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Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

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Moving Dad


Curriculum of the Day:  Perseverance

We’re moving my dad to assisted living tomorrow morning.

My mother died in May of last year. My dad, who needs care from having a stroke 20 years ago, has been living alone in the house on Long Island with a healthcare aid coming in. (See March 7th entry for more about my dad.) It’s just no longer feasible to continue this way both economically and health-wise for my dad. So, we’re selling the house I grew up in and where he’s been living since 1968. He’s moving to an apartment in an assisted living facility 15 minutes from our home in Connecticut. A tough decision, but necessary.

And unbelievably hard! There is 45 years of stuff here that has to be gone through, packed, thrown out or left to be sold at an estate sale I’ve hired someone ELSE to handle. We’ve been slowly cleaning out for a few months, but it’s still a massive undertaking. Marty and I have been here since Wednesday. Salvation Army came yesterday and took 38 huge, leaf bags full of clothes. We’ve got about 35 boxes and all the furniture marked to either go to Dad’s new place or our house. Everything else is staying for the auction. My brother Jamey arrived last night so he’s able to help now as well. I think we’re ready.  

Lyra fell off the bed when we were busy in the other room packing. They were napping on what I thought was a safe surface and out of the way. They were surrounded by pillows, but I removed one to use as packing material not thinking for one moment. Of course, she learned to roll that far today of all days. After a bit of crying, she seems fine. I beat myself up for a few hours, of course. They are teaching me lessons every day on being a better parent.

Now, we must get a good night’s sleep for a huge day tomorrow. Please babies, sleep!


Babies sleeping on my old, childhood bed.

The Passing of Postpartum Depression

Word of the Day: Well-balanced

If you’ve had a chance to click deeper into our “Sesame Family Robinson” site, you might have noticed that March was a tough month for me.  After I gave birth, my hormones went on a rollercoaster dive unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I was a prime candidate for a massive crash. I’d gone through three failed IVFs (in vitro fertilizations) over three years. When I became pregnant with twins, my body went into hormone overdrive. At 36 weeks, I got preeclampsia, which gave me high blood pressure. I failed to be induced, so I had a C-section.   And if that wasn’t enough, I hemorrhaged, so I had to have a blood transfusion. At this point, my body didn’t know which way was up or down. Can you blame it for getting very, very depressed?

Well I did, for a little while. I had twins; I didn’t have time for Postpartum Depression. The good news is there are many enlightened people in the world who have shown us very publicly this happens and you just need to get help. I was on blood pressure medication for three months after I gave birth, and recently weaned myself off the antidepressant I was given to help with the PPD.

I can happily say that it really is all behind me now. When I was in the lower depths back in March, I could only see the dark mold on the tree bark, forget even attempting a forest. It took awhile to get my chemicals back in balance, but I’d been confusing them for many years, so they just needed time.

I think it’s important to know how many women talked to me about their own postpartum depression. Not a just a few women, about 40 have cornered me to say they had some kind of PPD, mild or severe. I think it’s perfectly normal for all women after giving birth and utterly changing their lives to have some major highs and lows. And if you need help, go and get it. No judgments.

I can also proudly say I surprised my hypertension doctor last week. He felt certain I’d have to stay on blood pressure medication indefinitely because of the preeclampsia. But I really wanted off it and let my body try to return to normal on its own. I’ve had the same 110/60-ish pressure since early May. I say, “Ha!” For me, the answer is—exercise. It seems to be the answer to a lot of things.

The trouble is finding the time to exercise!

The Annual Holiday Card

Word of the Day: Salutations

Marty and I have become known for our holiday card. This is wonderful in many ways. Friends you don’t see often will stop you and gush about how they always hang your card on their refrigerator. We often hear how people can’t wait to open our card when it arrives. “Where did Annie and Marty go this year?” We usually make a 5x7 card that opens with several photos from our Sesame Street international teaching trips. Here are just some examples of photos that have been part of our previous holiday greetings:

 Our Renaissance Fair outfits with the pets
Our Renaissance Fair outfits with the pets

 St. Basil’s during one of the coldest Russian February’s in history
St. Basil’s during one of the coldest Russian February’s in history

Annie and Marty with two elephants.
Our Elephant Ride in Bali

The downside of doing an extravagant holiday card is people expect it from you. Because I was pregnant and on bed rest last December, we didn’t send out a card. We didn’t get calls and letters asking where it was, but I did feel like we let our family and friends down a little. So, we’re sending one out this year and are in the midst of deciding what will be the main photos. It won’t be a big card; we are still in a recession mentality here at our house. Still, we will probably use at least these two pictures. The shot of Ripley in the air was actually suggested by one of our blog readers to be on the card.

 Sesame Family Robinson at a lake.
"Love at the Lake” shot on the August Vacation Post (us in the Water)

Martin and baby at play.
Ripley in Flight.

We’ll probably put some kind of line next to the Ripley shot about “Flying happily into the New Year.”

Happy Holidays to all!

Holiday Card

Hoilday Card

All creatures great and small

Curriculum of the Day: Animals 

When I was pregnant, we read that the best way to keep your children from having allergies to pets is to have animals around from the moment they're born. We took this advice very seriously since we are both pet lovers. At one time in elementary school, I had twenty-four mice, four gerbils, two hamsters, two rabbits, two ducks and a chameleon. Marty had dogs, cats, and a variety of smaller species. I wanted to be a veterinarian and go to Cornell when I was a kid until I discovered tap dancing.

Once the girls were born, our little dog Nell continued to sleep in our bed despite the addition of two smaller bundles that smelled strangely human. To Nell's delight, she soon learned that these bundles spit up when they made burping sounds. Nell loved to clean up that spit up wherever she could—on sheets, clothes, and babies' faces. She figured out that whenever she heard a burp, it meant potential goodies and she'd come running. Our biggest worry with our 120-pound Bernese Mountain Dog, Beary, was that he would unintentionally step on them. He never has. And now, the girls have learned the joy of feeding Beary at the table. They hand him puffed cereal and he sucks it right out of their hands.     

Pet eating out of babies hand.


As you can see, she is enthralled and he always uses a soft, gentle mouth to take them.    Our worry now is that Lyra will never eat anymore since it is much more fun to feed the dog. Our gray cat Ruby loves to jump on the table, which the girls also find very entertaining. Ruby is a love nut, and will endure severe ear pulling and face grabbing until she finally can't take it and dashes away.     

Babies with a cat and dog.

Lyra has taken to playing pony with Beary.    

Baby on a dog.

So far, no allergies seem to have surfaced. And they seem to love animals, too.

Big Sister II: Chanel!


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Mail Box

Like your family we have twins, boy/girl, that turned three last month. I saw your blog entry for January and it looks like we have something in common, potty training twins. Like one of your girls, my son WILL NOT pee in the potty but his sister was doing well until she caught on to "Bubbie" not trying. I was just letting things run their course but our local pre-schools/mommy day out programs require the children to be potty trained and this mommy needs a day out. Bribery isn't working. Have you had any success?

Sommer

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How often is the telly puppet renewed or replaced?

Katherine Sydney, Australia

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I read in 40 Years of Life on the Street about an incident involving Snuffy's puppet where a sombrero caused the wood frame to collapse on you and Bryant Young. Did they rebuild the puppet after that or did they just make a new one?

Edward

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I just wanted to say thanks for the blog. My daughter Kylie (who just turned two yesterday) loves to ask if we are going to see "the babies." Thank you so much to you and Marty for bringing the joy of Sesame Street into our lives every day.

Kendal and Kylie Montreal, Canada

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I've noticed that there are fewer Muppets and people in an episode now than there were twenty years ago. Does everyone show up on the set for filming days or only certain ones? Who decides who gets to play the Anything Muppets? There are some voices I hear more than others.

Glenda

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