Sunday, December 30, 2007

The version of "Pirates" you've never seen...

We received the latest "Pirates of the Carribean" movie on Netflix a few weeks ago, and intended to get around to seeing it before the kids were born. However, our busy schedules earlier this month actually lent itself to a great opportunity. Many DVDs now have commentary by the producer, director, or actors. However, a few days ago, we got to watch the "Dylan Voiceover version". This rare gem is not sold on DVD, and the general public didn't get to see this version in theatres. In short, the movie is 4 minutes long and the storyline -- while complex -- can generally be summarized as
As the plot unfolded in this instant classic, we learned that the plight of Captain Jack Sparrow is superceded only by "the grand quest for food". Fortunately, we got to see an hour of the movie the subsequent evening, and we'll watch the rest later.

Holidays with the kiddos

Pondering the "to do" list....

Ok...I'll wake up for the camera...

It is amazing how Grace and Dylan have changed in just a few short days. Denise got the advice "Don't blink" from a friend of hers, and it seems to ring true. The most obvious development is how both of their appetites have grown.

Christmas day with the grandparents was quite nice. As expected, everyone was jockeying for position to hold Grace and Dylan. We had a great meal with a centerpiece of a big beef roast, and lots of great desserts, including a pecan pie and cookies that Denise' s mom made, and a apple caramel pie that Denise made. It was a gourmet meal in our formal dining room, eaten on...nothing but the finest paper plates (we had to go low-maintenance on something!). The kiddos dutifully slept through the entire meal, adorned in their Christmas hats.

Dylan is a man of action and efficiency, and lets us know when something is amiss. After all, what's the point in dawdling around? Grace continues to be as observant as ever. Sometimes she will just wake up and look around for a long while, and is generally content in entertaining herself.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Chronicles of week one...

Many of you may recall the Peace Corps slogan "the toughest job you'll ever love". That would be a somewhat fitting characterization of the first night with Dylan and Grace. I think the kids were a bit anxious about the change in environment, and perhaps they sensed our nervousness as well. By the writing of this note, all readers have proof that we did survive! At 2:30am Sunday, with us both holding our kids...OUR KIDS!....we were just smiling at them and each other in the nursery. Nothing had to be said -- it was a look of "there's no other place I'd rather be."

On Sunday, things started to fall into place as we had the full day at home and started to get into a routine. Grace and Dylan exhibit new things about their personalities and traits every day (granted, it's only been five so far). Grace can make two distinct types of eye contact. Most of the time the glance is the "I'm a little princess make-you-melt" look. However, she can also display the steely gaze reminiscent of the look Clint Eastwood had in his eye during the movie Unforgiven, when after rightfully being accused of shooting an unarmed man, stated "Well, he should have armed himself."

Dylan can eat like a champ and after chow time sleeps baby!? I affectionately call him the D-train, as in "don't get in the path of the D-train at feeding time, or you'll get run over."

Today's most magical moment...we put the kids in the crib this afternoon, parallel as always, and when coming to check up on them, they had both scooted their heads closer to each other. Selfish dad was more preoccupied with capturing the Kodak moment than the fact that sudden bright flashes (for instance, the flash of a camera in a dark room) are somewhat disconcerting to infants. Here's the picture below.

Best buds...

Tomorrow is our kids' first Christmas!!! All the grandparents will be there and it will be a very special day. Extra hugs and kisses for the kids. Not to forget our "fluffy child", there are also some very juicy bones wrapped up under the tree.

Introducing Grace and Dylan

2:01pm Thursday December 20th marked the arrival of both Dylan Ramesh and Grace Shalini, and an exciting new chapter in our lives. Grace was 6 lbs 9 oz, Dylan was 6 lbs 8 oz, and both were 19.5 inches. Both of them and mom are healthy and doing well.

It was absolutely magical to see them brought into the world, and Denise was a trooper through it all. We came home on the night of Saturday December 22nd. We had the option of staying longer, but given that the kids' vital signs were all good, supplemented by the fact we were all a bit stir crazy from being in the hospital, we decided to bring them home.

A few highlights a few hours after their arrival --
Grace was very observant of everything on the evening of the 20th, scanning our faces and the room she was in, just soaking up information as if to say "hmm...this is a pretty interesting place"
Dylan won the "wiggle worm" award among all the kids in the nursery. On the nursery table, he managed to make a 90 degree turn on his back so he was perpendicular to all the other newborns. Looks like he's not one to follow the herd...

Here's the initial installment of the purpose of this blog...kiddo pictures!

Grace checking things out
Dylan flexing his day-old muscles
Time to get out of here and go home! Dylan, Grace, and happy dad in the operating room

Thursday, December 20, 2007

6:00 am conversation

R: " there anything you want to do today?"
D: "Have some babies!"

Heading to the hospital in a few hours, wish us luck!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

4 more 'til 2 more...

FOUR more days until the big day. The bags are packed and the child seats are all set to bring them home. We are really looking forward to holding our babies. Truman seems to have gotten into the spirit, annoucing to folks he's going to be a big bubba (left).

Yesterday, we decided to do something that will be very rare in the near future -- go out to a movie! We saw the matinee of "I am Legend". The movie was good (not spectacular), but what we enjoyed the most was just spending the afternoon together on a date. Hopefully, with the grandparents help, we can carve out time to have the occasional "date afternoon" or "date night" next year, even if that means just getting out of the house for an hour and enjoying a pizza! (Parents of infants and toddlers, insert laugh track here.) Granted, that might be the wildly optimistic thinking of a "rookie" -- we'll have see how that plays out.

Denise's last day of work was Friday, and she'll take a few well-deserved days off prior to the delivery date. My folks are flying in on Tuesday and they'll be around for a few weeks to help out and shamelessly spoil their first grandkids.

This is possibly the last pre-dad transmission....see you on the other side!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Home stretch....

We had our 35 week appointment on Thursday and things are looking good. The current prognosis is that we've got a reasonable chance of reaching the December 20th delivery date. Of course, every day could be THE DAY, and whether we can hold on that long remains to be seen. The good news is that the bambinos are far enough along that they should be fairly healthy even if we're a little earlier.

Our son has been rather assertive in communicating his desire to see the world, expressing himself through a medley of knocks, kicks, and other calisthenics. Our daughter is somewhat more selective in her motions -- perhaps driven by her smaller portion of real estate -- prodding in areas she seems to have carefully chosen. A combination of diligent execution and strategic instinct...even before learning to crawl, they're (over)qualified to be management consultants.

We went to a Mothers of Multiples white elephant dinner in Clear Lake last night. Lots of good food, fun, and helpful advice from several folks. It was nice to connect with others that had "been there, done that", and it was encouraging to observe that everyone was happy!

Truman woke me up this morning, as is typical for Saturday mornings, with his classic "What part of 'I have to pee' don't you understand?" whimper. While trotting down the stairs with him, I mentally registered the fact that this could be the last weekend in a long time that it's the DOG that wakes us up! I'm pretty confident I can keep intact the morning ritual of letting Truman out, getting the newspaper with him, and giving him 2 milk bones each morning. A lot of things will change, but the daily stint of quality time with the dog will remain on the priority list.

Here are a few photos taken this afternoon.

Denise at slightly over 35 weeks

Truman watching Denise at slightly over 35 weeks

Sunday, December 2, 2007

How things have changed!

We just put holiday gifts and cards for our kids under the tree today. This is definitely a sign that it's starting to become much more real for us! This will be quite the exciting holiday season. Our outlook on things has certainly changed in the past few months -- as it should.

Here's a picture from May of this year when we were vacationing in Playa del Carmen. We knew we were expecting at that time (it was pretty early and we hadn't told anyone), however, we were spending most of the days just relaxing in the sun, checking out the sights, etc. I don't think the reality had fully sunk in with us at that time. Now we're in the home stretch and the bambinos will be arriving later this month. I imagine the next "big vacation" will be something quite different than our trek to Mexico!
Chillin' South of the Border...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Shameless Plug

A temporary diversion from the normal posts here -- I just had to use this opportunity as a shameless plug for Frank Caliendo. His impression of Bill Walton is hysterical. In case you don't want to watch the full video, just forward to the 3:15 mark. Ok, need to get back on track and focus...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A holiday first

Although we've been in our house 7 years now, we have always been out of town visiting my folks during the Christmas holidays. So even though we had put up outside holiday lights and decorated the house with stockings, wreaths, etc., we never took the initiative to put up a Christmas tree inside the house. But now that we'll have our maiden voyage into Christmas in Pearland, we figured this was the year to initiate a new tradition.

