Monday, March 31, 2008

Insider Info

Our fantabulous friend Corey is not only hosting a virtual baby shower for us, but now she's got these fantabulous contests going on!!! Here's some insider info (who knows if it means anything, but here it is nonetheless)~~~

My stats from when I was born:
6 pounds 15.25 ounces
That, other than the fact that my mother was in labor for TWENTY THREE HOURS (my poor, poor mother!), sounds reasonable to me.
My dad's stats from when he was born:
10 pounds 11 ounces
That, does not sound reasonable to me (my poor, poor grandmother!).

Hope that helps!

My First Spin With the New Camera

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Signs of Spring!

Last spring Braydon started taking the boys to the driving range to hit golf balls. Anyone who knows us well knows that the boys have been loving golf since they were about 16 months old, and they are pretty good at it. When the driving range closed early this winter K & O were very disappointed. They've been waiting for spring ever since... in part because they know that's when the driving range (or, as they say, "The Good Golf Course") will open again. Today was the first trip to the driving range of 2008. K & O's golf season has officially begun!!! They were ecstatic (Kyle especially). They both picked up right where they left off last fall-- hitting the ball very consistently, and the best hits going over 50 yards. When we got into the car afterward Kyle very enthusiastically proclaimed, "That was really, really fun!" (The really cool thing about the two photos below is that if you click on them to enlarge them you can actually see the golf balls they've just hit flying in the air.)

Another sure sign that spring has officially begun (even though it was actually unseasonably cold here today)--- We stopped into a store for K & O to get their new Red Sox hats for the 2008 season. This has become an annual rite of spring for us. They outgrow them each year, so each spring they need new ones. Now they totally get it (i.e., they totally get it that MorFar loves the Red Sox and therefor they love the Red Sox and therefor they are really excited about their new Red Sox hats).

Not a sign of spring whatsoever, but this afternoon we took K & O to their second theatre movie ever! This was a big deal. We went to see Horton Hears A Who. Not sure who loved it more -- K & O, or H & B.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Huge Step Forward

Our little man Ky Ky has been waking up with a totally dry Pull-Up for many nights now. He decided to go out on a limb last night and go for the gold--- a diaper-free, Pull-Up-free night. No diaper, no Pull-Up, no nothin'! He got up twice to pee, and he woke up this morning dry and proud. 1 out of 2 ain't bad. We're ecstatic!

Third in the Series: Baby Bump

Friday, March 28. 33 Weeks + 1 day prego.

I hate this picture because you can tell that: a) I have not showered, and b) I was up even more than usual the night before. Not that an 8-months-pregnant woman sleeps much any night, but that night was particularly bad. However, the photo really does show the growth of Baby Sister (click here to compare to 3.5 weeks ago). I still don't have that "beached whale" feeling that all of my friends describe re: the final weeks... but I definitely can see how that feeling is fast approaching. And just in the past 2-3 days I've started feeling some noticeable Braxton Hicks contractions (a couple of which have been so strong they've jolted me awake in the night). Baby sister is a Mover And A Shaker (nothing could make her Papi and I more proud than if she grows up to be a grown-up Mover And A Shaker)... she is all over the place in there and is virtually never in the head-down position. Here's hoping that she gets into that position soon, because her favorite 'fully-horizontal-way-up-high-in-the-uterus-pushing-into-my-ribcage-position' is definitely getting old fast. It is not comfortable for me, and getting less and less comfortable by the day. Less than 7 weeks 'till Baby Sister is due. We're crossing some things off the To Do List, but the list is massive.

Friday, March 28, 2008

2 Steps Forward 1 Step Back

2 Steps Forward:
  • Owen had his post-operative appointment with Dr. Chang, our pediatric surgeon, today. Dr. Chang removed the bandages and gauze. To reveal Owen's innie!!! This was a big deal for Owen. Unfortunately there was quite a large hematoma (blood clot) under the skin around the top of the belly button. It is quite a big bump and Owen is not thrilled about that (it looks too similar to his old big 'outie'). Dr. Chang said this is simply a result of the fact that the umbilical hernia was so very large. He also assured Owen that the hematoma will go away (be absorbed back into his body), hopefully within the next week or so. He advised warm baths. So K & O had a loooong warm bath this afternoon. :) Underneath the hematoma, however, is sure enough a big indentation of an INNIE. I found that I can hold up a mirror so that Owen can see that part, and he loves it. He also is very proud to show off his "innie button" to Kyle (see photo above, taken tonight after dinner).
  • Shockingly, Kyle wanted to go to school today by himself! Owen had to stay home to go to Dr. Chang's office. Since starting school this past fall the boys have refused to go by themselves (if the other has to stay home for whatever reason). But completely on his own Kyle made the decision to go it alone today. He had a great day at school solo! A big step for Ky Ky (and for Owen)!

