Thursday, December 30, 2004

Illustration Friday: Magic I believe in magic, and lots of it. I think this world would be much the sadder if we didn't look for pixies under mushrooms, imagine that the violets are pieces of the sky that were snipped out to let the stars shine through (as Anne Shirley says in Anne of Avonlea), and just basically let our imaginations run away with us sometimes. I try to look for magic everywhere I go. (I also firmly believe that if you don't look for magic, you probably won't find it, either.) Just take a look at all the unicorns and faeries I regularly consort with... I can even say I know a dragon personally. I apologize for using yet another illo from the Elena archives, but I've been sick all week (again) and since I already had an awful lot of magic around, I hate to see it go to waste.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Have yourself a merry little Christmas! To get everyone in the wintry mood, I made you a present... you can decorate your desktop with snowy wallpaper and a screensaver. Voila! Let it snow!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Illustration Friday: Home Paul and I went to Italy about 7 years ago, and it was just like coming home.* I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that at some point in my life I will live in Florence for a time. I've just finished reading Under The Tuscan Sun, (thanks, Jill!) which only makes me more determined and sure that I belong there. There's a saying about the Duomo (that's it above, painted on location) that it makes your heart lighter and that you never want to be out of the sight of it. Darned if it isn't the truth. *We're both Italian, and I'm 100% Sicilian. Don't mess with me. ;)

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

My "extra" entry for Penelope's Advent Calendar (I was day 11 on the main calendar.) Here's hoping each of you have a smooch in your immediate future.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Illustration Friday: Adoption dear me of March this year: It takes a really long time for an acorn to become an oak tree. Right now, all you can see is that acorn you're holding in your hand, and I remember what a scarred, beat up, run over by a steam roller and smashed open like roadkill acorn it is, too. But out of that mess, I promise you, will come a little tree. Not all at once, but first as a tender shoot pushing its way up tentatively into the sky, and then putting down some brave roots, and then growing stronger and taller and branching out into a leaf or two. It's 9 months later, and I can promise you to just be patient and just hang in there, because it will actually get better. Just trust in healing and nature and time and let those things work their magic. And I'm sure that 9 months from now, I'll be writing myself another letter, talking about how much better it's gotten once the babies are walking and talking and don't need specially prepared everything and two million doctor's visits. But that's not keeping me from trying to take each day one day at a time, and enjoying and accepting everything just as it is, right now. If I could reach back in time and hold you and try to convince you that things get better, I would. I'm crying while I'm writing this, because you just can't see how amazing life is now. But you will. Your body will heals, your scar will close at last, you take the babies for walks, you laugh and play with them all the time, and you actually weigh what you did when you got out of college. And you're more creative than ever. Hang in there, you little oak tree, you. The possibilities are all there. Just be patient.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Bath stuff is good. Especially when it's from Trader Joe's and I don't have to feel guilty about using gobs of it. And it smells so good. (I have to confess to tasting the Rosemary Mint/Sea Salt scrub.) Mmmmmmm.... "Bath stuff is good" pretty much sums it up for me. Golly, a lollipop is following me... ...and I really don't know what to do. While looking up "Letterman" on Google, I found this amazing resource of Electric Company Lyrics. (Here's a clue, if "It's the plumber, I've come to fix the sink," means something to you, you're going to love this link.) I also found this slightly disturbing screen cap from the aforementioned Lollipop song... it's really scary that if you had asked me yesterday, I wouldn't have remembered a thing about it; but show me that pic and the first line and I started singing the whole darn song. "When a big yellow lolliop, golly, follows yooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooou." This is why I'm not a rocket scientist, my brain is full of stuff like this. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Illustration Friday: Security One thing I really want for my children is to feel so secure in their parents' love for them that they feel the freedom to try their wings. I see it in the way Sophie unselfconsciously experiments with music and art, how Angela tries out all the sounds her little mouth can make, how Peter has just begun to crawl and there is nothing that will hold him back now. Imagine what they'll try when they're 18... Toast aplenty, everywhere! * Holiday cards are still available online, and now are also appearing at the lovely shop Heidi's Cottage in Dunellen, NJ. * I'm in Penelope's Advent Calendar- but I have no idea what day I'll be featured, so check back often! * And feeling the love at Michelle's...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Illustration Friday: Bubble
This time last year... ...Sophie had her operation on her eyelid. Now, a year later, people who've just met her said they'd never know she ever had a problem with it. I thank God for the wonderful doctors we had and all the prayers that came our way. And I'm equally grateful not to be facing any surgery or hospital visits for anyone in our family in the forseeable future. Yay, Sophie, you amazing little cookie, you.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Desperate Housewives had me bawling last night. Last night Lynette (the mom of four kids under the age of seven) got caught up in a cycle of no sleep at night and crazy kids during the day. Granted, the plot had acupuncture, an addiction to her kids' Riddalin and the usual looniness one expects from DH, but for once I identified with her. I understood about having a dream about screaming at your kids and throwing a jar of peanut butter straight through a window. She gives all four kids to one of her friends and gets in the car and speeds off with no explanation except that she needs a break. She finally breaks down and tells her friends how hard it's been and how she's going crazy. They hug her and tell her that they had amazingly rough times when their kids were small too and that it's even harder with so many young ones. "But why didn't any of you TELL ME?" she sobbed. And I completely understood what she meant. Not why doesn't anyone tell you how hard raising kids is; but why didn't anyone else tell me that they went through the same thing and survived? That I'm not alone in my desperation; that everyone else does not have all the answers, and that is quite possible to love your children with every bone in your body and try to be the best mom in the entire world and still long to fling open the car door and run away anywhere for a little while, just for some quiet. And that PPD makes it even harder. I swear to God, if there isn't a national organization for moms, there ought to be. People should know that they're not alone in all of this. Maybe I should start one (in my spare time, ha ha ha!) But truly, my life is at least twenty times better than it was in August - I am handling things so much better. Whether it's time or less hormones, I don't know, but all three kids are sick this week and while I'm stressing, I'm nowhere near as bad as I would have been 6 months ago. You know you've turned a corner when you wake up and hear this over the monitor first thing in the morning, and it makes you giggle instead of cry: (Sneeze.) "Uh-oh. Oh, Sophie has boogers. Boogers aaaaalllll over Sophie's face. Mama clean it up for Sophie. Mama come and get the boogers. Eeew. Boogers. Mama come get Sophie, clean it all up." (etc. etc.) I think I just might make it.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Illustration Friday: Cling This has been Sophie, all week. It's really amazing how sensitive kids are - not only has she had a little cold herself, but she could tell that I was acting differently all last week, since I was sick. And she knew something was wrong. Now she tugs on my leg, yells, "UP!" and hangs on like a koala bear in a torrential windstorm. If I dare suggest that she gets down so that I could do something mundane but necessary, like, say, take dinner out of the oven, she collapses into a sobbing heap. Only many hugs and reassurances that Mama is there for her can make it okay again. One thing I'm thankful for this year is my family, and the unquestioning, unconditional love we all share for each other. And the fact that I have the power to make a little girl's life happy by just loving her. * * * * * Thanks for all the suggestions and questions in Tuesday's post - I'm doing my best to answer every single one of them. And will I ever have a great list to take to the library!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Jumping on the bandwagon from demi-god Jon: 1. First, recommend to me: * a movie * a book: * a musical artist, song, or album: 2. Ask me three questions, no more, no less. Ask me anything you want. 3. Paste this into your journal, allowing your friends to ask you anything.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Holiday Cards aplenty. I've been sick all week, so I didn't have a chance to do an illustration for Illustration Friday, at least not an illustration I would feel was worthy of sharing. What I do have is lots of gorgeous cards for the holidays, and your chance to help me out with #29 on my list. Last year I wrote a play-by-play of how I was getting the cards ready for the printer, holding myself accountable in my blog. The comments are gone now but I received so much good feedback and encouragement that really helped make the project happen. If you want to read about the whole process, you can see it here (scroll down and start with October 13, and then read up.) And you can read the stories behind the illustrations here:

