Saturday, March 29, 2008

Constant Companions

Being a twin requires you to share in a lot of things with your sibling -- room, toys, meals, baths, clothes, and attention to name a few. There are times at home when Owen & Gus act out simply because they are demanding their own individual time away from each other. So having a constant companion can at times be stifling for a toddler.

That said, there are clearly times when it is great for the boys to have a constant playmate, especially as the weather gets warm and the boys begin to get outside with their boundless energy. So Owen and Gus got a treat this week with an early birthday present as the playset was delivered and assembled in the backyard.

Each of their reactions was a microcosm of their little personalities. Gus couldn't test the playset out fast enough as he ran from slide to steps to swings, chattering the whole time in breathless sentences, clearly in little boy heaven. Meanwhile Owen stood back and observed his new contraption as he sized up the entrances, exits, construction features, architecture, and design. Once he had the playset accurately sized up he bolted for the swing where he flipped over, landed on his head, got up with a face full of mulch and a smile on his face. He and Gus laughed and played as hard as they could.

"This makes me very, very, very, very happy," Gus proudly stated.

The parents were nearly as excited as the boys as Amy & I were able to share our first happy hour together since last summer as we watched from the deck as the boys entertained themselves. Having a constant companion has its advantages.

Cheers!



The anticipation....
video



....and the site of many fun hours for little ones.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Working Woman

Laptop, check.....conference call, check.....notebook, check.....sleeping infant, check.

Multi-tasking at its finest right here. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Grinner

Despite Tess's best attempts at not being photographed showing off her new grin, Amy caught her today.

Cheers!


Monday, March 24, 2008

Cadbury Hangover


Easter has come and gone. Eggs were dyed and hunted. Chocolate was consumed. Toddlers were wired from sugar highs.

When you stop and think about it, the idea of knowingly searching for plastic eggs filled with chocolate and candy that are hidden virtually out in the open is a pretty exciting notion, especially for two year-olds that are known to get excited at the mere possibility of watching the same Diego episode for the 212th time. So it goes without saying, Easter was a hit for Owen and Gus.

Amy & I took the boys to an Easter egg hunt on Saturday at our church. Yesterday, our neighbors had an egg hunt for the boys after they woke up from their naps. By last night the boys professed their love for the Easter bunny more willingly than for their mom and dad, who make them take baths and stop eating candy. Mean old parents.

When we weren't hunting for chocolate, there was definitely some time devoted to basketball over the weekend. Amy was gracious enough to take all three kids and give me an evening off on Friday so I could go to the RBC Center to watch the first round of NCAA tournament games. The games themselves -- UNC blowing out Mt. St. Mary's and Arkansas beating a lackadaisical Indiana team -- were uneventful. But to get out and tailgate on a great spring day and follow that up with four hours of live basketball is treat enough for me. I was a happy camper.

There were some great games over the first weekend although my beloved Cats bowed out in the first round. Western Kentucky posted an upset over Drake on Friday which still holds up as the best game of the tournament so far. Going to games in Bowling Green as a kid to watch the Hilltoppers is to this day a great memory so I was very happy to see Big Red make a surprising run to the Sweet 16. Another team closer to us in the Tar Heel state, Davidson, also advanced to the tournament's second weekend by knocking off Gonzaga and Georgetown in front of a partisan UNC crowd in Raleigh. Having surprise teams advance in the NCAA tournament reinforces why the NCAA and the Final Four are the greatest event in sports. I love it.

Tess is getting better as time progresses. She still has some congestion and coughing, but she is much, much better than two weeks ago. She has started smiling which generates a whole host of goofy, funny enticements from Mom and Dad who are doing anything and everything to coax a gummy grin from our little girl. We'll try to get some pictures or video up soon.

Amy goes back to work part-time today. We have learned over the past couple of weeks since GJ left that we are very likely going to need some part-time help in the mornings so Amy can get some work done. We have reached out to a few people and have had some conversations with candidates. Ultimately we want someone to come to the house as we're just not ready to drop off a six-week old with someone else right now. Plus, having someone come to our house calms a parent's fears of horrible nanny stories that surface from time to time. But we are hopeful that the routine will get worked out soon, and we will find the right person.

