Sunday, December 30, 2007

Slave to the Un-Schedule and Monkey Dreams

Since Christmas the babies have been pretty "off" in their schedule. They have been staying up later and I've been playing around with the nap schedule trying to harness the ubiquitous "sleeping through the night" thing.

Two nights ago they went to bed at 10 pm. Gasp! I always hated that when parents would put their kids to bed late. But, my theory was if they are going to be in their bed crying might as well get them up to play until they are tired.

See, my kids go to sleep pretty easily and peacefully (usually). They just don't stay asleep.

Last night they went to bed at normal time: 7:30-8:00. Max slept until 2-ish and then came to bed with Michael and I. Madeleine slept straight through until 3:30! Success, right? Wrong. I came into her bedroom because she was howling. I went to pat her back and she sat straight up and said "oooh, oooh, ahhh, aaahhh, aaahhh". Which is the response to "what does a monkey say?"

I said, "were you having a dream about a monkey?"
She said yes in her own little way.

The thing was, the thing was, that after the monkey dream she couldn't settle down and go back to sleep. Instead she wanted to play and have breakfast. I know this because she is very good at communicating. In fact, our conversations look a little like my friend Nicole's description of communicating to the locals in Hungary.

First Madeleine pointed to the fish making the fish noise.
"Yes, that is the fish" I acknowledged.

Then she went to the play kitchen and pretended to wash her hands.
She motioned to me that she wanted something to eat. I made her toast and hot chocolate.

She squealed and pointed to her diaper. I changed it. She asked where Maxy was.
He promptly woke up crying and was brought out to the living room to play with Madeleine and me.

That is how we spent the morning. The babies had breakfast at 4:30 am. I watched CNN crap about the caucus. They went back to sleep pat 5:30 or so. Needless to say they are sleeping now.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gym Shopping

It is time for me to become a member of a health club again.

Long gone are my college days of the super sweet gym on campus where I would run, lift weights in the private girls-only weight room and then finish the routine with a swim. I attended step classes there and used their running track that ran above the basketball courts and rock climbing wall.

I quit working out at the gym when I became pregnant and was told by my doctor to walking slowly and for not a long time lest I go into labor. Which, of course, happened even without working out.

After the delivery of the Ms I vowed to walk my hiney off with them in the stroller in order to save the $35 a month dues. I walked some but not consistently. I then bought my double jogger in order to make running with them easier. Easier it is to run with them but hard as hell it is to take the sucker out of our storage unit and get the babes in it while I'm by myself.

Yoga, I have gotten books and videos in order to do Yoga at home but what happens instead is that I get tired when the babies go to sleep and end up blogging or watching saved "Grey's Anatomy" episodes.

It is time, Lord. It is time to get my booty back to the gym and get reacquainted with treadmill.

Here's the plan:
  1. Wake up in the am and take my lovely husband to work (because I am that kind of wife).
  2. Go to the gym with the babes.
  3. They play in the daycare and I run run run off my muffin top.
  4. Max and Madeleine have heaps of fun working off their energy playing with new germy toys at the gym.
  5. I sweat.
  6. Go home.
  7. Put babies to bed for a nap.
  8. Shower.
  9. Continue with our day knowing that I have done something good for myself.

Good plan, eh? I'm going now, as the babies are napping and Miguel is chilling, to various gyms in my neighborhood to scope out the best. I'm looking for:

  1. Clean equipment
  2. Clean daycare with good hours
  3. Nice people working in the day care
  4. Cost effective day care
  5. Plenty of Parking

Wish me luck!

Fishy is still called Fishy

We are still calling the fish "Fishy". I show two votes for Bindee but we are open to other names suggestions. Some of the names Michael suggested include:
  • Whitey
  • Abe
  • Clarence
  • Lyle
  • Morty

If you have a better one please let me know or I will be forced to call our male fish "Bindee".

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Presents Presents Presents

Thanks Uncle Dan for our noisy alphabet Caterpillar
Madeleine with Maxy's new baby doll
Maxy hugging his baby.
Uh oh, the fake food that Santa brought is too small! Madeleine put the whole orange into her mouth.
Our new kitchen!
Madeleine sweeping with their new cleaning supplies.
Feeding their Cabbage Patch Dolls from Grandma.
Thanks Grandma for our new Zebra!

With every gift Max said, "whoa" and Madeleine giggled. Christmas is such a fun time for kids!

The Magic of Christmas at the Klassens

Playing with the Nesting Dolls with Lisa
Brandon, Max and Madeleine at the Piano.
Snow globes with Caroline.

On the way to the Island

On the way to the island we were blessed with sunny weather and smiling faces!
Madeleine showing off all of her coolness.
Maxy on Island time, shoes off and pigs in the air.
So sweet!

Name the Fishy

When we asked Max what the Fish's name was he said "Dee".

When we asked Madeleine she said, "Bin".

So we considered Dee and we considered Bin and we considered Deebin and Bindee.

What do you think?

We are open to other suggestions.


I've attached a few pictures so you can see what he looks like.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007
For those of you who don't know, Michael celebrated his 36th birthday on Sunday. It is tough to be born the day before Christ's Birthday. Michael has memories of being stilted out of gifts and birthday cake as a youngin. I try to make him feel special even though at this time of the year that is hard.

