Thursday, January 29, 2009

Winter Walk

The boys and I took a walk this afternoon. It was wonderful to be outside in the winter air and sunshine! I have run errands here and there this week, but the kids have mainly been home. Especially Luccio, he hasn't been out since Sunday. So they were so excited!!!

I originally thought I would load them into their wagon like I usually do, but it was frozen into a snow pile, ugh! So instead I had to use the double side by side stroller. Not the best option for a walk in slush and ice, but we did alright. I was a mama on a mission and we were going to get out of our icy wonderland one way or another!

As we walked we made a few stops. First we went to a couple of our neighbors' houses to drop off care packages. The boys and I had packed up meals that included sauce, pasta, garlic bread, salad and meatballs to surprise some neighbors. One went to Mr. M a recent widower who lost his wife. They were a cute elderly couple. Mrs M. knew all the happenings in the neighborhood and kept us informed of all the important things we needed to know as well as the gossip! And when I was in the hospital with the boys she put us on prayer lists at her church. She always sent cards offering her prayers after Luccio's surgeries. So thoughtful. And Mr. M has been known to mow our lawn from time to time with his ride on mower- a great surprise!!

The second package went to a couple across the street. They have been such great neighbors to us. We don't know them well but they always pop up when we need them. One year we were trying to plant a tree and couldn't get a huge rock out of the ground so Terry came over with some tools and dug it out for us. And Liz has shoveled our walkway on more that one occasion when Greg was working during snow storms. And Terry comes over with his snow blower to help Greg pretty often. Last week, I was trying to get the kids out to the car and it was icy and Liz came running across the street and helped me carry the boys to the car!! Now that is awesome!

No one was home so we left our packages on the front steps, the boys didn't care if anyone answered the door, they were yelling "Surprise!" Then we continued on our walk. The boys were overjoyed to be out! They were calling hello to each person we passed. We talked to two elderly gentlemen shoveling snow and ice. And then Luccio was shouting hello to a couple of AT&T salesmen walking the neighborhood. So I had to listen to a whole spiel about a cable service that we already have! Then we stopped by the small restaurant on the corner of our street. The owner was outside shoveling so the boys had to talk to him too!

My favorite moment was when Vincenzo leaned over and hugged Luccio and started singing 
"I love You, You Love Me, We're a Happy Family."  Then he looked up at me and said "Barney sings that."  It was too cute!!!

We finally had to go home because Luccio's blanket got stuck in the stroller wheel. So I had to drag the thing home backwards and pull it up our icy walkway! But, it was so worth it. The fresh air felt great and hopefully helped air out their winter germies. And it tired them out. Luccio was begging to go to bed at 6:45!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Baby Blessings 08

I have been a "journaler" since I was 8 yrs. old. I got my first journal from my mom on the last day of second grade. I spent that summer writing little tidbits of info and so began my journaling adventure. I have over 30 journals at this point because some years I filled more than 1 and some years less than 1.

Over the past 26 years my journaling has evolved and changed many times. I used be an everyday writer up until I graduated high school. In college I would write 2-3 times a week.
Then it became a few times a month. Since having the kids I only write highlights now and then.

I have found it easier lately to write lists versus long entries. So some lists include: Updates, blessings, goals, etc. One of my favorite lists is called Baby Blessings. I began this list back in 2005 while undergoing fertility treatments. I had been told by someone that focusing on the positive helps it come to fruition. So whenever I heard about a new pregnant person in my family or group of friends, which was often, instead of collapsing into a pile of tears, I would write down the name and due date and update it when the baby was born. Celebrating those babies helped me get through the struggle of creating my own. And once I had my boys I was able to add them to the list as my greatest blessings of all!

It's been 4 years since I started the Baby Blessings List and over the years I have continued with it because its interesting to me to see the trends in names and genders, etc. This year was "The Year of the Girls."

So here is the Baby Name List and stats for 2008:

BOYS:
Reid
Tyler
Alex
Luke
Benjamin
Isaac
Louis
Samuel
Sean
Maxton

Girls:
Keira
Kayla
Shelby
Sophia
Maya
Ashley
Ava
Arian
Madison
Alyssa
Valerie
Sarah
Amber
Gabrielle
Julia

2008 Total: 25 Babies
10 Boys
15 Girls

2007 Total: 21 Babies
12 Girls
9 Boys
2 sets of Twins

2006 Total: 31 Babies
20 Boys
11 Girls
5 Sets of Twins

2005 Total: 18 Babies
15 Girls
3 Boys

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kate Gosselin, Poor "Filthy" Mansion

I guess it wouldn't be a mother of multiples blog if I didn't have at least one post (rant) about the now infamous Gosselin family from Jon and Kate Plus 8.

I have been watching the show since the very first documentary. Actually its one of the few shows Hubby and I watch together. For those of you who may not have seen or heard of it, the Gosselins are a family of ten. Jon and Kate are the parents and they have 7 year old twin girls and 4 year old sextuplets (3 boys and 3 girls)

For the first 2 seasons I loved it! I was so motivated by Kate to get organized and feed the kids organic food and take the kids on outings and make memories, etc. etc. I thought well if Kate can do all this with 8 kids, I can certainly handle it with 2!

But, somewhere around season 3 we went from being inspired to dissecting every tantrum and fit thrown by Kate (the mother!!) She is a self-proclaimed neurotic, germaphobe. She has control issues to put it mildly. My friend Tammy has compared me to Kate on more than one occasion, I try not to take offence because I am hoping she is just comparing the fact that we both have multiples, hmmm....

Anyway, last night's episode was just too much for me to take! The Gosselins moved into their new house, mansion really!! And good for them. With 8 kids they need the space. But, Kate was so annoying. She kept saying how "filthy" the house was. How it was left in poor condition. And supposedly she spent 4 HOURS, cleaning the fridge. The entire episode centered around the "filthy" fridge. We got to see a couple glimpses of the kids, but about 25 of the 30 minute episode was Kate bitchin' about the "mildew" and "mold" in the fridge. The camera zoomed in at one point and I swear I couldn't see a trace of what she complained of. It looked like a regular fridge. This is a 1.5 million dollar home she is talking about. I have a hard time feeling sorry for her that the fridge needed a good cleaning! !

