Monday, October 31, 2011

Another Halloween has come upon us.
Yes, here it is.
And as always I find myself plagued by that all important question faced by many parents whose children don't have any input on it: What Shall The Children Be For Halloween.

It's not that my girls don't care; I wouldn't say that. It's more that (or so it seems) they spend a great deal of their daily life pretending to be a plethora of things: cats, mice, Charlie & Lola, skunks, raccoons, the aliens from Toy Story, chipmunks, and rats. I think that by the time October rolls around, they are just tuckered out of their daily adventure routine and not able to come up with a solid idea on their own.

Enter mom.

Here I come, every year, to save the day and create a costume that will be joyful and, above

I really need things to be cheap. Really. Spending a lot is not an option or something I'm remotely willing to do. So I think. And think. And think.

We've had our duds, let me tell you, but we've had some good ones too. This year the girls told me they wanted something that involved a Tu-Tu. And that gem was the extent of their artistic direction. Sigh.  A trip to Hobby Lobby revealed a well timed sale on tulle in a multitude of Halloweenish colors. I chose Black, Orange, Purple, and White. I looped and stitched a piece of wide elastic to create a waistband. I cut all the tulle into 5 inch wide strips, which is a task I'll be joyfully happy to never do again considering I started out with over 7 yards of tulle for both skirts. After cutting my strips, I tied them all on to the waistband, one at a time. Because these strips were longer, the overall effect is a slightly craggly, witchy look.

Aha! Witchy. My subconscious mind sparked by that uniformed look.

I then dug out our fabulous black and white striped leggings, which I love and think are far too difficult to buy in the store given how gosh darn adorable they look under any number of splendiforous things. Cute.  We added to that orange sparkly pumpkin shirts and a feathery orange boa.

We were close, but not quite there yet.

I then remembered the forever-old foam witch's hats I had bought several years ago for a Halloween themed birthday party, and which had been gathering dust ever since in our basement. After finding them and knocking any lingering residents of the arachnid sort, (shudder) I determined we were almost exactly right.

But what these little witches needed most was a name. A cute name. Something fun.

The Witchy-Poos.


A quick print-shop project and hot glue session later and my little witches were labeled and ready to head out the door.

Maybe not my brightest costume idea; but given that it's a complete hodge podge that started out with the vague idea that the costume should somehow have a Tu-Tu in it, I think it pulled together rather well.

The Witchy-Poos

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Table Scraps And The Cat Who Loves Them.

Here is a tale of woe-ish-ness from my mind today.
It's about my oldest cat, Anna. She's feeling each of her 14 years lately, I can tell. Her favorite spots are the warmest, coziest nooks and crannies she can curl herself into, and she'll spend her days mostly just snoozing there, coming out when she's ready for attention.

As you may recall we lost our middle cat, Zoey, back in August. It's a hole that is still quite there; filled in with time and the regularity of each day, but the indentation of something missing can still be seen. During the long road that led to that sad day in August, I think some of our Very Important Standards regarding How We Treat Our Pets were inadvertently lowered.

Ipso facto: We fed Anna table scraps.

I know, I know. Bad pet parent. But it seemed like the thing to do at that moment. She was interested, I was elsewise engaged; before I knew it, I had dropped a few morsels of chicken in front of her. Morsels which she quickly gobbled up, eyes shinning, nose up and sniffing the air for more.

And now she spends her days meandering around, ever looking for that mercy-drop-of-manna from someone else's plate. As I cook she's sitting there, waiting to see what may fall. As we eat she sits watchfully by, eagerly eyeing the eratic eating styles of our seven year olds with an expectant air. And every time someone heads down the basement, to the place where All Manner Of Animal Food And Treats Are Kept, she races down like a bullet, nosing up to the pet supplies and waiting for someone to open a can.

She's become a Moocher.

