Friday, December 31, 2010

Well, hello there 2011

Exactly one year ago Brandon and I shared New Year's Eve with our dear friends Randy, Kim and Casey in our new home. Our house was short on furniture, had no TV hookup and had only been lived in for 5 days. We played cards and listened to the countdown on the local radio station. I could do the whole retrospective thing, but the 365 days that have happened since that night can be best summed up in one picture:

Although these girls hadn't actually joined us yet last New Year, Brandon and I knew that we wanted to start a family in 2010. In May we learned that our family would be DOUBLING and the rest of this year was all about twins. They went everywhere we went (in utero of course!)and when I look back at 2010, it will always be the year of my girls.
I had no idea it would be so, but everyone sitting at that table last New Year's Eve would have a similar story, as they are all expecting babies, too! I am so grateful for the blessings of 2010 and I can't wait to see what happens in the next 365 days of our lives.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Attack of the Ants

You see, this mommy thing I can handle.

But ants? Those little jerks put me over the edge.

I am not saying that it easy to get up in the middle of the night or to deal with two crying babies at one time. But I can manage. Those tiny, black pests however are a different story.

For the last couple of weeks we have been battling ants. They made an appearance on different days in every set of lower cabinets that I have in my kitchen. Each time Brandon and I cleared out the tupperware, pots or platters, sprayed for ants and cleaned the space. Then the next day we did it again. A separate little family has taken residence in the bathroom. On Saturday the ants launched an unprovoked attack on my pantry. I got up to serve myself a second cup of coffee and in less than an hour they had found their way from the island to the pantry. And not just a few of them--a whole army of them. My pantry was under attack.

I did the only thing I could think of: I put on a tank top and shorts to limit the places they could hide on my clothes and I started the great purge. I filled two trash bags with items from my pantry. Then I took the Raid and sprayed. Everything.

I called Brandon in a panic. I may have a flair for drama and I could tell he thought I was overexaggerating. The dead ants make me want to gag, so I left the evidence for him to clean up. When he got home and saw the battle zone, he apologized for doubting me. Booyah. Win for me.

My mom has been saying for weeks that I needed to get a pest service. Well yesterday I caved. After the great Ant Attack of Saturaday I will sacrifice Starbucks, beer, a new pair of boots--whatever I have to-- in order to keep the ants at bay. When the lovely man surveyed my property he informed me that we have ant trails everywhere. Basically there is no way we could continue to keep the ants out of our house. They were going to keep finding a way in.

So today I am a much happier girl. There are still ants wandering around my house as they slowly die off. But I rest easier knowing that in a few days they will be gone. Dead. And I am totally at peace with whatever bad karma I get from killing those little buggers.

Friday, December 17, 2010

conspiracy theory

They have been planning it since they were in the womb: the great Cry Conspiracy.

As soon as I am alone both my girls cry at once. It is executed especially well when I am nursing one of them. Just when I have sat down and got one comfortably eating, the other starts screaming.

Of course this never happens when someone else is here. Oh no, this is reserved for mom only.

They have a whole lifetime ahead of them for scheming. I will not let them win this battle. Oh no. I will overcome.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

the world, it is a-changing

When Brandon and I have talked about parenting, he has been quick to say that his kids would not have cell phones until they are 16 and that there was no way we would ever allow kids to watch DVDs in the car.

I think he is crazy. The world is changing and technology is changing. I don't think we can make statements about how we will use technology years from now. Imagine just how much has changed since we were raised. Our parents could never have imagined how technology was going to change and shape our lives.

I can't remember exactly what year it was that Al Gore invented the internet, but I know that I didn't use it until high school. When my mom got dial-up at our house I felt like we were on the technological forefront. I remember Yahoo chatrooms and when it took 5 minutes for dial-up to connect. The first months of my relationship with Brandon were conducted nearly entirely on AIM.

Now I am addicted to technology. I check my iPhone religiously. I forget that photography existed before it went digital. I cannot imagine that people still handwrite contracts or that we still need filing cabinets when we could store things digitally. Yet, there are a few parts of technology that I still resist. And it all has to do with video. I HATE VIDEO.

I don't watch videos online or on my phone. I hate the time it takes to buffer.

Video chat weirds me out. I enjoy the freedom to talk to someone while I multitask-- let me play on the internet, wash dishes or, if I really like you, pee while we are on the phone. You can't do that on video chat.

Although I don't like video, I applaud the way it has continued to connect people. Technology has made the world smaller and I love the way it can keep us close to one another.

And while I may personally reject things like video for my own life, I cannot help but wonder which forms of technology will shape the lives of my daughters. I hope that technology will continue to excite us, challenge us, and connect us to the people we love.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Catching up


Today my girls are six weeks old and yet we still haven't reached my due date. After being home with me for the last three weeks, Brandon went back to work yesterday and so now the girls and I are readjusting to life. My mom stops by and we take the girls for a walk. I love that there are so many friends and family who stop by to visit. Since the day they were born, there is not a day that I have been alone all day. I couldn't be more grateful for the support.
Today I was sitting in the car with my girls while my mom ran into a shop to get us a sandwich. She ran into one of my junior high English teachers with whom I was very close because her daughter and I were also friends. She came out and we chatted for awhile and it made me so happy that for four short years I was blessed to be a teacher. I look forward to seeing some of my students 15 years from now, learning about what they have done with their lives and meeting their children. How humbling to have been part of someone's life, no matter how briefly, no matter if they appreciated it or not. Even students who openly disliked me taught me small lessons about myself and life.
For the first time ever I have embraced internet shopping. Since our overprotective government and health care system don't believe in common sense, I have been advised to keep my children in the house until they are 25. Okay not 25, but at least until May. Seriously, May? That is like six months away. I can't promise that will happen, but I do see the advantage of keeping my babies away from the mall during cold and flu season. Anyway, because of my girls I did not have a chance to Christmas shop like normal. So I embraced internet shopping and I can't lie-- I kind of like it. It is way easier to compare pricing and find the best deals when you can search multiple screens at once. Usually I prefer shopping in real life because I like the immediate gratification of coming home with the gifts. But now I look forward to the mailman or UPS truck leaving packages on my door.
And I also used Etsy for the first time! I wanted to buy more gifts from Etsy shops and bloggers this year, but I ended up with only two. I know that in the future I will be buying more from Etsy shops. I purchased from Eme*Kay and YourWishCake. Although not a Christmas present, I also bought a cute bird print from jSnaps that I love. Any other Etsy shops that I must check out? There are always occasions to buy for... if I find the right gift I will find an occasion!
Due to the "suggestion" that I keep my kids home I have not taken my girls to work to meet my friends and coworkers. So tomorrow my friends from the office are bringing lunch and coming to my house to visit! I can't wait!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How to spill orange Fanta