1 Step Back:

  • After a couple of very rough and tough weeks around here we had another rough spot last night. At about 2:00 a.m. Owen couldn't sleep and Braydon ended up getting into bed with him. At 3:00 they both awoke, covered in barf, to Owen throwing up all over the bed. From 3:00-5:00 we were up with poor Owen, who for 2 hours had a terrible ordeal (both ends). Lots of loads of laundry later, he finally fell asleep. When he woke up at a little before 7:00 he felt great and was in good spirits. He was slow all day today, mostly just weak and exhausted (no more puke). And on top of it had to be dragged into his appointment with Dr. Chang. The poor, poor little guy. We feel like we got off relatively easy (we expected it to be a 24 hour thing so we were happy when it wasn't)... but still... you'd think that at this point we'd deserve a break. Ugh. Such is our life-- it never seems to go too easy for us and there is definitely never a dull moment.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Week (or Two!) in Review

Crocus Blooming In Our Front Garden

Yesterday and today I've posted a ton to try to catch up on the past couple of weeks of our blog-slacker-ness. Now I'm caught up and ready to get back to regular normal blogging! I feel like the past couple of weeks have been even more intense than usual around here. We go through these spurts. It is a wild ride we're on trying to balance and juggle all that we do. Sometimes it feels totally and completely overwhelming. But we somehow always do manage to pop our heads up for air, get things back into their grooves, and life feels magical and wonderful much more often than it feels daunting. Thank goodness for that. Kyle and Owen are the lights of our lives. Baby sister is due 7 weeks from today. It is fully spring here and it feels good!

Easter at Bement Camp 2008

We spent Easter Weekend with my Dad's side of the family at Bement Camp again this year (click here). We were there for the whole weekend, with the exception of our annual pilgrimage to Trinity Lutheran (click here) for church on Easter morning. Thanks to my mom for organizing the whole thing! Highlights this year included:
  • TWO (count them: TWO!) Easter Egg Hunts! One (thanks to Amina and Jeremy) on Saturday afternoon with all the cousins and second-cousins! And one (thanks to the Easter Bunny // MorMor & MorFar) on Sunday morning for Kyle, Owen, and their cousin!

  • After a long year of waiting and hopeful anticipation, Kyle finally got to sing (belt out at the top of his lungs, actually) 'Christ The Lord Is Risen Today' amidst the huge congregation, the choirs, the booming organ, and the full processional at Trinity Lutheran. He was way into it. And way into the whole 1.5 hour long service actually. This child has the spirit in him. Seriously!

  • Seeing everyone! I know some of you are reading~~~ it was so great to see you and I'm so glad that we can all know each other (if even only a little bit) despite the distance.

Easter at Bement Camp 2008 - II

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Latest Favorite Photo

Braydon has been taking some amazing photos with his new camera. This is my current favorite. As always, click to enlarge.

Easter Egg Decorating 2008

Last week while MorMor was still here we had our annual Easter Egg Decorating Event. I say Event because decorating eggs with K & O is nothing less than an Event. An Event that you really need to take part in to grasp the scope of. My mom and I laughed our way through the entire thing-- cleaning up spilled egg dye here, quickly handling near-miss-disasters there, trying to contain the exuberance of our crazy twins (exuberance is good, but not necessarily when it involves dye), keep the stains to a minimum, and generally do hard-core intensive damage control. My mom admitted that it was "very stressful" and that she was "really looking forward to her bourbon that night." If I weren't pregnant I probably would have been serving bourbon during the Event. All in all, though, it was a lot smoother/easier/less-messy than last year's Egg Decorating Event (click here). What a difference a year makes!

3 Sweet MorMor Photos

MorMor came to help out during Owen's surgery week. Here are three of Braydon's shots from when she first arrived. I had just picked her up at the airport and brought her home. I truly cannot imagine any two grandsons more adoring of their grandmother than these boys are of their MorMor.

Owen's "Owie Innie Button"

We went to the hospital early Wednesday morning. Owen was excited to get his "innie belly button." But he was nervous and anxious too. In the car on the way to the hospital Owen said, "Mommy, I miss home." We got settled in our hospital room and Owen was a perfect patient throughout.

