Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Six Degrees of Separation

Who would have thought this guy would become a household name around here?

Let me start off with Cash, the first child. So named because this movie came when I was pregnant:

Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash movie - played by Joaquin Phoenix. Liked the movie, liked the name.

Then along come the twins. Ashton and Phoenix - named for no reason other than we like the names. We were really trying to match the genre we'd started - it can be a little tricky to follow a name like Cash. You can't just go with Joe or something after you start like that. I had mentioned the names we were thinking of to a friend and was saying my hesitation that I felt they needed to blend with Cash's name - to which she said, of course they do - Joaquin Phoenix played Johnny Cash in the movie Walk the Line. Oh, right, I guess. I hadn't thought of that.

And now, over the past few weeks of learning to walk, I find myself frequently using the phrase, "Good Joaquin Phoenix!" I mean, "Good walking, Phoenix!" on a daily basis. And then feeling a little weird that I'm always saying that guy's name. And I know we've got people really confused because sometimes people call him "River" instead of Phoenix - which takes this to a whole new level of separation because then we're getting from Cash, named after Johnny Cash, to Joaquin Phoenix, who played Johnny Cash, to River Phoenix, the brother of Joaquin Phoenix who played Johnny Cash in the movie our first son is named after....


I wonder how I can keep extrapolating this to come up with a girl's name 5 years in the future. Or if I can find some hidden connection between Ashton Kutcher and Joaquin or River Phoenix. Then this could really get intricate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Saving face

It was brought to my attention in a recent comment that perhaps our subtitle: the whitest people in Miami, is no longer accurate due my inability to hide from the ever-blasting sun here. While yes, compared to people who are still getting snowed in in April, I am starting to look like I have a little tan. But we don't live in those places. Remember - I still hardly consider us living in the U.S. We live in Little Havana, Little Brazil, Little Haiti, Little Jamaica....and even the boys and I with a hint of tan are still as pasty as can be next to these people. And poor Ryan never sees the sun. So the subtitle remains. :)

While I know a good dose of Miami sunshine sounds heavenly to a lot of you, it is starting to scare me to death. While, of course I like the way I look when I'm tan, I'm really trying not to be tan, which seems like a hard thing to do in Miami. I am pretty sure I am going to age 20 years in the 5 years we will probably live here. My brother-in-law is a plastic surgeon and he was in town for a day over the weekend. We didn't have time to go to the beach, but we did drive over to South Beach before we went to the airport and he walked up to at least see the beach and then came back to the car. His one comment: wow, there's a lot of sun damage out there. Yeah, yikes.

Maybe it's being the big 3-0, the incoming wrinkles, or maybe it's the fact that I'm constantly catching a glimpse of me in the mirror next to my little babies and wondering how we get from that (their perfect little faces and milky complexion) to this (wrinkles, sun damage, spots, not such beautiful skin). I try to put on sun screen all the time, but it still gets me. I can really see the sun damage starting in a little row just under my eyes, over my nose and across the other side. My brother-in-law recommended this Nia 24 product which is supposed to be really great and can even help reverse some of the effects of sun damage. At first I was excited that maybe my skin would even look better after using it, but now I'm really hoping to break even, just trying to counteract all the damage I'm doing on a daily basis here. (The stuff is pretty expensive, but I did call 866-642-3963 and they sent me a free sample of a couple of the different products .)

This is why I keep trying to convince Ryan to go into oculoplastics instead of retina. Oculoplastics deals with all reconstruction of the eye, but also eye lifts and cosmetic stuff - including botox. Too bad my one time getting to try it wore off already. :) I could really be a junkie.

In the meantime, I think I need to buy a big straw hat before I look like one big raisin.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I am not one to encourage mobility

This whole walking thing has brought me to a new level of craziness and lack of control over my children (if I ever consider there was any). Some of you have had twins before, some with an older sibling, and some of have multiple kids - how on earth do you go to the playground anymore? I am such an out of control spectacle. I usually just have to leave Ashton to fend for himself while I run after Phoenix, until I remember that Ashton tries to eat everything (like you couldn't guess that by looking at him). So the other day, when I remembered to look over at Ashton, he's red in the face and choking on something. So I run to him and right as I'm about to sweep his mouth, he throws up all over me because a leaf was stuck in his throat. So I have to run to the stroller to get some wipes to clean up me and the mess. Meanwhile, I look over and see Phoenix climbing up the play equipment (we don't have stairs, I didn't know he could do them) and almost ready to plummet off the side so I have to sprint over to him. Then I'm realizing that Cash has decided to run off and play on the grass which freaked me out because I couldn't find him for a minute so I'm running around looking for him ... at which point I'm sure all the other parents there are just thinking "lady, you are in way over your head" and I decide it's definitely time to leave.

I have no idea how to do it! But we have to get out of the house. And if I didn't have Cash, I wouldn't think we'd have to go to the playground at all, and in fact sometimes I try to just go on walks at the park and see how many times I can circle around before Cash is dying to go to the playground and wondering why in the world we're not stopping. It was so much easier before they were mobile.

