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.

For My Kids

I don't know if any of my readers watch Oprah. In fact, I'm feeling a little embarrassed to ask that question. I watch Oprah. I'm not always interested in her topics but all in all I think she has done more good for the world than bad and I respect that.

I recently watched her show on dying and living with terminal illness. Both guests on the show had cancer, in different forms. I do not know what it is like to live with cancer. I cannot even imagine it. I cried during the show about 5 times at different occasions. There were so many lessons to be learned. I cannot help but to write about them (see below).

A note to my 'loved one' who is living with cancer:
W, I think about you every day and wish that some how I could take it away from you. We have known each other a very long time and I can honestly tell you that you do not deserve to deal with this or any of the other chaos in your life. You are one of the strongest individuals I know. You are one of the most creative individuals I know. Because we are blood I love you. Because we have similar interests I like you. And because of your humor and tenacity I admire you.

Back to Oprah:
Randy Pausch is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and apparently he gave his 'last lecture' recently. You can find it here. I haven't watched it in entirety but I saw the abridged version on Oprah. He gave his life lessons and then said that although he realizes that he has touched many people (my words not his) he wrote the lecture for his kids because when he is gone they will see the video.

Lessons learned:
Prevention is better than treatment. Eat foods that will nourish you and prevent illness. I'd rather eat things that help me than take pills that help me or worse, have surgery.

Experience it. Do now what you have always wanted to do. Why wait?

Exercise. As Brooke told me yesterday, you won't come back from a run wishing you hadn't done it. Amen to that!

Love your loves. Tell and show people how much you love them. One day, like it or not, they will not be there.

For my kids:
My every breath is taken for you. The Niki that I once knew no longer exists. I do not make choices for me anymore; I make them for you. You are my children, I must nurture you, protect you, teach you, love you with all that I am.

Only when you bring a child into the world do you realize how little you matter.

For my friends and family who have moved on, I miss you.

I miss you, Grandma. I wish I could turn back the clock and play games with you again, tell you stories. I wish you knew Max and Madeleine because I know you would love them as much as I do. I know that their smiles would charm the pants off of you. I know that you would have their little faces famed in tiny frames on your mantle. I wish they could sit on the toilet and watch you put all that make up on the way that I did when I was young. It is up to me to give them your life lessons now.

Grandpa, sometimes I forget that you are gone. I don't know why you always seemed to be the one that would stay put for me. I will ditto what I wrote to Grandma for you. Max and Madeleine are missing out on knowing a wonderfully loving man. One who is full of life lessons couched in raunchy stories. I will tell them about you and the boat, about you and the store. I will describe for them your tattoos that Wendy and I loved so much, oh how we talked about them and discussed which design was on what arm. When I step foot in a body shop or merely walk by one I am reminded of you. That smell will always be recognizable in my brain.

Mary, I cannot believe you have been away for as long as you have. You taught me more than you knew. My regret is that you were the glue that bound Skip and I together. You have gone and he is slipping away from me.

Jane, why did you go so young? You were a talented and beautiful child. I'm still so saddened that your pain took you away from here. If you could have seen that teen angst is temporary. You had a lot to give. You live in my heart and I see your face in every single one of my students. You have taught me more than you would have ever known.

Grandma Thea, I wish we had known each other. I have few memories of you but from what every one tells me my life would have been richer if you had stayed in it a bit longer.

The Kathys: There is an empty place in the world from each of your passings. Both of you taken to soon. Your memory lives on in so many people who loved you and cared about you.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumpkin Patch

Michael and I always dreamed about having our own child/ren to take to the pumpkin patch. I don't know why this was a dream but it was. We went to this farm every year-without children. We walked through the fields and picked out our family pumpkin. We watched other families snapping photos of their children and dreamed that one day we would bring our own kids.

The kids loved the pumpkin patch as much as Michael and I do!

Madeleine picked out the pumpkin she wanted.
This one, Mom.

This little green one is just the right size for Max.

Guess who has figured out how to say 'no'? Max. Sometimes he says one 'no' and other times he says them in a series like, 'no, no, no, no, no'. He also doesn't do it necessarily when he means to say no, he just says it whenever.

