Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Down on the Farm

We live in the city. Well, not downtown like we use to but pretty close (6 miles north of downtown). We also live in a building therefore my children do not have a lot of 'green space' around them. Sure we have parks, Greenlake is very close (3/4 of a mile) and we have a little playground/park that is only two blocks away. But we do not have country.

There is a little park in Bellevue called Kelsey Creek it has a lot of open green space and it has a playground but what is really cool is that it has animals. Farm Animals. It is really nice to be able to go to a place where the kids can run around, see the animals and learn about a farm. It seems kind of silly but when your kids are total city kids this makes for a great experience.

The kids love the big pig but at the same time are afraid of Joy (the pig's name). Max thinks the sheep and the goats are hilarious and Madeleine thinks they are all 'doggies'. The horses and the cow haven't been too personal with us but we will keep trying. We love the chickens and the bunnies, who never fail to amuse us.

Madeleine getting pretty close.Max posing for the camera with the sheep. This one seems to have a genuine affection for Max, we are thinking that perhaps he smells like hay or something.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Toe Shmoe

Almost two weeks ago exactly I had a slight toe incident in the middle of the night. Here's the run down:
*sometime in the middle of the night Max wakes up coughing
*Niki runs to Max's crib to calm him before he throws up (long story)
*a quilt from our bed falls to the floor
*Niki's right big toe gets caught on the quilt and bends forward
*popping noises can be heard
*Niki limps to Max's bedside and soothes him back to sleep
*Niki goes back to bed with searing pain
*Niki wakes up to dried blood on her big toe that appears to have come from beneath the nail bed

Although the nail in question hurt I have mostly continued my normal activities, including running up to 5 miles at the gym.

Finally, last night, almost two weeks from the incident, I told Michael that my toes was killing me and that I should see a doctor.
I got an 11:00 am doctor's appointment at the podiatrists office. I bring two tired twin babies and my limp toe to see Dr. Lilja. After x-rays and a quick visit the doctor has reported that I have broken my big toe. broken. Okay, cracked, really. They tell me to take Ibuprofen and wear this big boot to keep the toe stable. No running for four weeks (there goes my endurance!) and watch the swelling.

Sheesh!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Can you say...

video

Max is talking up a storm! Even if the word is hard for him to say he will still give it a try. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Seattle, sunny in January?

Who says Seattle always rains? Who says that it is always miserable in January? Okay, so it usually is raining in Seattle in January but we have had a few rare sunny days. Of course, when it is sunny it is cold. Please enjoy some pictures from a very sunny, and cold, Martin Luther King Day when the Meyers family decided to go for a walk in the lovely arboretum.



Ah, the wonder of nature.
Mommy and Madeleine!Daddy and Max!How cute is my son?????!!!!!But the frozen mud puddle is over here...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Infertility

Remember my hundred things about me post?


66. I have experienced infertility and it is the worst pain I have ever known. I have numerous friends who have dealt with and are dealing with infertility and my heart breaks over and over for them.



I am constantly reminded of our struggle to have children. It really is everywhere. Not only do I thank the heavens everyday for my children but I, in turn, find myself praying for those that I love to also be able to conceive.



Infertility isn't talked about much. There is still a lot of shame around being infertile from both sides, men and women. In the past women were always to blame. The female reproductive system is very complicated. There are a lot of hormones and chemicals that play into getting pregnant. However, the male system is also complicated and the frustrating thing is that it is argueable that it is easier to "fix" women than men. There are medications one can take in order to help you ovulate. There are tests that can be peed on in order to get the timing right. But, with men if there is no sperm there is no sperm. No medicine will bring sperm. If they don't swim there is nothing you can take to get them to swim. If the sperm lack a chromosome you cannot put it back in.



Reproductive endocrinologists, the doctors specializing in infertility, consider a couple to be infertile if:
*the couple has not conceived after 12 months of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is under the age of 34
*the couple has not conceived after 6 months of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is over the age of 35 (declining egg quality of females over the age of 35 account for the age-based discrepancy as when to seek medical intervention)
*the female is incapable of carrying a pregnancy to term.


