Dear Suzy

Dear Suzy, 

I know you would read this and find this whole letter silly and pointless, given the circumstances, but people always advise in similar situations that writing such a letter can be beneficial for processing difficult feelings, so I hope you’ll excuse this letter that you would undoubtedly find idiotic…

Today is my husband’s birthday, and instead of planning a great celebration and baking him a cake, I  am sitting here, crying over my keyboard, because it is all I seem to be able to do today.   Two weeks and four days ago, you died, and while plenty of tears have been shed since then, today seems to be particularly hard.  I think it’s because today is the first morning I’ve woken up in my own bed, in my own house, and have begun to settle back into “real life” in a post-Suzy world.  I am unpacking the few belongings of yours that I took from your house, things that for the most part have no real monetary value, but things that I would find to have a practical use, or things that are nicer than what I already own, or some things that are simply beautiful items that will remind me of you when I see them.  

But I wonder, will I ever be able to use those buttons I filched from your extensive sewing notions box?  Because right now, I can’t even pick them up.  I can wear your shoes, ones that never even made it out of the box (I thank you for having big feet like me), but somehow, touching these random items, these things that you packed away and kept, to be used again someday or to be held for your own sentimental reasons or kept simply because you seem incapable of throwing away anything of even slight value… it guts me.  

I packed the suitcase full of these things, the old teapot napkin holder that the boys had such fun playing with, the brass pepper grinder, the scarves, the box of sewing notions, a few cookbooks, and I did so with all practicality of the mother who is about to fly across the country alone with two four-year-olds.  But somehow, unpacking these things, putting them into use in my house, stowing them away for my own family to someday uncover after I pass away, it slams against me with guilt and anger and sadness and frustration, and all I can manage to do is cry and write about it.  

You had three full dresser drawers of socks, sorted by color and style, stuffed to the absolute maximum drawer capacity.  You had a closet filled with boxes of patterns and fabric and buttons and elastic and patches and hooks and thread, my god, the boxes of thread, and you hadn’t sewn a thing in at least a decade.  You had two identical designer brand, crazy-expensive fuchsia tank tops hanging in your closet with the tags still on, clearly never worn.  If I have learned anything from your death, it is that I want to purge my belongings so that I do not leave this sort of mess for anyone else.  And yet, I just brought a suitcase full of your crap to mingle with mine, beautiful crap, but crap none the less, crap that I will never be able to throw away because it was *yours*.  


I have had this conversation too many times over the last couple of weeks as I have dealt with the practicality of death, the closing of phone service, the unused gift cards, the airline ticket reservation changes, et cetera:
“And your relationship to the deceased was…?”
“She was my mom’s best friend, my second mother.”

And this explanation doesn’t seem to suffice, to give significance and gravity to the requests I’m making.  I don’t explain further, because I shouldn’t have to, but without the details, people don’t recognize the validity of our relationship.  You never married.  You never gave birth or adopted, no kids of your own.  I don’t know (nor do I particularly care) whether this was your choice or whether life simply dealt you a hand full of career-prestige, amazing travel, and the love of friends, but a hand lacking in the kind of relationships that our society (wrongly) recognizes as The Only Important Ones.  It does not matter at this point that you did not have a husband or partner or children– it matters that you had family-of-choice, that you had children in your life who loved you very much (yes, at points they even loved you more than they loved their own mother), that you had friends so dear to you that there was never even a second thought about sharing your homes with one another, your lives with one another with such a level of intimacy that one would be lucky to have with an actual blood-relative.  

But how would I explain that to the ticket agent at the airline who cares not a whit what our actual relationship was, only that you are not *technically* immediate family, and so I forfeit the right to make a penalty-free ticket change.  I don’t believe in “woo”, but I like to imagine your spirit sitting on my shoulder, laughing as I informed the agent that you were closer than any immediate relatives I had and that I would gladly hang up and call back and lie to the next agent that you *were* actually blood related, since they would never know the difference.  Because you *were*.  You *were* more “immediate” than the majority of people who fit that technicality of “immediate family”.    