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Illustration Friday: Vintage Inspired by, this illustration was done in pencil and wine. Yes, that's right, washes of wine. I had a little to drink and a little to paint with and on the whole I like the way it worked out. Why don't people do this more often? Because (a) wine is better to drink with than to paint and (b) it smells like feet while it's drying. I kid you not. "Vintage" reminds me of good years in the past, and it's memories that have been playing a big part of my week. I found out (within a half hour!) that two different people I knew had heart attacks unexpectedly and passed away. One was Dodie, a woman I used to sing with in my old church choir. She was on vacation this week when it struck. The other was Ed, a sweet co-worker of my mom's who used to scout around the conference rooms for untouched food and send me all sorts of snacks via my mom - large coffee cups filled with M&Ms, bags of potato chips, you name it. I was pregnant with the twins and tried not to buy that stuff for myself but I'd gleefully accept it when it came. When Mom came over this week I gave her a little baggie of M&Ms and kept one for myself, and said we needed to eat them in Ed's memory. (And Ed, I did, and they were really good.) And I have a tape of Michael W. Smith music that Dodie gave to me long ago when we used to rehearse together - I'll be taking it out and listening to it, and remembering a sweet and quiet person and the music we used to share.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Illustration Friday: Search And it's so appropriate, because Friday night Paul and I are going OUT ON A DATE. That's right - a real date, for the first time in over 8 months! We're actually leaving the house and going out to our favorite restaurant for dinner, without children. And I have no clue what to wear! I'm just now taking out winter clothes I haven't been able to wear for the past two years (since for the past two years, I've been preggers this time of the year). I'm gleeful, twirling around in sweaters and slacks I haven't seen myself in, in ages. Will I glam it up or wear something fluffy and lush and warm? Who cares - I won't have to cook and I'll be swoony over Paul. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The dinner was super-nice - I had something with shrimp and asparagus and sundried tomatoes and mushrooms..... and our dessert was this great chocolate cake that I can't even describe but I was looking forward to it all day. And I was glam (silvery long scarf in my hair), fluffy and lush (woolen, almost polar-fleecy deep grey long dress) and warm (leggings underneath, and boots). Paul loved it, and Sophie came over and petted me before we went out, so I guess I was a hit.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Archives aplenty Look! I got a version of the archives to work. Scroll way down on the right to see them. I know they look like garbage, I know the first link doesn't work for some odd reason, but at long last I have archives again. It's been almost 4 years I've been blogging, and this journal has taken me through construction on our house, having Sophie, having the twins, birthdays, anniversaries, you name it, it's there. Go have fun!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Get out and VOTE! Well, I did it... how about you? And here's why it's important to do a little backround reading... I found this in our paper while looking up local candidates and reading up on the big "Parking Deck" issue: Mr. John Wolhrab of Linden whose name remains on the ballot was charged with assault by the Linden police two weeks ago for domestic violence and resigned from his appointed Freeholder position. If elected, the Democratic party announced it will replace him by appointing a Linden attorney, Nancy Ward. Mr. Wolhrab was appointed in March to replace former Freeholder Nicholas Scutari, who resigned his position to serve in the State Senate in 2003 in the wake of sexual harassment charges leveled against then Senator Joseph Suliga. Nice history for that position, huh? In any case, I did what I set out to do on my "Big 33" list: did my research and made the best-informed decision I could. Now all we have to do is wait....

Monday, November 01, 2004

Lots of Halloween and Fall pictures. At last, a photo of all three babies together, and check out those peas!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Illustration Friday: Snazzy! I'm just curious, how much time do people spend on these? And what size do you print/scan? (As in, able to print, or just for web?) I take about 4-5 hours (over several nights, while the kids are asleep) and my process includes character/idea thumbnails, final pencil drawing (that's usually one night), painting (that's usually another), and then scanning and Photoshop stuff, and posting (the third night). And I usually scan at 300 dpi and save down from there, so that I can print them if I ever want to use these for something in print.
Imagination Cubed. Remember the site where you could draw a picture and send it - and people could watch you draw in real time? Well, GE's done it again - you can now collaborate and draw with your friends. Check out the pic that I made with Allyson and Cindy. And then make one and post the link here so I can see it! Click here to launch imagination3

Monday, October 25, 2004

Peapods. Yup, that's right! For Halloween, the muffins will be, well, peas. To see how my highly talented Mom and I figured out how to make their costumes, and to see how you too can make costumes for three kids under $20, click here (warning, big illustration). Enjoy! (yeah, I switched pics because I like the black and white one better. But you can still see the color one here if you wish.)
Boy, do I love PBS - they consistently have fantastic programming (not to mention Sesame Street). Now that they've done the history of Broadway, make sure you don't miss this great PBS special: The Political Dr. Seuss, broadcasting this week. You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds. And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs. Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back. --The Lorax

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Illustration Friday: Fiesta! Interested in a print? Drop me a line.
Worth mentioning. 10 years ago, Paul told me he loved me for the first time. We smooched a lot. The rest is history.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Why I don't have an Electric Company T-Shirt. A couple of months ago, I saw an awesome tshirt with the Electric Company logo on it. I thought, this is so going on my birthday wish list, when I saw the price tag - $24. In my world, tshirts cost at most, $12, and no matter how much I loved to yell "Hey, you guys!" in the 70's I was not spending that much money on a shirt. So I thought, how hard can this be to make? Find the logo online (or scan it from the record cover - yes, we had it), clean it up on the computer, print it out on transfer paper, and iron it onto whatever shirt I wanted. I told a couple of other people and they wanted one too. Cool! But then I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, about copyright, and what's stealing, and what's not. I thought, how would I like it if I was selling shirts of my artwork and saw someone walking down the street with a knockoff? I'd be pretty upset. In fact, I would be upset even if I had no shirts of my artwork and someone made one - however flattering to me that's meant to be, I still would have had no say in the quality and no compensation (monetary or otherwise) for my work. I've spoken to other artists about this, who agree that when you break it down like that, it's really not a good thing. And one of the things I feel worst about was that I didn't make some great fan shirt all on my own as a tribute; I saw something and tried to copy it to save the cash. Okay, so I still like the shirt. So I looked it up online to see if I could get a bargain somewhere, and found that proceeds go to Sesame Workshop, an organization I respect highly. (They are non-profit and one of their main goals is getting quality children's programming, like Sesame Street, worldwide.) So now I may actually buy one, knowing that the money is going to a good cause. And that's why the only place you'll see me in an Electric Company tshirt - unless I break down and buy one - is in the sketch above.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Illustration Friday This week's subject: illustrate the word "smelly." Mine's based on personal experience.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Still undecided. I have been religiously watching the debates and polling people around me, and I'm still undecided. But then I found this today: the Presidential Candidate Quiz. According to this quiz, my #2 choice would be Kerry, and Bush would come in at #6. Color me surprised - I figured those two would be switched. I took another quiz (read this article at Wired) that again has me agreeing more with Kerry. I have some more reading to do. UPDATE: Please, no more comments. Right-wing, left-wing, non-voters, undecideds, you've all weighed in. My site is not a forum to push political agenda down anyone's throat. Call me crazy, when I started this post I thought, "Hey, this is an interesting and thought-provoking quiz that made an undecided voter like me think twice," and I thought I'd share the link with others who might also be undecided. Thanks, everyone for making your thoughts known, but we're done now. I promise the next post will have something to do with art, kids, pumpkins, or all three, and if I can get an illustration in there too, even better.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Halloween! Okay everyone, I need you to put on your thinking caps. What should the muffins be for Halloween? Please keep in mind: - There are three of them. - I will make them three little kittens only as a last resort. - I already have a ladybug costume that was Sophie's last year. - I have limited $$ and time to go shopping/making costumes. - They will be going to the Halloween parade/costume contest/trick or treating in their triple stroller, so costumes that look good from the waist up are good. - I will decorate the stroller to match. - Paul and I will possibly dress up with them. We have good medieval costumes. Anything including Indiana Jones is a plus. Thoughts? UPDATE 10/12: It's now down to peas or flowers, depending on which works better with the time/supplies/energy I have on hand. We will be marching in the Halloween parade, which is part of the celebrations for Addams Family Month - yes, not only was my town the centerpiece for Ed, it's also where Charles Addams made his home. I consider the latter fact to be way cooler. And of course we'll post pictures!