Step 1: Pour orange Fanta into large cup with ice.
Step 2: Place cup on end table.
Step 3: Rearrange couch cushions by throwing them toward cup on end table.

Result: Orange Fanta all over everything and a mad dash to clean up. Despite a long night with a fussy baby last night, Brandon and I both laughed at my stupidity with the orange Fanta incident.

Today was a goregous day. After a foggy morning it cleared up long enough for us to take our girls on a walk. It was a warm, autumn-like afternoon and people were out decorating their homes for Christmas; we even had a chance to chat with some of the neighbors about our girls.


Brandon and I have been watching the silly Kristin Bell movie "When In Rome" for 20 minutes. I have heard him laugh at least five times. I win. Make that six.


Do these babies look alike to you?
*Edit: these are not the twins!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Ways that evolution has failed us

Sometimes I believe that evolution has failed us. Or maybe it is just that I am thinking a few steps ahead of the evolutionary process.

Example #1: Women should have at least three arms. If women are meant to raise children and possibly do anything else then we need at least one more appendage to help out. More specifically, I would like to be able to change the tv station or use my phone while feeding my kids.

Example #2: Why can't we grow a third set of teeth? We have small teeth, a second set grows in and the first set falls out. Why doesn't our body grow a third set of teeth so that all these old people aren't wandering around toothless?

Clearly if I were in charge of evolution life would be better.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This post has pictures =)

{Ana and the Christmas tree}
Last night we went to my parents house; I have been feeling a little cooped up and was in dire need of a change of scenery. Ana and Grace got to spend time with Auntie Stina and their grandparents! And it is always lovely to have my mom's cooking, because she really is one of the best cook's I know. She made Brandon's favorite swiss steak and my favorite pumpkin dessert.

Our wonderful evening was followed by our worst night so far. Grace was fussy all night and cried everytime we put her down. By the time she finally went to sleep at 6am, Ana was wide awake and had hiccups. Everytime I put Ana back to bed, she would wake Grace up. It was very special.
Grace seems to have some stomach issues, so I am adjusting my diet by removing dairy to see if it has an impact on the her temperment and stomach problems. Tomorrow we are taking the girls for a weight check so I can (hopefully) put aside my fears about underfeeding the girls since switching to breastfeeding instead of bottle feeding.

Long nights and little sleep aside, my girls are adorable and I love them. They are especially cute when we put them near each other and they roll toward one another and hold hands. It is amazing to see how connected they are sometimes. I look forward to seeing how their relationship develops over the years!


Today my girls reached a gestational age of 38 weeks... and have already been in this world for four weeks and two days! Now that they have reached full term we can expect them to start behaving like term babies and reach infant milestones. Premies are usually judged by adjusted age which helps parents and health care providers have realistic expectations for the baby. So 30 days into this parenting deal, I can start expecting my girls to behave like newborns. The only problem? I don't know anything about what to expect from a newborn or any other age from now until 12. I've survived so far so I guess that I will learn it somehow!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why I hate gift bags

I hate gift bags.

When we got married I accumulated a mountain of gift bags between bridal showers and wedding gifts. Over the years I reused them, shared them with family going to weddings and finally threw most of the rest away when we moved last year. No one needs a lifetime supply of wedding themed gift bags.


Now I have enough baby themed gift bags to wallpaper the nursery (good idea! what was I thinking!?)


Don't get me wrong. My dislike of gift bags is not actually related to my collection of them. It is actually because I love wrapping gifts. My mom used to let me wrap the gifts for the entire family. She hates wrapping. I love it. I love picking paper and coordinating with ribbon or bows. I take great care to wrap them neatly and nicely. I think it is way more fun to open a gift that is wrapped in a box than one in a bag. I ordered most of our Christmas gifts online this year and I am so anxious waiting for them to get here so I can start wrapping!


I wish I weren't so practical and could just throw away all the gifts bag we receive. But I just can't bring myself to waste them. The biggest problem with gift bags is that they tend to be so event specific. I can only reuse Christmas bags at Christmas... so that is 11 months of storage. And I certainly don't know enough people having babies to reuse all the bags I received this year in my whole lifetime. If they were all in solid colors or not so specific, at least we could use them whenever we wanted!


Even though I have years worth of gift bags sitting in my closet for every occasion, chances are if you are getting a gift from me it will be wrapped. In a box. If I can find one. Because one of the side effects of America's obsession with gift bags is that is nearly impossible to buy gift boxes any time of year besides Christmas. I found them at Target this week and stocked up for the year.


In the meantime, if you want to save a few bucks on a gift bag, feel free to come take some off of my hands!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas trees and my holy child

Last Friday I started writing this post in my head. It was about turkey soup. You will see that turkey soup is now only one line in the post. Then it also had a temporary focus on us going to get a Christmas tree. Well I did a full 180 and ended up with an artificial tree. You know why? Because it takes forever to do a good job with Christmas tree lights and I have two one-month olds. So needless to say, I don't have the time or patience to put lights on my tree. If I had that kind of time, I would have actually finished this post on Friday.