We managed to get out for a date night on Saturday. We went to Piatti, which is where we celebrated our rehearsal dinner before our wedding. I have to admit that I wasn't expecting much but we had the best meal we have had in a very long time! It was a nice quiet evening full of pasta and wine.

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007
We woke up on Michael's special day with Madeleine at 4 am ready to start the day. Forty-five minutes later Max followed up with puking. He vomited everything he had and then some. Poor little guy, he actually looked green. He clearly needed to stay home and rest so Michael and Madeleine went out for a fun father/ daughter day. They went downtown to his work to pick some stuff up. And then went and had lunch. After that they went to the pet store and bought our first family pet: a male betta fish.

Upon their return Maxy was feeling much better and we went out for a quick bite to eat at the Santa Fe Cafe. The kids went to bed and Michael and I enjoyed the night before Christmas eve. The best little present I could have asked for was a full night's sleep. Yep, I actually got a full 8 hours of sleep that night! I'm writing this with apprehension because it seems that every time I write about sleep the opposite happens that night. Hold your breath and cross your fingers that this continues. Last night wasn't as good but it certainly was not bad.

Monday, December 24th, 2007
Thank you to my friend Megan for providing a lovely brunch full of good friends and good food. Max and Madeleine loved spending time with the big kids and Michael and I enjoyed catching up with our friends.

Home. Nap.

Later that afternoon we were on a ferry in beautiful Seattle Sun on our way to Whidbey Island to enjoy Christmas eve Bouillabaisse with the Klassen Family. Thank you Bruce, Caroline, Lisa and Brandon for your hospitality and great conversation. The food was tremendous, as always, and the desserts were everywhere, as usual.

After a very late night the kids went to bed and Micheal and I stayed up two more hours assembling toys and getting the living room ready for Christmas morning. We were so excited this would be the first Christmas that would be truly fun for the kids.

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007
to be continued....

Saturday, December 22, 2007

18 months

Today my babies are 18 months old. They are one year and a half, exactly. Where did the time go? They have grown and changed so quickly. It has literally been right before Michael and my eyes. Even a year ago they were completely different babies than they are today.

They had their 18 month doctor visit today. They received a clean bill of health and received three vaccinations. I delayed a few of their vaccines for a bit until I knew they were safe and I felt comfortable with them receiving them. I didn't want them to have their MMR shot on their 12th month birthday. Austism. Today I was assured that my children are not showing signs of autism and encouraged to get them vaccinated. They received their MMR shot, their varicella shot (chicken pox) and a boost of prevnar. They were such little troopers with their vaccines. Maxy hardly cried and Madeleine only for a second. Michael and I then dragged them to Target where they continued to be in high spirits- greeting all the passers by.

Maxy hasn't gained much weight lately but the doctor isn't worried. He now weighs 23 lbs and 9 oz (20th percentile). He is 32.5 inches high (50th percentile).

Madeleine weighs 22 lbs 8 oz. (30th percentile) and is 31 inches high (25th percentile).

Neither kid is showing any signs of delays and is right on track in all aspects (including their toddler tantrums!).

Thanks Dr. Passloff, we appreciate your continued care of our babies!


Sometimes we get so caught up in the fact that Madeleine is an amputee. I'm talking about myself here. I think about my child with a disability all the time. Madeleine's leg came off in the supermarket yesterday. That wouldn't have been a big deal except that a woman was walking by at the same time telling Max how cute he is.

"Oh," she said.
I laughed.
"She has an artificial leg." I said, as if it wasn't obvious!
"It comes off sometimes if the cart hits it just right."
The lady laughed a bit and said, "Well, she looks happy."

Why wouldn't she be happy? She isn't in pain, I thought.

And then I have people telling me how well she is doing walking. Yes, she is. They tell me she is amazing. Yep, she is.

Amputee will always define Madeleine. Just like her other labels of "twin" and "female". It doesn't have to be all she is though.

If you don't know who Sarah Reinertsen is you should. She gives "amputee" a whole new name.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Madeleine went to her post-op appointment on Wednesday. It has been almost six months exactly since her surgery and I cannot believe how well she is doing! We went to see the entire team at Children's: the nurse, the surgeon, the prosthetist and the physical therapist. We were there a long time, three hours.

Two toddlers + Three hours in an exam room = Chaos

Here is what we learned in a nutshell:
  • No, she is not in pain. There is no phantom limb pain/sensation in small children
  • Her leg may be itchy after we take off the prosthesis because it gets very hot in there. Also, she has a little crease on the top of her shin where the dimple was and the incision was made- that can get squeezed together and get a little uncomfortable if the prosthesis is tight and hot.
  • She is doing well.
  • She has grown and we raised her leg up one more centimeter.
  • She has slimmed down on the top of her leg a big so we brought in the foam liner.
  • Max likes to color on walls, much to my embarrassment.
  • If I notice that she can move her heel pad (the bottom of her leg) I should call and get her seen as Dr. Mosca will have to take out a chunk of her achilles tendon. Ouch.
  • Her scar tissue looks good.
  • We met another Madeleine there who also needs lots of surgeries but is doing well and very cute.

All and all, we are happy with the appointment and glad to be all done.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

From one of those emails about what kids say

I got this from a friend who knows first hand about the crazy things that kids say. I thought it was pretty funny too!

A 1st grade school teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!