Your final days were not good to you.  You were sick, but exactly how sick, we were unaware.  I am so angry at you for not advocating more staunchly for your own health and angry at myself for not insisting that you take yourself to a hospital to get the care you needed.  You were still lucid enough to remember important practical details, but apparently not enough so to actually force your doctor to recognize exactly how sick you were feeling.  I don’t know if you just weren’t admitting to yourself the severity of your symptoms, or whether things really did take such a fast turn for the worse.  

Your health had been suffering for a long time, a lifetime of living in a body that simply did not respond to your efforts to “fix” it, so the fact that you died was not a surprise, but the timing was definitely a shock.  You had been transported to the hospital via ambulance because you couldn’t put weight on one leg, and there was suspicion that there may possibly have been a stroke, but even the EMTs were pretty sure that wasn’t what was really going on.  When you arrived at the hospital, they didn’t even place you in an “urgent” room. But at some point after your arrival, your heart stopped beating, and it took over 45 minutes for them to restart it.  

I’m still confused by exactly what happened.  Even though I talked with multiple nurses and heard accounts from multiple doctors, I’m still not sure exactly what happened, or even whether or not earlier intervention would have saved you.  I do know that it was too soon, that there was still a lot more life for you to experience, but in spite of a doctor’s early report to my parents that you would “probably pull through this”, when I saw you the day following your cardiac event, it was clear that you were gone, that the dialysis machines, the blood pressure medication, the ventilator were doing the work of keeping your body alive.  

There was no way to know what your brain was receiving or not, but I do know that you put a high value on dignity and correctness and mental capacity, and those things were clearly missing when I saw you.  Your body was making movements, but nothing intentional.  It was gut-wrenching to watch your body in this state, not knowing whether you were hurting or sad or whether you really did have some element of consciousness that would want to continue.  Our best guess afforded by medical science was that you were not aware and that should you actually manage to pull through this incident, the quality of life you would have would be so severely compromised as to be not even worth living.  It was a difficult decision to make, but a clear decision to me that to continue on in such a way was the last thing you would have wanted.  


I am not a spiritual person, and resources for processing end-of-life emotions are sorely lacking outside of a religious context.  I don’t believe that there is some element of you remaining.  I don’t believe that your consciousness has passed on to another realm where it mingles with other people’s consciousnesses.  But I do know that with the end of your existence was the end of the pain and suffering you had encountered before your death, and that is a comfort to me.  

Being with you, touching your arm, holding your hand while that hand still had an element of life, being close to you while the machines were systematically turned off, the medications discontinued, the ventilator removed, a hand on your body while it quietly quit functioning– all of it was shockingly surreal.  I’m still processing it.  It’s a feeling that I imagine will never leave me, that is horrible and sad and wonderful all at once.  

I am glad I was able to be there to provide whatever comfort I could to your body and whatever remained of your mind.  I am glad that you died surrounded by your family, that we were there for you and for each other.  I am glad, remembering the incredibly special person you were.  I am glad for the love you gave me during our lives together.  I am glad for the love and friendship you gave to my mother for so many decades, and for the love and friendship you gave my father as well.  I am glad we were able to have had you in our lives for as long as we did, though I still grieve that it wasn’t longer.  

Most of all, above everything, I hope that you never doubt how loved you were, how important you were to so many people, and how much I already miss you.  

With Love, 

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Back To The Table

No more meta-blogging. No more. I refuse. I will say only that I keep getting little pokes from the internet inspiring me to just write. Just write. And I encourage you to do the same. No more hesitation. Tell your stories. I want to hear.

As most of you know, we spent our fall semester in Texas staying with my parents. One of the many benefits of this arrangement (and there were MANY…) was that someone else was in charge of the kitchen. I come by my love of cooking honestly; my mom is a fabulous cook whose heart is seated solidly in front of the oven. I can’t say I remember any specific dedication to family dinners as a kid, but I think that’s just because that’s the way it was for most families back then. There was no movement to “return to the table” because I think the majority of us had never left it. Lest I lapse into nostalgia for the simpler times, I’ll just say that most of my activities were school-centered, and thus, didn’t involve running all over town at regular times throughout the week*. There were plenty of late pickups from school, and Camp Fire meetings, but somehow, they never seemed to require white board calendars, or complicated eating schedules. It was just a given that we would sit down at the table and eat dinner, and that it would be a home-cooked dinner a majority of the time.

