Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ainsley Update



Ainsley is really starting to grow up. She is currently taking her third swim class and the local YMCA and is going incredibly well. She is a real natural. The lessons have really paid off. When Christy and I tried to teach her anything she just clammed up, however with a teacher and her parents in the viewing room, she is willing to try just about anything. And once she tries something, she's got it nailed. Another mom commented to us how good she was before she knew Ainsley was ours. We're proud and excited for her.

She is also getting ready for her first musical recital. Her musical class is going to be putting on a recital on November 19th. They will be singing four songs and Ainsley will be performing a song on the piano as well. She is killer. She has a good time and enjoys herself, so it makes it worthwhile. I'll post pictures and a review of the show later.

She is also a really great big sister. She loves to hold both the kids and has already jumped in and changed a few diapers by herself. We definetly couldn't have made it this far without her. She's the best and constantly reminds us of how lucky we are and how special she is.

Halloween

Once again Ainsley participated in the Halloween parade in Tenino. This year she was the Cat in the Hat. Of course that meant that Finley and Jade had to be Thing1 and Thing2
Halloweed Kids 2006
It was a great day, the clouds parted and the sky turned crystal blue and warm just as the parade was ending. The party inside was fun, Ainsley was really good at the ball toss and fishing games. Try as she did she was unable to bring home a cake from one of the cake walks this year. I think it was rigged.

We met our friends there to add to the fun and games. Onica came as Princess Fiona.

With all of that paint, that costume was a real commitment. My hat is off to her for sticking with it.

All in all a good time was had by all and we walked away with a small, but sufficient amount of candy and a handful of memories and good times.

Observations From The First Month


As of today, November 11, the two babies are 5 weeks old. Five weeks! It has gone by very fast this time around. They are already providing us with a lot of smiles and warm moments...some yawns and plenty of diaper changes. Here are a few of the things we have learned over the last few weeks.



Finley

  1. Finley is pretty sensitive to temperature changes, which means that diaper changes need to be as quick as possible. He gets pretty pissed off. He also likes to pee when he gets exposed to fresh air. So it is a real race against time. In the middle of the night this can become a real challenge.

  2. He sneezes at least two times in a row, more often than not it is three times.

  3. The best way to burp him is to sit him up.

  4. His is really really strong and is built like an athlete. I am not sure where he gets that because I have never been athletic...about the only thing I am good at sports wise is watching them. I guess that will come in handy as he gets older and more involved in sports.

  5. He loves to snuggle...especially with Christy


Jade


  1. She can yawn longer than anyone or anything I have ever seen.

  2. She makes stretching look so satisfying

  3. She is pretty mellow and easy going, however when she decides to cry it comes out about 195 dB and can rattle your bones.

  4. Her mouth falls open a lot when she is sleeping...making the overtired parent that much more jealous

  5. She is going to be a soccer player, because she can kick like nobody's business


Both of them have pretty incredible timing. I have lost count of the number of times that I have been changing them and have had to re-change them before ever leaving the room - or in some cases before ever leaving the changing table.

They are also both really good illusionists. They appear to be sound asleep and you can wait until they have been asleep for a long time, you know, really locked in. However, the moment that you move or try to get comfortable they will wake up and start to squak.

They love to hear the sound of Ainsley's voice and enjoy listening to her sing.

We are still adjusting to the fact that there are two babies. This reality really hits us like a 2x4 to the head around 3AM when both are requiring attention, but other than that it is still seems unreal. Can't really believe it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Christy is super-human. I'm serious. How she handles it all with such grace, patience, compassion and love is awesome. Standing back and watching can be very insipiring.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Introducing....

Our new kids. That's right, after nearly 39 weeks of waiting and cooking, the new babies are here.

Finley Paul: 8lbs 2.2. oz. - 20 inches
Jade Aurora: 6lbs 15 oz. - 19 inches

We have just tripled the number of kids we have. From one to three in less than a day. Here they are, all snuggled in bed together earlier this morning.




He was born first at 4:18PM and she was born 38 minutes later at 4:56PM. She was breech and was literally pulled out by here feet. The doctor just went in a grabbed her. It was pretty crazy.

Christy ended up getting an induction, which was really just breaking her water. We opted for that because her blood pressure had been slowly creeping up over the last few days and we didn't want to get into a medically necessary birthing situation.

As you can imagine, Christy was pretty big. She was just about finished with her 38th week, so the babies had been cooking for quite awhile. Here she was just after we checked in.



I still can't believe that there were two people in there. Over 15 lbs of baby stuffed in that space...it's pretty incredible.

We arrived at the hospital around 8AM and they broke Finleys water around 9AM. She started having serious contractions about 90 minutes later and by mid afternoon things had progressed very nicely. Christy is one very impressive mom. She delivered Finley without any help.

Jade was still breech even after she had the stomach to herself. We thought she might turn around but she was pretty happy to stay where she was. So after about a half hour the doctor decided to go in a get her, feet first. This was a very intense moment for everyone. Jade was trying to pull her feet up to avoid being grabbed, the doctor was trying to get just feet (she originally grabbed a hand and a foot) and the whole battle was happening somewhere in the upper reaches of Christy's uterus. I didn't measure, but I didn't know someone could put their arm in that far...yikes!

So in the end Christy ended up delivery two babies vaginally without an ounce of medication. Not an aspirin, a tumbler of gin or anything. The other mothers and nurses in the room were all very impressed. Especially after Jade was born. I couldn't be more proud of her. She worked very hard all throughout the pregnancy, taking pills, eating every couple of hours, sleeping, frequent check-ups. All of it without complaining. All of it paying off huge. The pediatrician that checked us out said that we set a record. The first set of twins to go home in the min. 24 hour period. These are two very healthy babies and Christy is recovering beautifully. I seriously think that she is super human.

Both kids are nursing really well. Jade is especially good and nursed for over 20 minutes within 15 minutes of being born. She's a champ. Finley is getting the hang of it.

Ainsley is already proving to be a very caring and gentle big sister. She loves to hold them and kiss them on the check. She has also proved that she can sleep through anything as she didn't wake up once last night.

Christy's folks stayed with us last night and are helping us out today. I am sure there is a limit, but right now I don't think you can have too many helping hands.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Jerk

The Jerk is one of those movies that is just so silly you have to laugh. However, I found myself in near hysterics this week recalling scenes from this movie and applying them to real life...twice.

The Dept. of Ecology uses what appears to be your standard recycled paper towels in the restroom. You know the ones that are easily identified by their coarse texture, inability to absorb water and dull dark brown color. You've seen these before I am sure. Well earlier this week a lighter somewhat more pleasurable paper towel was being dispensed. I found the scene from the jerk where the new phone books arrive playing through my head. I then pictured myself running up and down the halls waving the new paper towels over my head screaming "they're here they're here, the new paper towels are here!!". I chuckled to myself and returned to my desk. For the rest of the afternoon I kept replaying that scene over and over again and every time I laughed a little bit harder. I felt rather foolish sitting at my desk laughing, but I just couldn't control myself.

Yesterday I was at Safeway and I was purchasing a bag of ice. When I opened to door to the cooler I found ice cubes scattered about. I quickly found the offending bag and noticed it had ripped along the top seam. Too bad I thought and quickly moved to another bag. I picked up a new bag and as soon as the door closed the top seam on my bag ripped. Now I had the scene from The Jerk where the guy is trying to assassinate Steve Martin and keeps hitting the oil cans. Steve Martin runs around saying "I think something is wrong with these cans!". Indeed, something was wrong with these bags!

All the same, if you haven't seen the movie you should, it'll make you laugh. If nothing else I will make you search for the best pizza in a cup in town.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Coolest Kid...Ever

I have often stated that Ainsley is the coolest kid ever, and tonight she proved it once and for all. She comes up to me holding a plastic necklace, a cameo like thing with a bald headed baby. She proceeds to tell me that she has started a new club, a club of the best dads in the world. She then said:

"You are probably wondering why I am holding this necklace, it's because I want you to be a member of my club because you are the best dad in the world".

She then places the necklace over my head and kisses me. How cool is that? She is so awesome. I mean really...

Of course she did turn around and give the same speech to Christy. But still...

1+1

Twins = 1 Girl + 1 Boy = Very Excited Dad!!

Of course mom is excited too as is Ainsley. Now comes the task of naming the little tikes...that's a whole other issue.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Gift of Space

When we learned that we were having twins a lot of thoughts ran through our head. Most of them revolved around sleep and the impending lack thereof. However, as the news started to sink in we starting realizing exactly what it meant to have twins. Two of everything is really an overwhelming task. As we compiled this list it dawned on us that many things needed changing...one of which is our car. We can't fit three car seats into either of current cars (an 1989 Honda Accord and a 1995 Chevy Blazer). So we started looking into minivans. It was a sad day...we had finally succumbed to the fact that we were minivan drivers. We started dialing in our wants, needs, desires and so forth. Part of that process was polling other mothers, most importantly other mothers of mulitples, and finding out what they used, what they liked, didn't like, wish they had and so on. The end result is a small race between the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna. Christy was sold on the Sienna from the get-go and I was sold on the Honda. Much like the house I would eventually come around and decide on the Toyota as well.

One of the first things we learned is that minivans, Toyotas and Hondas in particular, really hold their value. A used minivan is almost as much as a new one. Which is great for those people who have already purchased a minivan...not so much for those of trying to join the fold. After hearing of our test drives, our reviews and our dilemma my parents stepped up huge. They offered to pay for half of a new van. Half. 50 percent. 1/2. That is insane! We can now have a new van for the price of a used van. We can now get the 8 passenger model, with the 120284 cup holders, the folding seats, and power sliding door, bug shield and leather interior (a must when you have kids I think). We now have the space we need to carry three car seats and the stuff required to support those that ride in those three car seats. They have given us the gift of space. Space to hold the kids, space to hold the kids stuff, space to move comfortably, space to...be. We are very excited and again are put in the position of not knowing how to thank someone.

For someone like myself who doesn't accept help very well at all, the last week has been pretty overwhelming as I have received copious amounts of help from just about everyone I know. It has been fantastic and humbling and I am very thankful for the experience.

The Gift of Time

Late last week the closed on our new house. A 1969 4 bedroom, 2 bath house, a little shy of 1700 sqft. Christy fell in love with it the first time she saw. I, on the other hand, took some convincing. Nonetheless I did come around and am getting pretty excited about it. We are in the fortunate scenario of moving into an empty house, so we can take care of a lot of things before moving in. It really is amazing how much easier it is to do painting and flooring projects without furniture. Sure that sounds like a 'no dah' statement, but the level of complexity this removes is pretty big.

When we first started laying out the things we wanted to get done before moving in we were in the fantastic position of being able to stay in our current apartment as long as we needed, no pressure to move, thus giving us an open timetable on the new house projects. This was made mostly possible by the fact that my parents own the apartment that we are in and are in no hurry to see Ainsley move. Just as we settled on our list, a real nice couple of Wenatchee decided they wanted to move into our apartment when we move. Well, actually before that. They are moving into the apartment on June 23rd. This, of course, changes our "open" timetable quite a bit. We now have to get most of these projects done prior to moving day which is now the 20th of June. Yikes!

Enter the retirees. My Aunt and Uncle have graciously volunteered to help paint, even when we aren't there. Of course with Christy being 20 weeks along she really can't help, so it was up to me to get all of the painting done. They started on Friday and got a lot of work done. Saturday they came back and my dad was with them. We cranked out a lot of work in about 5 hours. Sunday my Aunt came back, my mom and dad both were there, our friends from Portland came up and when it was all said and done on Sunday night we had two the living room and dining room completely done. The master bedroom is 97 percent, the main bathroom is 90 percent, the hallway is 95 percent and the rest on the house is primed and ready to got. We made so much progress today that I believe we may finish by the end of this coming week. A feat that I had no hopes of accomplishing on my own.

When thanking all of the helpers my Aunt said "Time is what I've got, that's what I can give". How incredible that is, because all of their gift of time results in more time for me to do other things...Like tend to other family stuff, work, exercise and most importantly finish on time!!

I am trying to formulate what gifts to present to everyone once this project is over...But how exactly to you thank someone for something so ethereal as time?

The house is really coming together great and I am getting really excited about the whole thing. The colors we chose are turning out great, everything is warm and relaxing, blending well with other colors and generally making the house into ours.

Ainsley is really getting acquainted with the back yard and has professed that it is her favorite part of the new house. It makes me pretty happy to see her run around and enjoy it so much. Feeling happiness from other people being happy is a glorious thing - I suspect that it is what all of our volunteers are feeling as well.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Procession of Species Parade

Yesterday we met our friends in downtown Olympia to watch the
Procession Parade. A brief description from the official site states:

There are just three Procession rules
The three rules inspire, nourish, and protect the Procession's cultural evolution of imagination, creation, and sharing.
No written words • No pets • No motorized vehicles

And in a nutshell...
Created by the community for the community the Procession of the Species Celebration is a joyous, artistic pageant, embracing the languages of art, music and dance to inspire learning, appreciation and protection of the natural world. The intent of the Procession is to elevate the dignity of the human spirit by enhancing the cultural exchange that we have with each other and with the natural world..Andnd to do that through imagination, creation, and sharing.


What exactly does that mean? It means that people used recycled items to create wonderful costumes and props to celebrate all kinds of animals. Some examples were lions, sea turtles, jellyfish (an umbrella with strings hanging from the edge), dolphins and even bees and wasps. There was music and dancing as well. The best moment was the volcano. A group of adults holding cardboard placards painted red and grey to look like rocks would huddle in a circle and shake their placards. A couple of others would bang some drums to make an earthquake type sound and then the adults would raise the placards up high and a group of red dressed kids would run out and scream. Just like lava. It was really clever and well done.

It was really fun, the weather decided to do a 180 and allow the sun to come out and be perfectly comfortable during the one hour parade. Sometimes things just work out.

We'll hopefully have some photos up on Flickr soon.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Times Are A Changin'

The last few months have really been crazy. I know that this is a totally relative term, one persons crazy month is another persons vacation. However, I am confident that once you read on you will agree.

Back in November, the 28th to be exact, I got a call from my manager at Washington Mutual where I had been contracting for the previous 9 months. He told me that the upper management had made the decision that all contractors were being released effective at the end of the month. Having just come off the Thanksgiving holiday I was confused and thought that I had a couple of weeks left. No, that would be two days left of work. Nice. Happy holidays everyone. While I felt bad for myself and was a little depressed since I liked the job and some of the people I worked with were great, I really had to feel bad for a couple of the other contractors, some of whom had moved to the area for the gig and had been there a much shorter amount of time.

So two days later I was unemployed again. I took the month of December off so that we could concentrate on the holidays and then resume my search. For the last couple of years we have wanted to live in the Olympia area. The community has a lot to offer us, a homeschooling community, a fair amount of natural markets/resources as well as some friends of Christy's. The difficultly is that Olympia is in Washington, which is the land of Microsoft. Being an Oracle guy in a Microsoft centric area is like being a house fly at a spider web conference - its bleak. At the end of February I finally got an interview with an Olympia Oracle shop in the Department of Ecology. I went to the interview, which turned out to be a group interview, and it was horrible. I would say it was the second worst interview I have ever had. I was pretty sad afterwards. But the interview day had a lot left to it as we had a pediatric neurologist appointment to attend.

You see, a couple of weeks before the interview, on Christy's birthday, Ainsley had two seizures. Out of the blue, no warning, no previous experiences. It was a real shock. We spent Christy's birthday in the ER getting a battery of test done to prove that it was nothing serious. Everything came back but we still had to confer with the neurologist for a follow-up. It was a very scary event. Despite the doctor using terms like "ticking time bomb" we opted to stop further testing and followed our parental gut instincts and know that it was a fluke.

Anyways, the next day we learned that Christy was pregnant. Talk about a suprise! This put the shock of the seizure in distant second on the list of 2006 surprises. Yikes! Since everything happens for a reason I got a job offer from Ecology the next day, just two days after the horrible interview. Mmmmm insurance. Whew...

So we made an appointment for an ultrasound so that we could determine when the baby would be born (and conversely when it was conceived). The technician was talking to Ainsley asking her if she was excited about being a big sister...of two babies? What? Two babies? I looked up at the monitor and very obvisously displayed were two little babies. The room grew suddenly hot. Very hot. I began sweating and technician asked if I was ok. She then left to get me some cold water. I needed a seat. How could this happen, I mean don't you need to have twins in the family or have friends that are twins are something. I mean really, how does this sort of thing happen? Jesh. The appointment finally comes to an end and we learn that the babies are due October 23rd. Alrighty then.

We eventually make our way to the...lobby. We couldn't go any further without sitting down and making some phone calls. They all pretty much went like this:
Us: Hello
Them: Hi
Us: We found out the due date
Them: Great, when is it?
Us: October 23rd
Them: That's terrific...a halloween baby
Us: Oh yeah, and it's twins
Them:
Us: Hello, are you still there
Them:
Us: hello...?
Them: (breathing)
Them: Are you serious?
Us: Totally..

