The featured blogger this week is Dawn of Whispers and Shouts! Dawn is the proud MoM of 2 1/2 year old twins Calvin and Clark. I am in awe of her space saving ability and I know you will be too, read on to find out what I’m talking about.

What got you into blogging?

From my pregnancy through when my boys were almost two, I enjoyed telling tales of my boys’ adventures, especially as status updates on Facebook. I got great feedback on how funny the updates were— many people told me they loved reading them. A couple times I had people tell me I should write a book or start a blog. I always dismissed the idea, thinking I didn’t having the time. Besides, I had been working on a novel for the past year and my time to commit to that had dwindled to nothing. One day when I was pushing my double stroller through the wreckage of the previous night’s snow storm I picked up a pinecone that got stuck in the wheels and tossed it away. I quickly find out I had sap on my hand that was now all over the handle and quickly making its way to everything I touched. Immediately I thought of a status update and then I thought, you know, maybe I should start a blog to write about all the funny, infuriating, and ironic things that happen to me as a mother of twins who also babysits a another toddler part time. I love making people laugh and I know that there are many things my family misses out on since they live so far away—the funny, day-do-day little things that happen with the kids. I also thought that a blog about my boys would be something they can have when I’m gone—not only something to share with others now, but what could serve as a giant scrapbook of their life that they can keep. I also look at it as writing practice. It is much easier to think about sitting down and typing up a blog post than sitting down and working on a novel when there are dishes and laundry and toys and screaming mouths and hungry faces everywhere I turn.

Were you surprised to find out you were expecting twins?

We were very surprised. We had barely decided to start trying and we got pregnant right away. We don’t have twins in our families. I will admit that at first I felt overwhelmed when we saw those two little bodies kicking around in there, but soon we were so used to the idea that when a few weeks later they were having a hard time finding the second heartbeat I was surprised at how panicky we both became.

One of your boys was born with PHPV, can you give us some background info on that and offer some tips for parents who may be dealing with the same thing?

PHPV (Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous) is extremely rare. We found out that Calvin has it in one eye when he was a little over two months old. Essentially his eye never developed correctly and he’s had numerous surgeries, wears a contact in his eye, and will start wearing his glasses next week. We’ve been patching his good eye to strengthen his weak eye ever since he was four months old. It has been an incredibly difficult experience, but what we’ve learned and would tell to any other PHPV patient’s parents is to always get a second opinion and ask tons of questions. We were first told his eye would never work (a retina specialist told us this) and that most likely it would have to be taken out in a few years. We got a second opinion from one of only a handful of doctors who have closely studied the condition who spotted an inconsistency in the diagnosis. That doctor was able to rebuild his eye, reducing the risk of glaucoma and the risk of the eye itself dying, and supplying him with passable vision that could realistically become good vision. Just the other day we got a second opinion from another ophthalmologist concerning her prognosis, which we felt she was being a little lax about. We are thankful we did because we now know more and can work more on getting Cal the best possible vision out of his eye. For a more thorough account of the story, go here:

You, your husband and your boys all live in a condo, how do you make the most out of your space?

When my husband and I first moved from a single family house to a two bedroom condo, we kept our separate storage unit full. We downsized living situations in order to live in a more convenient place for walking. I can’t drive because of my epilepsy so we exchanged size for walk-ability. We can walk to anything we need. After about a year of paying $55 each month we decided to get rid of our extra things and the unit and figure out ways to store our things in our condo. We donated a ton of clothes and books (the books were hard for me, but I kept all my favorites) and gave things like the lawnmower and tools to some family members. My husband built shelves all over our house—in every closet and other places—for storage. We’re both teachers and had accumulated a bunch of teaching supplies, mostly papers. We scanned it all and threw the hard copies away. I don’t keep all the boys’ toys out at once and have specific places for everything. I rotate the toys, and ones they don’t play with after awhile (or I can’t stand) go to their grandparents’ basement for all the grandkids. I also request that people either not get them presents or else get them small or consumable things as gifts. I love books and would love to buy them tons of books, but we live by the library and so we have many new books in the rotation at least once a week. It’s amazing how even with all those self-imposed rules we still have more than enough toys in our house. Here’s a link to a post about the shelves:

What are some of your favorite things to do as a family?

My husband and I love baseball and the boys, so far, do too. Clark has shown an uncanny amount of coordination and focus in throwing and hitting baseballs and golf balls and they both like to watch baseball. So we have taken them to a handful of major league games this summer. They do remarkably well and talk about the trip for weeks upon weeks afterward. We also like to go to the driving range for Clark to hit golf balls, which I know sounds ridiculous since he’s barely over two, but it really is phenomenal that he will stand there, tee up his own balls over and over and over and meticulously square up and hit the ball. He’s gotten blisters several times because he is so focused that he won’t stop. Brian keeps him company while I chase Cal around who has no interest whatsoever in golfing. We also like to spend time at my in-laws lake house, and the boys love to swing at the playground more than anything in the world so taking a family walk to the playground is always on our schedule.

Do you have any favorite blogs?

I regularly read In the Land of Once Upon a Time and Pink Dryer Lint. I also enjoy a local blog called Restonian. When I have time I try to read other blogs by mommy bloggers and others, but unfortunately I just don’t have that much time to.

What question(s) do you have for the other families in the community?

The next big step in the boys’ lives is potty training. They have shown absolutely no interest in using the toilet even though most of their friends often do. I’m sure that potty training with twins is different than with singletons but I have been given no advice in general other than not to rush it—they will be ready only in their own time. I’d love any tips on help with that. How did you do it?

Be sure to leave your answers in the comment section and then head over to Whispers and Shouts to leave some bloggy love!