Finally, the boys don't know the excitement that is about to be coming their way. Amy & I have met with a local guy that builds playsets that fit your yard & landscaping. When we took up the project in the backyard last fall, the hope was to create a space for the boys so we could expand our living space outward, which is really just a nice way of saying we wanted to be able to kick the boys outside when they are making us parents pull our hair out. Either way, if all goes well we should have a playset up by the end of the week.

Chocolate, candy eggs, swings & slides -- wouldn't it be great to be a kid again?

Cheers!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Politico Tuesday

Barack Obama delivered a speech this morning in response to comments made by his pastor in Chicago that were offensive and misguided. The speech presented Obama with an opportunity to address the comments and the controversy head on. But it also allowed Obama to present his opinion on race relations in our country and his vision for how the problems with race have to be addressed collectively in order to be resolved.

Pundits started dissecting this speech the minute it was over. Paid political consultants from the left and right tried to put their spin on the speech. I think it is best digested simply by listening to what he had to say.

This video is why I believe in this man.

Text:
http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/gGBbrc

Video:



For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday

Tess has turned it around a bit over the past day. She is still congested and has thrown up a few times due to the coughing fits. But yesterday her appetite caught up with her as she ate nearly every hour. In a related story Amy has been very busy trying to keep up with a hungry baby.

On the toddler front Gus has started voicing his frustrations with us the past couple of days instead of acting out with his renowned tantrums.

"I am very, very, very, very frustrated at you, Dad!" has been more commonplace around our house.

Sometimes "Dad" is substituted with "Mom." Nevertheless his more rational approach to dealing with his frustrations is a welcome change as we can try to talk to him about his actions rather than trying to talk him off the ledge of frustration. Of course he still has his moments, but there are signs of progress.

On the "humorous arguments when you're a dead-tired parent of young children" front, Amy & I had a few gems this week over who was more tired. In other words, about absolutely nothing. When you're whipped from the day and folding laundry at midnight some tiny molehills just seem like enormous mountains. Some advice for future dads out there that may read this blog: Don't ever try to make the argument to your wife that even though you are the one that wakes up to corral boys to get them dressed, eat their breakfast, stop hitting each other, brush their teeth and go to school that your job is somehow more difficult than your wife's, who is getting up at 4:00am to nurse an infant. Just don't do it. It's a loser argument. Trust me.

This weekend promises to be a basketball weekend as the SEC and ACC tournaments are in full swing. Selection Sunday is a couple of days away where my beloved Cats find out their fate. I am hopeful that their strong finish in the SEC has earned them a bid. That San Diego loss doesn't look as bad now that the Torreros won their league tournament over Gonzaga the other night.

Finally, we have really noticed as little Tess develops that she resembles Owen when he was a baby. Her features -- especially those intense, glaring eyes and her mouth -- are so similar that we are taken aback sometimes. Check this one out.


Have a great weekend everybody. Cheers!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Random Notes

Wednesday tidbits....

  • Tess has regressed as she has not been able to keep any milk down all day. As soon as she finishes nursing she begins coughing and spits it all back up. The doctor told Amy to keep a watchful eye on her for the rest of the day and to follow up with them tomorrow. Amy & I thought she was getting better as she ate really well yesterday without incidents. We are going to crank up the trusty vaporizer to try to loosen any congestion that is in her chest. It is awful having a sick infant. As many hurdles as we had to overcome with the boys being premature, I don't recall a time this early when they were sick. We trudge onward...


  • Barack Obama won Wyoming over the weekend, Mississippi yesterday, and when all the caucus delegates were finally counted, Texas back on March 4. Obama won't win Pennsylvania at the end of April, but I don't think it will matter as his delegate lead is insurmountable with the remaining contests. Hillary Clinton will claim that she should be the nominee because she can win the big states like California, New York, Ohio, Tex.... er, Florida (as long as no one campaigns there), and Michigan (as long as no one else is on the ballot). As for having the audacity to suggest that Obama should be her vice president, the Illinois senator put Hillary in her place this week with this speech.


  • March Madness is nearly here as conference tournaments are going on this week. My tradition of taking vacation days to watch the games won't happen this year. Young children have a way of prioritizing themselves higher on the list. But that's ok. I am just thrilled that my Cats should get an NCAA tournament bid with their turnaround season, despite losing their best player in freshman phenom Patrick Patterson.


  • Looks like that $4,300 investment for a roll in the hay with a high-priced call girl will get you more than you bargained for. For starters, a disgraced resignation and the obligatory presser photo with the disgraced wife in stand-by-your-man mode. My first thought wasn't, "Oh, just another politician caught with his pants down." It was, "$4,300 for a call girl???"


  • My cousin Brooke has started a great blog detailing the lives of the Barretts (husband Geoff and daughter Gabi). Great to have Celebrate Everyday added to the blogroll.


  • Finally, this is perhaps the oddest story I've read in a long, long time. (Hat tip to my buddy Scott for finding this oddity)
"Woman sits on boyfriend's toilet for 2 years" http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23595533/

Monday, March 10, 2008

Finding the Groove

Life was busy before Tess. But it is safe to say that life is extraordinarily busy with an infant in addition to twin 2-year olds. Not that I'm complaining -- ok, maybe I'm whining a little bit -- but it is a reality that we have been coming face to face with these past few weeks.

Luckily Amy & I were fortunate to be able to wade into this life change slowly as we had grandmothers come to town to offer their helping hands. But inevitably you come to the point where the diving board is calling, which is what happened this afternoon as GJ returned home to Kentucky. So off the diving board we go as we are on our own with Owen, Gus & Tess. I am certain there will be days where we fall on our faces and struggle with the energy needed to raise little ones. But over the long run, we'll find that pattern -- that routine that we all get into that works for us.

One thing that always makes things more difficult is sickness. This winter the cold/flu season has just been brutal. The sickness bug prevented a much-anticipated visit this past weekend from Aunt Mel, Uncle Dude and Corinne as a menacing fever and strep throat have invaded the Crumpton household. In our house the lingering cold/congestion/cough bug that has plagued us for five weeks has spread to Tess. She has the chest congestion which leads to coughing fits which leads to her spitting up after eating. The low point was Sunday, when she got sick after nearly every feeding and became really lethargic, sleeping all day long. We got concerned enough to call the doctor's office, who recommended we take her to the emergency room for fluids.

So Amy & I trekked up to Wake Med in Raleigh on Sunday night where the doctors contemplated a battery of tests on little Tess, including a spinal tap (!) to test for meningitis. After thinking it over and consulting a pediatrician in the hospital we pushed back on the ER doctors -- we saw 4 different doctors in our six hour stint -- who eventually acquiesced and ordered a more moderate approach of blood & urine tests and IV fluids. Tess perked up and eventually nursed a couple of times. After six long hours, an exhausted set of parents brought her home around 3am.

Tess is doing better the past couple of days. Until she can completely rid herself of the chest congestion she will continue to cough and spit up. But Amy is feeding her in smaller bursts to keep her hydrated and lessen the impact when she does lose her lunch, so to speak.

The boys are adjusting to their roles as big brothers. Some days are frankly better than others. Both Owen and Gus are fine to Tess personally. It is the lack of attention they receive individually that is the issue. Gus has shown that he is going to get his attention -- positively or negatively. The question is what he has to do to receive the attention. On his good days, Gus is the life of our house -- energetically bouncing from room to room with a song or something amusing to say ("GJ, do you have a penis?") On the bad days Gus can launch into a frustrated fit that completely fills the house with negative energy. So we try to manage that the extrovert as best can. On the other hand our introverted Owen can entertain himself a little easier than his brother. So a View Master, a Diego episode, or a can of Play-Doh goes a lot longer than with Gus. That said, Owen can certainly have his moments as well when the attention in the house isn't directed where he wants it so he acts out in defiance. Such is life with developing little boys.

I think it is safe to say that Amy & I are enduring right now, trying to find our way and our new routine for how we raise three under three on a daily basis. We will find that path -- it just may take us a few iterations before we blaze it out.

Cheers!

Owen & Gus enjoyed having GJ at the house, engaging her in Play-Doh, stories, walks, and instructions on how to turn Diego on the big TV.



Play-Doh is a mainstay in our house, where making alligators, ice cubes, and forks out of clay can fill a little boys face with big smiles.



Thank heavens Baby T is truly is an easy baby so far. She is happiest on a shoulder or a chest, much more so than in a swing or bassinet....


...unless she is hungry or doesn't like our color choice for her outfit.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Patterson

Looks like my March just freed up. What a downer for this kid, Kentucky fans, and the slim chance the Cats had of making the NCAA tournament.

http://www.kentucky.com/276/story/333161.html
An X-ray of Patterson’s sore left ankle earlier Friday revealed a stress fracture of the medial malleolus bone. UK’s star freshman will not play again this season.