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I have given in to the Christmas spirit. The moment I put the turkey carcass in the pot to make turkey soup, my heart leaped forward to the holiday season. We had plans to get a tree on Saturday but it rained all day. My mom offered several times to come over and babysit so we could go pick a tree, but after much debate, I ended up with an artificial tree. It makes me a little sad because I love walking through the trees and looking for one I fall in love with. I love the smell of the fresh cut tree and watching Brandon try to make it stand straight. I will miss the smell when I walk into the house and how every year the tree is different. But now I don't have to put on the lights or figure out how to get rid of the tree in January. And there are no needles covering my floor.

Brandon and spent this afternoon decorating. I love opening the big Christmas boxes and rediscovering all the decorations and ornaments we packed away 11 months ago. We already received two sets of ornaments for the girls and I know that it is the beginning of many years of my children receiving personalized ornaments. I know that in just a few short years our girls will be decorating the tree with their homemade ornaments. And I know that our girls are way too young to remember this Christmas, but it means something to me to celebrate this first year as a family.



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Tales of motherhood: the other night baby Ana fell asleep face down on my chest. About 30 minutes later I remembered my necklace and hoped it wasn't poking her, as it has a a pretty sharp point at the bottom.

Nope, not poking her. She was laying flat on it and had an entire cross embedded in her face. Didn't seem to bother her. I should have photographed it and posted it on the internet. There would have been crazy Catholics coming from all over the nation to see the child with a cross on her face. It would have been like Mary on the tortilla or Jesus on the grilled cheese.


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I am exhausted. Things are going well, but there is no avoiding being tired when there are two babies to care for. But I love my girls like crazy. They are so cute. I just want to kiss them and hold them. I love how soft and fuzzy their little heads are and how adorable their tiny feet and fingers are. I am in awe that they were both inside of me. There are still moments of shock that I have TWO babies. Two. That is twice as many as one.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Welcome to life...

Our family is all under one roof.

Last week we brought home Ana after 15 days in the NICU. Those 15 days started out rough with my early delivery and then juggling life at home with my babies in the NICU. And then it seemed a sudden transition to bring home Grace one day, and then equally sudden when Ana came home four days later.

So far, so good.

The girls were on a similar schedule thanks to the NICU and for the most part we have continued to keep them on this schedule. While in the hospital the girls were bottle fed with breastmilk, so I am now trying to transition them to the breast. I need them to do this for my sanity. It takes long enough to feed two babies. But then pumping on top of that is like having a third baby. I have one kid who can do it and another who refuses. Go figure.

I am trying to approach infant parenting with a sense of humor. There is nothing serious about any bodily function that can become projectile-- so I just laugh. I am washing so much laundry and trying to be lighthearted about the number of diapers I have changed already.

I know that my mom is surprised by the way that I have embraced parenting, and to be honest, I have surprised myself a little. I was always a little wary of babies and no one was afraid to say that I was better with older kids than the younger. And then to have two? Forget about it. But the natural part of motherhood has overtaken me. I don't know how I feel about vaccines; I have no real opinion on whether formula is bad for your baby; I don't know if I want to be a stay at home mom or go back to work-- but I do know that I feel a deep urge to protect my girls and to care for them at all costs. We are figuring it out. It feels right. My instinct to care for them manifested itself from deep inside me and it is a beautiful feeling.

This post is mostly to say that we are well. In just a short time Brandon and I doubled the size of our family and went from husband and wife to dad and mom. I didn't know what to expect, but what I got is two beautiful girls and a life that I am loving. I am sleeping (enough) and accepting help (most of the time) and enjoying my days filled with visitors. My former self is retired and I am discovering myself again from a new role.

Monday, November 15, 2010

wondering what the neighbors think

When we moved in I really hoped that we would be all nice and friendly with our neighbors. We didn't need to be BFFs or anything but I did envision at least a cordial relationship. I made the effort to introduce myself to the 5 or 6 neighbors closest to us, but after nearly a year here, the best I get is a wave or a short "hello" if we happen to be in speaking distance. The kids all seem to like me, but there isn't much of a relationship to be had with a bunch of 8 year old boys.

I was pregnant for a little more than 33 weeks. With twins. Needless to say, I looked pregnant. In the later weeks of my pregnancy, I definitely saw lots of our neighbors as we did our usual hello and wave. They would have had to notice I was huge. For the last two weeks I have been walking around my neighborhood again with no belly. I certainly don't look pregnant anymore. And it makes me wonder what they think. No one bothered to ask me about my pregnancy, and since all of a sudden I wasn't pregnant and I didn't have a baby home with me, don't they wonder at all? I am just saying. Maybe I am just one of those nosy neighbors who would have thought these things about someone else.

In other news, our Grace has been home now for 2 days. So far, so good. Ana is doing great on her feedings-- we just need her to gain weight daily and then she can come home too. Right now we are adapting our schedule for one baby. I have to say-- it isn't as hard as I thought it would be. The NICU has the babies on a specific schedule and Grace has stuck to it. I am hoping that it stays this easy...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On accepting help

Grace

Ana
I am fiercely independent and determined to do things myself. I generally prefer to do things myself rather than watch someone else do it half-assed or inferior to how I would do it. Rarely will I admit that I cannot do something-- I will try every avenue to accomplish something myself before asking for help. These characteristics apply to my personal and professional life.

For the first time in 28 years I find myself having to ask for help and relying on others to do things for me. It is uncomfortable. It is awkward. It is also extremely humbling and a reminder that I am human.