The pause varied from person to person but it generally lasted about two hours or so, maybe less but that is what it seemed like. While I didn't think it was possible, everyone seemed to be more excited about having two babies than the one. Which is nice because I think more than ever we are going to need all the support we can get. A good supportive family is really a special gift and we appreciate all of them. Over the years they have supported us in a lot of different ways (help building a deck, installing new windows, baby sitting so we can go to a movie, cheap rent) and I am thankful for all of it.

Years ago my friend Howard and I were having a conversation regarding life changes. He mentioned that there are really three major life changes: moving, new job, new baby - and you should never do more than one of these in a single year. It is too much. Well we have violated two of these rules already and are attempting to violate the third as I write. We are trying to locate a new house in the Olympia area to complete our transition and fulfill our desttiny. Alright, a small over statement. I think we are actually adding a new branch to the rule as we are also trying to buy a new car...a minivan.

After the news of the two babies sank in (not that it really has fully) we started to think about what this really meant. Neither of our current cars will fit three carseats - in fact we don't even own enough carseats. We are in the evaluation process and have so far determined that we want/need an eight passenger model. This really narrows down the field. So we are looking at the Sienna and the Odyssey. Both of them have things we like and things we don't. I would like to piece the two together. Obviously that isn't an option.

So as you can see, things are really changing for us. All of it is good though...it is just trying to keep up that is the toughest part.

All Set

A few years ago I had an epiphany of sorts, it was more of a self discovery. I was lying in bed and realized that for a large portion of my life I had been setting myself up for disappointment. I would think that if something were different then I would be all set. I think it really started at the end of college. I would think "man if I made as much as that guy I would be all set" or "once we move we'll be all set","when I start this job we'll be good to go". The problem is that it is never true. If I could lose 20 pounds I would be in good shape.

Life goes on and eventually you make the same as that other guy and you find yourself in the same situation as when you made less. You don't have more money in the bank, you have just found more ways to spend the "extra". Eventually you realize that you are making more and things are not as cushy as you thought they would be. Maybe you even lose that 20 pounds and then realize you aren't happy there either. All of this leads to major disappointment. I then thought that if I just stopped thinking that one thing was going to make all the difference, that if I stopped hinging my happiness on this one thing (whatever it be), that I would no longer suffer this disappointment. If I would stop saying "if this or that then we'll be all set", then I would be better off.

I bet a lot of people, if they stopped to think about it, would find themselves using the all set theory. It is such a viscous cycle because you are never living in the moment, never allowing yourself to be happy in the present. It's not to say you shouldn't have goals, I'm saying you shouldn't postpone your happiness until the goals are met. You shouldn't suspend today's enjoyment for tomorrows hope.

After coming to this realization I caught myself more times than I can count implementing this all set mentality. It is a very hard practice to break and still to this day I catch myself doing it. The irony is, once I thought of the theory I thought I was all set...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mixing of Terms

Last night we had just gotten back from grocery shopping and Ainsley looks at the clock and says "hey, it's 9:30". I look at the clock and sure enough she is right. I asked "How did you know that?". Her reply "I guess I am just smart". I check with Christy and she hadn't told her what time it was, so we are leaning towards the genius angle again. Then she follows that up with "hmmm, it is about a 1/4 inch to 10:30". I guess we will have to reevaluate her time telling skills...

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Bowl Bummer

Living in the Northwest we were pretty excited and anxious for yesterday's Super Bowl. Of course the outcome wasn't what we expected or wanted I have taken some solace in the articles stating what all of us around here feel: the officiating costs us the game.

I will admit, the Seahawks made their share of mistakes, some mental errors and so forth, and they had some key injuries. However, as they said during post game press, injuries are no excuse, people need to step up in a game like that. Mistakes aside, I really feel like they outplayed the Steelers , they seemed to move the ball with relative ease most of the game and minus a play or two, handled the Steelers offense will efficiency as well.

Nonetheless we will turn our collective attention and wait with bated breath for the signing of Alexander and then look forward to the inevitable holiday season Super Bowl rematch with Pitt. next year.

Articles like these are acting like a soothing salve for the stinging pain of the loss.

ESPN article
Fox Sports Article

On a more positive note, I am glad to see some like Jerome Bettis get his title. Congrats on that.

Update:
More oitment for us: "Seattle fans have a right to feel sick. Their team just suffered the most unjust loss in Super Bowl history."

Source of above quote