Spontaneous Combustion

When you have twins, people ask you all kinds of questions about them.  One of them, which is a little invasive, is whether or not they are natural.  Well, they’re not aliens!  But really what they mean is were they spontaneous, or did you have help?  Even the thought of them being spontaneous makes one think of walking down the street, and BOOM!  You’re having twins!  

The more I get to know some of the other moms in my multiples group, the more I realize how lucky we are.  So many women in the group were in vitro fertilization (or IVF-ers), and talk about how long they tried and how ecstatic they were to find out they were pregnant, and that they were more than likely having multiples.  It just hit me tonight that although the thought of me being hit with a twinning lightening rod, thus causing my egg’s spontaneous splitting, was pretty funny, we are some of the lucky ones.  I need to remember to count my blessings each day, and remember that although my life with two babies is not a breeze, we were sent this challenge for a reason.  We are truly blessed.

Enjoy the slideshow entitled “Big Brown Eyes.”  My favorite line from the song is “You’ve made a big impression for a girl of your size/Now I can’t get by without you and your big brown eyes.”  So true.

This has nothing to do with babies

So one day this girl knocks on my door and says she’s with AT&T and has a great new package deal offer.  I really hate it when people go door to door.  I don’t like signing up for things in the blink of an eye, but I also don’t like to be rude, so I listen to the schpeel and then try to politely refuse.  This is not just with salespeople.  I had a really hard time turning away some Jehovah’s Witnesses that came to my apartment door a few years ago.  But you know as soon as they left I called the leasing office and reported them for their solicitation of….scripture? Pretty passive aggressive, I know.  but how do you turn someone away who’s offering to read the Bible with you?  I’m no heathen!

So AT&T lady pitches me a superfast connection for a much cheaper price than my Time Warner.  Sounds good so far.  She asks me if I have a DVR with my current service, and I say hell no, I would watch way too much TV if I had DVR and I would.  Well as my luck would have it, this service comes with 3 DVR’s.  Long story short, I sign us up because I have no idea what a fiber optic network is and the price is less than I am paying now, which is good because I’ve just had 2 babies and am going to quit my job.  Turns out fiber optic is good, and tech savvy husband agrees with my decision.

So back to the DVR.  It’s the best thing ever invented.  It has changed my life.  Sorry, Chris and Lori, I no longer have to go over to your house to watch DVR’d “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”  I have yet to DVR it myself, but I can if I want to.  Wanna know what else DVR has done for me?  Or to me rather?  I have two words for you:  Grey’s Anatomy.  Never watched it, and never saw what all the hype was about.  Another medical drama?  Whatever. Yeah, well “whatever” is laughing in my face now, because I am obsessed.  Will Meredith and Derek get together?  Break up?  Get back together?  Break up again?  Will Alex ever win Izzy over despite the fact that he cheated on her like 3 years ago?  Will the writers come to their senses and halt the lesbian story line between Callie and Erica (not that I have a problem with that – it just doesnt fit)?  I don’t have to make sure I am home on Thursday nights.  It will still be there Friday, Saturday, or whenever I get around to watching it.  But now I have to rent all the past seasons from Netflix so I can catch up on what I have been missing.  What happened with Denny Duquette?  How in the world did George and Callie end up married? How did Burke (Isaiah Washington, who was fired from the show) make his exit?  Pathetic you say?  Well I’ll have you know I am not alone.  There’s another member of this household who is also addicted to Grey’s clever dramatic endeavors.  I’ll let you guess who it is.

Oh, DVR, I love you.  You give me my “Grey’s,” capture my “Ugly Betty” for me, and ensure my “Lost” doesn’t get lost.  Get it?  Honestly I am only watching that again because I can. Wouldn’t have any interest in it other than the fact that I happened to catch it right when SciFi started showing it from the pilot and I can watch all the episodes in sequential order. Being a show of which you can’t miss an episode, we gave up on it somewhere in season 2 or 3 since we did not, at the time, have the magic of DVR.

And in case you were wondering, Rachel’s favorite Grey’s character is George, because he’s awkward and quirky, and Claire’s favorite is Dr. Bailey, because she kicks ass.

Buddies, Booze, and Babies. In That Order?