And does she realize she is on NATIONAL TELEVISION??? The people who owned that home before her are very likely to catch the episode where Kate trashed them for being disgusting homeowners!!

Now, you might wonder what the 8 kids are doing while their mother scrubs a fridge for 4 HOURS!! Well, they were off running loose in the new mansion. At one point, one of the kids was calling Kate because he was in one of the bathrooms pooping and needed to be wiped. Well Kate, try as she might, couldn't find the child because the house was "so big!" Oh, boo hoo!! So, what did Kate do? She went back to cleaning the fridge while two of the boys sat in different bathrooms waiting on the toilets for the father to finally come inside the house to find them and wipe them!! These poor little ones are being exploited on national television to put a roof over their family's head and they can't even get their butts wiped!!

She is too much! Over the years she has gone from a stay at home mom with 8 kids on a budget to a mom who claims to stay home while writing her books, doing book tours, photo shoots, television promotions etc. It is rumored that she has a chef and personal assistant. I point this out not because I think its wrong (I would totally sign up for that!!!) But, because she denies it being true and claims to her audience that she hand prepares all organic meals and has no help caring for the kids. Whatever.

I think I am over my Kate phase. She went from inspiring to annoying to downright ridiculous.
I miss the days when it was about the kids and hearing her tips on childcare and grocery shopping on a budget and seeing the logistics of getting out with that many little ones. Now I feel like I watch a 30 minute commercial for Juicy Juice, Disney, Hawaiian Resorts, Lego Land, Fischer Price toys, basically any child related product. And the Gosselin kids pop in every know and then.

Ahhhh... now that I have said my piece about that. I can move on and clean my own filthy house!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The 8th Day

The last time I went to get my haircut, my hairdresser Lynn and I were talking about how overwhelming it can be to try to fit everything into one week.  We were saying how great an 8th day would be.  I was thinking of all the things I could get done on that extra day.  But, Lynn had a fantastic idea.  She said the 8th day should be your sleeping day.  You could choose where in the week to have your day and you could sleep the whole day.  And other people would be understanding when you turned down their requests to do things or work because you would just say, "Oh, that's my sleeping day."  

Yes!! I love that idea!! How cool would that be?  I guess God had something similar in mind when he created the 7th day and called it the day of rest.  Too bad us humans screwed that idea up!! We added more to our to do lists and use Sunday to get it all done.  Its almost like "Leftover Day" where undone tasks from the week get placed!

Lately I have been trying to take back that day of rest, for me it is usually Saturdays.  Hubby is home and gets up with the boys and does the whole breakfast routine, which is great!! This Saturday I slept until 9;30 and the rest of the day we all relaxed and hung around.  The boys stayed in pajamas all day.  Greg and I alternated between playing with the kids and Facebooking, LOL!  We got caught up on all our DVR shows.  It was glorious!! A day with no plans is fantastic to me!

 Lately I feel like my energy has been zapped.  So that extra rest on the weekends goes a long way! I have also been trying to incorporate that mentally of rejuvenation into the weekdays.  I dug out my old guided imagery music and Hubby put it onto CD for me so I can get back to meditating.  It is relaxing and uplifting all at the same time! I love it.  So today I am going to fit in 20 mins. for that.  Or at least that is the plan, we will see how it goes!


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dinner Drama

So tonight we had Sunday Dinner at my parents like we do most weeks. Stregga and Papa decided to cook out on the grill. So there was steak and burgers and veggie patties and mashed potatoes and corn on the cob! Yummy!!!

We got all settled at the table and then...The Bear lost it. Luccio has earned his nickname the The Bear for many reasons, he is snuggly, he is strong, and if you anger him he growls-LOUD!!

So The Bear went into meltdown mode and was crying and screaming and holding his head.
This is not a first. In fact, whenever The Bear is presented with food choices he dislikes similar drama ensues. Usually at home when we are alone we have very few of these episode. Mainly because I serve the kind of foods I know he likes. I always offer new choices as an "on the side" or even on a different plate. We have a pretty strict routine for our day so he knows what to expect.

It is worse when we are out or when we have company. I don't know if it is because he gets overwhelmed, or he senses my stress because I don't know what to expect, or if its too many people harping on what he will or will not eat. In any case its an ugly scene when it starts.

Tonight was no exception. It is always hard to tell, does he not like the food? Is he not hungry?
Those are possibilities today, the burgers were burnt and he had a late lunch.

Is it a behavior thing? Perhaps. He wanted to get down from his chair and watch TV, which I wouldn't have minded except that he wanted me to sit with him and when I refused he went nuts.

Or is it something more? Does he have a headache? Maybe. I have been reading more and more about Hydrocephalus and in many of the stories about people with shunts they talk about the headaches. One woman said it can be brought on from barometric changes and become so severe that its difficult to concentrate until the weather front passes. Interesting. And scary.

Since bringing Luccio home from the hospital I have felt an enormous responsibility. I know all new parents feel that way. When you become a parent you are essentially the world to your helpless little baby. You are its food, its comfort, its life! And when your child has medical needs that go beyond typical you are also the person making decisions that give life or death a new meaning.

Hubby and I share parenting responsibilities in every aspect. Although I am home with the kids during the day, when Hubby is home at night or on the weekends its a fairly seamless transition when he takes over. However, I feel the responsibility of medical care is solely mine. I know the boys in a way that is unique. I notice every spot of a rash, every crossing of an eye, every scrape, every detail. During the first year it was so much worse, I became almost obsessive in my vigilance. Just ask Luccio's Nurse Kellie!! Another Saint we have been blessed to have in our lives.

For 2 years Kellie came to our house every week. At first she helped us take care of the immediate needs the boys had as preemies. Then she helped us monitor Luccio's head circumference changes and medical needs as we went along. After surgeries Kellie was there to help him recuperate. And selfish as I know it is, Kellie was there for me too. On more than one occasion she arrived in the morning to find me completely disheveled and exhausted from being up all night with screaming babies and in the middle of a neurotic fit because something might be wrong with one of them!

