Monday, April 30, 2007

Photos from Sunday I

~~ click on any photo to view it larger ~~

Photos from Sunday II

Snippets from the Weekend

  • Saturday we did something that we rarely do (but that we are going to try to do more often). We split up. Braydon took Owen for the day. I took Kyle for the day. I/we could write volumes and volumes just about that. It is so different to be with one baby boy. Whenever we have time alone with one we are so totally totally struck by the incredible complete difference between being with one versus being with two. It is entirely relaxing and enjoyable to be with one. You can get to know the child in a whole new way. You can stop to throw rocks down a drainage hole for 40 minutes if you want to (as Kyle and I did!). You can do things you simply cannot do with twins (like, go out to lunch without needing another adult with you; run errands at stores you wouldn't be caught dead in alone with the twins; cater to your individual child's interests/needs/wants instead of constantly negotiating how to swing every single thing with twins.... all of these things, of course, we did on Saturday). Plus, you don't have to spend gobs of time breaking-up-their-fights and pulling-in-the-reigns-of-their-antics. So, you have gobs and gobs of extra time to go at a leisurely pace and savor the moment. Wow. It is just totally remarkable how extreme the difference is to be with just one. I'm not even sure it is the "just one" thing as much as it is the "not twins" thing... because with twins they are all over each other all the time. They are the same exact age so their interests and development is so in-line that it seems to create some sort of additional frenetic energy that you just don't see even with two kids (who aren't twins). Anyway-- like I said, I could write on and on about this. But I'm gonna just say this: It was really nice. We're going to try to do it more often.
  • Whenever Braydon and/or I spend time with just one boy we always think about how completely different our life would be if we only had one. We spent the rest of the weekend talking a lot about that. We always wonder about how DRAMATICALLY different our life would have been if two years ago when we got that referral call from the adoption agency they had said they had "a baby" for us (like we were expecting them to say!), instead of "twin babies" for us... Just one would have been very, very, very, very, very different. Not better or worse, just different. O.k., wait, no, scratch that... as much as it is crazy having twins, I would not change it. Truth is, now that we're doing this -- I wouldn't trade it for the world. No matter how much more manageable it would be with just one I would never ever choose that now. I'd choose twins every single time.
  • On Saturday I was driving with Kyle alone in the backseat of the car. Amazing how much you can focus the conversation on where your child wants to take it when there isn't a twin brother trying to re-direct the conversation according to his own agenda!!!! Anyway-- We're driving along and it was quiet for a long stretch of time. Then, completely 100% out of the blue Kyle says, "Mama?" I said, "Yes?" And he said: "Q just like Nina." Note: they are both black ~~~ click here re: "Q"... & ... click here re: Nina.
  • On Sunday night we were sitting down on the back deck to eat dinner at the "outside table" (as the boys call it!). Everybody was just beginning to eat. Owen was just staring off pensively lost in thought (and hadn't even begun to start eating). Braydon said, "Hey Owen, what are you thinking about?" And Owen, very serenely, said: "Look everybody! Look at the beautiful sky. It is a beautiful sunset!" It was indeed a beautiful sunset. But what was so striking was the way that he was saying it. He was truly just taking a moment to enjoy the lovely evening sky. Braydon looked at me and said, "Is it normal for a just-about-to-turn-3-year-old to say stuff like that????"
  • On Sunday we went out for lunch at Nawab -- a local Indian restaurant that Braydon and I like (click here). We had not taken the boys out to eat Indian food before. It was a success. Owen actually really liked the food -- he especially liked the Vegetable Samosas and the Aloo Palak (a traditional Indian spinach dish). I don't think he's ever in his life ingested that much spinach in one sitting! (normally the boys will not even touch spinach) But the huge hit was surely the Mango Lassis. Turns out that Kyle and Owen both love Mango Lassi. They each drank a whole one (in addition to whatever else they ate)!!!
  • At one point during the day on Sunday we were getting into the car and the boys were really acting up... i.e., they were pushing, pulling, hitting, biting, kicking, pinching, bugging-the-heck out of each other. Par for the course lately. But it drives me nuts. I was trying to buckle Owen into his carseat and Kyle was annoyingly pulling at his shirt sleeve. Owen wailed off and hit him. Kyle started fussing and then tried to kick Owen back. Etc., etc., etc. I broke it up --- "O.k., boys, that's enough!! Stop it! Enough!" and they reluctantly backed off of each other. I made them apologize to each other and they did semi-unwillingly. As I was trying to clasp the final carseat buckle on Owen's seat I said what I always say at the end of one of their fighting fiasco's: "Kyle and Owen-- Remember, you're brothers for life." And Owen, still agitated from Kyle's initial annoyance, says, "No! We're not brothers for life! We can't want to be brothers for life. We can't!" I tried to keep a straight face but couldn't help it and ended up laughing out loud.
  • They had played so hard all day long on Sunday, and had so much dirt all over them, that their bath water was murky gray-brown within just a few minutes of them getting into it. After their bath Braydon made them rinse off under the shower because even the bath water seemed so, so dirty by the time they were done.
  • For the past few days Kyle is absolutely positively 100% OBSESSED with speakers -- particularly the car CD player speakers. He is totally obsessed with trying to understand how the music comes from the speakers. It is extremely difficult to try to explain to a 2-almost-3-year-old the concept of music coming from CD/CD-player/stereo-speakers. He talks about it and asks about it incessantly.
  • At one point this weekend we were talking about "favorites." Kyle and Owen are now fully starting to understand the concept. They listed their favorite foods. Here they are (in the exact order they gave them): Owen-- "Quesadillas. Beans. Hot dogs. Biscuits." Kyle-- "Cereal bars. Pasta." They then said their favorite colors: Owen said, "My favorite color is orange." Then Kyle says, "My favorite color is orange too." Then Owen said, "No, Kyle, your favorite color is blue." And Kyle says, "Oh, yup. It is blue and orange."
  • Late on Saturday afternoon I was getting Owen up from his nap. I sat on Owen's bed with him and Kyle and read them books for about 45 minutes. In the midst of this I learned that they can both count much, much higher than I thought they could. They can both count to 29. They stop at 29. But they are very, very good at counting all the way up to 29. They also now recognize several letters --- K ("for Kyle!"), O ("for Owen!") for sure. And also H ("for Mama!"), and B ("for Papi!") most of the time. They are now working on other letters too and they seem eager to really learn all the letters of the alphabet. They can both pretty consistently recognize the numbers 1 through 10.
  • At supper last night Owen ate two whole hot dogs. I know I mention this a lot. But let me repeat it again: These kids can eat.
  • And these kids are a handful. Two handfuls. By Sunday night, as usual for our Sunday nights, Braydon and I were absolutely exhausted. They are getting easier and easier all the time (I can't even begin to understand how we got through it a year ago when they were sooo much harder to handle!)... but they really are exhausting. They are so bad all the time. I know, I know, I know... all the parenting experts say you're not supposed to use the word "bad" in reference to your child... and don't worry-- I don't use it to describe them within earshot of them... but seriously: they are bad. ;) They are constantly into everything. You cannot turn your back on them even for a second or they will run off down into the neighbor's yard where they know they aren't supposed to go, or dump a big load of rocks from their Tonka truck right in the middle of the lawn even after being told 100 times not to do it, or they will start putting random items into the microwave and turn it on even though they know this is a 'no-no' and metal things literally explode right before their eyes, or worse yet-- they'll injure each other in one of their little twin tirades (by the way - all of these things, and more, they did this weekend). Yes, they are bad bad bad boys. But they are soo soooooooo sooooooooooo good. They are happy. And they are fully immersed in life. And they sleep well at night. The same exact things can be said about their parents.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hey Owen

Every night before going to bed, I check on the boys and give them a kiss. Tonight I just checked on Kyle.

And although he was clearly out cold, I tip toed in, and as I leaned over to give him a kiss, I heard him in his sleep clearly say:

"Hey Owen..."

Quotes of the Day: "Q"

Quadir Carter #29

Normally on Tuesdays and Thursdays our awesome babysitter Alex picks up the boys from daycare and spends from 3:00 - 5:00 with them. This gets them out of daycare and out into the world. Alex does amazing things with them and exposes them to a whole range of activities/adventures that we probably would not. It is all good. Today Alex couldn't babysit because of a scheduling conflict she had. No problem. This became an opportunity for us to give the boys a new experience... some time with a new babysitter. As a college professor, I do, after all, have 6,000 of them to choose from. Most of which would be excellent choices. The boys are happy to jump on board with anyone willing to have a good time. I am happy to let them hang out with anyone who is willing to keep them alive for me. The question is simply 'who should I choose?' It is a nice situation to be in. One thing that I really want for my boys is substantial quality time with black male role models. As far as I am concerned, the more responsible the better (I am, after all, going to leave my kids with this person for two hours). As far as Kyle and Owen are concerned, the cooler the better. Today, Kyle and Owen got to hang out for two hours with Quadir Carter... Lehigh Football Star. He chased the boys around campus. He threw them in the air (with his arms as big as my legs). He took them for ice cream at Campus Square. He wore a Lehigh Football shirt. He loved on the boys. He complimented their hair and their t-shirts (Owen was wearing an Obama for President t-shirt, Kyle was wearing a Haiti flag t-shirt). Quadir was a role model today. Owen and Kyle got to hang out with the 'big guy on campus.' Life is good. People close to Quadir call him "Q." Kyle and Owen are now "close" to Quadir. Here are two quotes from today.

At the end of the babysitting stint today, as Quadir was walking off --
Owen: "Bye bye Q! I love you Q! See ya later alligator Q!"

At dinner tonight at home --
Kyle: "Mommy, Q can come to my birthday party???"

Love Thursday


First Bath, Owen & Kyle, Haiti, January 2005
First Time in a Swimming Pool, Braydon & Owen, Jamaica, May 2005
First Time in a Swimming Pool, Heather & Kyle, Jamaica, May 2005

Grace Bay Beach, Kyle & Owen, Turks & Caicos Islands, May 2006

Our Back Yard Swimming Pool, Owen & Kyle, August 2006
(note: you can click on each of the photos above to view larger)


Over the past couple of weeks I've been thinking a lot about water -- specifically, I've been thinking a lot about how much Kyle and Owen love water. On a rainy day, they can't wait to get their boots on and play in the puddles. On a hot summer afternoon, they can't wait to get their little bodies into the swimming pool. They love the bath, they love the ocean, they love water. Lately they've been spending a lot of time in water... between the "April Showers" (see blog photos from yesterday and earlier this month!), and the "Snorkeling 101" (see blog photos from Sunday and earlier this month!) there has been a lot of "water! water! water!" (as K & O say!) around here these days. I knew I wanted to post today about Kyle and Owen's Love of Water... but as I looked back through some of our photos I couldn't choose just one for this post--- turns out we have photo after photo after photo of my boys in/around/loving water. So I ended up narrowing it down to just five, and I'll let you decide which photo you like best today. We first noticed our boys' love of water during our very first days together. In the hotel in Haiti we gave the boys their first bath. They had never been fully submerged in water before -- only sponge-bathed at the orphanage. I thought for sure that these tiny little 14-pound 8-month-old babies who had never even seen us before in their lives would absolutely freak out when we plopped them into a bathtub for the very first time within just a couple of hours of having met them! But no, not at all. In fact the opposite: they loved it. That was the beginning -- when we were first starting to realize their way of being -- how they both just take life by the horns and jump right in (literally and figuratively). They don't hold back. They don't eye it skeptically. They don't doubt us. They just dive. Here's to love of water and love of life. Happy Love Thursday y'all!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

April Showers I

Photos from today... note: you can click on each of these photos to view it larger

April Showers II

More photos from today...

That Was Then...

Kyle & Owen Exactly One Year Ago Today...

(note: you can click on these photos to view them larger)

"Off to Work She Should Go"

Our friend Patricia just sent me this link -- Click here for a great Op-Ed in the New York Times today titled "Off to Work She Should Go."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Photos of the Day

Mr. Complimentary & Mr. Inclusivity

Two Things I'm Lovin' About My Boyz Lately:
First, I should premise this by saying that actually both of these things are true about both of my boys. It is just that Owen does the first a bit more than Kyle, and Kyle does the second a bit more than Owen. I just want to be clear, though, that they both do these things regularly (like, all the time lately; like, multiple times every day)...
Second, I have to say that as much as we'd love to be able to take credit for these two things (because I sincerely think they are extremely admirable characteristics), Braydon and I actually did not teach them these things (at least not in any explicit way that we are consciously aware of). These two things are all Kyle and Owen.