Thursday, September 30, 2004

We've come a long way, babies. So it's been one year since I fainted at church while songleading, passing out in front of the whole congregation and taking the podium with me. One year since I was rushed to the hospital where it was revealed to us that for some unknown reason, God had decided to send twins our way. A lot has happened in a year, not the least of which is: - Sophie's eye operation - being pregnant with twins while running after a 1 year old - painting a new Christmas card and selling my cards for the first time - going into labor 10 weeks early - major surgery and a wound that wouldn't heal - new babies that needed constant attention, medication, and monitoring - constant shuttling back and forth between home and the NICU for 72 straight days - lugging around 5lb monitors and wires with each baby - depression, pretty much since this time last year and - babies that now weigh over 16lbs (more than quadrupling their birth weights) - therapists' visits put their (adjusted) development right where it should be... phew! - an 18 month old that has the vocabulary of a 3 year old and astounds me every day - a triple stroller that makes passerby smile and point as we go by - finally getting to wear my own fall and winter clothes again and putting those maternity clothes in storage - fitting into my pre-Sophie jeans and getting back to my normal shape - getting over myself and accepting help with meals and babysitting - exercising again - eating healthy and marathon Sunday-afternoon baking sessions - possibly (gasp!) going on a DATE outside of my house with my husband - the Big 33 List I'm looking forward to maybe having a calmer year this year, one involving much less trips to the hospital. ps ~ So here are the muffins at almost 7 months old, wearing their newly-knitted kitty cat hats. Sophie's is almost done too.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Banned Books Week It's Banned Books Week. Go out and read one today. On my shelf: The Golden Compass (new to me) and one of my all time favorites, Farenheit 451 which is, ironically, about book-burning.

Monday, September 20, 2004

'Fessing up. I have post-partum depression. It started after Sophie was born, and never really had a chance to get better once I got pregnant with the twins. It has been getting a tiny bit better, every day, and it's been very hard for me to say anything to anyone since I have this reputation for being such an optimistic person. I'm still optimistic, it's just very very hard to remember that, some days. Someone recently wrote about how people seem to be trying to drag her down and not share in her successes. I have felt the opposite - everyone seems to want me to be this happy, lovely super-artist-mom that's always inspiring and wonderful. So I have been afraid to share my depression. Every time I wrote about being down, I'd get an email saying how I needed to look at how wonderful my life was and how deleriously happy they would be to be in my shoes. I felt guilty for feeling so amazingly bad when I had three children and some had none. I felt ashamed when I read Dooce's journal, because my depression didn't manifest itself the same way hers did and so somehow I couldn't call this PPD because I wasn't checking myself into a hospital like she did. Trust me, the more I read books and articles on the subject, the more I see myself in the pages. I am not on medication. I am not seeing a doctor. I will if I feel I need to. For now, I need to talk about it, and to let the people close to me know about it. If they really love me, they'll understand. Some have probably already figured it out. I honestly thought at one point in time that I would never smile or laugh or sing again. I'm doing more of both now. And I'm starting to do little things; like painting, like making my 33 list, like admitting I'm not capable of doing and being everything for everyone all the time. It's awfully slow, but I'm getting there.
Walk for Life Anyone who wants to help with #12 on my Big 33 List, "Do a fundraising walk", here's your chance. I'm doing the Walk for Life again - it's a fundraising walk that benefits Life Choices Center in Edison, NJ. They provide support, some medical care, and counseling for pregnant women who have decided not to have an abortion. They need diapers, formula, blankets, clothes - and this year they're trying to get an ultrasound machine. Those of you with babies know how important it is to get good prenatal medical care and how amazing it is to see that little one growing and developing.   If you're interested in sponsoring me (and Sophie - she's walking with me!), it can be in any amount. Just send me an email with the amount you'd like to sponsor with your address and I'll put you on the sheet. I'll be doing the walk this Saturday, Sept. 25th.

Monday, September 13, 2004

dear God, I just wanted to say thank you for surprising me today. You know how hard it has been for me lately, you've seen all the crying I've been doing, and you know how much I just want to throw my hands up in the air and give up. You know that I have been questioning my abilities on just about every level there is, especially motherhood. And you know too that for some thick-headed reason I have been feeling like I can do things alone. You saw the whirling dervish I was this weekend, cooking meals for a week, dressing and packing up everyone, going to a christening and feeling sick the whole time, dreading the week to come because I just knew I would get really sick and have no time to take care of myself because of our crazy schedules. You saw me get up at 3am with Angela, who has slept through the night for the past month and a half but for some reason not last night, and then again with Peter because I was up anyway. You saw my book light on as I read because I was too anxious to go to sleep. And you saw me stagger out of bed at 7 once Sophie started chirping, "Mama, Mama!" through the baby monitor. You've seen me start to become a coffee drinker because for once in my life I need a jumpstart. You alone hear the words I mutter under my breath in frustration, words the normal, regular me would never ever dream of saying. I think I'm turning into someone else and it scares the pants off me. But this morning, on a day I'd been dreading simply because it started another week, you threw me a curve ball. Angela rolled over, all by herself. And all of a sudden, I realized that maybe we are doing something right, that maybe all the bits of time and exercises and reading and walks in the park and singing together that I feel are too few and far between - well, maybe they add up okay anyway. If Angela, the child that I feel gets the least attention because she's so sweet, so uncomplaining, so willing just to sit near you and watch your face - Angela, who was born 2 months early and was in the hospital for pretty much all of those 2 months - if my Angela can roll over at just about the time that Sophie did, then maybe, just maybe, I'm not doing such a horrible job after all. And I want to: Thank you for the two songs you sent me on the ride home, on two different stations, the ones that said were about always being by my side so I would never be alone. I got the message loud and clear. Thank you for the long naps all the babies took this afternoon for me, letting me actually read and nap a little myself. Thank you for sending me a sitter to help me put the babies to bed after the regular sitter couldn't make it. Thank you for giving me a husband who reminds me over and over again that we're partners and that we're a team, and that I'm not going it alone. And thank you especially for listening to me, no matter how whiny, annoying, and ungracious about your blessings I may be. I'm trying, really, I am. And I know you know that too. love, your Elena

