Sunday, September 7, 2008

13 Big Ones .... Times Two!


At 8:21 pm and then again at 8:22 pm, I became a mother for the first time thirteen years ago today! Yep, that's right! My babies are now officially teenagers! As the old saying goes, it seems like yesterday they were born. I remember when we bought this house (before we started our family), my first thought when I looked at the gorgeous staircase was that I hoped one day little toes encased in feeted-pajamas would race down the stairs Christmas morning. We lived here for six years before having the twins, and every Christmas I thought that maybe next year would be the year. The kids were only 4 months old when their first Christmas rolled around, and so obviously they weren't racing down the stairs just yet, but I remember thinking how lucky and blessed I was to have such amazing, little people to call my own.

Those stairs hold many memories ... teaching the kids how to climb them, how to hold the railing, how to navigate going down the stairs, sledding down the stairs feet first, sledding down the stairs head first, falling down the stairs (yep, be thinking "ouch"), racing up the stairs, and of course, my initial wish of racing down them. There are sixteen steps and I know each of them quite well ... I would count out loud in a very exaggerated voice each step and the kids would laugh and laugh! It's how they learned to count. I love those stairs.

And ... I love those teenagers of mine, too! Teenagers!!! For their birthday, the kidlin's wanted a chocolate cake. They didn't care what decorations were involved, just as long as it was chocolate. Over the years, I've made some pretty darn impressive cakes for their birthdays. They were impressive for several reasons, the first being that I'm not a baker at all, so the fact that the cake turned out was cause for celebration. My personal favorites include the "Treasure Chest" cake that involved decorating the cake to look like a, well you know, Treasure Chest! It came equipped with a propped up lid as well as gold foil covered chocolate coins, candy necklaces, and other edible jewels! Another favorite cake was their "Sleepover Cake" when the kids had two of their friends spend the night. It was a sheet cake and I placed Twinkies (yeah, you read that correctly ... the Twink-miesters were used) on top, and then frosted the whole thing. I decorated the Twinkie portions to look like kids in bed (bedspread, pillow, etc.) and made each one resemble each of the kids here (hair, face, pj's). It was a lot of work, but I approached it like a craft project, and if I do say so myself, it turned out pretty darn good! Oh, and it tasted good, too!

This year, I purchased the cake and it was "wow" good! It was a Cookies and Cream cake that consisted of chocolate cake with whipped cream for the icing as well as in between the layers, and a chocolate ganach over the top. Then there were Oreo cookies on top of that. The kids went nuts over it, and that includes my hubbyman. For my gluten free baby, she got her own gigantic piece of bakery cheesecake (minus the graham crust) that she garnished with strawberries. I'm surprised we are not all in a sugar coma tonight.

Here are some "then and now" photos. Don't they look magnificent all rolled up? And, yes, despite the obvious blue and pink blankets, I did get asked which one is the boy and which is the girl. I still get asked if they are identical twins. Uh, nope. One's a boy, and one's a girl. I made it to 37 weeks before they made their arrival (after 18 hours of labor which ended in a cesarean). I had a tough recovery and stayed in the hospital for five days, but they did great the entire time. I just love those noisemakers. They are my sun, moon, and stars, and I really do thank the good Lord everyday, several times a day, for blessing me so greatly with them.

Here they are in their little "fish tank" at the hospital. They are a day old here.


Here they are today, on their special day. The young man is the older of the two by a whopping '1' minute!

All of my kids are close with each other, but we are not a squabble free zone. My son is the most mellow of all my kids, and tolerates his sister's antics with extreme patience. He's so much bigger and stronger than both of his sisters; he could squish them if he chose to. Luckily for them, instead, he just shrugs stuff off ... which probably drives them crazy!

I enjoy reading blogs where folks share their day to day lives, and allow me glimpses of who they are and who is important to them. So, in return, here's a glimpse at my kids on their special day.

