One of the things I love most about blogging – or at least about how blogging used to be a few years ago – is getting a dose of a slice of life. Sometimes these slices were similar to mine: small children, maybe even twins, and sometimes they were wholly different. Like people who had leisure time.
Tuesday I participated in #OneDayHH, hosted by Laura of Hollywood Housewife (talk about a wholly different lifestyle). I love this day each year because it reminds me to document the daily happenings of our life, mundane or not. Here’s a glass of water I am drinking! Yum! Tuesdays are my least busy days – the day we don’t have therapy or any extracurricular activities. I love having something to go to in the afternoons, but I also love having no plans so we can just chill all afternoon.
After taking the kids to school, I usually jump right into working. Tuesday I was working on blog and social media stuff for Hand to Hold, a nonprofit I work for that provides services and support for families who have been affected by prematurity and/or endured a NICU stay. I run their blog, Preemie Babies 101, as well as the PB101 Facebook page. I really enjoy what I’m doing, and the work this organization is doing is amazing.
The glass of water I promised! Some coworkers and I got together for lunch to bid one of our coworkers goodbye and best wishes on a new endeavor. I’m still fairly new to the organization, but I’m enjoying getting to know these ladies and soak up their knowledge of this line of work.
ANYWAY, we went to the Hyde Park Bar & Grill, which also happens to be the restaurant to which I went on my first date with a college boy, mere days after moving here. I’ve been there only a handful of times since, but it was nice to be there as a grownup. Mainly because I am old enough to order alcohol!
I parked behind Dolce Vita Gelato & Espresso Bar, facing this super cool mural. One of the things I love about Austin is how much art is everywhere.
Holy crap, when was the last time I was at 38th & Lamar? I used to work a few blocks away from here and navigated this area every day. This corner used to be a strip center, housing several local businesses. Looks like businesses are still going in on the bottom floor, but it’s so slick-looking.
Zoe went to a play date after school, so I had these two all to myself. It was actually my first time sending one of my kids to someone’s house that I don’t know really well. Claire thought it was so unfair that she didn’t get to go too, but life isn’t fair. Then to really drive that point home, she stood in an ant pile.
They ate a little snack, drew a few hundred drawings, and then I relented to iPads because I had to fold laundry and not hear any more begging to take them to the craft store.
And yes, the Halloween decorations are still up, and there’s a random ladder in my living room. Realness.
Opened the front door to go get Zoe and found this little surprise! I could definitely use some meditation. And it came with teeny tiny pencils! Review coming soon-ish.
2nd grade homework: measuring in feet and inches. Kill me now.
I really really suck at teaching my kids. I’m pretty sure if I had a curriculum that told me HOW to explain these concepts to her, I wouldn’t flounder so much. But my inabilities mixed with her apathy pretty much make this torture.
“Fingers do not go in your butthole.” That is a thing I just said. Tell me you have to say these things too.
Please to explain how I ended up with two of these jackets in my house, when this is not an item I have bought 2 of. It’s like the time I picked up a crumpled up black t-shirt off the living room floor, only to find out it was NOT a t-shirt that anyone in this house owned. It had an awful ornate cross on it, like the kind you see bedazzled on the butts of “fancy” jeans, but this one wasn’t bedazzled. And it smelled like someone soaked it in cheap cologne for days. It was by far the creepiest thing I’d ever found in my house, because where the fuck did it come from? We never found out.
Anyway, these were different sizes, so I knew which one to send back to school.
Christian was out at a work thing, so I painted my nails and crawled in bed to watch the very last episode of Sex and the City. I’ve been binge watching the whole series on Amazon Prime for the past several weeks. If you haven’t watched it from start to finish, I highly recommend it. Season one with it’s lack of internet and cell phones is pretty historic, and when you watch season one and two episodes back to back, you have a hard time figuring out why Carrie’s so stuck on Big, because he’s such an a-hole to her. And every season I said, “Ooooh! I want Carrie’s curls!”
So that’s your average Tuesday around here! What’s your day look like?