Yesterday we put up all our "normal" holiday decorations, and for the first time we put up a Christmas tree in our home. (Ok, so it's a "synthetic" tree, but for us it's quite a big step!) We enjoyed ourselves putting the ornaments on. I'm pretty excited that the house will be extra-bright and festive for the bambinos, as we hope to bring them home around Christmas-time.

Our first tree!

Come on, you pansy!

It has been quite a pleasant Thanskgiving holiday weekend so far. On Thursday morning Denise had a lot of momentum to plant some pansies we had bought a few days ago, so we took care of that prior to our big Thanksgiving meal. It's pretty impressive that even at 33 weeks with twins, Denise still has the energy to pursue one of her favorite hobbies -- there's always time for trees, plants, and flowers! Truman supervised our gardening event, but seemed rather indifferent to the results.

We had Thanksgiving at Denise's folks place in Spring (just north of Houston). It was a cozy audience with Denise's folks, her uncle Kenny, Denise and I, and of course the bambinos. It was great to relax and have some time to just sit back and chat. We had a fantastic meal and plenty of leftovers to bring home. Denise's dad made his famous river bottom gravy which I applied liberally to pretty much everything on my plate. Attached are a few pictures.

Denise and mom (checking for kicks!)

Denise and Dad

Saturday, November 17, 2007

They keep growing, and growing...

We had our 32 week ultrasound a few hours ago. Both the kiddos are doing great. We were given the good news that for both of them, their lungs have developed nicely and are pretty mature. We were even able to watch them breathe, observing their chests systematically expand and contract. Go bambinos!

Our son is getting BIG and has repeated his "grow 50% in 3 weeks" trick, passing the 5 lb. mark. Our daughter is a little more petite but also managing to grow at a quite healthy pace. Being an engineer, I was compelled to make a chart. At this growth rate, the kiddos may be ready to see the world prior to our currently scheduled December 20th date. Looks like there may be some real estate issues with being able to hold them in for that long. We'll have more visibility on that after our next doctor's visit this upcoming week. Stay tuned!

By the way, no ultrasound pictures this time. The bambinos are both positioned with their heads parallel and fairly far downward, so it looks like they're being shy for the cameras...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Going mobile...

I think we're reaching maximum density on the nursery. We got a mobile two weeks ago that has a remote control you can hang on the doorknob. It plays 5 different songs and projects all sorts of mesmerising images of stars, fish, etc. on the ceiling and walls. While intended for babies, it's remarkably Pink Floyd-esque (If you ever watched "Dazed and Confused", it's the type of thing Slater could watch for hours...). I wonder if Fisher-Price recognizes this potential source of revenue.
Warning: Contents may explode under pressure

The 31 week appointment went well last week, and current indications suggest there is a good chance we'll go to full term (December 20th). We have another ultrasound scheduled for Saturday Nov. 17th, and we're looking forward to seeing our bambinos and observing how they're growing and trekking about. Other than that, we're doing a bunch of preparatory odds and ends. I installed the car seats and we had them inspected, Denise prepared a bunch of "dream dinners" for the freezer (I highly recommend the lemon chicken with capers), and we got a camcorder (which may be of some utility if we actually take it out of the box.)

That's it for now...ultrasound pictures forthcoming within a week.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

If you can quote "Folsom Prison Blues"...'re probably too old to trick-or-treat. I guess that requires some explanation of the backstory, huh?

We've had a good number of trick-or-treaters come by this evening (a surprisingly high number of Harry Potters, all of which were impressively realistic.) Most of them were toddler to elementary school age, which is what one would expect. A few others Two of the latter category arrived in prison outfits. Denise asked what they did that earned them hard time. Without hesitation, one of our doorway guests quipped "I shot a man in Reno." This was followed by my nearly dropping the candy basket, and Denise encouraging further song-quoting banter by querying "Just to watch him die??"

So, some food for thought for all you parents out there...if your kiddos can quote Johnny Cash, perhaps it's getting time for them to focus on their algebra homework instead of trick-or-treating. Just something to ponder...I imagine the Man in Black is grinning in his grave...

A post-game quiz for you readers (yes, both of you!): Why is the song's protagonist serving time in California for a crime committed in Nevada? I never quite followed that. If you can explain that to me, I'll give you a nickel.

Monday, October 29, 2007

29 weeks and growing

We went in for the 29 week ultrasound on Saturday, and the bambinos are growing quite rapidly. They're each 50% bigger by weight than they were 3 weeks ago! Our daughter is 2.9 lbs and our son is 3.4 lbs (estimated). Hopefully they'll continue to grow at a healthy pace, but without causing their mom too much discomfort. Denise can definitely feel more impact from their jostling around.

Our daughter at 29 weeks

Our son at 29 weeks

We've pretty much got the nursery under control now. We got a glider earlier this month (pictured below) and also La-z-Boy recliner for one of the guest bedrooms. Why we waited 7 years to get a La-z-Boy is life's 2nd greatest mystery (shortly behind "How is it medically possible that Keith Richards hasn't died at least 3 or 4 times by now?"). It is soooooooooooooooo comfy. A few pics of the "95% solution" nursery are below.
Rock around the clock
"If I can change....and you can change....everyone can change!"

Given that these ramblings will be highly bambino-centric in 2008, this episode probably warrants at least some discussion dedicated to the Truminator. So here's a short anecdote...

Through some awkward cosmic force, we were both in the mood for hot dogs on Sunday evening. So I fired up the grill, and Truman (who generally follows me to the grill enthusiastically to volunteer as a taste-tester) took an uncharacteristic stance of curling up on one of our deck chairs and looking sad. It is likely that the sobering reality that there would be no hot dogs for him sunk in early. I did not feel too sorry for him, as he was the beneficiary of cooking too many pancakes Sunday morning.

I'd smile and look at the camera too if I could have a hot dog

Saturday, October 20, 2007

And in this corner....

Denise joined this mothers of multiples (MOM) group, and it has been a great way for her to network, get advice, and find incredible bargains at semi-annual garage sales. While she is a member of the Bay Area Mothers of Multiples group, it turns out that the other MOM groups interchangeably allow the other groups to get priority attendance and sell at these garage sales. Last month Denise and my mom got a lot of clothes for our daughter, practically new stuff that was 80-90% off what you'd pay at a store. After this and our first baby shower, we organized our nursery closet and realized our daughter would pretty much be stylin' in her hip threads and our son....well...he'd have diapers. Which leads me into this morning's adventure...

This morning we got up early and headed to a joint Bellaire/Fort Bend MOM garage sale. Denise prudently recommended we arrive early, as the MOM members were able to start shopping at 7:30am and it opened to the general public at 8:00. We arrived at 7:20 with a modest group of a dozen or so in front of us, and in the ensuing few minutes there were about another dozen behind us. So far, nothing unusual...the doors open to the gym-converted-to-shopping-outlet at 7:30 and we're off.

So we find a bunch of nice clothes for our son, some of which belonged to a lady we met in a shopping aisle. She was both a buyer and a seller and told us "yeah, that was my son's outfit...really nice but once they outgrow them you just want to get it out of the house". I imagine we'll be there in not too long. At around 7:50 we've mostly taken care of business, and I start hearing a good bit of noise. Curious about the rumble, I look toward the spot where we entered. Lo and behold, there is a bulging sea of humanity befitting a rock concert, pulsing against the poor ladies that are guarding the entrance. At 8:00 am the dam burst and a flood of bargain hunters descended upon us. I have attached a picture of the chaos. Fortunately by 8:10 it was "mission accomplished" and -- Denise not being in a particular mood for contact sports -- we got the heck out of Dodge.

Please disperse....nothing to see here.