She would calm me down with medical assessments and guide me through the next step when one was needed. And she talked me down from the edge of insanity on occasion, like when Luccio had ringworm. He has just gotten home from the hospital from having brain surgery, but somehow the small ring of fungus on his belly was more than I could handle. I was crazed!! I didn't know if I should sit and cry or bleach my entire house. Kellie calmly suggested putting an anti-fungal creme on it and covering it with a onesie. Oh, that makes sense. Crisis averted!!

So, now that Kellie isn't on duty anymore, I am more responsible than ever to not miss any signs that there may something wrong. I'm asking myself, is Luccio having a behavior related moment or a headache related to hydrocephalus?? How do I know? Where do I draw the line? I try to be consistent and discipline both boys in similar ways, but I always worry with Lucc that maybe I am disciplining a behavior that can't be helped.

I have felt so much better since September when Luccio went for a follow up appointment with his neurosurgeon. We received great news- there was less fluid around his brain and the ventricles had shrunk!! So the shunt was working. Relief washed over me! And I felt like I relaxed and spent the last few months enjoying parenthood and having fun with the boys as they develop. But, sometimes, like tonight I fall back into my neurotic ways I can't help feeling like what if I am missing something that I should be noticing??

Super Nanny this week had a family with 2 sets of twins and dealt with food issues. We are going to try her techniques-not offering more than one choice and not letting the children eat off my plate, etc. We will see if that helps with dinner dramas. In the meantime, I am trying my best to remain calm, cool and collected so I can make accurate assessments.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

25 Random Things


On Facebook someone tagged me in a note and I had to respond with a list of 25 random things about myself. My Facebook addiction is a whole other story, but for now here is my list:

1. I just turned 34 and it feels OLD!
2. I was born in MO.
3. I met Greg on a blind date and we were engaged 5 months later
4. The happiest day of my life was taking my twin sons home from the hospital
5. After college I lived in a Volunteer Corp Community for a year which was a crazy, challenging and fun experience.
6. At 22 I was a foster parent to a newborn named Maya, I loved her like she was my own and never really got over having to give her back to her family.
7. In 2000, I traveled to Rome for World Youth Day and camped out in a field with 2 million people waiting to see the Pope.
8. In one of my pics from the Vatican you can see a white image of Mary holding Jesus coming out of the window of Pope John Paul's apartment.
9. Becoming an aunt "Nantie" when my nephew was born has been an amazing part of my life.
10. I moved 10 times between the time I was 6 yrs old and when I got married at 28. And 2x since getting married.
11. I was a Catholic Campus Minister for 8 years. I left there 3 years ago and have been "church shopping" since.
12. In 2001 I spent 3 weeks alone in Italy, it was life changing!
13. My first car was a BWM stick shift, I couldn't get the hang of driving it so my dad sold it.
14. My mom and I drove to FL one year and sang the soundtrack to Stand By Me for 24 hrs!
15. The winter we got engaged Hubby and I were driving on 95 and decided to keep going until we got to Florida so we could celebrate New Year's Eve in Disney.
16. When we got to FL, the Disney park was FULL! So we had to settle for Epcott!
17. Struggling with infertility issues was the darkest time in my life.
18. When I was pregnant with my boys, I spent 2 1/2 months on hospital bedrest, for the first 4 weeks I had a breakdown. For the remaining 6 weeks I took up needle point and met a good friend who was a fellow captive, LOL!! We helped each other through it and got out with our babies alive and healthy. We will be friends forever!
19. My mom stayed overnight at the hospital with me for weeks, she is a saint!
20. My son Luccio is the strongest person I know. He made it through 5 surgeries in 2 years. Nothing keeps "The Bear" down.
21. I would love to have another child
22. One day I want to live in a Villa in Tuscany
23. I need to lose 40 lbs and I will start tomorrow (as usual)
24. Someday I will write by bestselling novel
25. I am thankful to God for my family and friends!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Playdough Portraits


I needed to get the kitchen cleaned. But, I was feeling guilty because the boys had already been sitting in front of the TV for awhile this morning. So I decided to bring them into the kitchen and set them up at the table with a new package of playdough. Would you believe that my busy little guys sat there for an hour?? Unlike them to say the least.

I not only had time to clean the kitchen, wash dishes and do a load of laundry, but I also got check email & facebook and write a blog post! WOW!! I love playdough!
My artists were laughing and molding away. They presented me with their masterpieces

Cenzo announced "I build Grandma." It was a lovely,
blob-like sculpture that I am sure Grandma will love!


And Luccio presented "Daddy" set in arrary of beautiful colors all mushed together!

Daily Dose of Snuggles



I'm keeping it simple for today.
I know I have tended to go on and on in my postings.
But, at the end of the day when everyone is settling down for the night, what really matters is my time with my precious babies.
Even though they are getting bigger and its hard to fit everyone on the rocking chair, they still love to climb on my lap together for some cuddle time and singing before being tucked into their beds. It's my favorite time of the day! Nothing is better than their snuggles!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Activity


My mother-in-law, aka Grandma, taught preschool for 27 years and now works as an aid in a kindergarten class. We have been very fortunate that Grandma uses her teaching experience to help the boys learn new skills. Each week, usually on Thursdays, Grandma and Papa come for a visit and organize "Activity Time."

"Activity" as it's referred to by the boys, consists of music, a lesson, stickers and a snack. Its like a preschool day shortened to fit into 20 minutes! First Grandma spreads out a quilt which signals the boys to go sit and get ready for their Activity. Then she puts on the song, I Believe Can Fly, to get them in the right mood.

Next comes the lesson. Some weeks its sorting different colored bears, matching picture cards, filling bottles with small objects like pom-poms or bears, playing harmonicas, etc. Each lesson is designed to address fine motor skill growth (an area that boys both need extra help in.)

The boys Physical Therapist is very impressed with how many new skills they have mastered during Activity Time. When PT is here working with the boys she will often have new ideas or suggestions and will say, "maybe this is a skill Grandma can work on this week."

After each lesson, the boys get stickers to proudly display on their shirts! And then comes a special snack of cheese puffs (toddler ones from Gerber.) They think this snack is the BEST!! One week Grandma accidently left her bag here and they got into her snack container and ate every last puff!!!!

