Friday, December 29, 2006

Something Special

While Randy & I have spent the majority of this week accomplishing projects around the house, we wanted to make sure we took time to do something special with the kids, too. We don't get a lot of time off, and it's difficult to make the time to do that "something special" during the regular week when errands like grocery shopping and cleaning up fill all of the hours not occupied by work, sleeping, and meal times.

So, this afternoon, we took the kids out of school after their nap time and headed to downtown Kansas City. We went to Crown Center to see somethings that we had missed out in our previous trips.

Our trip actually started with a very unique run-in. We ran into a couple (and their twins) that we were in a mutliples birthing class with - about 3 years ago. We haven't seen them since, and it was so neat to be able to see their kids and catch up.

We started out by touring the Hallmark Visitor's Center. This was really cool - and the kids enjoyed it some, but it would be a great thing to do without 2-1/2 year olds tugging at your pant legs. We made a whirlwind trip of it - and they were rewarded with a new (free) book at the end.

We were disappointed that Kaleidescope was already closed - here they help you do art projects with your kids and leftover items from the Hallmark manufacturing process. How cool is that? We'll put it on the list for next time.

Then, we headed back inside for our real mission - to see Santa's Crayola land. Yes, Santa was gone, but it didn't seem to deter our kids one bit. In fact, the big guy in the red suit probably would have only terrified them. And, when we tried to go the last two weekends, the wait was HOURS long.

So, while Santa is gone, the elves will slide....

Crawl through tunnels...

Play in your Crayola House...

And do silly things in the funny mirrors...

I'm not kidding when I say we drug them out of there kicking & screaming. But, it was all for a good cause, because we went to eat at Fritz's. Now, I've heard of this place before and that it was a great place to eat at with kids. And now I know, Fritz's is made for kids.

At Fritz's, you order your food by telephone, and then this little train

hauls your food from the kitchen out to your table. When it reaches your table, there is a little arm that drops down and holds that white tray of food onto a little lift:

The lift then lowers the white tray of food down to your table. Causing little children's faces to light up like this:

And this:

The food - well, it pretty much stunk. But, really, a place like this doesn't rely on good food for repeat customers. On our way out, we checked out the Gingerbread House / train set, too.

We had a near repeat of the McDonald's incident, but Mommy bribed the girl with some candy, so no accidents to report this time around. We ended our stay at Crown Center with a ride up two sets of escalators.

Finally, on the way home, we made a small detour. If you'll remember our visit to the see Santa's train a few weeks ago

- we always thought it would look neat all lit up, but had no idea it would be this neat. This is just the engine - there were five other cars, too!

These are the days we enjoy ~ and I guess they are so enjoyable because they are exactly that ~ something special.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I'm not sure if this is a twin thing...or just a girl/boy thing...or a toddler thing...or what. But, it's driving me nuts.

Morgan is our vocal child. She started talking earlier and has always been much clearer and more outspoken than Tanner. For the longest time, Tanner would let her talk for him.

We finally cleared that hurdle - although Tanner is still in pretty extensive speech therapy. He understands but is not very intelligible when he speaks.

He's getting better - and now we have a problem. He is constantly provoking his sister. Whenever we drive anywhere - he will say something to annoy her. Today, he kept saying "Geek", "Geek", "Geek". (We can only assume he picked up this word from daycare.)

While that is annoying, worse is Morgan sitting there saying "Tanner called me a geek" or "Tanner said no" or "Tanner did __________". We've tried to tell her that she didn't need to tell us what Tanner does, and she came home last week saying "I'm not a tattletale" (again, the daycare).

Is this reporting phase something all toddlers go through? Is it unique for twins to fight like this (I always picture it so rosy)? Do other twins face this battle where one child is so much more vocal than the other - and then the other gets left behind?

Any input / advice is welcomed!

Update on the week: Morgan threw us a curveball and was home sick yesterday. She had a raging ear infection - it go so bad that she actually had blood oozing from her left ear (eww....). Poor thing is on ear drops, another antibiotic, and tyleonol for pain.