Where were we a year ago?  Well for one thing I was still in my 20’s.  But I digress.  As I looked around the room at my latest birthday gathering of close friends, I realized how much has really changed.  When we first started hanging out with our circle of friends (a group of neighbors that we were graciously annexed into despite the fact that we snubbed them for a house in a different neighborhood), it was a beerfest just about every weekend.  It was like college all over again, complete with migrating from one house to the next, much like we used to do in the dorm.  Going out for happy hour at the last minute.  Staying up and playing poker until the wee hours of the morning. Nooooo….not anymore.  This year’s festivities included good friends and decent beer, but there was something different.  Actually there were 4 somethings named Addy, Avery, Claire, and Rachel.  Every party is a baby party now, and instead of having a beer in each hand, we actually have to PUT DOWN THE BEER and entertain our babies.  What the heck?

Seriously though.  One day we are happily hanging out, and then we blinked and we have added 4 children to the mix.  Talk about work or gossip about each other turned into describing the color and consistency of Rachel’s last poop.  Screaming about that absurd play during the Texas game turned to shushing because the babies are sleeping in the next room. Trips to Mexico have now become trips to Disney World…..in like 5 or 6 years.   The staying up too late and drinking too much?  Well who wants to get drunk when you know you have to get up at 3 am to nurse babies?  Besides, I value my sleep waaaaaaay too much to have it affected in any way by alcohol.  Although it would help them sleep…….Just kidding.  Don’t call CPS on me please.

Ahhhh, Mexico.

The Roaring 20’s

As I write I have minimal time left.  Yes, tomorrow (the 15th) is my birthday, and I’ll be the dreaded 30. I guess I have just been too busy to really think about it, until C mentioned just now that I have an hour and half left in my 20’s.  So to day I had my last afternoon walk in my 20’s.  My last slice of pizza in my 20’s (classy, I know).  I brushed my teeth for the last time in my 20’s.  When the girls wake me up at 3 am I’ll be 30.  I hope I can even get out of bed without my bones creaking and giving way underneath me.

In my 20’s I:

  • Moved into my first apartment
  • Fell in love
  • Went to Vegas
  • Got married (no, not while in Vegas)
  • Did a lot of drinking
  • Graduated from college
  • Worked
  • Worked some more
  • Bought my first car
  • Travelled to Mexico
  • Climbed to the top of the pyramid at Chichen Itza
  • Played softball
  • Met some of the best friends I’ve had in a long time
  • Drove from Austin to North Carolina with a flatulent 5 year old
  • Voted for the first time
  • Bought a house
  • Drove 5 hours from Raleigh to Washington DC with only Coldplay’s X & Y CD in the car – good CD, but not over and over and over again.
  • Saw the White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and Capitol building
  • Took a picture of a protestor in front of the White House, only to later find out that it was not a protestor at all, but part of a movie set (they were shooting The Sentinel with  Michael Douglas and Keifer Sutherland while we were there.  Unfortunately all we saw  were their director’s chairs)
  • Got my picture taken next to the famous self portrait of Vincent Van Gogh
  • Exhibited my artwork
  • Threatened a gallery owner with a lawsuit if he didn’t return said artwork to me – little did he know I didn’t even have a lawyer
  • Played a lot of poker
  • Travelled to Mexico – again
  • Got pregnant – not in Mexico, although that was the idea
  • Split an egg
  • Gave birth to 2 gorgeous girls
  • Realized nothing is as important to me as my family.

Good bye 20’s!  We had a lot of fun didn’t we?  But I guess it’s inevitable.  Enough looking back.  Time to look forward and wait and see what my 30’s have in store for me.  God, I’m old.

Size Does Matter

Sometimes when we see the babies every day we tend not to realize how fast they are growing.  As Little Miss Nostalgia, I kept some of their first outfits worn in the NICU and put them in little memory boxes, along with some of their other NICU memorabilia.  Above is one of Claire’s first onesies that she wore in the NICU, next to one that she wears now (and is soon to outgrow!).  Believe it or not, this little onesie swallowed her in the beginning.  

Here is Rachel’s first onesie that says “SWEET.”  And when you say it, it’s not like a sweet little puppy dog.  It’s like “SWEEEEET!”  Think Ashton Kutcher in “Dude, Where’s My Car?”  And I’m not proud to say that I saw that movie.  Anyways, there’s not as much of a difference here, but it’s Carter’s brand, and they run a little big. As you can see in the picture on the right, she was swimming in it.  It was a sad day when they outgrew these outfits.  🙁

Claire’s NICU souveniers:  Her Longhorn hat, isolette label, hospital bracelet, labels for breast milk bottles, her eye mask from when she sat under the bilirubin lights, her blood pressure cuff, and the little cuff that went on her foot to measure her oxygen levels.  Rachel’s souveniers: Her oxygen cuff, isolette label, and 2 blood pressure cuffs.  For some reason she didn’t make out with as much stuff when she left.

