Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I've got mail!

Some of you were caught by surprise when you got your craft exchange presents in the mail. Not me. I was like a little kid waiting for my package with a mysterious return address to show up. The suspense of waiting to find out who got me was so exciting. I even printed out the list of participants, and as each craft was posted on a blog, I would cross the crafter's name off my list. I didn't get to far in my sleuthing, because the package arrived yesterday! And just like my pregnancy, this package was a twofer. The first item I unwrapped was this cute unbreakable, safe for the lower branches tree:

Next, there was the little box. A present within a present! Could this get any cooler?

And what was inside the box, you ask? Upon first glance, it looks like it's just a cute handpainted glass ball with snowmen.

Turn the ball over just a little, and you can see that the snowmen are actually fingers on an adorable little baby hand. so. friggin. cute.

Last of all, there was a card. I saved that for last because finding out who had sent the package was the most exciting part. I am such a cotton headed ninnymuggins that I forgot to get a card for my own craft, and had to jot a quick message on a paper that I stole from the photocopier as I ran to the post office on my lunch break.

So who is the awesome blogger who sent this marvelous, well thought out package? It was the lovely ladies at Build-A-Baby (or two) and their kiddos. I'm so happy that the craft exchange has led me to this new blog, and it's another blog with boy/girl twins to boot! Thanks Build-A-Baby family for the beautiful gifts. So sorry my crummy cell phone pics don't do them justice.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Five gooolden rings...and some birds

Playing catchup on this 12 days of Christmas thing...

Two turtle doves
It took me until I was about 10 years old to really figure out my mother's side of the family. Let's see if you can follow. My grandfather married E, and they had my mother and 2 aunts. They got divorced, and he married T, who had 2 boys from a previous marriage. T's ex-husband died when the boys were young. T died of cancer when I was almost 2, and a few years later my grandfather married B, who has 2 sons and 1 daughter. T's son's remained close to my grandfather, and grew close to his new wife because they really had no other family. So that makes 3 aunts, four uncles, plus their spouses and children who I'd see every year at Christmas. My grandfather also had a lot of family friends, some of whom I thought were actual relatives for a long time. He was the ultimate "love makes a family" kind of guy, and brought people in the way others bring in stray cats. His house was always bustling the week of Christmas, full of food, wine, children running everywhere. It was perfect. Christmas 2010 was the last time I saw my grandfather, he died in late January. This giant Brady Bunch family is all I've ever known. Because she was part of my life since I was 3, I have always considered B to be my grandmother, and not just a step-grandmother. But since the loss of my grandfather, my mother and her sisters have shown just how fragile some of these bonds can be. They suddenly have very little patience for their stepmother. Although we'll all be getting together this Christmas, it's uncertain if the tradition will live on. The people of my parent's generation seem to be leaning towards holidays with immediate family only. Fortunately, there is some glimmer of hope in my generation. This is the family we've always known, and we're not going to let it go easily.

Three French Hens
Elizabeth has been a student for nearly all of our time together. We met in college. She took a year off after graduation, and then started work on her PhD. This means that money has always been tight, but we've tried to do one vacation together a year. The vacations have come to a temporary halt though, as we spent all of our free funds on fertility treatment, and then a house. I miss being able to get away, but of course I would not trade what I have now for anything. I'm really looking forward to taking them places someday soon. Although I've never really liked theme parks, I can't wait for the day we can surprise them with a trip to Disney. Yeah, I've totally bought into those commercials.

Four calling birds
Oh Christmas cards! We are late late late getting our cards out this year. First, we thought it would be fun to take pictures picking out the tree. The kids thought it would be more fun to run around all of the trees. We got a lot of pictures of the back of heads. Then, we thought we'd try Santa at the mall. We actually got to the mall too early, and Santa wasn't there yet. There were no signs indicating when he'd be in, and the kids were starting to lose their patience so we left. As a last resort, we pulled two candy canes off the tree and plopped the kids down on the stairs and let them try candy for the first time. Here's one of the shots that made the cut.

Five golden rings
The kids have shown very little interest in stuffed animals. They have no favorite blankies or anything like that. Earlier this month, we went to a TJ Maxx to find some things to make our new house look a bit more festive. Bean pulled a stuffed (moose? reindeer?) off the shelf, and has suddenly become quite attached to it. Unfortunately, right next to "Made in China" the tag on his butt says "decoration only, THIS IS NOT A TOY" Not sure how to handle this one.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Where would I be without An Offering of Love? I certainly wouldn't have any crafty projects do do, or blog post topics! I've decided to jump on the 12 days of Christmas theme, which you can read about here. The first topic is Christmas / Solstice trees.

When we finally bought our first home in late August, one of the things I looked forward to most was putting up a Christmas tree. The tree was one of my favorite things about the holiday season when I was growing up. My brother and I would take turns sleeping on the couch in the living room just so we could be near the tree, with it's twinkling lights getting juuuust warm enough to make the room smell extra piney. The John Denver and the Muppets Christmas tape played very softly in the background. It felt magic.

Our ornaments were an eclectic assortment of things collected over the years. Many were given to us as gifts. Others were picked up as souvenirs on vacation. Some are storebought, others handmade. They all bring back memories. There's the little green alien in a flying saucer given to me by my BFF in high school back when we thought the X-Files was the greatest show on television. There are lots of cats, given to me after my brother got me a pet cat in high school, and everyone assumed I was a die-hard cat person. There is the lavender paper Christmas ball, a gift from my mother's hairdresser friend the year I came out. "Did you notice the color?" he asked with a smile and a wink. There is the glittery wreath that I worked so hard on in elementary school in an effort to impress the teacher I so admired.

Our first tree in our new home is decorated from about the waist up. It is surrounded by a superyard. Rather than presents, the area under our tree is frequently filled with blocks, shoes, remote controls, mail, and anything else the kiddos throw over the gate. The nice warm bulbs of my childhood have been replaced by the more responsible LED lights, which sadly don't emit enough heat to activate my spinning ornaments, the only item I inherited from my grandmother. There is still the mishmosh of ornaments, some from my love's childhood and some from my own. She was raised Catholic, so there are some angels represented in her collection. I didn't have a religious upbringing, so my ornaments include a large number of animals and snowmen. And then there are ornaments from the yearly vacations we took together. There are the ornaments we bought at a Christmas store the year we gave up our vacation to pay for fertility treatment after fertility treatment. There are baby's first Christmas ornaments. The ornaments are a record of who were, who we are, our lives together, and who loves us. And each night after dinner has been eaten, kids bathed and put to bed, and dishes washed, we put back the shoes, and the remote, and anything else that has been thrown under the tree. With nothing but the glow of Christmas lights illuminating the room, my love and I sink into the couch and get to relax and have adult conversation for the first time all day. We are able to enjoy the quiet, in our beautiful home, while our amazing children sleep upstairs. And it feels magic.

Friday, December 2, 2011

recovering infertile

It's hard to believe, 2 years ago today I was riding home with my feet on the dashboard (don't worry, I wasn't the one driving) after my IVF transfer. I was hopeful, but very guardedly so. Of the 26 eggs retrieved earlier that week, only 2 made it to transfer. It was my second attempt at IVF, after multiple failed IUIs and home insems. I remember trying to get myself to a place where I was okay with switching to my partner's eggs or body to help start our family. I remember thinking that I should start looking into adoption. I remember looking at the billboards for other fertility clinics along the highway, thinking that maybe one of them might offer a different protocol that could work for me.

Some days I just shake my head in disbelief that I ended up with not one, but two amazing children. I'm also surprised sometimes by how deeply my time as an infertile has impacted me. I find that I STILL make note of billboards for new fertility clinics. I still check the tp every time, and I've even caught myself breathing a sigh of relief when I don't see red. I wonder how long it's going to take before I get it through my thick skull that the IVF worked, and I can let go of the infertile mentality.


Umm, does anyone know how to delete comments made on Wordpress? For some reason, Wordpress keeps connecting to my facebook account and posting comments with my real name. Although I'm cool with most of the blogging community knowing who I am, I don't want to have my real name out there for anyone to stumble on. Help, I'm a total technology moron!

Monday, November 14, 2011

what? a post?

Did you forget that I had a blog? I nearly did! My life has been busy since my last post. My love finally got a (tenure track!) job and it's been going well so far. My kids turned 1 year old. We bought a house. It really feels like our lives are falling into place.

I tried writing on some of the topics that were going around for the blog carnival, but was only ever able to get about 1/2 a post drafted before the next topic came out. But everyone loves a good secret, right? I suppose it's not too late to share some parenting secrets, in bullet form since it's probably the only way I'll get anything out.

  • My kids are really, really awful sleepers. We didn't do any sort of sleep training with them when they were young. We found out early on that they could be settled pretty quickly if they were brought into our bed. Since we lived in a 1 bedroom apartment for the first year of their lives, it was difficult to attempt any sort of sleep training since the kids could see and hear us when we were in bed. And we couldn't just shut the door to their room and let them cry it out, since they didn't have their own room. So we did what seemed easiest in the short term. We became accidental co-sleepers. At 15 months, the kids are still nursing to sleep every night. They have very little / no ability to self soothe. I have not had a good night sleep in ages. My love and I can not go out at night because I am the only one who can put the kids to bed. I love my kids, and co-sleeping is nice sometimes, but I would really, really love to go out at night and have some grown up time.
  • You know how everyone says that if you're breastfeeding, you'll start leaking anytime you hear any baby cry, even some stranger's baby in the grocery store? That never happened to me. Not even when my own babies cried. In my postpartum-sleep-deprived-crazy- hormone state, I worried that this meant I was a bad mother or just not in tune to the needs of my kids.
  • I feel guilty about my daycare. I don't think the kids are getting much stimulation there at all. It's set up so that all kids 6weeks-18months are in the same room. The toddlers in that room just seem restless. I am worried that I am doing a disservice to my kids and that they are not where they should be developmentally, but it's the only place I can afford. I'm not just talking $50 or $100 savings here. If we sent them to any other place, I'd literally have to get a second job just to send both kids to daycare.
  • There are some times when I really wish my kids would watch TV. I've tried a few times to get them interested if I need to distract them for a few minutes, but so far have had no luck. Please kids? Just watch the little red monster with the funny voice for 10 minutes...please?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The end?

I have reached a critical juncture. My kids turn 1 year old in less than a month. I have 1 breastmilk storage bag left. I have no plan in place for calling it quits with the pump, or introducing cows milk. When I go to the store this weekend, I don't know if I should be buying organic whole milk, or more storage bags. Here are my jumbled, disorganized bullety thoughts on the matter. I would love to hear from all of you out there (especially the moms who work out of the home) to find out how you dealt with the one year mark and the expectation that your kids would start on cows milk!

*I am pretty sure my kids are not ready to stop nursing. The boob is my secret weapon. It never fails to calm them when they are fussy. They nurse to sleep every night. I don't usually tandem nurse, so I love having individual time with each baby when they're nursing. If I stop pumping during the day, I am worried that my production will drop too much to meet their needs.

*Part of me is really eager to be done with lugging the stupid pump everywhere. I am tired of dealing with cleaning all of the little bottles and pump parts. I am tired of needing to pump 28 oz a day so my kids will have enough for daycare. My production levels are such that it is not always easy for me to nurse them as much as they want and pump 28 oz. Sometimes it feels like a lot of pressure, and it would be nice to be done with that.

*I think the nursing sometimes hurts Elizabeth. She refers to herself as "toxic nighttime mommy" because when they wake up in the middle of the night they only want to nurse. They cry and twist and roll and struggle to escape her and get to the boob.

*I worry that it is "weird" to continue sending pumped milk to daycare once they've hit 1 year. If I will need to pump to keep up a supply to nurse when I am home, what do I do with all of that milk? Pump and dump? Donate?

*Sometimes I get really crazy, and think that I'd like to keep pumping to build a huge freezer stash for baby #3 which Elizabeth would carry. And so I could also nurse #3, so I don't also become "toxic nighttime mama". Problem is, we're at least 1 year off from even trying for #3. It's crazy to think about doing this, right?

EDITED TO ADD- I know I can only store milk in the freezer for 1 year max. I was thinking of trying to pump for my kids (or pump and dump, or donate) until we're at a point that I could freeze for #3. But I think I'd lose my mind if I had to pump that long.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Beginning...

Baby latched perfectly the first time! Nursing like a champ! I can't tell you how many times I've heard stories like that. Which is why I felt like a total failure when I had such a hard time nursing in the beginning. Some recent nursing related posts on other blogs have inspired me to write about my own experience and let some of the moms-to-be out there know that it's not always that easy.

My kids had the unfortunate luck of being born late on a Friday night. The hospital where they were born does not have lactation consultants on duty on weekends. WTF?!? When I was checked into the postpartum room in the wee hours, a nurse asked if I planned to breastfeed, and I proudly said yes. I was expecting that would get me some help learning to breastfeed from someone at the hospital. Or at the very least, that it would get my kids a little sign in their bassinets proclaiming that they were breastfed and should not be given a bottle. No such luck.

The nurses who I asked for help all gave different information and advice. One told me to remove some layers of blankets and clothing from my sleepy baby to help her wake up enough to latch on. Another scolded me for not having her bundled, and wisked her away to be put under a warmer. When my boy refused to latch at all, the nurse just shrugged and said "boys are difficult". When my babies had been taken from my hospital room for yet another checkup, and I was being given yet another post-partum depression survey, the nurses fed them bottles of formula. Without asking me. Then they told me that if my babies lost 2oz by Sunday, that I would not be able to take them home. And they handed me some backpacks loaded with free samples of formula. I felt exhausted, ashamed and defeated. I felt like I had failed my kids by letting them have formula. Tail between my legs, I took the free samples of formula and did what I had to do to make sure they could go home with me the next day.

When I got home from the hospital, I had a bit more luck with my baby girl. She was happy to nurse, but based on my output with the pump, I was afraid she was not getting enough. Knowing that the pediatrician could order them back to the hospital if they didn't gain weight terrified me. So she got bottles of formula in addition to nursing. The boy still refused to nurse at all. Screamed bloody murder when he got near the boob. He got bottles of formula, mixed with the few measly teaspoons I was able to get using the pump. We scheduled an appointment with a lactation consultant, but she was not able to come until the babies were 5 days old. It felt like an absolute eternity. She was able to get the boy to latch for the first time. But it was through some crazy trickery involving a nipple shield, dripping formula down my breast, then removing the nipple shield. It was a 2 person job, and it only worked once. Eventually my milk supply kicked in and we only did formula bottles at night. But he still refused to nurse, and screamed until he was red in the face any time I tried. It was the worst rejection I had ever felt, even though I knew deep down that I shouldn't take it personally.

Maybe I liked to torture myself, maybe I was just optimistic that something would work out, but I continued to try to nurse my son every few days for the fist 6 weeks of his life. And then one day, it just happened. It was like things finally clicked for him. Just when I had started to come to peace with the idea that my son would be a bottle fed baby, he got it. When he started nursing, my pumping output increased, and we were finally able to ditch the formula. We like to joke that he is making up for lost time. He went from the boy who wouldn't nurse, to the boy who co-sleeps and nurses half the night.

Given our rocky start, I never imagined I'd make it to a year with breastfeeding. Now I'm just a few weeks away from that milestone. It has taken me a long time to feel comfortable writing a post like this. I still fear being judged as a failure by moms who didn't need to resort to formula. I still feel upset about being let down by the hospital, who provided no support. Nearly a year later, and I am still working through my issues and guilt over the beginning.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

un-challenge wrap up

better late than never! i actually finished the un-challenge. many thanks to the ladies at 1 in vermilion and offering of love for creating the un-challenge.

Day 24, our favorite thing to do without our kids....

Lunch dates! Sometimes we'll meet for a lunch break at work when the kids are at daycare. Yeah, I know I just said that I like eating dinner with my kids. Really, I do. But having twins is all consuming. It's so humanizing to have that hour to relax with each other and have some adult conversation without being interrupted. We used to get theater season tickets before we had kids, and that was always fun. We also used to go kayaking a lot in a nearby canal. It's a super easy place to paddle around, and dip your toes in the water or look for turtles. Hopefully we can bring them when they're a little bigger. (oh, shit, this is supposed to be about my favorite things to do without them, and now I'm bringing them along!) We get next to no time away from the kids since we live in a tiny open arrangement apt. with two big dogs and no yard. We have not been able to find a babysitter willing to deal with that setup, so lunch breaks are our only chance to have time away from the kids. We really need to move!

Day 25 – What did you want to be when you grew up? Why and/or how did that change over time?

The first thing I remember wanting to do is make greeting cards. I was in second grade, and one of my classmates got sick or needed his tonsils out or something. The point it that he was going to be UNABLE TO GO TRICK OR TREATING that year. Our teacher had everyone in the class make get well cards for him. The teacher liked mine, and the kids mother loved it and told me for years afterward how much she loved it anytime she saw me at a school function. Then I wanted to be a marine biologist, because I thought it meant I got to play with seals and dolphins all day. Once I hit high school, I realized that I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I still don't have a clue.

Day 26 – What is/are the best piece(s) of parenting advice you’ve gotten or can give others?

Best advice I got for the early days, with the onslaught of visitors was from my aunt. She told me that nobody cared what state the house was in, all they cared about was seeing the babies. It's true. I didn't need to make myself crazy with cleaning. I could have met people in a barn and they wouldn't have noticed.

The best advice I can give (at least something I hadn't heard before) ...put dates on your pictures right away. You might think now that you'll remember that a particular photo was taken at 10 weeks and not 7 weeks, but you probably won't.

And for twin parents, "what is a toy for one baby is a weapon for twins."

Day 27 – Which movies or tv shows do you think are the most accurate portrayals of parenthood?

I love Roseanne. I think this is probably one of the most realistic portrayals of an American family ever. I was so grateful for the Roseanne marathons when I was sitting around at home on maternity leave, just waiting to go into labor.

Day 28 – What size family do you come from, what size family do you want, and why?

I grew up with a brother, who is a year younger than I am. We have a half sister, thanks to my cheating father. She's 6 years younger than I am, and moved halfway across the country when she was 3. Due to my parents marriages and divorces, I have 4 ex stepbrothers, one ex stepsister, 1 current stepbrother and 3 current stepsisters.
As far as my household goes, I can see one or 2 more kids. Elizabeth and I always imagined that we would each get a turn being pregnant. I never imagined I'd have twins. I used to think we'd just have 2 kids, but now I am preparing myself for 4 in case she has twins too!

Day 29 – What do you think about giving kids an allowance, and what chores do you or would you expect your child(ren) to help out with?

I really want them to learn to be responsible with money. I don't want to be an ATM. I want them to learn to save for things they want to buy. But I don't want them to learn to associate everyday chores with money either. It drives me nuts that my younger cousins would ask "how much will you pay me?" when asked to do even the most basic chores. I think I'd like them to be responsible for maintaining their own space, but also helping with family things, like preparing dinner, setting the table, feeding dogs, etc.

Day 30 – What is/are the most memorable questions or reactions you’ve gotten in regards to being a two-mom family?

A surprising number of people implied that we probably don't get to know anything about the father. As if we were just given some random sperm. They're totally surprised when we tell them that we know his physical characteristics, as well as some of his likes and dislikes. I guess most people just have no idea how sperm banks work. Usually I tell them that it's kind of like online dating, and they seem to get it.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Whenever we got behind on our lesson plans in elementary school, the teacher would have catch-up day or "ketchup day". The kids would get silly and declare it mustard day, then relish day. Oddly enough, nobody ever called it sauerkraut day. Go figure. Anyhoo, here's the past few days of my un-challenge. Because I'm stubborn that way.

Day 10 – Share your favorite recipe (or two)

Thanksgiving Soup:

Servings: depends on how much you make, and how big you want the portions
Total time: 5 months

I made this soup up one year, and now I have to bring it every Thanksgiving. I do not use recipes, so it is a bit different each year. The family doesn't seem to notice or care, just as long as there is some version of this soup. When I did the Thanksgiving day retrieval that resulted in my twins, I had to run home to pick up this soup before heading out to see my family.

Anyway, here's the soup method:

In July, cook off some Jersey corn. When corn is cooled, remove from the cob and freeze in a vacuum sealed bag. Keep it there until November. On the 4th Thursday in November, cook some coarsely chopped bacon in a big stockpot. Remove bacon to a plate with a paper towel. Drain the fat but leave the bacon-ey goodness that is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add some olive oil and leeks, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, carrots and celery. While this is all cooking down, roast some butternut squash with salt and pepper. Don't skip this part, because it makes the soup so much richer and more flavorful. Once the squash is roasted, add it to the pot with the leeks. Then add most of the frozen corn and a chipotle in adobo or two. Throw in some chicken stock and let it cook a little while. Puree. Add cream to taste. Remember that it is Thanksgiving and the meal is supposed to be super indulgent, so don't skimp on the cream. It will taste good. Garnish with the bacon and reserved corn.

Day 11 – In what ways does being a lesbian/2-mom family impact your experience of parenting?

Like others have already said, I think we have a more egalitarian parenting style because there are no set roles for us to play. We've both just taken on the tasks that we like best. She drives, I cook. I brush the kids' teeth, she clips their nails. I didn't realize how truly evenly the work of parenting was divided until we spent some time with my stepsister, her husband and their two sons. The guy hardly lifted a finger to help with his kids!

Day 12 – Tell us about the first time you got drunk (as far as you can remember…)

Really drunk, was my first year in college. I had joined the rugby team because that's what you do if you're gay and go to a womens college. The team drank a LOT. I made the mistake of going to the first rugby party right on time, so only the hostess (a senior) and her friends who were helping her set up were there. I was shy, so I drank to have something to do, and because the drinks were being offered. We stood in a circle and drank (pounded) mind erasers. Suddenly the world was spinning, and everything was funny. Somehow I made it across campus to another party. It was so much fun. My first hangover was far less fun.

Day 13 – Tell us about the best job you ever had, and the worst

Don't think I've had my best job yet. My worst was working at one of the big casinos on a reservation. I worked in a windowless kitchen in a fast paced, low price restaurant with a small, boring menu. I hated that everything was so regimented there, and I hated not being able to see the light of day for the entire time I was at work. The pay was pretty low. For the first time in my life, I was working not just with other teenagers, but with people who had families to support. It was hard to know that they were making the same measly check I was. The only good thing about the job was that we shared a space with an authentic Chinese restaurant (jellyfish and chicken feet on the menu). The guys in the Chinese restaurant were really into French Fries, which we had on our menu. They would trade us yummy stuff for a plate of fries.

Day 14 – How do you typically dress? How do you (or would you) like to dress your kid(s)?

Because I've never liked my body, and because I am afraid of making a giant fashion misstep, my style has usually been pretty simple. Jeans and a plain-ish shirt. I'd rather not draw attention than show up on "What Not to Wear". Recently I've been trying to branch out a bit, because I find that I feel better about my appearance if I put a little more effort in. I've found that I actually like wearing dresses and skirts! And I don't really like prints. Which is good, because Elizabeth does like prints, and we don't want to be one of those twinsie couples.

How do I dress my kids? I try not to go too boyish or girly, but their styles are not exactly neutral. They each have their own clothes and don't share anything except onesies. I like polos for the boy, because he has a giant pumpkin head and t-shirts can get too stretched out. I don't like sports or cars for him, but he looks great in robots and monsters (especially since his nickname is monster). Baby girl looks good in bright, bold colors. Especially yellow, and blue because it matches her eyes.

Day 15 – What was your college experience like? Were you involved in any clubs, groups, etc?

I loved college. I specifically chose the place I went to because it was very gay friendly. I had known I was gay since middle school, so I was eager to be out. In high school, I had an insecure, controlling best friend who didn't "allow" me to socialize with others, so college was a chance to actually make friends. I joined all of the gay clubs, and was co-chair of the LBA. (This is before the "T". I went to a womens college, so there was no "G".) I joined the rugby team. I socialized and occasionally paid a little attention to my classes. On the days when I'm bored at work, I kick myself for not taking college more seriously because I think if I had, I might have found a career path I liked more.

Day 16 – How many friends do you have in real life that you talk to regularly? How many friends do you have that you feel are ‘true blue’ and how long have you known them?

Only one, and she lives out of state. For all the friends I made in college, we drifted apart after graduation. We made a lot of new friends when we moved to our current location for Elizabeth to go to grad school, but there was a mass exodus when the twins were born. The friend who excitedly told pregnant Gayby Rabies that she'd come by EVERY WEEK to walk our dogs once the kids were born has shown up exactly zero times. The friend who said she'd love to babysit has not seen them since they were 2 months old. I knew things would change since we were the first of our social circle to have kids, but I didn't expect it to be so sudden. I am so, so happy that we had twins, because it gave us the opportunity to join a local mothers of multiples group. We've started meeting new people through the group, and I know they won't abandon us because we have kids. I think we'd be at a loss on how to meet people and very lonely right now if we had a singleton.

Day 17 – (for parents) What is your favorite thing about parenthood? Your least favorite?

I love seeing their personalities develop. They are such interesting little people, with such distinct personalities even from a very early age. My least favorite is that I know there will times when I have to be the bad guy for their own good. Like when they make that pouty face because I won't let them stand in the bathtub, or eat sand.

Day 18 – How do you feel about astrology? What’s your sign, baby, and do you think it matches your personality?

I don't really believe it too much, but it's fun. I think everyone likes a chance to talk about themselves and analyze their friends. The twins and I are all Leos. Elizabeth is a Taurus. Leos have a reputation for being bossy and opinionated. I suppose that's true, because the babies and I totally rule the house. Elizabeth is only in charge of the dogs. :)

Day 19 – How do you (and your partner if applicable) feel about PDA?

I feel like I'm always very conscious of who is around me. I live in a liberal state, so it's not like I need to worry too much. Still, I find myself looking over my shoulder before I give her a kiss or hold her hand. I wish it weren't that way.

Day 20 – What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? Did you repay the kindness?

A lot of people have done kind things for me. The thing that comes to my mind is when I was helped by a stranger. It always amazes me when people help you even when there is nothing in it for themselves, and they know they'll never see you again.

I was a sophomore in college, and I got a call that my grandfather had just had a heart attack. I raced home to be with my mother and brother. By the time I got home, my mother her siblings had started gathering at her father's house, which was a few hours away. They were all sure it was the end. She told my brother and I we didn't need to come. But we decided to go anyway and left late at night. As we started getting closer, we realized that neither one of us knew exactly how to get to the hospital. We asked for directions at a toll booth, and got off at the next exit. The hospital was eerily quiet. We finally found an information desk, and asked for information on our grandfather. The woman at the desk said there was nobody by that name at the hospital. My brother nearly lost it thinking we were too late. Then a doctor getting off his shift noticed us and asked if we were okay. Somehow in the conversation, we realized we were at the wrong hospital. So he met us in the parking lot, and drove ahead of us and led us to the right hospital. From there he worked his doctor connections and found out where our grandfather's room was, and got us permission to go to the ICU to see him. As we walked down the hall to his room, he explained everything to us and told us about our grandfather's condition. He prepared us for seeing him hooked up to lots of wires and machines, and told us that his prognosis was good. And just as quickly as he appeared in the lobby of the first hospital, he said goodbye and left. We had been so preoccupied with my grandfather, that I never got the doctor's full name. He spent about an hour with us, after what was surely a long day at work and really helped put us at ease. Nearly 15 years later, I am still so grateful.

Day 21. What child(ren)’s names do you like that your partner hates and thus you could never use?

If there are any names I liked that Elizabeth hated, she was too polite to tell me. The name she got stuck on for a long time that I could never use was Wendell. Poor kid would get beaten up every day with a name like that!

Day 22 – What is your most beloved childhood memory? What memories are you trying to create (or will you try to create) for your child(ren)?

I loved having lazy summer days with my brother. We were totally unsupervised and would spend all day playing outside or swimming at "the crane" (our name for this place that was really sketchy now that I am remembering it as an adult...there were these cranes and bulldozers at a small sand quarry near the railroad tracks. The pit would fill with water, and the two of us would just jump in there and go for a swim!) We liked to make forts and we'd try to catch rabbits with that box propped on a stick tied to a string thing that you see in cartoons. I hope that my kids will have a good relationship with each other. I hope I can get them to play outside, and I hope I will not be the type of parent to hover too much. Oh, and I want a yard where I can grow raspberries for them. I used to love having raspberries growing in the yard as a kid.

Day 23 – What are your favorite activities to do with your kid(s)?

Eating dinner. The rush of getting everyone out the door to work and daycare in the morning does not leave much time to enjoy each others company. At dinner, we get to sit down and relax. We've just started all sitting down together, letting the kids eat what we eat, although their version is usually modified somewhat. It means we're eating a lot earlier than we'd like, but I really love having the time as a family. I love that they're being introduced to new foods too. I'd really hate it if we had the kind of kids who only ate chicken nuggets.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Because I'm the type who rises to an un-challenge, here's the first installment of my catching up!

Day 4
What surprised you most about parenthood...

I was most surprised by how it changed my relationship with my mother / mother in law. I had always considered myself lucky because I get along pretty well with my mom and mother in law. Now, they make me absolutely insane! All of the "helpful comments" and "we always did such and such with you" etc. They hover, they question everything we do, and they pout when we ask them to stop doing things that go against how we want to parent. I know they mean well, but it's frustrating that we have to fight to raise my kids the way we want to.

Day 5
What do I prefer to do on my birthday...

My best birthday by far was my 31st. I spent it in the hospital with my hours old babies. Had they been born 2 hours later, I would have shared a birthday with my kids! I like to do simple, laid back kinds of things for my birthday. Going to a favorite restaurant with friends is always nice. I think my ideal would be to have a potluck, where everyone prepares something they love to cook. Nobody gets away with bringing ice or napkins.

I never had big parties growing up because my birthday is in the summer, so it was hard to get people together. I think I'd like to keep birthday parties small for my kids. It will be interesting to see how it turns out with twins.

Day 6,
the last time I tried something new...

It was a few weeks ago and it was swimming. Ok, so I've known how to swim since I was a little. I was a total fish when I was a kid. But then somewhere in middle school, when I realized I was chubbier than the other girls, I became too ashamed to be seen in a bathing suit. I would go swimming in shorts and a t-shirt worn over a bathing suit on very rare occasions (less than once a year) and only when there were few to no people around. Then someone in my multiples playgroup arranged group swim lessons and asked if I wanted to participate. Since it's so important to know how to swim, and my kids love playing in the bath, I decided to suck it up and go. I bought a swimsuit for the first time in at least 10 years. And you know what? It was okay. My kids had fun. Of course, it didn't hurt that everyone else in the group had given birth to twins in the past year!

Day 7

My favorite thing for breakfast is coffee. I missed it so, so much when I was TTC and pregnant. I went without it for 2 years! As far as food goes, I love going out to places where I can get sweet AND salty stuff...bacon and waffles, french toast AND apple chicken sausage, etc. And anything with Hollandaise sauce. Mmmm. Unfortunately, since I'm usually so rushed in the morning it ends up being cold cereal or toast. On the really bad days it's a kashi bar in the car.

Lunch is usually leftover dinner food, or a sandwich or some Greek yogurt. Again, it's a time thing. I don't get much of a lunch break at work so I don't bother preparing anything elaborate. It's usually anything I can eat at my desk.

Dinner is a bit more fun, since I get to cook or order out. We are surrounded by Indian restaurants where we live, so we do that a lot. When I cook, I tend to do Indian or Asian inspired foods jut because that's what's nearby and easy to buy. I always have Thai curry paste on hand so that if I'm short on time and creativity, I can just throw whatever I have into a curry. In the summer, I love going to the farmers markets and making a lot of different veggie dishes for dinner.

We're having a lot of fun doing solid foods with the kids. Our ultimate goal is to have them eating the same food as us, eating when we eat. Baby girl is out little purist. She loves all fruits and veggies, and now that they've come into season she's become a total berry junkie. Screeches like a pterodactyl when she sees a pint of blueberries. Baby boy loves protein. I made a baby version of curry chicken which he gobbled up. He also really loves scrambled eggs with garlic and spinach.

Day 8
If you had to teach something, what would you teach?

Absolutely, without a doubt, photocopier jam repair.

Day 9
What is the most important lesson you learned from your own mother (or other primary caretaker)?

On the positive side, the most important thing I learned from my mother is to just go for it- take a stab at anything, even if you're not sure you can do it.

On the negative side, I learned that it is important to listen to people. My mother does not listen very well, and tends to jump to conclusions, which leads to a lot of frustration.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

Gotta say, I'm loving this non-challenge!

Guilty pleasure #1
Gelato, ice cream and pretty much any other frozen dessert. Although there is almost always a pint in our freezer, there's something about going out to the scoop shops and seeing all those different flavors lined up that makes me giddy. Even hearing the music from an ice cream truck makes me perk up and check my pockets for cash, just in case the driver decides to stop for me.

Guilty pleasure #2
Reality TV. Some of my favorites are RuPaul's Drag Race, Top Chef, 16 and Pregnant (though it made me horribly bitter and jealous when I was TTC), Sister Wives, 19 Kids and Counting and Hoarders.

Guilty Pleasure #3
Crisps. I'm not trying to be cute and randomly toss British terms into the conversation. I just really love all the different kinds of British potato chips. I know, the flavors are all crazy artificial, but I can't help myself. Cheddar and red onion chutney, anyone?

Guilty Pleasure #4
Seeing jerks get pulled over. I'm not the hugest fan of law enforcement, but when someone has been weaving, speeding, and forces me to slam on my brakes with my kids in the back, I get a little thrill when I see them pulled over.

Guilty Pleasure #5
Fake sick days. I rarely call out sick because I rarely get sick. But once in a while I'll treat myself to a mental
health day. I'm always a little bit worried about getting caught, but there is something that just feels so deliciously naughty about having a leisurely lunch at a restaurant while everyone else is at work.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

un-challenge day 2, My high school self

Ahh, my high school self. That girl just could not wait to get out of high school. I took AP classes and was a total overachiever, especially in Spanish class. I even went to Spanish nerd camp one summer. I did lots of non-athletic extracurricular activities just so they'd show up on my transcript and I could get into college and get the hell out of "ye olde quaint New England towne". My high school was on the smaller side, and I didn't know anyone else who was gay. I had figured it out by middle school, so I spent a lot of time feeling trapped and feeling like I just didn't fit in. Once I got to middle school, I didn't have a ton of friends because I wasn't interested in the same things the other girls were. Try as I might, I couldn't fake a crush on Luke Perry.

When I got to high school, I found another outcast like myself. (Lets call her B) She was the outcast because she was the biggest girl in school. I was the outcast because, although I hadn't come out at that point, I was obviously different from the other girls. We had a few other outcast friends, but for the most part B was pretty possessive. She'd get upset if I tried talking to people she didn't approve of. She told me that nobody would accept me if they knew I was gay. She made me feel like I was lucky to have her as a friend, because there was just no way I'd get anyone else. We were inseparable because I had nobody else. When I found a gay youth group a few towns away during my senior year, B was pretty pissed. I began hanging out with the kids from the youth group and at the risk of sounding cliche, I finally felt free, felt like I could be myself. We would stay out late in coffee shops and diners, go camping, go on road trips and pull crazy stunts (many of which involved staging barbie dolls in crazy scenes in public places- don't worry, nothing lewd!). I hardly spent any time with B anymore. When I started dating someone I met in the group, that was it. B was furious and ended our friendship. Fortunately, all the hard work and extracurricular activities paid off, and I was accepted to my top choice college.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Non-challenge day#1

Where do you blog?

Like many of you, I blog from work. Isn't it lovely?

I couldn't get everything in the picture with my crummy cell phone camera, but I did my best to capture my desk as it really is. I didn't clean up for y'all. I left my travel mug and my heating food in the office microwave mug and my brita (budget cuts, no more water cooler) out for all to see. My desk is usually covered with notes and packages and other things people dump there for me. As you may have guessed from the pile of books and the barcode scanner gun, I work in a library. My desk is not very private- the office is one big room with desks plunked all over, and I have 2 cubicle walls with a big gap between them. But it's a pretty laid back atmosphere thanks to my boss. Everyone has their own way to waste time, be it blogs, video games or facebook.
I rarely blog from home because I'd rather spend that time with my family. I'm out of the house from about 7:30am -6pm. Not the longest workday, but it doesn't give me too much time with my babies if I want to get them to bed at a decent hour.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Daycare woes

Some recent posts at Bao in the Oven inspired me to do a post on my own daycare situation. I never really wanted to send my kids to daycare. I had always hoped that Elizabeth would land some tenure track job just in the nick of time and that I'd be able to be a stay at home mom for a year or two, then put them in some awesome and engaging pre-school and go back to work part time. Unfortunately, the academic job market sucks. Elizabeth's PhD did not land her a tenure track job, but got her stuck adjuncting. And anyone who has ever been an adjunct before can tell you that it pretty much qualifies you for sponsorship from Sally Struthers.

So here we are, going to the only daycare we can afford. We toured all of the facilities in the area. None of them would give a price over the phone. Instead, they make you come in and fall in love with the facility and "curriculum" and then hit you with the cost. They all but laughed in our faces when we told them what we could afford. Our daycare is in a small, older building. It is definitely showing it's age. I think we were able to get a good price there because the tired, worn facility can not compete with the bright, fancy new daycares that have been springing up like dandelions.

We love that our daycare is so accommodating. They were the only place that would let us do a 4 day week instead of going truly full time. They are willing to work with our changing schedules and occasional early dropoff / late pickup. I admire the patience it must take to do what they do each day for a very small salary. The people there really are sweet, and seem to genuinely like our kids.

But it's definitely not the same as some of the other places we saw. The fancy new facilities teach sign language and have music and art "programs" even in the infant room. Our daycare has nothing like that. I know I can't expect all the little extras for the price we pay. But there are some other things that bother me a bit more. A couple weeks ago I walked in to find my daughter looking red and blotchy. My mind raced to remember what she ate that day, thinking it was some kind of allergic reaction. It wasn't until I looked at my son's sheet for the day, which contained a small note about him tipping over in a walker outside that I realized it wasn't an allergic reaction- my daughter had a sunburn from being taken outside without sunblock. Some other things that make me scratch my head and wonder:

*I'm 90% sure they heat bottles in the microwave. I always heard that was bad because it destroys the beneficial properties of breastmilk and that it heats unevenly.

*The babies are always put to sleep on their tummies. I know many babies do better this way, but I thought a daycare would need to be more strict about the whole "back to sleep" thing and other safety issues.

*I found out that my son was eating a teething biscuit in the jumperoo. Isn't this a cholking hazard? Like running with a lollypop in your mouth?

*There seems to be very little effort to get the babies to nap. Some kids from the pre-K room frequently visit the infant room. It's nice that the babies get the extra attention and stimulation, but it creates a chaotic environment in the room. No wonder they don't get any sleep.

*Communication can be really difficult. All kids are supposed to have a sheet filled out with info on how many diapers they had, how they napped, when & how much they ate etc. I know the staff is busy, but these sheets are hardly ever filled out more than halfway. I think they're inaccurate much of the time too. AM and PM staff sometimes give conflicting information. This makes it hard to determine if their schedule is working or needs to be changed. I hate having so little control over / involvement in my kids lives.

There are other minor things that pop up, and I'm sure I'll remember a whole slew of other things as soon as I post this. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else has similar issues with their daycare. Maybe all daycares are the same, and I'm fretting a bit too much over silly little things. Or maybe I'm just looking for stuff to be bothered by since I never really wanted them in daycare in the first place.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thanks for all the advice on good places to find clothes. Of course when you're trying not to be too gender conforming and all else fails, just dress them exactly the same.

good luck trying to tell them apart now!

Monday, March 21, 2011

sugar and spice, and clothing advice

Having fully entered the world of solid foods, it seems that we can never have enough bibs. We found a great deal on some bibs with waterproof backing at a baby store last week, and bought 1 "girl" pack and 1 "boy" pack (with the intention of letting either baby wear bibs from either pack). All 10 of the boy bibs boasted of the wearer's superb athleticism. The girl bibs were more of a mixed bag. Some cupcakes, some ladybugs, etc. But the bib that really got me was the one that said "Kisses, 25cents". Really? What's next, a onesie that says "I'll flash my tits for a 15 second spot on "girls g0ne wild"? I know that the bib company intended this to be cute, and maybe I'm making a big dea lout of nothing, but somehow I just can't bring myself to put this on either of my kids.

We're not trying to put our daughter in strictly gender neutral clothing. We try to mix it up as much as we can. As she gets older and finds her own style and sense of self, we want her to know that we'll love her in ballet slippers as much as we'll love her in combat boots. Though as the multi-pack of bibs proved, sometimes the "girly" options leave a lot to be desired. And it's harder and harder to find clothes that don't play into the gender stereotypes in sizes larger than 6m. Anyone out there have a great source for kids clothes?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Going halfsies

It just happened. I knew it would happen sooner or later. It was just a matter of when, and how. After months of no activity whatsoever on the bulletin boards, suddenly there is contact information for the other families who used our donor. And suddenly, my twins have 6 half siblings that we know about, all born within 2 months of each other. In my head, the meeting was all very romanticized- We all meet and bring the kids to Disneyworld, and they become like dear cousins to each other. The moms become BFFs and we all live happily ever after. The reality was much different.
There was a flurry of emails in the first few days, as we exchanged names and photos of our kids, and compared their personalities. But I'm left wondering what will happen once the initial curiosity wears off. What kind of relationship will my kids have with their half siblings?

My relationship with my own half-sister is a bit rocky. We lived about a half hour away from each other until I was 10 and she was 3. Then she and her mother packed up and moved halfway across the country. My asshole father did very little to keep her connected to the family, and only flew her out to visit about once a year (now it's about every 4 years). He never went to visit her. I wasn't allowed to make long distance calls, and she was too young to write letters back and forth, so we were not close growing up. As the internet became more widely available, we started communicating through e-mail. But she has a tendency to drop off the face of the earth for months at a time. It's not uncommon to go close to a year without hearing from her. She's a bit of a transient, so I'm never quite sure when or where she'll pop up. One month she's in North Carolina, then months later she'll call from Ohio. When she does re-appear, it's always the same. She wants money. She'll claim its because she doesn't have enough to pay car insurance, or rent, or she needs money to buy a bed because she's been sleeping on a recliner. And I will scramble to send her what little can, because she's my half-sister and I feel compelled to help. Some part of me knows she is irresponsible with money, and that I'm being taken advantage of. If she were just a friend, I would have cut her out of my life long ago. But because we have the same father, I feel a sense of obligation.

I wonder if this is what it will be like for my children. Will they feel a similar sense of obligation to their half siblings? Will they feel like their half siblings owe them anything? Will they desire a close relationship with these other children?
I've been feeling personal pressure on the issue, because I realize that at this young age, it's not really about the kids. It's about the moms. It's going to be OUR ability to communicate and connect with each other that will help shape the foundation of the halfsies relationships to each other. Two of the mothers found each other in a cryobank support group when they were trying to get pregnant. They chat regularly, they've exchanged multiple baby gifts, and they're planning to visit each other soon. I feel like a bit of a third wheel coming into the picture so much later. Suddenly all of my adolescent insecurities have re-emerged. What if the other moms don't like me? What if I blow it for my kids because I'm not as pretty or popular as the other moms?** Will my kids be shut out of a relationship with the half siblings if I don't make a connection with the moms? And in the end, how much of it really matters?
After years of resistance I finally caved and joined facebook, and have become facebook friends with the other moms. Will it ever amount to anything more than that? I suppose only time will tell.

**ETA - I'm not actually worried that they won't like me because I'm "not pretty or popular enough", but I do worry that this is an awkward way to meet people, and I don't want to make a bad first impression.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm baaaaack!

Just when you think I'm gone for good, that's when I pop up again. My only excuse is for the long absence is that I've been busy. There has been a crackdown on wasting time at work, so I have been left with little time to blog. Sure I've got a million ideas for posts in my head, but I've been a slacker about commenting so I don't feel right about posting. Nobody wants to be the girl who shows up at the party and only talks about herself.

Anywho...that busy life is exactly what I want to talk about. Now I understand what people mean when they say that there aren't enough hours in the day. Here's what my schedule looks like:

6am- out of bed and pump if I need more milk for daycare. Make lunch to bring to work, make and eat breakfast. Feed dogs. Get myself dressed and ready, get babies dressed fed (nursing and solids) and ready. Somewhere in there Elizabeth brings our poor neglected dogs out to pee and for a short walk.

7:45 out the door for work / daycare dropoff

8:30-5 work

5:15- daycare pickup

6ish, depending on traffic- arrive home- unload babies, breast pump, daycare bag from car. Shout at dogs as they try to jump all over you when you're hauling your stuff to the second floor apt. Feel bad. Pat dogs on the head and tell them they are good puppies, then bring them out to pee.

6:30- change diapers, nurse babies and give them more solids. Clean babies up and let them play while you get some food ready for the grownups.

7- 7:30ish- get babies ready for bed and put them down in their cribs. Cross fingers that the boy does not flip out when he realizes he is not being held. Get dinner on the table.

8:00- eat dinner, possibly with the boy in your arms because he refuses to be put down. Clean up dinner dishes.

9:00- shower, pump, do anything else that needs to be done like paying bills, making baby food, etc.

11ish- bed. enjoy about 1/2 hour of peace before the boy realizes you are in the room (we're in a 1 bedroom apt) and he's hungry. Nurse the boy back to sleep. Wish he could be as easy as his sister who sleeps through the night.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Weekends are reserved for the really fun stuff, like going to the laundromat. I have no idea how we'll fit everything in when they're older and have things like soccer practice. I hate feeling like I have no time for my kids, even when we are at home. Any of you wise bloggers out there have any tips on how YOU get it all done?