Infertility affects approximately 10% of people of reproductive age, and 15% of couples. Roughly 40% of cases involve a male contribution or factor, 40% involve a female factor, and the remainder involve both sexes.


(wikipedia.org)


In my life I know far too many people who have and are experiencing infertility. Because it isn't discussed openly I thought I may put it in perspective for my readers. I will not give identifying information and if you are one of the couples I discuss and you feel I have been too revealing please let me know asap and I will edit this post. Keep in mind that these are not people I have "heard of" these are people that I know either very well and consider them friends or acquaintences.



Couple A: unable to conceive on their own. Took Clomid and had same gendered fraternal twins.



Couple B: unable to conceive on their own. Took Clomid and had same gendered fraternal twins.



Couple C: Condeived first child without problem, could not get pregnant with their second took clomid, had miscarriage, took it again and have same gendered fraternal twins.



Couple D: Tried for years. Had tests done, did numerouls IUI (intrauterine insemination) got pregnant on their own after HSG (hysterio....)



Couple E: Pregnant with their first child after clomid. Unable to conceive the second after two IUIs and 1 IVF. Settled with having only one child.



Couple F: Male Factor Infertility. One IVF = one healthy child.



Couple G: Endometriosis and Male Factor Infertility. 2 IVFs, 1 FET = one healthy child



Couple H: Conceived first child with clomid. Second child came from 1 IVF.



Couple I: 1 IVF = one healthy child



Couple J: female ovarian failure. 1 failed IVF with Donor Eggs, 1 FET with Donor Eggs = 1 heathly child



Couple K: 2 miscarriages. 1 IVF = boy/girl twins



Couple L: 2 miscarriages. 1 IVF = one healthy baby



Couple M: female ovarian failure + MFI, multiple IVFs. Now 1 healthy baby.



Couple N: unable to conceive naturally. first IVF attempt failed. Second resulted in identical twins.



Couple O: MFI and endometriosis. 1 IVF = identical twins.



Couple P: MFI and endometriosis, 2 surgeries to correct. 3 failed IVF attmepts. On fourth try conceived same gendered fraternal twins.



Couple Q: unexplained infertility. 6 IUIs, 1 IVF, 2 FET, still trying



Couple R: unexplained infertility. several IUIs, 1 IVF, 1 FET, still trying



Couple S: MFI. 3 IVFs, several miscarriages. Using donor sperm.



Couple T: unable to conceive on their own. still trying after 3 years.



Couple U: 2 miscarriages. 2 years of not getting pregnant. Adopted baby at birth.



Couple V: 1 failed IVF using donor sperm and eggs. Adopted baby at birth.



nuff said.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Amputee sprinter ruled ineligible for Olympics





Have you seen this? I heard about this guy a while back and thought for sure that they would allow him to compete. It seemed that there would be no question. I have read the reason they are denying him. I "understand" that they believe his prosthesis will give him an "unfair" advantage. However, what does having no legs do? How about all the muscles he has to use in order to make those "cheetah legs" work? How about the balance he has to have in order to be able to walk without feet?


Oscar Pistorius was born with bilateral fibular hemimelia. Madeleine has unilateral fibular hemimelia. Somehow I feel somewhat of a kinship with this guy. I'm proud of him. I want him to succeed and not just in the paralympics but in all able-bodied sports as well.


I'm wondering how this will all play out, assuming that someone from the Disabilities Discrimination will get involved at some point.


I want to welcome comments but I certainly do not want to hear anything negative on my blog. Imagine my sweet baby girl overcoming all the odds that she has overcome to have someone tell her that she couldn't do what her able-bodied peers can. I couldn't read through the comments on the Fox sports page. Michael did and they made him heart sick. We realize that we will face all of this criticism and negativity toward our daughter at some point. Kids will make fun of her, she will feel as if life is unfair, she will have questions, she may be an angry teenager and we realize this but for now we want to make our family unit as strong as possible so that she (and Max) feel as though they can do anything.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

gym update

You are wondering how the gym is going, right? You want to know if I have stuck to my new year's resolution and used that damn membership I bought.