After that, we did a "trial drive" to the hospital to ensure we knew exactly how to get to the valet parking and to the delivery area. It was a good idea to go because there are skads (1 skad = 2.32 times "a lot") of construction activity going on at the medical center, and the path to the valet parking wasn't fully intuitive (at least for me). We also -- unexpectedly -- got a private tour of the operating area from Denise's friend Paige, who works in the delivery area. We had taken a hospital tour before, but the refresher was very helpful, as was the personal touch. Thanks Paige!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pregnant woman shoots man in restaurant -- details at 10

We had a celebration event for employees and their families today at Dave and Buster's. While we originally intended to make a guest appearance for an hour or so, we had so much fun talking to people and playing video games, it turned into 3 hours. Denise and I diverged toward different games for some of the time. Once I wrecked my virtual speedboat in "Water Racer", I decided to see what Denise was up to. What I observed was quite the Kodak moment, and I just had to capture this....
This is what happens when you take pickles from a pregnant woman

Here's looking-at-you kids

We had an ultrasound on October 6. The bambinos have both more than doubled in weight since the last visit in late August! Our daughter is now an estimated 1.9 lbs and our son is now an estimated 2.3 lbs (it is typical for one to be slightly bigger than the other). Our daughter was occasionally putting her hand in her mouth -- it is exciting that they're big enough to observe that level of detail! The facial pictures are still a bit blurry, but of sufficient resolution to make out the major features. Their development is going right on track. Anyway, here's our daughter and our son looking right at you!
Our son's face at 26 weeks
Our daughter's face at 26 weeks
Switching gears a bit, I should comment on happenings of the season now that halloween season is upon us. This is a magical time of year when the weather gets cooler, college football is in full swing, and Denise gets excited about dressing up Truman in various halloween outfits. With regard to the last item, it appears a rather consistent pattern has emerged.
The normal sequence of events is that Denise breaks out the dog outfits for a "halloween preview", Truman meekly tries to hide (but to no avail), and I end up consoling him once Denise has plastered him in said outfit. I have advised Truman that even in middle age, he is still much faster than us, and he may want to take advantage of that. In case you thought I was joking, attached is photographic proof of our annual event.

I hope dog therapy isn't expensive

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Just the of us

Had a baby shower this past weekend at our place. Denise's best friend flew in from California to throw it. She did a fantastic job of coordinating things, especially considering she had her 2 young kids (adorable, I might add) in tow. Although it was a ladies only shower, I am told a good time was had by all. Pretty darn good samosas as well (yes, I scavenged after the festivities were over). It's pretty amazing how generous folks are. The bambinos have got themselves some pretty nice threads.

My folks flew in for the weekend festivities, and it was really good to see them. Mom even gave me a series of shower gifts, including an Oscar the grouch -- commemorating my youthful days when I'd open up trash cans in the neighborhood looking for the green guy. I'll need to remember to reinitiate that habit...I don't think the neighbors will mind.

Anyway, here's a picture of us shortly before the baby shower started. As Fernando would say "She look mahvelous."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Please contact your system administrator

I received a video from a friend of mine on the world's first "help desk". It does have a true ring to it on how it can be challenging to embrace change. I remember the first digital camera my dad got -- he was an early adopter. The device was rather big, clunky, required floppy disks, and had very modest resolution and shutter speed. I remember thinking to myself "this doesn't seem as efficient as my film camera".

I bet this guy goes back to the scroll after the helper leaves.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Help, I'm surrounded by rabbits.

We've made good progress on the nursery. Last night we put up the wallpaper border. Still some work to do, but I think we've gotten a substantial amount of the nursery stuff taken care of. Lots o' lambs, rabbits, and birds.

Check out my crib

Kiddo corner

Meanwhile, Truman continues to be the trendsetter with his "black" fashion statement. Look at all the imitators...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Greetings from the sprawling metropolis o' Pearland

Hello there! I have decided to enter this century and create a blog. We have twins on the way (due in December) and figured this would be a good way to post pics, videos, etc. of the kiddos without overloading people's inboxes. Plus, this is a good way to get Truman exposure on the internet, get him discovered by a pet casting agent, and ultimately net us millions as the next cover dog on Milk Bone boxes. Just to be cautious, though, I'll keep the day job for now.

Anyway, here are a few pics of the bambinos. We haven't landed on names yet (although we have a list of candidates) and in the meantime we are calling our daughter Bambino A and our son Bambino B. For the casting agents, have also included a pic of Truman checking things out. He's going for the Johnny Cash look right now with the black bandana. I think it's just a phase. On our walk this morning he told me about how he shot a man in prison...
Our son at 17 weeks

Our daughter at 17 weeks

The dog in black