Don't change horses
until they stop running.
Strike while the
bug is close.
It's always darkest before
Daylight Saving Time.
Never underestimate the power of
You can lead a horse to water but
Don't bite the hand that
looks dirty.
No news is
A miss is as good as a
You can't teach an old dog new
If you lie down with dogs, you'll
stink in the morning.
Love all, trust
The pen is mightier than the
An idle mind is
the best way to relax.
Where there's smoke there's
Happy the bride who
gets all the presents.
A penny saved is
not much.
Two's company, three's
the Musketeers.
Don't put off till tomorrow what
you put on to go to bed.
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and
You have to blow your nose.
There are none so blind as
Stevie Wonder.
Children should be seen and not
spanked or grounded.
If at first you don't succeed
get new batteries.
You get out of something only what you
See in the picture on the box
When the blind lead the blind
get out of the way.
A bird in the hand
is going to poop on you.
Better late than

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

what to do?

I didn't sleep last night. I haven't slept in a year and a half. But I really didn't sleep last night. I think I actually snoozed for about 3 hours, but not three consecutive hours. What am I to do? I cannot do "cry it out", not when I think that my child is in pain and that is why they are waking up. What am I to do at this point?

I yelled at the kids last night. I feel so so badly about that. I have literally cried about it all day long. I yelled at them to lie down and go to sleep. The worst thing is that it worked, for a while. They did lie down. They were frightened by my voice. OH the guilt in that!

Something has to change. I cannot do this much longer.

I emailed Ann Keppler. I didn't really know where else to turn. I also emailed Dr. Mosca's nurse in case Madeleine is feeling pain and that is why she is waking up.

Here is my email to Ann:
Hi Ann,I hope it is okay that I am emailing you. I don't know if you remember me, I attended First Weeks (and next months) with my twins, Max and Madeleine. We talked extensively about how to help with sleep issues. Well, the twins are now 18 months old (almost) and still terrible sleepers. I thought we would just manage until they were developmentally ready to 'sleep through the proverbial night' but now it is getting really problematic. They wake up from 2-4 times a night each. I'm still nursing them and do so in the middle of the night when needed. I have tried to night wean (send in the daddy, tell them milk is no more etc.) much to no avail- they scream, pull, bite, fight- it is awful! I'm not totally ready to wean them but I am starting to feel resentful toward them, which makes me feel terrible. Last night I yelled at them and I feel so horrible about that. It has come clear that it is probably time for an intervention. They attend the infant/toddler program at the Experimental Education Unit at the UW and their teacher there has encouraged me to contact you.

There is a catch with all of this. Madeleine underwent major surgery about 6 months ago. She was born with an orthopedic birth defect and had her foot amputated and two osteotomies. Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night crying and holding her leg and I cannot be sure that she is not in pain (they tell me kids do not experience phantom limb pain but I'm not too sure). We live in a small two bedroom in an apartment building so I am conscious of our neighbors. They share a room now but usually end up sleeping with my husband and I at some point in the night.

I know you do sleep consults but I'm not sure if we could afford you. I wanted to check in and see if you had some quick advice or if you feel like the problem is big enough that we should scrape the money together and have you intervene.

Thank you for anything you have!

And her response:

Hello Niki,

Of course I remember you and your twins - happily. You are a wonderful mother.

It sounds as though you have experienced a lot of difficult decisions and adjustments to Madeline's surgeries. And, I would trust your intuition about whether or not Madeline is experience pain in her leg by her behavior. Does the rubbing of her leg help her? That would be a way to override the pain sensations by sending other sensory sensations to her brain in the same way rubbing the lower abdomen in labor reduces the pain sensations of the contractions.

Probably the best place to start is to look at their food/milk consumption during the day and try as hard as you can to pack the calories in during the day with foods like avocado, and other calorie dense foods. If you know that are getting a lot of milk (which at this stage of lactation has more fat than whole milk) and lots of dense calories, then you could begin to try anything to soothe them at night except nursing.

I would suggest you have a look at Ferber's newest book for some ideas (I don't support all he suggests) and I really like Elizbeth Pantley's book The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers. I think it is much better than her book for infants.

Right now I am taking a sabbatical from parent consultations to work on the revision of Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn. Barb Orcutt, a colleague and wonderful nurse is covering from me. She directs the Breastfeeding Center at the Birth Center, is practical, thoughtful and smart. She joined me for several sleep consultations last month. You could contact her at if the other options didn't provide you with enough new ideas. I hope this helps. Great acknowledgment to your sensitive and thoughtful approach to parenting. ~ Ann

Yes, good ideas to try. In the mean time I will be a bad friend, an emotionally fragile mother and a complete basket case wife. My apologies to everyone this affects.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chanuka Hanukah Hanukka Khanukkah

Whatever way you wish to spell it Hanukka has come and gone. This year we were fortunate to be invited to a candle lighting celebration. Thank you to the Goldberg/Resnik family for having us and serving delicious egg-free latkes! Madeleine loved them but not as much as she liked the peppermint truffles!

Mosaic: A Playdate

The twins and I just discovered this fantastic new coffee house in Seattle called Mosaic. If you live in or around Seattle and you haven't been to Mosaic Coffee House you better high tail your butt there, pronto! Not only is it conveniently located in the U-District (off of 45th, kind of behind Dicks) but it is a big, friendly space with free Wi-Fi, nice music and a kid play room (cutely called "demi tasse"). Yes, you heard me, a kid play room, that although it is lacking a bit in toys, it is a spacious room with tables and chairs on one side and mats and toys (including a big play house and kitchen) on the other.