1. Tax review is done
2. Santa havoc clean-up is nearly complete
3. Kids' room cleaning is done
4. Christmas decorations - the outside lights are down, the trees are undecorated, but we still need to take them and some miscellaneous lights down
5. Errands are run
6. and that may be postponed
7. Volunteering - done
8. Working out - slowly getting back into the swing of it
9. Still on target for this weekend.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas +1

Phew...we made it through the holidays. It's been a big weekend. Grandma Red & Grandpa Elmer came out early to beat the blizzard. So, they were hear from Wednesday night through Monday night. That's five whole days. And, folks, that is a long time.

The kids were spoiled, and they were really sad when they figured out the grandparents were gone for good. We're having a hard time getting the kids adjusted back to "normal" life. Especially when this isn't a normal week. Randy & I took off the week, and we're getting things accomplished.

This include:

1. Doing a quick assessment of year-end taxes ~ I absolutely hate owing the goverment anything or having them owe me anything. So, each year, I cut it pretty close, and when we get to year end, I do a quick check to figure out where we are at - and what needs to be done to not owe any taxes (make an extra house payment or pay the second half of our property taxes). It's a game to me, in a sick, sad way.

2. Cleaning up after the havoc that Santa (and the grandparents) wrought. The kids did well this year ~ a play kitchen, play tool bench, a railroad table, matchbox cars & rug, animals galore, large cars / tractors/ semis. And, all of this stuff takes room. We're purging, and headed to Good Will later this week.

3. Cleaning - while purging the kids' bedroom and toy room (both kids sleep in one bedroom, and we use what would be Tanner's bedroom for a toy room), we do a pretty deep cleaning. We clean the windows, the basebooard, wipe off everything on the wall, the baseboards, fan, light fixture, doors, etc. We even went through clothes and got rid of some items that don't fit, or aren't practical now (potty training makes onesies obsolete).

4. Taking down the Christmas decorations. I put them up early, and I take them down early. If it were up to me, I'd probably leave them up for a few more weeks, but realistically, when mid-January hits, we're busy and we've got time now.

5. Things you just can't seem to get done with a full-time job. The cars are going in for oil changes & tire rotations this time around. Some shopping and general errand run sans kids.

6. Getting ready for next year. We do a thorough update at the end of each year. New file folders, back-up of comptuer data, scanning in of tax receipts, creating new files for next year.

7. Volunteering. Randy & I don't get an opportunity to give back often. So, we get to spend 1/2 a day on Thursday helping out an organization that we are really excited about. I'm not sure what they have in-store for us, but we are looking forward to giving back some.

8. Working out. We're getting a jump on our New Year's resolution. We've been members of a fitness center for awhile, but we haven't gotten in the groove like we would like to. So, we're focused on getting to the gym each morning this week, and really enjoying things - without worrying about getting called to the kid's gym for a diaper change.

9. Catching up with old friends. We get to go to Wichita this weekend and celebrate New Year's with some good friends of ours.

I'm exhausted - and the week has just begun. I'll be looking forward to work next week!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Our Christmas Letter

Dear Santa The Claus,

Hello Santa, it’s MoMo. Mommy and Daddy have asked me to write the Christmas letter, again, this year. Daddy said that I either write the Christmas letter or I could go to timeout for 3 minutes, since I was hitting Tuffy. Santa, do you know how long 3 minutes is? Forever, believe me.

In February, we celebrated Tanner’s 1 year happy liver operation anniversary. We had a big party and everyone dressed up with these big beads ‘round their necks and wore funny looking hats. Daddy explained to T and I that the beads came from Louisiana. Daddy started to explain how one gets the beads in Louisiana, but Mommy yelled at him to not say anything else and sent Daddy to timeout. Now, Santa, 30 minutes is a LOOONG time out.

This summer, we started attending “school". Poor Mommy and Daddy. Tanner and I had never been out of the home environment before. We were in daycare 3 days the first 2 weeks of daycare. One day Daddy had to pick T and me up at daycare ‘cause I had vomited. As Daddy was putting me into the car, I not only vomited on him again, but I produced this nasty smelling stuff out of my other end. Later that night when Daddy was preparing to bath T and me, T decided to warm up Daddy’s side by peeing on him. Now, Santa, you know that Daddy has a bad temper, but that day, Daddy never lost his cool. I think that Daddy felt sorry for us.