Saturday, September 11, 2004

I wanted to do a new one this year, but I ran out of time (imagine that!). So here's my page, in Rememberance.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Big 33 List 1. Write letters to artists I admire: SARK, Tomie dePaola, Paul McCartney (for starters). 2. Do a painting either for our bedroom or to go over the fireplace. 3. Make Nana's homemade pasta and meatballs. 4. See these movies: Brother Sun, Sister Moon; The Agony and the Ecstacy; Amelie. 5. Get down to 125 lbs (4 to go!) 6. Take up yoga again. 7. Make at least one puppet. 8. Sew at least one article of clothing. 9. Set aside prayer time every day - start doing "Vision" and "Action" book. 10. Do a 5K run. 11. Donate artwork for a cause I believe in. 12. Do a fundraising walk. 13. Clean out my closets and donate/get rid of clothes that don't fit. 14. Read these books: Angels and Demons; Girl Wearing a Pearl Earring (more to come) 15. Go chalking more. 16. Journal more, especially in Peter's, Angela's, and Sophie's. 17. Get a really great haircut and finally learn what to do with it. 18. Write letters/call friends I haven't seen in a while. 19. Go on Artist's Dates. 20. Eat more organic, less meat. 21. Record a song - either with Paul, or by myself, a cappella, in parts. 22. Get Christmas stuff done very early so I can enjoy the twins' first Christmas (and Sophie's first one I will actually have any energy for). 23. Finally complete The Artist's Way. 24. Finish both watercolour sketchbooks. 25. Finish current therapy story I'm illustrating for myself. 26. Knit something for all three babies. 27. Join the Westfield Art Association. 28. (Private, will post when it's done.) 29. Sell out the rest of my Christmas cards. 30. Paint Jeremiah quote for Paul. 31. (Private painting note - will post when it's done.) 32. Make a completely thought-through and well-researched decision and vote in November. 33. Enjoy this year pregnancy-free.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I'm super proud of working on this... Happy 10th Anniversary, Mutts!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Click to see artwork from last week's Art Night.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Having a Ball or How I Managed to Fit Into My Pre-Sophie Jeans I just started doing a (new to me) program called The Light Weigh about a month ago and it really, really works - I'm finally fitting into clothes I haven't worn for two years. It's like reclaiming part of myself. Here's the program in a nutshell: you only eat when you're hungry, and when you do, you only eat about a cup at a time of whatever you want until you're hungry again. It's also faith-based, and although I'm a Nice Catholic Girl I find the woman a little intense for me, but the basics make a lot of sense to me. It questions what emptiness inside you're trying to fill - actual hunger, emotional hunger, spiritual hunger - and then once you've identified it, you can satisfy it. I could go on and on about this, but one of the main things that really hits home with me is "God's Portion" - the part you leave on your plate. You offer it up as a sacrifice for whatever you're currently praying for. It gives me several reminders throughout the day to remember others and say a little prayer for them - lately I've been praying for her and for them. A couple of weeks ago I saw a picture of a little girl Sophie's age on a news program and it broke my heart - I had to turn off the TV right away because I knew the news wasn't going to be good - and I offered up every little sacrifice for her. I will never meet these people, but I'm doing whatever I can for them just the same. So what's the deal with the ball? At work currently, I don't use a chair. I have been sitting on a bright blue exercise ball since I read in Shape Magazine 5 years ago that doing so requires such a micro-balancing act that it's like doing stomach crunches all day long. So far the main thing to feel the burn is my back, which my co-worker says is because the muscles are weak. (Hey, now that Angela weighs in at about 16 pounds, I really need strong back and stomach muscles - the stronger the better!) Along with daily stomach crunches and pushing three babies around the park, I may get this body back into shape yet.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Sophie spelled a word last night! Last night Sophie was playing with her refrigerator magnet letters. She was really quiet, and when I went to look at her I saw that she had taken two of the refrigerator letters and put them together on top of a laundry basket - she spelled "UP". We asked her what it said, and she kept looking at us really intently, and finally, she said, "Pup!" which is in the beginning of her favorite, Hop on Pop (UP, PUP, Pup is up). She was pretty darn close and she knew it meant something. We've shown her how to spell things with the letters before, but not that - and Paul swears that although they were spelling other words from Hop on Pop earlier in the evening, they didn't do that one. Amazing, huh?

Friday, August 27, 2004

Look who's wireless! NO MORE MONITORS! EVER! We're having a tea party to celebrate! For lots more pictures of the muffins, the cinnabun, and the other assorted baked goods our family is known by, click here, here, and here.

Monday, August 23, 2004

I swear I have SO many things to say and not enough time to do it in. I want to write about how I lost weight and can finally fit into my pre-Sophie jeans. I want to write about how lack of sleep from all three babies teething makes me want to throw myself in front of a bus. I want to write about things that have absolutely nothing at all to do with babies in any way, shape, or form. And then I want to post some paintings. In the meantime, take a look at this utterly fascinating site... Enjoy! Color in Motion: An Interactive Experience of Color Communication and Color Symbolism

Sunday, August 15, 2004

You say it's your birthday... I wrote in this morning to my local Beatles Breakfast program with this request for a dedication: My name is Elena. It's my birthday today, and we've been up all night with our 5-month-old twins and 1-1/2 year old. Please play me something to wake me up! ps ~ We listen to your program every Sunday, and my daughter Sophie loves to shout, "Beatles! Beatles! Beatles!" So when they read this, the DJ added, "Way to go, Sophie!" and she just stopped in her tracks when I explained that the man on the radio was talking to her. She was so excited that we both jumped up and down and danced to my song. (I give the DJ extra credit for not picking "Birthday.") The big 33 list. I have also been working on a list of 33 things I would like to accomplish this year, in addition to making a 33 "life list". Interestingly enough, it's easier to come up with the life list, since I don't have to actually commit to doing them before next August 15th. ;) In any case, I'm not done with either, but I will post when they're finished.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Monday, August 09, 2004

Snapshots of August. Each of these things deserves its own post, and hopefully I will be able to, but for starters, here are little snapshots of life on my planet: Today is our 7th wedding anniversary. We have now loved each other for 10 years. I think about all the blessings I have, and the way my life is now - the children, the house - and I think, all these things only exist because we love each other. Amazing. When Paul asked me to marry him, one of the reasons I said Yes is because I knew that he would help me grow - and that he would help me make every one of my dreams come true. I knew that together we would be able to do amazing things. And guess what - I was absolutely right! Yesterday, the twins were baptized. At last. It seemed like such a long hard struggle to get them out of the hospital and into a life of normalcy - they are now 5 months old but I was afraid to set a date for the christening earlier because I never knew when Angela would be able to come home for it. We took her off the monitor for the ceremony, and both of them behaved beautifully the entire time. Their heads still smell like chrism, it takes forever for that spicy oily smell to go away, but I kind of like it. (Dear friends: we only invited our immediate families, and even that - 10 people - was almost more than we could handle. Believe me, we wanted you there, and there will be a meet-the-twins day in the future, but life with twins is 20 times harder than anything else I've ever done.) Last week we had a meeting of the moms - the wonderful Michelle and Jill took a road trip and I finally got to meet these amazing women I've been talking to online for the past 2 years. We've formed a little circle of Mama-encouragement; they are true and living proof that one can be a mother and still be an amazing artist. When I asked Michelle what they wanted to do, she said, "I don't really care, as long as there's food and we can talk." So we went out to our favorite place for lunch, and talked until the staff started hovering in that polite way that lets you know you're about to get kicked out so they can close, and then we went out for gelato and talked and talked until they started to turn the lights out. We could have talked all day and not run out of things to say - nothing was awkward and there was only lots of encouragement and ideas flying through the air. (Note to self: illustrate that.) We all made gifts for each other, and that, seemed fitting too - that each of us thought to give of her talents to the other two. A quick word about the two of them: Michelle is sunny, smiling, and told the most amazing story about how she used to use her mom's art supplies late at night (Michelle, you have to write this up!). Jill really listens to what you have to say, and has such beautiful eyes that are always twinkling - you know she's thinking of something good! (Jill, I'm still waiting to get that manuscript - send it on over, I'd be honored to read it!) They are incredibly inspiring and I was so thrilled to meet them that after they left, I danced with glee around the living room, hugging Paul for watching the babies so that I could have a few hours. And next week... it's my birthday. Let the good times roll.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