And then - we attempted the beach again. While this looks like it should have been fun, it wasn't.

It was worse. Much, much worse. I told Ryan we were just supposed get over the sand eating. He told me there are parasites in the sand. Great. The babies kept crawling into the water, of course eating everything, and then the last straw was the sand in the eyes and the rubbing, rubbing, rubbing, until they were both screaming, screaming, screaming. There's just no way to clean them off. And then if you attempt to clean them off, you can't set them down anywhere... and then how do you pack up all your stuff... I don't know. And then getting everyone clean enough and changed for the car... and it all pretty much ends up like this:

We decided we're just not going for another year.

Well, actually, for the last little while all I keep saying to myself is when my mom comes, when my mom comes. Then I'll try to go do something again. She comes next week for another month. Did I mention how excited I am? I begged her to help give me one more push to get through this first year (second year starts in July and is supposed to be better), and Ryan is on call three weekends in May - meaning he's pretty much working for an entire month straight. Not fun.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


It seems like over the last month or two the differences in the twins personalities have started coming out more. Phoenix is the reckless one. Which is probably why he has been the first one walking for the last few weeks, the first one with a black eye (pictured on the right), and the biggest trouble maker.

But he's kind of spunky too. Here's a playful little video of him...until it gets gross! But I was right in the middle of changing a poopy diaper and couldn't move, but had to just hurry and grab the nearby camera with one hand for a second...

Ashton is much more cautious and won't attempt walking unless he can already have his hands on the goal destination. Phoenix would just start trying to walk with nothing in sight to grab onto and just fall down when he couldn't make it. Ashton had better balance long before Phoenix though, and I have no doubt he could walk if he wasn't such a chicken. Ashton also contemplates things more. Whenever I try to hand him a piece of something, by the time he's decided he wants it, Phoenix has already taken it. And he just wants to be by you and be loved. He's also my cute little eye-batter and check out the jiggle-shaking dance moves (the slight look of terror is because we left him alone without anything to hold on to):

They each seem to have their "things," too. Like cars - Ashton loves to be holding onto cars all the time. Especially Lightning McQueen if he can find him. He gets very upset when you take Lightning McQueen from him. Don't know why he's so particular.

But Phoenix - well, the kid loves socks. Loves socks. Loves to eat socks. Weird. Unfortunately he's usually finding socks we've just taken off of someone. Maybe they're flavorful?

These kids are funny though. Sometimes I'm not sure they like each other that much because all they do is steal stuff from one another and scream (toy had just been stolen when this video started).

These were the mild ones since I just happened to already be filming when they started fighting. And usually during the shrieking, tantrum-throwing ones I'm busy intervening. But then often, they do like following each other around and getting into mischief together, which is fun to watch.

And then sometimes in this house everybody just wants to do what everybody else is doing. Whatever.

Did I mention we've been getting 8 molars in the last month? Misery and Woe are apparently horrible teethers. My, oh my.

Um, and can someone put this kid on a diet?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

I love that this is what we get now when we say "smile." And yes, we're just that lame as to use tupperware for an Easter basket. At least we had Easter eggs this year.

Easter egg hunt over the weekend:

Ain't nothing like trying to get a good picture in this house.

I guess the only good thing about not being able to produce any girls is that you feel like you should buy someone an Easter dress. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Texting shmexting

I used to feel a little outdated that Ryan and I didn't text. But I didn't care because we didn't really like it and we didn't really see the point. We had our theories - like we never really got into it because we weren't dating when it became so huge, and after that, what real need is there? It seems to be everyone's major mode of flirting, getting to know each other, chicken way of asking out on dates, etc. I already had a mate, what need did I have to be coy or abbreviationally savvy, sharing TMI with all my BFFs about stuff that was NBD? Seriously, SSINF. *

Well, a month ago I decided to turn on texting because of the number of friends I have that text. Well, the verdict is in: dumb. I will tell you right now, I have never had so many tiffs, misunderstandings, etc., as I have in the past month. If we're on the phone? Tone of voice can tell me what you mean. Misunderstanding? Cleared up in 1/2 a second. But texting? Time to analyze. Time to stew. Time to read too much into words and too much time to wait inbetween clarifications, if there are any. Time to accidentally send your message to the wrong person. And besides that whole lack of face-to-face interaction, it just takes way more time altogether than the same conversation would on the phone. Plus the fact that I'm no rapid-fire texter. I totally laugh when I spend 5 minutes typing in a text only to have it replied to in 10 seconds or less.

I can see it's uses in some situations. When you can't talk out loud for instance, or need to send some info that you want written down anyway. I could send Ryan a quick message at work that he just needed to read when he can't talk (if he would text, which he still won't anyway). To send a cute up-to-the-minute picture of the boys to their aunt via phone. But not to have regular conversations. I just feel like it's kind of a lame cop-out for that.

So call me old fashioned, but this one is not for me. Another technological update that I don't think is all that beneficial. I know, I'm such a heretic.