Some weeks I am home when Grandma and Papa are here and some weeks I go out. Either way Grandma and Papa bring dinner and do the bath and bedtime routine. It's wonderful!! Its a break for me either way and on the nights I go out the boys love being with their grandparents.

A few months ago the boy would scream and cry when I would leave and I would feel a knot in my stomach as I drove away. Now, when they see Grandma take the quilt out, they say "Bye Mama, Bye" without even giving me a glance (even if I am staying home, LOL!) So, do I feel bad that they can't wait to get rid of me? NO!! I grab my purse and shoes and run for the door!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Special Day


My mom, aka Stregga, has started taking the boys individually for "Special Day" once a week. It's wonderful! They love the one one attention they get at Stregga's and I get to spend some alone time with the one who stays home.

Stregga and Cenzo began special days sometime last year while Luccio was taking a gym class with Mama as part of his physical therapy sessions. We took a break when schedules changed in the summer and fall however. And the change in routine was obvious. Vincenzo was getting very clingy and crying a lot when I left him. And Luccio had less and less opportunities to talk and play without being overshadowed by his brother who is clearly "the Alpha."

So, recently Stregga reinstated Special Day! She took Cenzo to her house one Tuesday and he spent the day playing, eating and even napping for 3 hours!! He loves it because he gets to sleep in Stregga's big bed! He didn't want to leave! Finally at bedtime Hubby went to get him.
He talked on and on about his special day! Just repeating the same phrases over and over! When I asked him what his favorite part was, he said "Night-night Stregga house."

It's amazing how much they love the little things in life!

The first time, Luccio was crying when Cenzo got to go for Special Day and he had to stay behind with Mama. It nearly broke Stregga's heart, but I convinced her he would be ok and we drove off with him howling a sad, sad song! He quickly cheered up when I took him to Barnes and Noble to play with the train set. Then we shared a snack in the cafe. He took a long nap and when he woke up he sat for on my lap for 2 hours under a blanket watching TV and reading our books! It was glorious snuggle time!

The day went so well that Stregga (and Cenzo!) decided it needed to be a regular thing. I loved the idea and so began the weekly Special Days. Luccio had his turn one week and Stregga said he was just content quietly playing with the train set and walking around checking everything out. He also loved that Papa was home to wrestle with him! He was so tired out that he went straight to bed when he got home at 7 pm and slept until almost 9 the next morning, a record for The Bear!!!

Cenzo likes Special Days and often wants to go more than once a week. But, he knows Tuesday is usually his day. Yesterday he didn't have his day because of the Inauguration and he certainly let us know that he was not pleased! So as soon as woke up today he wanted to get dressed and call Stregga for a special day. I convinced him to wait until after 8 am!

As we were getting ready to drive him to Stregga's he told me to "leave Lucci home." I explained that we needed to take Luccio with us because he was too little to stay home alone, but he was adamant that "I stay Stregga house." His point was clear, it was his day. Even if he was confused and saying its Tuesday, he knew he wanted his time away! He really gets it. He backs up his back pack with his blanket "Fluffy" and Baby Mickey and off he goes.

The boys spend pretty much every waking moment of their twin existence together, sharing time, attention, toys and clothes. So it's wonderful for them and for me to have this opportunity to get time with them alone. It's always great to see who they are and what they will do on their own. Cenzo narrates the day as we go and loves to read his books and do arts and crafts. Luccio "talks" a bit more when he gets that time to show me all his toys and is very content snuggling.

They always miss each other by the end of the day. Last week, Cenzo told me he wanted to "go get Lucci Bear" from Stregga's and they held hands across the back seat of the car on the ride home! Absence does make the heart grow fonder! It also helps the boys develop confidence, that they are ok away from Mama and away from one another. And it's always great to be back home together again!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcoming Change


I was so proud today of my country, of Barack H. Obama and of my sons. Watching the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States with my two year old sons is an experience I will never forget!

We turned the on TV around 10 am to see the pre-ceremony stuff. Surprisingly neither boy balked at the switch from Mickey's Clubhouse to the White House! There was an air of excitement as my mom, the boys and I tuned in to witness history be made!

The boys were looking for Obama in the crowds. They were impressed with all the people standing together waving flags! They started to get antsy and play with toys and drag out their books at one point. But, when they saw Obama walk out to his car, their attention was captured. They were pointing to him and yelling "Hi, Obamba!" "Hi."

We watched the ceremonious car ride to the Capitol with great interest. Luccio was especially impressed and kept telling us "Car!" "Car!"

Their attention was in and out during the seating of all the official people. Once in a while they would hear music or the horns playing and announce "trumpet." However, by that point they were looking for lunch and playing their electric guitars so we couldn't hear much!

When Barack Obama stepped out onto the stairs all attention was on him and my boys were no exception. They knew something special was happening, they knew Obama was someone special.

I kept thinking the whole time how sad it is that Obama's family couldn't be alive to see this day. Why couldn't his grandmother have lived just 2 more months so she could have been there to rejoice at the fact that the little boy she helped raise made it all the way to the Presidency!

Cenzo was impressed with the music playing right before Obama took his Oath. He identified the violin and cello, shocking my mother!

And after the oath we cheered with the crowds and waved our imaginary flags!!
When Aretha Franklin sang "My Country Tis' of Thee," we stood with our hands over our hearts and sang along with her. We have been practicing, but our rendition isn't quite like Aretha's, but just as heartwarming!

To watch my little boys with their hands over their hearts and their eyes on the man who has brought change to America, brought me to tears!! To know that my sons will never have to know the kind of racism that has existed since the birth of our country makes me feel relieved and proud and inspired all at once. The racism that has held people back from reaching their fullest potential will no longer be relevant. We will hear about it, people will talk about racism, even make racist comments, but to my sons' generation those will just be stories that people tell. They will know the truth that ALL men ARE created equal. That people of all races can work together to build a better life. That President Obama brought hope to America.

Today the world watched as the United States once again earned the dignity necessary to be a leading Super Power. My sons can walk with their heads high believing that the American Dream not only exists, but can come true. Hard work, determination and compassion are powerful! I pray that they not only see it, but live it for themselves!

After the Inauguration, I asked the boys, "Who is the President?" Cenzo replied "Obamba!" And Luccio exclaimed "Me!" Maybe someday Little Lucc. Barack Obama paved the way and opened doors. Maybe one day Luccio will be the first Italian American President!! Yes, You Can!!



