Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vacation Bible School

Today was the first day of VBS. Jonah, James and I enjoyed an exciting day of worship, skits, bible-studies, crafts and food. Jonah had a great time with his buddy Ezra while James spent the morning in the nursery. I think he enjoyed being one of the big kids for once.

The topic for this year's VBS is the ten plagues. It might seem like an odd theme for kids bible study but that's the beauty of scripture. From Old Testament through the New Testament, it is God's word and there is always a message He wants to share with us. All He needs is an open heart.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Go, James, Go!

Today was an amazing day for James. As some of you already know, he is not potty trained. In fact, we haven't had a chance to even start. His response to our requests to just sit on the potty has always been a firm "No." Now, if you know James then you know he is one of those kids who can't be forced to do something he doesn't want to do. You need to give him candy.

So, I have been waiting for warm weather to start training him. Today, I made him go "O Natural" on the bottom with the kids potty nearby. I proceeded to feed him lots of fluids and crackers without putting any pressure on him to go. He knew that candy would be consumed after a successful #1 or #2. Despite many requests I kindly refused to put a diaper or even underwear on him.

Several minutes (or hours) into a regular day James rewarded us with a #1. We erupted in celebration, songs, dancing -- We were so proud and he knew. "Can I have candy?" The real motivation was revealed and yes you can have several pounds of candy.

The days plan included a trip to Pasadena for a birthday party. Josephine, Jonah and James needed to leave after 2 p.m. and we were quickly approaching decision time -- James really wanted a diaper which meant he had to go #2. This was a golden opportunity to literally push the whole potty-training process forward light-years.

A few minutes later, I was cleaning up the counter when James triumphantly declared that he had made poo-poo. We have had false alarms in the past so of course I had to verify before any prizes would be awarded.

I'll spare you the graphic details, (I do have a picture if you want to see it! Eck!) but I'll just say that Mr. James (aka Minis) had pulled out all the stops. There was nothing "minis" about it.

So, it was time to celebrate again. We had promised James candy and a "Go, Diego, Go" DVD if he went #2. So after cleaning up, eating dinner and dressing, James and I headed off to the one place every "big boy" must go to - Best Buy.

Congratulations James!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Potato, Potahto, Inguinal, Iguana

Jack has a hernia. I always thought this type of injury was common to older men lifting objects such as cars, heavy boxes, or large bags of marshmallows. We can't prove it but we think Jack has been working out in his room by lifting his crib, doing push ups or climbing on the mobile. This might explain why he is bigger than Jedidiah.

Actually, the type of hernia he has is called an inguinal hernia and has nothing to do with lifting anything. It occurs when part of the abdominal wall doesn't close. This is not uncommon with premature babies. After meeting with the pediatric surgeon we have confirmation - Jack will need surgery to repair the opening.

I'm sure if Jack could choose he would want an iguana instead. But we explained to him that some pets take more responsibility than others. If he takes good care of the inguinal then maybe, just maybe, we'll think about getting him an iguana.

James Goes Underwater

This Wednesday we took the whole brood to Arcadia for swimming at Uncle Laurence's house. Lea, A.J., Jonah and James suited up and headed to the pool. Actually, they spent most of the time in the jacuzzi. Well, after several minutes of splashing the adults and kids had settled into their spots. Laurence and I(with Jed) on the loungers, Josephine inside the house and Lolo right next to the jacuzzi.

Laurence was about to check on Josephine when our parent radar picked up a disturbance in the force. Turns out James, who usually sits right on the little shallow step for hours, had wandered into the middle of the jacuzzi. Jonah stood right next to him as James' head slipped below the water (How about a little help Big Bro?). Lolo and I were slow to act but fortunately Laurence stepped into the jacuzzi and pulled James from the water.

James was just fine. It appears that he just held his breath below water for those few seconds waiting for one of the adults to rescue him.

"Thanks Uncle Wauwence!"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Best Friend's Wedding

Denise & Carl tie the knot!
The beautiful bride and an OK bridesmaid. :-)

On July 5, dear friends of ours got married in a beautiful ceremony and had a wonderful reception. I was honored to be a bridesmaid - I got to wear makeup and everything! Denise and I met in our first year of college. Physics class brought us together and after many sleepless nights of studying for quizzes over countless bags of white cheddar popcorn, our friendship has withstood 17 years of the good and the better. Denise has the patience of a saint - not many people have been so close to me for so long (other than family, who have no choice in the matter). She's the sister I never had, and I'm so blessed that as roommates we even wore the same size clothes - can you say "double the wardrobe"? She was own my beautiful Maid of Honor 11 years ago, and she was a more beautiful bride - all of us who know her well were so happy for her on the Big Day. Her husband, Carl, has affectionately been referred to as "the 6th roommate" by those of us who shared a condo on Mahaila St., and now that they're officially Mr. and Mrs., they'd better let us sleep on their couch as much as he slept on ours!