Okay, so this isn't your ordinary coffee house, did I mention it is non-profit? And run by donations?

As a local, nonprofit coffee house, Mosaic exists to allow neighbors an
opportunity to come together while encouraging the building of healthy community through conversation, exciting events, and excellent coffee drinks. At
Mosaic, we believe that each guest who walks through our door is worth more than a labeled price, so we serve our food and beverages with no fixed price.
What does this mean? You decide what it is worth.
The name Mosaic came about by looking at our lives, which often resemble mosaics—filled with broken pieces. We believe a mosaic is only a mosaic when it is formed with many pieces. Here at Mosaic, when our lives are joined with others in our neighborhood and community, we have the opportunity to be part of something truly beautiful.

I know, cool eh? So, this morning I bought a latte, a small hot chocolate to split between the babes (ps, the only way they will drink milk :/) and a croissant. How much is that worth? I gave them $7. I love love love the idea of them donating extra profit to charities. I love the idea that they are all about community. For this reason, you have to go because if you don't they won't stay in business and this fantastic idea will fail.

Better idea, let's meet for a playdate! My kids loved running around like maniacs, noses running, hair stuck to their heads in a bed head kind of way! You get the idea. We scared off two other moms with a toddler each that were there when we arrived. Max was stealing snack traps and Madeleine was putting her germ laden mouth around someone elses sippy cup! Egad! Heathens!

Why is it that my kids want any sippy cup that is not their own? They can have the same exact cup with something better in it and they will still want the other kids'.

I know those other moms would have stayed longer if we hadn't arrived. Was it the runny noses? Was it my conversation?* Hhhhmmmmmm, I'll just have to go back to Mosaic when the noses aren't runny and see.

*The Mom Rule: when you are a mom and you see another mom of a child that is about the same age as your child you must converse. You must find out what you have in common, what your kids are doing that is similar, if you are a stay at home or working mother etc. Sometimes the conversation is strained and lame, sometimes it is fascinating and you are instant friends.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Phantom Limb Pain

You have heard of this. Everyone knows about phantom limb pain. I knew about it even before my daughter had her foot amputated. The idea conjures up images of war veterans without legs, lying and crying in their hospital beds. I'm reminiscing about old M*A*S*H episodes now.

I thought about phantom limb pain and how they may affect Madeleine. I was assured that this would not happen to someone so young. Dr. Mosca told us that if we amputate young (under 2) she would not have phantom pain. He said there was no known research that showed babies to have pain after an amputation. This was one reason to do the surgery while she was young. Another reason is that she would not have attachment to that body part. Granted.

I'm not sure that I believe this now. I think that maybe children do experience phantom limb pain but cannot tell us about it therefore we think it doesn't exist. However, even without words Madeleine is a great communicator. For instance, if she wants to read more books (as a way of delaying bed time) she points to the books, the rocking chair and whines a bit. So, why then, when she cries in the middle of the night and points to the bottom of her leggie should I not assume that she is experiencing pain? She will often hold or grab the bottom of her leg at night. Once, I came in to answer her drowsy cries and she was biting at the end of her leg.

In the article highlighted above the author writes:
Phantom limb pain – pain appearing to come from where an amputated limb used to be – is often excruciating and almost impossible to treat.

He then goes on to say:
After amputation of a limb, an amputee continues to have an awareness of it and to experience sensations from it. These phantom limb sensations are also present in children born without a limb, suggesting that perception of our limbs is 'hard-wired' into our brain and that sensations from the limbs become mapped onto these brain networks as we develop.
If phantom limb sensations are normal then so too, alas, is phantom limb pain. This occurs in a majority of those who lose their limbs. (1) In fact, limbs do not need to be lost; it also occurs in conditions in which the brain is disconnected from the body, such as peripheral nerve injuries and after spinal cord injury, when an area becomes insentient (and usually paralysed).

The pain is described in various ways: burning, aching, 'as if the hand is being crushed in a vice,' etc. Such words, however, cannot fully encompass the experience of living with such a pain.

If this article is true than I can assume that Madeleine is experiencing some sensation. To ease this I rub her leg, I talk to her about it and reassure her that all is okay and she is not in a painful situation. Of course I worry about this. It makes me sad. But still, I do not regret our decision to ampute. If we had lengthened I'm assuming the pain would be greater.

Madeleine wakes up more than Max, usually. This is why I could never let her "cry it out".

FH: Our Forever Label

Just as parents and kids with Autism will always be in the world of autism we will always be in the world of Fibular Hemimelia. My daughter will always be associated with it- I will always be a mother of a child with Fibular Hemimelia.

I am called back to the day when I first heard this label. It was February 20th, 2006. At the time I don't know if I could have identified a fibula on a map if I tried (thinking of those high school students now who don't know where Georgia is). Dr. Saliman said, "Let me tell you what it is called and then I will discuss the treatment..." I grabbed a pen and paper to write it down. Geez, now it is part of my daily vocabulary!

My daughter has one fibula. She now only has one foot. 5 toes. "Madeleine, how many fingers am I holding up?" "Count your toes!" Woops, we are missing some.