Monday, January 19, 2009

"You Talkin' To Me?"

The boys have been in Birth to 3 since they were 8 weeks old. They were born 2 months early and it was recommended to us by the NICU docs to have them evaluated to be sure they were on par developmentally. So we did. And both boys have been receiving Physical Therapy (PT) since. We were with one agency for the first year. But, we switched because Luccio wasn't making progress and the therapist he was working with couldn't fit anymore visits into her schedule (that's a whole other story.) Anyway, we lucked out and now have Gigi.

Vincenzo had made lots of progress and now has PT only once a month.

Luccio has progressed in leaps and bounds too. He was born with a Neural Tube Defect (NTD) and he has Hydrocephalus. He has done remarkably well! Other than wearing glasses he isn't physically impaired in any way from all he has been through. Thank God!! He does have low muscle tone and walked a bit late (22 months) so PT has been a great help. Now that he is older I have been concerned about his speech. So Gigi submitted paperwork and asked for a Speech Therapist (ST) to work with once a month (or more if needed.)

So, today the ST came to the house to meet Lucc. It went well. In the 3 months we have waited for the ST consult, Luccio has started talking more and more. Especially since December when he got tubes in his ears. And lately since having Wubba limits.

Needless to say, he talked non-stop the entire time ST was here. He was in his glory to have alone time with me, Gigi, and the ST while Hubby entertained Cenzo.

At first, she commented that Lucio seems to talk really well! Great, he was making a liar of me!

Then, she settled in and came to see what I do. Yes, he talks - a LOT! But, his words are not very clear and its difficult to understand him, which makes him so frustrated! She had great observations and suggestions! She thought that his high palate and low muscle tone could be causing some of the problems. She suggested very simple ways to help that would include feeding him crunchy, flavorful foods to "wake up" his mouth. Food like pretzel rods, lemons, oranges, salsa, etc.

Well, our "Little Bear" doesn't eat food like that. He likes butter noodles and grilled cheese. Soft, bland foods. But, I was willing to be a good sport if he was! So I served buttered noodles with lemon slices for lunch. It go well. Luccio was screaming and yelling at me because he didn't even want the lemon on his plate. So when I tried making him taste it, he went nuts!!! It was so ridiculous!! She also suggested different flavored potato chips, which he would like, but doesn't really need. I may try them though if I get desperate.

I was happy that we finally got to have him evaluated and relieved when ST said he is "in the ball park" of where he should be, though on the low end.

But, I can't help feeling bummed. I don't want either of the boys to need any type of services. And I'm worried about what happens when they go to school? What services will Luccio still need? How will it impact him developmentally and socially and academically??

Yet, I know that of all the things that could have gone wrong, this is the best case scenario. A little Speech Therapy, is no big deal. And PT is really just exercising and who doesn't need that? We are blessed that the boys are so healthy and that these services are available to us and paid for by insurance.

So, now we will have two talking twin toddlers!! And with the help of the Speech Therapist Luccio will be narrating our day with an endless stream of words just like his brother in no time!

Wait, why did I push for Speech Therapy??

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Beautyal"


A couple weeks ago Hubby and I were getting ready to go out to dinner. I had brushed my hair and put a clean shirt and I was wearing my "special occasion" red, high-heeled shoes that Cenzo loves.

When I came into the room, Cenzo said "Beautyal" Mama. I thanked him and fished for more compliments! I asked him, "How does Mama look?" "Beautyal!" he exclaimed. Since then he is noticing things that are "beautyal."

One day I finished dressing the boys and Cenzo declared, "I beautyal!" And he is!!!

Yesterday when Hubby and Papa installed a new faucet in our bathroom, Cenzo proclaimed, "Beautyal!"

And today we watched Sleeping Beauty and Cenzo said, "Princess beautyal!" He kept saying "Hair, hair" and Luccio was yelling, "WOW!!" Somehow of all the "beautyals" this one bothered me. Of course Princess Aurora has that long blond hair, its hard not to notice it. But, I guess I was disappointed that her tiny, singing self with her golden locks warranted "Wow" and the divine title "Beautyal." My sons are supposed to be immune to the thin blond phenomenon. They should balk at it and proclaim that true beauty is short, chubby, dark-haired women. Stereotypical Princesses should not earn their high praises! Should they?

Is it unfair to expect that I would be raising two sons who have the understanding of true beauty? According to the movie we are supposed to think the Princess is beautiful, it is in the title after all. So I should be rejoicing that my little men are genius who are picking up subconscious clues and are able to decipher implied messages.

They are only 2, they have a lifetime to decide what true beauty is (and is NOT.) So I guess I will have to give them their time and space to figure it out for themselves. This slight setback doesn't negate the fact that my boys see "beautyal" people and things everywhere and are uninhibited enough to announce it with pure joy!!! WOW!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Great Grands


I have been thinking a lot about my grandparents lately. Probably because the holidays just passed and so did my birthday. In the past 5 years I have lost 3 of my 4 grandparents. I was very blessed to have them all up until I was 29, I know that is more time than most get. But, I started losing them at pivotal times in my life.

Gram was the first to pass away. She is my Dad's mother. Hubby and I had gotten engaged in December of 2002 and Gram passed away in May of 03, just a few months before my wedding. Luckily I had taken my mother, Gram and Nonnie with me to pick out my wedding gown. We took pictures of me trying on "The Dress." We had so much fun! Then we went to lunch and chatted and laughed away the afternoon. Luckily Hubby had the foresight to tell me to take along our video camera so I was able to capture those precious moments that were later able to be edited and put onto our wedding video.

Next was my Gramp (Mom's father.) He was 89! He was healthy up until the last year and then he got sick and never really recovered, he eventually had to go into a nursing home. One afternoon in January 2006 I was driving home from work and decided to stop and see him. His nursing home was close to my house and I knew he had been in and out of consciousness at that point, so I was aware the end could be very near. That afternoon I found Nonnie and Gramp in the lounge near a sunny window. He was asleep as he had been for days and Nonnie and I sat and talked for a bit. He didn't look good so I asked Nonnie if she would like to pray the Rosary out loud with me. So we did. As we were praying the Hail Mary, Gramp opened his eyes and tried to talk to us. It took us by surprise and it was difficult to hear what he was saying, but we think it was "I Love You." The moment started a flood of emotions in me that I couldn't hold back. He had such a look of peacefulness about him. I started crying and asking him to pray for me when he got to Heaven. I desperately wanted to have a baby and had gone through 2 years of fertility treatments and a recent miscarriage. I told him to please ask God to send us a baby because I wanted to be surrounded by children and grandchildren when it was my time to go. We brought Gramp back to his room where he stayed conscious long enough to say goodbye to his children as they arrived. And then he peacefully closed his beautiful eyes. Gramp died at 5:15 pm on January 5th. I believe he took my prayers to Heaven with him. My twin boys were born in September.

Gram (Lucie aka Luciana) and Gramp (Louis aka Luigi) would have loved these boys! Twins would have thrilled them, especially boys! And Luccio is named with them in mind! Vincenzo was named for Greg's grandmother Vincenza.

We were fortunate that my Nonnie (Mom's mother) and Poppy (Dad's father) were still with us to celebrate the births of their great-grandchildren.

Poppy was so proud! He saw them often at Sunday Dinner at my parents' house. And he celebrated their Baptism and their first Christmas with us. He prayed the Rosary every day for them. Sadly, Poppy got sick early into 2007. In March we knew the time was getting closer. The doctors had recently given him about 6 months to live. Hospice had come and set him up at home with what he may need. One night my parents were visiting with Poppy and I had talked to them on the phone. I decided at the last minute to pack up the boys (6 months old at the time) and go visit Poppy even though it was getting pretty late. My parents and aunt were there when we arrived and helped me unload the boys and bring them into Poppy's room. He was so happy to see them. We took some great pictures! They showed off their beautiful smiles for Poppy! It was a good night. The next morning I got the call that Poppy has passed away during the night. I'm thankful the boys will always have those great pictures of their last moments with their great-grandfather!

Last week I celebrated my birthday at my Nonnie's house with the boys and my mother and aunts and cousins. I am so thankful that the boys and I have Nonnie in our lives. They had such a great time doing all their tricks for her and showing off. And I am fortunate enough to be able to hear first hand her memories of the day I was born. She told me that it was the first time she flew on airplane by herself. She couldn't wait for me to be born. She describes how excited she was and how she stayed for 2 weeks to take care of me with my parents. Then at 2 weeks old Nonnie and my Mom brought me back to CT to visit Gramp and surprise him at work. Then they went over and surprised my Gram and Poppy. I love hearing the stories of how happy everyone was to meet me. Its a great way to celebrate my birthday! And I love that my boys have a great grandmother to share those memories with them.

I know in my heart my grandparents will always be with me. And I am happy that my boys have wonderful grandparents in their lives to spoil them and love them. I hope they get as many years with their grandparents as I have gotten with mine!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh, Wubba


As soon as Luccio was whisked from the womb and brought into the NICU they put him on a ventilator and a pacifier. And so began a beautiful relationship of Luccio and his "Wubba."




OK, they waited a couple days until the vent came out and was on CPAP and then they gave him the Beloved Wubba, but still it's been with him for awhile now.

For the first 5 months of life, Luccio had the plain green Soothie that is standard in many hospitals. It was the only type of pacifier he would take and he wanted it constantly. Since he was a twin and both boys were "high maintenance" preemies, I welcomed the quiet that the pacifier brought. And I heard it helped prevent SIDS, so I used that as a great excuse for a bad habit I was helping him form!

As Lucc grew, we quickly realized the pacifier was causing us to lose sleep. It fell out repeatedly at night and he would scream until Hubby or I would find it for him, UGH! Not fun! We knew we needed to do something about it. But, he was only 3 months old and no where near ready to give it up. My cousin's son was hooked on one too and she had found something called a Wubba Nub. Its a Soothie with a stuffed animal attached to it to weigh it down. Perfect for such incidents as late night drama. A Wubba would be our answer I just knew. I embarked on a mission to find one. As with all good things, Wubbas were hard to come by. They were sold out online and only one local store carried them. I was put on a wait list (I kid you not!) At one point we were so desperate for sleep that Hubby found a Wubba on Ebay going for $40 and actually thought that sounded like a good bargain! Luckily, the local Wubba shipment came in before we needed to get drastic. So we bought the $10 Wubbas (actually we bought 4, but still...) We got the Red Dog, Green Frog, Blue Horse and Yellow Duck.

We started with Red Wubba. It quickly developed a stinkiness that Luccio loved. No matter how much washing Wubba gets he never loses his scent. When Luccio went to the hospital for his first surgery at 5 months old, Wubba went with. From the operating room to recovery Wubba was with him and so the relationship was cemented. After that, we never went anywhere without Wubba. He was Luccio's faithful companion through the next 4 surgeries too. We had heard that children's' "Lovies" can help them get through challenging times like illness or hospitalizations. In my Expert Mama opinion I would say its true! Luccio healed quickly and was always back on his little feet in no time. Wubba provided constant comfort through good times and bad.

At some point the stink of Red Wubba was too much for us and we tried to replace him with Green Wubba. That didn't go over well. Luccio wasn't having it. So Green floated around the house for awhile unnoticed or cared for. We got to a day where we had to stop letting RED out of the house after a scare where Hubby had taken the boys for a walk and Wubba was lost on route. After driving the 3 mile route several times Wubba was recovered! But, we had to keep better watch on him for the sake of everyone's precious sleep. So we insisted Green be the "traveling Wubba."

Luccio started feeling more love for Green as time went on and eventually adopted him in. Not instead of Red, but in addition too. So now he puts one in his mouth and holds the other one. At night, he has to have BOTH!! There was a short time where he also had Yellow Duck, long story that included a bath for Red. So for a brief period he had 3 Wubbas trailing around with him, but we nipped that one in the bud and narrowed it down to just 2. We do have standards after all!

It has become increasing more bothersome to keep track of Wubbas. And it is downright annoying to hear him talk with Wubba in his mouth, UGH! It was just this reason that has finally prompted some Wubba Boundaries to be set in place. As of Monday, the rule is the Wubbas have so stay in Luccio's bed. They cannot accompany him throughout the day. If we do take one in the car, it has to stay in the car.

So, needless to say, Luccio has been spending more time in his bed this week!! Stubborn little guy! However, when he does finally get up, he leaves Wubba (after saying goodbye about 100 times!) Small steps, right?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pee break, who's gotta go??

So today we ventured out in the snow to go to Toddler Gym Class. Not smart, but a better alternative to staying home all day with two busy boys who needed to burn off energy!
It was an interesting day...

It started with trying to get out the front door, literally. The walkway wasn't shoveled and Cenzo was worried that it was "too slippy" to walk on. So he refused! And Luccio followed suit. We were in the middle of a stand off with me at the bottom of the stairs trying to coax them down and the boys at the top of the stairs shouting "NO, too slippy!" Luckily, our neighbor Liz took pity on us. She came running over with her shovel and cleared the walkway and then carried Cenzo to the car for me. What a Saint that woman is!! She always shows up at just the right moment.

So we made it to the car and off our street and the roads were fine. Apparently the plow trucks only skip our road. We arrived safely to Gym Class. It was my first time in weeks taking the boys there alone. Usually I beg my mom to come or the boys Physical Therapist comes with us (basically because she gets paid too.)

I was just a smidge smug about the fact that we made it from the car into the building and up the stairs without incident. I was ALMOST feeling relaxed and in control. And then I walked into the gym and found Cenzo at the top of the climbing station peeing a stream down onto the floor. It was spraying like a fountain!!

I didn't know what to do first. There was a crowd of moms and kids standing around, great! I didn't want to scare Cenzo by screaming "STOP!!!!." So instead I picked him up, soaking wet pants and all and moved him to a safer spot. Then I attempted to soak up the puddle with tissues, which obviously wasn't effective. Thankfully, the teacher came over and assisted me. She said to get Cenz into the bathroom and change him and she would clean the mess. She even had spare pants. She is such a professional!!

So within minutes a Pull-Up and clean pants were on Cenzo and he was back to playing and Ms Colleen had cleaned and sanitized the play area and life was good again! I was mortified and apologizing profusely to Cenzo and Ms. Colleen, but neither was fazed my the incident. Wisely, Ms. Colleen informed me this isn't the first accident of its kind and surely won't be the last.

So, lessons learned:
1.) Do NOT put a newly training 2 year old in underwear for gym class- use a Pull-Up
2.) ALWAYS carry spare pants!!!
3.) Do not overreact, it's only pee!
4.) The other moms do not care if pee has gotten onto the toys and mats, they just want to know how to get their kids interested in potty training and wearing underwear too!

Gym Class has been such a learning experience for the boys and I. It is a wonderful group of moms and kids. The boys are able to safely explore. And I am able to be comfortable enough to learn life lessons without feeling like the World's Dumbest Mama.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Prospective PreSchools...

Somehow my babies have turned two! I can't explain how fast the time went by. But, its gone! And believe it or not once babies turn 2 they become toddlers. They start talking back to their Mama and wanting to do everything "self" as I have been told countless times! Some of them even potting train without permission! Its enough to make a mother crazy. I want to freeze them in a time capsule and protect them from the world. But, instead I have now been informed that I need to register them for preschool!! OMG!! School!!! Already!

Apparently it's time. They will be 3 in September, so it's time. And registration has already begun. Some schools are booked already for the fall session. Its a whole new world, LOL!

So... we are visiting preschools and interviewing teachers. For toddlers! Its crazy how many things there are to think of. Luckily I have help. The boys are in Birth to Three so their Service Coordinator accompanied me to one of the schools yesterday. She knew all the questions to ask-how many students in the class, how many teacher/adults in each room, what services are provided, etc, etc.

Today we went to a little nursery school in town. My mom came along to help wrangle the boys. It is the nursery school that I went to as a child. I must say I hated preschool as a child. I screamed EVERY day of it for 2 years. But, being back there today I can't imagine why I didn't like it. The room was big, bright, comfortable and loaded with toys!! I don't remember it looking like that at all. I guess its been renovated in the past 30 years, LOL!

I was expecting my boys to act shy and cling to me-perhaps scream and cry if I put them down (as I did to my poor mom so long ago!) But, no my little guys walked in like they owned the place. They said hello to the teacher and started immediately playing with toys. They went up to the kids and said hello and played and basically had a ball! I was so relieved and happy!!

I feel like the school was a good fit. The staff was amazing! It was Pajama Day so everyone including the teachers were wearing PJs! It so was cute! The boys enjoyed free play, but were less excited about Circle Time. Cenzo participated for a while, but Lucc flat out refused to stop playing with the toys. The teacher said it was fine-he was a visitor after all. I can only imagine her trying to wrangle him in Sept. He is little, but tough!

Which brings me to my biggest worry-how will my babies adjust to school?? Or maybe the question is - How will I adjust to my babies going to school?? We will see! For now I will be satisfied to have at least found the school to send them too, LOL!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Partying with Pals


I am very fortunate to have a group of good friends from my college days that I have stayed close with. We have become family to one another. And over the years our group has multiplied first when we started getting married and again as we have begun having children. There are 8 couples in our "core group" and among us we have 14 children and 2 more are on the way!
It amazing!! My children have so many "Aunties," "Uncles" and little friends!

Today we went to Auntie B and Uncle P's house to celebrate the 2nd birthday of their youngest daughter. It was a blast with all the little ones running around. One of our friends joked about how different our parties have become. We used live in dorms together and go to keg parties and now we have grape juice and pin the nose on Elmo!! And of course there were potty breaks now that Cenzo is in training so we had to lug our portable seat with us! It is amazing what I can fit into my pocketbook! Life sure has changed!

Its so much fun watching the kids interact and form friendships with one another. And my Sweetest Hubby and I couldn't believe how much easier it has gotten to take our boys out now that they are walking and talking and understanding so much!! Its a whole new world for us now that the boys are into toddlerhood. They played games and shared toys and sat at the kids table for pizza and cake. I was actually able to socialize and even drink a cup of coffee!! Now THAT is a milestone!