I took some preemie clothes to a new twin mom this morning whose boys were born at 28 weeks and 4 days.  Talking to her brought back all kinds of NICU memories.  I know how anxious she was to get up and see her babies, be there for the feedings, and do Kangaroo Care with them.  The good thing was I could show her the end result – two healthy, smiling babies almost 7 months later.  How soon we forget the trials we went through.  And I have no idea why I have been so reminiscent these days.  Life with 2 almost 7 month olds is much better than life with 2 babies in the hospital.

October, You’re Pretty Cool.

Know what time it is?  It’s time for the most awesome month of the year!  Here are the top ten reasons why October kicks butt.

10.  It starts to cool off from being 99 degrees by 9 am to being only 90 degrees by maybe noon.  Still hot, but we Texans call it “chilly.”

9.  Even though it’s not really cold, it feels like time to put away the sandals and break out the sweaters and boots.

8.  Brown and orange. 

7.  Pumpkin patches.

6.  Somewhere in the US (albeit not here in Texas) it looks like this:

5.  Spooky things.

4.  Um…my birthday.  Duh. 

3.  October 1, 2007 – the day our lives changed.  The day I found out I was pregnant.  And to think I just thought I was going crazy.

2.  October 18, 2007 – the day our loves REALLY changed.  It went a little something like this:
     Dr. Binford: “There’s a good strong heartbeat…..and there’s another one……”
     Us: “WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?”

1.  Candy!!!!!

Ok so maybe candy is not really number one, but it’s definitely up there.  October in Austin is awesome.  Nice, cool(er), breezy.  But the month of October is forever emblazoned in our brains as the month that we not only found out we were expecting, but that we were expecting twins.  Ironically, I didn’t have any morning sickness until the day I took the test. Having just run 4 miles at the gym (I was training for a Thanksgiving day 8 kilometer race for our visit to North Carolina – that was quickly scrapped), I just thought I was a little carsick and needed some food in me. Ooooooh noooooo!  My hand shook like a leaf as I took the positive test into Christian and burst into tears.  Yes, we had been trying ever since our trip to Mexico a month prior (aptly dubbed “Operation Insemination”), but I was terrified.  A baby? A little thing for which I was to be responsible?  For those of us who did not play too much “Mommy” to baby dolls growing up or who did not always feel the maternal instinct, making the decision to have children is an immense one, and a terrifying one.  Am I ready?  Is this what I want?  Can we afford this?  Will we still be able to do the things we love?  

The answers were, of course, mixed.  When it came down to it, yes, I was ready, and I had to be ready a lot sooner than I expected to be.  Yes, it was what we wanted.  As soon as we saw the positive test I felt different, as if I were carrying a miniscule pot of precious gold in my tummy.  Little did I know we had hit the jackpot.  Financially?  Well you don’t realize how much extra spending you did before you had kids until your household income is cut in half and your spending is forced to increase due to diapers, wipes, formula (although we are lucky to only have to use this sparingly), and clothes for 2, not to mention outrageous gas prices and increasing grocery prices. And no, we don’t always still get to do the things we love.  Movies are out, at least in the theatre, and restaurants are iffy.  We had to speed eat through our 6 year anniversary dinner due to tired, cranky, ready for bed time babies.  

But of course, hindsight is 20/20.  I cannot imagine life without my crazy little munchkins, who are teething (somewhat happily) and have discovered the ability to let loose high pitched, ear splitting shrieks.  What’s funnier is that I cannot imagine life with only one of them.  Rachel would not be Rachel without Claire, and Claire would not be Claire without Rachel.  And I would not be me without them.

Separation Anxiety

So lately we have noticed that the girls are experiencing some separation anxiety when they are being held by strangers.  Last week I asked this random lady at the grocery store to hold Claire so I could go to the bathroom, and Claire was none too happy.  Just kidding!  I don’t let total strangers hold my babies.  But when I stopped by my old job to conduct some business and say hello, the girls did seem a little nervous as my former coworkers held and cuddled them.  They would not let Christian or me out of their sight, as if we were going to walk out the door and never come back.  Not to worry though.  It’s totally normal for their age.

But that’s not the separation anxiety I came here to talk about.  Tonight we put Claire and Rachel to bed in their own room for the first time.  It’s a big step, for all of us.  Even before they were born we had a crib set up in our bedroom.  And then it sat empty for 5 weeks as the girls grew strong in the NICU.  It patiently awaited the day they would come home and sleep in it, and then finally, on April 30th, it sighed with relief as two little babies snuggled up in its comfort.  After being separated from the girls for so long, we had our whole family right there in the same room.  I don’t think we even left the bedroom for 3 days, except to take a shower or make a quick meal.  Now, five months after coming home, it is our bedroom, not the crib, that sits empty.  So many nights, as I crept through the room, silently putting on my pj’s, tiptoeing into the adjoining bathroom to brush my teeth, I complained that I could not wait until I had my bedroom back.  But as we moved their furniture into their own room this afternoon, I became a little sad.  I know it’s necessary, for a couple of reasons. My fall allergies are coming, and I need the freedom to cough, sneeze, and blow my nose without worry of waking the babies.  Plus, many other moms I have spoken with mentioned that their babies slept better and longer when moved into their own room (I’ll have to keep everyone posted on that one).  Sure, it was so convenient to just scoop them out of bed when they woke during the night, feed them, put them back, and crawl back into bed myself.  They were so close.  But every night as I laid in bed, every time they moved or made a peep, I would get all tense and unable to fall asleep, sure that they would wake up at any moment. But they were also so close.  Knowing they were right there, just feet away from me, and listening to their little sleepy sighs and sweet coos was so comforting.  

I’m the one going through the separation anxiety this time.  After so many weeks of waiting to go to bed in a baby-less bedroom, I feel like I should go curl up on the floor beneath their cribs and go to sleep.  Motherhood is so rewarding – getting to see each new discovery and milestone is priceless.  But with each milestone comes the realization that my little babies are growing faster than I would like.  I’m afraid that the next time I blink, we will be moving their things once again, as they fly the coop and embark out on their own adventures, ready to take on the world.  I miss them already, and they haven’t even really gone anywhere.

But for now, I can’t wait to see their big smiles tomorrow, wishing me a good morning.

Alien Monkeys No More!

Last night Christian and I toasted our Dos Equis to 6 months of parenthood.  I still can’t believe it sometimes.  6 whole months.  Granted, the first 5 weeks were spent in a full time babysitting service.  A $300,000 babysitting service (thank you insurance!).  But we seem to have come out okay so far with two happy, healthy babies who are thriving beautifully. So now it’s time to play the Baby Game!  Let’s get to know our contestants!

Contestant #1
Claire Ann: The Firstborn
AKA Claire-Bear; C-Bear; Lil’ Kix
Weight: a petite 12 pounds, .5 ounces
Height: 24 1/2 inches

Yes, she can hold a full minute over her sister’s head.  But that’s not all she can hold!  She’s way into grabbing her lovey, Tulip the Bunny, her colorful links, and most of all, Mommy’s hair. Girl’s got a grip!  Claire is a little spitfire!  Her favorite activities include playing under her activity gym, eating, smiling, rolling over, especially when it’s nap time, and Fairy Flying (see below).

Not just anyone will do for Claire.  She’s looking for someone who will make her laugh, preferably with lots of “S” sounds, someone to play “Kissie Monster” with, and someone who will support her hefty milk habit.  She’s quite a catch!

Contestant #2
Rachel Leigh: The Big Little Sister
AKA Rachey-Pachey, The Pach, Lil’ Lamb
Weight: a healthy 12 pounds, 6.5 ounces
Height: 24 1/2 inches

Rachel’s an observer, a thinker.  She studies things very carefully before awarding it a smile or a laugh.  But don’t be fooled by her quiet nature!  She enjoys spending quiet time with Mommy, long walks in the stroller, and laying on her tummy, propping herself up with her arms for minutes on end.

Rachel’s looking for someone who shares her passion for babbling, bath time, and breast milk. Don’t hesitate, or this little beauty will be snatched up before your very eyes!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen.  6 months down, and we can’t wait to see what comes next!   I can’t believe that we came from red, wrinkled little 3 pound alien monkeys to chubby, happy little babies!!!   There is a slideshow coming, but the site is having trouble posting it right now.  I’ll get it up later.  Thanks for playing the baby game!