Friday afternoon I poured my sacred cup of afternoon coffee, grabbed my laptop, and went to set up at the end of the dining room table, where I could keep an eye on the kids out on the trampoline. There I found a message waiting for me:
If I didn’t know better, I’d think that was an incriminating “Claire Torres” scrawled into my beautiful mahogany table. But I also know that Claire knows how to spell her name, unless the thrill of digging into my only really good piece of furniture was just too distracting for her.
My first reaction was a complete, wide-eyed WTF gasp, followed by a brief investigation into the severity of the marks, which then quickly disintegrated into an apathetic shrug, because this is just a part of my life right now. I’ve given up trying to have nice things. My stuff gets messed up. I don’t appreciate it, and I don’t condone it, but I can’t waste precious energy trying to keep my furniture in showroom condition.
When we bought this house ten years ago, the only thing I could picture in the combination living/dining room was a long, dark-stained table, topped with a funky centerpiece and surrounded by enough chairs for all of our friends. We found the perfect piece: long, mahogany-colored, and solid – the first real piece of furniture for our new house. It clashed terribly with the beat up couches and cheap TV stand that migrated over from our apartment, but it served as a precedent for what we wanted to create in this home. We entertained friends, served meals, and kept the table clean and polished.
Just over two years later, we became parents to twins. We entertained less. We still ate at the table, although the meals often consisted of whatever we could throw together. When Rachel and Claire started crawling, we moved all of the chairs out so that fat, explorative baby legs wouldn’t get stuck in them, or so they wouldn’t pull them over onto themselves. When they started walking, we pushed the table against the wall to create more room to roam in our small house.
The large mahogany surface eventually became a drop station for mail and other miscellaneous junk. It served as my work station, holding my computer and later, an infant in a bouncy seat. The table was the only safe place for her, out of reach of four little 2-year-old hands that loved to poke and prod. And smack. Claire loved to smack that baby.
Once Zoe was a toddler, I declared I wanted my table back. We moved it back to its proper place, put a bench on one side and the original chairs on the other. Still, we rarely eat there. Today it serves as a homework table, craft station, drawing table, and Minecraft Central. It’s constantly covered in paper, colored pencils, homemade books, and LEGOs. Instead of the funky centerpiece I originally envisioned, a not-so-funky pencil organizer sits in the middle, keeping drawing utensils and scissors within easy reach.
This table is a well loved, forever piece of furniture. Its once smooth surface is covered in pockmarks where the kids have pounded with pens and pencils. There’s a spot of purple nail polish I can’t quite get off, from when Claire decided to go rogue in the nail painting department. It rarely gets more than a quick swipe for dust and crumbs. And now there are these lovely words scrawled into the corner, words I’ll have to call one of them over to decipher.
I’m not itching to erase any of that right now. Each scratch and ding is an indication of imaginations running wild, stories being written, homework being fought about. It’s a part of our home and of our family. Someday I’ll get it refinished, erasing all of the marks that once screamed “this is a house with impulsive young children!” But for now it’s still our precedent, a reminder of where we are in life.
Besides, it goes well with the cracked tile in the foyer, the stickers on my front window, and the patched over holes in the wall where the baby gate used to hang. Someday we’ll have nice things. But today is not that day.
On Mondays I pick Rachel and Claire up early from school to go to therapy. I love these early pickups because it gives me a rare opportunity to just hang with the two of them for a couple of hours. You’d be amazed how the dynamic changes when you have just one less kid with you. One fewer kid? IDK.
Today the girls were chattering on about how Claire got to invite a friend to have lunch in the classroom with her. She invited Rachel. They watched Magic School Bus and were having so much fun they almost forgot to eat. I was so proud that she met her goal and achieved the reward, and it warmed my heart that the friend she decided to invite was her sister.
When we told Christian about it at home, he said, “Well, you either get the carrot, or you get – ”
Today they got the carrot, but seriously, what the hell with the random idioms I did not realize we were teaching our children, and by “we” I mean my husband?
Zoe worked for 2 hours straight this evening on her “hide the turkey” project. This girl is a hard worker. She was determined to color the turkey EXACTLY like a real one, asking to see actual photos for reference, not cartoon clip art versions with multicolored tail feathers. Eventually the large amounts of impending brown got her to relent to some color.
“Zoe, you sure are working hard on that!”
“I know, right?”
Kindergarten: Now with 100% more sass.
And just so you know, she did 100% of the work on this, which I always encourage with my kids, but I do remember a couple of years ago maybe helping a little with a princess dress and a pirate disguise. But she did this from start to finish with no guidance, and her solution to hiding the turkey is so logical it’s scary.
“Scaredy Turkey flew over the fence to hide from the farmer so he would not get eaten for Thanksgiving dinner.”
She really is my clone.
It’s important to me that you (and the kindergarten teacher) know that I realize it says “Paste tab under top of turkey,” but that’s what happens when you jump right in and don’t wait for help. She gets that from her dad. She didn’t need it anyway. I’m not in the business of crushing dreams. I did enough of that with the other two when they were in kinder. KIDDING. I think, although that kind of thing may have driven me batty back then. Yay for personal growth!
I skipped Saturday in posting for NaBloPoMo, and I can’t give two damns about that. The second half of last week was crazy busy (for me), and by the time I got home from Saturday’s event, I just wanted to sit in a comatose state and not talk to anyone for about a week.
Moving on. When I talked about how shopping is torture, I promised pictures of the outfits I put together for the events I had this week. There are a few things you should know:
1) I am not a fashion/style blogger.
2) I am not even a fashion/style person.
3) I didn’t really remember to have anyone take any full body pictures of me in any of these getups. 7 years into this blogging thing, and I still can’t be bothered to actually follow the rules.
So lets start with the lunch date I had on Wednesday with some girlfriends. I wore a striped cardigan over a wrinkled white tank top, with jeans and TOMS. No photos, because I was too hungry. Also who cares? It was lunch.
Thursday I attended a luncheon for a non-profit (different from regular lunch in that it included fancy napkins and iced tea in goblets), featuring Deanna Fei as the speaker.
This kind of thing is totally not my jam, but I really wanted to hear Fei speak. A few years ago she made headlines when she wrote an article in response to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s remarks that he had greatly reduced his employees’ benefits due to two “distressed babies” that had been born the previous year, whose care cost the company a lot of money. One of those distressed babies was Fei’s daughter, who was born at 24 weeks (her husband worked for AOL at the time). I’d wanted to read her book (affiliate link), and since I now work part time in this sector, I felt it was in my best interest to attend. But I was still as awkward as a moose on ice skates.
Fei was lovely, but I will not post the photo of us together because the woman who took it did not help a sister out and alert me that I was standing half in front of the projector, causing scary shadows. So you get this lovely bathroom selfie instead.
I’d been looking for something to wear with this LuLaRoe Cassie pencil skirt for months, so I was thrilled to find this chambray tunic at Target. The luncheon was downtown, on the top floor of some fancy building, and most people were in suits and business attire. I am not businessy, so whatever. I was me.
Friday I worked at Hand to Hold‘s 2nd Annual Baby Shower Luncheon fundraiser. This was what I was agonizing most over finding something to wear for, but I did, it was comfortable, and I was happy with it.
My friend Kristin was able to attend, which further proved that we are attached at the hip (like literally – look at our hips!). Listen to Your Mother season just revved up, so you’ll be seeing a lot more pics like this.
Saturday I attended MomCom15, a super fun local conference where inspiration and entrepreneurship and moms all come together. I’ve attended every conference since it started in 2012, and I’ll go out on a limb and say the sessions in this event were some of the best I’ve ever attended.
I went casual for this one, with jeans (okay, jeggings), a cute top I got from Stitch Fix, and mah favorite boots.
Today I am in comfy jeans and a tshirt, which is a step up from the see-through leggings and hoodie I spent half the day in while I mopped the floors. Nothing but realness going on here.