(Let me also be sure to mention that I have no rosy-eyed view of what it took for my parents to be able to plan meals and actually get them on the table, day-to-day, week to week, on and on and on. I fully recognize how difficult that is. But they just did it, because that’s what you did back then.)

Anyhow, needless to say, being in Texas with my mom at the dinner helm was great, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I missed being at my own dinner helm after a while. Yes, I did get plenty of opportunities to help with meal preparation and plenty of opportunities to cook some meals on my own, but while meal planning can get tedious, there is some pleasure I take in sitting down once a week and planning out what we’ll eat, making shopping lists, going to the store (sans kids… what a luxury), and feeling good as our groceries deplete themselves over the week. Like I said, my mom is an excellent cook, her food is amazing, but she loves cream. And butter. And cheese. And nice, rich cuts of meat. And hearty stews. It’s all delicious, but I’ve always been a veggie person. I spent many years as a vegetarian, and I have a deep and abiding love of fresh, simply adorned vegetables that has lasted in spite of my reawakened love of bacon. I love all those things that my mom loves, but they seem to appear much less frequently in my meals.

Naturally, then, one of the first priorities upon returning home was to restock the fridge and plan a week of meals. I got Dinner: A Love Story as a Christmas gift, and I’ve been cooking my way through it over the last few weeks that we’ve been home. There have been some major hits and a few misses, but what I appreciate most about the book is the simple inspiration to cook a meal at home and to sit down together and eat it. Meals don’t need to be projects. And I don’t need to stress over whether my hyper 2.5-year-olds sit down and eat with us. I cook something good, something that is reasonably kid-friendly (meaning it’s not something absurdly spicy, or horribly stinky–otherwise, I’d consider most anything acceptably “kid-friendly”.), and I put it on their plates and I sit them at the table. If they don’t eat anything, if they can’t keep their wiggly bottoms in their seat, so be it.

At this age, I think it’s mostly important that they begin to see this as a ritual, that we stop at the end of the work day and sit down with each other and speak to each other. Maybe they don’t yet fully participate, maybe I’ll have to make someone a peanut butter sandwich later, maybe I’ll have to get up repeatedly in the middle of my meal to refill a sippy cup (or to eventually give up and turn on a video so that my munchkins will let me eat…), but they will hopefully get the message that this is something we do, that this is common behavior in our house.

I make no secret here that I’m not religious, but I read somewhere about how religion functions well within a family for setting up family ritual, how it’s important to have a set of family values. And while regular church attendance works well to instill habits, rituals, shared values among a family, church attendance is certainly not the only means to set up rituals and values. In our family, our one rule is to Be Kind. That’s it. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your friends. Be kind to your parents. Those are our values. And eating dinner together, showing love through the effort of home cooking, is a ritual I’d like to foster.

This week, we’ll be making chana paneer, cecio e pepe, and a Tuscan beef stew (haven’t figured out what else yet… any suggestions?). So, what’s on your menu? What are your strategies for getting your little ones to the table, getting them to eat a variety of foods, getting them to sit still? What are your rituals?

*Should I mention that the decline of extra-curricular emphasis in schools perhaps leads to the need many parents feel to include soccer, dance, art, swimming, etc., etc., in their family’s weekly “free time” schedule? I’m not saying that school-based activities are either superior or inferior to private lessons, but just that many modern parents feel the need to provide these outside-school activities possibly because we’ve decided that school is *only* for academics and as such, have redistributed funds away from school-based extracurriculars, and there is a cost to that, and one of those costs is the family dinner, eating in shifts, stressing ourselves out, running hither and yon to expose our children to various interests… Need I mention that I was nary a few credits away from finishing my degree in Music Education, and that my own public school music education was absolutely integral to my young life?

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A Real Post?

(edited to fix photo links…).