Apparently a cesarean section is a big deal. Since I have been taking only ibuprofen and haven't really had any pain, this is a little hard for me to believe. I received a heap of post-op instructions that I am trying to follow. Despite my desire to live life as normal, I have been relying on family and friends to drive me around and asking my husband to do things that normally I would do myself. It is amazing how losing something as simple as the ability to drive suddenly made me feel so trapped, so reliant on others. And so day after day this week I have called people in my life and asked them to do something for me. I am allowing others to drive me. I am accepting offers to help, to cook dinner, to visit me.

These small things are difficult enough for me to accept. But the added challenge of learning to care for two preemie babies has been a real opportunity for me to accept the help of others. While there is certainly some parts of motherhood that I think are natural, so much of caring for a preemie baby is completely unnatural to me. Additionally, I have TWO babies who are immensely different in their needs and their progress. I spend hours each day in the NICU with my babies. Brandon and I are able to change their diapers, take their temperatures and then feed them. Every feeding presents new problems and I think that in eight days I have only fed Grace once without having to ask a nurse for help. But every time I go back, I ask questions and learn from what each nurse has to say.

In only one week I have had to abandon my stance as the strong, independent Erin and admit that I need help and the result has been suprising. I feel more love and support because I have allowed people in my life to share their gifts with me. This week I learned that NICU nurses are a true gift to my girls and to Brandon and I. They are patient as they teach us how to care for Grace and Ana. I feel more and more confident every day because of what they share with us. In my personal life, accepting help has given me the opportunity to spend time with people I love as they drive me to and from the hospital. It gives me a chance to draw from their strength and love. I realized this morning that I was happy to have 20 minutes to spend with someone else as I let them share their generosity and love with me. I am immensely grateful to everyone who has reached out to help our family. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Finally, the last week has given me the chance to spend time each day with my mom. Whether for a short visit or a ride home, my mom has rearranged her whole life to help me. And only 8 days into their lives, I already know that when my girls need me, I will drop everything for them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Labor and Early Delivery

I know that twin pregnancies are likely to result in pre-term labor. But to be honest, I was convinced that I would carry my babies until at least 36 weeks. I remained active throughout my pregnancy and felt great. I did go to labor and delivery last week for cramping, but after evaluation, my doctor said I was fine and I was even cleared to go to game 2 of the World Series. I had a pretty normal weekend-- we had friends and family over for Brandon's birthday and to watch game 3. I carved pumpkins and watched game 4 while handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. On Sunday, Brandon and I decorated the nursery and I washed all the newborn and 0-3 month clothes we had.

On Monday morning at 7:15 I was laying in bed trying to decide what time I should get up. As I was laying there I felt a gush of water. I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom, while reviewing in my head if it was possible that I was actually peeing on myself. I stood in the bathtub in my pajamas and determined that no, I was not peeing. So I ran and got my phone, then returned to the bathtub which seemed like the only logical place to be. I called Brandon first, who was already at work. I don't have a clue what I said to him. Then I called labor & delivery and they told me to come in right away. Despite my insistance that I could drive myself, the lady convinced me I needed someone to drive me. I called my mom and asked her to come get me so Brandon could just meet us at the hospital. I had 30 minutes to wait while she drove to my house, so I packed a toothbrush and some clothes. Then I wandered around my own house in complete shock because there is nothing that prepares you for going into labor 5 weeks early. By the time I got to the hospital I had accepted that I would likely have babies by the end of the day.

In triage they confirmed that my bag of waters had broken and put me and the girls on monitors. I was only dilated to 1 cm (where I had been for several weeks) and was not having regular contractions. The doctor decided to admit me to labor & delivery where they would monitor me and the babies on complete hospital bedrest. He hoped I could put off delivery for up to a week. So just hours after believing I would deliver that day, I was now planning on spending several days in the hospital just letting my girls grow longer inside as long as labor didn't progress and the girls showed no signs of distress.

I spent the rest of Monday in bed with very little excitment. I got my laptop from work and Brandon brought me enough DVDs to keep me entertained for days. Brandon and I watched the SF Giants win the World Series from my labor room. We decided that since Baby A had broken the water, she clearly wanted to see the Giants and that is how we chose who should have what name (her middle name is Posey--named after Buster Posey, the Giants' catcher). Although I had a few cramps, there was nothing regular and I assumed that the doctor's plan would work. I was incredibly miserable because the monitors lost the babies' heart rates everytime I shifted my body. The bed was uncomfortable and I couldn't find a position that didn't ache. Nurses were constantly coming to adjust the monitors and they were incredibly patient with my need to use the restroom and unplug every machine I was hooked up to.

Unfortunately my body didn't have the same plan as my doctor. At 3am I began having contractions about 5 minutes apart. They were bothersome but I hoped they would subside and so I didn't even wake up Brandon. I breathed through the contractions and several times told the nurse that I did not need any narcotics for the pain. By 4:30 I was having regular contractions about 3 minutes apart. They had intensified in pain so I finally woke up Brandon and told him I needed my labor partner. Brandon was fantastic at supporting me through contractions and emotionally supporting me while I was trying to understand what was going to happen. The resident that night didn't seem super concerned over the fact that I was having regular contractions. She said they would just keep monitoring them.

At 5am the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and I was in a lot of pain. I was still turning down narcotics because with two breech babies, I knew that if delivery was coming it would be cesarean and I didn't want drugs and a spinal. She decided to try some sort of oral tablet that slows and stops contractions. After 3 doses there was no change in contractions and finally another doctor came and saw me at 6:20am. His exam revealed that I was now 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. At 6:40 he decided that I needed the cesarean soon. Brandon called my parents and told them.

