Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall Means Back To Everything

Yeah, I suck at keeping this blog up to date. Late spring brought sickness to our house and we spent some time in the hospital with our son. He is all good now, but it was a scary couple of months.

Then came summer. Spray parks, sandboxes, roadtrips, and late nights catching fireflies. We crammed a lot into our summer.

I got busy towards the end of summer taking Senior pictures. I was very happy with the amount of business I had this year and hope it keeps on growing. I so enjoy seeing people happy with their portraits.

We ended our summer, literally, in the OBX. We ushered the first day of fall in by building a fort on the beach in Corolla. We learned so much there about lighthouses, mermaid purses, and the Wright Bros. First hand experiences beat sitting in a classroom anyday. Guess that is why I'm doing a little home-school preschool this year.

My goal is to get back to blogging a couple of times a week. So what do you want to talk about?

Monday, June 6, 2011


For Easter, Reagan got the butterfly habitat she was so desperately wanting.
About 2 weeks ago, the larva arrived and they set up house. It was amazing how quickly they grew and then after about a week, they climbed to the top of the jar they had come in and turned into chrysalids.

They have just been hanging around on the side of the habitat for another week and yesterday I noticed one was breaking through. It is an interesting process to watch. I remember doing this in first grade as our final project for the year. However, I do not remember there being blood when the butterfly emerges.

This morning I noticed another butterfly trying to break free. We took a break from our morning chores (emptying the dishwasher for me; watching Curious George for the twinadoes) to watch.

Yesterdays butterfly started crawling up the side of the habitat and we watched the other one flap its wing trying to break free. Amazing.

I know you are surprised, but I had my camera. Nolan went to get his, of course, it was nowhere to be found. (Nolan has trouble putting this back where they belong. Sure, he picks up his mess, but who knows where it goes.)

Reagan found hers and starting taking pictures and asking me if she "had the right angle". Meanwhile, Nolan starts this radio announcer type voice, saying, "folks, we are watching it as it happens!"

Just another morning at our house.
It really is interesting to share this type of thing with your child. It's a learning moment for all of us!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Illness Turned Auto Immune Disease

So in my last post I mentioned that my son was super-sick. I never imagined it would lead us down the path it did, but here we are with a diagnosis of ITP- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is the condition of having an abnormally low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) of no known cause (idiopathic) As most incidents of ITP appear to be related to the production of antibodies against platelets, immune thrombocytopenic purpura or immune thrombocytopenia are terms also used to describe this condition.  Often ITP is asymptomatic (devoid of obvious symptoms), however a very low platelet count can lead to visible symptoms, such as purpura (large bruises), or more seriously, bleeding diathesis.

The twinadoes family birthday party was on Sunday, 5/8. That night my husband was dressing our son for bed and gasped when he pulled down his pants to put his jammies on. His lower legs were COVERED in tiny bruises. It bothered me, but I thought maybe he had just been playing especially hard and repeatedly hitting that area while climbing all over the swingset. The next morning, we were getting ready to walk to the library and he came out of the bathroom and showed me the "big purple spot" on his inner elbow. I knew right away this was not normal. Bill had stayed home from work that day because he didn't feel well. While I called our ped he began looking our boy over more closely. They asking me to look for a red pinpoint rash somewhere on his body, which we found under his left arm. They advised me to hang up and take him to the nearest ER. Luckily, I didn't have time to google anything, otherwise I might have self-diagnosed him with something much worse than ITP.

We headed to Hillcrest since they have a peds ER and after some bloodwork, the ER doc came in and calmly asked Nolan how he'd like to take an ambulance ride downtown to main campus. Luckily, I was sitting down, otherwise I might have passed out. I got a little light-headed when he mentioned his platelet count was extremely low. 11,000. Normal is 150,000-450,000. He quickly pointed out that all other numbers from the blood counts were normal. I had no idea at the time, but he was telling me he was ruling out leukemia. Even typing that just now, I get teary-eyed.

The lifeflight crew swept into the room, literally 4 people in black jumpsuits plus 2 other hospital personel came into the room and started firing questions about what was going on and explaining what was going to happen. And the most important question, what DVD did the boy want to watch in the rig? Th (He picked Thomas.) They couldn't have been nicer to us and really helped calm my nerves for (what seemed like) the endless ride to Cleveland Clinic Main.

