight and all “my kids have to excel at all things” and stuff, but chill.  It’s gonna be OK.  We’ll learn how to talk.  We will likely go to college potty trained.  And we’re probably gonna do some bone-headed things in the meantime.

I mean, Mom, you got your TONGUE stuck in your BRACES. And Dad, is there anything you DIDN’T hit with your head??  You both turned out OK, right?

So yeah. It’ll be fine. Have a glass of wine on the porch, but keep it down. We’re trying to catch our z’s.

Until then, peace out P’s (Parents).

XOXO,

Carrie & Ellie

it’s been a long december…

… and there’s reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last…

Long December by the Counting Crows was playing ad nauseum on the radio the winter I got my driver’s license.  The winter of 1997.

To this day, when that song comes on the radio, I am transported back to a two-lane road covered by a canopy of bare tree limbs and flanked by mounds of slushy gray snow. I am driving my dad’s 1992 Dodge Stealth.  Nevermind that the car had serious transmission issues and a few dings on the driver’s side: for a 16 year old high school student, being able to drive that car ALONE with complete autonomy over the radio was an excellent gift.

While I was driving that car, the ink barely dry on my driver’s license, I remember feeling that those moments were very, very special. I knew, as I was living those moments driving down that road, that I would remember those moments always.  I was free, but I was safe.  I enjoyed the luxury of driving a wonderful car, without the pressure of having to pay for said car.

At that time, it was hard for me to fathom what life would be like as a grown up. The day-to-day responsibilities and the many things my parents orchestrated in order to keep our home and our lives running alluded me. I had a vague idea that being an adult was complicated, challenging and, oftentimes, messy.

This is my first December as a mom and for some reason, these lyrics keep coming to mind.  Maybe it’s because I hope I remember this time of my life as clearly and as crisply as I remember some of my favorite moments of my youth.

and it’s been a long december and there’s reason to believe

maybe this year will be better than the last

I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself

to hold onto these moments as they pass

 

the one about “The Entity”

Haunted house, much?

Oh, where to even begin?

I suppose that first of all I should preface this post with a warning that my family is just a few bananas short of a full bunch.

That being said, we think our house might be haunted.  Or maybe we’re crazy.  Or maybe it’s a little bit of both.

I submit the following items to you as evidence:

Evidence A: For a long time, I’ve said to Frank that I think we have electrical issues in our house.  I’ve changed the same light bulbs multiple times in a few short months – and then haven’t changed them since in over a year.  Our dishwasher started on fire.  Our built-in microwave stopped working the first two weeks we lived here (and is now the happy home for our tortilla chips and breakfast cereals – don’t judge – we make due with what we have!).  We have light switches that go no where.  Well, that last one is probably more of “user error” than anything else.  Whatever.  Is it electrical or is it… a haunting??

Evidence B: The night I came home from the hospital, but while the girls were still in NICU, Frank had a very strange dream.  In his dream, he heard the bells on our front door jangle, which means that someone opened the door.  Still dreaming, he thought it was me coming home, but then he became aware that I was still in bed with him.  Starting to get concerned, he heard footsteps climb our stairs, walk through our bedroom door and stop at the foot of our bed.  Frank says that in his dream, he felt like someone was menacingly standing over our bed, staring at us.   Before Frank could do anything in his dream, he heard the ice-maker in our freezer start producing ice.  In his dream, he went downstairs and there was ice pouring out of our freezer and filling the kitchen.

Evidence C: My mother-in-law and my mom have been staying with us to help with the girls when Frank is on trips.  One of the first times my mom stayed here, she had a vivid dream of someone standing over her bed, watching her.  I’m not sure whether the “someone” was evil or not – but it doesn’t matter.  It’s always creepy to have someone staring at you while you sleep!

Evidence D: We had a chandelier installed in our kitchen about a year ago.  Within a week, four of the six bulbs burned out.  Sure, this is more of an addendum to Evidence A, but the lights didn’t start burning out until I came home from the hospital.  Perhaps I brought an entity home with me from the hospital?  Never you mind that I was staying in a brand new wing of the hospital, but hey, you never know.

Do I think we have a ghost living in our house?  Eh, probably not.  I think we have some electrical issues and some family members with vivid imaginations.  But just for fun, we’ve named this creepy people-watcher “The Entity” thus ensuring that no one will ever want to babysit our children.