In a previous comment, Julian asked, "What superpowered meganutrient jacked food do you eat?????? I want in on this." Welp, other than the fact that I've always seemed to have more energy than the average bear, I've started cooking really well for my family. And I think that's made a huge difference in my sense of well-being. I was struck by the fact that I would make extremely wholesome and nutritious food for Sophie yet thought nothing of eating TV dinners and Hot Pockets, in between rushing from here to there and back again. And that's if we remembered to eat at all. So now every Sunday afternoon I make meals for the whole week. I plan them out Friday, go shopping with Sophie on Saturday, and then bake on Sunday afternoon. Typically, I'll be listening and singing along to this while baking our weekly supply of muffins (this week it's pumpkin, honey, and whole wheat), mashed potatoes, and a loaf of sun-dried tomato bread (the bread machine makes it SO easy!). Then I make one big-ticket item - this week it was calzones, last week it was eggplant parm, that sort of thing. Every other week I make hummus for lunch (I'm into turkey, hummus and spinach sandwiches right now). And I make decaf sun tea with mint and lemon every couple of days, as often as we need it. This sounds like a lot, but it's really not that much - and I can reheat things throughout the week. I heat up the oven once and save lots of energy, and I know exactly what everyone - including Sophie - is having for any given meal. That saves me lots of time and planning later on. But what's the point of all this homemade food if you can't enjoy it? So now we always set the table nicely, use candles when we can, and have flowers on the table. The other day Paul and I snuck out onto the porch and ate chocolate cookies in the moonlight after the kids were asleep. It's all about savoring. And being at peace.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Fantastic, wonderful, glorious news This is the smile of a boy who no longer needs to wear a monitor. EVER.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

iPod me! Okay, with three babies at home, we can't afford to buy an iPod, but we just might be able to win one! Here's the deal: If you're looking for a great printer with very reasonable prices who does great 4-color work, I can highly recommend (I would highly recommend them even if it weren't for this contest!) They printed my Christmas cards, and a gorgeous job they did, too. If 5 people do business with Printing For Less now through August 31, and use this referral number: RP1XB4OXE each of those people gets $25 off their order, and we get an iPod. Just tossing it out there... ;)

Friday, July 09, 2004

Saved by the paint. I have been painting a little almost every night, and I swear it's what's keeping me sane. A few weeks ago the only thing that was getting me through each day was knowing I could paint something - no matter how bad it was, didn't matter - and I would think about it and plan it all day. I'm doing much better now, but I still feel much better if I have a little paint under my nails now and then. On Monday I went to the local art supply outlet - I realized, eerily, that I had not been there in about a year. A YEAR! I wandered up and down each and every aisle; partly because at long last they've finally gotten their inventory into some semblance of organization, and partly because darnit, I was like a starving man at the all-you-can-eat buffet, and I wanted to feast my eyes on all the colors. I spent quite a while in the paint aisle, just breathing in the aroma of oil paints and turpentine. I use watercolors now, but they just don't smell the same. I dealt with salespeople who had no clue, but on the whole I had myself a wonderful time and spent way too much money. I look at it this way; it's a YEAR's worth of art supplies, and you'd better believe they will be put to good use. We (finally!) got a digital camera, so I'll be posting pictures of my zillion projects as they reach completion. I will be painting, superglueing, typing, sketching, and illustrating like there's no tomorrow. Amen. Other really interesting bits of art in the news: The typeface chosen for the new Freedom Tower has its roots in the subway system of New York. (thanks, Allyson!) What happens when someone steals your art and sells it on Ebay?

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Strolling along... So my website is 5 years old this month! I can hardly believe it.... you can check out 4 years of previous versions here. In honor of the anniversary, I've added a "reading' list of the books on my nightstand right now in the column to the right. This feature will be updated as I read; and I have to warn you all, I am quite the voracious reader. Expect it to change frequently. The biggest (and I think, coolest) change is that I will now be illustrating my entries, as often as I can. They'll most often be watercolour sketches from my sketchbook. I'll add more about the picture above, but yes, we do go for a walk almost every day; Sophie always looks over her shoulder to talk to me; she needs to have flowers on our walks; that's exactly what I was wearing that day; and you can see the twins' monitors in the basket below the strollers. The babies weigh about 50 lbs, and that's not even including the stroller. I'm not kidding!

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Grrrrrrr. So this was my morning: on my way to work, I got pulled over for having a taillight out, and it turns out my registration had expired. In March. What was I doing in March... hmmm.... oh yes, having twins. Apparently you can have your car seized and towed for not having up to date registration, a little fact I was quite unaware of. But I must have looked pitiful enough, and explained about the twins, and got teary, because I was let off with just a ticket for the light. (Phew!) If such a situation happens to you, you too will need the following links to get you back up and running (and laughing again): NJ DMV - got me re-registered, online, in about 5 minutes. Everything's peachy now, so Mom, don't worry. Eugene Mirman - "Hey Jude" and the "Who Medley" are my faves so far. Party Hard! - Ahhhh, college days... what happens when 3 kids, a boombox, and a video camera make the rounds. (warning: super long)

Monday, June 21, 2004

Reinventing myself. After Sophie was born, I had a really hard time figuring out who the heck I was. Like, can a mom still be cool? Is it ridiculous to wear hip-hugger jeans and a fairy t-shirt? Should I cut my hair and was it okay to still wear it in braids? (The answers, thankfully, are yes, heck no, no, and of course it is.) Now with the twins, I'm more secure, but I feel the need to make some subtle (and not-so-subtle) changes. I find myself being more introspective, more contemplative. *I wonder how much longer I can make organic, no-sugar meals for Sophie yet still eat a Hot Pocket standing up in front of the refrigerator. The answer: make more wholesome food since I'm making it anyway and freeze it. *The more I work at Mutts, the less meat I eat. This makes perfect sense to me. *I'm having trouble reconciling the fact that I will download music off the internet for free with the fact that I don't want anyone to steal people's artwork. It's the same thing. No more free music for me. *I also find that if I squeeze in time to paint at night, I wind up being much, MUCH more able to handle the babies and my workload in a sane manner. I literally need to paint every night to make it through the next day. So at the end of the summer, I may just end up being a wild vegetarian Mama artist who takes time to work on writing her first book. (More on that later.) And this, too, makes perfect sense to me.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

My first day back at work is tomorrow. I will be packing my backpack with the necessities: laptop, sketchbook, lunch, and cookies that I'm making tonight in celebration to share with the rest of the office. It's a little like the first day of school; I'll have all my clothes laid out and my lunch all bagged and ready to go. I will actually have a reason to get dressed in the morning. I know exactly what work awaits me when I return (and it's exciting to me) and I'm ready to hit the ground running. In terms of energy/exhaustion, this is going to wind up either being very good for me, or the thing that finally sends me over the edge. (I'm betting on the first one.) Send good vibes in the general direction of Metuchen tomorrow for me, please.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Question of the day: Should I cut my hair? The temptation is great to grab the scissors and just start hacking...

Monday, June 07, 2004

Painting my way through So I've come up with an idea that's literally getting me through my days lately... I've been painting a story, right off the top of my head, one page a night. I'm loosely basing the procedure on the comic-in-24-hours theory, but bending it to my schedule: one page in about one hour, done whenever I can get an hour free but trying to stick with consecutive days as much as possible. All I've been doing lately is dreaming of painting and wanting to have a paintbrush in my hand as soon as possible... but it's a good thing to dream about when your day is a never-ending cycle of sleep deprivation, formula, pee, burps, and picking up toddler food off the highchair. Power to the puppets! Way to go Avenue Q! I've wanted to go see this play for so long... this year's best musical has puppets aplenty, and many Sesame Street alumni in the cast. With songs like "It Sucks to Be Me" and "You're a Little Bit Racist", how can you lose?