When Dr. S told us that many children with FH have missing toes I was horrified. Such a silly thing to be horrified about! I remember my friends, Megan and Serena, who worked in a hospital telling me about a man who had only four toes. I thought about how my child would be the one that the nurses talked about. How kids would notice she only had four toes (or three) and make fun of her in her little sandals.

When Madeleine was born with five toes I saw it as a victory. Ha, you doctors! I made a child with all ten toes! Her foot is perfect! FH, my ass.

We amputated. We took off her perfect five toed foot. I never, well almost never, regret this. I see my daughter walking around, I see her climbing stairs, I see her squatting and standing back up, bending over, lifting her leg and I never regret taking off her foot.

When I am rocking her to sleep in the middle of the night, which happens more than I'd like to admit, I am reminded of that perfect little foot. Sometimes I am surprised that that her foot is gone. Crazy. In the middle of the night in my sleepy haze I will see that short leg sans foot and for a quick moment I will be surprised. I will wonder where that foot is. I will be horrified. And then I remember and still there is little regret.

I miss it though.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Calling our blogging friends...

Since I have just added a link list to our blog I want to invite you to be one of our links. If you are our friend and you have a blog (you know who you are--- wink wink) let me know if you want me to link you to us. I don't want to do it without your permission.

Thanks friends!

Bah Humbug?

As Max and Madeleine were busy being elves Daddy turned into Scrooge!

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

In case you haven't heard... Seattle got snow last weekend. Here are some shots from the babies first snow fall.

Maxy clearly enjoyed the snow more than Madeleine.
Trying to get them to pose and look at the camera- not an easy feat when dealing with twin toddlers.
I love Max's face in this one!

Although it was pretty and fun for a bit it melted about as fast as it came. Mom is certainly happy to not have snow in her life. If I liked snow I would have stayed in Michigan!!!!

Tis the Season

The season has sprung in the Northwest. Not only did we get TONS of snow over the weekend we have begun to decorate the house for Christmas. Much to Michael's chagrin we have left the snow village and our big Christmas tree in storage. As faux Christmas trees contain lead (as do the lights) we have decided to fore go the big tree this year. We knew that we would not be able to effectively keep the babes from touching (read destroying) the tree and all its decorations this year.

We do, however, have a little bitty tree sitting up on our side board that the M's are welcome to look at and not touch.

Christmas cards have been ordered. After many a photo shoot I think we have the pictures we will use this year. It took a bit to get both kids looking at the camera. It sure was easier last year when they didn't move! No previews- you will have to wait for your card in the mail!

Christmas shopping has also begun. Don't tell Max but we got him some kid cleaning supplies! My boy loves to sweep! Really a chip off the ol' block, if you know Michael you also know about his cleanliness habit. I'm still working on Madeleine's main gift. She is a little trickier to shop quickly for.

Michael is working on this as a main present from Santa:

We have already picked up some fake food along the way and now that the kids are into 'pretend play' more I think this will be a hit.

Friday, November 30, 2007


Watch this crazy video of the Hippo at the Zoo!

Monday, November 26, 2007

highlights of a biped

Madeleine at the zoo showing her stuff.

Top 10

Max and Madeleine's Top Ten Favorite-est Things in San Diego

10. The little playground near Auntie M and Uncle T's house. Particularly the tall slide and the creepy frog.

9. Seeing Mommy squashed between the car seats in the back of the volvo.

8. The lemon tree in the side yard.

7. Auntie Martha's deep bath tub.

6. The weather.

5. Monkeys at the zoo.
4. The hippo at the zoo.

3. Skateboarding with Uncle Ted.

2. La Jolla!!! The beach!!!

1. Bailey, the dog.








Saturday, November 24, 2007


We're back from vacation. We hope all of our friends and family had a wonderful Thanksgiving day and have started the holiday season well. I heard today that Hanukkah is on the 4th of December! Sucks to be Jewish this year! (just kidding, of course) that is very early- I'd be hard pressed to get my shopping done by that time.

On Monday we left for San Diego. We left early! Michael and I were up by 3:30 (actually I think Michael got up earlier than that!) and at the airport by 5:30. The kids did mostly well on the way there. The plane and all the people on it didn't cease to amaze them. Their favorite activity was standing on the tray table and looking over the seats. Although they didn't sleep as much as I would have liked them to (Max fell fast asleep as the plane touched ground) I cannot complain about the flight. That is until I discuss the ride home....

We went to see Auntie Martha and Uncle Ted, but the highlight was really their cousin Bailey, the dog.

Now, in this photo Bailey potentially looks like a big dog- at least he is shaped like one. He is not. He is the size of a new born baby, a very oddly shaped newborn baby. He came up mid-thigh to the babes and they thought that was the funniest damn thing ever! In fact, Madeleine could not stop repeating the word, "doggie" over and over and over. At one point we all thought she was referring to us and that our name was actually "doggie".

Mommy= doggie
Daddy= doggie
Uncle Ted=doggie
You get the idea.

We enjoyed many parts of San Diego, number one being Uncle Ted's and Aunt Marthie's awesome house! We touched every thing on our level. We dropped anything heavy that we could find on their wood floors. We dragged their fabulous rocking chair all over. We swiffered our tail off (if your name is Max). And, best of all, we fed the doggie everything! Bailey must still have the runs.