School is very good for us. There are kids in our classroom from our age all the way through five years old. Man, those kids are ANCIENT. We learn our ABCs and get to color and paint. We get to have recess outside, and we have lots of friends there. Tanner is in a different classroom than I am. Mommy says that Tanner is more vocal & independent now – I think he’s gotten a little sassy being in that other room.

Mommy & Daddy take us to school everyday so that they can go to work. Daddy is still working as a Design Engineer at GB. Mommy is still at Q, although her job has shifted some. She travels occasionally, but that’s ok. When she travels, Grandpa Three Hairs or Grandma Red come down to help Daddy out. And then, we get spoiled ferociously.

On Father’s Day, Daddy took me out to the mailbox. Daddy looked at all of the letters, but he kept saying bad words at one, thin envelope. After looking at Daddy’s face, I’m not about to repeat them. When we got back into the house, Daddy started yelling as loud as I have ever heard him before. I thought that I was heading to timeout, again. Daddy than ran down the stairs with me in toe to tell Mommy that he “passed”, he “passed.” Daddy had finally passed his professional engineers exam after trying 4 times.

In September, we went on our first family vacation to St. Louis. We made six trips to parks, two trips to the zoo to see the tigers, elephants, rhinos, monkeys, and penguins, and one trip to the doctor. We also went to Grant’s Farm where we fed camels, watched another elephant, saw these big ponies that Daddy told us pull the beer carts, and spotted some buffaloes. Are there any buffaloes at the North Pole, Santa? The last day, we went back to the Build-a-Bear at the zoo. We got to make our very own stuffed aminal. T made an elephant named “Ross” in honor of his liver doctor, and I named my tiger “Tigger.” They are our best friends now.

This fall we also joined a local health club. Mommy and Daddy say it’s fancy. All I know is that they have a great play area with slides, half a gymnasium and they will let me color whenever I want – and no parents are allowed. We kick Mommy & Daddy out for two full hours. It’s good for Tanner & I to have some time without Mommy & Daddy.

In November, I got really sick and had to go see the doctor. I had pneumonia in my left lung. I was also told that I might be asthmatic, but we won’t know until I’m about 5, when I can blow into a big tube. For now, I take some medicines that help me breathe better. Mommy and Daddy are sad about this, but I gave them a kissy. It’s amazing Santa what a kissy and a tight squeeze will do for Mommy and Daddy when they are sad.

Daddy and Mommy are also saying how fast T and I are growing. When Daddy asks me if I am “his baby,” I keep reminding him I’m a big girl - I’m 2½ now and I even potty-trained myself. Tanner’s big, too – he actually has packed on a lot of weight lately and actually weighs more than me now.

Hmmm…I guess you could say that we’ve had a really big year. Thankfully, it is mostly good news and neither Tanner nor I have spent any nights away from Mommy or Daddy (although Daddy keeps mumbling something about he doesn’t think that is such good news).

Give Mrs. Santa Clause & Rudolph a big kissy and tight squeeze from us. And to everyone else that reads my letter to Santa Clause, remember to keep the Christmas spirit and have a safe, healthy, & happy holiday season.

Morgan & Tanner
(Randy & Stacy)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Singing Twins

Following the lead of Sarah, here is a video clip of my twins singing Jingle Bells - even complete with dancing!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Things to Remember Part III

Number 1:

Today, I looked over and noticed Morgan had one of her fleece winter hats on & pulled all the way down over her eyes. A quick scan of her face and body position, and I knew all was not well.

Morgan for some reason must have her head covered to poop. I'm not sure what the reasoning behind this is, but covering her head with a towel is one of the few ways that we've gotten her to calmly poop since beginning the potty training experience.

Sitting on the toilet with a stocking hat down over her eyes - just wish daddy had gotten a picture, because I'm sure it would be good bribery material in the future.

Number 2:

We're trying to introduce the concept of Christmas to the kids - which is not an easy task. It's hard to explain WHY we celebrate Christmas in the midst of all the commercialism we have. But, I'm proud to let you know that I feel like we've made progress.

Me: "Why do we celebrate Christmas?"

Tanner: "Because it's Baby Jesus' birthday."

Morgan: "And he's five years old."

Number 3:

I had to go out tonight before the kids went to bed. As I was getting in the car, I waved to Morgan and said "I love you!"