As the nurses prepared him for surgery, they gave him something to make him get calm and groggy. He did not like the way the "bad medicine" made him feel. Braydon and I could stay with him right up until they rolled him into the O.R. As they took him off he was groggily leaning back around the rolling bed, waving and saying "bye bye" to Braydon and I. I could have just fallen into a heap of a mess right there. As the nurse walked us back to Owen's room to wait for him she told us that she "wished she could give us some jello shots." That was interesting. But if truth be told, if she had offered us some, I would have happily slid down a bunch.

Post surgery recovery. Owen was not a happy camper. He wanted to be on my lap the entire time and wouldn't even move off enough for the nurses to take his blood pressure on his arm. He really did not like the IV. When he finally was coherent enough and brave enough he looked at his belly. He was thrilled that it was flat-- indicating to him that it was now the "innie" he had wanted.

Mid afternoon we came home from the hospital. Owen sat on the couch for the entire afternoon (unheard of). The only thing he really wanted to eat was popsicles. Which was just fine with us. Kyle and MorMor came home from being out running errands and brought Owen a book of mazes. This really cheered him up. (Lately his favorite thing to do is mazes.)

Later in the day Owen said, "I need a toy." He then asked Kyle to go to the playroom and get him a toy. Kyle ran off and returned with a toy airplane. We had no idea where this was leading. With airplane in hand, Owen pulled up his shirt and carefully rolled the airplane across the bandage and over his flat belly. Smiling he did this over and over again. Even though he was in quite a bit of pain, he just loved that it was flat. He then told Kyle that he needed "a truck, or a car." Kyle ran to the playroom and returned with a toy car for him. Owen rolled the car over his belly again and again and again.

Kyle was unbelievably amazing for the few days that followed. He played for long stretches alone (and/or with MorMor). He was happy and good. I am still surprised at how well he handled Owen being the center of attention.

Kyle was the perfect twin brother to have at your side during your post-operative recovery!

In the few days following Owens surgery, K & O surely watched more videos than they had ever watched, total, in their entire previous lives. They spent hours and hours snuggled up on the couch together watching Curious George and Wonder Pets.

Today, six days post surgery, Owen is having his first day with no pain medicine! The boys had a great breakfast together this morning and headed off to school as happy as can be. Friday we return to Dr. Chang's office for the removal of Owen's bandages and his post-operative check up.

Visit from G'amma, Uncle Guy, Auntie Sabrina

The weekend before last we had a visit from G'amma, Uncle Guy, and Auntie Sabrina. Sadly, we didn't have our new camera yet. But we had a good visit. K & O always love visits! And lately they are especially in love with Auntie Sabrina. It was a good weekend!

Parent Teacher Conference

Also on Friday the 14th we had K & O's Parent-Teacher Conference at River Valley Waldorf School. I'm not writing this to brag-- just to document it for K & O when they are older (if they are ever inclined to read this):
Dear Boys,
Your nursery school teacher, Miss Kathy, loves you. She thinks you are independently two of the most amazing boys ever. She says people are drawn to you and that you are "very special." And she also loves to watch your twinship. She's had many sets of twins in the years she's been teaching, but she says you are extra special twins to watch. She says you two are the "life of the class" and that you have "huge auras in the classroom and on the playground." She says that all the other children adore you and that you are the natural leaders of the group every single day. When you are absent from school the day is "quiet" and your "absence is so striking to everyone." She says that you are rarely in trouble. You are very social. You play well with all of the children and exclude no one (your Papi and I are most proud of this). You lead the group in vivid imaginary play... usually related to travel (LOL!). You turn over the table and turn it into an airplane. You get all the kids to "pack their bags" and "get ready for the trip." You all pile into the upside-down-table-plane, get your seats, and fasten your seat belts. Then you all fly off to distant destinations! Beaches! Desert! Snowy Mountains! It is always glorious and adventurous and exciting! Many of the other children have never actually been on a plane in real life-- but in class they are flying off all over the world everyday! ;) Miss Kathy thinks this is just a wonderful thing you're doing in class. You eat your snacks and your lunches very well. You love to be outside (she knows you well). You play separately at times during the day but always come back together in between. Often when together you play with another child too, so that there are three of you. Owen likes to play especially with the girls-- Stella and Lydia are constant companions. Kyle rotates from friend-to-friend, but Will remains a steady. You enjoy story time and song singing. She thinks you're way ahead of other kids your age in pretty much every way-- except for coloring/drawing (!!!). You still really don't like to color or draw and your skills show it! Basically, you're still just scribbling and showing no interest in doing much else. She's not worried about that though, and neither are we. You're going to graduate to the mixed-age-kindergarten (ages 4-5-6) for next year. You'll probably be the youngest kids in your class, but you'll love it because you really enjoy being with older kids. And Miss Kathy thinks you'll do just great. Your Papi and I kept waiting for the bad news. But there was none. Your Parent-Teacher Conference was just an hour of listening to how wonderful you boys are!