We walked onto the floor at M20 and I quickly saw the signs "Hemotology/Oncology." Just 24 hours before that we were opening presents and signing Happy Birthday. How was this happening so fast? In hindsight, I've glad it happened that way and not a long drawn out diagnosis which I would have had no patience for.

Within 4 hours, he was getting his first dose of medicine, IVIG. He slept through it. I did not. IVIG  extracted from the plasma of over one thousand blood donors. Thank you to those 1,000 and all the others that donate blood, platlets, and bone marrow daily. Not something you think about until you need it.

The next morning, a Child Life Specialist came into our room to talk to Nolan about how he wanted to celebrate his birthday. Oh yeah, did I mention that it was now Tuesday, May 10? My twins 4th birthday. I hated that I wasn't with my girl when she woke up and that he and I were in the least desirable place to be on your birthday, but you know what? I was wrong. Miss Sarah did everything she could to give my kids a proper birthday. The plan was that we would be in the hospital another night, so my hubby, mom, and daughter were on their way down. The boy's labs came back shortly before they arrived and the doctors were impressed enough with the result to let us check out. No typical boy rough play, no bike, no trampoline. No fun, but we were still going home to be together.

I figured the party would be cancelled, but I was wrong. They waited for everyone to arrive and then they brought in the cake, complete with candles and three gifts for each kid. I cried. We had only been there 1 day and they did this for us. I'm sure, on that particular floor, there are kids that celebrate a lot of holidays & milestones in the hospital. It made me so thankful that these people are there to do what they do.

We'd quickly learn that ITP is a roller coaster and as quickly as the platelet count went up, the would go down as well.

One week later, we were back downtown in the hemotology/oncology outpatient clinic. Nolan's counts were back down to 18,000 after peaking at 67,000. They were going to try a different drug, WINRHO. Getting the IV in was tricky. Hell, it was awful. Three sticks, screaming, and tears by a lot of people and finally it was in. The medication only took 30 minutes and we were on our way.

Three days later his counts rose to 203,000. Now the trick is keeping them there.

There will be bloodwork and more bloodwork in his future. We just pray that his numbers stay up and this is an acute case and in 6 months it will be another page in his baby book. He deserves that, the little guy hasn't had the easiest road, but he takes almost all of it with a smile.

If you take anything away from this, please donate blood. You don't think about it until you need it. I know I've driven by countless Red Cross signs and always say I'll do it next time. Someone needs that blood and its byproducts. Now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sick Kids

Nolan got sick on Friday. We made a trip to the doctor on Saturday, but it was determined to be viral and we just had to wait it out.....and wait for the other twin to get it, because let's face it, as twins they do share just about everything.

To prove my point, Reagan got sick on Tuesday.

They have missed gymnastics, swimming, and their usual Wednesday lunch with Aunt Deb. I don't take them out when they are like this.

 I wish other parents did the same.

I can probably tell you the exact moment Nolan got the germ. I dropped them in childwatch at the Y last Wednesday and a little girl promptly sneezed on him. She was coughing into her hands and then playing, just like kids do. She had no business being there and I'm sure the adult that brought her in that day knew that as well. I saw her in the cardio room chatting with her friends about how glad she was for a break from her kids coughing! Sure I'd like to be doing my weekly swimming workouts, but I have not been able to do that this week because I will not take my kids, who are ill, to a public place to infect more people.

I know germs can't be avoided, but a little common sense from ADULTS goes a long to keep our kids from getting sick.

Common sense, people. Besides washing hands and coughing into the elbow, KEEP YOUR SICK KIDS HOME!

At least the weather has been awful. It makes staying the house a little easier. If it were nice and sunny, I'd be thinking about how we were missing a chance to use our Farmpark or Zoo membership.

What fun indoor things do you with your kids when they are sick?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another Loss

I don't normally copy and paste posts from my personal blog, but this one has an important reminder.

I got another one of those calls last night. Just like that call that came January 5 to tell us about Jimmy's plane crash. This time it was my friend. Tragic circumstances.