Yeah, yeah.  I suppose after teasing all of you with all of those back posts that I should post something real.

We have officially returned to real life here in NC after being in Texas since late August.  I think I said before that I was surprised when I was in Texas and I felt like I wasn’t really “home” anymore, that NC had (finally… after 7 years…) taken that place in my mind.  But, of course, now that we’re back in NC after so many months in Texas, I find myself missing “home” all over again.  I guess I’m split at this point.  I have to admit that there are things I love about my NC home– the seasons, the beauty, the awesome friends I have here–, and things I will always miss about my TX home– the beauty, the awesome friends I have there, the FOOD, and yeah, even family (my boys love their GaGa and PaGa.  We talk about them almost every day now that we’re home.  Henry asks all the time to go to GaGa’s house, and Jack declares, “have tacos, GaGa’s house!”  Yes, they miss the food, too– especially breakfast tacos!).

Anyhow, being in Texas obviously did *not* give me more time for blogging.  And I’ve been very divided as to whether to even continue blogging at all, but I just can’t bring myself to officially end this blog, and so I sit in limbo.  My boys take up a LOT of my time, but at 2.5 years, they are getting closer to being able to play independently for long enough for me to jot a few lines here and there.  So, perhaps that’s my new goal:  Just write a couple of lines when I find the time.  I love the connections I’ve formed here, and I miss the closeness with all of you fostered when I post and read your comments and then read your posts and then leave my own comments over there.  It really does seem that things have slowed down in the last year among my particular corner of the blogosphere.  Connections seem to be happening in other parts of the social media sphere. (And if you want to connect with me over there, just leave a comment here and I’ll message you with my deets…)

And so, business out of the way, let’s get back to the stories.

Jack and Henry both astonish me daily with how much they grow, mentally and physically.  And also, how different they grow from each other.  This third year of their life has been an adventure already.  I think I posted before about how I’m a total hippy-dippy softie when it comes to discipline, and so, naturally, this area has been a huge challenge for us.  Per our pediatrician’s recommendations, we’ve been using time-outs almost exclusively, and I’ve been fairly disappointed with the results.  Honestly, our challenges are very different from child to child, which makes it very difficult to discipline them.  I’m very concerned with fairness between them (aren’t *all* twin parents?  or all parents of siblings, generally?), and so, even though I know time-outs absolutely don’t work with Jack, I don’t want Henry to see Jack performing certain behaviors and being treated differently.  It’s very hard to set expectations if Henry hits Jack and gets a time-out, but then he sees Jack hit and Jack gets held tightly and talked to about expectations.  (Hard to explain, but Henry is much more concerned with living up to our expectations– more of a pleaser–, whereas Jack just loses his mind, loses any sense of… well, *anything*, when he’s separated from H or me. It’s like he can’t associate his behavior with the consequences, so he needs different consequences.  And if I do to Henry what I do with Jack, he doesn’t get it at all. It’s hard disciplining two very different children who are growing up parallel to each other.)

Anyhow, I’d love to hear more from any of you who have found discipline techniques that work for you.  Jack is the perfect “natural consequences” case, and Henry is the classic “authority” minded kind.  Ah, twins.  So much fun and so much stress, all at the same time.

On the “fun” side of things, Henry is a total mimic, and has really had a language explosion in the last few months.  He’ll come up with the most random, yet situationally appropriate, statements that he’s pulling out of his archive of saved phrases.  Like yesterday, when he looked outside at the very wet, mushy snow that was falling from the sky, he said, “I can’t believe it!  It’s so wet!”  Um, what?  Yes, we’ve been having rain for days, and yes, we’ve talked about how wet it is when it rains, but where did that whole construct of surprise at the condition of wetness come from?!  Who knows… He’s very cute, though.  He loves to cuddle.  And he clearly processes things very slowly and for long after the fact.  A couple of weeks ago, some family friends came to my parents’ house to visit with their 10 month old and 3 year old.  And Henry is a terrible sharer, and he got very upset because the baby was touching his things.  I couldn’t explain to him that babies don’t understand mine and yours, and so we used the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood* song, “Blank-blank gets a turn, and then I get it back” (we use this *all the time* to understand temporary possession).  And now, for the last two weeks, at least once a day, he sings to himself, “Connor takes a turn, Henny gets it back”.  And he will repeat hours or days later, “Papa MAD!” (after I told him once that Papa was grumpy and mad because it was bedtime and they weren’t going to sleep).  And “Jack in TROUBLE!”, which I think is something H said to him at the park the other day while I was chasing Jack across the parking lot after he escaped from the fenced playground.

