Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sabbath Lunch with Ulf & Norma Jean

Ulf & Norma Jean invited us to lunch after church. Their hospitality extended to Mom & Dad Bauer, who are here to help us with the babies, and...... to the babies, too!
Norma Jean bonded with Anneka & Mariella right away. There's something about moms and babies.
Then again, there's something about babies and mom's, too!
And not to forget papas and their daughters!
Photos notwithstanding, the afternoon was not all about the babies. There was a fine meal, thanks to Norma Jean, and an enjoyable time with Richard & Jeanette Bonjour (Case's high school dormitory dean) and Inna (another Scandinavian, like Ulf). It was also Ulf's birthday; we were honored to be included on his special day.

But of course, Ulf (the cameraman) didn't send us photos of himself or anyone else. Must have a chat with him about that...!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Strawberry Patch Kids

This morning, we dressed the kids up and told them we were taking them to church.
With her fist in her ear, I guess Anneka didn't hear so well and thought we said we were were taking her to cha-cha, because she started practicing her dance moves...
...first the hand...
...then the shuffle...
...then the whole body gets into the act...
...ending with the bow. I even thought I heard "Thank you; thank you very much!" a la Elvis.

Note: There is really no excuse for all these photos, except that we've had requests asking for more photos. Honest!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Papa's girls

The chin isn't often shaved nor the hair combed when I cuddle my girls in the midnight feedings, but they don't seem to mind. The "Papa's-eye-view" is always incredible, though.
They say parents can sit and look at their kids for hours. "Well, why not?", I say. Just a few shots in quick succession show a whole range of expressions.

And here's the "Mom's-eye-view" of bedtime for the girls...
That's Papa's patootie as he leans into the crib to kiss his girls good-night.
And just before I put them down to sleep, I whisper "Papa loves you" in their ears.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


The book said that, when you have twins, you need help, so just plan on it and get it. So we prayed about it and Jolene did some searching and interviewing, and we got Ann!
We thought we needed a nanny, but it would not be fair to call Ann just a nanny. Ann came to us having just completed 4 years with twins, so well qualified there. And before she was a nanny, she ran a home cleaning business, and before that, a catering and pastry business. "Family aide" is more like it, but "Mary Poppins" would not be a stretch. Thanks, Ann!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mom & the babies

Somehow, we're only getting two types of pictures of Jolene and the babies...
... and nursing (& thus not fit for publication without some modification).
Come to think of it, that's really the story of her life right now.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Taking the twins home

By Monday, the doc felt like Jolene and the kids could safely head home. The staff at Sierra Vista Hospital had been very helpful in getting us ready for "life on the outside". Aside from allowing Jolene time to recover from surgery, the nurses provided lots of helpful advice for the new parents and sent us home with lots of "loot". (You can never have too many boxes of sample formula, "single-use/disposable" feeding bottles & nipples, etc.)

We also appreciated the daily visits and encouragement from lactation consultant. Then, every night, the nurses would take the kids for at least one feeding shift, giving us the chance for some much needed rest. (Maybe this was because Case brought them lots of tasty treats, but we think they would have done it anyway.)
The kids' review of their hospital stay might be a little more mixed, as along with all the cuddling and praise from the nurses, they got some immunization shots. Ugh! However, they seemed quite content upon departure.

The discharge process was -- as at all hospitals -- lengthy and bureaucratic, but relatively painless for all that. Then it was time to see if those fancy car seats really worked, and whether our 14 year-old Audi would haul us all.
It got a little tight for Papa in the driver's seat, but it worked!
And so we came home to weather as bright and sunny as the day we left, just 4 nights previous.
Once inside, the kids* got bundled off to sleep in their crib...
... and Mom followed a short time later.
*P.S. No, we can't always tell them apart without closer inspection. For convenience sake, we usually place Anneka on the left and Mariella on the right, as in this photo, but we still get mixed up sometimes. And it doesn't help that they sometimes decide to switch personalities. We *think* we have one calm sleeper and one who's a little more hyper, but as to which deserves which title...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Photographicus Gratuitori