Mr. Complimentary / A.K.A. Owen
Lately, Owen is soooo complimentary. He is just full of compliments all the time. This has been going on for a few weeks now, so it appears to not just be a flighty passing short-lived phase. Owen just loves to give compliments. And the best part about it is that he seems completely and utterly sincere with his generous complimentary gestures. I actually truly think he really does feel these things-- he's not just saying them because of the (adoring) reaction he gets. He compliments people regularly. "Mommy, I love your shoes!" "Papi, I love your pants!" "Alex, I love your necklace, it is so beautiful! Alex, you are so beautiful!" "Hi! Oh! I love your eyes!" "Your car is so nice!" "I love this food Mommy! Thank you for this yummy in my tummy supper Mommy! This is my favorite mommy!" "Oh, Papi, I love your earring!" It isn't excessive; it doesn't sound over-done when he does it; it feels like you're getting a true compliment. Everyone that has conversed with me about this (which is several people) tells me that they truly feel so flattered when he does it. Somehow he just spreads the joy and spreads the love. Owen is Mr. Complimentary.
Mr. Inclusivity / A.K.A. Kyle
Lately, Kyle is soooo inclusive. He just seems to truly live by the motto "the more the merrier" all the time in all endeavors with all activities whether they are large or small, spectacularly special or mundane. This too has been going on for a few weeks now, so it appears to not just be a flighty passing short-lived phase. Kyle just loves to welcome people in and embrace them into his life. He seems to genuinely want to include people in all that there is to be included in. And, again, as with Owen, the best part about this is that Kyle seems completely and utterly sincere with his generous inclusive gestures. I actually truly think he really does feel that he wants to invite people to join him in these things-- he's not just including them because of the (adoring/surprised) reaction he gets. He is incredibly inclusive toward people regularly. "I'm having my birthday party on May 8th! You can come?!" "We are going to the grocery store now. You want to come with us?!" "You want to come to our house and watch a video?" "I have good pasta Mama. You want to have some with me?" "Come on Papi! Let's go play!" "Hi! What's your name? You want to try my ice cream?" "We're going on vacation! On a big airplane! You can come with us!!!" It isn't excessive; it doesn't sound over-done when he does it; it feels like you're truly being included in something special. You feel special. Everyone that has conversed with me about this (which is, again, several people) tells me that they truly feel so flattered when he does it -- like Kyle is including them in his "inner circle" -- like Kyle is genuinely living out an open heart and an inclusive spirit. Somehow he just spreads the joy and spreads the love. Kyle is Mr. Inclusivity.

Another Blog I Read Regularly

For awhile now I've been reading the Mayhem and Magic Blog. I've linked to it before on our blog (click here for that link). Today the post there is really great. Click here to read today's Mayhem and Magic Blog post "Talking to Adoptive Parents."

Monday, April 23, 2007

First time to the driving range

I was at work today, talking to Heather and we thought it would be fun if we finally took the boys to the driving range. With all the golfing that they've been doing at home, I've been so much wanting to take them to the range. We finally did it.

On the way there, I was explaining what we were going to do: "Now, guys, we're going to a golf course. When we get there, you have to be quiet and no running around. We're going get many golf balls in bucket and hit many many balls. At home we run after the balls, but here we don't, we just hit more." Owen sums it up perfectly: "Just like on baby golf!" (the golf video we have watched in the past).

We went to the Center Valley Club - which is a really nice public golf club around here. For the first (and only to-date) time, we could understand why someone might want to a member of a golf club. It was a gorgeous spring day - early evening - a light, warm wind was blowing across the fields, and there were a number of people enjoying hitting balls. It felt relaxing, low key, fun and delightful. Now of course, with one notable exception, they were all white, but it did give us a sense of it.

I bought tokens at the Pro Shop to get balls from the ball machine; they tumbled out of the machine and into the buckets and off we went. Got to the driving range and setup. K&O teed right up and whack! Cracked the ball straight out. It was a glorious sight.

The man next to us just chuckled and chuckled. And then said: "They both have very natural swings - that's great!" And the pointing at Owen - "And really great for a lefty!"

We very very quickly went through 70 balls. There was a little flag out about 20 yards away and Kyle hit it 3 times. Wow - that kid can hit it straight and pretty much anywhere he wants. Owen has a really BIG swing, but Kyle has accuracy.

When we ran out of balls, we ran back to the pro shop to get more tokens and ran to the dispenser. Kyle put his token in and got more balls. While Owen was putting his token in, we look over and Kyle has walked off carting his bucket of balls - he couldn't be bothered to wait for his brother!

On the second set of 70 balls, K&O started to look around at other people hitting. Kyle noticed that people dump their balls out into the feeder on the ground and said "Papi, can I do it?" So of course we did. Owen started noticing how other people were swinging and his swing almost doubled in size as he wrapped his whole body around.

As I looked over at Heather, then at my boys hitting balls and out at the beautiful scenery, I was looking through time, across the future of our life as a family, and it was wonderful.

And I only got to hit something like 4 balls total.

Today's Golfing Photos

(note: you can click on this photo to see it larger)

You kinda had to see it to believe it... but here are a few photos nonetheless...