Anyhow, Henry processes things for days afterward and will pop up with a random phrase to indicate this.  It makes sense that these little creatures are humans and as such, they process their thoughts and feelings even much after the fact, but it just wasn’t clear to me until I actually heard Henry say things that indicated so.

Jack, on the other hand, remains a very action-oriented kid.  He seems to understand quite a bit, but as far as word/thought construction, he’s not yet at the same level as Henry.  He frequently will repeat word-for-word what I say with a different inflection to indicate his meaning, rather than actually saying what he means.  For instance, I say, “do you want a waffle?”  and Jack will say, somewhat angrily, “I WANT a waffle”, which actually means, I DON’T want a waffle.  Yes.  It’s all very confusing with Jack.  But, in most circumstances, I can see that he clearly understands me.  He’s just not very good at words yet.

However, balance-wise, Jack is leaps and bounds (literal leaps and literal bounds) ahead of most of his peers (Henry included).  He is insatiably curious, and he will let almost nothing stop him.  He gets stuck all the time, worming his way into places he shouldn’t go.  He plays by full physical interaction, meaning he really has to move with something to “get it”.  We play with letter toys, and he needs to jump with the letter block, throw it, find it, shout about it.  He is just a physical kid, and he always has been.  He is never happier than when he’s balanced on my lap, or snuggled next to me.

Lifestyle-wise, we continue to co-sleep (though I’m ready to move them whenever they are– we may be buying some low bunk beds in an effort to entice them in that direction), and we continue to nurse (SO ready to be done with this, whenever they are!  They show no signs of being done, at all.  And I have no idea how to wean toddlers who are very capable of sharing their wants and opinions).  We haven’t even begun to think about potty training, and I don’t know when we will.  Henry likes to talk about the potty, but he doesn’t understand at all about body functions in that direction.  And Jack just doesn’t have the words for it at all.  But they’re 2.5.  They’ve got time.   I can’t say I ever saw myself in this place when I imagined what it would be like raising them, but here I am.  And it’s really okay.

ANYHOW, I think that’s the best I can do, update-wise, for right now.  I know you all only show up here to see the pretty pictures, so here we are:
Jack playing in this morning’s snow:
Good Morning, Snow!

Jack and Henry dance on the table on New Year’s Eve:
Happy New Year

Henry plays:

Growing, growing, every day! (At Garrison Park in Austin)
Oh, Brother

Find more by clicking the photo feed in the sidebar over there >>.

And what of you?  What’s been going on in your world?

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Just an FYI– All of these posts showing up in your feed are (obviously) older posts that I’ve been editing/fixing and un-privatizing on this blog. Most of you have already read them, but just know that in the coming days/weeks, there may be many more of these showing up. If anyone knows how to keep them from showing up in feeds, please let me know. 2.5 years later, I guess it’s about time I finally got around to sorting through things, eh?

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Did I mention that H is taking a sabbatical this fall and that we’ve (temporarily) moved back to Texas? No? Well, we did. And here we are now. We are staying with my parents, but we have a little set-up at the far end of the house, so I can keep the boys out of everyone’s hair most of the time. We had planned to leave NC last Wednesday (Aug 29th), but, you know, there was this whole hurricane thing going on, headed straight for the portion of the US between NC and Texas, so we made a very sudden decision Tuesday morning to leave that afternoon and get a few hours of travel under our belt to try to beat the hurricane. And for the most part, it worked out great (weather-wise), but unfortunately, driving-wise and packing-wise, it made it really hard. Three days on the road (a 4-hour start followed by two 8.5 hour days…), driving through the mountains of Tennessee (pretty, but intense for the driver), two sick babies (one who started feeling bad right before we arrived at our stop on the first night, the other who had it the next day…), a 5:30 a.m. fire alarm with hotel evacuation on the morning of our last day of driving (carrying two fussy, sleepy babies down and back up 7 flights of stairs…), etc., etc.