My son is amazing. He's blessed with an astonishing memory, is a loving brother and son, is handsome and thoughtful, is a talented artist and budding writer, and has taught me the meaning of cherishing every moment. When he was six years old, he developed epilepsy, and continues to deal with it. Luckily, his seizures are mostly nocturnal, and if you were to ask him, he'd tell you enthusiastically that he has a GREAT life. This kid possesses the most positive attitude ever. In his 13 years, he's dealt with more than most will in a lifetime, including being critically ill and in true peril with something called Steven's Johnson Syndrome a year and a half ago. His SJS was caused by a toxic reaction to taking Ibuprofen and it's the most horrific thing you can imagine. He was covered head to toe, outside and inside, with horrible, enormous blisters. He lost his vision for a couple days due to the raging blisters. All the skin in his mouth and inside his nose shed off, his lips turned black and shed off, every membrane and vein in his body was enflamed, developed pneumonia and vasculitis, and endured off the charts pain that could not be dulled with medications. You know it's bad when the nurses cry outside his room. Still, he persevered on, showed amazing strength of character as well as physical strength, and high integrity and character. Today, he's fully recovered, his vision miraculously returned unmarred, and although we were concerned that he'd be scarred head to toe, the only physical sign to indicate his suffering is that his lips have lighter shading where the new skin grew in, and a couple spots on his face. Every one tells him it gives him a rugged look. He plays soccer and basketball, and lives to draw his cartoons and write screen plays. He's a trooper for sure, and is destined for greatness in life.

His twin, who thinks that she should have been born first, is a total package girl. She's an academic over achiever, naturally athletic, beautiful yet shy, curious and interested in everything, and ready to discover the world. She's a gifted learner, and is the most determined child on the planet. When she was a baby and was learning to stand up, she didn't follow the path most kids take. Most kids will position themselves next to something and pull themselves up. Not this child, oh no. She would sit in the middle of the floor and try to stand up un-aided. Thank goodness for puffy diapers, because she plopped many a time on her bottom. I'd ask her over and over if she wanted help, and she's say "I do it, I do it" over and over right back at me. Sure enough, she did do it and felt so proud of herself. That was the first of many ventures where she wanted to achieve some task herself, and keeps at it until she masters it. She has her dad's competitive drive, yet has a very sensitive soul. Coaches and teachers love her because of her work ethic; I love her big heart. She possesses a stewardship consciousness not commonly found in kids her age ... she's interested in conservation, the well-being of the planet and those who live on it, and she's a huge animal lover. She's very protective of her brother and sister, and is very much her momma's girl. We even call her "the little mama". She loves getting hugs, and isn't embarrassed to get one from her mom in front of her peers. Someday in the future, she's going to make a huge mark on the world. She'll be one of those people who make a difference.

And, here's a pic of my wee one ... just to keep her in the loop. Soccer season has started, and they had their first game on Saturday. Um, the score was not in our favor, unfortunately. In fact, toward the end of the game, the other team took it easy on our girls because they were sooooo much better than our team. My little mite is the only girl on our team who even made it to their end of the field to shoot a goal, but alas the other team's goalie blocked her shot. Still, she had a great time, actually all the girls did, and she's ready to get back out and play again. My girl is the one in the purple jersey, with the black shin guards/socks, and blue glasses. I just love this action shot!

So there you have my family, plus hubbyman. How do you celebrate birthdays? Join me in wishing my babies a gloriously happy 13th birthday! We are a happy little group of people, especially today celebrating the 13 big ones --- times two!

26 comments:

Jan said...

Happy Birthday Times Two!!
A lovely post - no wonder you are so proud - they look like lovely kids (oops sorry - now teenagers)!
A great cake too!

PGL said...

Happy Birthday to your twins! Now the fun begins...teenagers.

nottryingforaboy said...

Happy Birthday to your babies!

What a scary story about your son. I'm sure that was rough for you feeling so helpless while he suffered like that. He sounds like an amazing young man (I can say man now since he's 13, right?)

Your daughter sounds like my oldest and youngest. Nothing holds them back.

Since I'm here for the party, I'd like a piece of cake please. It looks delicious!

Marjie said...

Happy Birthday to the Twins! For some reason, I thought it was Wednesday *sigh* so I'm slow with the greeting. Love the sugar coma materials, too! Did you all take today off to regain consciousness?

Your twins certainly are a good looking pair (and so is baby sis)!

Thor sends a big doggy kiss, too!

Cheryl said...

Ahhh what an awesome blog, I am sorry I missed it yesterday. Happy belated birthday to your babies!

Marjie said...

I forgot to say that I'd have been with little miss on the cheesecake. There is nothing like cheesecake for pure, unadulterated food bliss (or for packin' on the pounds)!

OhioMom said...

Happy Birthday Times Two!

LOL ... PGI, my thoughts exactly. Anyone who has raised children knows that you need the patience of Job to endure the "teens". But lets not scare her off :)

Good luck Mom !

Lulu Barbarian said...

Aw, what cuties! They do sound like great kids.

dp said...

You've got me blubbering like a fool! What a wonderful tribute to your kids. And happy B-day to them!

Sonny officially started kindergarten today, and I was misty-eyed when I saw him off. He, of course, was fine and excited. They grow so fast, don't they??

Grace said...

awww paula! what a great homage to your kiddos--to tell you the truth, it brought tears to my eyes. they sound like terrific people, and i can see why you're so proud. :)

Esi said...

Hope your twins had a very happy birthday!!

Bellini Valli said...

Happy 13trh birthday to these 2 amazing kids. It sounds like they have enriched your life in so many ways and have taught you to count your blessings. Congratulations!! "The acorn never falls very far from the tree" as they say:D

noble pig said...

Happy Birthday one day late! What a cuties your kids are and that baby pic! OMG it makes me want a couple more. I hope their day was just perfect.

Jan said...

A belated Happy Birthday to your twins, I hope you all had a fabulous day.

Great post, Paula, I'm not really a kid person but you got to me. It sounds like you have a great bunch there. Take care.

Lisa said...

So you have September babies too? I hope they had a wonderful birthday! I know the cake looks good and they sound like great kids. How nice to hear about such a happy family.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Your kids sound awesome, just like their Mom! They are a reflection of you and your hubby, you know... .

Happy Birthday!! The cake looks luscious.

Pam said...

Thank you for giving us a glimpse at your life. Your children are beautiful! I can't imagine how hard it was for you to watch your son go through such a horrible thing. What a brave and couragous boy he is! Great kids, great life and oh yeah, great cake.

Dee said...

This is a beautiful post, Paula. I have one child although we would have loved two or three. He's five, and my world. I sometimes wonder what he'll be like as a teenager, but he'll always be my baby.

You did good with yours, obviously. I hope I don't make too many mistakes with mine.

My heart seized when I read about your son, and I'm so glad he's okay now. Happy birthday to your kids! The cake looks amazing :)

Bridgett said...

What a great post. Love it! Happiest Birthday to the twins.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Awww, What a beautiful post Paula!
Your kids sound amazing! Happy belated B-Day to them. Such a proud mama you are! And rightly so!

Sarah said...

What a fun post to read! Happy birthday to your kids and Happy Birth Day to you!

Pam said...

I love learning about everyone's family! Happy birthday to your teenagers, and I am so glad your son recovered from everything so well. They are adorable!

Deborah said...

Happy birthday to your twins! They sound like they are great people and are turning into wonderful adults!

And the cake is gorgeous!!

Kristen said...

Ahhhh - I loved this post. So great to see inside your family!
Happy birthday to your beautiful babes!

Aggie said...

Awww...happy birthday to your babies! What cuties! That cake looks awesome!

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

just reading through your blog and finding out more about you - it must have been a tough time for you when your son was sick - the whole story is scary - sometimes true life stories are more unbelievable than fiction