Congratulations, Dee and Carl! We love you!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

All right

Wow, God is a fast worker. At 11:30pm Justin and I were in the groove with the twins' nightly routine: we had been holding them since 7:00pm, done a number of change-feed-vomit cycles, and had started to watch yet another sitcom episode when Jed fell asleep on Justin's chest. After 4 hours that was definitely something to be joyous about. Then it happened: Jed let out a really loud chuckle and smiled. A big smile. Then a few moments later, he laughed. Justin smiled, and I smiled. God had reminded us that it's all worth it. My heart is right again. I love my boys.

Monday, July 23, 2007


-just as I was about to sit and write about how I only had a few seconds to record my thoughts because I'd be interrupted by a crying baby, I was interrupted by a crying baby. So, where was I?

...oh yeah. I'm a bad parent. As I sat in front of the TV watching the 7th episode straight of a sitcom series we'd rented from Netflix (DVDs delivered to your door absolutely rocks), I felt sad. No, not because of something I had just seen in the show, but of something I'd just realized. I had been feeding, changing, holding, rocking my baby for the past 3+ hours straight. But I felt no joy, no happiness. I was simply on autopilot. I'm always on autopilot. Yes, we have twins. I take care of one, then the other, then maybe that same one, then the other. I meet their needs. They're fed. They're changed. They sleep. They cry. Then I take care of their needs again. I forget they're my sons. I forget the precious little miracles that they are, born 10 weeks early yet now a strapping 12 pounds each 4 months later. I forget how much I prayed for them in the NICU, anxious to see them everyday, wanting to hold them and take care of them myself. I forget the fear I felt when they went back to the hospital and how I complained that all I wanted was for all the tubes to go away so I could take them in my arms unimpeded. They've become just "what I do" all day. I now savor the moments ("momentitos" in Spanish, which is so much more accurate because it means "little moments") of no one needing anything from me.

That's why I'm a bad parent. LORD, help me to appreciate, enjoy, and love my sons. You've given them to us because You know our needs and what we can handle, with Your help. Remind me that they're precious treasures in our care. Remind me that Jack and Jedidiah are gifts from You.

...oops, someone's crying. Vamonos.

"Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Wishing Upon A Triangle

More than thirty days have passed since the twins were diagnosed with acid-reflux. Since that day we have provided them with multiple medications in hopes that their condition would improve. They are very healthy and gaining weight despite the occasional vomiting episode.

Wednesday, as I was holding Jack (or maybe it was Jed) on my chest after a feed/vomit episode I decided to delve into cyberspace. Well, I found a shining beacon of hope - the Tucker Sling/Wedge Combo. The contraption was designed specifically for newborns with reflux (Hey, I have two of those). Hope started welling up from the bottom of my sandaled feet to the top of my unwashed, uncombed hair. Could this be the answer we had searched for? The product consisted of two parts - a triangular-shaped foam wedge and a fabric sling. This sling, when fastened over the wedge, held the baby while he lay at a 30 degree angle. "What took me so long to find this??!!!", I scolded myself. I busted out my wallet but hit a roadblock when the online ordering function didn't work.

The next day I spoke to a very helpful person named Terri. She processed my order and even shipped both Tucker/Sling Wedge Combos in one box (Saving me $10 in shipping). They arrived the next day (not bad for Louisiana to Cali). I opened the box, washed the slings and set up both wedges in the twin's room.

The evil wedges are now strewn across the living room. Turns out that unlike the beautifully content babies on the Tucker Sling website, my children are moved to vomit when strapped to the top of a giant, steep right triangle. Jack vomited first. Jed actually slept for a hour or so but vomited the second time he was strapped in. A few more vomits later I removed the wedges.

At this point we're back to holding them for about 30 minutes after each feeding then sitting them in a chair - I don't know if they'll ever sleep on their backs again. I picture them as teens, sharing bunkchairs wondering why the rest of the world chooses to sleep in the supine position.