And I can't stand it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bringing Them Home

Seven years ago today, October 19th 2004, we brought our preemie twinfants home. Today I've found myself transported back to that very day. It's the grayness and near constant rain that keep tugging my memories back to that surreal experience.It was a day just like this, after all. I know I've written about this before, but hey, it's where my mind has drifted to today.

Can anything really prepare you for bringing your first kiddo home for that first time? Think about it. You prepare for 40 weeks (or 34, as it were) for this little person who is gestating inside you. For the duration, it's been there and you, the expectant mom, have tried your darnedest to do everything exactly right.
Vitamins? Check.
Eating healthy and ditching the caffeine habit? Check.
Getting lots of rest? Check.
Eating enough for 2 (or 3)? With relish, check.
Baby items purchased and a place for the wee one readied? Check and check.

And then the big day comes. The water breaks. The pain starts. There's some pushing. Voila! You've got a brand spankin' new human being to call your very own. Yes I know I've over simplified the process, but those are the main points, right?

I remember looking at the girls after I woke up in the recovery, blearily pushing through the drugged stupor of an emergency c-section. "You have 2 healthy little girls," I was told and shown several pictures. I was stunned. Stupefied, really.

Let me be clear, I knew they were coming. I did. I understood the process of it.
But somehow hefting around that 12 pound belly was quite different from seeing them outside of it. As I stared at the pictures, I felt an odd disconnect. My husband visually introduced me to each girl, one at a time. He'd already spent time with each of them while I was still knocked out. I had no clue who was who. Despite having carried them for 34 weeks and kept them to myself, I had no idea who I was looking at. No clue.

Hello cutie. Who are you?

Getting to hold them for the first time was a mind bending experience for me too. Why didn't the What To Expect books prepare me for this moment, I wondered. It was beautiful, make no mistake. But daunting.

This little girl is mine? How is that possible? That one too? My, my.

It seemed we were surrounded by other parents who all were completely confident and comfortable with their new offspring; I felt like Dan and I were wearing giant "Newbie Parent" hats. Flash! Flash! Flash! We don't know what we're doing!

And then they sent us home. With the babies. Alone.

Alone? Shouldn't one of you fine nurses or doctors come with us? Clearly we don't know what's going on here. We only just met these two after all. Are you sure sending them home with us is the very best idea?

With the finality of the doors whooshing closed on our behinds, we headed home. I remember sitting them on the couch and staring at them. I remember whispered conversations that went a lot like this: "What should we do with them? Should we leave them here or should we move them? Are they supposed to do something? Do you think they're bored? They're not LEARNING anything right now! Aren't we supposed to teach them something?"
All of it whispered in hushed tones lest the newborn twinfants overhear and take offense.

Those first days are shadowed by a haze of sleepless wonder. A million and 4 "Firsts" came winging at us one after another. In rapid succession. All of the "How Are We Gonna...?" questions were answered and we adjusted quickly.

Life changed completely. Up-ended. New. Before and after; clear cut lines that divided us from our pre-parent selves.

And now they've turned 7. It's funny the amount of confidence you gain after you've Been There, Done That time and time again. We no longer wonder what we'll do with them, no longer worry about if they're bored, learning, or in need of something. The rhythm of family life is a fairly smooth path at the moment, barring the occasional bumps and rocks in the way.

We've traded our "Newbie Parent' hats for "Yeah, We Got This" headgear. And it feels good. Looking back at that day 7 years ago when we started this journey I can see how far we've come; sense the many changes that have taken place already, and still have enough sense to wonder about the changes yet to come.

It's been a pretty amazing journey, after all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

When They Turned 7

Tomorrow is birthday eve at our house. And then they turn 7.

Seven years old. Can you believe it?

If you glance back at my birthday eve entries from years gone by, you'll notice a trend of melancholy that winds its way through my words. It seems that my daughters' birth date sends me into an odd emotional state; standing just downstream from Utter Carefree Happiness, but still upstream from Complete Despair At The Passing Of Time. Every year I found myself in an odd limbo that seemed to straddle the boundaries between wanting to celebrate all that is to come, yet needing to slightly mourn another year's passing, another step in that forward march towards independence and ever more away from babyhood, toddler hood, childhood.