We have decided that Jolene is in charge of milk manufacturing and delivery, while I (Case) am in charge of production and customer service. So, pretty much, I have three duties:
  1. every 3 hours, transfer babies between Jolene and the their bassinets
  2. deliver regular pep talks to Jolene about channeling her inner cow
  3. occasionally, utter (udder?) a surreptitious "MOOOOOOOOO" from behind my magazine
This leaves me plenty of time to succumb to that common affliction of new parents: photographicus gratuitori

More to come...

P.S. Jolene feels it important to point out that I have also succumbed to another common parental affliction known as "telling tall tales". Apparently, from where she sits, she has seen me change diapers, bottle feed the kidlets, and even cuddle and rock them to sleep. I also happened to catch her attention when I misread the breast-pump dial and set it to "maximum" instead of "minimum". Can't imagine how she picked that little error up. Sharp eyes, maybe...

Friday, April 09, 2010

A note on pronunciation

Anneka and Mariella would like you to know how to correctly pronounce their names. The pronunciation may be counterintuitive to some American-English speakers.

Anneka Sophia is AH-neh-kuh ("A" as in "yawn", *not* as it "at") Soh-FEE-uh.

Mariella Beatrix is Mah-ree-ELL-uh BAY-uh-tricks ("Mah-ree-", not "Mary-", and "Bay-uh-", not "BEE-uh-").

Postscript for the minutia-minded:

The terminal "Uh" sound in Mariella, Sophia, and Anneka is an American approximation to the European "e" sound. There, the names could be spelled Marielle, Sofie, and Anneke, and the terminal "e" would be pronounced as a separate syllable sounding much similar to -- but not the same as -- the American "uh" sound.

We have preserved the Dutch spelling and pronunciation of Beatrix. As you can see from the notes above, the pronunciation of vowels varies significantly in Europe.

Morning of Day 1

Last night, the babies worked the nurses and mom. Dad got to sleep!
After 9 months together, they are still happiest and most peaceful next to each other.
Awww... Ain't they cute!!!!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Our Twins Arrive

It's a fine day to birth a couple babies...
Jolene awaits her ride to the hospital.
First time in the hospital, and actually happy to be here, too! (This goes against all the Bauer genes...)
Fast forward past a couple hours of paperwork, checking vital signs & labs, and the babies are out with Mama & Papa.
I'n't she cute!!!
Hey! Who's that masked man with my babies?
Jolene has to go to recovery for a couple hours, so Papa gets time with the babies in the nursery.
This is little Anneka, always the most active while in the womb, and the first out the door.
And here you can see their characters starting to come through: Anneka (on the left) is a little more active and fussy, with a stronger startle reflex. She was 6 lb 3 oz, probably because of all the exercise she had turning somersaults in the womb. Mariella is quieter and more methodical, but she had a little trouble with blood sugar in her first hour out in the big, wide world (all fine now). She was 6 lb 10 oz. Both were 18" long with overly large heads (a Ketting trait).
And here is Anneka, all bathed and beautiful, snuggled up to Mama's right side...
...and Mariella snoozing out on Mama's left.
And here's the mom, looking awfully good for all she's been through, and very happy with her two little cuties tucked in close.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Full Term Week 38

Two little girls to full term, mission accomplished!!
This sounds crazy to me, someone who avoids hospitals at all cost, but I can't wait for surgery tomorrow.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

A Rant on the 2010 US Census

So what is this with the census? First of all, all they care about is name, age, and race. I guess that's the usual government nosiness. But when I got to filling out race, their idea of race seemed truly skewed:

First of all, they apparently think I want to be in one big bucket called "white", with the rest of the hoi polloi. Then they move on to the race category of "Black, African Am., or Negro". So far as I know, in common usage, they mean the same thing, so Uncle Sam is just worried about giving offense to folks with an agenda.