The shift change for the entire hospital happens at 7am. So the transition was a little slower than it should have been. While waiting for everyone to be in the correct place, I was experiencing intense contractions 2-3 minutes apart and was absolutely terrified of having a c-section. When the anesthesiologists came in I was barely capable of listening to them between the pain and my fear. Finally I was walked into the operating room. They introduced me to the NICU nurses who were there to take my babies and I lost it right there in the hallway. The nurses and the nurse anesthestists were amazing with me as they tried to calm me and explain to me how the spinal would work. I got the spinal and they had me laying in place when suddenly some code was shouted out in the room and the room emptied. There was a good 10 minutes of questioning about who would do my c-section since everyone had just gone to an emergency. Everyone returned a few minutes later and after asking for the 3rd time, someone finally went and got Brandon from the waiting room.

My entire upper body was shaking and I was in tears the entire time the procedure was happening. Brandon got to stand up and see each of them pulled out. Grace Posey was born at 8:22 and she came out screaming. Ana Cristina was born 2 minutes later. Although she wasn't crying, I felt comforted by the fact that there was no commotion or great concern. Brandon was able to bring them both to see me before he went with them to the NICU.

After the c-section I had to wait for feeling to come back to my body and then I was faced with several hours of dizziness. It was 7pm before I was able to finally go the NICU to really see my girls for the first time. Brandon had been showing me pictures and giving me updates all day. What an overwhelming moment-- to meet my children in such a place. We are blessed that they are quite healthy and well for their gestational age. They need only to meet a variety of milestones before they are released.

I was released from the hospital this afternoon. We have no idea how long the girls will be in the NICU-- it could be anywhere from a week to five weeks. There are many things to say about life in the NICU, which I will certainly share in the days to come. In the meantime, say a prayer for my little girls-- that they will meet all their milestones and come home to us soon!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bullet points

  • I AM GOING TO GAME 2 OF THE WORLD SERIES TOMORROW NIGHT!!
  • I would really like it if the Giants would win tonight and tomorrow night.
  • I am a sore loser.
  • My shower on Sunday was perfect. Despite two inches of rain and terrible wind, my family and friends came and celebrated my little girls. I am so thankful for my friends and family who helped put it together!
  • I am sick of being sick. I actually used the humidifier someone gave me as a gift for my girls in hopes that it would help me get better. So far, no such luck.
  • Oh fall, I have been waiting for you! I love the cool temperatures and the leaves changing colors!
  • I love, love, love Halloween but I despise getting dressed up.
  • I can't wait to carve pumpkins this weekend.
  • We made the offer on our house in late October last year. Ever since then we have been looking forward to little kids trick-or-treating at our house. We never had any kids come to the condo, so Brandon and I are excited to see all the cute kids in costumes and hand out candy.
  • We believe in handing out Reese's Peanut Butter cups. There is some other candy thrown in for variety.
  • DID I MENTION THAT I AM GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES?!

Friday, October 22, 2010

i just spewed out a lot of info and called it a blog

I am sick.

At first I thought I had allergies so I called the advice nurse and got a very complicated (and difficult to spell) list of things I could take and not take. After staring at the allergy medication and my list for nearly 10 minutes, I left with nothing.

Now that my symptoms have worsened I am convinced that I have a cold. I feel miserable. I am usually quick to turn to the drugs for relief. But during my pregnancy I have been careful to avoid any sort of medication, and even though I know I am at a point where there is very little harm that I can do to my babies, I feel better about my girls as I sit and suffer here with no drugs. Some of you may think I am stupid, others may think I am making a smart choice. Mostly I just feel sick.

My sister named my girls Tia and Tamara. I know that is not very original but I have taken a liking to it and so until they make their appearance, I will call them that. Tamara is Baby A (closest to the exit) and Tia is Baby B (second to the escape route). On Wednesday I had a twin interval ultrasound to make sure they continue to grow at the same rate. Twins who share a placenta are at risk for growing at different rates if one is not a good sharer and steals all the nutrients. The good news is that Tia and Tamara continue to grow at the same rate. They are measuring 4lbs and 4.25lbs, which is exactly what singleton babies measure at this same point in pregnancy.

There was a little "bad" news too. After 8 weeks of perfect positioning, Tamara turned breech. So now we are hoping she will turn one more time and get in the right position. If she doesn't turn, I have no choice but to have a c-section. So please think happy thoughts that Tamara will decide she likes it better with her head down.

We are not actually naming them Tia and Tamara.

Speaking of names, would you name your daughter something that resulted in the initials GAG? Although this may become a moot point because I jokingly mentioned to Brandon that we use the name Posey after the amazing Buster Posey of the SF Giants and he liked the idea for a middle name. Thinking it was a silly idea I posted it on Facebook and next thing you know, I have everyone telling me they like it. So now I am all confused. Your thoughts?

Cheers to a great weekend for you all! Several big things ahead for my weekend--my sister and dear friend are throwing me a shower on Sunday and I am so excited to see all my friends and family! Many people haven't seen me since early in my pregnancy so they are in for quite a surprise when they see how big I am... And second I will be watching (nervously) as the Giants try and win the NLCS against the Phillies. GO GIANTS!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Things I am weird about (subtitle: things that are weird about me?)

It all started with my obsession with flip flops. I wear them as often as possible. My feet are always hot so I love that my toes are free in my sandals. I love how easily they slip on and off. I love that they are always comfortable and that I feel like “me” when I am wearing them.

At some point in the last five years I decided that the only think I disliked about flip flops is that at the end of the day my feet feel dirty. So logically, I began rinsing them off before getting into bed. Why? Because I have an obsession with clean sheets, which basically means that I have to be clean in order to get into the bed.

More about my issues with the bed: I am very particular about the bed. The bed is a sacred place, not to be tainted by the dirt of day. That means no day time clothes in the night time bed. Clean pajamas only. If I am going to nap in the bed, it means a change of clothes. There is certainly no eating in the bed. So it is only logical that my feet should need to be clean in the bed.

For several years rinsing my feet off before bed was sufficient. But then I evolved. In the last several months it hasn’t been good enough. If I only wash my feet the rest of my body feels dirty. So now I am a full fledged two-shower-a-day girl. Don’t even try to suggest that I only shower in the evening. That will just not do. I have taken a shower every morning of my adult life and I am not about to change that now.