Her reply: "I love you twice!"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Challenges of traveling with a potty-training 2-1/2 year old

We're back from a quick trip to Iowa to make-up for the missed Thanksgiving trip. Traveling with a potty-training toddler - not fun!

On the way up, we picked the kids up from daycare right before nap time, and headed north. Our mistake - we gave them their sippy cups when we got in the car. Morgan downed most of the 10 ounces, and then fell asleep. She was asleep when we hit Cameron (our normal stopping place & about 1/2 way), so we decided to try to make it another 40 miles. 10 miles before that stop - she was awake & wet.

Ok - not a big deal, we knew this was a possibility, and we were prepared with a piddle pad (handy dandy little pad you put in their car seat to absorb the wet without having to change the whole car seat). We stopped at McDonald's, and I took Morgan to the Women's Bathroom.

Here is where I have to apologize to the poor soul that has to clean the bathrooms at the McDonald's in Bethany. You see, my daughter is MY child. She was terrified of this public bathroom, and besides writhing in pain, she kept proclaiming "I don't have to go to the bathroom".

So, I took off her shoes, her pants, and her soggy underwear. I turn around to grab her dry clothes, and notice she is starting to dribble pee on the floor. So, I pick her up and swoop her onto the toilet.

She is screaming, and with each scream, comes a stream - at a 90 degree angle. I had no idea girls could pee at that angle - let's just say I still have some speed & agility left in my old age & I managed to avoid being pegged.

At this point, we have urine in the corner from the undressing, underneath the wet clothes that I dropped when she started dribbling on the floor, and in front of the toilet from the 90 degree stream. I assume she's all done. And, she says she is, so I find the last remaining dry corner in the stall, and I put her in it.

And, she starts peeing down her leg AGAIN. I swoop her again onto the potty, precariously balancing and doing Twister-like maneuvers to keep myself, my purse, and the diaper bag dry. Finally, success without a riot.

It then takes me 10 minutes to unroll toilet paper and swab what I can off of the floor. Of course, it's one of those locations where they don't have papertowels.

So, floor cleaner at the Bethany McDonald's - I'm very sorry for the mess we left behind. I now truly understand why public restrooms look the way they do sometimes.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

84 Hours and Counting

When I picked Morgan up from daycare last Friday, they anxiously asked if we were planning on switching Morgan to panties anytime soon. It seems that she was discarding her diaper and making frequent bathroom stops all day Friday.

I warned them that we thought she was close to ready, but she hadn't done #2 in the toilet before, and we were a little leary of this. Ms. K is back from maternity leave, and she assured me that this wasn't going to be a problem and to send her.

So, all weekend, we worked on potty training. And, we've had great success - even when we were "out & about" town for 4 hours, she remained dry, and we only had one set of 4 bathroom trips (we were at Rainforest cafe, I think part of it was to see all the different animals). And, she's been all day Monday & Tuesday at daycare without an accident yet.

The problem? Since we put here in panties around 11 a.m. on Saturday - she hasn't had a bowel movement. We thought some new ashtma meds might be the culprit, but their side effects are diaherra, not constipation. I can only guess that she is so focused on not messing up her pretty panties, that she is holding it in.

I'm a little fearful for the poor soul who is around when she erupts...

Monday, November 27, 2006

She's a Heart Breaker

I'm heading off to Las Vegas for work. Since the kids are starting to understand days of the week and "x" days, I decided to explain to them that Mommy was getting on a plane & she was going to be gone for 4 days. But, she would be home on Friday and would pick them up from school.

Morgan looked at me & said "But Mommy, I don't want you to go bye-bye."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Equality - Yeah Right

I'm getting ready to go off for another trip for work this week. I don't want to go, and Randy & I have talked several times about how taxing the travel schedule has been lately. However, there are a lot of perks with this job - including a lot of flexibility for doctor's & therapy appointments. So, for now, I travel.

But, from talking with my male counterparts, I notice there is a huge difference in how they get ready to travel, and how I get ready for a trip.