Thank goodness Bill is home today working in the yard with the kids because I am walking around with my mind in a daze and constant tears. I sit here trying to think of how I'm going to tell them about their friend.

You see, Stephanie and I have known each other almost since we were born. Our birthdays are 5 weeks apart and we met when I moved to the neighborhood in July of 1973. I had just turned one (we literally moved ON my first birthday) and she was lived down the street. Steph's mom, Connie, and my mom became best friends and still are today. We used to trick-or-treat together.

Stephie moved a few years later, but our families still kept in touch. I used to love to go to their house in Perry. It had a great yard and lots of room to run and play.

You remember that Duran Duran concert? The one where my Dad drove us and sat in the parking lot in a giant snowstorm? Steph and Connie were with us.

In high school and college we didn't keep in touch much, but I always knew what she was up to since Connie and my mom remained close.

Steph was at my wedding shower, my wedding, my baby shower. She held my kids when they were just days old.

 She would come over with her mom and my mom and babysit for us. She cleaned up my kids "kitty barf" the night my mom gave one of them too much candy. My kids loved her and she them. She has pictures of them all over her office and house.

We bumped into each other at Old Navy in December. We talked about getting together some Friday for lunch when the weather got better. What were we waiting for and why should the weather have stopped us? Regrets, I've had a few. Add that one to the pile.

I sit and think of how I'm going to explain this to my kids. You see, Steph fell asleep with something on the stove. It caught fire. I don't know if she had a smoke alarm, if it had batteries, or there was none. For whatever reason, she didn't wake up. She,along with her two beloved cats, died from the carbon monoxide. The fire put itself out and no one knew anything until the next day when she didn't show up for Easter dinner.

Ironically, for the past few weeks my kids have been into talking about fire safety. They know stop-drop-roll, call 911, feel the door before opening, they have a ladder in their room, we check the batteries in our smoke detector and they know the family meeting spot outside. Nolan worries about fire and sometimes at night asks me if we will ever have a fire in our house.

There is a lesson here, but I have no idea how to teach it through the pain.

Yesterday while we were cooking dinner, some bread got left under the broiler for too long and the alarm went off. Nolan was heading for the door until we reassured him that it was OK to stay in the house. Maybe that was Steph on her way to the other side, stopping by one more time to say goodbye.

Friends, and you all are my friends if you are reading this.....please check the batteries in your smoke detector. If you don't have one, call your local fire dept. Ours will come and install them for you FOR FREE. They will even give you reminder calls to check your batteries. No one needs to go through pain.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kids Show

Just a heads up..... There is a kids show at the Great Lakes Mall this weekend.

I'll be at the Moms of Multiples table promoting our club and our semi-annual Nearly New Sale that takes place at the Painesville Fairgrounds on May 14th from 11-1p on Saturday.

I hear there are lots of fun things for kids to do at this show, so check it out! Be sure to stop at the North East Ohio Moms of Multiples table and say hi!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sweetness At The Farmpark

The next few weekends at the Lake Farmpark are Maple Sugaring Weekends. While this weekend might be a little soggy, it is on our calendar. We had such a good time last year and the kids loved the maple stirs. I had never had one either and it was pretty tasty!

The Quilt Show is also going on and there are a ton of new baby animals around the farm.

Go check it out!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

As a parent, you do things for your kids that you never imagined yourself doing.
cue < Crazy Train>

It was an interesting event to photograph and the freestyle stuff at the end was fun, but the rest of the show was an entire commercial for monster truck jam merch with a bit of WWF action thrown in for good measure. The 4-wheeler racers, some from CLE and some from Pittsburgh, got into a "fight" after their race. Helmets were thrown, dirt was kicked up, and gums were flappin'. Exactly what we want to be teaching our children about good sportsmanship, right?!

I guess all that mattered is the kids had a good time and the only crap we came home with was a program and 2 jolly roger flags with Grave Digger Racing (in very small letters). I can handle that, as opposed to the foam Grave Digger hat filled with cotton candy that was going for $15.

Grammy had as much fun as the kids

Next year, (if there is a next year for us) I think I'll sit it out and have it be a twinado/Daddy/Uncle John/Sam event. Once was plenty for me.

So what things have you done for your kids that you really didn't have any desire to do?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spring is Springing!