Yes, it is being used and I am a happier person.

I have gone nearly everyday since I first signed up (minus this past Sunday-Tuesday when I was inflicted by the most annoying cold).

I continue to have a love affair with the treadmill.

My ipod is broken (grrrr....) but I can still listen to music with my radio or watch tv with my headphones. I hope to have it fixed soon or I'll get another one.

I have complimented by the manager of the gym today when he said he has noticed me coming all the time and I look happier, he could tell by the expression on my face. :)

I don't want to jinx myself with this but I have seemed to have gotten rid of four pounds since the new year.

On the down note- my shins are killing me and I am reminded of how one needs to build up tolerance to running. I may be overdoing it since it has been so long since I have followed my running routine but I just love it too much to slow down.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Merry Max

You have heard of "Merry Maids". I have a Merry Max. He loves to clean. I mean this kid loves to clean. Sometimes I think he makes a mess just so he can clean it up.

It started a while ago when he discovered the swiffer at a friend's house. He started swiffering and just couldn't stop. Unfortunately, we don't have enough flat floor surfaces to warrant buying a swiffer. He since has discovered our broom and has now stretched this into dusting cloths and cleaning rags.

Recently, however, Max discovered that baby wipes are great cleaning cloths. At restaurants Michael and I routinely wipe down the table and high chairs with antibacterial wipes since we do not want Madeleine to have an allergic reaction to remnants from another child's meal. Max has seen us do this and now requests his own wipe so that he may contribute.

At home I have seen him pulling wipes out of the container so that he may wipe down his little table. This is good, we encourage it. Now Max will purposefully spill water and then ask for a cloth to wipe it up. I obey.

Funny story:
The other day Max pulled out a snack cup full of goldfish crackers from my diaper bag which was sitting on the floor. He accidentally spilled a few crackers on the floor. No big deal. But, the next thing we noticed was that Max had the container of wipes out of the diaper bag and was pulling a few of them out. When I tried to prevent this from happening (remember the tissue incident?) Michael informed that Max was trying to clean the goldfish up. He had pulled out the wipes and was wiping the goldfish trying to get them off the floor! Clever little boy!

So, you ask, where is Madeleine in this equation? Well, let's just say she takes after her mom.

Friday, January 4, 2008

141 posts!

I have blogged over 140 posts! I have more than 150 if you count those in the editing stage. I started this one a while ago...


In honor of my blogging habit I'm going to attempt to write over 100 trivial posts about me, in no particular order. For this list I promise that I will not write anything about my children. This is hard. I love my babies. And, in fact, I define myself in their existence. I am a mother of twins. However, I will try to stick with personal facts, quirks and truths. Katie, Melissa, Jenna, Brooke and my other blogging friends: I dare you to do the same (wink).