Since we are things that I am weird about, I will continue with issues related to the bedding. When I travel with my pillow I take the pillow and the pillowcase separately. The pillow travels in the car, which we use and sit in with our daytime clothes on. Therefore the pillowcase travels with the clean pajamas for use when we arrive at the destination to abide by the aforementioned rule of no day time clothes (or pillowcases) in the nighttime bed.

In case you are wondering, I don’t care if there is a pillowcase or not on the way home. I will be putting on a clean pillowcase when I get home to prevent bed-to-bed contamination.

Don’t look at me like I am a freak. You know you have your special quirks too. Plus you know this means that when you come to spend the night at my house, your sheets will be clean.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Saying goodbye to Oak Tree Lawn

Loretto had two trees that defined the all-girls campus: a redwood on Senior Lawn and a beautiful oak which lent its name to Oak Tree Lawn. This picture of the oak tree is from the back of the Loretto yearbook from 1971.

Last week the tree on Oak Tree Lawn was cut down.

I have memories of both those trees, both as a student and teacher. The redwood at the center of Senior Lawn was a symbol for the upper classman, a gathering place for seniors to enjoy lunch, leave backpacks unattended, and a tree to decorate for a friend's birthday. Seniors surrounded the tree with diapers they collected for local women & children's centers and started all of their homecoming rallies around that tree. I spent an entire night awake and freezing next to that tree, chaperoning our first freshman overnight retreat. In my last years at Loretto we watched a family of squirrels take up residence in that redwood and during class they would peek inside backpacks and steal entire lunches from the students.
Although getting to Senior Lawn was a tradition that all Loretto girls looked up to, I really believe that it was the old oak that was the true symbol for Loretto. I ate lunch under or near the oak tree as a young student and ran around it with a red blanket on my shoulders. I participated in a sunset liturgy with the altar at the base of the tree. It was a gathering place for Shakespeare festivals, study groups and friends. Some years back the base of the tree was wrapped in Christmas lights, and at night the tree was beautifully illuminated. I loved that tree. Since leaving Loretto it has been the backdrop on my laptop with an additional picture of the tree on my desk.
Even several years ago we knew the tree was not totally healthy. Recently it was discovered that the base was hollow and full of water. Animals had taken up residence in the hollow branches. With young children now occupying the campus, it had become a safety hazard and was cut down.
I know that nothing lasts forever. I know that a tree is not the same as losing a person. But the gentle oak tree was my friend. It had a spirit and a story to tell. The last moments that I spent on the Loretto campus before leaving for the last time were spent with the oak tree, as if somehow the tree would remember my story, the Loretto story.

When the oak tree was cut down it didn't look anything like the scrawnier version of itself from nearly 30 years ago. It was grand. It was majestic. It had personality and spirit. Like friends that have come and gone from my life, like Loretto that has closed its doors, so too does the old oak tree remain a part of me.
Shalom.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why, hello there

It has been 25 weeks since I confirmed I was pregnant.
23 weeks ago I found out I was having twins.
For more than 3 months I have known they were both girls.
I am between 5-8 weeks away from meeting my children.
Sometime in the last 3 weeks it has come to my attention that I have to go through labor. I am slightly more nervous about that now than I have been at any other point in this pregnancy.

I am happy. Life is happening and the people in my life are good.

On Saturday night we went to Brandon's 10 year high school reunion. Although I met my husband while we were both in high school, I never really knew him until we had moved on to college. Seeing him with people from his past was like meeting my husband all over again. I loved watching him reminisce. I felt blessed to witness a small part of what it meant to be a Marauder. I have always known his all-boys high school community to have a special spirit, but it was entirely different to step into their circle for a couple of hours and experience the love and brotherhood that those men share.

Finally, the biggest event in our quiet life right now is that the San Francisco Giants won the NLDS. Now we get to take on the Phillies. Trust me, if I wasn't pregnant, there would be a lot of beer drinking.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Orange October

When I was a girl I somehow ended up with a Mark McGuire baseball card. I thought for sure it must be valuable because they mentioned his name on TV. He was pretty much the only MLB player I knew. And that was fine, because baseball was boring and all that mattered was that I had his baseball card.

When I started dating Brandon 10 years ago, I still cared nothing about baseball. Brandon was honest with me. He told me that there were a few things he had loved longer than he had loved me: The Simpsons, pugs and the San Francisco Giants. Although I didn't particularly care for any of them, I was willing to accept that these were all a part of who he was. It was easy to "let" him have his love of baseball; we mostly had a long distance relationship so I didn't have to spend a lot of time with baseball. When the Giants went to the World Series in 2002, I was happily living in Spain, oblivious to the great American past time.

Then we got married.

Did you know that each team plays 162 baseball games during the regular season? From April to October there is rarely a night where the Giants aren't playing. I was tortured. I thought watching baseball on TV was about the most boring way to spend my time.

A couple of years ago Brandon took me to a Giants game. Most baseball parks are beautiful and AT&T Park is no exception. I love being there on sunny afternoons or cold San Francisco nights. I love watching homeruns splash into McCovey cove or into the bleachers. I saw Barry Bonds tie the record for most homeruns in a season. I love garlic fries, hot dogs and beer. I loved my first Giants/Dodgers game where I learned what the "rivalry" was all about.

Mostly I love that my husband never got frustrated with me for not understanding the game or when I would get bored. Instead Brandon took the time to help me understand the game, explaining the rules, the strategy and the passion that makes baseball exciting. He let me buy Giants gear in pink, which I have slowly replaced with the true colors of orange and black. And now here I am, years later, and I find myself watching baseball when I am by myself. I listen to Giants radio in the morning and the in afternoon. I know the names of the TV broadcasters, the radio broadcasters and the pre and post games hosts. I can name the players, their positions and some sort of personal note about them.

In short, I am a San Francisco Giants fan.

And tonight the Giants have a chance to clench the playoffs by defeating the San Diego Padres. My heart is all atwitter as I suddenly know what it feels like to be a real fan. I have been listening to Giants radio for weeks. I am asking Brandon a hundred questions about playoff scenarios and team records and things that just a couple of years ago I cared nothing about.

So my friends, put on your brightest orange shirt for Orange Friday. Because tonight birthday boy Matt Cain is going to put away the San Diego Padres and I am going to know what it feels like for the first time to see "my" team go to the playoffs.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thank you, Ben

I lied. I promised I would post a blog yesterday and I didn't. Forgive me.

If I start posting more blogs, you can thank Ben Folds. We have been without internet in our home for close to six weeks. Technically we have always had internet, but about a month and half ago it stopped working. There is nothing that Brandon loves more than calling the AT&T support line. They diagnosed us with either a faulty power cord or bum router box. The former would cost us $10 to replace, the latter $100.

For months Brandon has been excited about the new album by Ben Folds that was released yesterday. Even though he pretended he was patient and could get it later, he really wanted it yesterday. I asked him why we would buy a cd when we could get it on iTunes. Obviously, we needed to fix our internet problem before we could download it. So I schlepped myself to the AT&T store and the schiesty guy took my machine to the back and declared it was not the $10 power cord. So I dished out $100 for the damn box.

When I got home I followed all the directions for setting it up. Brandon sent me the login information I needed. It didn't work. Of course he thought he could accomplish what I couldn't and he took a stab at it when he got home a few hours later. It didn't work. The highlight of the night was when Brandon had to call his friendly AT&T support line and yelled and screamed at the automated response. It was a good thing I was in the other room, because if he saw me laughing at him, I would have been in trouble =)

In the end Brandon got the Ben Folds album from iTunes. I (finally) restored and updated my iPhone. I can suddenly do all the things again my iPhone used to be able to do... like check my email and post to Facebook without mysteriously shutting down.

In other news, my underwear are inside out. That is the third time in two weeks.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Where I commit to writing my blog until at least tomorrow.

I could catch you up on the last 4 months of my life, but that would just be long and boring. So how about some bullet points on the more recent happenings of my life? (Warning... this is going to deteriorate quite quickly into updates about my pregnancy):

  • On Saturday I went to my ten year high school reunion. I loved it. I have always been the nostalgic type so the chance to see people who I spent four years with made me happy. I didn’t think it was awkward or uncomfortable—rather I thought it was sweet the way that old friends and acquaintances took the time to get to know each other anew and recognize that we are still connected. I love that we are all in different stages of life and that we can learn from each other. I love that people have gone on to become teachers, mothers, coaches, business women and entrepreneurs. I love that ten years later we can all sit comfortably with one another and remember that Loretto was a special place for us.
  • I am 28 weeks pregnant with twin girls. 28 weeks! Which in the twin world means that I could be meeting these little girls in close to 8 weeks. I am overwhelmed by the life that lies ahead of me, but also by the love and support of my family and friends. Brandon and his mom painted the nursery a few weeks ago and thanks to our grandmothers these girls have furniture to go in the nursery! Slowly but surely we are accumulating all the necessary items for having babies and I am learning the whole new world of baby accessories that I didn’t know existed (and I am not even sure most of them are necessary... haha).
  • Brandon and I are starting birthing classes tonight. This is going to be totally awesome or totally awkward. Luckily my husband has a great sense of humor, because really, I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it is going to be if I have to pretend to be in labor when really I have no idea what the heck to expect from labor.
  • On that note, people keep asking me if I will have a c-section or if I want to take the drugs in the scenario of a vaginal birth. Part 1: as long as baby A (the closest to the escape route) is head down, I can go through labor and delivery. If baby B is breech, I have been promised that they will “simply” manually turn baby B after the first one is out, or, pull the baby out breech. *winces* Although I am slightly fearful for my second baby, I prefer not to have a cesarean. Part 2: will I take the drugs? I do not have a particularly high tolerance for pain. However I am awfully determined once I set my mind to something. I want to try and go as long as possible without drugs, but if my wimpiness wins, I will ask for pain medication or an epidural. The reality is that I have no idea what to expect and I am not going to spout off any absolutes when I don’t know what the heck I am talking about.
  • In January our fence was blown down in a storm. Last week we had it replaced. Finally. The neighbors don’t hate us anymore.
  • I am tired of “people” (ahem, you know who you are) demanding that I write my blog. So I will try to write more. Or at all. Let’s take baby steps. I am posting one now and I will write one tomorrow. Then tomorrow I will think about the next day. Deal? Deal. Good.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

dear mommy bloggers

How do you find time to blog?

I want to be a real blogger ("I want to be a real boy!") but I don't even have kids yet and I can hardly find the time to blog now.

Really. How do you do it? I want to be supermom like you.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Brandon and the mix tape

“Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do's and don'ts. First of all you're using someone else's poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.” High Fidelity

Ever since I met my husband I have known him to be obsessed with music. He dabbles in all kinds of tunes, from the classic rock of Led Zeppelin to the 90s alternative of Pearl Jam and even throws in a little current pop music with Taylor Swift. To look through his CD case is to try to understand a complicated puzzle, because the man who loves The Beach Boys also has a Jurassic 5 CD.

I don’t always like all of Brandon’s musical choices (nor does he usually approve of my decision to listen to anything on a top 40 station) but he has certainly used his passion for music to create for us a musical history, a trail of CDs that document the first 10 years of our life together.

