You're a Good Man Charlie Brown

Halloween is one of my family's very favorite holidays. We usually create a big spook alley at my parents house and then dress up and terrify the neighborhood scaredy-cats (its not a very spooky spook alley unless you are 6 years old or younger). So being in New York and far from "home" was a little bit hard this year. However, my little cuties did make up for most of it. 

I decided on Charlie Brown and Snoopy a little while ago but didn't get on the costumes ahead of time which led to a giant scramble the few days before Halloween. Charlie Brown was easy obviously, I found a cute onsie (a few sizes too big, oh well!) on the cheap and just paired it with his black pants, a toy football and a drawn on curly cue and eyebrows. (sidenote: the eyeliner goes on and comes off very easily. So I spent some of my alone time drawing on different mustaches on the babies. Soooo funny. If you have a baby I highly suggest this activity the next time you are bored.)

Snoopy was pbviously the bigger challenge. I tried to find a ready made costume online but none were to be found. Seriously! Not even a crappy one. I came up with a brilliant plan to just buy a giant plush Snoopy and cut it open and stick Sophie inside...which maybe would have worked but stuffed animals are not really built to be a costume. So instead I found a cute winter suit and made some modifications. Sophie's white suit actually has little bear ears and bears on the feet but since I bought it a size too big so she can wear it all winter (two birds with one stone!) I just tucked the feet in and put a few stitches in so they would look like paws and then tacked her Snoopy ears over the bear ears. Add a patch on the back, a little tail to the bum, a red felt collar, and a Woodstock Beany Baby and walla! Snoopy! And again I got to use my eyeliner to fill in her little nose. 

As for our actual Halloween celebrations, we were pretty relaxed this year. We went to our church's Halloween party which was really fun. There were tons of people there. It is a pretty big community event and everyone brings friends. I was shocked when I saw the crowd. They did a bunch of fun games in the gym for the kiddos and I had some of the best chili of my life. Once it got dark they did a Trunk-or-Treat and I was super impressed by the showing. I wish I could have taken good pictures but it was too dark. Seriously, those cars were decked out. I love our little family ward.

On Halloween we went in to Albany to trick-or-treat at Danny's school. The administration decorates their offices, this year was Wizard of Oz themed, and the students go get treats. They invites the students to bring their kids, which means the twins and one other kid (that belongs to a second year)...in the entire school. We are kind of an anomaly here in New York and definitely at Albany Med. But it was so fun! I got to see more of D's school and meet a bunch of his friends and teachers. They had a giant yellow brick road and the staff was dressed up as different characters. Such a fun way to show off the babies and celebrate Halloween.

We were going to go to a friends house that was having a party and group trick-or-treat but D had a test the next morning so we just stayed in. We ordered our favorite pizza (pep, onion, green pepper, tomato) from our favorite place over here. Oh, Papa Divinci! I love you! Then we just put the babies to bed, watched a few shows and handed out candy to the neighborhood kiddos. I love all the New York accents. Danny does not love that the kids weren't actually saying "trick-or-treat" so he started just opening the main door but staying behind the glass door until they said it. He is teaching the younger generation the meaning of hard work...or something. 

Hope everyone enjoyed their Halloween as much as we did. I'm already running through ideas for next year. Add Halloween costumes to the "pro's list" for having twins! If I would have gone for triplets I could have had a real Woodstock...probably not worth it. 


Dr. Cardona

Playing a little catch up! All about the day my kiddos were born.

I went in to my OB at 11:00am on Tuesday, July 30th. I had been having high blood pressures the past few weeks and I was really hoping that she would say I was ready to have the babies. It was Tuesday and my C-section date was already scheduled for the upcoming Saturday but Danny needed to leave for orientation on Monday, giving him only a few days with the babes. Dr.Cardona didn't agree to the C-section it but she was concerned enough to schedule me over with the high risk doctors the following day.

On our way out to the car Dr.Cardona's nurse called and said that the high risk docs would squeeze me in if I could go right then. D and I turned around and headed back to the hospital. When we got to the elevators I decided we should take the stairs to the fourth floor to get my blood pressure up...this was one of my worst ideas...ever. By the time we reached the fourth floor my already gigantic feet were throbbing and Danny basically had to shove my bootie up the last few steps because I was about to pass out.

I made it to maternal-fetal and to my dismay they took me in to the ultrasound room instead of the NST room. Basically, I tortured myself for nothing because my blood pressure was not going to get taken for at least a half an hour. Boo. 

To make a long story a little bit shorter, my blood pressure was high and after a little fighting with the high risk doctor, I was scheduled for 4:00pm! Luckily, I had slept in so I had only had milk that morning so I didn't have to wait until late that night to get started. They sent me home to pack and get ready (I still hadn't packed for the hospital) and kill a few hours before check-in.

Back to the hospital at 2:30pm and I sat around for an hour waiting to get checked in. Finally! I got checked in to my room. Dr.Silver (my favorite anesthesiologist in the world!) came in and we talked about the procedure and the epidural I would be getting. They drew some blood and got Danny his surgery gown. I was getting pretty nervous at this point. My parents, Danny's mom, my sibs and my best friend Brittan all started showing up. Next thing I knew, I was getting wheeled in to the OR.

In the OR I first noticed that it was freeeezing. Second, it looked nothing like Grey's Anatomy. I met some of the staff and then Dr.Silver came back in to put in my epidural. Getting the epidural was uncomfortable but not nearly as painful as I expected. It is crazy how it sends shocks to different parts of the body. Dr.Silver would adjust things and then ask where and if I felt little shocks. It was an unpleasant few minutes but not horrible.

Next I laid on the table waiting to go numb. And here I started to freak out. Dr.Silver would use a pin to prick up my legs to check my numbness and it was not at all what I was expecting. I guess I figured I would be totally numb. I wasn't. I mean I was, it didn't feel sharp but I could feel it, and that terrified me. The things those stupid classes don't tell you! I had Danny really believing that he should not let them cut into me. Luckily, Dr.Silver was the kindest man alive and he got me to calm down and convinced me that I would be fine and I wouldn't feel the scalpel.

Dr.Cardona started the surgery and it was the most surreal thing that has ever happened to me. I laid there on a table, listening to La Vie En Rose, looking at Danny's blue eyes while a doctor brought the two most precious things into the world.

Lincoln was born at 5:25pm. I heard his cry and then Dr.Cardona gave him to Danny to show me. It was terrible not getting to hold him but he was gorgeous. The nurse then took Linc and went to the next room to weigh him and get him cleaned up.

Sophie was born just two minutes later at 5:27pm. I was stunned when I saw her. She was so tiny! Danny took Sophie to the other room to get cleaned up and to take pictures of the babies. I would be jealous of this later on but I was so scarred of being open on the table still that I couldn't think about it. 

Not long after Danny came back with my two brand new babies all wrapped up and we just sat and laughed and cried and stared at each other and our two sweet babies. This is the moment I will remember most. I just thought about how completely changed our lives were.

Eventually, I made it back to my room and they brought in the babies. Holding them in my arms for the first time was the most beautiful thing. As corny as it is, I really did not know I would ever love someone (or someone's) that way. Watching D hold the babies and fall in love with them was the best. I wish I could keep those minutes in a bottle and live them over and over again. 


Dear Brene

I've been reading Brene Brown's new book, Daring Greatly.  I love it, actually I think I love it more than the last book of hers I read and that is saying something. Brene's last book changed a lot in me and the way I look at my relationships with others. More on that here and here. But what I can't get out of my head lately is this quote from her book, “We're a nation hungry for more joy: Because we're starving from a lack of gratitude". 

And so I am determined to find more joy in my life and that means finding more gratitude. 

I'm grateful for Halloween and my favorite season of the year.

For beautiful brass doorknobs and the small things that make a house home,

For flying birds that bring such joy to little ones,

And glass doors that make a drafty house warm,

For handwritten letters from loved ones that make a mother weep,

The smell of nutmeg, sticky fingers and warm treats on cool nights,

And the giant tree outside that welcomes us home each day.

What brings you joy? What are you grateful for? I would sincerely love to hear!



First, I wanted to thank everyone that commented on my last post via the blog, email, Facebook or just stopped by to read a little bit about our family. We were completely surprised and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from our family, friends and complete strangers. I was so nervous to share Sophie with the world but it has been such a lift in our spirits here and we can't thank you enough for the support.

We have had a really great here over in New York! Not only are we in the midst of our first New England fall, which is completely breathtaking, we also started the Early Intervention Program. 

Sophie automatically qualified for Early Intervention in New York. I was a little unsure about participating in the program, largely because I didn't know much about it and because Sophie's disability is still so fresh. But our doctor really encouraged us to at least meet with them and learn more about the program before opting to do everything on our own. 

Our caseworker, Jamie, came over early last week just to tell us a little bit about the program. Early Intervention (EI) is designed to help children with disabilities get all the help they need while educating the families about how to involve their children in the community. I was pretty much sold ten minutes into the conversation. EI creates a specialized team and program for each child to make sure they have all the developmental help they need and makes goals for the family to help each child reach their potential. 

On Tuesday, Jamie came with a team of evaluaters to decide what services Sophie would most benefit from. The team was so kind and supportive and completely in love with Sophie. At the end of the evaluation I was really encouraged. Sophie scored in the "normal" range in almost every category. The areas she had the lowest scores were cognitive and physical. At this age Sophie should be starting to discover her hands (put them up to her mouth) and she does that occasionally but not like Lincoln (who seriously might eat his hand). During her eval she had some trouble tracking toys but that didn't worry me a ton because she does that for us a lot. The physical therapist showed us some weakness in her legs and how she doesn't have full range of motion in her hips currently which, untreated, could cause walking problems later on.

Danny and I sat with these three women and made a six month plan for Sophie. A physical therapist will start coming to the house twice a week for now to help with her legs, and there will be a visit from a speech pathologist and teacher of the hearing impaired once a week for now. Sophie may need more or less help in the future, we will just wait and see. It was so empowering to start learning about what Sophie needs and the things that I can be doing to help her. It also puts me at ease that I will have so much help in the coming months and extra eyes to make sure both Sophie and Lincoln are doing their very best.

I'm learning to take things one day at a time, which is hard for me because I'm such a planner by nature. But as I learn to slow down I stop stressing over things in the future, that may or may not come to pass. I'm learning to find joy in the small things every day; in Sophie's smallest accomplishments and Linc's hilarious nature, in the beautiful fall colors, in walks with my sister, and the pillow talk with my sweetheart each night. My sweet littles bring us all so much joy and while we are on a path that is so different than what we imagined, we are slowly learning to enjoy the new scenery. Feeing so, so blessed today.


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