Mom: "Max, we are going to get your shoes on now so we can go."
Max: "No"

Mom: "Max, what's Madeleine doing?"
Max: "No"

Mom: "Oooooh, peaches, you love peaches!"
Max: "No, no, no, no, no, no"

It is a really cute sounding 'no' as well. It resembles a 'new' more than a 'no'. It just reminds me that toddler times are ahead.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Swinging with Daddy!

Swinging with Daddy.

Last night

You are all wondering about last night, right?

Rather egotistical of me to think you are at the edge of your seat worried about my sleep!

Madeleine had her 'dream feed' again. Around 10 pm I went in to nurse and put her back to sleep. It is quick and easy, so it doesn't bother me.

Maxy got up around 1-ish and nursed and went back to sleep. And then came into our bed around 5 am or so.

That was it! Madeleine had another fabulous night of sleep (as did I)! The difference? We moved her crib so that we can turn the heat on. The room is now kept at a constant warm temperature that that has made the difference.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Update on sleep...

Maybe all I have to do is write about something and complain and then it changes.

First, I want to thank my visitors for their advice and support. I was overwhelmed (and warmed) by your caring words and gumption to post in my blog. It is nice to know that so many of us 'new' moms aren't sleeping. Maybe we should start sharing make-up tips for "opening up the eyes" and "covering dark circles"!

Here is our update....

Saturday night going into Sunday:
7:00} Bedtime
9:40} Madeleine up to nurse
4:30}Maxy up. Brought into bed with us, nurses, falls back asleep
7:00} Max up
7:30}Madeleine up

Yes, you read that correctly, Madeleine slept all night! All night! This is a first!

Sunday night going into Monday:
7:30} Bedtime
11:41} One baby up to nurse (I cannot remember which one)
2:05} Both babies up, nurse and go back to bed
7:00} Babies up!!!

Yeppers, almost 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep! I feel like a new woman!

Now, I'm not saying that I'm going to expect this from now on but I am saying that we are getting closer. More than that, it proves to me that I am not doing something 'wrong'. I am not damning myself, Michael or my kids by bringing them to bed with us. I am not habitualizing getting up by nursing them in the middle of the night. My belief is that children go through many different stages of growth and development. These stages happen often since there is so much growing and changing in their bodies, minds and lives. We, as parents, can attempt to make things predictable for them. We can impose schedules and routines but really it is the child that will dictate what they need.

Perhaps our week of awakenings were because of a slight virus that had been undetected. Perhaps Maxy wanted to nurse so much because he was thirsty or his throat hurt. Maybe Madeleine had nightmares. I will never know the answer but I do know that it won't be like this forever. I like what Melissa said, when they are teenagers they will sleep all day! And I can get as much exercise as I want then.

I will choose to parent through this.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

halloween prewiew

Thought I'd give you a preview of Halloween. Max will be a chicken and Madeleine an owl. It is sort of a Fowl Holiday. :)

Madeleine, the owl, doing her favorite thing: Pointing.
Such a cute Owl Face!
Maxy as the Chicken!
Mommy and Maxy!

Sleep? What's Sleep?

Okay, I'm ready to admit it, I don't sleep. Some of you (my close friends and family) know this, others just assume that by now, as the kids are 15 and a half months old, we are sleeping. Sigh, we are not.

Here is a typical night:
7:00-7:30} Bedtime (books, brushing teeth, nursing and nigh-nigh)
11:00-ish} Madeleine up (nurse go back to bed)
12:15-ish} Max up
2:00-ish} Madeleine awake yelling, wakes Max up, Michael and I both up, I nurse
4:00- Max awake wanting to nurse. I try to tell him the milk is all gone and he throws a major tantrum for a half hour. I give in (coercive parenting) and nurse him.
5:00- 6:00} Madeleine awake (me or Michael trying to get her back to sleep)
7:30} everyone awake

Yes, this means that I get about 4-5 hours of sleep a night. The problem is that when I get the children back to sleep I myself, cannot get back to sleep so easily. So, I lye awake knowing that I only have a few hours to rest before the next baby stirs.

The pediatrician says that I need to 'night wean'. They are getting up for the comfort of nursing and if I deny them breast milk they will sleep. So, we try it. After more than an hour of Michael trying to soothe Max, Max yelling, "Mi...Mi...Mi" I give in and nurse his cute butt. Then Madeleine wakes up, Michael goes in to soothe, she screams like a banshee as is she has had a nightmare, I get worried that the spica cast gave her post traumatic stress disorder and I go in to soothe, nurse, rock whatever.

