Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Mine already has vegetables in it

The brunette twin really committed to being a vegetarian. She has learned to navigate a menu to find a decent meal no matter where we visit. Her friends support her vegetarian lifestyle without comment.

At home, though, it's a different story. We still battle with what constitutes a meal. I was standing at the freezer, moving things here and there, talking to Daddy when I said, "We need a vegetable."

The brunette twin quickly responded, "Oh, I don't need a vegetable. The rest of my meal is made of vegetables."

I replied, "Nice try. You cannot just eat one type of vegetable. You need a variety. You are going to eat something besides your vegetarian chicken patty."

She rolled her eyes. We found a vegetable to complement dinner. She ate it, but she wasn't happy about it.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


The girls turned 13 today. I can hardly believe it, even as I type the 1 and the 3. The babies we worked so hard to have and wanted so desperately are teenagers. It seems surreal that we are here already.

The big party was held a few weeks ago. Uncle Steve hosted a pool party for the girls' friends and our family. We were a bit worried as it rained all morning. The forecast called for scattered showers throughout the evening. The weather held for the party. The girls invited ten friends for a bar-b-que and night swimming.

Uncle Steve has a resort-like backyard. His large, L-shaped pool has a diving board, slide and basketball net. The girls kept themselves busy, only interacting with us when they needed something grilled. Otherwise they all kept themselves busy doing this or that or the other thing. We sat on the deck watching the Cubs game, listening to music and talking. It was a wonderful party.

We started this morning with waffles to celebrate the big day. The girls went to school and cross country practice. They came home to a quick dinner followed by golf practice for the brunette twin. The blond twin stayed home to hang out with Erin, who shares their birthday. 

We ended the day at Grammie's having ice cream and cupcakes. Grammie was still recovering from her shoulder surgery so we brought the party to her. The girls had a few gifts to open before coming home to do homework. It might have been a landmark birthday, but it was still a school night.

One gift had a few pictures from our first night at the hospital. Daddy and I were smiling in every photo. We held a baby in every photo. It seemed like such a long time ago, even as it seemed like just yesterday. I cannot believe that our babies are 13. It has been a magical journey so far. I can't wait to see what the next years bring.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The answer to my breathing problems

For years now I have had a hard time breathing. Given the allergist's long list of things I should avoid, I wasn't surprised that it affected my breathing. Add to that the fact that I am a child of smoking's golden age, when all adults smoked all the time, who could be surprised that I had a hard time breathing.

Today I went to a new doctor. I decided it was time to see a new specialist shortly after I finished the antibiotics for yet another sinus infection. After a thorough exam, the ENT said, "How long have you had your deviated septum?" I replied, "Huh? My what?"

I knew nothing about a deviated septum other than the jokes about women having facial plastic surgery and claiming the bruises were from deviated septum surgery. I came home and immediately started researching. Sinus infections? Trouble breathing? Snoring? Nose bleeds? Facial pain? I have or have had it all. It was as if the Wikipedia entry was written just for me.

Now I know why these problems have followed me all these years. My problem has a name, which is just the first step. The second step is deciding what to do. I could just live with it. There's no long-term issue with a deviated septum. It doesn't get better; it doesn't get worse. I could have surgery to correct it. It's something I will research once I get over my excitement. Yes, I know it sounds strange, but there was a definite relief feeling when the ENT put a name to my ongoing sinus problems. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

A close encounter with a striped neighbor

I was walking Holly down the block with I saw the black fur with the white stripe. I thought, "How interesting. I rarely see a skunk."

Oh, we know they are in the neighborhood. Sometimes we get up in the middle of the night to close the windows because the smell permeates every room. Once in a while my eyes tear up when I open them due to whatever floats in the air after a skunk sprays. My eyes burn because it is so strong.

Yet, I kept walking towards the skunk. It dug around in an empty lot across the street from me. Holly kept smelling the grass, never even noticing the skunk. I stared at it like I was staring at a zoo exhibit.

It wasn't until we were directly across the street that I thought, "This is a really stupid idea." Yep, I made it until I was directly across from the skunk before I thought it was a bad idea to walk by the animal. Holly and I picked up speed as we walked away. Luckily for us the skunk didn't spray. It scurried into a drain pipe under an abandoned driveway. 

I was a few houses away when I changed our route back. It was raining lightly so I was going to walk back down the block as quickly as possible. Given how lucky we were that the skunk didn't spray the first time we walked by, I wasn't going to that chance twice. I might have been enchanted by the skunk the first time, but I'd like to think that I wasn't dumb enough to do the same thing again.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A good time at their first tailgate

Daddy and I both went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We still follow the team during football and basketball seasons. When the girls were little they had Illini cheerleader outfits, which doubled as Halloween costumes one year. 

It has been a long, long, long time since either of us attended a football game. We've never attended a home game together, despite our many trips to visit family in the area. We did travel to New Orleans and Pasadena to watch the Fighting Illini lose two bowl games, though. 

This year our team somehow, some way managed to hire Lovie Smith as our new coach. It was a shocking hire as the Fighting Illini don't normally reach that high when it comes to head coaches. We've had some good coaches, but a big-name coach? In Illini Orange? We couldn't believe it when the rumors came true.

A few months ago an email showed up offering $10 tickets for the first home game. We bought four tickets and started planning. Daddy's friends had a regular tailgating spot right near Aunt Debbie's family tailgate. We bought the girls Illini temporary tattoos and Illini t-shirts. We were set.

The girls were awed by the circus surrounding the football game. They attended the pre-game Marching Illini concert. They wandered between tailgate parties. They wore their Illini tattoos on their cheeks. We walked to the Armory to watch the Marching Illini parade into the stadium.

We spent a lot of time on our walk to and from the Armory talking about college. We passed dorms and class buildings. We walked by Greek houses. They saw students who looked like them and students in crazy clothes. They wanted to know about classes and roommates. We were walking back to the tailgate when they finalized their four-person dorm room plans.

The football game itself was exciting for them, even if they needed to have the rules and strategies explained. They were awed by the male cheerleaders doing push-ups every time the Illini scored, although they questioned why the female cheerleaders didn't do push-ups. They were so excited when the band performed the half-time show. They had more fun than they imagined.

After the game we went back to tailgate again. We asked the girls if they wanted to come back for another game. They said they wanted to come to the home opener again so they could do all the same stuff. We said, "Girls, they do this stuff every game." They were hooked. We told them that we'd come back to another game soon. 

Oh, and the Illini won -- and won big. I guess that breaks our streak of bringing bad luck to the team, so we'll be back.