What are you wearing? Keep it clean, people.
Sometimes I forget that I am the mom of identical twins. I mean, I know I have twins, but I forget sometimes how different our family dynamic is from most others.
Rachel and Claire have a special bond that I will never truly understand. But I think what I love most about it is that they don’t know any different. They’ve been together since conception, save a 38 day separation in the NICU. They are always on each other’s radar, the first person they want to talk to when they wake up in the morning or come home after running an errand with one of us. They can’t help it; they are each others’ person.
Being identical comes with its cons though. Even though they have distinguishing characteristics – Claire cut her hair into a short bob at the beginning of the school year, while Rachel still insists on her long ponytail every day – it’s remembering who is who that stumps most people. Kids at school often come up to them and say, “Are you Claire or Rachel?” or they simply address them by name – a name that’s not theirs. And I wonder, since they look completely different to me, what it must be like to look at them and see two faces that are seemingly indecipherable.
Their P.E. teacher admitted to me one day that she calls both of them Torres, because in the moment, it’s just easier than trying to figure out which one is which.
As a mom, this makes me cringe. But as someone who has several friends with twins, I get it. Over the years I’ve devised little tricks in my head to help me keep my friends’ twins straight. Even with fraternal twins that look nothing alike, remembering which name goes with which child can be super hard for someone as brain dead as me. For example, we know a set of twins named Wyatt and Nolan. Wyatt is blonde, so in my head I said, “White Wyatt.” I never said it was a genius method.
I try to see these instances of mistaken identity as opportunities to talk to them about it and see how badly they are being scarred for life by being called the wrong name all the time.
Me: “So what does Mrs. M call you again?”
Them: “She calls us Torres.” (Notice how I am referring to my kids as a unit here. Like they are completely indistinguishable from one another. See? Even we twin parents do it too. Adding to the therapy fund now.)
Me: “Why do you think that is?”
Them: “Because it’s our last name!”
“Yeah, but WHY does she call you Torres and not Claire? Or Rachel?”
“Because she calls us Torres!”
“I KNOW. But she calls you Torres because you guys look SO MUCH ALIKE, she doesn’t always know which one of you is which.”
“You guys know that you look exactly alike, right?”
Yes. My girls are 7 years old and know they are twins, but until this conversation, they apparently had no idea that they looked exactly alike.
Hey, remember that time your sister dropped an empty water bottle on your face, and it hit you just right so that you immediately started screaming bloody murder?
And I was all, “Calm down, Felix, it can’t be that bad”? And then I went over to you and saw that your left eye was already red and swollen?
And then I was all, “Oh, shit!” But I didn’t really say that out loud because I always watch my language around my kids? So instead of saying “Oh shit!” I said, “Hey, let’s go get some ice on that!”
And then I said, “Please stop screaming so the neighbors don’t think you’ve been maimed.”
And then remember how a few minutes later it was looking dangerously purple, so I texted your teacher for a heads up and totally threw your sister under the bus so she wouldn’t think there were unsavory activities going on at our house? Because it’s important for people to know that I don’t give my kids black eyes (but their sisters sometimes do)?
And then remember how a few days later was picture day? And today we got this?
That was fun.
(Also, how much do I kind of love that although she wore her favorite shirt – a Halloween number with a glasses-wearing ghost on the front, even though this was early September – she completely forgot to take off her Ninja Turtle jacket? “Ghostie was hiding.”)
I don’t usually have much wisdom to impart here, but I do have one nugget for you today, and that nugget is this:
If you are ever out shopping for something to wear to an event, and you happen across a dress that is super cute and fits well, but maybe it’s a little big in the bust because you don’t have all that much up there, and but you don’t really care because it’s only $12.99 on clearance, you had better SNATCH THAT PUPPY UP. Because you will fail to find something at the next store, but you don’t really have time to drive all over town, and so you decide to go back and get the dress, but it has to be tomorrow because shopping is exhausting. You know the dress will be safe on the clearance rack.