First Trip to the Dentist

The Friday before last we had K & O's first trip to the dentist! They loved it! They hopped right up into the chair-- first Kyle, then Owen. They opened wide. They got their teeth checked out and they each got full cleanings. Their favorite part was the dentist's chair-- they thought it was very cool that the chair could be put into all sorts of positions. The dentist let them hold a mirror so that they could watch what she was doing to their teeth-- they loved that too. Turns out they have great teeth! No cavities and no problems! Another aspect of their great genes. Another moment in which we give thanks for great birthparents! All in all, a great First Trip to the Dentist!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Owen's "Innie"

Wednesday morning Owen had surgery to repair his umbilical hernia. We have a terrific pediatric surgeon, Dr. Chang -- supposedly the best in the area -- and we were very confident going into it. The surgery went smoothly and Owen came out of it well. Dr. Chang had told us that Owen's was the largest umbilical hernia he'd ever seen. We were advised by the nurses after the surgery that Owen's post-op recovery would be a little rough simply because of the size of his hernia. He has had some up's and some down's over the past couple of days, but overall our boy has been such a TROOPER and true to form he rarely complains. He is instead very thrilled with his "innie." He had been asking us for an "innie belly button" for awhile now, and now he has it. I didn't realize just how important this was to him until after the surgery. As soon as he could feel that his belly was flat, he was ecstatic-- despite the pain he was in. He looks at it 100 times a day and is just absolutely thrilled with what he sees (even though right now there is a thick covering on it so he can't even actually see the belly button). Since Owen came home from the hospital Kyle too has been wearing a covering over his belly button (in his case a sticker that Owen brought home from the hospital for him). Kyle refuses to take off the sticker until Owen's bandages can come off. Owen seems pleased with that arrangement. ;0
Having your child go through surgery is never fun or easy. But Braydon and I experienced this surgery with Owen very similarly to how we experienced Kyle's surgery (to have his adenoids taken out and ear tubes put in) two years ago-- we are grateful first and foremost that our kids are as healthy and robust as they are... and secondly, we are profoundly grateful that we live in a part of the world that has such superb health care, and we feel incredibly grateful to be in the position to be able to access that health care for our children. It is hard, in moments like these, to not think of the 'what if's' (i.e., 'what if they hadn't gotten out of Haiti?'). On a smaller scale (yet huge nonetheless) we are also truly grateful that my mom was willing and able to come spend much of this week with us. She was a help beyond belief and we seriously don't know how we would have done this week without her. It has been a rough few days, but our focus has remained on all that we are grateful for. Which is a good way to go into Easter weekend. I've been neglecting the blog for the past week, I have lots to post about, and I promise that I'll get on the ball as soon as Easter is over.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Our new camera

So - after a number of questions about our new camera, this is the story.

We had wanted to "upgrade" for a while, and when bonus season came around and our camera bit the dust, we decided to do it.

I did a lot of online research and we ultimately went with the Nikon D40, with the included kit 18-55mm lens (28-80mm equiv). We also got the Nikon sb-600 flash (but it has not arrived yet). I suspect we're going to get the 18-200mm lens at a later date to give us more zoom.

It's easy to use, has an auto setting for Heather, is super light, and way way way way fast. Feels like instant on, instant taking a picture. There feels like no delay from when you click the shutter release to when the picture is taken. This is our first Digital SLR, so it's new for us to have such quality. Our previous camera (that's being repaired) is a Canon G7, which is a very good point and shoot - but there are delays when starting and taking pictures. We were ready to upgrade.

Our choice was between the Nikon D60, D80 and the Canon Rebel XTi. If we had wanted to spend twice as much, I would have gotten the D200, but we didn't. Those cameras have more megapixels than the D40, but since we're not making poster sized prints, we don't really need more than 6 (which is what the D40 has), and the D40 has better color and exposure quality than the D60 and D80. Not being a camera expert, that's what I read in reviews anyway.

I used these two sites to help with the research:


Ken Rockwell

And we bought it at Circuit city. The prices online were comparable, and with no shipping, automatic 10% off on the flash and memory card, it simply came in at the best price. We also got the 2 year extended warranty, since our last 4 cameras have all broken within two years.

We're loving it so far.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cameraless No More!

We got a camera! Here are some of Braydon's first shots with it (K in orange, O in green).