The Tovsky Tribe

Chocolates, Cocktails, Friends, Babies...A Girl Should Never Have Just ONE!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snowballs in the Park

Todd took Chase and Ryder to Tyler State Park on a nice Winters day after a snow fall.   The intention was a nature walk, but they had a blast making snow angels and throwing snow balls.

Watch out....this one has mischief in his eyes

We are having soooo much fun!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thank You, Robert Edwards

I started writing this post 11 months ago, on 1/16/10.  I stopped writing it 11 months ago, as well.  Getting all the words together, was harder than expected.  I started writing it again 2 months ago, still unable to finish.  Today I wrote more.  Here is the continued, and combined effort.

One Tuesday a month the boys, and the rest of the Pre-school, have a Mad Science session where they learn science in a fun and exciting way.  This past Tuesday was one of those Tuesday's.  When I picked them up at school they came sprinting into my arms and nearly knocked me over.  They do this almost daily, a moment I love despite the near winding.  This day in particular was different only because they ran to me gripping tightly the sea life aquarium they had made during Radioactive Rick's session.
When I saw them proud and grinning as they showed me their "beach in a test-tube" I had two immediate thoughts.  The first was that programs like this Mad Science add verification to the many dollar signs that precede the school's description.  Knowing that the boys are learning, in a fun way, something that I know, against my better ideals, I would probably never get to teach them at home.  My second thought after seeing that test-tube was my twins' conception.

This is a topic I spoke about NEVER when I was battling through the days of infertility, but find myself opening up about it much more often now.  My willingness to speak about it is not without reason.  For one, as the years pass, the wounds heal and rarely leave a scar.  Two, I could not be more proud of my boys, all of them, and both the obstacles we had to overcome to get the twins along with the lack of obstacles in the conception of Turner.  And, mostly, I realize how many people, how many people I care about, have to go through the same thing, the same pains.  When I went through it I felt so alone, like I was the only woman dealing with infertility.  It is extremely common, unfortunately, and if more people would talk about, perhaps it would not feel like leprosy.

So here it is, the blog about In-Vitro!

I remember being a kid and test-tube babies was a rabid joke.  We would tease in a such a fashion and had absolutely no idea what we were talking about.  Kids can be so cruel.   Years later when I suffered through the year and a half of infertility and In-Vitro Fertilization became our final option I heard all of those jokes, again, running circles in my memory.  My children, if I were to ever be so lucky and have them, would be test-tube babies.  But, of course, that was before I knew anything.  As I learned the fine details of fertility treatments I learned that test tubes have nothing to do with it, instead its petri dishes.  And, mostly I learned, that all jokes aside, these advances in science that allow us to create babies in dishes are so important to the many men and women out there who feel incomplete, BROKEN, at their inability to procreate the old fashioned way.

I am fortunate, I know this.  Not only do I have three amazing children, but I experienced conceptions in two totally different ways and the result is absolutely the same.  A child (or children) you love unconditionally, beyond depths of understanding, beyond measure.  My life is better because of my family and it makes no difference to me how I had them.

For the first year of Chase and Ryder's life I received Twins Magazine.  Though it was called a magazine, it was hardly one at all, more of a bi-monthly pamphlet.  But still, I perused it when it came to my mailbox.  One article that I read, and remember (two totally separate feats,) was about whether or not to tell your In-Vitro children about their conception.  I was astonished by this question, by the controversy, by the opposing opinions.  I had not realized it was even something to think about.   Of course our kids would know, someday, the hurdles we jumped to conceive them.  Not anytime soon, since they have no idea where babies come from, but yes, someday!!

Here's the thing, going through primary infertility (infertility for your first child) gives you a rare opportunity to be a parent even before you have children.  We all know, once we actually do have children we will do anything, everything, at all costs for them.  No matter what!  But, as you suffer through the pains of failed months, of missed opportunities to make your baby, the desire to procreate starts to resemble desperation and you realize you will do absolutely anything, everything, at all costs, to become the parent you dreamed of being.  It begins, in this case, before they are even conceived, a blessing cruelly disguised.


I have been wanting to write this posting for years.  I've tried more than once, always deleting words as quickly as I typed them.  Perhaps it was too personal, too emotional, too controversial.  I am not sure.  It just seemed that the words never came out right.  But, there seems no more appropriate a time to finish writing this than now, when Robert Edwards wins the Nobel Prize.    Robert Edwards is, now, an 85 year old man whose work led to the first test tube baby who was born, a girl, on July 25, 1978.  At 32 years old, and famous for her conception, she is the first of over 4 million babies born unto this world by similar fashion.  Two of which, are Chase and Ryder.

