ALMOST 13 MONTHS - 26 July 2011

Yesterday while I was doing some work on the computer, Liva and Laia were playing with a ball. They were running (as much as they can "run") around the apartment, chasing each other and stealing the ball from each other. At one point they were in the computer room with me. Liva was walking around holding the ball, making funny noises. Laia was watching her and laughing. Liva realized she was being funny, so she started making funny faces, strange noises, and swinging her arms up and down with the ball. Laia was laughing really hard, making Liva laugh as well. I think Liva is going to be a little clown when she's older - just like her daddy! :)
Today they had their 1-year check-up - finally! It wasn't our own pediatrician, thought they had promised us on Friday it would be. Oh well, this guy was nice... It would have been nice to have our own pediatrician, though, who knows the girls and have known them since they were a few weeks old.
But the doctor told us they are fine, which is the most important thing! Laia is way taller than avarage, 80.5 cm. She weighs a little over 9.5 kgs. Liva is a perfect average, she is 78 cm tall and weighs a little over 10 kgs. Everything is as it should be with both of them.
While waiting at the doctor's office, Liva and Laia were playing - there's a baby slide there, and they both love slides. Laia has recently started huffing and puffing when she's doing "hard work", she loved crawling up the steps, sliding down, going back to the other side, crawling up, sliding down, etc., while huffing and puffing as if she were running a marathon. Incredible that she has learned that, I honestly don't know who she has it from, neither Albert nor I do it. They have also both started making noises when they drink, making it sound like they were on the verge of dehydration. Where do they learn these things? We don't do it, and I can't imagine my mother-in-law or Heather doing it either.
This morning we went to see Luca, it's been a while and it was great to see how happy they were to see each other. Especially Luca and Laia, they spent the first five minutes looking at each other, laughing and touching each other. Very sweet. Very soon they started fighting over toys instead....
It's lovely to have friends here, it's lovely that Liva and Laia have friends here! Most of all, it's lovely to know they are healthy and completely "avarage" - though in my eyes they are way above avarage and the most beautiful, incredible, wonderful little people ever put in this world!

1 YEAR + 3 weeks - 24 July 2011

It's been a while since I've written, my mom has been here and it's been lovely! She arrived Tuesday at noon while Liva and Laia were asleep, after their nap we all went out for a coffee - juice for the girls, of course - then went to play at their favorite playground by the Sagrada Familia. At night, after putting the girls to bed, Albert and I cooked dinner, and the three of us had a nice evening.
Wednesday my mom and I went into town with Liva and Laia. We went for lunch at a nice little restaurant by the old hospital, then strolled around the city. The girls hardly slept, so they had an early bath, early dinner, and were put to bed shortly after Albert got home. We had a nice dinner at home Wednesday evening.
Thursday I had to teach at 14:00, so my mom and I took the girls down to Vila Olimpica near the beach where we had coffee and ice-cream. When I got home from teaching we took Liva and Laia out on their little cars to a playground across the street from where we live. They loved it! In the evening my mom cooked risotto - she loves it but my dad doesn't like it, so she was happy to finally have somebody to eat it with.
Friday the girls had a doctor's appointment at 15:25, we left as soon as Albert got home. We had tried for weeks to set up an appointment for their 1-year check-up, until we were finally told our pedeatrician wasn't available until the end of September. We could either wait or see another pedeatrician. Since Liva and Laia turned 1 in June, we decided to see another doctor. After having waited 30 minutes at the doctor's office, our pedeatrician came out of her office. We asked her how come we had an appointment with another doctor if she was there. She of course didn't know, but on top of it all, the doctor we were supposed to see wasn't there that day, neither were any of the nurses who are also supposed to be there for the check-ups. So after 40 minutes of waiting, we were told to go down and get another appointment. Our pedeatrician had called down to the reception and had told them to make sure we were given an appointment next week. On Tuesday afternoon I have to go back - without Albert, he'll be working. Not that it matters to me, but he would've liked to be there.
So we went home, my mom had gone into town to do some shopping, came home around the time we started getting the girls ready for bed. Albert had cooked dinner, and we all had another nice evening.
Saturday morning we all 5 went out for a coffee and by chance bumped into Albert's brother and his whole family. My mom was happy to see all of them again. In the afternoon, my mom flew home.
It was Saturday, and my mother-in-law was supposed to come at 16:00. When the girls woke up from their nap we didn't go out - we figured we'd get to go out on our own soon after. At 17:00 Albert called his mom because she still hadn't shown up. She was asleep because she wasn't feeling well. It's OK not to feel well, but she could have told us.... By then it was too late to go out with the girls, so we spent the entire Saturday afternoon and evening in the apartment - fun....
Today we went to the botanical garden, Liva and Laia loved it! They got to walk around, touch the plants, flowers and trees, and after a while Heather and Jenn came as well. We spent about an hour there together, then walked towards the center. Heather and Jenn stayed on the mountain, Albert and I started walking home, Liva and Laia napped in their stroller. After they woke up, Albert and I had lunch while Liva and Laia had a snack. Then we went to my brother-in-law's where my parents-in-law were as well. We all had a great time, Liva and Laia were exhausted by the time we got home. They had dinner, a bath and by 18:30 they were sound asleep.
Tomorrow morning Heather is coming since I have to work. It's our last week together, we're all going to Denmark on Saturday, Heather and Jenn leave Barcelona while we're gone. They're going back to California - for good. They will be deeply missed!!