From there, we go on to American Indian or Alaska Native. -- Hoy! Not the same thing!!!

Asian Indian? Guess Uncle Sam just wants to point out that, though you may be Caucasian or East Asian (under current scientific definitions of race), you are most definitely not White. If your name is Ramesh Krishnamurty (caught here musing, not picking his nose!) it doesn't matter that you're a dead ringer for Gandalf/Ian McKellan (with a slight tan) and probably have more Scottish ancestors than Ian does.

Chinese? Filipino? Japanesse? Korean? Vietnamese? Native Hawaiian? Guamanian or Chamorro? Samoan? You each get your own check box. Wouldn't want to offend by lumping you together, would we?

Still not good enough? You get a fill-in box for "Other Asian" if your self-definition is "Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian, and so on". I kid you not -- the quotes are verbatim from the census document.

Or, if you are "Fijian, Tongan, and so on", there's a fill-in box for "Other Pacific Islander".

Well, we *do* have a liberal government... If you can't cram yourself into one of the above, there's a fill-in box for "Some other race -- Print race."

Oh, but wait, I forgot the whole other category of race in question 8, preceding question 9 that I've been referring to. Question 8 goes like this: "Is [this person] of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?"

And here are the options:
Yes, Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano
Yes, Puerto Rican
Yes, Cuban
Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin -- Print origin, for example Argentinean, Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Spaniard, and so on.

I guess having question 8 makes sense. After all, there are black Puerto Ricans, and I suppose a Cuban Samoan isn't beyond the pale of possibility.

I'm just having trouble with where I fit. Uncle Sam, who has so much interest in counting how many Japanese Peruvians live in this countryjust isn't interested in anything except the color of my skin. (Which is not white, but pinkish tan with a few age spots, by the way.)

I can't quite figure out if this census strategy is designed to preserve a white hegemony --- assuming such a thing exists in USA --- or to create a whole lot of minorities for the politicians to cater to. My guess is it's the latter. Next census will no doubt be asking about sexual orientation, with options parsed down to the level of "transgendered presurgical homosexual".

What I do know is that, for all of Uncle Sam's disinterest, my heritage is every bit as interesting and valuable as the next guy's, thank-you-very-much! I appreciate and respect the Italian, English, Irish, Suid Afrikaner, Russian, German, and countable-but-sadly-uncounted other "races" who have lent their strength and culture to this country. I don't really care to be lumped with them based on the tinge (or lack thereof) of my skin, and I would encourage their members to stand up and be counted separately, too!

Or, if Uncle Sam wants to be fair, he can go back to counting Caucasians (which includes Indian, Iranian, and Lapp), Oceanian (only Australian aborigine and New Guinean), East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Malay, Polynesian, etc.), African, and Native American (which includes Brazil Indian and Eskimo). What is not fair is starting with one boring skin color (white) and then giving everyone else the opportunity to be counted in more interesting ways.

It takes a whole Wikipedia entry to explain the US Census theory of race, but I've chosen to display as much interest toward that as Uncle Sam has showed toward my race ... aside, that is, from noticing that the 1850 census allowed one to be "White", "Black", or "Mulatto". Maybe we should go back to that. It is, at least, marginally self-consistent.

For my part, though I'm sure I've broken some law or other, I chose to write in "Dutch" under "Some other race".
I would have written in "Thai Malaysian Dutch American", but there wasn't enough space. And besides, I'm turning in the census form late, which is an infraction of federal law. (The crime apparently carries no penalty, but no point in attracting too much attention.)

Pregnant Jolene, after listening patiently to my rant (bless her), declared her desire to be listed as "White", though I offered to write her in as "German". I should have expected nothing else. After all, there isn't space on the form for "98% German by blood, but 5th Generation Californian and proud of it" either.
[OK, that's it for me. Gotta fly! -- Case]