(Too much information, best friends forever, no big deal, so stupid it's not funny.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Apparently looks aren't everything

Miami, you may be voted the most attractive city in the U.S. (for those of you who still consider Miami the U.S.), but of all the places I've lived, I'm voting you home of the worst drivers, pedestrians, and homeless-shopping-cart-pushers-in-the-middle-of-the-road-(um?)-ers. Utah drivers? Distracted, perhaps. Milwaukee? Nothing notable. Granny cars maybe (hee hee, Melanie). New York? Crazy, yes. But good. Ryan idolizes the taxi drivers there. Every driving experience in New York City was like a challenge for him to drive up to par with the cabbies there. He thinks they have excellent perception of their vehicle and it's boundaries (their bumpers tell me a little otherwise, but whatever). I personally, think driving in NYC can be done like a civilized human being, but I will admit I gained a lot of skills driving in NY. Merging into a space that has just enough room for your car without stopping the flow of traffic. Being willing to parallel park in a space that no one else has dared try. I chalk it all up to the Big Apple. But Miami? Your road-sense is pretty much nil.

First of all let's talk about the pedestrians. If you've lived in a foreign country, you might be familiar with the technique of walking across a multi-lane road whenever there is an opening - even if it was only one lane or one direction that had the opening. Then you just stop and wait for another opening. It drives me nuts. It's a complete norm here. (I think I tried it once out of habit in Utah after living in South Africa - totally stopped traffic in all directions and looked like an idiot. So it should be.) But here, you drive up a busy busy road, someone starts crossing the road and stops on one of the lines dividing the 4 lanes of traffic and just waits while all these cars are whizzing by. WHY? Why must you do that?? Why can't you wait the extra 30 seconds, walk 5 extra feet, and just wait at the crosswalk like an organized and civil society dictates? Because it doesn't always work either. People don't always pay attention very well, teenagers get used to doing it and are ditzy and distracted, cars come out of nowhere and inevitably, someone has to hurry and run not to get hit, cars have to stop, and often your party gets split up at various intervals across the road based on your stupidity/audacity. And what makes me even more mad is that moms with little kids do it and just sit in the middle of the road waiting along dotted lines, waiting for openings in traffic with like three little kids tagging along. Stupid.

Then there's the driving. Sort of a similar idea. You want to cross that busy road and you're on a side street. So you just start pulling out. Slowly. Slowly. Maybe once there was a slight opening, but probably not anymore, and you're going slow enough that the cars coming realize this and are forced to stop. So you get two lanes of traffic stopped. Not because they are being polite and letting you across, but because your freaking car is stopped, parallel in front of them, giving that direction of traffic no choice. The opposing side, however, is not blocked by you yet, and is probably thinking - look at that idiot blocking those two lanes of traffic. I'm not stopping my car for such a dummy. So you wait, effectively backing up the two lanes of traffic, until there is finally an opening (or at least half an opening), and you mosey across the rest of the road. Tell me you can do this without looking like an idiot and being called names by at least 15 different vehicles. Maybe. Maybe if you're another person who does this frequently and thinks is a good idea.

Then there's the homeless people. I know I'm going to sound insensitive, but, well, oh well. They seem to feel a great sense of entitlement here. Like, entitled to an entire lane of traffic so they can push their shopping cart. My favorite was one of them waiting with their shopping cart at a light in a left-turn lane. Because they're probably going to make it through that light before the oncoming signal turns green? Because they're just daring you to hit them because they're homeless? Because they want to sue you so they can make some money? Or because they sincerely just think shopping carts count as vehicles?

And while I'm on my rant about homeless people, can I just ask what is up with the Homeless Voice? I think they have some Homeless Voice newspaper and they stand on the street and collect money. Maybe you're supposed get a newspaper for giving them money. If you want it. About homeless people? I'm not sure. But I've actually never seen them holding one newspaper, just containers. They all wear orange police vests with the "Homeless Voice" printed on it. They look organized. And they're weaving in and out of cars holding out their jars asking for money. But the thing that gets you is they're always very smiley and wave at you, and look like they might possibly even ask how your children are doing, which of course makes you feel like even more of a jerk. But they're everywhere. All the time. Multitudes of them. Which always makes me feel weird. Like if you have that much man-power, why don't you have a car wash or something? But somehow because it's organized begging it's more noble? I would so much rather pay you $10 to have a car wash than finally give up and give you $1 for approaching my car 37 times that week. I guess I just have a distaste for begging. Maybe it's all the times I gave money in South Africa only to drive by 20 minutes later and see them sniffing glue. Or seeing parents sending their kids out to beg and then herding them in to collect the spoils. Or maybe it's because I saw a guy here last week with a sign that said, "Why lie? I need beer." I don't know. But I really am charitable. I give money to our church, and if you know how on-the-scene the LDS church is in every disaster, and how much we try to take care of those in need, you'll know it goes to good use.

Anyway, in the meantime, can you just push your shopping carts off to the side of the road? Or on the sidewalk? And I'll make sure I keep watching out for the neighborhood homeless rollerblader. And wondering why he's always rollerblading down the street carrying a tv, a stereo, or some other large piece of electronic equipment.