So, who wants to sleep over and find out if I’m right??

the shortcomings of the interwebz

The interwebz is a great tool for communicating sight and sound.

The girls at 2 weeks.

You can see our twins and observe how cute they are (I’m biased, I know).

You could hear the twins, too.  If I was cruel, I would record all of the twins grunting and crying so that you could enjoy their vocal stylings.

But I am not cruel.

But, oh, how sad I am that the interwebz is not a great tool for sharing smells.

Frank bathed the girls tonight and put on some yummy nighttime lotion on their tummies and legs.  He brought them down to me, all fresh and swaddled and smelling like delicious little babies.  And I thought, I wish I could post this glorious fragrance on Facebook.  People would check my status just to enjoy it.

Side note, I wish that the TV had smells, too.  I’ve been watching copious amounts of the Food Network (and by copious amounts, I mean, I haven’t changed the channel except to watch E!) and have often lamented that I cannot smell the dishes that are being created.  Even worse, I cannot taste them.  But I digress…

Alas, I cannot post smells on Facebook.

Although, it’s better this way.  While my girls smell fantastic right now, these young ladies can toot with the best of ’em.  Toots are not something that you would probably enjoy smelling as my Facebook status.

Maybe the interwebz is smarter than I thought…

100 joys (88-90)

Another day, another chance to rack up a few more joys before the end of the year!

joy #88

Frank’s enchiladas!  Oh, sweet heavens to Betsy – they are SO good!!  And tonight were Frank’s best enchilada’s yet!  Now, I must confess, the above is not a picture of his actual enchiladas.  I lack the skill and self discipline to 1) take an appetizing food picture and 2) stop myself from diving in so that I can find the camera and snap a picture.  Just trust me, his enchiladas are outstanding and I could eat them all day long.  And since there are leftovers, I just might…

 

joy #89

Godiva.  Heaven on earth.  Especially when you belong to their club where you get a free truffle once a month.  Holy cow.  We had a dinner guest this evening who brought a box of chocolates from Godiva.  Frank and I tore through that box like we’d never seen chocolate before – it was SO good!  It’s like having an adult Disney World in your mouth – so much fun, you can hardly stand it!

 

joy #90

Listening to NPR brings me joy.  Seriously, it does.  I don’t know what it is about NPR’s microphones, but all of the reporters sound the same.  A subtle lisp on the “s” sound and a slow, steady, deliberate way of speaking that says, “What I am saying is LIFE changing.  Listen carefully.  Once you hear about Joe the donkey in Brazil that carries cocoa beans, you will NEVER be the same.”  Listening to NPR makes me feel the same way I do when I pick up a leather bound book in a mahogany librarythe distinct feeling that I am being enriched and improved.  But just to be sure, I try to balance my NPR time with a little bit of conservative talk radio.  You can never be too careful!  I remember in one day, I heard a report on conservative radio about a study that was done regarding teenagers and how biased and horrible the study was, and then I flipped to NPR and heard a vastly different type of report on the same study.  I don’t know who is wrong or who is right – I didn’t care enough to research it – but let’s just say, I listen to both channels with the same level of cynicism.  Gotta be fair and balanced and all that jazz.

 

on being pete campbell

For those of you who are not Mad Men fanatics, this will take a bit of ‘splainin’.  Pete Campbell is an Account Executive/Partner at Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price – a fictional 1960’s ad agency.  If you’ve watched all of the seasons of Mad Men, Pete’s slimy ways have probably made you feel uncomfortable or dirty at least once – possibly twice – an episode for the past four seasons.

Here’s the thing about Pete: Pete knows what he wants and he goes after it.  He doesn’t always take a path that you or I would prefer – he sometimes turns to manipulation or blackmail – but everything he does is because he wants to be The Ad Man.  The other thing to know about Pete is that he is an account executive (basically a client schmoozer) who fancies himself as a creative.  He is NOT a creative.

