09 November 2012

11 Wonderful Reasons -By Wife

Everly is almost 11 days old! Here are 11 fabulous things we have been doing since this new babe rocked our world.

1.  Cuddling and loving on our big, sleepy girl.
  The kids are so wonderful with her.  Every morning Boy runs in a says, "Look at that cute baby.  I love that baby, Mommy."  

2.  Getting our fill of baby snuggles.  Ev loves to sleep...anywhere at anytime.  The kids like to have her lay in bed with them before nap and bedtime and she is most content snoozing on Mommy or Daddy's chest.  So snuggly!

3. Wearing non-matching comfy clothes.  Our calendar is not as full and we have been spending a lot of time at home...that means sweats for mommy and whatever the kids can put on themselves is what they get to wear.  Girl has worn her purple polka dot pants at least 3 times this week!  We are so proud of Boy, he is finally turning the corner on having any desire/ability to dress himself...such a big boy.  Daddy is the odd man out and actually showers everyday and gets properly dressed...show off;)

4.  Spending a lot of time at the doctor's office. Since Everly was born we have been to the doctor's office 4 times (in 10 days!).  Thank goodness for health insurance!  And, thankfully, I have only had to take all 3 kids once...that was quite the scene since the kids had to get flu shots that day.  Not fun!

5.  Sponge bathing. Ok, not everyone...just the teeniest Munchkin.  Everly's umbilical cord fell off when she was one week old, but it still needs just a bit longer to totally dry up. We can not get it wet yet, so she gets sponge baths until that has healed.  She loves relaxing and getting a nice rub down.  The kids are very helpful getting me towels and wash cloths.  The first time we gave her a bath in the kitchen Girl helped wash her hair and Boy actually video taped the whole thing...he did a great job too!

6.  Spending a lot of time awake in the wee hours of the morn. Little Ev likes to snooze all day and has her most awake period between 2 and 5 am.  It is so sweet to get to spend alone time with her in the morning...the challenge lies in the fact that Boy and Girl have been getting up around 6 due to the time change.   Yikes, that makes for an early morning for mommy and daddy

7.  Napping!  When the kids nap...mommy naps!

8.  Listening to sweet coos and little snortles.  Everly seems to be taking after her big brother in the snoring department.  She has a little snortle when she sleeps.  She also makes sweet little coos and gurgles sometimes.

9.  Watching hopefully for quick smiles and little laughs.  Everly did her first smile when she was 4 days old.  They are fleeting, but oh so cute!  I am dying to catch one on camera soon.  She even did a little laugh at 6 days old.  She only did it twice, but luckliy Mommy saw one and Daddy saw one.

10.  Cherishing the interaction between siblings.  Girl is literally a second Mommy to her little sister.  She helps me with diaper changes, gets Everly dressed (seriously, she watched me gently take Ev's arm out of a onesie and emulated me exactly with the other arm-so cute!), and knows more about nursing and pumping than any other 2 year old on the planet!  She also loves to make up new nick names for Everly.  The other day she called her "my munchkin", "angel pants", "sweetheart" and "biscuit".  And Boy, well he has literally blown my mind with how well he slid into the role of big brother!  He loves this baby and will let everyone know it.  He wants to kiss her and hold her or hold her hand all the time.  He will be playing trains and run over to me while I am holding the baby and say, "I love you baby!", kiss her and run back to the train table.   It is truly amazing!

11. Adjusting to our new normal.  E and I are over the moon to be parents to 3 little Munchkins! On one hand, we can't believe our sweet girl is here and on the other hand, it is already hard to remember life without her.  
We love you Sweet Child!

07 November 2012

Kristmas Kards 4 Kids

Okay, so we will be collecting Names, Addresses, and mini bios for kids for xmas/holiday cards!

Kids are often left out of the Xmas card exchange, and nothing excited me more, as a kid, than getting my very own mail.
Special needs kids are also very often overlooked.  But everyone deserves to be recognized!

We will keep the Name, Address, Bio protected.  No one will have access to the information other than those writing the cards.

Each card will include a card (duh), a letter from us, and a personalized message!

The info we will need for the recipients by NOV 30th:

First and Last Name

Full Address

Small Bio:
Age, Gender, some quick interests (sports, colors, hobbies, etc) for the personalized message.
And anything you'd like us to include/exclude (at our discretion)
Whether religious remarks are appropriate?

You can email me at: ancora.impartial@gmail.com
Message me through my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ancora.impartial?ref=hl
Or you can contact my State-side assistant: http://www.facebook.com/parentingwithaspergers?fref=ts

These cards are sent at no cost to you.  We have free APO mailing, and the cards have been provided by generous donors.
Understand that these cards will be sent by US soldiers currently deployed to Afghanistan.  We will NOT write anything political, but in the generic insert, there WILL be a description of our daily lives (working in a clinic, and the light, fun stuff we get to do......nothing serious/gory/inappropriate.

Also, if we get a large volume of requests, we may be forced to limit our number of recipients

03 November 2012

The birth story- by Wife

Short story

I woke up at 1:15 to use the bathroom. At 1:45 I woke up E because I could not get back to sleep and was feeling ‘odd’. I started to feel cramping and at 2:02 decided to document how frequently they came. We left for the hospital at 3:00 ish. We were checked in at 3:15. The nurse checked me and I was dilated to 10 centimeters. My water broke around 3:35. The doctor arrived and I pushed through 4 contractions. Everly Ruth was born at 3:53! 38 minutes from hospital check in to the birth of our perfect daughter.

Long Story

Everly Ruth has the best birth story…ever (ok, so I am a little biased because it is mine)! Late night I was feeling minor cramping in my back. Really, it was super light and I couldn’t tell if it was contractions or just a sore back from having a gigantic belly. I went to bed at 10:30.

I woke up early morning at 1:15 to use the restroom. I laid back in bed and just couldn’t get comfortable. I kept feeling like I had to pee. I got up again, and again, and again. Finally at 1:45 I woke up E and told him I was feeling uncomfortable, I couldn’t really lie down and I kept feeling like I had to pee but never could. Getting up and down was starting to get annoying since moving this big body was becoming more of a challenge each dayJ Then I started to really feel some tight cramping in my lower abdomen. The pains felt just like menstrual cramps and at first were not very painful but continued to increase in severity rapidly with each one. At 2:02 I told E I wanted to start documenting the timing between cramps and see how quickly they were coming. They were every 2-3 minutes, which seemed so close together that I thought for sure something was off. I thought, there is no way I am having real contractions this close this fast…it must be Braxton Hicks or some other weird cramping. The contractions started very low and the pain increased in a line up towards my belly button, with the height of the discomfort just under my belly button (which was sort of nice because I knew when I started to feel it I had a second to prepare for the more painful part). I decided to take a shower just in case we ended up going to the hospital. In the 8 minute shower I had 4 contractions. I got back to the bedroom and told E we definitely had to go to the hospital and asap…he had started to doze off again, so it took a couple minutes to get in the car. We said good bye to the little kids and told Mom that we were off to the hospital. We are so lucky that she and Teenager were visiting this weekend!!! The first 4 minutes of the drive I did not have any contractions and I thought for sure it was a false alarm. I told E I would be so embarrassed if they sent us home from the hospital…then I tried to remember all of my girlfriends who went to the hospital and got turned away and figured it was better to go and check than to stay home. It would be ok either way.

The contractions kicked up again and continued to come hot and heavy every 2 minutes. I am so lucky that my contractions are not terribly painful, they literally felt like really strong period cramps and were so specifically located directly in the center of my stomach from my lower abdomen to just below my belly button. We only hit one red light on the 10 minute drive and I had to tell Teenager to try not to have to stop and start up too fast. I had a contraction trying to get out of the car. I had a contraction in the elevator. I had a contraction in the waiting room…I saw the nurse in the corner of my eye and I couldn’t walk for a minute and made her and E wait til the contraction was over (again, in my head I thought, I hope I am not standing here bent over looking like an over dramatic pregnant mom and they are going to send me home!).

Here is the list of contraction times, I just think this is sort of cool to have it documented.

2:08, 2:10, 2:14, 2:17, 2:19, 2:22, 2:24, 2:27, 2:30, 2:32, 2:35, 2:37, 2:39, 2:41, 2:44

2:47, 2:49, 2:51, 2:53, 2:55

2:58 We had just gotten in the car and the fact that it took 4 minutes to have another contraction made me think that this was not real labor-glad we didn’t turn around!



3:07 E was sweet enough to continue to write them down when we got to the hospital

3:09 This one, I was trying to get out of the car

3:11 This one, we were going up the elevator

3:14 This one, the nurse was waiting for us to check into L & D

I checked in at 3:15 and everything below happened in the next 38 minutes.

She checked me in, I went to the restroom and changed into a couture gown (psych, I mean super unflattering hospital gown that I could not tie by myself, and E got a good laugh out of having to help me!) I laid down and the nurse checked me. In my head, I was really hoping to be dilated to a 6, but thought realistically I may be at a 2. I took a long time to dilate with Teenager. She looked shocked and said, “You have a nice bulging bag of water!” I said I had no idea what that meant and asked if I was dilated at all. She said I was dilated to a 10! A 10!

She and the other two nurses could not believe it and then things really started to go quickly. They called to another nurse to call the doctor in now, that made me really feel like things were going fast. They don’t usually call the doctor til the last possible minute or time to push. A nurse ran to E and got all of our paper work done, although I swear, I pre-registered ten weeks ago! A nurse came in to put an iv in my arm, and I was not too thrilled to be getting stuck. She tried and missed, and my vital signs went all wonky. After she pulled out, they normalized again, but i was not having any more of that. I told them that E was the only person i was going to let try again. E did it perfect, and talked me through it (since having my port inserted for chemo, and having the guidewire break off, i have had issues with catheters going into my veins) and kept me grounded. Another nurse started getting the baby station ready. Another nurse brought in all of the delivery stuff-crib, linens, disposable wet mats. My nurse was describing what would probably happen next. There were two options. 1-my water would break and the baby would drop immediately and I would want to start pushing. 2. My water would break and my cervix would sort of close up and I would have to dilate a little bit again. I asked if an epidural was possible and she said no in the first case, maybe in the second case. We didn’t have much time to talk about it because about 4 minutes, 2 contractions later, my water broke (around 3:40am). All hubbub broke loose because there was meconium in it. Two more nursery nurses ran in since there might be complications with the meconium.

The doctor arrived a minute later and I started to have the urge to push. E was great, getting me water and talking to me about getting to meet our baby soon. My doctor said I could start pushing. I pushed 2 to 3 times through 3 contractions. Everly’s heart rate dropped and the doctor called for a vacuum. She told me that the baby needed to come out on the next contraction (maybe she didn’t really say that, but that is the impression that I got). I pushed 4 times on the last contraction and there she was! Her legs were crossed and E and I were so anxious to know if she was a girl or a boy. E said he saw her face first and he knew she was a girl. From my angle all I could see was torso and crossed legs. I was so excited to learn that I had another daughter! She went to the nurses at the baby station to make sure she did not ingest any meconium. She was quiet for a short while (it felt like forever to me), but finally gave a healthy cry. Her apgar at 1 minute was a 5 and went up to a 8 at 4 minutes. I got to hold her first and she is absolutely beautiful!

E was such a phenomenal rock during this entire, rushed process. We barely had time to think and everything just happened at once. We are so thrilled to be home and start our life as a family of 6!

29 October 2012

Sandy Jack-o

Passing the time, with Sandy bearing down, we decided "hey, why not carve pumpkins and try on costumes and eat delicious home-baked goods?"
So that is what we did!
Excuse the jumble, they uploaded wonky, and fixing the order is proving too difficult

Boy was *so* excited to show me his costume, but still got very shy when he came back out!
I asked "are you a goldfish?"
"nooooooo, I'm a shawk!"
"noooo, are you sure you're not a penguin?"
Then got the picture

The kids and their friend eating dinner

Scooping pumpkin guts!

Loving pumpkins!
Our friend and Wife "guiding" the project....
This little guy really enjoyed carving a pumpkin with me :)
My little pumpkin gutter

All dressed up, but still....
My little pumpkin gutter!

Our friend finding out he doesn't much like guts....

17 October 2012

Getting help, part 2

Suicide is a choice. Life is a choice.
I have seen people in horrible circumstances, who have pulled through and gotten past the hard times, just as I have seen people who drowned in their situation, unable to break the surface again.
I grew up in less than ideal circumstances, and am a product of the foster care system. I lost my daughter 11yrs ago. I deployed to Iraq at the beginning of the war, and I saw some bad shit, and got wounded. I deployed again, and got shot.
My buddy, whom I deployed with my first time, grew up with an abusive father, and a drunk and hateful mother. He went on to join the Army and deploy. He saw the same shit I saw, during his first deployment. During his second deployment, he got blown up, losing his right leg, above the knee. His wife left him while he was still in the hospital. He got to drinking to drown out the pain and the flashbacks. But he eventually decided to get help.
He is remarried now, with 2 step kids and one of his own. His life isn't always easy, but it is his, because he made a choice.
A soldier I knew came back from a deployment with less rank than when they'd left. They chose to be unfaithful in their marriage, got caught, and had to face the consequences. They were losing their family, and because of their reaction to their punishment, they lost more rank, and were losing their career. They tried to kill their Platoon Sgt, they tried to kill their 1SG, the two people who tried to offer help. This person shot them self in front of barracks full of junior soldiers. They never considered the consequences of a single one of their actions.

People do stupid shit all the time. Bad things happen to people all the time. It is our job to respond the best we can to our circumstances. There are resources out there, but our society is so fucking trained against asking for help, that we just spend time glorifying those who were too weak to do so! Because, yes, after fighting your demons for long enough, anyone would grow tired and weak. And then, they may choose to take the "easy way out".
Because it means they don't have to fight anymore!
And if they don't succeed, maybe someone else will notice their struggle, and that person will pick up arms with them, and help tame their demons.

There is such a bull shit stigma on asking for help. But what is worse: the shame of everyone finding out you swallowed a bunch of pills to end your own life, or the shame of everyone finding out you are seeing a doctor to try to be a better person?

I'm seeing a doctor, to help me with my issues. And, yes, I may have been reluctant to do so, but that was I.....
....I don't even really know why.
I was hoping the other meds would work?
I was too busy to make time?
I was trying to pretend I wasn't having problems?
I was afraid of what others would think?

Okay, that last one did play a role, but only a small one....
I've had enough issues over the years to know when I need help, but I hesitated (not for long) because I am with new people, who don't know my history.
They have accepted that I am "broken".
We are all "broken" in some way!
Some of us fit back together better than others, but if you work hard enough, and find all the pieces, you *can* be whole again! And if there is not enough of the old you left, change from seeing yourself as a jug to seeing yourself as a bowl.... Both can still hold substance!

13 October 2012

Calling the Fire Department

Sitting in with a patient and the provider, going over the treatment options, when all of a sudden this ear piercing screech blares out throughout the half of the building!
Dammit, the fire alarm.
This happened last week....at 3am.
Fortunately, it turns off on its own, but still gotta call the FD. Talk to Dispatch, and they ask if we want them to come out. I was like "yeah, last thing I need is to make that decision and the building burn to the ground"
They are coming.
I walk to the back, to inform them that the fire department is coming to clear things.
Halfway to the back, I start smelling this toasted, smokey smell.
It's coming from the providers office.
I walk in to find one of our providers wearing paper shorts, his underwear in the trash can, and his pants soaking wet on the floor.
"what the hell happened here?"
Paper Shorts looks up and says "nothing......"
I'm like, "well, the fire department is coming, to make sure we don't all burn to death"
"yeah, we have to call them whenever the fire alarms go off!"
"YOU called THEM???"
Other guy chimes in, "he sat on an icepack, and it exploded on the back of his pants, he was trying to get his underwear to dry faster, so he put it in the microwave"
*Dumbfounded look on my face*
*hear the garble over the Fire Dispatch radio, that they are on scene*
Me to him: "you know there is a fan in the trauma room you could have hung it on.....or you could have gone to the laundry point *right across the street*?
Man, the Firefighters are gonna get a kick out of this!"
*i walk away to go handle FD and tell them the story*

11 October 2012


Found this on the Planned Parenthood website...
When I was young, all PP seemed to do was hand out condoms and BC.
Now, they have an entire foreplay guide??????

What Are the Disadvantages of Outercourse?
Outercourse has several disadvantages:

Women and men may let outercourse lead to intercourse without being ready to protect themselves from pregnancy or infection.
Some people may find it hard to abstain from intercourse.
Sperm may come in contact with the vagina.

How Do I Have Outercourse?
There are many ways to be sexual without intercourse:

Kissing — Many people explore different ways of kissing. They may also explore kissing different body parts.

Masturbation — Many people enjoy touching their own sex organs. It's the most common way to be sexual. Partners can masturbate alone or together. They may hug and kiss while they do it. They can also watch each other — which can be exciting and a good way to learn what kind of touch a partner likes.

Manual Stimulation — Many couples fondle each other's sex organs using their hands. Some also use their bodies or mouths.

Body-to-body rubbing — frottage, "grinding," or "dry humping" — Many couples rub their bodies together — especially their sex organs — for pleasure and orgasm.

Fantasy — Couples can read or watch sexy stories or pictures together. They can also share or act out sexy fantasies. People do it in person, on the phone or Internet, or through e-mail or instant messaging. (Using online technology for sex is called cybersex.)

Sex Toys — These include vibrators and dildos. Toys can be used to explore and caress the body. Condoms can be used on toys that go into the vagina or anus. Condoms need to be used if partners want to share the same toy. Use a new condom for each partner — and for each part of the body. Sex toys need to be cleaned — different toys have different cleaning instructions.

Oral Sex Play — Many people like to use their mouths on each other's sex organs. Oral sex on a woman is called "cunnilingus." On a man it's called "fellatio." It cannot cause pregnancy. But it can pass infection. Using a barrier can reduce the risks. Condoms that have been cut open, Sheer Glyde dams, dental dams, and plastic wrap make good barriers for oral sex on a woman. Condoms make good barriers for oral sex on a man. Many people use latex or plastic barriers that are non-lubricated or flavored for oral sex.

Anal Sex Play — Many people enjoy anal sex play. Partners can explore each other's buttocks, anus, and rectum with their hands, mouths, sex organs, or with toys. Anal sex play cannot cause pregnancy — but it can easily pass infection. Using a latex or plastic barrier can reduce the risks. Using lubrication can make it more comfortable.

It is important to talk to your partner about the kinds of sexual activities that you do and do not want to engage in — including outercourse. But it may not be easy to talk about at first.

Here are some tips for talking about outercourse:

Think about what kinds of sex play you want to do and don't want to do.

Practice having a discussion with your partner. What do you want to say? What are all the possible things your partner could say?

Try to have talks with your partner before you get into a sexy situation.
Talk when you both have time and privacy for these discussions.

Be very clear about the limits you want to set. Remember that your partner cannot read your thoughts. It's important to talk about what you want and how you feel. It's important to hear your partner, too.

If you are feeling nervous or embarrassed, tell your partner. Maybe your partner feels the same way you do. Sometimes sex is hard to talk about. It's okay to say that.

Ask how your partner feels about outercourse. Being honest with each other can make a relationship more fulfilling.

Set limits upon which you both can agree.
Keep talking about the sexual limits you set together. What feels good? What may not be working out so well?
If you decide to have intercourse, instead of outercourse, there is a risk of pregnancy. Be sure you have another kind of birth control. Also be ready to protect yourself against infection.

08 October 2012

Admitting you need help...

Why? Why bring others into your world, your secret place? Your hide away from the reality around you.
It's hard to fathom wanting to do that, when the person in question isn't someone you love. Even letting in those you love can feel hard, almost impossible at times. To find someone you trust enough is a large task, and you only hope they take the task to heart, and help you do what needs to be done.
Accepting you need help is never easy. Especially in today's world, and in my profession and position. Being willing to reach out takes guts. The gratitude you feel when your call is answered, though, is immense. A burden lifted, and a breath breathed easier.
I never want to admit when my walls start crumbling down.... I never want to show that "weakness".
I can't remember a time when my needs were placed first and foremost. I can't even recall them being considered too often. I am partly to blame, though, as I too often bear a mask that has everyone believing I'm okay. And some have grown to expect that from me, never being able to see beyond the mask.
I can be standing in the ruins of my shelter, and they see the veiled sarcasm and witty banter, rather than the glistening eyes and aching heart. They don't realize how tired and hurting I am, wishing and praying for a reprieve from playing strong, but knowing they are too absorbed in their tasks to notice.
It takes a while for me to crack and crumble. This time it took a month, before a singular event cascaded my thoughts and emotions into a burning heap of confusion. The difference being that, this time, they saw it coming. Those around me saw my downward spiral, and only two of them thought enough to inquire. But none thought to intervene.
When have I ever, in my life, asked for help? Know me a week, and you should know it is harder for me than just about anything else. So, don't wait for me to do it.
I grasped....
I sent out little flags, hoping someone would take the bait, and help me out.
They didn't.
They even tried to reprimand me, for a crash they saw coming, and refused to stop, because they refused to offer the help they knew I couldn't ask for myself.
I don't trust easily. I have been disappointed, let down, betrayed, fouled, and made a joke of enough in my life to not trust but a handful of people. I can count, on barely both hands, the number of people I trust.
And less than one hand, the number of people I trust with what is in my head. Funny thing being, two of those I trust so deeply, are very new additions to my world, within the last several months, one within the last week.

You see, I hit that point, where I knew I had no choice but to reach out, before I drowned. I ignored the false caring of others, and went straight to the only person here that I would trust, wholly, with my life.
And he did just what I needed, something that has never happened. He took me where I needed to go, to get the help I needed. And I'm grateful for that. He realizes that what I shared with him, I wouldn't share with a single person in my entire unit, and couldn't share with my family. He realized how much it took for me to reach out to him, and he didn't take that lightly.
The relief that brings me is immense. On top of what I've now accomplished with the doctor he got me. I am breathing a bit easier now, and feeling better about what's happening. And I have someone along with me, to help with the adjustments, and track the progress, the meds, and help with the turmoil that always festers beneath the surface.

I have someone here to talk to.

01 October 2012

Our whirlwind month

Today I am 38 weeks pregnant! It is amazing to think that you will be here so soon and at the same time I can not wait until October 15th to meet you! (if you really make us wait that long) Thoughts have been running rampant in my mind the last couple of weeks about how you will be welcomed into our family. Last night you were so excited to kick in my belly. You showed me you were ready for a little mommy/baby chat by scooting your booty wwwaaayy over to the left side of my belly. My stomach was the exact shape of Gumby's head. It looked hilarious. Thankfully you did not hold that pose for too long. I asked you if you loved your mommy...you gave me a kick. I asked you if you loved your daddy...you gave me a big kick. Then I asked you if you loved your big sissies and big bello...you kicked me so hard I thought you might pop out of my tummy right then and there. Well, sweet button your big sissy and big bello love you too. Sissy is to excited to see you. She says, "Baby come out at Halloween" (because October= Halloween) to anyone who asks. And she is so excited to hold you. When we ask her how she will hold the baby. She puts here little hands together and holds them up in front of her. Or she puts her lovey in her shirt and says, " I have a baby in belly". Or, most recently she wraps her lovey in a little lovey blanket and holds the lovey to her chest and says, "My baby nursing!" Your brother is also thrilled to meet you. He likes to climb in mommy and daddy's bed in the morning, pull down the blankets, pull up my shirt and kiss the belly. He says, "I love you baby!". Then he likes to 'hide' with you under the covers. Only belly is allowed to hide from monsters...not mommy. Boy also loves to give you big, big rasperries.

This next month is going to be full of anticipation and excitement. Our plans to get your room together, pack for the hospital stay, line up childcare for your brother and sister during your arrival and planning first visits from Nana and Papa and Grama and Grampa...and enjoying our last couple of weeks with the twins as our 'only' little kids. One on hand, I hope time flies until your arrival. On the other hand, I am trying diligently to enjoy this last month and cherish every moment of being pregnant with you and watching your bello, sissies, and daddy love on this big belly.

I love you sweet heart and I can not wait to meet you!

Our little lady,
You have earned the nickname of Early Bird this week. Not necessarily because you wake up that early, but because you are always the first one up in our family. Today I heard your tiny pitter patter foot steps coming from your room, around the hall, to my side of the bed around 7:40am. You gave me a sweet wake up kiss and curled up into bed next to me. You let me rest for about 2 minutes before you started your little whiny voice, “No sleepin. No close your eyes.” We cuddled and chatted about starting school and it being a special day so Daddy would be chatting with you this morning! When daddy is "home", you get chocolate milk for breakfast, so I went downstairs and got you your milk. You said you wanted it in a cup, with a lid…very specific you have been lately. Usually I get exact colors too, but not today. I started to get ready for the day and my heart just melted when I looked out of the bathroom door and saw you and Daddy just chatting in bed, giggling and sharing a quiet time together.

You picked out and put on your own undies, Elmo. You put on your pants and (1) sock by yourself. I put you hair in pigtails…half way through you asked for ‘poofs’….so cute. You ate a wonderful breakfast of yogurt with ‘finkles’ (sprinkles), toast and an apple.
After all was said and done, and you were ready to go, I gave you a goodbye kiss. You said, ‘Don’t leave’…which has to be one the most heart wrenching sentences for a child to say to a parent, but I knew it was going to be okay.
We got you two into the car, and got our goodbye kisses in, before a single tear was shed. You did amazingly, me: not so much.

I love you little princess of peace!

Our man of the house,

You slept in like a little champion. You came running into mommy and daddy’s room at 8:15 and said, “I’m nakey!” You were sleeping in just a diaper and pants. You were so excited to see sissy and daddy. You drank chocolate milk in bed while everyone got dressed and mommy picked your school (a first!). You played with your little Diego digger truck while Mommy got you dressed. Teenager put ‘jello’ (gel) in your hair and you were so excited to go to school. Mommy and Daddy were excited that you did a pee pee and a poo poo in the potty! You finished your first potty sticker chart today and we scheduled a dinner date for Chucky Cheese this Friday, which Big Sis is very excited to accompany you for.
You promised to behave today, and I'm hoping you will oblige. It's a different ball game now, and it can be difficult to distinguish between toddler-behavior and AS-behavior, but you are making progress with understanding limits. The tantrums/meltdowns are improving along with your ability to communicate your needs, but the biting and pinching are still a problem. You crumble (and melt my heart) when you know you're in trouble, and you will resign yourself, cuddle up on me, and say "I'm tired, Mommy". I know it's to keep from getting punished, but it's heart-tugging just the same.

We love our little prince of turmoil!


You have been an amazing part of our lives for so long, and even as you venture on your own path, you are never more than a phone call away. Since starting university, your time home has shrunk dramatically, but you jump at any opportunity to help out.
You were pure excitement to come home for an extended weekend, not only to be with your little brother and sister, but to attend a doctor's appointment on Friday, and play chauffeur on Monday! You are an amazing daughter, sister, student, person, and I have been so lucky to have you as my daughter, my first born.

You have helped me in a bind this week. Your grandmother flying in the same time your siblings needed to be in school, you stayed the extra night to help me out. I know driving in traffic is not on your list of favorite things, but you are still willing to do it, graciously, and I truly appreciate it.
I also appreciate you being "on call" until your baby sibling, who you've affectionately dubbed (#)4Ever-Baby, arrives, though I'm sure you don't mind having your father's car at your disposal the last few weeks, and however much longer until the "show" begins.
On top of all of this, you are excelling in your new environment, and pulling great grades this semester. I know you've still undecided about what you want to do, but you are cutting a great path for yourself, and making us more proud than we can express in written word.

Thank you for being in my life, Duchess of my heart.

Now, we get down to the wire. My mother has arrived, the bags are packed, the paperwork submitted. All we have left to do is wait for the queue.

11 September 2012


It's hard to believe its been 11 years since terrorists highjacked those 4 planes, destroying the Twin Towers, scarring the Pentagon, and forever leaving their mark on a quiet field in Pennsylvania.
An entire lifetime has passed in those 11yrs.
I was a student, finishing up my time at my school, preparing for the next chapter. What we didnt know was that it wasn't a new chapter that day.
It was a brand new book, one underwritten with fear, anger, pride, sorrow, guilt, and so many other thoughts and emotions.
I was young. I didn't fully grasp the effects of those attacks at the time. How they changed the entire world, in just a few short hours. How much the next decade, or two, would be completely and utterly effected by those few hours. Those dark hours.

We now have an entire generation to contend with. One that doesn't know the sheer terror of watching the towers collapse, for days on end, as it was a constant stream on every channel. These kids will not know what it's like to watch as thousands of lives are snuffed out, as you watched in horror, unable to do anything but remain frozen, eyes glued to the screen as you prayed to wake up from the nightmare, you family, friends, and world intact and unscathed.

When the nightmare didn't end, we moved into action. We took our anger, our sorrow, and turned it towards helping the survivors, remembering the victims, and punishing the offenders.
We came together as a nation, and as a world, to rally against the pure evil that could take all those without a second thought.
We wore our pride for our country, our fellow citizens, and ourselves, as Americans, and as righters of wrongs. We became closer than this country has been in decades. Strangers helped strangers, neighbors supported each other, and brave men and women stepped up to defend it all.

And now we have so many who could not understand the depth of it all. Anyone, 17 or younger, who remembers it all would be a rarity.
Those kids are the future of our country, and they have less than 10yrs before they start taking charge. In a world where apathy has taken hold of so many who do remember, what do we have to look for with an "unaffected" generation?

09 September 2012

Topolino- talking to my parents about ASD

I have sought support and guidance from my parents, my husband, and his parents, in the hopes of finding the best ways to help Boy. My parents, raised in the poetry of their native tongues (my father borne of an Italian mother, my mother borne of Parisian parents) bemuse themselves in guiding us with old sayings, many of which were repeated throughout their upbringings. And here I have combined a detail of part of our struggle with pitters of their "old world" words of wisdom.

Topolino- Little mouse.
He is vastly different than Trottola (spinning top), and they are a pair for generations to awe at, the serenity that flows between them, the peace that descends when they are together.
When Boy and Girl are together, it is the ultimate gift of siblinghood, and something we have been so honored to give them. They understand each other, and Girl, our Chatty Cathy knows, instinctively, all of her brother's needs.
A buon intenditor poche parole.
They don't need words to know each other.

Girl is patient with her brother, something uncommon for a 2 year old, and usually uncommon for her. He trusts her, and us, implicitly.
It wasn't until recently that the extent of this situation became clear.
Speaking to the teachers at their school, we discovered something we were hardly in a position to notice. Something that made his loving nickname ring a little more true.
Topolino is completely out of his depth without us. Without Mommy, Daddy, Sissy, or one of the family there, he disappears inside himself.
Human security blankets.
We don't even have to be with him! Just seeing us, sitting on the far side of the yard, or even through the window, he is an open and social little boy, like most others around him.
But, you take that security blanket away, and he crumbles in on himself, losing that confidence that radiates otherwise. He will sit there, legs curled, just watching what goes on around.
Almost no amount of coaxing will resolve his problem. No amount of invitations will get him joyfully involved. He will get "involved", because he has been taught that ignoring requests is rude, but he is the disinterested teenager, on the edge of the crowd, acting as if playing with toy cars (one of his FAVORITE activities) is equivalent to forcing his hand into an acid wash.

He is quite a peculiar tot.
My father has ventured:
Che sarà sarà.
What is to be, will be.

But how will this effect our little mouse?
We want him to blossom, no matter what the season, hoping that it is not asking too much.
If only he could speak his needs to us, but it doesn't work quite that way, now does it?
Fatti maschi, parole femmine. Basically: what he needs and what he can say don't match.

We want him to be able to have a life apart from us. To be able to take a weekend trip with a friend and enjoy it, even if none of us are there. We never imagined the idea of coddling that he is almost never without all of us. It is a fact, being the same age as his sister, they do the same things, and when they are apart, he has some sort of adult supervision. A parent, his aunt or uncles, or big sister.
We never imagined sending them to separate nannies, or leaving him with a stranger when he has family at home to watch him.

Noi non potemo avere perfetta vita senza amici.
Or can he? Can he be happy without friends (who aren't family)?
I hope to not find out.

My mother, (switching languages, but not direction) said to me:
J’ay ma foi tenu à ma puissance. Vise en espoir.
I have kept my faith as far as I am able. Look to the future.

He will come as far as he wills, and we must patiently wait for the turnover in that journey.

Chi sta bene non si muove.'
The aim for perfection might slow down progress.
But what about aiming for progress? We don't need any more perfection than he already is. But we'd like for him to ba able to spread his wings and catch the air.

May Gods will become ever clearer as we seek his guidance, and may we always remember:

Chi più sa, meno parla.

07 September 2012


I've decided not to vote.... Because then, whoever wins, when people blame them for every little thing that is wrong with their lives,I can say "don't look at me for sympathy, I didn't vote for them". And I will continue paying my taxes, and living my middle class life, without much effect from the election....

JFK screwed up the Bay of Pigs, he got assassinated, and he is now a hero.
Nixon had Watergate, now he's peachy.
Bush Sr. had Desert Storm and everyone loves him now.
Abraham Lincoln had an all out WAR, the country divided, but him getting assassinated was the propulsion needed to end slavery.
Clinton had an affair, but the deficit was minimalized.
Everybody and their mother hated Bush Jr, but suddenly he ain't so bad.

The point being: every president gets blamed for everything when they are in office, but give it a few years, and they are suddenly folk heroes!
No matter who wins the election, 6 months down the road, most everyone will be blaming the president for their problems.
And you know what?
In a decade or two, the President will be hailed an amazing person, and everyone will be like "yeah, son, I voted for him!"

No matter what a president does, half the country is going to hate their guts from the getgo. And no president is ever going to win a popularity contest.
And they are stuck with death threats, no privacy, more work than one resin can handle, social-political obligations, and the inability to tell people to "go to hell!" because it isn't politically correct.
The president is stuck working someone else's agenda, and never knowing who they can trust, who's working against them, and who's hanging around just to get their name noticed.
They endure long nights, worrying how every little decision will impact 700,000,000 people, and how even an opposing minority will gain the ground of a majority, just because of the age of social media.
Every action scrutinized, every expression analyzed, and every article of clothing judged by people who have nothing better to do than judge what they view as someone else's inadequacies.
I would never want to be the president.
I don't think my mind, body, or spirit could stand the faceless hate and unrewarding stress.
I'd rather be deployed a year than spend a month doing the president's job. Because, even though I could spout off, all day every day, what I would change about our country, trying to actually create that change is a bureaucratic nightmare!
So, I will sit back patiently, and wait for the results. Then, I will, without hesitation, follow any and all lawful and moral orders passed down by my Commander ind Chief.
And, as always, I would take a bullet for them, because they have taken on one of the greatest challenges of all, they are my boss, and I respect what they are trying to do.

No president sets out to make the country a worse place.

A year apart

So, the subject of today's blog is how Wife and I cope with being apart.
My last deployment, right after we got married, only took me away for two months. And my only other deployment occurred when I had no one so special in my life. We have been apart about 8 months now, the longer time since we met.

I am fortunate for the modern world we live in. For cell phones, Internet, air mail, and email. I don't know how I'd survive otherwise.
1 year. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. Give or take a few.
I've missed an 18th birthday, high school graduation, college orientation, first day of college, Aspergers diagnosis, first day of preschool, many milestones, all but one sonogram (in person), baby's first kicks, the morning sickness, the amazing changes, the building of the nursery.
I've missed the chances to be there for all of that, but I have survived, because my wife has been there for both of us. And she documents every little thing, from new achievements to "boring" routines. And it helps me feel like I'm there!
There's nothing like getting to chat with your kids, them not truly knowing why you aren't with them, but understanding that you haven't abandoned them.
It takes great patience for my wife to do that. To give each child an opportunity alone with Daddy, even if it means we don't get to chat that day. She keeps my presence there, and keeps their presences with me.
She extends bedtimes, and shuffles plans to accommodate the 8.5hr time difference. She is patient always, with the internet, the schedule changes, and the time limitations.
My wife sends pictures just about every day. They range from morning cuddles, to bedhead breakfasts, exciting playdates, tv time, grocery shopping, bath time, story time, naptime, or any other spur of the moment she manages to snap a picture.
She'll patiently recount an entire day if I ask, just so I can feel the least bit like I was there, flipping the pancakes, playing the games, listening to the jokes, and reading the stories.
Just as I will recount my days for her, so she can remind herself what I do, because she loves that I do what I love, but sometimes long absences can make us forget.
We get our alone time, too. We laugh, we cry, we talk, we argue, and sometimes we just see each other, not a single word needed between us.
We remind ourselves that we are a couple, even worlds away, she is my one and only, my shining star. We are not just a mother and father, sister and brother, we are husband and wife, and it's okay to be selfish sometimes.
We are each others confidants, we can confess our weaknesses without judgement, and we draw our strength from each other. Neither of us has the harder of both worlds, because we both have our challenges and our rewards, and we are gracious for both, because it is all a test of our endurance. And we will endure!

Others go out of their way for us, too
Our OB/GYN accommodates us, so that I can Skype into appointments and sonograms. I got to see my baby's heartbeat for the first time, the same time my wife did. I got to see our baby grow, and watch it grow from a little bean, to an alien, to a baby. Got to track their progress and health, and get the peace of mind that everything is running smoothly, straight from the doctor's mouth.
I've gotten to talk, "face to face" with our son's physical therapist/occupational therapist, cardiologist, and soon, his new therapist. I get to be involved as much as I can bear, so I am not left lost and confused when I return.
I get personalized tours of campus, and the dorms, and get to hear about all the excitement of being a college student. And all the amazing things they have discovered in their new city.
Ive helped make decisions, financially, familially, decoratively, etc, that most wives wouldnt think twice to include their husbands in. And it means so much to me, as almost a compensation for what I do miss being over here.
By the time I go on R&R, I'll have a brand new little boy or girl. I will have missed out on feeling the kicks, talking to the belly, helping the mother of my children as she progresses, and simple things become more difficult. I won't get to stand there and hold my child as soon as it comes into the world, but I'll be watching, with an aching heart, knowing I will be there soon.

29 August 2012

Give unto others

The fixer.
Always been one, always will be.
It comes from being the oldest child in a broken home, and having to grow up too quickly.
The disheartening part being that:
In this day and age it so difficult to be the change you want to see in the world, because there will always be forces working against our efforts.
I am a soldier, a volunteer, a humanitarian, a father, a friend, and a brother..... All of those, for anyone who needs one.
I've given the shirt off my back, literally, on a handful of occasions, because no matter what life/God/the grand scheme, throws your way, there is always someone of greater suffering, and greater reward.
If I don't need it, I don't buy it.
If I don't want it anymore, I find someone who could use it, or do my best to see that it goes there.
I like to believe I am a kind-hearted and generous person, but it was borne of repentance, guilt, rather than the good samaritan in me.
No matter how I got here, I am here.
I've seen some of the purest evils in the world, the blindest naivety, and the most angelic good in the world.
I've seen the effects of wars on the Innocents caught between opposing forces, and sacrificed for the "cause".
The children, who's battle scars rival those of the worst-off troops.
Children, who have never touched a rifle, never meant real harm against anyone or anything..... Tattered limps, and broken spirits. Forever imprinted with the markings of a war that wasn't theirs to witness, or fight.

I've seen the horrors of lives that have been led by children who were unwanted, unloved. For the simple "mistake" of being a survivor, even if they leave the world before their time, they've been freed of the insufferable burden of having ignorance as their origins, or violence....

I've met those who sacrifice their home, life, safety, and a certain future for the opportunity to rectify to wrongs the world has affected on the downtrodden.
Those who brave the firefights/violence the diseases, the uncertainty, just to ease the suffering of others, and to repent for the sins of others, who would just as easily turn the other cheek.

I am nowhere near the holiness of those persons. I do my best, within my realm, to ease the suffering and hardship of others, but not as far as I would have liked.

I have a service to fulfill in this world, part of it being to bring my people home, alive, and with as few physical, emotional, and mental scars as possible.
We have been fortunate in our limits of exposure this time. I am not walking the villages, searching the houses, and expending hundreds of rounds in firefights longer than the sun's reach.
I have seen just one boy, no older than 25; a man by experience, a boy by chronological standards, legs gone, body crushed, but spirit and soul as strong as ever, fighting against all the odds. And I pray each day that his name not be chiseled into a marbel block before mine.

My soldiers over the years. We have cried together, heads bowed low in prayers for ourselves, our comrades, our growing number of guardian angels, and the families of us all. We have shed our blood, our sweat, our tears, our brass, together.
We hold each other up when it feels like the world will crash down around us, because we have given each other our all, and we owe each other that for the rest of our lives.
We know suffering, and we do our best to help others relieve the burden, and rise up against the odds, because we hold them steady on their feet.
Our lows are the lowest, so we know they can soar, as we have, with just a little help.

A covered grocery bill, so the rent can be met.
A play date with the kids, so they can take that extra shift.
A sleepover, so they can greet their kids anew, with a healthier light in their eyes, and a little less stress in their mind.
A quick package, so they have something for their child, they can't afford to buy, so they and their child can share a smile.
Help folding laundry, so maybe dinner won't be so late tonight.
Take their watch-shift, so they can get a few more minutes of sleep before rejoining the fight.

These are to tiny little things, yet so few consider the consequences.
The extra time to catch up with their child, spouse, self, or sleep.
That sigh of relief that they have managed to survive another day in a world of complete uncertainty.
That moment they needed, to realize:
Someone cares, you are not alone.
And things will get better.

I've learned most all of it through experience. And I hope that no one else will have to suffer through all those lessons, even if I know it's wishful thinking.

Always Sisco's

16 July 2012

Fun Facts of the twins, By Wife


  What mom snaps a pic of her hysterical child instead of running to comfort him?  This mom.  Those moments (and literally, I mean 1 moment) of full fledged tears pops up fairly regular with Boy lately.  Whether it be stubbing his toe on a pillow (he is quite the tender foot) or not immediately having his entire lunch appear before his eyes the second he says, "Mommy, I hungry" we have been having "typical" 2 year old melt downs around here.  Luckily, "Mommy kiss it" seems to heal all wounds and a quickly sliced apple soothes him over and the face disappears and our regular, happy Lil'man reappears.
Other things that he is into these days include...

-growling like a lion or roaring like a dinosaur at all hours of the days

-saying, "I have present for you!" and making you open a huge imaginary ribbon tied box with either a heart, diamond or dinosaur inside

-having every single boo boo kissed by mommy or teenager and crying hysterically until the exact second that you kiss it, then all pain immediately disappears

-tormenting all bugs in the front and back yards

-watering the front yard and getting completely soaked in the process

-laughing out loud at Alex, Gloria and Melman from Madagascar

-lying like a sloth during diaper changes (a sloth who fake toots if someone-sissy-touches his head during the diaper change)

-making little Boys out of play dough

-holding up 1 finger (directly in front of his face) and saying, "Just 1 more" or "1 more minute" whenever I ask him to stop playing or that snack is over

-saying, "I'm tired" whenever he feels overwhelmed or is in trouble. We think it is his way of shutting down and not having to do something that he doesn't want to.  As soon as he does something to get in trouble (not listen, take a toy from Girl, etc) he immediately looks at us, says "I'm tired" and closes his eyes.

- "Where sissy go?  Where sissy go?"  This is the first thing Boy says literally every time he wakes up.  Whether it is from a nap or in the morning after a long night...Boy always calls out to find his sissy.  This little token of adoration is so dear to my heart because the bond this guy has with his sister is absolutely amazing.  

-Our little song writer.  Although you might now know it by looking at him..Boy is quite the lyricist.  He knows the words to tons of songs (Twinkle Twinkle, ABCs, Baa Baa Black Sheep (have you any wolf), We've been working on the railroad, Itsy Bitsy Spider..to name a few classics).  And he even comes up with his own songs...recent 'hits' include, The Dog Song, The Potty Song, and The Thomas Song.  All songs include only the title word sung over and over and over again with an adorable head bob.

-Boy throws pretty wicked fits.  There are certain times when he is completely unconsoleable.  It is really hard to deal with when nothing seems to calm him down, except time.  The triggers for this behavior vary and include (but are not limited to!) being tired, being hungry, having to transition (leave a friend's house, stop playing a game or heaven forbid turn off a Thomas movie), share a toy with Girl, and (most freqently) wake up from a nap.  This little charmer wakes up on the wrong side of the bed in the afternoon a couple of days a week and it is a bummer!

-Jumping!  Boy is now a full fledged jumper!  For the longest time he would get so excited to jump (off a step or balance beam), throw his arms in the air and then step off slowly.  He had no desire to have both feet off the ground at once.  Now, however, he has turned the corner.  He is a jumping fool.  He is not quite the dare devil that his sister is and will not jump from a height of more than two inches..but he can jump people.  Whoohoo!

-Bill Gates, watch your back!  We have a little 2 year old here who is rather savvy on the computer!  I got the kids a Disney themed toddler computer game.  Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, Daisy and Goofy are teaching the kids' letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and sounds all through a very user-friendly (and remember the users are 2) computer game.  Boy picked up how to use a mouse on Day 1.  Seriously, it is impressive!

-Have you ever heard a 2 year old pray? Well, you should.  It might be the cutest thing you have ever seen in your life!  Every night after reading we say prayers.  It is always the same.  "Dear God, thank you for our family and friends (and we let the kids name whoever they can think of).  And keep daddy and his friends safe.  I love you, Amen"  Boy is quite the devout believer.  Every night he hustles off of the rocking chair and runs to kneel by his bed...it is adorable!  His little fingers clasped, his eyes shut tight, and speaking to God with his little 2 year old voice.  (I am teary eyed right now just thinking about it).

-At 2 years and 7 months I have to say that I am very impressed with Boy's compassion.  Yes, he is a typical 2 year old boy in many ways (tantrums, hitting his sister, not listening to mom!) but he is also so loving, especially to his sister.  All day I hear him say things like, "I love you sissy", "It's ok sissy", "I'm sorry sissy", "No hitting", "That's naughty".  Now in many of these instances, yes, he was the instigator...but he is very sweet and tries to rub sissy's back or give her a hug if she falls down and gets hurt.  The twin bond between the two of them is something that I will never fully understand not being a twin myself.  But, being able to witness their relationship everyday has truly blown my mind...their love for each other and need for each other is immense and fills my heart with joy!
I love you sweet prince!


-"I want to hold you."  Yup that is hands down my favorite sentence of Girl's!  What she means is, "I want to hug you" but how cute is her way of saying it?  Everynight (and at nap) she opens her arms wide and says with such love, "I want to hold you".  She wraps her scrawny arms around your next and tight as she can and is so content...it is truly heartwarming.  

-Octomom!  Our littlest Octomom.  Girl is rather maternal (except when it involves the new baby).  She loves her baby dolls, loves her teddy bears, and LOVES her loveys.  Anytime of day you can find her pushing a baby in a stroller.  Putting a lovey on the doll playmat, or tucking a teddy bear to sleep in the doll crib.  She likes to sleep with (let's count, shall we?) pink lovey, blue lovey, pink lovey's blanket, blue lovey's blanket, blue Mickey, pink Minnie, red bear and yellow bear. Let's see, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8...yup Octomom.  Luckily for us, she is content to sleep with just one and bedtime is not a total night mare if we are missing anyone;)

-I like to move it, move it.  Baby baby baby.  Heartbreaker.  These are three of Girl's favorite songs to dance to.  And when I say favorite, I mean OMG, that's my song, choreographer dance moves favorite!  Girl is a dancing fool!  She LOVES music, dancing and shaking her teeny booty.  She also loves shaking her head and watching her hair wave from side to side.  She definitely has better moves that her mama and I foresee her giving her daddy (a very well renowned dance master in his day) a run for his money soon...very soon!

-25 pounds and counting.  Coming into the middle of her second year, Girl is weighting in at just over 25 pounds.  The littlest ________ continues to have a little appetite...but she is actually eating more lately.  Current faves include (but are not limited to) broccoli, carrots, blueberries, cereal, pancakes and waffles with peanut butter and syrup (yum!), oatmeal, noodles, mac n cheese, rice, pb and raisin roll ups, chicken, tacos, burritos, beans, chili, oranges, pears, pineapple, cinnamon apples, grilled cheese and tomato soup, yogurt, cottage cheese, MILK, and unfortunately sweets.  She seems to have inherited her father's love for all things chocolate or sugary sweet.  This apple does not fall far from the tree...

-I was thinking of getting an old school bus and painting it in bold blocks of color.  Seriously the Partridge Family totally had the right idea...a traveling all family band, I dig it!  This girl is a singing sensation.  We have one cd in the car...I know, what am I doing listening to 1 kids; cd all day every day?!?  Well, giving voice and memory lessons to my two years olds I guess.  Girl requests her favorites song all the time.  She tells me which songs she, "I no want! I no want!"  and she knows ALL the words.  Yes, ALL of them.  It is amazing!  Current faves include Bee Song, John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmidt (I have to get that on video...it is a tongue twister for sure!), Itsy Bitsy Spider, Uncle Song, and Wheels on the Bus.

-Night owl and early bird..not exactly the combo you cross your fingers for.  This little tyke prefers to stay up late and wake with (or before!) the sun.  Bedtime is 8pm and Girl is ok with that...however I doubt that she rolls over and is asleep instantly.  Truth be told she can be heard outside the door telling stories to her loveys or replaying the day's event (in detail) with her bears.  Then, at least 6 days out of 7, Girl is the first one awake.  For a brief stint there, she would wake up screaming...that fizzled thank goodness.  Now she walks into our room quietly and either prances around looking for something interesting to do or comes to the side of our bed and says, "Good morning! I need milk!"

-The Boss.  Girl, how shall I say this?, likes to be in charge.  Today we had our friend Andrew over and Boy and Andrew were contentedly riding push cars in the back yard.  Girl could be heard yelling, "Boys, boys!" "Boys, no!"  "No riding to fast!  Back up!  Slow down! Stop! Stop!"  "Boys!"  It is a riot.  She does it all the time with Boy and if raising a toddler doesn't give a mirror into your own personality, I don't know what will.  Girl gets down on her knees and says to Boy in a stern tone, "Boy, stop.  Look at me.  Listen to Sissy."  Hmmm, where could she have heard that before?

-At my recent toddlers' class (a class about how to parent toddlers, not a learning institute for a 2 year old crowd) I descibed Girl as a teenager in a 25 pound body.  The way Girl looks and you when you talk and her facial expressions when she observes other people really makes me think that she is taking it all in...all of it.  Way too much for a 2 year old.  She understands negotiating and she can be (although not always) very empathetic and understanding in new situations.  Also, honestly, whenever Boy is having one of his total meltdown modes Girl swoops in and is totally independent.  She either watches him calmly and gives him space or does what needs to be done.  The other day she got herself completely dressed (I mean completely, from taking off her pjs to getting on here whole outfit, shoes and socks and being ready to go while Boy was throwing a huge fit!).  I am so excited to see where the rest of this year takes up with her emotional growth and continued verbal abilities...I foresee some very interesting conversations in the coming months. Also, I'm not trying to say she is some savant...she definitely has her toddler traits (and tantrums and fits of her own), but sometime she just 'gets it' and seems extremely mature to me.

I love you little biscuit.
Our Tiny Dancer: