And then there were.... 4?

Fridays are the days when Delaney and Hayden bring home their week's worth of artwork from Discovery Bay preschool.

Usually there's a painted paper plate and the Letter of the Week colored in the Color of the Week.

This Friday they had a surprise for Mommy. They had multiplied.

The class project involved stuffed, life-size paper-bag recreations of themselves.

Wearing their own clothes.

Looking freakishly like Delaney and Hayden, times two.

As if I needed that?

D1 and H1 were enormously proud of their alter-egos as they carried them out of the schoolhouse. The problems started when we reached the car.

They wanted D2 and H2 to have their own seats. They fought over which of themselves were going to sit in the front with Mommy. They complained that Mommy hadn't thought ahead to bring all of them juice for the ride home. We finally compromised on putting the dolls in the middle, between their car seats, and pretending to share our sippee cups.

Which worked fine, until they pulled their new friends onto their laps.

And started waving them around.

Eight new arms and legs flying around in my rear view mirror.

Eight new arms and legs hitting each other and screaming. Only these new kids can actually reach all the way across the car and smack their sibling in the face.

And then, as we turned onto Mud Hole Road, they all fell asleep.


Twenty minutes later we reached the house, and I prepared for the tricky maneuver of soundlessly transporting sleeping babies up to their beds. All good, except that I didn't realize that D1 has entwined her arms with D2's and, as I attempted to pull the seatbelt off, I accidentally pulled D2's arm off as well.

Rrrippp. Right out of its stapled socket.

Shoot. What if D1 wakes up and sees I've broken her project? Hurt her baby? Destroyed her work of art? What if she wakes up, period, and won't go back to sleep?

Shoot. Now I"ll have to spend naptime doing reconstructive surgery on a paper bag.

I'm more careful with H2 and allow him to take his nap on a comfy chair.

Later on we introduced Mike to his new children. He was overwhelmed.

By bedtime, as with all new toys, other appendages had been severed. It didn't cause nearly the trauma I had anticipated. We said goodnight to a pile of body parts for Mommy and Daddy to tape back together, good as new.

"Ban-day, Leesha," Hayden says.

"Medcin," Delaney instructs.

I guess if you've got two, you might as well have four.

No wait, did I really say that? At least these two new additions were mute and pliable. What will I do when Delaney and Hayden have actual friends come over? Friends that talk, and talk, and ask me for things?

Maybe I'll make a life-size Mommy doll. I'll prop her up in the kitchen. I'll stuff some band-aids in her pocket so she can put herself, and all the others, back together.

And then I'll go take a nap.

Now that's an A+ idea, if you ask me.


A good night's sleep

Ever wonder what cruise ships do with their worn-out "stuff"?

Well, the Carnival Valor gives a shout out to Nurse Peggy as it passes by our shores.

Here, the Valor's Head of Housekeeping gives Clinica Esperanza notice of its bounty:


Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 8:08 AM


Subject: Donation in Roatan

Good morning,

Please be informed that this coming port of Roatan, September 28, we are going to donate below listed items:

200 pillows;

100 blankets;

70 bed frames.

Kindly assist.

Thank you and regards,

Serhiy Bukarev

Asst.Hskp.Mgr II

Today, port o' call also included dozens of mattresses. They are temporarily stored on the clinic's second floor, in what will someday be the Pediatric Inpatient Unit -- a new children's hospital.

According to Miss Peggy, the beds won't sit there for long. Clinic staff gets the word out into the community and waiting lists materialize. "We'll have 80 people in line for 50 mattresses," she says.

It's customary for islanders to sleep many people in a bed. Sometimes a home will have only hammocks. Sometimes, if the family is fortunate enough to own several mattresses but has only a one-room house, they pull them out at night and stack them in a corner during the day.

I remember once, when I traded up a mattress back home, asking the salespeople how to recycle the old one. I was told that it's illegal to pass on used mattresses in the U.S.

How silly.

I guess I should stop complaining about Delaney and Hayden climbing into "the big bed" with us, and wondering whether Mike and I will ever get another good night's sleep. Instead I'll be re-newly grateful for all the plush pillowtops and organic cotton in our lives.

It's hard to comprehend inequity in the world, but it's inspiring to see one corporation making such a tangible effort to put something still useful to good use. And even more so to see how Clinica Esperanza can take a pile of items discarded by a passing ship, and turn them into treasure.


Holy Mackerel

Last Sunday we sought out the air conditioning at Wendy's Mega Clown Jungle Gym. Our hopes for endless hours of entertainment were so high that Mike and I even brought along books to read. You'd think we headed for Starbucks on a pre-twins morning after a hot date.

Turned out only the room was hot and the clown was (as I've noted before) freakishly scary and far too big for unsupervised play.

So today we sought ocean breezes and the endless sand playground of West Bay Beach. We turned down invitations to swim with the dolphins, get our hair braided, or have a massage in full view.

Instead, after a swim and one ill-fated sand structure, we ended up on a Glass Bottom Boat.

Turns out the boat was a little tight below deck. The "glass" was on the windows that lined a row of skinny benches, not below our feet.

It was the narrowest space ever for a boat with the word "bottom" in it.

Kind of like the clown chute at Wendy's.

Once we were packed in, the skipper closed the door to the top deck. We were, shall we say, confined.

It was the longest 50 minutes for parents of twins in recent memory, but who's counting?

Delaney was less than excited by the schools of fish swimming on either side of her. She decided to take up photography, filling the camera with photos of my knees.

She snapped one of my face, too.
Since I'm always complaining that I'm never in the pictures of our family adventures, I'll post it here.

Thanks, Delaney.

In the midst of the fidgeting (theirs) and deep breaths to fight off claustrophobia (mine) we did manage to capture one fabulous underwater fish moment.

We also saw two sea turtles, which was a real treat. Unfortunately, my knees got in the way of that picture.

Next Sunday, we'll mix it up a bit and hit the Butterfly Gardens or Iguana Farm. Anyplace with wide open spaces. Or at least the prospect of Boat Drinks.


Off to the Mall

The Mega Mall.

Our new suburban-like parking lot surrounded by a scattering of shops, on the other side of the bumpy windy mountain road from our home at Palmetto Bay.

Last Sunday Mike and I needed a mega dose of mall entertainment. At least I did, and I convinced him that he did, too.

We decided to hit Wendy's for a cup of hot coffee in a sublimely air conditioned interior, complete with kids' indoor mega climbing gym. We had come off of a night of very little sleep (two little wanderers in and out of "the big bed") and needed something that would wear these relentless sleepwalkers out.

Please note: Wendy's wouldn't normally be my destination of choice, for fast food or anything else. But here, we've come to appreciate it. Wendy's is the only food option in the San Pedro Sula airport, where invariably you are stuck with long waits til the puddle jumps to La Ceiba and Roatan. After flying all night or getting up early in the morning, Wendy's pancakes or chicken sandwich seem pretty darn appealing. Especially if you can remember enough Spanish to ask for the sandwich without the mayonnaise. And now, with its brand new island outpost, I can actually drive through and order something to go. Doesn't matter what, it's just the idea of it.

But this morning was all about the coffee. And the little hash browns (Hayden liked them, Delaney didn't). Then there was the main event, an enormously unsafe looking climbing thingy with a clown face that swallowed up my babies before I could stop them from trying it.

There's Delaney, at the top, enclosed in plexiglass.

Freaky, isn't it?

Plus, the a/c hadn't been turned on under the big top, so we sweated our way through the coffee and hash browns, just like we would've at home.

The babies went up and down the clown, loving every minute.

If only it wasn't so hot and the clown wasn't so scary.

Finally, with the lure of further treats, we went for a stroll around the mall. Admired the hamsters and parrots in the windows of Dr. Soto's new pet store. Sampled the mango gelato at Cream of the Trop. Marveled at the idea of a bank open on Sundays. Ended up at the market for some hyper-mega grocery shopping.

I know, we're not in Kansas anymore. The French Harbor Mega Plaza is a far cry from the Grove or West Farms. It's also worlds away from the Mercado or the Pulperias or even the old Eldon's, where you'd be lucky to find a fresh fruit or vegetable let alone a home-made waffle cone.

And, it's a destination. With twins on an island, that's a darn good thing.



I've been thinking a lot about balance lately.

Last weekend Hayden emptied the outdoor fridge of its contents (beer) and made his first (world's first?) Salva Vida Leaning Tower. Look at that smile and that perfectly balanced pose.

He's started riding his baby-big-wheel while standing on the seat. Generally buck naked. Vroom Vroom.

Delaney has learned to hold her breath and swim underwater. Without a flotation device. Gulp.

Their new favorite game is "colors," in which they pour pitchers-full of colored water into dozens of plastic cups. The object is not to spill; that is, until they intentionally pour the entire pitcher out onto the slate patio stones. At which point I get out the broom and frantically try to sweep the colors away, afraid they'll stain. I guess I'm not much fun.

This morning I caught them each with one leg thrown over the second floor balcony, about to try to retrieve Delaney's blanket on the steps below. Their balance was impressive. I, of course, lost it completely as I pulled them from the ledge.

They've started coming into our bed each night (oh, I miss cribs). First comes Delaney, who crawls up and snuggles in the middle. Then a little while later, Hayden, who announces himself by saying, "YeeSHA!" (He's stopped calling me Mommy.) He wants to be pulled up, then wriggles around til he's perpendicular between us. Head pushed into my stomach and feet pushed into Mike's. I think we're tired all the time.

The last five weeks have been out of balance.

We've had country-wide lock-downs due to the political crisis in Honduras.

We've had a soap-operaesque who-dun-it rock the expat community

We've had bickering and clawing within our homeowners association (never again, thank you).

I've had a return to grant deadlines, development plans and event planning.

Mike's had the challenge of focusing high school kids' attention on an internet curriculum, on an island where the internet's hit or miss. We've also had colds, malaria, bug bites and bee stings.

Ah, paradise.

I'm looking forward to re-syncing. That's the plan for October. But of course, that was the plan for September, too. Maybe I just need to accept the imbalance for a while longer.