1. I have a worm phobia. This encompasses creatures that resemble worms too (ie, snakes, slugs, eels and the like). I don't like seeing them in real life or in pictures. My heart races and my breath becomes shallow.
2. I don't love movies. And I don't really like comedies.
3. I love books. I love the written word. I love reading and writing. One day I will write a book.
4. I've run two marathons (Vancouver and San Diego) and three half marathons (Vancouver and 2 times in Seattle)
5. I'm a slow runner but, when in shape, I can run for a long time.
6. I have three tattoos and would like another in order to commemorate my babies.
7. I dye my hair and have been doing so since I was 14.
8. I don't have a strong father figure in my life.
9. I have always struggled with my weight and have dabbled in eating disorders in the past. I prefer to be larger and eating well and exercising than starving myself.
10. I love eating out at restaurants. See #9
11. I don't like massages. I'd rather have acupuncture done. Or, my teeth cleaned. I like having my teeth cleaned.
12. I'm addicted to the Internet.
13. I use to be a retail manager and worked in the mall for many many sad years.
14. High school was a bad time for me. I much preferred college.
15. I like math. I never did it well but as I am older now, I like math. I like the challenge of finding the right answer.
16. I speak French.
17. I love French music. Particularly Jacques Brel.
18. When I started college I was a theatre major and an art minor. My first semester I got a D in theatre and a C in art. Needless to say, I dropped that area of study.
19. I've attended 6 colleges: Western Michigan University, Grand Rapids Community College, College of San Mateo, Seattle Central Community College, University of Washington, L'Universite de Poitiers, France, University of Washington (graduate degree). It took me ten years to finish college. I finished with honors though.
20. I love reality TV.
21. I don't like playing sports.
22. I'm not a team player. I'd rather do things alone and my way.
23. I miss working out at the gym. I love to run on the treadmill.
24. I always wanted twins.
25. I met my husband in September '96. We married November '03.
26. I love prime numbers. My anniversary is 11.7.03
27. I like conducting research and cherish my time at the Gottman Lab, enough to return to it.
28. I'm a teacher. I teach elementary special ed. I taught French to adults. I don't really like teaching French to kids.
29. I'm afraid of monsters, scary movies, and people chasing me.
30. I love flowers, but hate gardening. It is the worm thing, see #1.
31. I wish I knew how to take really good pictures but I don't want to take the time to learn.
32. My best friend is Martha. She lives in San Diego. We have been friends a long long time and still have oodles in common.
33. I want to be pregnant again.
34. I love candy. I love most sweets. I love baked goods.
35. I'm addicted to coffee.
36. I don't smoke but I use to. I wish I never had.
37. I have a lot of hair on my head. Too much for my liking.
38. I love children more than I like pets or animals.
39. I hate pet hair. I like most dogs but I'm not a big fan of the ones with 'fur', think poodle. I prefer short hair, think lab.
40. I don't like zoos because animals in cages make me sad.
41. I cry easily at human misery.
42. I have lived in three states, Michigan, California and Washington.
43. I love Seattle and never truly want to leave.
44. I don't know how to swim. I can float and dog paddle but I cannot really swim. Hence, I will never do a triathlon.
45. I don't like to ride bikes. I prefer my feet on the ground, as oppose to being on a bike or skateboard.
46. I'm fascinated by sharks.
47. I'm horrible at decorating.
48. I'm an optimist, a half-full kind of person.
49. A have PCOS: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or at least I use to before I was pregnant.
50. I have Hypothyroidism
51. I take medication for both of those conditions listed above, as well as something for post partum depression.
52. I have a LOT of good girl friends!
53. I tend to resent people who have a lot of money. Residual negative feelings from my youth.
54. Fall is my favorite season.
55. Spring is a close second.
56. I love Christmas. I use to hate it and now I think it is so wonderful.
57. I use to hate Thanksgiving. Michael and I called it "Thankstaking Day" because of the pilgrims and the Native Americans. Two years ago I found out I was pregnant the day before Thanksgiving- now I like the day.
58. I lived in France for four months and have spent a lot of time in Holland. I love Holland and I think France is pretty but only so so compared to Holland.
59. I dream of living abroad (see #58) for a little while.
60. I'm tempted to go for a PhD in education. After receiving my Masters it didn't seem like enough, even though I know it is.
61. I have lived in Seattle longer than any other place.
62. I will be 36 in June. I don't think I ever expected myself to get so old.
63. I have never attended a high school reunion. I don't want to.
64. I drive a minivan and love it.
65. I always wanted to go to Africa. I want to less now but still a little bit.
66. I have experienced infertility and it is the worst pain I have ever known. I have numerous friends who have dealt with and are dealing with infertility and my heart breaks over and over for them.
67. I love Disneyland and can't wait to bring my children there.
68. I hate Ikea but continue to go there. growl.
69. I love avocados. I think they may be the perfect food.
70. I don't like eating chickens but I love watching real life chickens. I think they are hilarious.
71. I'm mostly a vegetarian. I was a vegetarian for much of my young life and only recently branched out to fish, chicken and such. No cows.
72. My sister and I played with dolls and Barbies until we were at least 10.
73. I have a "thing" for Harry Potter.
74. I wish I could do Yoga well. I feel intimidated by it.
75. I would love to be trained by Jillian or Bob from the Biggest Loser. I love how they kick so much ass!
76. I have been tweezing my eye brows forever but they are still hard to control.
77. I'm lucky to have blond facial and body hair. It doesn't show much.
78. I love numbers (did I mention this already) which is why I like using a treadmill- I like the feedback.
79. I love to graph things and see trends. A numbers feedback thing, I suppose.
80. I'm confused by death and have not figured out how to deal with it or what I believe.
81. I'm spiritual but not 'religious'- I have too many questions and not enough information.
82. I like the idea that God resides in us. That He has created us to live through. This feels better to me than the "Big Guy" in the sky metaphor.
83. I'm trying to wake up every morning and asking God for what I want. I read once that if we don't know what we want we will never get it.
84. I ask God for balance every morning. Balance in my heart. Balance in my body. Balance in my Mind.
85. I love my family more than anything else on the planet. I would do anything for them.
86. I would have no hesitation donating my organs to someone who needed them.
87. I'm a super talkative person.
88. It has taken me a long time to learn how to listen.
89. I'm a public school teacher.
90. I value the public school system and support it.
91. I think I want my children to go to private schools.
92. I don't let my kids play in ball pits (think McDonalds or Ikea). Michael and I call them breeding grounds for germs.
93. I always wished I was Jewish.
94. I wish I would have gone to medical school. I admire doctors greatly.
95. I can be happy with very little.
96. There are a few words in the English language that I hate so much I never say them. I cannot even write them here.
97. I say sofa instead of couch.
98. I cannot drink red wine, it gives me a serious headache.
99. I use to be lactose intolerant until I got pregnant, now I can have dairy.
100. I cannot think of 150 things more to write so I will stop here.