It's finally warming up (at least for a couple of days) and that makes me want to get the twinadoes out of the house and active. We've been couped up for way too long this winter.

On our agenda this week is Lake Farmpark. My daughter,  age 3 1/2, has decided that she is going to be a "animal vet" so we spend a lot of time at places with animals. Zoos, Penetentiary Glen, and the Farmpark are her faves. The Farmpark has some new babies right now...piglets, lambs, and calves... and there is nothing cuter than those newborn babes. We'll be checking out the newest additions to the farmparks and seeing some of our old favorites, like Vikki the cow. Gives Mommy a chance to blow the dust off her camera as well!

So what are the places you go to as soon as the weather breaks?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Preschool? Montessori? Homeschool?

Being a parent means making decisions that not only affect you, but the lives of your children. I don't want to start a debate, but I am less than thrilled with the state of our education system. Teaching to the standardize tests has taken away the power of a teacher to make a great impact on the lives of their students.

As the twinadoes are approaching 4 years old, I'm faced with the decision of how they will spend their last year before entering the education system, unless I decide to homeschool, which is a viable option at this point in time. I have friends on both sides of that opinion and I just worry that I will not do my kids justice. They are both intelligent and well ahead of where they "should" be at this point in time. I don't want to hold them back if I homeschool them.

I'm in the process of checking out standard preschool programs and Montessori programs as well.

Sigh. I just wish the biggest decision I was facing was cloth or disposable diapers. Where have the last 3+ years gone. I miss my babies!!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day

In honor of the movie, "Groundhog Day", if you could be trapped in a one day loop, what day would it be?

We are stuck in a loop of sickness right now and I want out!

There are many days I'd like to relive again, a particularly fun St. Patricks Day, my wedding day, the day we found out we were having twins, the day they were born, and many more. Not sure how I'd pick just one.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm Back

6 weeks have come and gone and I am on the road to recovery from torn rotator cuff surgery. I'm progressing well, but it is hard to not do too much when you have two little kids. I have been fortunate that my husband and my mom have been able to take time off from work to help out. The kids have also stepped it up, and have done really well with becoming a little more independent.

That doesn't mean I still don't have Mommy guilt that my kids aren't out and about like we usually are, but that will be getting back to normal!

We did hit the Cleveland Children's Museum last week. It is a cute little place. We've been to the Children's Museum in Pittsburgh, as well as COSI,  Cleveland does not compare. It is 1/4 the size and the exhibits show wear and tear. The kids had fun and really enjoyed the 70 tons of sand they truck in each winter though.

What I didn't enjoy was the kid that was coughing and sneezing all over everyone and his Mom basically sat with her friends ignoring him. Of course, both my kids got sick a couple of days after our outing. I don't know about you, but when my kids are sick and are sneezing and coughing, we stay home! I think it is highly inconsiderate to take a child to a place like a musuem when they are sick. I understand you might have to go to the grocery store or run an errands, but a playdate is not acceptable!

It's also time for us to start thinking about preschool. Really it is time for me to decide if I am going to home school or not. I have one twin that wants to go to school and one that doesn't. Ultimately the decision is mine. So many things to think about!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Feeling Helpless

I've been in an arm immobilizer for 3 weeks and looking at 3 more weeks of it. It is driving me crazy that I can't do the things I used to for my twinadoes. We are doing the best we can and they are helping me out by fixing the velcro on my immoblizer and helping to get their own snacks, but I can't help going to bed at night feeling like I failed them a little. I can't play like I want to, I can't even buckle them in their car seats. I know they are not suffering and are being well taken care of by their Dad and my mom, their Gram, but I still just want to wrap both arms around them and give a big bear hug back.

Patience is not a strong suit when it comes to myself. I can be pretty patient with my kids when I am teaching them something, but I don't cut myself any slack when it comes to things I can't do. I actually want to sweep the floor and wash the windows, and put away the Christmas decoration. Shocking I know.

This will pass and will just be a small portion of my kids life. They may not even remember it.

I tried to do things with one arm pre-surgery, but you don't realize how much you can't do until the arm is actually velcroed to your body and can't be moved at all!

I'll be back to being the Mommy I want to be soon, until then we'll limp along with a little help from our friends!