We visited the zoo and the beach. We ate ice cream and Uncle Ted's homemade apple pie. We drank from Auntie Marthie's cool water bottles and chased the dog till our legs couldn't run anymore!

Thanks, Martha and Ted, for a fabulous Thanksgiving and a wonderful vacation. It was great to see you. The Meyers' appreciate your hospitality!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Breast Milk

Breast milk. I have it. I lactate, and have been doing so for over a year. It doesn't gross me out but I know that it grosses other people out. My kids love it. They are attached to it. I'm not sure if they are attached to nursing (the act of sucking) or to the milk itself. Incidentally, they do not like Cow's milk. They don't drink it and when someone refers to 'milk' they think of my milk, which, has to be better than the average cow's.

I know that my nursing 17 month old babies is a debate. I know people have strong feelings about it. I know that it surprises some, perhaps it disgusts others, I know that people do not understand why I continue. They have told me this.

Let me tell you.

I worked hard to lactate efficiently for my babies. I worked hard to get them to latch on and have breast milk be their sole source of nutrition. In fact, it was probably one of the most important things I did while my babes were infants. Now that I have it I don't know how to take it away nor do I think it is important for me to do so.

When the babies were born they were rushed to the NICU. They received my milk or colostrum mixed with preemie formula. They had to have formula in order to grow, to become stronger. We couldn't afford for them to lose weight in the few days they waited for my milk to come in.

I nursed Madeleine first. She was four days old. She latched on beautifully and sucked like she knew how to (and of course she did, really). I have to say that I was scared to breast feed. I didn't know if I would like it, if it would feel weird or make me uncomfortable. I didn't mind it and thought it was amazing that I could produce nutrition for my babies just as I had done when they were in utero. I was proud of my body for doing what it was suppose to do as it had failed me many times over throughout my life.

Maxy didn't nurse until he was 10 days old. He didn't know how and didn't seem to want to. He had a poor suck reflex. He had a hard time getting the milk out and seemed to root constantly. In addition, he had a hard time getting enough milk in the bottle. He would fall asleep and refuse to take in the entire 70 cc's required for him to grow.

I cannot remember how it all transpired, sleep deprived that I was/am, but I do know that by the time the babies were 8-9 weeks old they were fully and completely on the breast. This was after we saw a feeding specialist/lactation consultant twice. I took the medication reglan and Fenugreek to make enough milk. I was able to exclusively breastfeed my twins. An accomplishment than many are not able to do.

I'm proud of this.

Our breast feeding relationship is a special one; one that I will not always have. No, I do not plan on breastfeeding until they are in kindergarten. But, if I did it really is none of your business. Sometimes my milk seems to be the only thing that calms my babies. Sometimes they need to nurse more than anything else. Why would I deny them that?

Of course they eat food just like other children. They have nearly all their teeth and do not require pureed foods. They also eat dairy in the form of yogurt and cheese. So, I guess the question "do they need breast milk" is a tricky one. Do they require it to grow in body? No. Do they require it to stave off diseases? Maybe. Do they need it to be comforted? Sometimes. Does it hurt them? No. Does it help them? Yes. Does it hurt me? Sometimes. Does it help me? Yes.

Why would I stop now?

I will discontinue our breast feeding relationship when it makes the most sense to do so.

Great Breast Milk Websites:

Breast milk
Kelly Mom
Reasons to Breast Feed

Friday, November 16, 2007

To You, My Sisters

To You, My Sisters
by Maureen K. Higgins
Many of you I have never even met face to face,
but I've searched you out every day.
I've looked for you on the Internet,
on playgrounds and in grocery stores.
I've become an expert at identifying you.
You are wellworn.
You are stronger than you ever wanted to be.
Your words ring experience,
experience you culled with your very heart and soul.
You are compassionate beyond
the expectations of this world.
You are my "sisters."
Yes, you and I, my friend, are sisters in a sorority.
A very elite sorority.
We are special.
Just like any other sorority,
we were chosen to be members.
Some of us were invited to join immediately,
some not for months or even years.
Some of us even tried to refuse membership, but to no avail.
We were initiated in neurologist's offices and NICUs,
in obstetrician's offices, in emergency rooms, and during ultrasounds.
We were initiated with somber telephone calls,
consultations, evaluations, bloodtests, x-rays, MRI films, and heart surgeries.
All of us have one thing in common.
One day things were fine.
We were pregnant, or we had just given birth,
or we were nursing our newborn, or we were playing with our toddler.
Yes, one minute everything was fine.
Then, whether it happened in an instant, as it often does,
or over the course of a few weeks or months, our entire lives changed.
Something wasn't quite right.
Then we found ourselves mothers of children with special needs.
We are united, we sisters, regardless of the diversity of our children's special needs.
Some of our children undergo chemotherapy.
Some need respirators and ventilators.
Some are unable to talk, some are unable to walk.
Some eat through feeding tubes.
Some live in a different world.
We do not discriminate against those mothers whose
children's needs are not as"special" as our child's.
We have mutual respect and empathy for all the women who walk in our shoes.
We are knowledgeable.
We have educated ourselves with whatever materials we could find.
We know "the"specialists in the field.
We know "the" neurologists,"the" hospitals, "the" wonder drugs, "the" treatments.
We know "the" tests that need to be done,
we know"the" degenerative and progressive diseases
and we hold our breath while our children are tested for them.
Without formal education,
we could become board certified in neurology, endocrinology, and psychology.
We have taken on our insurance companies and schoolboards
to get what our children need to survive, and to flourish.
We have prevailed upon the State to include augmentative communication devices
in special education classes and mainstream schools for our children with cerebral palsy.
We have labored to prove to insurance companies
the medical necessity of gait trainers
and other adaptive equipment for our children with spinal cord defects.
We have sued municipalities to have our children properly classified so they could receive education and evaluation commensurate with their diagnosis.
We have learned to deal with the rest of the world,
even if that means walking away from it.
We have tolerated scorn in supermarkets during"tantrums" and gritted our teeth while discipline was advocated by the person behind us in line.
We have tolerated inane suggestions and home remedies from well-meaning strangers.
We have tolerated mothers of children without special needs
complaining about chicken pox and ear infections.
We have learned that many of our closest friends can't understand
what it'sl ike to be in our sorority,
and don't even want to try.
We have our own personal copies of Emily Perl Kingsley's "A Trip To Holland"
and Erma Bombeck's "The Special Mother".
We keep them by our bedside and read and reread them during our toughest hours.
We have coped with holidays.
We have found ways to get our physically handicapped children
to the neighbors' front doors on Halloween,
and we have found ways to help our deaf children form the words, "trick or treat."
We have accepted that our children with sensory dysfunction will never wear velvet or lace on Christmas.
We have painted a canvas of lights and a blazing Yule log with our words for our blind children.
We have pureed turkey on Thanksgiving.
We have bought white chocolate bunnies for Easter.
And all the while, we have tried to create a festive atmosphere for the rest of our family.
We've gotten up every morning since our journey began wondering how we'd make it through another day, and gone to bed every evening not sure how we did it.
We've mourned the fact that we never got to relax and sip red wine in Italy.
We've mourned the fact that our trip to Holland has required much more baggage than we ever imagined when we first visited the travel agent.
And we've mourned because we left for the airport
without most of the things we needed for the trip.
But we, sisters, we keep the faith always.
We never stop believing.
Our love for our special children and our belief in all that they will achieve in life knows
no bounds.
We dream of them scoring touchdowns and extra points and home runs.
We visualize them running sprints and marathons.
We dream of them planting vegetable seeds, riding horses and chopping down trees.
We hear their angelic voices singing Christmas carols.
We see their palettes smeared with watercolors,
and their fingers flying over ivory keys in a concert hall.
We are amazed at the grace of their pirouettes.
We never, never stop believing in all they will accomplish as they pass through this world.
But in the meantime, my sisters, the most important thing we do,
is hold tight to their little hands as together,
we special mothers and our special children, reach for the stars.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


If I think back to what I have done in a year and a half time it is nothing compared to what my children have accomplished! Granted the last 17 months have been a whirlwind and we have all grown in the Meyers Family, both size wise for some of us (Max and Madeleine) and emotionally for others (Michael and myself). But what about before the babies' conception? What about from the time I was 23-24.5? Nothing much happened. I cannot even remember it!

However, in 17 months time my babies have learned to roll over, to crawl, to grab toys, to eat, to walk and now they are learning how to talk. Since Madeleine started to walk well she has made huge gains in the language department.

Madeleine says:

Baby (clearly)

Apple (Bapple)

Ball (clearly, it is her favorite word! Everything is a ball whether it is a real ball or a christmas ornament or even a pea- it is a ball)

Balloon (boon)

Book (boo)

Dog (clearly)

Duck (Dut)

This (Dis)

Binky (bee)

Stinky (anky)

Leaves (leeeesss)

Bath (Baa)

Mama (lovingly)

Dada (excitedly)

Bye (clearly)

Hi (enthusiastically)

No (dohhhh)

Max says:

Baby (

Apple (Aappol)


Book (boop)

Dog (clearly)

Duck (Duk)

This (Dis)

Shoes (soooos)

Binky (bimpy)

Yucky (acky)

Stinky (sinky)

Bath (Baa)

Diaper (iiper)

Uh- Oh (enthusiastically and clearly)

Mama (lovingly and a little whiny)

Daddy (excitedly and clearly)

Bye (clearly)

Hi (enthusiastically)

No (nooooo)

It is wonderful to be able to talk to your kids and have them talk back. I cannot wait for more.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lessons Learned

If I were to die tomorrow what lessons have I learned that I would want to pass to my children? How would I have lived life differently. In no particular order:

1. I would never have started smoking. Even though I do not smoke now I wonder what damage I did before.

2. I would have stayed in college the first time. That would have been a hard road to navigate but would have been worth it.

3. I would have recognized that my 'majors' were not lucrative careers. You can only go so far in French and Comparative Literature.

4. I would have invested my money earlier.

5. I would have never quit the track team on the first day.

6. I would have thought harder about vegetarianism.

7. I would have travelled more while in Europe.

8. I would have worked harder to stay in touch with my sister. We are in touch now, but how many years/experiences did I miss out on.

9. I would have worn sunscreen more.

10. I would have exercised more as a teenager.

11. I would have judged less.

12. I would have put myself in the number one position, no matter what.

Granted, you cannot live life again. And you shouldn't mourn the past. But to recognize lessons learned- now that is worthwhile.