1 YEAR + 2 weeks - 13 July 2011

Things are getting easier again. Having Heather here for 3 hours in the morning is wonderful! The past 2 days, Liva and Laia have slept until 7:20, a whole hour longer than normal! I hope this is their new routine. It means they don't sleep for very long in the morning, giving me less time to shower and get ready. But if they sleep longer in the mornings, I can live with them not taking a morning nap. On Monday they napped for 2 hours in the afternoon, that was so lovely. Unfortunately, it was only that day. I would love for them to sleep longer in the morning (like now, 7:20 is fine!) and take a long nap in the afternoon. We can skip their morning nap for all I care, I'm sure I can fit in a shower somewhere. If worse comes to worse, I'll shower at night, or with Liva and Laia playing in the bathroom.
Liva was in such a good mood today, laughing and chatting all day. This morning they played catch while I prepared breakfast, later they played with a ball, chasing it all over the apartment, and this afternoon they played on the couch - both laughing loads all the time. It makes such a difference that they play with each other now. Liva is suddenly walking, which makes a huge difference as well; it puts her and Laia on a more similar level. The advantages of having twins are starting to show up on a more and more daily basis!!

1 YEAR + 2 weeks - 11 July 2011

Liva woke up around 22:30 last night, we assume because of a nightmare. I took her out of the room to avoid waking up Laia (pointless since one twin wakes up when the other is missing) and sat holding her tight for a while. That's when I realized how big she has gotten! Not as in how much she has developed, which I comment on often, which is also incredible, but size-wise. She's a really big girl! She doesn't fit on my belly anymore, her long legs hang down to my knees. Without being chubby, she is also not thin - holding her is holding a small child now, not a baby anymore. Laia is a little bit taller and quite a bit thinner. She doesn't weigh as much, so it's not the same with her - yet.
They're both walking by now, Liva still a bit unsure of herself, but she does great. They interact more and more, I often hear them laughing in the livingroom or their bedroom when I'm in the kitchen or in front of the computer. It's great, because it gives me more free time. Especially these days where they don't sleep a lot.
I'm feeling a bit better about the whole situation again, it was nice getting a break sometimes over the weekend, especially Saturday afternoon where we left as soon as my mother-in-law arrived and didn't get back until around 22:00. We went clothes-shopping for Albert, and had a drink and tapas in the center. Lovely! This week Heather is coming 3 mornings, and I'm trying to organize meeting people in the afternoons. Next week my mom will be here for 5 days, I am SO looking forward to that!

1 YEAR + 1 week - 7 July 2011

Laia recently discovered her belly-button. With this warm weather we're having, they just wear little dresses and underwear over their diapers, Laia loves pulling up her dress and looking at her belly-button. A few days ago I showed her mine, she thought that was absolutely hillarious. Yesterday, she saw it again when she pulled up my shirt while we were playing. She started laughing, and pulled up her dress to look at her own. Today I showed her Liva's, she completely cracked up! I don't think Liva understood why Laia laughed, but she understood that Laia laughed when she pulled up her dress, so our entire walk home in their stroller, Liva was pulling up her dress while Laia was laughing her little head off and touching her own belly-button.
We went out without the stroller again this afternoon, Liva was on their little car and Laia walked holding my hand, waiving to everybody on our way with her other hand. We went to the playground, where their new favorite thing is the slide. They can both get up the slide (on the actual sliding part, not the steps like all the other kids...), turn around, sit down and push themselves off. Very impressive for 1-year old girls! I had brought a bag with toys, when we arrived home I had left the bag on the floor in front of the elevator while I helped Liva get the car through the door. Laia picked up the bag and carried it into the house! Big girl!!
I do loads of "tests" with them to see if they understand what I say (in Danish), and get equally surprised every time! Commands such as "lift your feet", "stop", "give me your hand", "give [the pacifier / the shoe / the cup] to Laia/Liva"  they understand no problem. Other times I say things just because I'm talking to them out of habbit, and they do what I say, even when I hadn't meant for them to understand me. I guess I have to be really careful now with the things I say!
When I went to work this afternoon, Laia blew me a kiss. It's not something we have practiced, they have seen people on the street doing it to them but we haven't done it much. So Albert and I were quite surprised when Laia did it today.
Today was one of those days where I was amazed at how much they can do at only 1 year old. And one of those days where I was about to explode, not with being fed up like in my post yesterday, but with pride! So many people commented on how sweet and beautiful Liva and Laia are, especially this afternoon when we went out without the stroller was a spectacle without compare; people stopping on the street, waiving back at Laia and watching Liva speed off on her little car. I am so, so proud of my amazing girls!!