Going through the motions of In-Vitro Fertilization is a long and careful journey down a very uncertain path.  Counseling, medication, injections, ejaculation in a cup, it's all science and no romance.  At All.  We did stumble upon some humor along the way, including a first injection at the first aid center of a Flyers Game, and a geyser of blood shooting out of my toosh when the needle hit the wrong spot. And, of course, there was me, high on a little anesthesia, begging Dr. Freedman to let me see the eggs he had just vacuumed from my uterus.   But, still, the topic remained very sensitive and private for me. There were very few people who knew what we were going through.  It was not until later that I learned how helpful it had been to actually talk about it.

But, interestingly, once I was pregnant I began to feel that IVF was the greatest scientific advancement to date.  Of course, it is not a cure for cancer, which clearly would be beyond these words, but at the moment of a positive pregnancy test it feels almost that good.  I began to feel that mixing the strongest of eggs and the cleanest of sperm would create the strongest of embryos, from which only the VERY BEST TWO were chosen.  The best of the best, I liked to believe.   To help my faith that all would be fine I believed I was growing two little super babies scientifically designed for greatness.  Silly?  Perhaps!  

But then Chase and Ryder were born.  Five weeks early and under 5 pounds, yet even holding their frail bodies I still believed I had super babies in my arms.  Super sons!  As they grew so did my belief.  That, thanks to the In-Vitro Fertilization, we had the very best possible combination of Todd and I wrapped up in two different little boys.  Who knew there was that much of our good to go around, ha ha!!!  Thanks to "test-tube" babies we had the best little guys on the planet.  I was so grateful that I needed In-Vitro!!

Then I got pregnant the old-fashioned way!  And, I worried.  I worried that the third child growing inside of me would be average, not super!  Pathetic?  A little.  But, then Turner was born.  And, he too is a Super Baby.  All smiles and charm and I realized that every parent thinks their kid is the best, as they should, as they are!  And, it became quite clear that my test-tube babies were no different than any other sperm and egg that met.  But, so what, if I used this belief to get me through a tough time.  To help heal my wounds, to keep me reassured that everything, everything, would work out as it was supposed to.

In-Vitro Fertilization is something to be proud of, nothing to deny. It is worthy of the Nobel prize that its creator earned, and it is certainly something the creation(s) should be aware of!  I didn't feel lucky to deal with the infertility, that goes without saying, but I do feel blessed to not only be a parent to twins but to a recipient of such wonderful scientific advancements.  Thank you, Robert Edwards.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Strap On!

Although my 2009 Honda Pilot comes fully equipped with the warning bell that beeps incessantly if your car is not in park and the seat belt is not fastened I do not need it!! No, that alarm is unnecessary because I have Turner. My OCD almost two year old who will shout, in his ever commanding voice, "strap, strap, strap, strap...." until my seat belt is securely fastened. Then he smiles, happy to know I am safe!
He has this same insistence with the guitar strap. If he is playing, the strap must be on. If I am playing, the strap must be on. If Todd, or the grandparents, or hs brothers are playing it, they must be appropriately strapped.
It's just one of those things, for Turner if there's a strap it must be on!!


I remember when Delaney turned two.   I created a photo book for her that helped her identify everyone in the family. It was a good book I promised to make for all other children, but I never did. I didn't have children of my own then (read: I had a lot of free time!)
The book was a hit, and even Delaney liked it but nothing seemed to capture her two year old attention like princesses. One of the best gifts she received was a trunk full of dress up clothes....every princess gown you could hope for.
Amy would tell me stories of how she would wear some of these princess dresses to school. And, when she did not, she would dress up in her very own princess gear choosing only "formal" gowns as her everyday attire. A frilly dress, a swirling tu-tu, covered in the mess of Pre-School.
This was a phase, but it lasted some time.
In the middle of her princess phase Chase and Ryder became toddlers, then Pre-Schoolers, wanting nothing more than to play with their big cousin. And so, dressing up in princess dresses became a pastime for them as well. Snow White was a mutual favorite though, at this stage, Chase was much more into it than Ryder.
Within months , however, it was Ryder who became the dress up king donning Halloween costumes from years passed. One moment he was a lion, next a zebra, then a dinosaur, then a turtle and I was ever so grateful that I bought all of the costumes big.  He loved dressing up.

He still does!

As the boys blew out their "three" candle they blew away their princess and high school musical obsession and in floated their superhero craze.   Particularly Spider-Man.  And, particularly Ryder. If he is home he is dressed up as one of two characters: Spider-m\Man, in either the red or black costume, or Peter Parker, which means he has the Spidey costume on under his clothes.   It is serious, down to the socks.
He loves his costumes. He loves to dress up. At school, during Hanukkah, when given the opportunity to assign gifts to his family members he chose costumes for most of us: the Green Goblin for me (is there any symbolism that he chooses me as his nemesis?) Superman for Todd, (oh of course!)
The other day he insisted, demanded, I dress Turner up in his Superman costume from Halloween. I did.  Ryder loved it. Turner once again chased his cape.
Most days, first thing, he will ask, "Mommy can I play dress up?" and within seconds of my affirmative response he is off to become Spider-man.  He is now asking for a Superman costume and I am using it, because I am mother of the year, as a bribe for good behavior and for not having near misses at the toilet every time.  Whoever says bribes are bad for kids probably never raised three boys!!
It is not just Superheroes, though that is the main thing. 
He also has a "Benny" outfit. Benny is a character from the movie The Sandlot!  If you've seen Ryder in the last several months you have probably seen him in this outfit because he wears it a lot.  A LOT!!  We have to fight with him about it, when he can and when he can't be "Benny!"
This outfit is GAP jeans with an SF patch on the waist line.  I have no idea why he thinks they are Benny pants, but they are the jeans he insists on.  His Victorino Phillies shirt, and do not dare offer him Chase's Utley shirt.  A gray and red plaid button down, worn open.  His Phillies hat.  And, his black Converse sneakers.  Oh yeah, and his dress belt.  The black one he wore with his suit.  Not his cool Kingsley belt but his dress belt.  The outfit, in it's entirety, is his Benny outfit!  And, he would wear it everyday if he could because, unlike his costumes, he can wear these clothes outside of the house.
And, It's not just make believe dress up he enjoys.  He loves to get dressed up, in handsome clothes.  He seems to have a real opinion about clothes and is beginning to form his own sense of style.  He likes to wear suits and ties (not that ne needs to very often) and also prefers to pick out his own outfits, though I usually give him choices to choose from.  He has an opinion about which belt, which shoes, which socks! He changes his clothes often.  It can be very frustrating for me, the one who does the laundry!  I never expected to raise a fashionista, but perhaps that is what he is?  Or creative!  Or imaginative?  Or passionate?  Or all of the above.
Regardless of what he is, he loves dress up.  Spider-man has joined us for dinner more times than he has saved Mary Jane and a game in our house is Ryder pretending to web me all up so I can not move or talk until he unwebs me.  But, as he is getting older, as his interests are growing, it appears that Spider-man can play baseball, watch movies, play memory, build trios, and do puzzles almost as well as he can climb walls.  And, for that, I am grateful!

Apples, Honey, and a Ramekin of Salt!

Written (9/9/10)

Happy New Year!!   Rosh Hashana is a time of celebration, and joy, too much food, and a healthy serving of chaos.  Most of the holidays are, particularly where I come from.  But, I love chaos.  I love the holidays.  And, indeed, I do love food.

I have always loved to cook.  The slicing, the dicing, the mixing of flavors and smells.  I love it all.
When I was younger I could not wait to have a house just so I could cook fancy meals and  host holidays.  And dinner parties.  (Clearly I had no idea that home ownership came with so much responsibility.)  We've lived here 6 years and we have had exactly zero dinner parties.  I stilll dream of them.  I set aside recipes perfect for such occasions, a poached pear with balsamic drizzle, or a soup, served cold and in a shot glass, and have invested in serving pieces appropriate for such intimate and tasty affairs.  I suppose, someday, dreams will come true.

Holidays, on the other hand, we've hosted plenty.  They are like dinner parties, minus the intimacy.   I love hosting the holidays, cooking new recipes, drinking good wine, using my china.  But, here is how hosting a holiday goes when you have three young kids under foot.  (Note: The two school aged children under foot have been off from camp and school for four weeks now, making things a little more interesting!)