I have to tell you, friends, this year feels different. There's a different feel to the air surrounding this birthday event. I don't know how to explain it; it just feels comfortable. Yes, they're turning 7. Yes, they're growing up. Yes, they're far more independent now than I had ever dared hope they'd be 7 years ago.

And I'm okay with that.

Really. I am.

I've watched them take numerous huge strides during this past year. So many steps towards becoming these amazing little people. I can only say it has been an awe inspiring adventure. They seem more complete as individuals; still deeply connected by that powerful (and sacred) twin bond that I adore, but more fully "self" , each on her own. They're expanding their educational horizons by leaps and bounds every day. These two kiddos who used to despise all things writing are now eagerly putting pencil to paper to  make stories; and my former Math-Avoiders daily anticipate our math lessons with actual smiles on their faces. Smiles, people. Smiles. 

And there's a whole new world opening up to us in terms of their level of maturity; places we can go, things we can do. They actually want to go to museums and love to explore the past and discover new places. I can see the first inklings of that wondrous feeling I know so well in them. It's the feeling you get when curiosity takes over and you find yourself wondering Why to every little thing around you. But more than just wondering, you want to know the answer. The real answer. Knowledge is like a drug, and the quest for it is pure addiction. Ask them about Mummification in ancient Egypt and they'll give you the lowdown on the whole process. All 70 days of it.

Who they are becoming, these new people they are turning out to be, is a daily source of amazement for Dan and for me. And it is an enormous privilege for me to be able to be a part of that transformation. I still find myself staring at them in wonderment thinking, How cool is this that I get to be a part of their lives? I get to see this? I mean, really, really see it. How awesome is that?

It's beyond words.

They'll be 7 on Friday. 2,555 days old. (If my math is correct, and I'm not promising that it is. They get that former math gene from me, after all).
This year I'm not accepting any melancholy into my mood. No sir. No melancholy at all.
This year is all about celebration. It's about the new things, the bigger things, the questions. Everything. It's about all of it, wrapped up in these two amazing people who are changing right before my eyes.

This birthday will be filled with all of that wonderment. And everything that they are.

Happy 7th Birthday,Caedance!
Happy 7th Birthday, Ashlyn!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Welcome, October. It's birthday month again!

After posting my previous blog about the random, ne'er-do-wells who boldly go where no one should go and make stupid comments to me in the store in front of my daughters, I thought it would a pleasant change of pace to share a happy thought about these two dynamite little ladies.

This is their birthday month.

Yep. That's right. It's here once again. Yay!

This turn 'round the sun brings us to lap number 7. Can you believe it? Seven years old.


They have been eagerly awaiting the dawning of this first day of October since the last day of October in 2010.

And it arrived today. And they knew it. Boy, did they know it.

When I went in to their bedroom to say good morning, they both greeted me by springing out of bed and saying, "Mama, it smells like October."

"Does it? Huh."

"Do YOU know what October means, Mama?"

"Do I? Hmmmm..." Sometimes you just have to play coy.

"It's our birthday month, Mom! Remember? Our birthday?"

"Birthday, huh? Is it really? Are you sure? You are awfully young, you know. Maybe you got the wrong month. It could happen. Kids tend to forget stuff."

"Mom!" they giggled, "Kids don't forget their birthdays."

I smiled at them and caught them up in a hug, taking in the smell of their just-woken-up little selves. That smell that somehow is still the same from when they were infants. (Well, minus the dark aroma of a fresh diaper trout, naturally.)

"Of course I know it's you're birthday month, sillies. And I love it!"

We spent the morning celebrating Day One of Birthday Month in the best way possible: eating Cookies and Cream Pop Tarts and romping around in our jammies until afternoon.

My girls. My sweet, precious girls. Practically ladies now, aren't they?

Let's enjoy this month and celebrate it for all its worth, girls.

My nearly seven year olds.