Yeah. It was just an intense couple of days, followed by celebrations at my parents’ house for my dad’s birthday, and my brother and SIL coming to town, and Labor Day. But, we’re settling in, and it seems like the boys are starting to calm down a bit and get back into a routine.

We joined the YMCA in our area, and I went yesterday midday and ran while the boys stayed in the Child Watch area. Henry thought it was great fun to try all of the new toys and read the new books. Jack, on the other hand, was not very happy with that arrangement. He apparently squeezed out a few tears, and spent most of his time in the sitter’s lap feeling pretty bummed out. I think he’ll get used to it after we’ve gone a few times, but this is the very first time I’ve left them in a group care setting, and only the second time they’ve stayed with someone not related to us. I’m still considering a Mother’s Day Out program locally, but really, what I needed most was someone to watch the boys while I exercise, which can obviously be taken care of at the Y. The other benefit of the Y out here is that they have very nice indoor pools plus an outdoor kid pool area. So, we can take the boys to play in the pools or H can swim laps or whatever.

So. Other than the giant transition to Texas, things are sailing along right about like you’d expect with two two-year-olds. They are fucking insane. Jack is a runner, as in, the second I let go of him (or turn my attention elsewhere) he’s gone, and faster than I can believe. Henry is moody, and likes to hit and bite, which is always fun.

However, they’re also incredibly sweet boys, and they’re really beginning to actually play together. They notice each other so much, and except for when they both want the same thing at the same time, they really seem to like each other. They are beginning to understand the concept of sharing (and will even willingly do so most of the time…), and they are both very huggy and kissy babies. I’m trying to focus on those good parts and ignore the frustrating bits. Some days are better than others in that regard!

Language-wise, they are adding words and concepts on almost an hourly basis, it seems. I’ve been a bit worried about Jack, to be honest, and while there are still some things that concern me about his behavior (see above re. never flippin’ sits still EVER), I’ve mostly determined that his lack of listening and lack of vocabulary have more to do with personality and a ever-so-slight delay (normal for twins, normal for boys and normal for bilingual kiddos), rather than as a result of poor hearing or the like. Parents of toddlers probably know what I mean when I say that sometimes his lack of attention has me absolutely convinced that he must not be able to hear well. So combined with his limited vocabulary, we were considering having his hearing tested, but in the time between their two year appointment and now, it seems like he just had a mini-language explosion, so for the time being, I think he’s probably just being a typical two year old.

I recently bought a new handbag. This is only notable because as I was asking H if it would bother him if I dropped $60 on a new purse, he asked if it was a replacement for my old one (it was), and then pointed out that I’d had my old handbag since he first met me, and I know I’d had it already for a few years at that point. I guess a new purse every decade isn’t such a luxury. So yay me for finally buying a new handbag after 10 years.

It’s weird to me that right before we left to come here, I suddenly began to actually develop what I’d call real friendships in NC. I’ve been looking forward to coming back here to Texas basically since we moved to NC 7 years ago. And since H and I began making these plans for his sabbatical, I’ve been really REALLY excited about being here for the semester. And yeah, I am thrilled to be here with family and with friends close by, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I find myself missing NC, and especially missing the friendships I’d (finally) begun to develop there. Fall is my favorite season, and we’re completely missing it this year (central Texas does not have fall so much as “Summer the Lesser” and “Brief Stormy Season”, followed by “Possibly Cold Time” in late December…). It’s so great to be home, but I find myself thinking that this may not actually be “home” to me anymore. Weird. Took seven years, but NC may finally be more home to me than Texas…

So. I know that doesn’t fully get us caught up, but I’m hoping that being here might afford me the time to blog on occasion, so here’s hoping I may actually get to read/comment/post a bit more often.