Sometimes we bring a baby to bed, in which case no one sleeps well. Other times one of us parents sleeps on the sofa with a baby while the other is in bed with a baby. In this scenario we may sleep a bit better but Michael and I both realize this situation is not good for anyone. On the other occasions we are both up all night rocking, soothing, nursing, patting, shushing a baby.

What to do? I don't have a clue. I am welcoming suggestions, help, offers to spend the night- whatever. I will not allow my children to 'cry it out' in the middle of the night. It goes against the maternal instinct, so please do not suggest I let them cry themselves to sleep. I have let them fuss. I have gone in and patted them telling them it is night time. Michael has gone in and said that Mama is sleeping and it is time for nigh-nigh. I have told them (especially Maxy) that the milk is "all gone" and he has to sleep. He will not. He will tantrum, pull on my shirt, wiggle, toss, turn, cry, yell for Milk. What to do?

I'm at the end. I'm resentful, I'm craving sugar and coffee, I don't know what to do.

For the record, I have given the children less sleep during the day (i.e., one nap for a few hours in the afternoon). I have kept them on schedules. I have put them down early, later, on time and everything in between. I have given them benadryl, Tylenol, ibuprofen. I have tried massage, warm baths, a snack before bed.

The only thing left to try is white noise instead of a lullaby CD and making their room warmer.

I haven't slept in over 18 months.

This is why I am no longer running and working out. This is why I crave sugar and coffee. This is why I don't call you back.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Physical Therapy- Part II: Graduation

Madeleine went to physical therapy again today. It is nice to report that it went much much better. She was happy the entire time and Cathy (the PT) commented on how much Madeleine has changed in terms of mood. Yes, I told her, we are slowly getting our pleasant baby back. I have tried to tell the professionals at Children's that after the surgery Madeleine changed remarkably. The spica cast gave her a bit of depression, I believe, and we all experienced her moodiness in her appointments.

Madeleine seemed to enjoy the work today. She loves playing with balls and Cathy had a fresh supply of them in different sizes and colors. She impressed us with her mobility in that she took four whole steps today! She took two steps for me this morning so she doubled in her accomplishment! Cathy was happy with her progress and graduated her out of PT. We will go back and see Greg in about two weeks as he believes that Madeleine will be walking on her own by then and we may need to readjust her prosthesis.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

One box of tissues

Two babies- $25,000

One box of tissues- $1.29

Fun- priceless

What happens when a pair of bored twins find an almost full box of tissues? Fun ensues.

First, we take the tissues out of the box....

What a great big pile!

"Max, let's see if we can shred the tissues into very small pieces", Madeleine declares. "Oh, and are those my pink pyjama bottoms?"

Madeleine demonstrates the fine art of shredding.

Max practices.


Doesn't every child love to play peek-a-boo? For Madeleine, it is her favorite game.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Michael had a dream recently. A dream that was so profound that he was compelled to tell me every detail when we woke up. I'd like to relay it to you.

Michael's Dream:

It was winter. Seattle had an unusual snow storm that left the roads difficult to pass as they were very snowy and icy. Michael woke up to the snow and knew in his heart that no matter what he had to get to work. Come hell or high water, the firm needed him.

He journeyed the arduous six miles to downtown Seattle. He recalled that many of the employees had taken the day off as the roads were impassible or just dangerous. Michael, however, and several of his colleagues were there and working as if the day was like none other.

One thing was different though. Michael noticed that his colleagues had begun to call him by a new nickname. Everytime someone passed him they said, "Hey Zoom" or "Yo, Zoom, what's up?" with a knowing nod. Michael was confused. "While are they calling my Zoom? " he wondered. He brushed this thought off by convincing himself that it was because he was able to get to work in a timely manner, despite the snow.

Around lunch time Michael realized that he was dressed a bit awkward for work! To his amazement and chagrin he was wearing one of Max's onsies! It was the snap in the crotch kind but unfortuantely being the size that he was Michael was unable to snap the crotch up and left it to hang outside of his dress pants!

Although he knew he was wearing very unprofessional attire he tried to pull it off by tucking in the onsies' snap tails. "This is doable" he convinced himself. In that it would have been too difficult to go home to change he pulled it out as fashion.

No one seemed to notice the mistake!

See Max's Zoom onsie below: