Monday, February 28, 2011

Pillow Talk ~ Part 2

...So, after I threw down with that BAMF-wannabe spider, got some MUCH needed shut-eye, reemerged into the upstairs world, tried to sleep some more but failed miserably, then started some saucy pillow talk with my man... he finally admitted that he DREAMT.  And best of all, HE REMEMBERED IT!  This is rare for Scott, I tell you.  He seldom dreams, and when he does, 99.9% of the time, he cannot recall ANY of it (not even the topic, you might ask?  HELLLLLL no.  I DO NOT get this!!!  I dream NIGHTLY & they're always reeeeally f'ed up as if I'm totally pregnant, but I'm SO NOT.  LOL).  When he does remember a dream, seriously, maybe once or twice a year AT BEST, it's usually fragmented, crazy boring, & pointless, in comparison to mine.  (Sorry honey, but it's TRUE.)  I try to dream-analyze the shit out of it with hopes of finding some hidden message which will rock my world &/or give me clues into my man's innermost thoughts & feelings, usually to no avail. 

I can only think of ONE of Scott's dreams since we were married nearly 14 years ago that had significance, and part of me is too terrified to tell it.  It's NEVER left me since he shared it probably 8-9 years ago.  It's too difficult.  Painful.  Raw.  Private.  Possible.  *CANNOT* go there.  But let's just say it involved Claire's transition viewed from Scott's eyes, and it was shortly after her birth when we'd been given the most devastating prognosis for her life by multiple doctors.  I do not GET THAT -- why doctors offer parents in a situation such as ours so little hope for our precious childrens' lives!  I hear it time & time again from parents that a doctor said, "He'll never survive the night" & the child lived 5 years or "She won't walk till she's at least 5 or 6" and she's up & runnin' at 18 months.  Seriously... WHY NOT give us the lowdown on our kids' brains/bodies/lives/futures as KINDLY & COMPASSIONATELY as possible (remember, you are CHANGING THE VERY COURSE OF OUR ENTIRE FAMILY'S LIVES (or is it LIFE?!  Whatever.) WITH YOUR WORDS, DOC!) & THEN say, "But in the end, NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS, so love the HELL outta your kids for as long as you are blessed with 'em.  Make each second count."  If only...

Anyway... back to the point (and I promise, I DO have one!!!) & off the dad-gum soapbox!  YIKES!  Sorry about that...  So, here's what I found out in "dramatic monologue" form... wait, wouldn't that be dialogue?!  Technicalities!  LOL  Here goes...

Gwen -- "Tell me ALLLLLLLL about it!  I'm so excited you FINALLY dreamt!" 

Scott --  "Well, it was sort of weird because we were at this exact point in our lives ~ married with our 3 kids.  All of a sudden, we awoke one day and were parents of TWINS.  Yes, TWINS.  And get this, Gwen.  Claire & Lola were twins in the dream, too.  Our second set of twins were born with Down Syndrome." 

Gwen -- "REEEEALLY... <pause>  Did we know before their birth that they had Down Syndrome or were we surprised the day of their birth?"

Scott -- "We did no testing ahead of time.  Didn't even know you were having twins until the day they were born!"

Gwen -- "So how did we handle it emotionally?" 

Scott -- "It was weird because it was just like the newest twins were 2 years old at birth.  Kind of skipped the whole newborn stage..."

Gwen -- "So what did we name them?!  Do you remember?!?!?" (Do you think it's odd I cared more about the names than the diagnosis?!  Friggin' LOVE that.  :)

Scott -- "Well, we still hadn't named them when they were 2, but we decided we should probably do that, so we started talking about it real lackadaisically.  You were set on using Lynsey as a middle name for one of them, no clue why.  So we had to try to find a first name to go with that.  Cal suggested Kaitlyn (those of you who know Cal know why!!!!  :), and you said, "Sounds good!  Kaitlyn Lynsey -- let's just use that!"

Gwen -- "I've always loved the name Kate."  (I SO have!  So classic, timeless, perfect!)

Scott -- "Anyway!  So we just used that for one of them, and she was the hyper one.  VERY active, we always had to watch her, she was everywhere, bouncing off the walls!!!  She'd run out the front door, and we'd have to chase her into the street.  She would climb all over the furniture ~ she was WILD!  But she cracked us UP!  Never a dull moment with her."

Gwen -- "So we had 5 kids??  2 sets of twins?!??!  What did we name the other one?"

Scott -- "I chose Katherine because I always liked that name.  And immediately you yelled, "We could call her KATIE!"  And I kept saying, "NO!  We already have a Kaitlyn!  I've always loved the name Kat."

Gwen -- "Is this for reals that you love the name Kat, or is that part of the dream?! Huh?!"

Scott -- "No, I DO love the nickname Kat... it's a sexy little name, but that's reeeeally creepy, considering I'm talking about our 2 year old daughter.  Ewww."  (which I think launched into some mention on my part of Kat Von D, and whether he found HER sexy... to which I'm pretty sure, now that I think about it, he didn't answer!  Hmmmmm.  Must. Pry. Further.  LOL)

Gwen -- "We seriously named our kids Kaitlyn & Katherine?  Both are short for Katie?!  WTH!?  What was Katherine like?"

Scott -- "She was soooo sweet, adorable, easy to be around, & gentle.  She & Kaitlyn were SO different.  She always had these big, gorgeous eyes staring up at us, lookin' SO cute ALL THE DAMN TIME.  She was slightly larger than Kaitlyn, and MUCH larger/chubbier than Claire & Lola."

Gwen -- "So how did we handle it??!?!?!"

Scott -- "We just DID.  We just loved our lives, as we do now.  We made it work.  We had SO much fun every day with our 5 kids."

Gwen -- "I could never handle twins, I'm pretty sure.  Not sure that I could emotionally handle a 3rd & 4th child with special needs either.  How did we not break down?!"

Scott -- "In the dream, we only had one moment where we were really sad and teary.  We were sitting on the couch together, Cal was gone, and we had 4 little seats/beanbags all around us, each occupied by one of our 4 children with special needs.  I looked at you, with tears in my eyes, and I said, "What are the f***ing odds????  We'd have twins with microcephaly AND twins with Down Syndrome?!  Seriously, what are the odds?!??!?!"  We cried together, hugged each other, & then LIFE WENT ON." 

Gwen -- "Is this some sort of sign from God?!?!?"

Scott -- "Actually, as messed up as it sounds, I totally think I dreamt this because we've been dog-sitting Mags & Stella."  (These are Scott's brother's 2 pugs, whose personalities are surprisingly similar to Kaitlyn & Katherine's!!!)
Scott with Stella & Mags  ~  February 2011
Gwen -- "WHAT?!  You think because we've been around the pugs for a few days that you are now dreaming that our kids act like THEM?!?!?  You're a freak."  LOL

Scott laughed.  "I'm not saying the pugs act as if they have special needs or that our kids act like DOGS, but personality-wise, they acted the SAME!  Katherine was more laid-back like Mags, and Kaitlyn was more high-strung & active like Stella."

Gwen -- "We need a qualified dream interpreter to figure this mofo out.  You've got serious issues, dude.  LOL"

Scott -- "At least my dreams usually aren't as jacked up as *your* dreams..."  (This one clearly might have been!!!  Unbe-freakin'-lievable!  By this point, I am now reeeeally questioning my interest of "getting into Scott's head" by hearing his dreams.  He's WEIRD, yo.  :)
Cal & Mags, with Romeo "shakin' hands" around back.  :)  HA!  Please refrain from looking at the background of this pic -- why yes, yes that IS a trash can on its side on top of a box on top of a file cabinet in our DINING ROOM, for Pete's sake.  WTF?  We are having some floors refinished so the entire office has been temporarily relocated.  Happy to report it's back to "normal" around here (hahahah -- I find THAT statement hilarious!!!!!!!).  :)

They say after awhile that (temporary) owners start looking like their dogs... hahahahahaha.  Kidding.  (sort of!)  Stella loves Lola!!!  She could not get enough of her!!!  Lola, on the other hand, was not so sure...  observe A) dukes up, B) scowl on face, & C) famous "go to hell" look in Lola's eyes in full effect, y'all.  Brat!  LOL

Stella sit-standing behind Scott on the back of our chair.  She is DEFINITELY part cat.  :)  The girl can CLIMB!!!

Stella + Cal = Buddies!
Mags' head shot ~ Model material! ~ February 2011
Stella-Bella is all smiles! ~ February 2011
Mayhem at the Hooligan House!  JUST the way we like it!!!  (Romeo could NOT quit playing grab-ass with the pugs the whole time... hahahahahaha!  Pre was just disinterested mostly... total man-diva.  HA!)
Much love to our pug nieces, Mags & Stella, and thanks to Brett, Lynda, & Ali for sharing your sweeties with us for a few days!  We had a blast!  xoxoxo

So... what DO you think Scott's loco dream meant?  Did it represent something?  Should I be setting him up with some serious counseling sessions?!  LOL  Oh, and DO NOT tell me that it is evident he wants more kids... because we are TOTALLY at our 2-dwarf maximum.  :) 

Discuss amongst yourselves...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pillow Talk ~ Part 1

All I know is that for my own entertainment value, I need to start sleeping downstairs by myself -- sans kids! -- a LOT more often!!!  Drag your minds out of the gutter, you pervs... it's not THAT!  Here's the lowdown...

OK, so Scott was out of town for 7 days/6 nights this past week (I could probably give you hours/minutes if you want, I was countin' 'em down!!!).  Those of you who know our dwarves know what implications that has on MY LIFE when he's gone.  And I am CERTAINLY not complaining, as I'd gladly care for my children every day for the rest of my life if I could be so lucky... they are my world.  However, it's DAMN HARD as a "single mom." (my hat's WAYYYY off to those of you who take on that role daily -- y'all ROCK!!!)

When Scott's gone, it is normally a craptastic, week-long, sleepless & chaotic slumber party against my own will hosted by Dwarf 1 & Dwarf 2.  They become instant nocturnal creatures for a week, and honestly, their track records are not too whippy when it comes to average hours of sleep per night while Daddy is gone.  Not sure WHAT they are thinking, but I'm pretty sure I overheard the girls saying this before Daddy left:  "OK, powwow.  Game plan:  tag-team torture Mom till Dad comes home so that she is SOOOOOO miserable she makes DAMN SURE he never leaves us alone EVER AGAIN!!!!!!  It's GO TIME!"  They're MEAN!  And IT BLOWS.

So, this go-around, I was pleasantly surprised that Claire & Lola were so... ummm, PERFECT?!  We truly only had one, maybe two nights that were questionable, while the rest were surprisingly SLEEP-FILLED.  I know, SHOCKING, right?!

I still made Scott promise pre-trip that upon his return -- no matter how good or bad they were --  I would get at least ONE night of uninterrupted sleep IN THE BASEMENT (it is sooooo quiet & peaceful & DARK down there!) with nobody clinging to/pooping, arching, or barfing on/grunting or coughing near me.  I was pleasantly surprised that Scott offered this "Freebie Night" to me last night.  And the cool part was that it was one of those nights where, as a parent, you just want to GO TO SLEEP as if you had no kids and/or proper hygiene for yourself.  You know, just skip the tooth brushing, face washing, & getting the kids fed/changed/burped/held upright for 45 minutes till I can no longer sit vertically anymore.  (yes, that's my nighttime routine -- everyday for the past 9+ years.  NO PITY, DAMMIT!  I hate pity, and I LOVE MY LIFE!!!!!!!)

So I made that statement to Scott, "I just wish I could GO TO BED RIGHT THIS SECOND WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING... I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOO FREAKIN' TIRED!!!!!!!!"  And the most wonderful, needed words *EVER* came pouring instantly out of my perfect husband's mouth. "Why don't you just go sleep downstairs tonight?"  My response... "REALLY!?!??!??!??!"  (did I sound too excited?  Would he retract the offer?!)  "Ummmm, seriously?", I said.  "I don't give a shit.  I got this," he replied.  Exact words.  I was never so "outta there" that quick in ALLLLLLLL my life!  Grabbed my pillow, hugged & kissed Scott, & I beelined to the basement, almost giddy!.  Didn't even tell the kids goodnight!  Great Mommy moment.  Yep, yep.  I had 7 hours of sleep starin' me in the face that moment, and that was all that mattered.

The basement was dark, cool & quiet, and so I did that really super childish turn-each-light-on-all-the-way-back-to-the-bedroom-just-in-case-something-scary-lurks trick that I did when I was like 12 (no offense, Cal -- I know you're 12, and maybe I AM calling you childish!!!).  I make it back to the bedroom, get everything ready for the best night's sleep EVER & then go back & flip all the switches off really fast, then sprint back to the bedroom so I was "safe."  I'm such a dork.

I grab the throw pillow off the bed & get ready to pull the sheets down to get into bed, and I spot it.  OMG, if I have one & only ONE phobia, it's SPIDERS.  Mostly big, hairy "Wolfy spiders" (I'll spare you the details of one of the worst dreams of my LIFE, which may or may not have involved me being chased up my parents' basement stairs by a LIFE-SIZED Wolf spider, who was grabbing me with his hairy, huge, nasty-looking legs & it's 8 (or was it 6?!) eyes were red/squinty/full of pure hate, and I could not run fast enough to save myself, while his pointy fangs were gnashing & it was HORRIFYING & still haunts me to this day even though I dreamt that like in 11th grade.  OMG!!!!!  Longest run-on ever!!!  LOL), but ANY SIZE of spider just freaks me the hell out.  I'm a pansy ass, I'll admit it.  They are mostly harmless, but I am pretty sure this was a Brown Recluse.  Or maybe I just pretended it was because it was so icky.  Regardless, it was haulin' booty to get off the bed away from me so it could fake like it was scared of me when really it just wanted to stalk me & then suck my juices out while I slept, so I had to act quick.  No Kleenex in sight, no towel, nothin'.  I was screwed!  I had to destroy it or I'd NEVER sleep on my perfect, (hopefully) sleep-filled night! 

I panicked... it was getting away!  It was at a full sprint in spider speed (which scared me more than I want to admit), so I jumped on the bed & smacked it with my BARE HAND.  Ummm, yeah.  I had to.  The safety of this household depended on it!!!  I am cringing as I type this... SO.  FREAKIN'.  DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  No juice squished out, but I did dismember one leg & the rest of the body was in a full-on seizure-type motion, so I darted to the bathroom where I grabbed some Kleenex & with lightning speed, I grabbed it (somehow?!) through 7 thicknesses (1 tissue never cuts it with spiders...) & threw it into the toilet without squeezing.  That part always grosses me out.  I then peed on it & flushed it down.  Justice was served.

I triple-checked the entire bedroom for it's cohorts, as they ALWAYS travel in pairs, I've found.  Thought I spotted one on the floor, but it was just black lint.  DOH!  I had nothin'.  I had to let it go.  I'd wasted like 6 minutes already wrestling that damn poisonous monster & then looking for his reinforcements!  Ridic.  Hopped into bed & prayed to God that I would sleep the sleep of angels... and I *SO* did.

You probably think the story ends here... but alas, you are sorely mistaken.  I'd pre-set my cell phone alarm to wake me at promptly 8:00 am so I could go relieve the hubster & let him go to work, hopefully after he too (and the girls) had gotten phenomenal sleep.  The better sleep he gets with them, the more likely I am to get future nights in the glorious basement getaway, so I'm all for the dwarves being good to Daddy!!!  I sashay (is that even a word?!  Why yes, yes it is...) upstairs & awaken to find the TV on, Scott passed out asleep in bed, Claire knocked out on the floor right next to Scott in her beanbag, sawin' logs, and Polly Ann Pocket is in her puffy-blanket-lined car seat right next to Scott, apparently content but very much AWAKE.  Interesting turn of events... 

I climb in on my side, and I try to go back to sleep, but I know it's going to be impossible.  Once I'm up, I'm up.  I still want to hear how it went, and if it's possible to sleep another hour in my bed (soooo comfy -- I did miss my memory foam bed, I won't lie), I'm all over that opportunity.  20-30 minutes passes, and it's clear I FOR SURE won't be able to go back to sleep.  I hear Scott stir, and I am hesitant to inquire all about it for fear it was a total cluster.  Here's our banter...

Gwen -- "So!  How'd it go?  You all rested?" 

Scott -- "It went OK..." 

WHEW.  He wakes up a bit more & I push further...

Gwen -- "So you got some decent sleep?" 

Scott -- "Yep, Lola slept from 1:00 am till 6:30 am... then she proceeded to wake up & take the dump of the century." 

Gwen -- "You bring out the best in her.  Hell, in ALL our kids.  CRAZY!"  (He has had to help ALL 3 OF OUR KIDS poop -- it's as if they cannot do it themselves?!  Cal was most effective with the "running man" in combo with the vibrating bouncy seat.  Claire did best with straight-up belly milking, and Lola, well, she's the most complex dumper of all, see below for specifics... WTH?!?!?)

Scott -- "It's like I am ONE with our kids' turds!"

Gwen -- "You're a freak.  You are an expert because of all the time *YOU* spend crapping.  It's insane!"

Scott -- "Yep, I am quite experienced in that department.  I really am just playing games while I'm in there... Yahtzee, Sudoku, etc."

Gwen -- "Nice try.  You waste hours a day crapping.  Actually, you trained your whole life for these moments... you have a gift.  You are the Poopmaster!"

Scott -- "I'm like... what's that one show?  The Horse Whisperer???"

Gwen -- "Yes, you're the Shit Whisperer."
Sadly, this is Lola's best pooping form. LOL  Not a standard technique by any means, but it's highly effective in combination with the age-old, gentle belly-milking technique.  Notice the sitting position, knees/hips at 90-90, up on her damp, clammy, cool heels, staring off into the distance, facing outward.  Aaaahhhh, yes.  Victory is mine.  Poopmaster succeeds again!!!
HAHHAHHAHHAHHAHHAHA!  We laughed for a LONG time about that one.  And then he tells me more about Lola's dumping escapades & her behavior post-poop.  He tells me how after she "finished the job," she was content but not tired.  He tells me that he was ready to go back to Dreamland with Claire.  He tells me that he wanted to see if she would continue to behave, so he put her into that cushy car seat & she LIKED IT.  And how she was "bored" so he turned on the TV to PBS & she was diggin' Curious George so he left it on for her while he went to sleep.  HA!  I find this all simply hilarious, in part because we think Lola is a bit monkey-ish looking at times (hey, we love her & just JOKE about this, probably because she wears a lot of Paul Frank gear from Target.  LOVE that stuff!).  And also because I'm pretty sure Curious George has microcephaly, ironically.  For example...
Exhibit A ~ notice hat which is wayyyyyy too large for his melon.  Telling indeed...  this is how ALL "normal" hats fit our girls' tiny heads.

And I present you with Exhibit B...
Yep, not much "head" up there.  But he is happy, with surprisingly awesome muscle tone!  Clearly no spastic quad CP present.  I'm so bad.  :)

Scott reports that Mrs. Pocket watched 10 minutes of it & then had to turn away.  I tend to get that way with Curious George, too.  A bit of a train wreck.  He angled her car seat toward him, and then she did quick glances at the TV as she could tolerate.  Had to keep up with "her peeps." 

Oh, and Scott also reported that when he first put Claire right next to the bed in her trusty beanbag in her FAVORITE position of all time (on her tummy, head higher than feet, arms out front, legs scissored, feeding tube hook-up pressed down into a man-made beanbag "hole" to take pressure off her belly -- we've got this down pat!), she kept looking up at him with her most precious, cross-eyed look EVER.  My girl totally has my heart with this expression, and it's something that if you knew her as we do, you would know that when she does this, SHE IS SEEING.  Those moments are few & far between, and we CHERISH them whenever we are blessed with them!  So anyway, she was giving him her sweetest face, beckoning her Daddy with her charm, staring him down with nothin' but love ~ basically throwin' down ALL her best moves!  He said he felt so bad he couldn't hold her in his arms (as he does every other night -- she is SUCH a Daddy's Girl!!!), as it was hard to turn down THIS FACE...
October 29, 2003 ~ age 2 ~ Sweetest face EVER.  You are my heart, Claire-bug.

April 5, 2010 ~ not quite as much "focus" (AKA crossed eyes) but still one of the most captivating, beautiful children I've EVER seen in my entire life.  Those eyes... OMG.

OK, so fast forward beyond the poop talk, past us laughing our butts off, to a rare moment when Scott told me something which I almost NEVER hear -- maybe only 1-2 times PER YEAR -- if that! -- does he say this to me...  Scott said, "I had a dream.  It was long.  And I remember ALL OF IT."


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Size matters?!

"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."
~J.R.R. Tolkien
December 31, 2010
 Being the parent of not one but *TWO* children with dwarfism, I am POSITIVE that my view of what “tiny” is probably is quite skewed.  As mentioned in this post, I DO see it more clearly from time to time.  I won’t lie, being a stay-at-home Mom to my girls & spending 24/7 (mostly!) with them, I have become callous to their petite size.  But if you knew me well & what we’ve been through since Claire’s birth in 2001, you’d know that I am more than a little aware of just how small my girls are & the implications that go along with this.

Without boring you with the details, let’s just say that we’ve been through it all with Claire regarding trying to “figure it all out.”  After TONS of tests, blood work, appointments, weight checks, researching, questioning, worrying, freaking out, and panicking… we realized one thing & ONLY one thing.  THIS IS CLAIRE.  This is who she is.  She IS tiny, she has dwarfism, she will NEVER be typical in size or development, she is clearly charting her own course in this life, she is not just beating but SMASHING the odds against her (she lived WELL past age 1, Dr. Dobyns, thankyouverymuch!), and this child represents nothing but pure love.  Who are we to judge and/or try to change her life’s path??? 

So, our goal (after we finally got our shit stuff together!) was to just honor who Claire was & OPTIMIZE HER LIFE in whatever way we could.  

That has been our mission with Lola, too.  And it has STILL been a challenge!  Lola is MUCH tinier than Claire at the same age (to the tune of 4-5 lb. lighter?!?!).  Crazy.  I am much less concerned this go-around, mostly because I’ve stopped the whole “tiny = borrowed time” thought process in my head & I burned those evil $475 digital baby scales.  Kidding about the latter, but trust me, I SO wanted to SOOOO many times! (ditto ALL scales!  LOL)  Obsessing about the numbers BLOWS.  I’m done with that crapola.
I DO still occasionally whip out my trusty head circumference measurer thingy... as you can tell, Lola's TOTALLY learned the "Go to Hell!" look from her sister... LOL  And YES, her head circumference HAS only hit 12.25" circumference, sadly.  (up from the 10's at birth)  WOW.  Yes, this DOES still "bother me" ~ but what can I do?  Love the HECK outta that tiny little noggin!!!!!!!!  How can you not?!?!? Poor kid probably gets 200 kisses (or more) a day!  xoxo
Life is wayyyyyyy too freakin' short to waste it WORRYING.  I was once told that "worry is interest paid in advance on a debt you may never owe."  I love that!  It also reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend who lost a child a few years prior.  We were having a conversation about life, loss, and how it's humanly possible to "move on" beyond something so devastating.  I told her that it felt wrong to "ignore" this diagnosis Claire & Lola were given, and to do so felt like I was being naive.  She told me something I'll NEVER forget.  She said, "Gwen, to grieve NOW while your daughter is still alive is wasting the time you have with her.  I'd give ANYTHING to have more time with my daughter.  Please don't waste the time you do have.  You will have a lifetime to grieve... LOVE NOW."  And we have... ever since.  

I guess that is why the girls' size really doesn't seem to matter to me now.  It used to consume my thoughts in a negative way, but I now can appreciate who they are & see the humor in the situation SO much easier.  For example...

Scott always cracks me up with his PF Chang’s story… OK, so we went out to eat with some friends & our girls at one of our favorite places!  Of course, we got "the ushe" ~ stares, looks, whispers, etc. when we arrived & during the meal.  Even the greeters remembered us when our friends made reservations, as they asked if we needed high chairs/kids’ seats, and they said, “No, they’ll just hold them” (we always do!), and the hostess said, “OH!  I totally know who you mean!  Those girls are sooooo cute!”  HA! 

So anyway, we carried "the local celebrities" out as we left (stuffed beyond belief!  YUM!), and the “Swivel-Head Phenomenon” occurred upon our departure.  Just picture “The Wave” at sporting events – everyone raises their arms at the same time all the way around the arena to create a wave effect.  A similar thing happened at Chang’s… heads swiveled in a wave fashion to stare at the dwarves as we walked out.  Scott was about 15 feet behind me (as I carried Lola), and he said it was a riot watching everyone crane to see the tiny little one in my arms.  Never quite know how to take that… or being so “known” in our town.  But sometimes you just gotta laugh.
December 25, 2010
Know what else makes me laugh about their size?  The fact that because they are so small, the below things are SO much more hilarious with our tiny dancers.  :)
Claire ~ December 2001 ~ nose-to-nose with the biggest snowman EVER!  (the snowman clearly won.  LOL)

Claire ~ Fall 2002 ~ one of her favorite ways to fall asleep!  HA!

Claire, 16 months old, with her newborn twin cousins ~ she thought she was a triplet!

Claire ~ December 19, 2004 ~ age 3 ~ best cheerleader EVER!!!

Claire, 15 months old ~ showering with Daddy ~ yet another (tiny) full moon from our girl!  LOL

Lola ~ age 4 ~ and yes, those ARE 2 liter bottles.  And yes, she DOES appear to be "taking a knee" so she can go to the 20 yard line.  HA! 

Mommy & Lola ~ age 4.5 years ~ workin' the Twisty Towel, As Seen On TV.  HAHAHHAHAHA!  I think we wrapped it around 3 times!  LOL

Cleopatra pose!  Love you, Mrs. Pocket!
Quite a difference on the fit, no?  HAHAHAHAHAHA!  Twisty Towel lady's head is freakishly huge.  Yikes.  LOL

Claire ~ age 9 months ~ tomahawkin' it! 

Lola ~ age 4.5 years ~ being the ball?!  Excuse the "high quality shot," it was taken with my $10 "free" phone (yes, I got a rebate for a $10 piece of crap phone from AT&T!!!).  I'm SO pushin' for an iphone... I NEED IT.  Really.  I do.  :)  Does Lola not look TEENSY compared to the pic of Claire above?!  She's like 4 full years older?!?! WTH???!!!

Lola (age 4.5 years) & Daddy ~ nothin' but love.  xoxo

"'Cause sometimes that mountain you've been climbing
Is just a grain of sand.
And what you've been out there searching for forever
Is in your hands.

And when you figure out
Love is all that matters after all,
It sure makes everything else
Seem so small."

~ Carrie Underwood, So Small

Monday, February 21, 2011

Locks of Love?!

OK, so I may or may not have hair issues... not so much with myself (fine, maybe I do...!) but moreso with the dwarves. Claire's hair has always grown relatively quickly. I remember doing teensy, difficult-to-even-handle barrettes with her around age 1, if not sooner. Her hair was thin & wispy (like mine, God bless her!), but it GREW. And she was sportin' piggies by age 2!

Claire (age 2) pinnin' Cal (age 4.5) ~ July 2003 ~ one of my favorite pictures of ALL TIME.
Mrs. Pocket... well, that's another story. She's damn near 5, and I swear she still has that "bullet" (baby mullet!) thing goin'. I can pull it up into a ponytail or 2 pigtails, but there's still those long pieces behind each ear & that "party in the back" area that just isn't quite long enough to fit into the ponytail but just hangs out, doin' its own thing. It's lovely. Best to just view Lola's hair from the FRONT; the rear view is a total cluster!
We've joked for the past year or so (as Claire's hair just keeps getting LONGER & LONGER & Lola's stays the same as it was at age 2) that we TOTALLY need to grow Claire's hair out to her booty & then cut it off into a cute chin-length 'do. Then, we can donate the chopped off tresses to Polly Ann & have a custom dwarf-sized wig retro-fit to her tiny, 12.25" melon. HAHAHHAHAAHA! Their hair color is identical... I think we could pull it off. :)
Wigs are a good look for Lola, as seen here... 

Halloween 2008, where we were repeatedly asked, "Is that real?!?!?" as they pointed to the cutest witchy EVER!!!

And also here...
Halloween 2009 ~ Showing her true colors... notice the devil-y, red glowing eyes!

Oh well, it was worth a try. HA! We DID, however, chop the heck outta Claire's hair...and in doing so, we've sort of viewed her in a whole new light. It's hard to explain, but it's almost as if her new look finally matches her age. She IS almost 10 years old (July 2011! OMG! How is that possible?!??!), but due to her tinyness & delayed development, I think she seems younger than she really is. Until now! Instant tween. :)

I love this picture because Claire is *SO* put out to have to "hold" her sister (notice eye-roll action)... and Lola's trying to be all still & perfect so Claire doesn't put her in a headlock. Dwarf sibling rivalry is BRUTAL!!!!! Love these girls...OMG.

I love your little grin SO MUCH, Claire... wish I could see it more often!

We all LOVE the new 'do! It's so CLAIRE. :)

I thought to myself tonight, I want to show off Claire's new look! And as I continued writing, I realized this is about SO MUCH MORE than just her new haircut. I realized how hard it is for me to select pictures to post of Claire. I love them all, but DO I purposely try to post pictures of her where she is looking more "typical"? Do I tend to shun those where she's doing one of her "Claire-isms?" I joke that I have to take 50 pictures to find 1 good one, and you know, maybe they're ALL good because they're all CLAIRE. All those weird, quirky, strange, spastic, reflexive movements & all. Yet, I DO find myself most excited to post the "pretty" ones. Yep, I DO seem to avoid those where she's grimacing or growling or arching or showing off her black teeth (a post for another day!) or acting "different" in general. Why is that??  I think it is partly because I do like seeing her in that light...but I think it is mostly because I want people to love my girl.

Here's a tiny glimpse into the other side of our beautiful Claire. xo
"Chameleon Eyes" at their finest... Damn Strabismus!
Growling at Mommy! STOP taking my picture!!!

I knew it was time to stop trying to get that "perfect" picture when she shot me the "Go to Hell!!!!" look... I'm SO incorporating this one into my daily life. :) Love you, Claire-bug!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


These are too good to not share again...  WE LOVE YOU, LOLA!  xoxo

And my personal fave... this is a card Scott gave me because he thought it was the feline version of Polly Ann.  HAHAHHAHAHAHA!  We are *such* dorks! 

(surely she knows we're laughing WITH HER, right?!??!) 


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ignore the butt cheeks...

... because I HAVE to post this darling video of our Claire-bug.  OMG! 

We captured her trademark flip-a-roo in the Whirlpool Tub the other day while sportin' her Water Way Babies Neck Ring.  Sooooo cute, and she seems so proud of herself (and also semi-pissed that her mean mom is making her do one of her best tricks over & over -- love this kid)! 

**Warning though, TOTALLLLLLLLLLLY ignore my hideous, witchy cackle & pointless, dorky dialogue in the background.  What...a hot mess.  Yikes.**

Notice, too, after the flip, (too many commas?!?!) how she goes to town with the scissored kicking/wiggly arm motions!  She really gets herself rockin' & rollin'!!  GO GIRL!  We are SO proud of you, Claire.  Watch out, Phelps!  HA!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For the paparazzi...

OK, so we TOTALLY know our girls are interesting, and quite often, we even find *ourselves* staring at them, taking them both in. We watch their quirky movements, listen to the grunts & unusual sounds they make, discuss their antics, and we revel in how damn beautiful they both are. To us, itty bitty heads, stiff/tiny bodies & all, they're drop-dead gorgeous. Course, we're partial.

One of my favorite "gotcha" moments was maybe a year or two ago at the grocery store. I'm pretty sure we were in hell... oops!... I mean, at Wal-Mart at like midnight on a random Tuesday, and all 5 of us were miserable beyond belief, and of course, we forgot something CLEAR across the store. (ummm, run-on sentence much!? DANG!) I volunteered to hump it the 1/2 mile over to the cosmetics section, did the dwarf pass-off (Lola to Cal, as Scott had Claire in his arms already), and said I'd be back in "two seconds" with whatever it was I'd forgotten (it's ALWAYS just "two seconds" with me... but honestly, it NEVER really is. LOL).

I shagged the missing item & headed back to my gang. As I rounded a corner, I spotted The Hooligans CLEAR across Wally World in the distance. Let me paint the picture. There they were... huge ass cart, heaped up & completely over-filled as always (shopping once every 6 weeks will do that to ya'!), Cal & Scott were horsin' around & laughing, hammin' it up together, the girls were in their arms likely tuning them out (!), and tons of people were around them staring & gesturing in their direction & whispering. You know, the "ushe" (how DO you spell the abbreviation for "usual?!"). It was COMICAL almost.

OK, so the dwarves had me captivated! They were so incredibly tiny -- I truly did a double take. I find this odd because I see them all day, every day, as I'm their mommy 24/7, but something about seeing them in THIS LIGHT -- from afar -- ummmm, no words?!?! It was just one of those "WOW!" moments where I literally stopped briefly, looked in at our life as if it weren't my own, and realized how much I love that it *IS* much each of the four of them meant to me... how filled with love I was (at that moment & always) BECAUSE of them.

It's pretty f---in' perfect, to quote P!nk.

Sorry, long-winded, as always. Check out the above links for more info on the dwarves, if you want the lowdown. I suck at updating, but I'm trying to do better. :)

xo Gwen

Feeding Tube Awareness Week at

February 6-12, 2011 marked Feeding Tube Awareness week. I created this video in honor of Claire & Lola, ages 9 & 4, who both have relied on feeding tubes for survival.

Lola Grace Hartley at

A video I created in May 2009 for our daughter, Lola...

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