And the best part is that Hubby and I have our extended "family" to share in the joys and challenges of raising children. We wish Little L the best for her birthday and hope she has an amazing year!



Friday, January 9, 2009

Birthday Blessings


I turned 34 today!!  I am no longer in my early thirties I have move up to the mid-thirties category.  How did that happen so fast?? My body feels older, well actually fatter and achier (if there is such a word.)  And my energy is low.  Yet, at the same time I feel young in spirit when I am with my boys.  

I always picture new moms  as young and vibrant.   Its like despite our chronological age we are all new at motherhood and therefore ageless in that way.  Even though my babies are now well into toddlerhood, each stage is different and exciting and the unexpected is always happening.

This is the first year that my boys understand that a birthday is your special day.  So when they woke up this morning they gave my handcrafted cards and sang the most adorable Happy Birthday song ever!  And this afternoon, my "Sweetest"  had a gift delivered to me.  The boys and I squealed with joy and excitement as we worked together to rip open the big box! We oohed and aahed over the pink, yellow and red rose bouquet inside and spent a long time smelling them and feeling their soft petals.  A few flower heads were ripped off in the process, but I  enjoyed that moment of surprise and wonder!!  That feeling is the essence of a birthday too me!  Not that I needed presents or flowers, but I sure do love getting surprises and having that moment of anticipation!!! To see that delivery through the eyes of my sons was better than any gift I could have been opened!  I want to preserve that precious sense of wonder in them and in myself.

I have been so blessed this year!! I know my birthday wishes have already come true and I look forward to all that the future holds for me!


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Potty Time Ponderings

I kept hearing stories of how hard it is to Potty Train boys. So many books I read said boys train later than girls and that starting too early could set them back, etc. As my boys second birthday approached I started hearing advice and stories about potty training from everyone. My mom, aka Stregga, said I should start introducing the potty around 18 months . So we bought a little one that looks like a real toilet and has its own fake toilet paper and flusher. It even plays music. The boys thought it was great, they sat on it and played music and danced to the tune that we call "The Poop Song." No one wanted to pee or poop on it though.

Over the summer a couple months before their 2nd birthday I was going to put in effort to train them. But, my mother in law, aka Grandma, said it was too soon. She taught preschool for 27 years and had 3 sons of her own. She said they need to understand being wet and dry etc. And she reminded me that once they were training I would have to find every public restroom out there in the world. UGH!! That didn't sound like fun. So I happily put it off. Even SuperNanny Jo Frost said in her book that 2 1/2 is optimal, I had plenty of time.

So I had a plan that in January after the holidays I would start the training/teaching of The Potty. For Christmas I bought a new plain potty chair without music, underwear, and books. Once the hussle of and bussle of holiday craziness was over I would beging the process.

Well Cenzo had other ideas. His plan was to start training himself 3 days before Christmas. So in the middle of holiday shopping, wrapping and last minute baking Cenzo thought the bathroom seemed like a fun place to spend most of the day!


The first day the poor little guy was so constipated (a first for him) and for some reason this sparked his mind to think of the toilet. He had himself convinced that he must all of a sudden use the potty. So for hours he ran back and forth to bathroom. But, try as he did nothing came of it. He was screaming and crying and pushing but to no avail. I kept giving him fruit juice and was (not so secretly) hoping he would just go in his diaper.

The next day he woke up and exclaimed "Potty now!" And so it began all over again. Luckily Godfather showed up mid-morning with an early Christmas gift-a power wheel car they could drive! So we took a break form the excruciating scen in the bathroom to play with the new car. That must have relaxed Cenzo's mind as well as other things because he ran to the bathroom and sat on his potty and exclaimed "a giant poopy Mama!" There was rejoicing like nobody's business. We screamed and clapped and carried on. And then we flushed that giant poop down the toilet and bid it farewell. He ran off to play with his new car and has been potty training ever since.

We carried the potty with us through the holidays to all of the Christmas parties. When Cenzo took off to the bathroom during Christmas Eve dinner at Grandma's everyone in the dining room was close enough to hear him crying and fighting to get out more poop. And when he met with success the family cheered and Uncle Richie sang a beautiful rendition of "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." It was a beautiful holiday!

As we have moved into the New Year, potty training has progressed. Since we made some calls to Santa from Cenzo's imaginary cellphone, he knew to deliver underpants with Mickey Mouse and Cars on them. So Cenzo has been proudly wearing those underpants for most of the day with very few accidents. And the pooping has gotten much easier (thanks to laxative, fruit juice and a round of antibiotics for an ear infection!)

So, in spite of my apathy and laziness, my two year old has potty trained himself and he is now working on training his twin brother. His brother by the way is his best audience during potty time. Cenzo always makes sure to call out "Luccio listen" right before lets out any toots or pee!! And of course, Luccio listens and claps, overjoyed at his Cenzo's magical powers!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A NEW Year




Each year I try to reflect on the past and move on with new goals for the future. And each year I am amazed at how quickly the months have passed. Since having my twin boys 2 1/2 years ago time has been a whirl of excitement, anxiety, and changes. Reflection time has dwindled to a few random moments of coherent thoughts thrown together to make a patchwork map of goals. My follow through on those goals has been even more muddled to say the least.

I am determined that 2009 will be the year I get it together again. I feel like I am coming out of the "Mama Fog" that set in the moment my boys were conceived! Our days have fallen into a pretty nice routine that thankfully includes naptime!! So it gives me a chance to regroup and recoup some energy! And now that the boys are sleeping through the nights (most of the time) and not feeding around the clock, I can start to think and plan again.

So I am aiming high for 2009! Still keeping my old standby resolutions like losing weight and paying off debt-two endless challenges!!! And I will be adding a few new ones that will include time for myself. Not necessarily time alone, but time to refresh my soul!! More than anything I need quiet time for meditation and/ or prayer. I have misplaced my sense of sacredness somehow and I need to find it. I would love to take a deep breath and relax and appreciate the blessings that I have in my life.

There was a time when I would pray to find Mr. Right and have beautiful children. I spent hours imagining my life with them. Now that I actually have all that I have dreamed of, it's time for me to start being in the moment and living that dream wholeheartedly! Its a big undertaking but I am going to work my hardest this year to stop and smell the roses of my life!