I know you all only *really* come here for the pictures, so here they are:
Waterfall at a western NC rest stop. So pretty.

Henny's Cuddles
Henry’s “nest” in the car. Both Bert and Ernie (and a Sesame Street cuddle blanket) are the only things that work to make you feel better when you have a fever.

Jack and Henry
A goodbye playdate at the park.

Henny swingin’

Jack the Conqueror

Sleeping Jack
Zonked on the floor…

Bedtime Antics
With Teamwork, you, too, can destroy your mother’s oven…

And you? How have you been over the last six-ish weeks??

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Henry’s latest thing, when he’s enjoyed something, is to say,”Ah-GIN? GIN?” As in, yes, I just read this book to you seven times in a row, but, you precious thing, I’ll read it to you again.

Henry’s also obsessed with the pool. We have a kiddie pool out in our yard, and it has been hot as blazes around here and humid as hell, so there’s been plenty of reason to go and jump in, but since we also keep getting pelted with rain, it’s a process to go and empty the stagnant rain water out of the pool, scrub it out, refill it, etc., which means we don’t use it that often. (And then, there’s the whole wasp infestation thing we’ve been dealing with… the back of our house is an enticing house location for yellow jackets, wasps, bees, etc. and lately, they’ve been out of control, despite frequent visits from our pest control dude. Awesome.)

So, instead of visiting our free backyard kiddie pool, which both boys absolutely love, we’ve been taking them to the local public pool. We’re headed there this afternoon (hey, maybe I’ll remember the camera this time! We can wish, right?). Anyhow, our absurd local pool requires the boys to wear life jackets in the pool (something having to do with a drowning a few years ago), but it’s extremely counter-productive, as they cannot swim in them, and frequently end up face-down in the water, flailing around, if they manage to escape our arms. We bought one Puddle Jumper, and we’ll find out today whether they’ll let us use it instead of the jackets they provide, and also whether or not the boys will actually wear it. If so (on both counts), I’ll go get another, since we are pool-crazy this summer. Today, though, we’re going to the pool that has the fenced-off kiddie section with splash fountains, etc. They aren’t required to wear a life jacket in there, so if may be a moot point today anyway.

Jack has fewer words than Henry does, but he uses them with such precision. He “talks” constantly, but most of it is strings of random syllables with lots of interjections thrown in, “um”, “well”, “yeah”, etc. “Pah-sicle” (popsicle), “BOWN-ssss” (bounce!), When he wants to nurse, he says, “NUUHrssssss!” Quite demanding. He’s a stubborn little toot, and when he wants something (and is denied that something…), he will simply try and try and try again until he gets it, or until he melts down into a screaming pool of rage. He actually clenches his fist and clamps his jaw and bears his teeth and silently shakes in anger when he first determines that things aren’t going his way. It’s hilarious. I know I should take his emotions seriously, and I do, but there isn’t much funnier than a 2 year old trembling with silent rage because another kid has touched the windowsill where he is sitting. He is a mover, a climber, extremely mobile, and does NOT want to be stopped for any reason. He wears me out!

But, he’s also an extremely loving child. He loves to share his pah-sicle with everyone, and he’s happiest when hugging on Mama or Papa. He loves monkeys (he *is* a monkey), and he loves to sing the Five Little Monkeys song (though the words are imprecise at best: I frequently hear from the back seat, “No, no, Monkeys! No, no BED!”). He’s really a happy kid (except when he’s melting down, HAH!). He likes to obsess over objects, clinging tightly to one thing (or two or three things) for several hours, before deciding to pick up something else. I think I almost put him into a bliss-coma when I gave him a Sesame Street tote bag into which he could put all of his objects to carry around with him…

Henry, on the other hand, has a ton of words, but I’m ‘m pretty sure no one outside the family understands him. He likes Pacha, Matchie, and Godolo (popsicles, muppets and Pocoyo, respectively), but no amount of convincing or repetition will get him to say so in a way that anyone else could understand! And for Pete’s sake– do not mistake Matchie for Matcher, or you will have one very upset child. He does have a lot of words that are understandable, but they are the kid standards– Ball, cookie, truck, etc. He’s really hit a phase where he wants to label everything, and this frequently results in some very funny exchanges (at least to me they’re funny. I know no kid’s antics are as funny to outsiders as they are to ourselves…). Take this morning: he was standing next to me, pinching the skin on my knee, saying, “Knee! Knee!” And he pointed to his own knee and said, “Knee!” He then looked over at his Ernie doll and said, “Er…KNEE!” He was really pleased with himself, pointing at Ernie’s knee and saying, “Errr-knee!”