I guess sleeping in a chair isn't so bad. I'll take a chair over a giant triangle any day.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Everyone knows that babies don't come with instructions. If they did, I have a feeling the instructions would be in every language but English and written on a piece of paper in like .075 font folded into a million unrefoldable folds. If Jack and Jedidiah came with instructions, they would read like this:

Change. Feed. Vomit. Repeat.

"For He instructs him in right judgment, His God teaches him." Isaiah 28:26

Monday, July 16, 2007

Big Brother

Today is my big brother Laurence's 42nd birthday. We celebrated yesterday at his house with family, partying in the usual way: lots of food and lots of TV. Laurence and I have the same sense of humor (as with all my brothers), but I've come to realize we have the same laugh, too. Scary - sometimes you can't tell the difference between a 42 year old man and his 35 year old sister. Well, I'm the one with thinner eyebrows (barely).

Happy Birthday, Laurence!

Meat and babies

Things normal people can do in 3 hours:
-see a movie
-drive from L.A. to San Diego and back
-cook a pot roast in a crock pot (on the high setting)
-take a final exam in college

What we just did in the past 3 hours:
-feed and change the twins in between crying fits (theirs and ours)

I don't even get to sleep 3 hours straight, but I just spent that amount of time in the twins' room, and NO ONE there was sleeping. I suppose I shouldn't complain, because I saw an episode of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" about that couple who has twin 5 year old girls and 6 (yes, six) 18 month old babies. But that's on TV and this is MY life! Ah, I'll just tell myself to get a grip see what God has for us in all of this (besides more prayer time, since I'm up at all hours ANYWAY).

Maybe I'll go cook a pot roast and see what happens first - a cooked pot roast or twins asleep for the night.

"A faithful man will abound with blessings..." Proverbs 28:20

Monday, July 9, 2007

Sleeping Through the Night?

After taking the night off, I checked with Josephine this morning. "So, how was it last night?" She went on to explain that after going to bed around midnight, both twins slept until 6 am. Over 6 hours!

We're very excited. Three months of late night feedings might be over.

Monday, July 2, 2007

A Day in the Life...

Have you ever wondered why we never answer the phone?

We average 14 feedings per day approximately 2-3 hours apart. The feedings/changings take about 20 minutes per child. Often times they don't want to go right back down to sleep. I guess sleeping on mommy or daddy is more comfortable than a baby chair. So if you add up all the minutes spent feeding/holding them during a 24-hour period, some days it tops 10 hours (try that Jack Bauer!).

I prefer to feed the twins in the family room during the day instead of the cave (their room). If I am caring for them by myself I like to put on a movie. I have grown fond of subtitles during this time because I found out the hard way that movie sounds trigger vomiting. So, today I watched Spiderman 2 and U-571 with subtitles and only one spitup.

Both have acid - reflux so we hold them for up to 30 minutes after each feeding. Another reason we do this is their vomit reflex. If you put them down in the chair too early - up comes lunch. Actually, if you look at them wrong - up comes lunch. Neither twin has slept in their real beds since leaving Children's Hospital. The position is too uncomfortable. They usually sleep in the baby chair, in a swing or on mommy or daddy.

Needless to say, Jonah and Jame have spent a lot of time on independent activities such as playing with cars, tackling brother or watching DVDs. When they wake up, Josephine and I are usually changing shifts. Whoever has the night shift stumbles down the hallway for a couple hours of sleep while the other tells Jonah and James to pick out a video. After the video and the twin's first feeding of the day, Jonah and James eat breakfast. The rest of the morning is spent playing or running errands with mommy or daddy. Jonah and James get along really well most of the time. It is neat to sit back and watch them play, laugh and talk. They crack us up.

Thanks again everyone for your prayers. The twins are healthy boys who love to eat. We have been blessed (and stretched) by them during this busy time. We try our best to enjoy them but are looking forward to the day when they sleep through the night.

Jack and Jed - Three Months Old!

As of June 30th, Jack and Jedidiah are three months old. They have been very busy during those three months spending one month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and another week at Miller Children's Hospital. The rest of the time has been spent eating, sleeping and relaxing in West Covina. They are looking forward to attending church in a couple weeks.

Happy Three Month Birthday Jack and Jedidiah! Chuck E. Cheese's or Golf N' Stuff? Your choice.