Waking up early, trying to have some time to myself before the romper room begins, I bought myself exactly ten minutes because they all woke up early too.  All of them.  And, so, since I had nothing done in advance (which, despite my tendency to procrastinate, is unlike me when it comes to the holiday) I now had 8 hours to do everything, while tripping on three kids, and squeezing in a doctor's appointment for Ryder.  I was beginning to feel a little bit like Robert Irvine.  Ha, that would be a mission I would love to see him accomplish. 
I would love to say that I used this very opportunity to put aprons on the kids and teach them a thing or two about the kitchen.  But, that is not exactly how this went, though they did each stir, smell fresh garlic, and put their hand on mine and help me chop some veggies.  Mostly, it was a one handed juggling act of disappearing ingredients and background noise of whining.
Turner, who has been working his way off of my hip, found comfort in my arms and nowhere else and left me flipping a six pound brisket, using unsturdy tongs, with one hand. Ryder, my independent and creative thinker, decided at that moment to be a chef and was concocting a masterpiece of his own (see photo above.)  I offered him a few things to use; a rib of celery, a few pieces of onion, a teaspoon of flour, and he tossed it in the salad spinner with delight.  Of  course when I turned my back, he took all 9 of my smashed garlic cloves that I had prepared earlier so I would have them when I needed them, and dumped them in his bowl.  9 garlic cloves.  That is nearly a full head.  I barely had enough to replace them.  See what happens when I try to be organized and prepared?  Then, later, he took my entire ramekin of kosher salt and dumped into his bowl.  9 garlic cloves and an entire ramekin of salt.   Of course,  it was too dry, so he added a few drops of purell as a liquid.  Pure genius, that boy.
Chase, who spent entirely too much time in front of the television, does not let many moments pass between his need for attention and his desire to say something.  Anything.  So, every few minutes there was a joke, or a demand, or a dance, or whine, or a charming smile and compliment.  Anything to take my attention away from the food, or the toddler, or the chef-to-be, and on to him.  And, only him.

But, somehow (thanks to the moms who came to help), and in the knick of time, the tables were set, the appetizers were out, the dinner was in the oven, I was in clothing other than my PJ's, and the boys were not fully neglected.  And, the night was wonderful.  Fun, tasty, loud, and everything a new year's celebration should be.

Already looking forward to next year, only I think I will put the boys to work in 2011.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Letter to my Son on his 22nd and 23rd Month Birthday!

Dear Turner,

Happy 22nd Month Birthday!!  Happy 23rd Month Birthday!  Despite my best intentions, including drafted postings with notes of your milestones, I failed to write your 22nd month letter as I had hoped.  And, as of today I am almost two weeks late on your 23rd month letter.   But, here it is.

You've gotten taller and thinner and louder and cuter as each and every day passes.  Your words are becoming more clear and your vocabulary increases every day.  A new day begins and before night falls you will add another word to your list...this week it was carousel.  All three syllables said with clarity.
You've also learned to say your own name, which was done the first time when you pointed to a picture of yourself and exclaimed with delight "Tuhnuh," not quite rolling your tongue on those R's yet.
You speak perfectly clear on many words using annunciation that makes me so very proud.  Other words you have made your own, and in doing so, have made them ours too.  For example:  Aunt Amy, who is one of your current favorite people in your world, is now "anmamie" and I find myself wanting to call her that too.  Mickey Mouse is "Mimick" and Nikki (Fink) is "Ninick"  Nikki comes along with Gayher" (Jagger) and Baby (Brody.)  Your favorite toy is your "sitar" and very much like Ryder at your age, you drag it around the house banging into walls and strumming strings.  You insist on the guitar with the strap, no other one will do, and when you ask me to play I must wear the strap as well.   Your favorite game is elefun.  Oh what fun watching the butterflies fall to the ground.  Luckily you seem to have an early onset case of OCD and insist on cleaning them, and everything else up.  Lids must be closed.  Along with doors. Lights must be off.  Toys must be put away, and you sing while doing it "time to put the toys away, toys away, toys away.  Time to put the toys away, toys away right now."
You loved hannukah, mostly lighting of the candles, and now ask for "more hanukkah" whenever you see candles anywhere.
You have a very commanding way.  Asking us to "sit down" or to "follow me" can never be denied as you look us directly in the eye and mesmerize us with your smile.  You are showing signs of leadership that I hope stay with you as you get older.
Buckles have become a new fascination and you want to buckle your straps and screw on lids.  You have also, recently, become interested in the batteries in toys and want to use the screwdriver to unfasten the lid so that you can change them, even if they don't need to be changed.
You love your brothers and do everything you can to keep up with them.  When watching you chase them around the house with joy it is easy to forget you are not quite two.
Recently you have also taken interest in the "pahpah!"  You will strip down and sit on the potty then call for "CHASE-RYRY" and wait until they see you sitting there.  You have yet to pee in the potty but are so very proud of the fact that you sit there.
You are such a fun boy.  It seems that where ever we go, whatever we do, you have fun!  We have fun!!
It's just who you are.  You love to laugh and to play and to be as active as a boy should be.  Everyone around you has a good time as well.
You love to sing and to dance, as well as jam on the guitar and bang on the drums.  You seem to be very musical and will hum happily in the car and chant the songs we learn in our classes.  You also really enjoy crafts and painting and are always so proud of your finished projects.  Recently you have taken to putting things in your "pock" and find it fun to store little items in your jeans.
You are a good boy who often follows instructions and listens even when I say no.  At moments you get shy, of course, but overall are a friendly boy with a beautiful smile and a contagious laugh.

