Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Restful

Wow, I have really been loving all the comments and I thank you all for popping in and making my day. You know, I sent out this mass email to all my old friends and family (the ones who DON'T come here) and reminded them about this here ol' blog thing, and I am hoping that even if they don't comment, they might still stop by on occasion.

So, I guess in return, I ought to at least update you all once in awhile. Maybe one more before the turn of the year?

Things have been really low-key here in the Shama-Lama household. The hubby is off work for quite a few days in a row (a sudden "use 'em or lose 'em" ultimatum with days off by the end of the year), and we didn't even travel anywhere with all that free time.

Noah is, of course, off of school and the twins don't have "preschool" (air quotes intended since I go with them to preschool) until January. So we have been just snuggling in, being a stay-at-home family.

We did go up to Mima and Papa's house for Birthda-Christm-ukkah over a two day period, but since them, we have just been hanging around the homestead enjoying each other's company.

In desert-y San Diego, winter is the most green and verdant time of year. It's our spring. Today, since the rains have dried up, we tossed everyone in the van and went to do a family hike. San Diego is riddled with these cool canyons all through the city, and most of the ones near our house have trails through them. We took a new one today and ended at a shady little oasis with a sturdy board-bridge six feet above a deep, cool creek. The kids threw rocks in the water and Michael and I flitted around trying to prevent toddlers from sliding down the embankment. Then we balance-beamed our way across the bridge and back a few times before heading home.

It was so nice having family time with all of the family.

I suppose with the new year, I ought to be making some kind of resolution. I don't have it all laid out in proper words, but I think it has something to do with having more moments like this. Less errands and more rock throwing. Fewer schedules and more pointing at moths and saying, "Mommy! Butterfly!!!" Less being too busy and more wondering what we should do with our time.

Something like that.

What is your resolution?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

All I Want for Christmas...


...is a little comment from YOU!

Now, if you are one of my regular commenters, I am totally cool with ya'll. I love you, in fact.

But I started this blog way back to keep my family and friends up to date with what I am doing and I sometimes wonder if my Mom's blog friends (and yes, my blog friends) are the only folks reading this here thang.

So for Christmas, I am asking YOU to leave me a comment and tell me that you have stopped by, that I am not shouting out to the void on a weekly basis (basis... basis... basis...).

Its easy, even if you don't have a blogger profile or gmail account. You just click the amount of comments down there at the bottom of this post, check off "Name/Url" and just leave a comment and type in your name!

It would make me feel as warm as a hot cocoa this holiday season.

How 'bout it?

In exchange, I will leave you with some Christmas pics of my kids...

Fair enough?


Luka's first go at the Hanukkah candles.


I love finding gifties under the tree.

He put these on himself.


Is it just me, or are there a lot more pics of Luka than anyone else?


Here is Ethan! Sorta.

Happy Holidays, Everyone. And may your New Year be blessed
with peace and health and happiness.

Now go leave me a comment, wouldja?

A Shama-Lama Christmas Morning

Christmas morning with little kids is SOOOOOO much fun! It was the highlight of my day to see the kids all excited as soon as they woke up. I took a decent amount of video and am posting some of it here (mostly for the grandmas). For those of you not too into home movies, the first one at least is the one to watch.

Noah asked Santa for Trolls. You know... those ugly little 1970s dolls with the long hair. He LOVES them and spent his own money for some at a garage sale. It seems Santa found a dusty box of Trolls in the back of the workshop and since Noah was the only kid on the planet who wanted Trolls, he brought Noah all 28 of them. It seems he snuck into Noah's room and planted the first one in Noah's pile of clothes for the day. This is him discovering it at 6:30 when he woke up. Sorry it's a bit dark.


video

If you are cool with home movies, here is another. Not sure if I will post all four or not, but here is Ethan looking down at the tree (before coming downstairs the first time) and counting the presents. Kinda cute...



video

I hope you are all having a lovely holiday. What has been the highlight of your day?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Our Twosome is Three

Well, it seems my babies are turning THREE today. And I guess I will have to face up to the fact that I don't have babies anymore. Having twins has been such a body slam of a learning experience, but as difficult learning experiences go, one couldn't ask for better.