*Thanks, Sarah, for the idea ;)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Goodbye 2007- so long.

I've been working on this post for a few days now. I was trying to find a way of summing up 2007: a year in pictures, perhaps, a detailed acount of all our events, but nothing was working for me.

Here's the truth. I'm happy that 2007 is behind us. It wasn't a very good year for me. It was full of anxiety and emotional pain. I'm happier to look forward to the future, to look forward to 2008.

Max and Madeleine continue to amaze me as they complete their second year of life. Physically they have so much more control of their bodies. They walk better, they run, they climb, they try to jump and they know what they want! Socially they are growing as well, as they learn to talk and communicate better. I cannot keep up with their new words- there are so many! In addition, they repeat everything, or at least they try to. They are playing together more too. It is wonderful to see them take each others' hands to do 'row row row your boat'. They make Michael and I (and each other) laugh everyday!

I'm so thankful for all of the people who have helped us navigate this journey so far. We so appreciate those who have offered love, support and care for our family. For all of our visitors and helpers throughout our difficult summer we offer thanks to you Grandma Bobbie, Grandpa Gordy, Grandpa Dave and Melissa, Auntie Paula, Auntie Martha and Uncle Ted, Jenna, Jessica, Brooke and everyone else. We are so thankful for your love and help.

We feel so blessed to have the medical team that we do who care for our kids. Thank you Dr. Passloff, Dr. Mosca, Nurse Sue, Prosthetist Greg, and physical therapist Cathy, your knowledge and care has been invaluable, we feel so fortunate to be close to Seattle Children's where we know we will be taken care of.

For 2008 we wish for health and happiness to all of our friends and family.

For me, I'm excited to see Madeleine and Max grow into the people they are and will become.

Happy New Year!