Friday, June 04, 2004

Lots and lots and lots and lots of pictures here and here. More about motherhood, art, and possibilities, coming soon.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

It's either sadness or euphoria. That's my life right now... it seems I'm either crying all day or laughing my pants off. And while I'm quoting Billy Joel; this song was written just for me. Especially the taking-the-phone-off-the-hook-and-disappearing-for-a-while part.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Double the fun! See more pics online in Grandma's album.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

ANGELA IS HOME AT LAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Woo hoo! At last (82 days later), the little muffins are home together. Right now, Angela wants to be fed and Peter is staring off into space, with a "oh, Mother, what have you gotten us into now?" look. Sophie was excited to see them and is working on telling them apart. Grandma is here with homemade cinnamon buns to celebrate, and I've already been chalking up the driveway with welcome home messages. Life is good.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Those of you who want to know what motherhood is really like, read this... it's so true.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Acting like a grownup. Today I had a rare chance to be a "grownup" - I got to get dressed up (meaning, not jeans or sweats) for a anniversary luncheon. The first thing people said to me after I got back was "You don't look like you had twins!"... which was precisely the reaction I was looking for. (5 more pounds to go and I'm at my pre-twin weight, 5 more after that and I'm at my pre-Sophie weight. I look pretty good if I do say so myself. ;) Paul and my dad watched Sophie and Peter, and I got to go into work and have adult conversation about art, design, and, of course, Mutts. The company's grown and I find it exciting to be coming back in June to a bigger art department - more people to share ideas with and less pressure for me to be a design machine. After a wonderful lunch, there were even a few minutes to try to work on these crocheted flowers - which Allyson has down pat but I can't get the hang of. I had a great time, but at the same time I felt so torn - I wanted to be there and home, too. I savored being by myself with nice clothes and no Sophie attached to my leg, and at the same time I wanted to be on my hands and knees, chasing her around the room. I almost cried when I got into the car to go home (not the minivan, for a change) because I felt such a pull for both. I'm sure I'll get it together by the time I go back.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Living is not enough... one must have sunshine - freedom - and a little flower. ~Hans Christian Andersen

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Welcome to the world... My new little nephew, Jude Garrett Bazerman, was born this morning to first time parents Carole and Marc. What a fantastic Mother's Day present! I immediately went here and requested a certain Beatles song to be dedicated to him. Happy Mother's Day, And don't forget to check out these amazing mamas: Jill, Michelle, Claire, and Julie, all of who show you can be a mama and still be as creative as ever (maybe even more so)! And another new arrival... I am eagerly awaiting the debut of SARK's new website (and lusting after her new book as well). Yum.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Due date, but no Angela yet. My due date is TODAY. I can't imagine how I would have managed carrying these muffins to term - they now are over 7.5 lbs each - and then take care of them while recovering from a C-section. My dad says that God stretched everything out so that it would be in a way that I could handle it. And I am, just. We are still spread out, with Angela contending for the Fattest Baby Ever in the NICU award, and Sophie and Peter doing their thing here. So in honor of Mother's Day, I'm going to do little character sketches of my little ones: Peter: is just the cutest thing around. Since Sophie never opened her eyes fully (because of her ptosis) we never got the full effect of that head-on, blue-eyed baby stare. I love it. When he cries he sounds like a kitten; he's already lifting his head and changing sides when he does tummy time. The only thing that drives him up the wall is the fact that he can't see behind himself and his head doesn't rotate around 360 degrees - I guess that will be extra incentive to learn to roll over. Would be perfectly thrilled if I would feed him constantly all day so that he could snack when he wanted to and not every 4 hours. Angela: still being (in the nurses' words) "a naughty girl" and having apnea episodes that keep her from going home. She definitely wins the Chubbiest Cheeks in the NICU award and the Baby Who Has Been There The Longest And Really Needs To Go Home Already award. Thankfully, the nurses love having her around. I pray that Peter picks up her eating habits - 4 oz. in 20 minutes! She likes when you rock her and sing to her. And naturally, she's adorable. ;) Sophie: amazes me every day with how smart she is. She not only knows what birds are, she will comment on them singing outside and then point to the bird mobile I made and announce that they are birds as well. She has a huge vocabulary for a 14-month old, and is going to walk any day now. She understands that there is a new baby in the house, but can't quite wrap her mind around the fact that another one is coming soon, too. And you can watch her do animal noises here. Coming soon from the same session: Sophie doing parts of the body and talking about flowers).

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Beauty is... My dear friend Snowflake sent me this link to Pantone's Birthday Color site. Here's what it gives for my birthday's color (August 15): You are magnetic and others find you attractive. I find that to be both right and misleading. I have never thought of myself as attractive; never thought I was hideous, either, just average. I think I have good days when I might actually use the word "pretty" to describe myself, but then I've seen photos of a day when I felt particularly spectacular and was incredibly disappointed at how goofy I looked in reality. Which brings me to my point.... I think that any attributes of beauty or attractiveness that anyone sees in me come from the me that's inside. I think I am on the plain side, and anyone who thinks I'm otherwise has seen the real me shining through and that's what's lent the sparkle. I've often found that confidence and a happy spirit do more to make me attractive than whiter and straighter teeth or shiny hair could ever do. (My husband disagrees and thinks I'm beautiful to begin with, but you know what? He's supposed to think that. I'm not going to convince him otherwise.) So thinking further along these lines... I know how much self-esteem has to do with beauty, and how much a lack thereof can make a physically beautiful person unattractive. When I was growing up, in my preteen years, I was told over and over again by my peers how ugly I was, what a loser, and of course I believed it no matter what my parents said to me. What I became was a very late bloomer, which wound up working just fine for me, but the seeds of that 12-year-old taunting still run deep. I'm so determined to give my kids a strong sense of their own self-worth, to encourage them to let their true selves sparkle and shine and to believe in themselves no matter what anyone else says to them. I tell them every day how special they are and how much I love them, and I'll just have to hope that a daily dose of that will help innoculate them against the cruel things other kids say. So, how much of beauty is skin deep? And how much comes from the light inside you? ps ~ the Pantone page also says, "Your sensitive nature can work best in a creative field such as performing or decorative arts." So they're not all wrong.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I'Mpossible. It's been an adventurous, scary, thrilling week. Peter is a delight and Sophie is thrilled to the tips of her toes with him - every morning she points to him and shouts, "Petey!" and already she's tried to share her Cheerios with him. He's on a monitor which seems to mostly want to alarm us in the middle of the night because a wire's coming loose - not for medical reasons. It's reassuring, but annoying all the same. One thing I know for sure - I've been stretched in so many ways these past weeks, stretched to learn new things, pushed to do things I never knew I could handle; things that pre-twins I would have said were just impossible. But I'm reminded of a wonderful SARK quote, where she says "Impossible means I'm possible." Right now, the possibilities of what I am capable of seem endless. I never knew before that I could possibly feed two newborns soley on pumped milk for a month, but I did it. I didn't think I'd ever fit in my jeans again, or get to go chalking or do anything artistic, but I've been doing those things too (joyfully!). Every day brings new challenges, and every day I learn that it's possible for me to rise to them and do them with all my heart. Interesting note: It's been 7 weeks since the twins were born, and this week was when my C-section was supposed to actually be scheduled. And the twins' official due date was May 8.... they're still not supposed to have been born yet! Now, if we could just get Angela home from the hospital....

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

At last - Peter is home! (And there was much rejoicing.)