I thought it might be fun to look back on some pictures of the kids' first three years.

They were born in 2005, five days before Christmas. But they came six weeks early, after a futile night of drugged stupor trying to keep them inside my body for as long as possible. It seemed Luka was pushing Ethan out and wanted a room of his own, as he stayed inside more than an hour after Ethan emerged.

Both boys were head down, and I succeeded in giving birth the natural way, even though we did it in the surgery, with the docs and nurses scrubbed for a possible sudden C-Section. As the birthing went on in a gentle, normal way, the masks came down, the gloves and little paper hats came off, and it was a very relaxed and happy environment albeit more sterile than the pretty birthing rooms down the hall.

They were both little over four pounds each and were whisked away to intensive care, where they were tubed, wired and gently cared for. It was not the "mommy and me" moment I had been imagining but I really wanted to know if they were okay, and have any immediate treatment given if necessary.


Luka seemed happy to see Ethan again when they were reunited. Despite being six weeks early, the medicine they gave me the night before to quickly mature their lungs seemed to do its job, and aside from a short period of being given oxygen, they did quite well on their own.

I did get some skin on skin time shortly afterward. This is Luka above and Ethan below, just outside of their little incubator beds they would spend the next three weeks sleeping in, when not cuddling with Mommy. You can see the strain of the nasty Magnesium Stupor I was in (the medicine used to keep the babies inside me made me stu-pid!). Look how little Noah was. He had just turned three... the age my (not) babies are today.

Our hospital was AWESOME as they provided a FREE room for me to live in for three weeks so I could bond with the twins and provide as much breastfeeding as possible. It was odd to call the hospital home. Snowstorms raged outside and I hung out in my hospital room and ate every meal in the cafeteria. Every three or four hours around the clock I would go to the NICU and scrub in, and attempt to breastfeed and pump what was left over to be sent down their feeding tubes when they grew too tired to drink anymore. While being willing, they never really became adept at taking in as much as their bodies required, so I fed both babies and the pump for the next few months.

Here they are with Daddy in their Christmas best! That is Ethan in green and Luka in blue. The NICU nurses decorated all the little beds for the holidays and surprised us with ornaments that had their footprints on them. Every one of those nurses was beyond wonderful, specially chosen to work with these tiny troubled babies.

Here they are sleeping together in the NICU. I love the intensity of Luka's eyes. This might have been the last time Ethan was the sleeper while Luka was awake. Their heads, when born were just a little bigger than tennis balls. Those are my hands.

After three looooong weeks, they jumped through the NICU's hoops, passed their "thriving" tests, and were allowed to go home. Ethan actually got released a couple days prior to Luka and stayed in my hospital room with me. The last two nights before heading home I got NO sleep at all as Ethan was the LOUDEST tiny sleeper I have ever seen. Even when I wasn't wheeling him to the NICU to visit his brother every three hours, his crazy snoring kept me awake in the short naps I attempted between feedings. I went home in such a fog.


At home, I had the benefit of my mother's help, who moved in with Michael to care for Noah the whole three weeks I lived with the twins in the hospital. Then she was there most every day to help us out at home. I have no idea how we would have managed otherwise.


After easily fitting into our home and our family, Luka and Ethan's personalities began to emerge.

Especially Ethan's...



And Ethan taught Luka to be as goofy as he was...

Living in Ohio just outside of Twinsburg, we took advantage of the annual Twins Festival. These guys were voted "most alike". Our guys could probably have won "least alike" if we had tried.


Noah never really went through that whole sibling jealousy thing, thank goodness. He has been a pretty caring big brother. Mostly. Heh.


We laugh sometimes that we have a dark boy with black hair, a medium boy with brown hair and a transparent boy with blond hair.

As much as I looooove my boys, some of my favorite times are the rare occasions when they are both unconscious.


It's been SO fun watching them grow and learn...


...and become friends as well as brothers.


I could live without all the mischief and destruction of personal property.