You are growing up (too) fast and it is delightful and heartbreaking.   I couldn't be more proud of who you are and who you are becoming and every moment that I marvel at you I realize I am beyond blessed to call you my son.

I love you so,

Just for record keeping here is a list of words (that I can think of) that you say:

Gobble Gobble
Quack Quack (done with the hand motions)
Pooh (as in "Winnie the")
PU (as in "my diaper stinks)
More Please
Kate (your friend and new obsession)
Mommy (although you call me mom, usually),
Pow pow (powder)
Barbar (Barney)
baybay (blanket)
Pop (lolli) or popsicle or poptart
Caca (Aunt Carri)
Secha (parachute)
Cacakes (pancakes)
Mote (remote)
(Yo) Gabba Gabba
Gahage (garage)
Follow me
Come here


Back in September the boys started a baseball clinic.  I was so excited for the start of what I hoped would become a long career of baseball leagues.  I was, as I know now, much more excited than them.

This clinic, which ran on Sunday mornings, was for 4-6 year olds.  First, there is a big difference, athletically, in such an age range.  Secondly, baseball is very boring.  Especially when you don't really know how to play the game.  Four year olds throwing the ball this way and that can make even this baseball mom watch the clock.
So, for 12 long weeks we played 1.5 hours of very looooonnnnngggg baseball.   Chase was into it.  Sort of.  He showed improvement over the weeks as he started to swing with much more confidence and seemed to begin to grasp the basic fundamentals, always standing with hands on knees in the field.   Ryder, on the other hand, was bored to death.  He has a decent swing and, sure, he loved hitting the ball, and often felt a lot of pride when he would belt one up the middle.  But, mostly, there was not enough action for him, and being indoors, no dandelions to pull.  He would start off ok, never complain about going or try to get out of it, but halfway through every game he would attempt to find his way onto the sidelines.  "My knee hurts."  "My foot hurts."  "My ankle hurts."  "My hand hurts."  His common reason for these ailments..."It's just too long, mommy!"  Who could blame him?  He was right.

Last week was the last week of the season.   All of the teams got trophies, the one and only thing that kept Ryder on the "field" until the end.  By the smiles in this picture I am ready to sign them both up for next year.  Maybe, just maybe, here are Council Rock South's future varsity lettermen.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Wanna Be Big!

At school Chase and Ryder's class had a class discussion about what they were excited to be able to do when they were grown ups.  A list of the classes ideas was posted outside of the classroom.

Chase wants to grow up so he can be a teacher.
Ryder wants to grow up so he can use all sorts of tools, like knives, and swords, and hammers.

Do you think we have two different boys?

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Boy in his Glory

There are a million things I love about having twins.   Their bond is indescribable, incomprehensible to anyone other than the pair, not even the ones raising them.  I wouldn't change it for the world.   But, Chase and Ryder are two very different boys.  As they get older it becomes more evident and there will be no doubt their interests will be very different as well.   As two different boys who do everything together, EVERYTHING, it is sometimes necessary to split them up and let them be who they are separate from one another.  This is so much easier said than done.  Soon enough they won't be in the same class at school and will, perhaps, start to make their own friends.  For now, however, it is our responsibility to give them some one on one time.  We don't do this enough, that I know.   This picture here is on a Daddy/Ryder date where they spent some time in the local music store.  We have gone there before but this time Ryder had an opportunity to jam, (and by jam I mean strum the strings the best way he knows how) on these guitars and on his new found favorite instrument the keyboard.

Chase and I were home playing a long game of Sequence Junior!!

(This picture is back from 10/18/10)


Started this way......

Ended this way....


5 buddies stopping for a break during a late Fall Nature walk!!


I haven't written in nearly two months.  I got a new computer, complete with a keyboard that has both a "U" and an "I" on it, and yet I have not used it for the one thing I needed a computer update my blog.  In the last two months I did draft nearly 20 entries and I will vow to publish them, well maybe half of them, ok maybe some of them, as soon as possible.

I will say, just typing these few words on this sharp new MAC is fun....can't wait to type a real entry.