Friday, April 09, 2004

Angela is still having problems eating from a bottle, but Peter could be coming home Easter Sunday. WOW.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Things that have made me cry/melt in the past few days: - Sophie pointing to my braid and saying, "pretty." - a beautiful letter from my brother telling me what a great job I'm doing being a Mama. - watching the Sesame Street 35th Anniversary special (which was pretty disappointing) and seeing the clip where Susan says, "But Big Bird, Mr. Hooper's not coming back." - a crystal paperweight with a baby angel blowing kisses to the moon, from the moms on the Mother's Retreat my mom helps run every year. I do a scripture passage on a poster for them each year, but I had never expected something back. - the fact that the wonderful women from my Cornerstone group have been making our family dinner each Monday since before the twins were born - it's the hugest help. - and this: a mysterious package I received today with no card or return address, containing a gorgeous set of cards entitled "Mother's Nature: Calm and Confidence for the Motherhood Journey." It's beautiful and it's also the kind of thing I would love to make one day. I have my guesses as to who it is, but I'm not sure...?

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Happy Birthday! Peter and Angela are one month old today! We made chocolate-chip cookies and brought them to the hospital to celebrate with the nurses. See more photos of them (finally!) here.

Monday, March 29, 2004

(getting up on soapbox) I'd just like to take a minute to say that it's okay to not breastfeed your children, and that doesn't make you a bad mother. It's something I know, but I really need to hear it right about now. If you're a mom who needs to hear it too, I'm right behind you. I'm not going to go off onto my whole diatribe, but please know that if you were going to send an email telling me how I should be able to nurse my premature twins with a 1-year-old and a job, don't bother. I love my children with all my heart and the best thing for them is a mother who's sane and healthy. (climbing off soapbox)

Friday, March 26, 2004

Healing from the inside out My incision is taking forever and a day to heal, and it's frustrating the heck out of me. It's been stapled, taped, left open, and now taped again, and about an inch or so on either side just doesn't want to close. My doctor says I'm healing from the inside out, which makes perfect sense to me because it would be just like my body to do things backwards. ;) But then when I think about it more... I think about how I want to be in perfect, pre-baby shape now. I want all my energy back; I want to be working and painting and chalking with babies in a backpack, I want to cook dinners again and be able to dance around the room with Sophie on my hip. And when I think of all those "I wants", I realize that maybe this slow-healing wound is a blessing in disguise. I'm still healing, still recovering from major surgery (oh yeah, and giving birth to twins) and it is going to take some time before I'm back up to full speed. Maybe being cautious about this incision is forcing me to slow down so I will be able to better do all those things when I truly am strong enough, instead of rushing into a whirlwind of activities and blowing it all now. And maybe an attitude adjustment needs to be a part of my healing process too. Yesterday the doctor put silver nitrate on my incision to help it scar faster. (Sounds odd, but silver is good for wounds!) I kind of like that idea - like precious metals are a necessary part of my healing procedure. Last night a sitter cancelled and I had two hours of alone-time with Sophie that we haven't had in weeks. We made tea, sang songs, and danced - carefully. I think I'm finally convincing myself that it's okay to slow down - the world isn't going to go anywhere without me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The good news: The twins are 3 weeks old tonight, off all IVs, CPAP, and weigh 4 pounds each. The bad excellent news: Sophie has a strange rash that may be is definitely NOT chicken pox. Phew!

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Peter and Angela update: The little ones are almost two weeks old, and they're really doing great! As of this afternoon.... - both are past their birth weights (Angela is now 3 lbs, 8 oz; Peter is 3 lbs, 9 oz) - they are both having time off the CPAP (that's the stream of room air that goes straight to their noses) and are doing very well without it - both are still on caffeine for their apnea, but Peter hasn't had an episode since the 14th (they forget to breathe sometimes, they usually right themselves, Angela is the only one who needs a little extra reminder now and then. Breathing and eating are two of the last things they learn how to do before birth, so while it's unsettling to hear that your child forgets to breathe now and then, it's not unusual at this point) - they are both taking in more and more at each feeding (through feeding tubes - they will get bottles when they get closer to their due date; they're on breastmilk with fortifiers to give them more calories and bulk them up) - Peter is now off his IV and they plan to have Angela off too in a day or so - nurses say they should definitely be home before their first due date (was first week of May; we're hoping for mid-April or sooner) Mama update: I am pretty much wiped out - I can only imagine what it would be like to have major surgery and have everyone home all at the beginning. Pumping, trying to take care of Sophie without picking her up, visiting the twins, and just resting are all wearing me out. I am having the hardest time letting go and letting other people take care of things, especially if they do things differently than I would have done them. There's a lesson to be learned here... when I'm not so tired I'll think about it some more.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

READY OR NOT HERE WE COME - IT'S A BOY AND A GIRL! PETER JOSEPH & ANGELA FAITH Born Wednesday, March 3, 2004 (just squeezed in before midnight) Mommy, Daddy, and the babies are all in good health, and very proud, and exceedingly joyful! Daddy is just home right now doing a quick email. This is actually quite early for them to be born (Elena was at 30 weeks) - the twins' due date was May 7. So this caught us all by surprise. (I thought at least April) Last night I had just finished up teaching and Elena tells me that she's been timing contractions that were about 5 minutes apart. She called the doctor and he told her to go to the hospital as a precaution, and thank God we did, because by the time we got to the hospital they were 3 minutes apart and she was completely dilated. However, both babies were breach, and she had to have a C section. We were scared, but it went really well. Peter and Angela went directly to the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) as all preemies do and are being well monitored. The doctors said most preemies are kept in the ICU until their expected due date (May 7) - but depending on how they are doing they can come out a little earlier. They are on respirators to make sure their breathing is okay. Basically they are fine but they need to be closely monitored. A special thank you for all your thoughts and prayers and all kinds of help for our babies. We are very grateful they seem pretty stable right now. And they're beautiful!

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

A good bit of whining and complaining. I am officially HUGE. Carrying twins is no picnic. At 29 weeks (last week) I measured the same size as a 37-week pregnancy. I look like me, with a large watermelon under my shirt. I was this big when I had Sophie, except I could rest when I wanted to and wasn't lifting a 1-year-old and chasing her around the house. I sleep a lot. I could sleep all day and only wake up to eat and pee, and I still wouldn't get enough sleep. I went to the library yesterday for 15 minutes and it almost did me in. Sophie had a wonderful birthday party, but I slept for two days following and could barely move.
A good bit of whining and complaining, Part 1. We have a potential due date now; it's looking like I will need a C-section the week of April 15th. Baby A is consistently breech, and to be honest, I'd rather just go in and have a C than push for hours for the first one only to find out I need a C anyway. But it doesn't make me like having a C-section one bit. In fact, I'm pretty scared about it. I worry that the twins are going to come early. I've resigned myself to the idea that they will most likely spend some time in the ICU, but I keep sending them good thoughts of strength - I want them to be at least 5 pounds when they're born. Every cramp, twinge, and ache makes me afraid I'm going into pre-labor. I call the doctor often - better safe than sorry. So far, everything's fine and this is normal twin-ness - but I do have to slow down even more than I already have. It's frustrating like you wouldn't believe. I make lists now, all the time. I even made a list of the lists I need to make! They range from #3: Food Sophie will almost always eat (for when I'm in the hospital) to #10: What are we going to name these babies? to #8: Phone list for when we need to go to the hospital and someone needs to stay with Sophie until my parents get there; and #2: What I should pack for the hospital. My brain cells are slooooooooowwwly switching off so that I won't care what gets packed and that we can name both kids Melvin whether they're boys or girls.... so you can see how I need to make these lists NOW, and I do hammer away at them every day. Pray for me, please.... I only have a few weeks left to go. (Coming in Part 2: lack of sleep, and how my stomach is the size of a pregnancy 8 weeks ahead.)