The boys are as different as night and day. Luka, despite being the quiet one, might well become the leader. He is physically gifted, balanced and exhuberant. He hops and runs more than he walks. Ethan is the jokester. He is also "the lover" of my three kids, giving me the cuddle-fixes I need on a daily basis. He knows how to work his flirting skills as well.

I love this picture... they actually look like twins in this one.


I love that they have each other, and always will.


Despite their differences, they will be in each others lives in bad times...



And in good times.


My birthday wish for them is good times.
And lots of them.

Happy Birthday, Sweetie-boys!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: When Toddlers Decorate the Tree



************************************
Check out other Wordless Wednesday Participants
here and here.

For those just popping in,
my blog is about raising my three sons,
two of whom are twins who are just ending
their terrible twos,
and all the crazyness that comes with all of that.

It's also about my love for photography, photoshop,
and the sweet life.

I grew up in Findlay, Ohio
and now live in San Diego with my family.

If that sounds at all interesting,
bookmark me and stop by again sometime!
I know... yer busy WW-hopping right now.

Me too!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chuckie Jesus

video

So, yeah. The other day, Ethan is sitting quietly at the kitchen table methodically working his way through his pasta, one piece at a time, when he looks up into the space in the middle of the kitchen, he points, and he says,

"DADDY!! I SEE JESUS!!!"

Now, of course Michael had to look around the room too, to see if he could see this apparition, and I must say he did not.

And Michael says, "What Ethan? What do you see??"

"I SEE JESUS! And STARS! Right THERE!"

"Where, Ethan? Where is Jesus!??"

"On the balloon! And STARS!!! It's really pretty!"

Michael looked and finally saw Chuck E. Cheese there on the balloons from Noah's night out with Mima, and after he peeled himself off the floor and caught his breath again, Michael had to call me into the room to have Ethan repeat the whole performance.

It was only when making this video that Ethan decided to rename the mouse (or should I say re-Christen him?) Chuckie Jesus.

The balloons are almost devoid of helium now but I am loathe to throw them out for fear of loosing the best laugh I have had all month!

Friday, December 12, 2008

And A Good Time Was Had By All

Noah had his second birthday party this past weekend. I had only planned this one, but his Mima couldn't make it and so came down the weekend before and took him and his two cousins to Chuck E. Cheese. So, he really lucked out this year.

He really wanted to invite his whole class, and since we have never really thrown him a multi-kid party we decided this year we would go a bit bigger, (as long as he understood next year would be a smaller event, again). We thought it was important that he feel like the center of attention among his class since he has struggled with a feeling of being an outsider (which does seem to be clearing up this year).

His school is experimenting with keeping his class together as a group for a three year period, so I hoped having lots of kids come to celebrate with him would make him feel more included. Unfortunately, every child who RSVP'd was a girl (not that there is anything wrong with that). We did also include a neighbor friend who is a boy, and they mostly hung together, but Noah seemed to feel really happy and EVERYONE had a great time.

We went to Airtime which is a big room with all kinds of different inflatable playthings. If you are local, we LOVED the slick job these guys did with birthday parties and they also have drop-off Mom's Nights Out where they feed your kids!

Here is a video of the fun... You might want to turn your volume down a bit first. It starts out kind of loud! The room was not that loud, I swear, but the camera picked up every blower in the room!

video

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I've Joined the Flock


Hey! I just downloaded and began using this really cool new web browser called Flock. It's made on a Mozilla Firefox platform but it has been designed for folks who have blogs (me), read blogs (me), use Flickr (me) or facebook (me) or myspace, gmail, twitter, picasa, livejournal, typepad, wordpress, digg, yahoo, aol mail, etc, etc, etc...

It's made for us, and the design is extremely intelligent and well thought out.

Okay, get this... within your web browser there is an embedded feed reader, a media bar that allows you to pull up all the photos or videos on a page, has a sidebar of all your friends (from facebook or myspace, or your email list) and you can just drag and drop photos or interesting articles to their names to send things to them. You can post on facebook from an interesting news article, there is a clipboard to toss a photo or a page to read later.If you use one of the big online email sites, you can click one button and it goes right into your email, bypassing passwords right to your compose screen.

Here is what it looks like.