1 YEAR + 1 week - 6 July 2011

I'm finding life a bit difficult at the moment......
Liva and Laia don't sleep much, I guess because of the heat. I have just enough time in the mornings to shower and get dressed, if I'm lucky I can put on make-up too, though I've been doing that with Liva and Laia pulling at my clothes or playing wild on the bed (and falling off). In the afternoon they sleep for amximum one hour, Liva wakes up completely drenched in sweat, tired and cranky. She cries, and wakes up Laia, who's also still tired, therefore cranky. Since they don't sleep a lot, they cry much more than normally. Since they cry a lot and I don't get much time off from them, I have no patience with them, and the days get extremely long.
Albert constantly complains - about his job, the things we have (or don't have) in the apartment, the weather, his family, the cats, himself, our financial situation, etc, etc, etc. When he had his phone-interview on Friday he told me to leave the house with Liva and Laia, when he has to clean the apartment at the weekends (he won't pay for a cleaning-lady, he won't even let me pay it with my own money!) I have to take Liva and Laia out or we're in the way. And if we come back before he's done, well - all hell breaks loose! Of course, he never offers to take the girls out on his own to give me a break. In the one year they've been in our lives, Albert has been out on his own with them twice - once because I was drowning in work, and once because I was sick. For some reason, taking them out is my job, 7 days a week, very often twice a day. If Albert feels like joining he'll join, if not, he gets to stay at home. Must be nice....
I have a challenging, exciting job, starting up a whole new department at our school. But I don't have enough time, so it's causing more stress and worry than anything else. Lately all I want to do is quit. But then how would I pay my part of the mortgage and bills???
I haven't had vacation or a good night's sleep in about 1½ years. Though I love Liva and Laia with all my heart, and deep down I know it's all worth it, lately I'm finding it very difficult to get that deep down and find the patience and motivation again.
Actually, change my first sentence to "I'm finding life very difficult at the moment"!
Next week I've asked Heather to come almost every day to give me a break, the following week my mom will be here. If that doesn't help, I'll take time off and fly back up to Denmark for a week or two, taking complete vacation - no working for Oxford House and no translations, like when I was in Denmark in June. Just total relaxation...
I need to do something, I can't continue like this. I don't like feeling like this!

1 YEAR + 3 days - 2 July 2011

The four of us went to the zoo today, Liva and Laia loved it! When we go for our regular walks, they love looking at dogs, birds and any other animlas we see, so we figured the zoo would be a success; we were right! They looked at all the animlas, pointed, made excited noises, and complained when we drove their stroller away from one animal home - until we arrived at the next one. There was a children's section where we could touch goats and rabbits, which was their favorite!
We had snacks and lunch at the zoo, the weather was great, we took Liva and Laia out of the stroller a few times, Laia loved walking around on her own. All in all a wonderful morning.

This afternoon my mother-in-law is coming, as every Saturday, Albert and I are going shopping for stuff we need tomorrow; Albert's whole family is coming over to celebrate Liva & Laia's first birthday with us!
Tonight Albert and I are going for sushi, yippee!!

1 YEAR + 2 days - 1 July 2011

We went out without the stroller for the first time ever this afternoon!
Albert had a phone interview with a Danish company, so I took the girls out. Since we weren't going to be out for long, I decided to just go to the playground behind our building. I took a bag with sand toys, some water to drink and the little car my parent's gave Liva and Laia for their birthday. Laia sat on the car while Liva walked behind pushing her. After a couple of minutes we switched. We played at the playground for a while, when Albert was done he came down as well. By the time we went home, the girls were really tired, so Albert carried one of them and the car while I had the other girl and the bag with toys. It was great going out without the stroller, another sign that Liva and Laia are getting big! :)