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Sophie's first birthday! Happy birthday, little one! (with thoughts from last year here and here)

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Henson sells Muppets to Disney Disney will acquire the Muppet and Bear characters for an estimated $40-60 million. JHC and the Creature Shop will continue to exist without the Muppets. [Excuse me, WHAT?!] The courtship began 15 years ago in 1989. (link from Muppet Central) It has been my dream for almost half my life to be a Muppeteer. I wanted to work for Jim Henson, I did my senior presentation in English class in high school about the Muppets, I took puppetry classes in college. I even auditioned for and got accepted for a pilot for a children's show as a puppeteer (it never got off the ground, but I was hopeful). I put The Dream on hold for a while, thinking that someday, somehow, I would still be able to be a part of it. But not anymore. I have a thing about Disney; I think they're trying to take over the world. They just scare me. I like some of the stuff they do, but in general, they're the Evil Empire to me. I was depressed with news earlier this year that Henson Associates was selling off the NY offices (where I always dreamed I'd commute to someday), but this is like the final nail in the coffin to me. I'm sure I can look forward to greater distribution of older Muppet stuff; I have nothing against commercialization of the Muppets (hey, there are no fewer than 3 stuffed Kermits in our house right now), but it just won't be the same. I guess I have to face the fact that ever since Jim died, it never really was going to ever be the same for me again. I know that I can always do some kind of puppetry in time, and maybe even try to do it for a living someday. But it's really sad to know that the dream job I've had in my head for half of my life will never be because the world went and changed before I was ready to act on it.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

© 2004 by √Člena Nazzaro ps ~ lots more good stuff here and here.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Bigger than ever... I swear on a stack of french toast that I feel like this today. (Complete with "Foo!") Roll me around like Violet the blueberry girl from Willie Wonka, for heaven's sake. ps ~ I had another Art Night last night. I may not be able to see my feet, but darnit, I'm being creative.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Valentines + Art Night = Perfect Together This weekend, Paul decided it was time for me to start having Art Night again once a week. The scary thing was that I had completely and utterly forgotten about Art Night. That used to be my favorite night of the week! So after dinner on Sunday, Paul shooed me upstairs to my studio, although all I wanted to do was sleep... I promised I would give it a try. And I wound up doing this year's Valentine! It's the first to have Sophie on it (naturally, since this will be her first Valentine's Day) and it was truly fun to draw. The only problem was that my stomach kept getting in the way of my sketchpad... I'll be posting it with the rest of the Valentines on the site very soon!

Thursday, January 29, 2004

A burning question... If I've been craving ice cream and hot fudge for 3 weeks now, it's time to give in, yes?

Monday, January 26, 2004

Everything I need to know, I learned from my 11-month old. Sophie turns 11 months today, and I realized what an inspiring little adventurer she is. I can learn so much from her. She is constantly stretching her limits and trying new things. So what if she just can't reach the coasters in the middle of the coffee table? Maybe tomorrow her arms will be long enough. She tries new foods and dives right in. She shares, and we've never even taught her that, it comes from within. She's constantly exploring, picking up things, running her hands over them, seeing if they taste good. She makes up new words. And when she sleeps, she sleeps deeply, with her favorite Lambie by her side. She's quite the adventurer.... all she needs now is a theme song.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Reality? Now that I am on so-called bedrest, I have been watching a heckofa lot more tv. Since I am cable-less, network tv has been providing me with interesting, although mindless, diversion while I knit (and the twins kick me again.... and again.... and again....) American Idol: I don't really find the auditions interesting. The good part happens once the first group of singers has to work and follow directions. It blows my mind how many people ruin a chance of a life-time because they think the rules don't apply to them, and that all they have to do is grin and laugh and they'll get forgiven and bumped up to the next round. Life doesn't work that way. (ps: Scootergirl is my hero!) The Apprentice: I laughed out loud when the two groups had to do a major ad campaign in 48 hours, and only one group thought it necessary to meet with the client. Come on! America's Top Model: Something I could never in a gazillion years ever be, but very interesting to watch. This, like Idol, is the kind of competition you are only going to win if you want it badder than everything else and are willing to work your tail off for it. (And maybe not even then, if your bra size is too big or you're too short.... that must be why I'm not a top model yet. Right.)

Monday, January 19, 2004

For everyone joining me on the Year of Adventure... this is for you to print and cut out and put in your wallet, tuck in your mirror, paste in your journal. I'm adventuring with you. (And if you do put it in your online journal, please link back, okay?)

Friday, January 16, 2004

Bedrest...? This is my second week of working half-days, and being on bedrest for the afternoons. It is SO incredibly hard to just stop in the afternoons and rest. Even when I'm lying down, I have to do something with my hands because I feel like I should be productive. I'm productive all right, I'm having twins for goodness' sake! But things call to me... errands to be run, meals to be made, laundry to do... and it's so very very hard to go take a nap or knit or watch tv and lie down with my feet up. I can't believe I may only have 3 months to go. The worst set of twin names, ever. I started a post on SARK's marvelous message board to help me find all the names I should NOT name the twins. They've come up with some great ones! My faves so far are Rubber and Glue, and a woman who knows twins that are actually named Lemonjello (Le-MAHN-jel-o) and Oranjello (Or-AHN-jel-o) because of the cravings their mom had while pregnant. Sheesh. My kids would be (as of this moment) Potato Chip and Chocolate Chip. Read the ever-growing list here, or start your own list below in the comments section. Have fun!

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Wonder-ful words of wisdom... We all know sometimes life's hates and troubles Can make you wish you were born in another time and space But you can bet your life times that and twice its double That God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed ~ Stevie Wonder, As I do think that God has me here in this place, right now, for a reason. I believe that there's some divine planning that's putting three babies under the age of two in my care. I have no idea why it took so long for Sophie to come to us, and why we get twins a year later, but I do believe there's a divine plan for it. And I'm not going to waste my time trying to figure it out - I'm just going to trust.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Savoring. Sophie the wonder baby had her first taste of macaroni last night, and she absolutely loved it! She said "Mmmm" after every bite... that's my nice Italian baby! But it really makes me think... how often do I enjoy my food like that? Trust me, I'm a girl who loveslovesloves food, but it seems that I'm constantly eating things on the run, eating with Sophie on my lap or chasing after her, eating whatever's easiest to heat up in the microwave. Sometimes I'm eating garbage (i.e., Christmas candy) because it's out. Sometimes I'm craving something in particular and it's not anywhere in the house (not to mention I probably shouldn't be eating it anyway). I am longing for a meal that doesn't revolve around Sophie, around errands, a meal that I could either have cooked myself or not. A meal that I can eat uninterrupted and quietly and take as long as I need to be full without having to stick my plate in the fridge for later. Darnit, I want to savor my food. So, along those lines, I will be making a casserole dish of oven-baked french toast to be eaten at breakfast all next week, and I will top it with berries from my freezer and why the heck not, whipped cream and powdered sugar as well. I'll make tea, and say "Mmmmm!" to Sophie after each bite.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

If adventure has a name, it must be... Last night, Paul and I actually got a sitter and went out for a romantic dinner for two. Inbetween trying to come up with baby names and deciding which appetizer to pick, I declared that this year was going to be the Year of Adventure. I tend to create a theme for my years - 2002 was a year of Learning, 2003 was the year of Harmony (with good intentions, really, but I really didn't like the song it was making most of the time) - and this year, it seems to me, is the Year of Adventure. When I look at the year ahead as being a huge adventure, it seems less daunting, more manageable. I have huge changes coming up; I'm working half-days for the first time in 10 years, I'm on partial bedrest (and I need to actually be resting, not using that time to run around and do tons of stuff), and oh yes, by May I will have three children under the age of two - any one of these things is enough to make me wake up at 3 am in a cold sweat. But then I think - Indiana Jones had his snakes, his baddies and thugs, but he also had his whip and a whole bunch of smarts to get him through. I have an awesome family and support from all corners. I am also one tough cookie. Look out, 2004, here I come.