But when you return – less than 18 hours later – the dress will be GONE.
And then you’ll hastily have to regroup while internally freaking out because who has time for this shit?
(This also happened to me once with a little chambray button down, but did I learn? DID I?)
(I did not.)
Shopping is terrible and exhausting and only really fun when you don’t actually have to do it. But the thing is, if I don’t have to do it, why would I do it?
Because I have three events coming up this week, that’s why.
Shopping for something specific is even worse, sending people (me) on wild goose chases for the seemingly obscure perfect outfit that only exists in a parallel universe – a universe that you experienced that other time, when you found the perfect outfit, but didn’t buy it because a) you didn’t have “a reason,” and b) it’ll be there next time, right?
Even the most basic of basics become impossible to find when there is a need, or worse, an event. I put together one fun little outfit, but realized my black maxi skirt was a little worse for wear. No biggie! Black maxis are everywhere! Target always has black maxis! Except when you really need a black maxi. Then all you will find are racks of cuffed sweatpants and white jeans.
Need a light navy cardigan to replace the one that you wore a hole into? Sorry. Need a light gray open front sweater (also known as a cardigan, but I didn’t want to out myself as a cardigan junkie) to replace the one you left at that coffee shop? The one that you’re pretty sure belongs to a man bun-wearing hipster now? Nope. A plain black pencil skirt, for Christ sake? Thou hast forsaken me.
Lesson of the day: Buy the dress or the cardigan or the whatever the hell it is that you see and love and can afford, especially when it’s on clearance for 12.99. I visited a second location, and they had TONS of the same dress. Maybe tens. But I found it, and I bought it, and I bought some boot socks, and I used a coupon and saved $10, so BAM.
Updates coming soon on what I wore to these events, because it’s NaBloPoMo (day 3 in the bag!), and I’ll need the post material.
I’ve been doing a lot of waiting lately, as my kids have taken on a slew of new activities. On Mondays I wait in the waiting room of the occupational therapy office. On Wednesdays I wait in the crowed parent-viewing area of the gymnastics place. Starting last week, on Thursdays I now wait in a much less crowded parent-viewing area of a different gymnastics place. It’s a lot of running around for someone who doesn’t particularly like to run around, but the silver lining is that I have a legit excuse for not making dinner on those evenings.
I’ve felt busier than ever lately, so this waiting thing is especially hard for me. I almost always take my laptop on these outings, but I rarely use it. I fantasize about getting some work done, like a lazy person fantasizes about running a marathon, I suppose. But the truth is, the wifi in the therapy place is terrible, as is the reception on the waiting room music. Hey Soul Sister’s bad enough when it’s coming through crystal clear.
The wifi in the Wednesday gymnastics place is downright broken, which makes me wonder what kind of show they’re running. The kind of show where I’m looking around to figure out whose hot spot that is coming up on my network list so I can go make friends with them, that’s what kind of show. Plus their soda machine is always empty, which just makes me thirsty. I haven’t tried the wifi at Thursday’s place because last week I was too busy reading the Zola story on my phone. #TrueStory
Last week at my monthly writers’ group, a few of us lamented the fact that we had so little “me” time. Many of us work from home full or part time. Most of us have kids in school. All of us wanted more time to sit and read or binge watch Sex and the City or stare at the walls even. Obviously we take this talking about writing thing 115% seriously.
The difficulty in working from home for me is shutting it off; anytime I have a spare moment, I could be working. But I shouldn’t feel that way. Because sometimes a girl’s just gotta sit down with some chocolate cheerios and some Carrie Bradshaw.
Each Monday I haul out my laptop in the therapy waiting room and spend fifteen minutes getting frustrated over the crappy dial-up worthy load times before putting it away in favor of something else. I am the epitome of doing the same thing every time and expecting different results, when in fact I should just resign myself to doing something I want to do during that hour: read, write, or walk circles around the waiting room to up my step count. This Monday I wrote this lovely post. But next Monday, I’m leaving the laptop at home.