That all being said, here are my thoughts on Pete:

On Trying Too Hard: Pete wants to be an Ad Man. Desperately.  He “acquires” all of the things that he thinks he needs to portray the image (wife, apartment downtown, etc), he reads all of the “right” books, he does all of the networking.  But at the end of the day, he often just comes across as trying too hard.  It’s awkward to watch and difficult to like.  It conjures up at least a half dozen memories of stupid things I’ve done or witnessed other people doing.  I think about my first presentations when I worked in advertising or remember terrible sales pitches someone delivered to me.  I shudder at the memories. And I watch Pete and think, “Am I trying too hard? Am I making myself into a person I wish I could be or am I becoming a person that I am meant to be?”

On Taking Shortcuts: Pete regularly tries to find shortcuts, but his shortcuts always come at a much-too-high cost.  Sometimes it’s his own integrity that takes a hit, and sometimes he even jeopardizes family relationships for the sake of authenticating his place in the ad world.  I’m all for taking risks, but the things he’s willing to risk sometimes seem too great considering what he is hoping to accomplish.  How often do I sacrifice a long-term item for a short-term goal?  What are my trade-offs?

On Being Authentic: Pete says a lot of crap to get what he wants and hides a lot of things he does.  There are a lot of things Pete sweeps under the rug, including affairs and a baby with another woman.  Watching his character operate, the amount of baggage he’s carrying around is almost palpable.  It’s like he’s teetering, on the verge of falling over under the baggage’s oppressive weight.  And yet, if you asked him, he’d probably ask, “Baggage?  What baggage?”

things that have really actually happened in the past week

We ate sugar.  And lots of it. We hosted a cocktail & dessert party and even though we had quite a turn out, our friends are neither the lushes nor the sugar-holics we hoped they were.

Seriously people – if you don’t have to unbutton your pants so you can breathe after a party – did you really have a good time??

We also slept a lot.  A Lot.  Like, more than I thought was normal or possible.  And it was DE-LISH-US.

I have no regrets.

Except about how much sugar I ate.

And how I haven’t gone back to my sugarless lifestyle… I mean… SOMEONE has to eat all of the left overs.

Ahem.

I have also developed an addiction to online Boggle.  You know, the game where the letters get all mixed up and you try to find words in the jumble.  Yeah.  I love that game.  I play it to the exclusion of writing.  Which means there are a LOT of thoughts bumbling around in my head, longing to get out… but then I just ignore it and keep playing Boggle.

Like I said, it’s an addiction.

I also watched an entire TV series called Life.  Sure, it was only 2 seasons long, but it was AWESOME.  And I loved it. Although, ironically while watching Life, I was the one who was desperately in need of getting a real life. Who cares though –  it was something I could get away with while FK was gone.  You know, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him…

But I think the HUGE pile of unfolded laundry in the basement may have been a tip off.

Although, I was able to drag my lap top around, playing the aforementioned TV show while cleaning the house.  So, you know, I was in the clear for a while.

It’s just that I never made it down to the basement.

Or the giant piles of laundry.

You know how you have those emergency pairs of underwear at the bottom of your drawer?  They are for emergencies because they are SO unattractive, that if seen by others, they actually cause an emergency.

It was a dark time in the K-House, but I will say, I spelled a record 60 words while simultaneously watching Life on Hulu. And cleaning the bathroom.

I’m pretty much amazing.

Yup.

Toot. Toot. (my own horn)

meet ed

Ed is our stuffed dog that has sat on our bed every day since our first married Valentine’s day in February 2004.  Ed has traveled from Naperville to Milwaukee to Oak Creek to storage (woops, sorry Ed) to the suburbs of Chicago.

Ed enjoys his time on the bed, I think.  I mean, he’s never complained.

And he’s really the perfect dog.  He doesn’t bark, he doesn’t shed, he doesn’t pee on our carpet, chew our furniture, or pass gas .

He’s a simple dog, really.

Hi, I’m Ed. How YOU doin’?

I’d lick you if I had a tongue!


Ahhh!!  Bright lights!  It’s the paparazzi!

I didn’t ASK to be famous.  I mean, it just sort of happened.  I’m a good looking dog, what can I say – oh, hold on, it’s my agent… Yo, dollface, how YOU doin’?

Ah that Ed, he’s such a card.

not much to say

Well, I haven’t updated much.  I suppose there are many reasons.