Henry’s naming obsession goes on all day long. At random points throughout the day, he likes to do a roll call: Mama? Jack? Brother? (Jack gets called twice, by both his name and his familial role…) Papa? and he rounds it up by pointing at himself and shouting, “HENNY!” It’s freaking adorable. He loves Sesame Street characters, especially Ernie, though lately, Big Bird has been a big hit around here, thanks to Follow That Bird. He loves to watch movies, though he only seems to want to watch 15 minutes or so before finding something else to do. We’ve seen most of the Pixar lineup, and Cars is definitely his favorite. He actually stops sometimes and shouts, “MACK!!” And lately, he’s been pretending to fall down, and then saying, “Ohhhhhh, NO!” very dramatically. And the other morning, when Heiko pulled out a shirt for Henry, he exclaimed, “Ooooooh, I LIKE it!” I’m not sure he entirely understood the entire sentence construction that he used, because I say that to them all the time when they’re behaving well, and he mimicked my exact inflection, but still. That may count as his first sentence ever.

Ah. Apparently, Restless Native #1 has awakened his brother, and so my blogging time has run out. Perhaps if I manage a camera at the pool today, there may be pictures to post next time…

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Summertime (And The Living’s Easy)

Edited to fix photo links…
Is it weird that at least once a day, I think, “Oh, I should write a post about that!” and then I never do?  Probably not.  Such is life with toddler twins.  They’re napping right now, and for the first time in a long time, I am not napping when they do, nor am I busy doing other necessary tasks.  So, here you find me. Let’s fly bullet-style today:

-The biggest change since I last posted?  My boys, my wee, tiny babies are TWO.   Two-flippin’-years-old!  I cannot believe it.  I keep coming back to this phrase, but it just sums everything up so well:  The days are long, but the years are short.  Where does time go?

Juice BreakBottom to top, that’s Henry, Jack and Papa

We had a small party for them at our local park.  I made cupcakes (they were goooood), we had some snacks, blew some bubbles, played on the playground.  Very low key and very fun.  And all of our guests were people that we met through the Book Babies program at our local library when the boys were nary a few weeks old.  It’s a group that doesn’t often manage to get together a lot these days (competing preschool schedules, different interests, etc.), so it was especially nice to spend time with these moms and kids who we’ve known for almost their whole lives.  My parents came into town for their birthday, too, and the boys were in heaven spending so much time with their grandparents.

-I finally broke down and bought a new camera.  As some of you may recall, Jack broke my Sony DSLR when he was around 8-months-old or so, and the cost to repair the camera was in the $250 range, which made it easier to consider simply investing in a new camera, especially given the speed at which technology moves.  I initially considered getting one of those newfangled changeable lens non-mirror fancy cameras, but at this point, that particular technology hasn’t managed to move quickly enough for me.  I liked the compact size combined with the great picture quality, but to get the shots I like to get, I would have needed to invest a large sum of money in lenses (which is sort of true of DSLRs, too, though DSLR lenses are cheaper and have a much wider variety at this point).  Anyhow, I got a Canon Rebel T3, which means I’m completely switching platforms and now have to buy new lenses, flashes, cases, memory cards, batteries, etc.  The good news is that Canon is popular enough that many of these items are considerably less expensive than they were for the Sony.

What camera do you use?  Any opinions on brands?.

Two quick photos with the new camera.

Henry LoungesMy Henry.

Bonk!And my Jack.

Three hours later, and I give up.  I’m just going to have to publish this as-is, or it may never see the light of day… perhaps more another day, perhaps even soon.

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