And I am actually posting this blog from the blog editor in Flock. I haven't tested it yet, so we will see how this goes. And this is a good thing, because the editor in blogger sucks eggs. I can type out a big long post, add three photos, and it will add an empty row between EVERY paragraph for each photo I post. Then I always go back and delete the extra rows. Does YOUR Blogger editor do that too?

And it looks like I can post in different fonts, like this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and on and on... (just testing that, pardon me...)

There are also more than one theme or skin so you can change its look, and they allow the public to create themes as well, so more will be coming up the pike. For instance, here is their new eco-skin.

Anyway... I am REALLY liking it, and if you use social networks and have or read a lot of blogs, you should give it a ride. You can download it here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Now We Are Six

A few days back my oldest son turned six.


Yeah, I am not really sure how THAT happened, but it has. I am the mother of a first grader. One who is SIX.

We explained to him that on some years he might have a big party and other years we would just go out for a pizza together as a family and Mama would make a cake. But we decided this year we would have a big party. But what with timing of the place we wanted to have it, we were forced to celebrate two full weeks after the big day.

We thought we would do a quiet birthday DAY, and have the party later. As it turned out, though, Mima, Papa and the cousins can't make it to party day, so we decided to have them come on the actual DAY and Mima took them all out to Chuck E. Cheese. Noah got to play, was in a birthday parade, danced on the stage, got a medal and a candle to blow out, and was able to hang with the cousins. Then they all came home for cake! It was TWO cakes actually, because Cousin K's birthday is this coming weekend, as well!

When it was all said and done, it felt like a full-fledged crazy birthday with no need for more, and yet we still have the BIG party coming up this Sunday. Sigh. Ah well. He deserves it.

He is six, after all. And that doesn't happen just any old day.

If you want to see more pictures of the shenanigans, check them out here. And don't be surprised when "Part Two: The Big Party" comes out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Heart Fish Oil


It's nice when things go right.

You might recall we have been dealing with Noah's hyperactivity and impulse control issues. We have instituted a behavior modification technique or two that are working really well at home, and also at school when the teacher takes the time to... you know, USE them.

I also think the diet changes have helped. We put him on daily doses of fish oil that people have had lots of success with, even though we are going through a gargantuan bottle designed for heart health instead of brain focus. The other day I thought about it and asked Michael... "Is it just me, or has Noah been more... you know... reasonable lately? More average? More calm?"

Who knew you could get all excited about your kid being "average"?

Michael had to admit it was true. Noah is able to stay in his chair for homework and meals more often (although we have allowed him to stand beside his chair if need be as long as he doesn't leave the table), he is working to control his anger and "use his words" and he is coming home from school with "green cards" a LOT more often, which means he had a good day.

It's nice to see things get easier rather than more chaotic for once.

I bow down before the awesomeness of the bottle of gummy fish oil.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wherein the Author Explains Her Sudden Absence and Neglect of her Small but Loyal Audience.


Don't you hate when someone neglects their blog for days or even weeks on end, and then they write one of those posts apologizing and explaining their transgressions? So do I.

But I'm gonna do it anyway.

Mostly I need to apologize to my mother, who curls up in a fetal ball when I neglect to post at least once every 5 days. Get up Mom! There are other reasons to live!

It's not that I don't have things to blog about. I have LOADS to blog about, but it's those very things, planning for them and cleaning up after them that takes from me the time I need to blog about them!

The visits from our multiple house guests were great fun. Thanksgiving was lovely. Noah's family birthday before the bigger event was sweet. I've made a new friend with twins just barely younger than mine. I have begun a girl's night out thing with some random women I know. And I am attempting to bathe on a regular basis.

So, that's what's been going on!

And I can't promise to do better until after the first of the year. Between now and then we have the twins' birthdays, Noah's party, Hanukkah and Christmas... and let's see... how much... oh yes, ALL of my Christmas shopping to do. And maybe squeeze a visit to the dentist in there if possible.

So, hang in there and know that I will not desert you. I will be back in January when there is nothing to blog about. Until then, I might have the occasional surprise blog post. But don't get yer hopes up.