In no particular order:

1. My computer battery is on life support.  I am afraid to move the computer from it’s current location.

2. The computer’s current location is in the basement.

3. I am a little lazy about going downstairs.

4.  Well, it’s just so out of the way, you know?

5. I’m all cozy upstairs, snuggling in a blanket and the computer is downstairs. And not just downstairs.  I have to walk through the game room and the laundry room and past the shelves full of all the stuff I need to go through (argh – guilt!) in order to get to the office.

6.  Once in the office, I often realize that the fountain needs water.  And then I get distracted by all of my Mary Kay product… such pretty colors! and smells!

7. With all the snow, I’ve been busy watching FK use the snow blower.

8.  I’m lazy and there’s nothing to report on so many fronts.  I worry that my blog will become a chronicle of me getting up, going to work and coming home and watching Ugly Betty.

9. And then I remember that Ugly Betty is on the verge of being canceled.

10.  Oh, and I”m very distracted by John Mayer’s terrible Playboy interview.  What was that all about?

Valentine’s Day is on Sunday.  I think that Valentine’s Day is as much about love as it is about true love.

I am fortunate enough to have found my soulmate at a young age.  And I’m even more fortunate that he still laughs at my lame jokes and weird facial expressions and noises.

I am also so blessed to have amazing family and friends that I love very much.

We are drowning in an abundance of love.

That’s pretty cool.

Did I mention that our basement might be haunted?

Yes, I think it is.  It is haunted by mountains of clothes to fold and paperwork to sort.  I guess that is reason 11 why I don’t like to come down to my computer and update my blog.

So yeah.  Happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope you get to spend the day with amazing, wonderful people that you love deeply.

Life is so sweet.

is nothing sacred?

I don’t have a dog.

I used to have a dog growing up, though.  Her name was Missy and she was a Keeshound (medium sized fluff ball with a curled up tail).  When I was younger I would take dear Missy for walks.

It was just me and her.  Walking along.  She really liked it.

Girl dogs do enjoy sniffing things, but they don’t have to sniff EVERYTHING.  That’s what’s great about walking a girl dog.

Those days of walking Missy were before the dawn of pocket-sized cell phones and PDAs with Tetris. (oh, Tetris, how I love you!)

In this golden age of face-to-face communication, we would just walk along in blissful silence unless we happened upon other people walking and enjoying the sunshine.  Missy was happy, I was happy.

I spent the time thinking about things, of course.  I’m not sure what my 13 year old brain was concerned with – perhaps I thought a lot about my next great pair of stirrup pants.  (thanks Mom!)  But the point is: I spent time with the dog, focused on doggie-type things and not rushing off to the next great thing.

Yesterday driving into work, there was a man who was barely walking his dog.  He was moving very slowly while his dog walked circles around him.  The guy was very focused on a cell phone conversation that he absolutely had to have RIGHT there.  And I thought, “For Pete’s sake – is nothing sacred any more?  Not even walking your dog?”

What’s more, yesterday was a windy, cold blustery day.  There have been times where I’ve called my husband while walking from the office to the car and he’s always said, “Where in the world are you? I can barely hear you – it’s like a wind tunnel!”  So this gentleman walking his dog, who couldn’t wait 15 minutes to have a phone conversation, probably wasn’t having a very intelligible phone conversation anyway.  What’s the point?

I see the cell phone taking precedence over lots of things, not just dog walking.  So many simple joys, like taking children to the park, are dominated by a need to talk to someone else, somewhere else, via cell phone.  Several times, during time spent with groups of friends or in meetings at work, people have spent a good 20 minutes making a phone call to talk to someone else.  You can’t send a clearer message to the person who took the time to be with you face-to-face than taking another call.  And I get the occasional important phone call.  And I get answering a call to tell the person that you are busy and if it’s not an emergency, telling them that you’ll call them back later.

I must confess, I do check my BlackBerry for messages.  I mostly do this when my husband is out of town and I am just checking to see if he sent me details about a trip or if he landed somewhere safely.  I know I need to put the Crackberry down, though.  I’m working on it.

I guess a goal that I have for myself this year (aside from working out more, eating less, blah blah blah) is to be more present where I am:  to take in the details of the world around me and to listen better to the people I am with and be more engaged in conversations in person.

And hey, if you want, I’ll walk your dog and pay attention to it.  I might even dig up an old pair of stirrup pants for the occasion…