Lessons Learned:
  • Exercise
  • Respect yourself
  • Beware of toxins that enter your system, both physically and socially
  • Be nice
  • Money does matter
  • Carpe Diem

Friday, November 9, 2007

Conception Day

Two years ago today the babies were conceived. My eggs were taken and injected with Michael's sperm. They grew in a dish for three days and then were put back into my body. Baby A and B continued to grow and became Max and Madeleine.

To see the progression of growth and to know that they started as mere cells and turned into fully functioning people is amazing to me.

I feel so incredibly blessed to know Max and Madeleine. I feel so lucky to be their mom. Happy Conception Day to my babies!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

schedules, life and sleeping

What do you do the day after your anniversary, birthday, Christmas, fill in special day here.... It is just another day. Not that our anniversary was all that and a bag of chips. But, seriously, we are back to the routine, the schedule, our life. For what it is worth, Michael and I are 'going out' on our date night on Friday. Where? We don't know. If you have suggestions please comment below.

So today is Thursday. We have had our typical Thursday. A night of little sleeping and I wake up with a headache. Not that uncommon but less common than before kids (it's a long story but oddly enough I was allergic to dairy before pregnancy and do not seem to be anymore- who knew!). The babes and I take Michael to work. We search for something to do in the morning to exhaust the little rugrats, something that will cause sleepiness in the later morning. This will ensure a good nap and a fun day at school.

This morning I got a timely call from my dear friend asking for us to have a playdate. A sucker for non-planning, I oblige. The Ms loved playing with her son, T. In fact, I did very little parenting this morning as the babes played with T's toys and swapped water bottles, my friend and I caught up with each other (we haven't spent much time together in a while) whilst sipping coffee. Relaxing indeed.

At nap time (we left too late) we get in the minivan and make the 15 minute trek home. By the time we pull up in front of the building Max is sleeping soundly and Madeleine is making all the gestures that she too, is tired. I haul the kids up and miraculously Max remains sleeping. Madeleine, however, doesn't take her nap for another 45 minutes or so. grumble grumble. When she is ready she poops and cries as I change her dipe. Max wakes up and I soothe he and his sister back into slumber. Sounds good, eh?

Well, we are suppose to be at school at 12:30 (yep, prime time toddler nap!) As Madeleine falls asleep at 11:40 I'm going to venture to say that we are not going to make it to school. What am I crazy? To wake a sleeping toddler and drag two kids to the car? Sure, I'd like to have them go to school and get my bit of time to myself but honestly, with my headache, I'm not up to it.

It is 12:40 and they are still sleeping. We are not going to school today.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Happy Anniversary

It is Michael and my four year anniversary today. We don't have pictures- we eloped. Pictures were taken on that cold day in the court room but we never got the film developed (blush). My memories of the day are better than any pictures I would see anyway. Here's how it worked:

November 3rd: Michael and I talked about how much we hated the wedding planning stuff. We talked about eloping and 'just doing it' and having our own special wedding day that was our secret.

November 5th: I called Michael at work to tell him that we could get married on Friday. They had an 'opening' at noon.

November 7th: I picked Michael up from work. We went to the court house and got married. We spent the night at the Four Seasons Hotel. We danced, ate chocolate covered strawberries, toasted with champagne, it was perfect.

June 19, 2004: We had our wedding ceremony. It was lovely but not as good as our actual special wedding day.

November 7, 2007: We have twins that we love more than anything (besides each other, of course). We are so happy to have our family and to be spending the rest of our days together.

Dear Michael,
Happy Anniversary. I love you more today than I ever have before. I love that you take care of me by doing the dishes and cleaning the house when I'm exhausted, like last night. I love that you remind me to eat during the day because you know that I am more likely to grab a cup of coffee and a scone. I love that you make me laugh at least once a day every day, like this morning in the car. I love that you love our babies as much as I do.

I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you.

I love you,

Friday, November 2, 2007


It's official, Madeleine is a biped. She has been working on walking for a while now but I couldn't figure out when I would officially call her a walker. Well, earlier (like Wednesday or something) this week she walked down the hall without holding on. I was shocked. Since then she has dazzled me with her independence.

She walks most places now. The videos below are from earlier in the week with some funny out takes.

I'm so proud of her. She got her helper leg on September fourth. It took her two months to really figure it out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

scroll down

scroll down to see pumpkin patch pics.

Trick or Treating pics to follow....

Happy Halloween!!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

For My Husband

How could I designate one (or many!) post to my kids and not one to my husband?

Michael, this is for you.

Michael has always made me smile. He never ceases to make me laugh. When I make him laugh I feel proud as hell. You see, my husband is a born comic genius. He has missed his calling, many times over. He has wasted talent in working with computers because, in reality, there is no one funnier than Michael. Sometimes he makes up entire dialogues between people aloud. Example to follow.

He also makes faces and voices. He is what Dr. John Gottman would call a "facial gymnast". By the way, Max has inherited this from his daddy.

Although most people would associate Michael with comedy there is much more in that 6 foot 4 frame. He is very smart. He has a memory like a proverbial steel trap, which isn't always a great thing as he remembers my boyfriends before we started dating (*blush*). He cares. Even though emotions make him a bit nervous sometimes, especially sadness, he can feel things very deeply. Something I admire in people.

He is a fantabulous father. It is noteworthy to mention that when your children are born it may be one of the things that you and your spouse love equally. The kids adore him and can say "Daddy" much better than "Mommy".

He loves me. This I know is true.