Male counterpart:

Pack his bags
Check his airline ticket
Remind his wife that Friday is garbage day
Kiss the kids goodbye

Female counterpart:

Four weeks ahead - find someone to come and "help" while gone
Do all laundry - for both yourself, the husband, & the kids
Pack bags
Lay out clothes for each kid for every single day of the week
Go grocery shopping to stock the house while being gone
Lay out a meal plan for every single day that you are gone
Check airline ticket
Remind husband about doctor's appointments, medicine schedules, daycare drop-off, and other "must dos" during the week
Kiss the kids goodbye

This is what the "equality" movement was all about? I think we've got a long ways yet to go.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Translations #1

Him: "I got the van unloaded."

Translation: "I brought all the stuff inside and piled it inside the door so that you can sort through it, do the laundry, and put it all away."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Where's the Beef?

My daughter has a way of keeping me on my toes. This week, she started out with pink eye - which kept her out of school on Monday. Then, she woke up with a fever on Tuesday morning - which drug out through the night. We even ended up in Urgent Care on Tuesday night because I was convinced she had a urinary tract infection.

We were slated to leave to go to my parent's house mid-day on Wednesday, and we debated what to do. With Tanner immunosuppresants, we've always asked others who are sick to stay away. And, the meal would not only include my cousin's three kids, it would include my very old and very frail grandparents.

But, when she woke up Wednesday morning, she seemed to be feeling better and the fever was gone - so we packed up the car & headed north to my parent's house.

But, she wasn't done. She started with a fever last night - and at 3 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, it was a little over 104 F. It got worse through the night - medication did little to help it. And, at 9 a.m. this morning, it was 104 F again. So, we threw everything in the van, and left before others began showing up. We were back at home only slightly more than 24 hours after we had originally left.

My Thanksgiving "feast" - a Wendy's single with a cup of chili.

What'd you have for Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Giving Thanks

Taking the lead from Lisa and Laurie, a photo essay on the things I'm thankful for:

My husband, Randy - who has stood with me through thick & thin (quite literally), a lot of really tough times, but some pretty incredible times, too...

For these two women who have let down their hair and embraced childhood...

For these two men who have shown my children more love, patience, and compassion than I ever thought they could...

For this...the fact that he is healthy enough that I have to discipline him like I'd discipline any other child.

For this attitude...which has taugh time me patience and an appreciation for the terror I must have put my parents through...

For this smile...

And this smile...

For the fact that they always will have each other to lean on...

And, the fact that they have a built in best friend...

To all of our family & friends - both real & "online" - may you have a safe & happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Success despite her parents

Last night, Randy & I were trying to catch up on some work stuff before the kid's bedtime routine (which meant we were both at our computers in the office). Morgan walked in (at least twice) and said "Daddy I have to potty". He finally said, "Honey, not tonight".

Now, keep in mind, usually the potty routine consists of stripping the kid, sitting for 5 second, and repeating that about 30 times in 5 minutes. Rarely did any "potty" make it in the potty.

A few mintues later, I walk into the living room - Morgan is sitting on her potty, pants around her ankles, and diaper flung onto the nearby couch. So, I sit down by her, and she stands up - SUCCESS!

Maybe she just doesn't like having someone watch her when she goes to the bathroom...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Too Many

I've tried not to make this blog about Tanner's liver disease; I already have a whole website dedicated to that. I've tried to maintain the focus of this site on my children, the funny & cute things they do, motherhood and all it's joys, and my own personal feelings. But, the reality of it is that his liver disease is a part of who I am now.

When Tanner was first diagnosed with Biliary Atresia (BA), I found a group of online people who were going through the same thing. After all, BA is rare and only effects about 1 in 16,000 children. It was so comforting to find a group of people who had to deal with the same things we do - and to look towards the future for Tanner. This is where I even met Lisa & Laurie that I met up with in Florida this past August.

But with all the benefits of the online support group, there is a price. That price is becoming attached to these children. Attached to children with a potentially fatal liver disease - kids who have to undergo big surgeries as infants and possibly even liver transplants just to survive.

But you see, sometimes, that liver doesn't come in time. And, it hasn't come in time three times in the last two months. We've lost little Rani in Australia, Dillon in Chicago, and last night we lost Jackson in New York. It is difficult to explain the sorrow I have felt for these parents and these children. It is difficult to imagine that in the last two years since I've been online with this group, we've also lost Jayli, Ava, Haley, Romina, Carter, and Gracie. And, those are only a few of the ones that I recall tonight.

Jackson was only 6 months old when he also became very sick and desperately needed his transplant. His mother gave Jackson a second chance at life by giving him a piece of her liver. But, he developed post-transplant complications including a fungal infection. He needed a second liver. He was Status 1A on the transplant list - meaning he had top priority on any available liver - and he waited there for 40 days before he passed away last night.

Tanner waited for 21 days on the National Transplant list. He was top in the region for a liver based on his medical condition, and no offers came. We were also fortunate to be at a center that believes in living donors, and Tanner received 24% of his grandmother's liver before he became too sick to benefit from it. The exceptional skill of the surgeon is a testament to the fact that Tanner didn't have complications post-transplant. We are, actually, one of the "lucky ones".

The future holds so many promises. New medications for post-transplant children - and possibily even the ability to grow a human liver from cord blood. What a miracle that would be. But, the problem is that children, babies are dying. And, they are dying today.

What can you do to help? I encourage you to be an Organ Donor. Make sure it's marked on your driver's license, register online, and most importantly - tell your family. It may seem strange, but in the event that something would ever happen that would make you an eligible donor, many states still allow the family to decide whether or not to donate a loved ones organs. Even if that person has indicated that they wanted to make that gift, it is the family's choice.

There are many misconceptions about organ donation - many of them brought to us by our media. If you have questions regarding organ donation, please go here.

In early September, a little girl by the name of Jada Rose received a liver transplant in Utah. She received a deceased donor transplant, but prior to that, her grandmother and namesake had tried to donate to her. The center had told her that she was too old and couldn't donate - that lady made sure everyone in her family knew she wanted to be an organ donor. Last week (less than 2 months after her granddaughter's transplant), she fell down the stairs and suffered irreversible brain injury. Her organs were donated - and in a strange twist of fate, the liver went to Jada Rose's pediatirican's secretary's husband (ok - I know, it's a bit tough to follow there). This woman had prayed for Jada - even while her own husband was on the liver transplant waiting list. Letting your loved ones know your wishes makes a difference.

To Rani, Dillon, and Jackson: While your time here on earth was short, you touched many lives. May you be at peace and healthy. Your memory will live on in our hearts.

To their families: I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that your little ones will not be forgotten and that you are in our prayers.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Stock Alert

Ok - I'm just going to give you all a hot stock tip now - buy some stock in M&Ms, because we're strating to go through them like water.

Not to be outdone, Morgan went potty at school today, too. (And she didn't miss.)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pass the M&Ms

I got to school today & found this note in Tanner's cubbie:

The "he kind of missed" means that while he was standing there peeing, most of it actually hit the wall behind the toilet. But, he did tell them that he had to potty, and wait until his diaper was off. So, it counts, right?

And, I'm not above bribing my children, so when we got home, he got his reward:

We'll see if this lasts, but here's my dilemma. Tanner has no behind - so, his entire winter wardrobe is basically one piece longalls or overalls with shirts. Not really potty-training material. I was convinced he wouldn't attempt this until spring, and that this would be safe duds for winter. So, now I have to decide if I should re-outfit the kid for winter.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My new favorite number & other toddlerisms

Tanner & Morgan have been cracking us up this weekend. Recorded here for prosperity's sake:

My new favorite number:

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, fourteen, ELEVENTEEN

Snipe Hunting

This only goes to show how much Tanner & Morgan will resent their father in later years. Randy has convinced Morgan that this one ugly little animal she has, is a snipe. So, she'll continually come up to us and ask "where's my snipe?"

Never wanting to see someone down

Tanner is our sensitive child, and he never likes to see anyone sad or mad. So, this is his latest cureall.

He comes running at you, and pinches you three or four times, screaming "tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle"


The time change is a bit confusing. Tonight, Morgan came up to us and said "'s bedtime outside"

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Helping of Reality

Yesterday was a big day for us, well, for Tanner.

The last two month's labs have shown that Tanner's egg allergy had resolved. We were so excited - we've been battling the egg allergy since the kids were about 15 months old.

Now, food allergies are an interesting thing. I think they may actually be worse than the Tanner having a liver transplant. Yes, there are day-to-day things that people around Tanner need to do to help ensure his health & safety with a transplant. But, Randy & I are in control of most of those (medications) - and there is little that a person can do that will pose immediate harm on him (as far as his liver is concerned).

But, food allergies are a whole different beast. Someone can walk up & offer your kid a cookie. Think of all the times you've gone to your local grocery store or warehouse club and they hand out food samples. You send them to school - and parents bring in "special treats". You have no control over it - and at this point, Tanner isn't old enough to understand or know what contains eggs. And, it isn't easy to judge - many adults don't even know what contains eggs and what doesn't.

Breads - not typically
Marshmallows - sometimes
Cookies - usually "soft" cookies do (like chocolate chip ones)
Salad Dressing & Dipping Sauces - oftentimes
Pizza Hut Pizza Sauce - yes (but the crust doesn't!)

So, when the blood test came back that Tanner was negative to eggs. I was so hopeful. We scheduled a food challenge for Thursday. We got up yesterday, scrambled an egg, and then took Tanner in for the test. They started an IV (after two sticks) - and then we slowly started to feed him the egg. A crumb to begin with, then a nibble, a bite, a spoonful, until he had finally finished a whole egg. He had no reactions.

After waiting another 2 hours in the office to see if there would be any delayed reaction, we headed out. Tanner to preschool, and mommy to work.

My hope escalated. I started making plans in my head to bake cookies with the kids this weekend. To make pancakes with eggs instead of applesauce. At the extravagant birthday cake for next year.

Two hours later - daycare called. Tanner had hives from head to foot. Big, angry, red hives with blisters on the top of part of them. They came on within 5 minutes. Thankfully a dose of Benadryl helped to calm him until we could get to the doctor.

How much did I try to deny that it was the egg? I actually asked the doctor if it could be Hand Foot Mouth Disease - and it just *happened* to coincide with the allergy testing. We went away with a firm diagnosis of hives, a delayed reaction to egg, and a prescription for a hefty dose of Prednisone.

I wanted this burden to be lifted - I didn't want to have to check the label anymore or only go to restaraunts that I know are "safe" for allergic kids. I didn't want to have to worry about taking special food to school - or worrying about the list of birthdays on the wall. Would there be special treats in class? Would Tanner be happy with his oreos - and not whine when everyone else had cake?

I know it's "just an allergy" - and I am so lucky. Tanner's egg allergy is moderate - and he is not currently anaphylaxis to egg product. He is here, and he is really doing very well post-transplant. This is a minor thing to deal with - something that can be managed and dealt with. But, just for once, I wanted that normalcy. I wanted one less thing to differentiate Tanner from the rest of the kids. Something that would allow him to fully participate, and not exclude him.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Busy, Busy Week

It's been a busy, busy week. I was in Denver for work last week - and before you ask, no the snow really wasn't that bad. Yes, there was about 8" of wet, wet snow that came down fast and furiously. But, for the most part, it came and it went, and the roads were fine for the afternoon drive to the airport.

It seems like the kids had a good time while I was's the story in pictures.

Grandma got here last Thursday. On Friday afternoon, Morgan learned to blow bubbles.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Grandma decided to try potty training. It was a valant effort, but not much success. However, Morgan did make a stinky in the potty late this afternoon - and she was very excited by the whole tube of M&Ms that she earned.

We've talked to the daycare, and they'll continue to work with both kids when they return to school next week.

While I was gone, they had plenty of fun doing the routine stuff with Grandma, including taking baths:

And, when Grandpa got here on Thursday, he was hauling Rufus with him. Rufus is a wooden horse that Aunt Sherry had started for them a LONG time ago. Grandma finished it up, and Grandpa transported him. The kids figured out a way to share the horse. (This is one of my new all time favorite pictures, too.)

I made it home just in time for the school halloween costume party. I'm judging these costumes a success since most people knew what they were supposed to be (especially when they were together).

And, today was really the FUN day for our family. Both sets of Grandparents were here. We started the day at the Deanna Rose Farmstead - a great old farmstead that a neighboring city has set up. It's FREE to the public and very wheelchair friendly. So, it made for a great early morning trip.

Then we came home, and the fun really began. This was Tanner & Morgan's FIRST pumpkin carving. Now, Grandma Crazy Woman (appropriately named) believes in doing things the fun way. And, if you are going to carve pumpkins, you have to get in the spirit. She did so by bringing funky hats for everyone - and a silly ghost that the kids danced with (to the song "I Want Candy").

Then, the fun began. Here is Morgan when she first sees the "guts" of the pumpkin.

Helping Grandma Crazy take out the guts:

All four participants:

Helping Grandma Z:

(Yes, we spent most of the afternoon only seeing Morgan's hat.)

Playing in the pumpkin guts:

Pleased with the results

Tanner & Morgan with their first Jack-O-Laterns:

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Brave Woman

I'm off in Denver for work this week. The kids can be quite a handful themselves, so we decided to have Grandma Z come in & help out this week. Grandma doesn't come out very often - so we decided to take the kids out of daycare for the week. They are staying home with her this week. I think the kids liked this idea. Grandma came in very early on Thursday morning. On Friday, Morgan told us "No, I not go to school. I stay home with Grandma."

Not only is Grandma tackling two 2.5 year olds this week - she decided to tackle pottytraining as well. We started last night - we spent about 45 minutes on the potty pouring warm water over private areas trying to encourage success on potty.

We got nothing but giggling toddlers.

We put on diapers for the 3 minute transport downstairs. When we got downstairs, both diapers were SOAKED.

This morning, same routine. Except after we gave up on potty time - Morgan wet her Elmo panties (and outfit).

I'm told this scene repeated itself several times today.

Grandma is one brave soul.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Twin Halloween Outfits

Ok - we've got our Halloween outfits for this year, but I'm just curious as to what some of our other twin friends out there are using for your twins. And, yes, I totally play into making them a pair!

First Halloween, my kids were pumpkins...not such a wise idea since Tanner had really entered his liver failure at that point. He kind of matched his pumpkin.

Second Halloween - we did a cat & a dog. I made those outfits - I think I had about 60 - 80 hours of time wrapped into them. What was I thinking?

Third Halloween (darn, I can't believe this will be their third Halloween) - we're doing Pebbles & Bam Bam.

So - what are your kids going to be for Halloween?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fall cuisine

It's fall...and one of my favorite fall foods is caramel apples.

Now, Randy & I are pretty paranoid parents. We both work full time, and quite frankly, we have a hard time keeping up with work, the kids, and general household items - let alone take on some monumental making caramel apples.

Never fear...that's where our neighbors come into play. On Saturday evening, they brought over homemade caramel apples for the kids. And, not just the kind where you buy the pre-made caramel in flat round disk and then wrap it around the apple. The real stuff where you heat up the carmel and then dip the apple into it.

Here are some pictures of the kids enjoying their treats.

Tanner, obviously very excited by the apples:

Tanner, trying to figure out how best to eat the apples.

Morgan, trying the apple

But then deciding, that really, isn't the point of all this just the caramel?

Now, the mistake that we made was giving them the carmel apples after supper. The sugar in these here apples kept the kids bouncing off the walls until after 9 p.m. (their bedtime is around 7 p.m.).

Also notice the new haircuts in these more hippie babies.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Super Heroes

The last few weeks have had Randy & I feeling somewhat like super heroes.

No, no, no - we aren't donning any capes and playing any funky bedroom games. But, we've learned (at least in the mind of a two year old) that our kisses are enough to make things "all better". It is totally amazing to me how a pile of tears can turn into a smile when mommy or daddy kisses the owie. How the pain is apparently completely resolved with a little kiss. And, it's even cuter to see them kiss each other's owie - or kiss mommy & daddy's owies.

Is it too much to ask that I'll always be able to make things better for them with just a simple kiss?

It's My Favorite Place, Too

We got off to a late start this morning. Instead of taking the kids into the gym, we decided to take them to the park before we did our weekend shopping trips. The park is the kids favorite place to go (remember our vacation to St. Louis), so they were very agreeable to this idea.

As we started to leave, the kids were playing around on the bike rack. It made for some really neat pictures (I won't tell you how many I took to get these two, though).

When I sit here and look at these pictures it's easy to see the joy on the kids' face. The pure happiness they take in the small things - the small pebbles of rocks, the swirly slide, climbing on a bike rack. Their shrieks of delight and laughter are still rolling through my memory. And, that's when I realize, the park is my favorite place, too.