Even today, in the era of the iPod, Brandon still loves to make a “mix tape.” My own early compilations in the Napster days were a thoughtless collection of my favorite songs that lacked any sense of order or semblance. However, Brandon constructs thoughtful anthologies that are reflective of where we are in life at any given moment. The first CD he ever gave me was called Weird Love: Make-ups and Break-ups and was more about moving on from his high school girlfriend rather than meeting me. But Weird Love ended up having five volumes and they quickly became about me and our young love.

When we got married Brandon started a new series of CDs that he called the Brandon and Erin Story. For our anniversary he made volume three. When I was listening to it the other day I felt a deep love and appreciation for my husband who is so thoughtful and passionate. He appreciates music and he appreciates me. He found a way to dedicate more than 100 of the best love songs ever to me.

So if for some reason he ever tries to leave me and share his love of music with someone else, at least I know that I will have already tainted all the great music from 1950-2010 with his memories of me.

Thanks babe.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh, Canada!

Last week Brandon and I met my parents and my brother in Canada. They spent several days in Banff before we met up with them at Lake Louise. Lake Louise is a glacial lake (you can see the glacier in the background) and it gets its unique color from the sediments in the glacier. It is absolutely beautiful. We hiked up and around Lake Louise and I thought they were trying to kill the pregnant lady between the elevation gain and how fast they were going. But alas, I lived, and my legs hurt like hell the next day.

Lake Louise

After hiking around Lake Louise we headed for the more remote town of Jasper. The drive to Jasper was incredible as you pass through the Icefields and see from the road at least 5 or 6 more glaciers. Because my family was foolish enough to let me read the guidebooks we had to make a few stops. I never know if the places I make my family stop will be worth it, but most of my tourist choices were good this time. We saw a gorgeous waterfall with a sign that I found slightly comical despite the message...

Athabasca Falls

If you saw the force and drop of this waterfall this sign would also seem ridiculous to you. Because obviously.
One of the features of Banff and Jasper is the wildlife. They are known for bear, moose, elk, bighorn sheep and a variety of other wildlife the rest of us city and suburban dwellers only see at the zoo. So we were definitely on the lookout for animals. We found this first guy at dinner. He isn't so wild anymore.
The Post Hotel
Next we came upon these guys on the side of the road. No one in the car appreciated them as much as me. A little mangy--yes. But I love them!
Even though I desperately wanted to see a bear (from the safety of the car...) we never did find one. We saw sheep and a few elk along the way, but when we left early on Sunday morning we saw this beautiful guy. He is no bear, but man he is spectacular looking.
When I wasn't busy directing our tourist stops or hunting animals with my camera, we hiked and biked around Jasper and the lakes near where we stayed.
Sixth Bridge, Maligne Canyon
Brandon biking near Pyramid Lake
We also spent quite a bit of time relaxing and enjoying the area. The men especially enjoyed staring at the water.

Overall we had a fabulous trip. It is so serene there. We played cards, sat on the dock and the boys even went for a polar bear swim. I spent a lot of time taking pictures, most of them of bodies of water. Here are a few of my other favorites!

Pyramid Lake

Maligne River after the falls
Patricia Lake. This picture is taken at 10:00 at night! Sunset is at nearly 10:45!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Erin's best friend


As I mentioned yesterday, I found a gazillion pictures on my camera when I finally decided to put them all on my computer. So today you get an assortment of Molly pictures. She is so cute. I dare you to say otherwise.

Let us remember that Molly isn't really even my dog, although I share "joint custody" of her with my parents. She is the baby in our family, the dog my parents got when we were all grown and I was living at home temporarily. For the last 6 years that dog has obsessed my camera and my time. I love when she comes to stay with us and I love going to my parents and throwing the ball for her or taking her swimming. Perhaps when my babies are born my obsession with the dog will wane (I hope not!), but always I will love this little pup.

Don't worry. The monkey survived this game of tug-o-war.

I seriously love this dog.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Catching up

Brandon and I joined my family in Canada last week for a very brief vacation. In short: it was fantastic. We were in the Banff/Jasper region and it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. I spent every moment of driving, hiking and bike riding looking for a bear (although I desperately hoped it would be from the safety of my car); unfortunately no bears wanted to be seen by me. So I have to go back. Obviously. I will have pictures to post tomorrow (not of the bear. Because I didn’t see one. Duh).

Speaking of pictures, I uploaded more than 1000 pictures to my computer last night. Apparently I have not taken the time to do this since sometime in March. There are pictures from showers, weddings, trips, parties, animals, babies and Easter that somehow have never made it to the computer. Needless to say, I think you will find a few pictures on my blog in the days to follow... Which leads me to a question—so many of you post fabulous pictures that I know have been slightly edited. I am not about to throw down the money for Photoshop quite yet. Are you using free editing software or any inexpensive ones that you want to share?

I was walking through Target yesterday when I discovered the back to school section. I don’t go to school or teach school anymore, but that doesn’t mean a girl doesn’t need supplies! I found my beloved Ticonderoga pencils and will spend the next several months in bliss with sharpened yellow pencils and untainted erasers. Oh yes, I am a dork and I love Ticonderoga pencils. Don’t judge.

We are having twin girls! We had an ultrasound last week which revealed that the babies are sharing a placenta, very likely meaning they are identical. I have flutters all the time and it feels like someone is tickling me. I will be 20 weeks on Thursday and it is hard to believe that it means we are half way there! Actually, it is more than half way already, as my doctor has declared that I shall not go past 39 weeks. Now that we know they are girls I am so excited to start planning the nursery. Any ideas?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hot, hot, hot!

The California State Fair is one my favorite yearly traditions. When I was younger my mom took us every year and after she dragged us through all of the shopping and exhibits, we were permitted a limited number of rides. I usually spent my tickets on the Super Slide as I was leery of most of those carnie rides even at a young age. Now that I am older I enjoy the exhibits that my mom used to drag me to: I love the county exhibits, the barn animals and the as-seen-on-TV shopping. The only time I spend in the Midway is to play Skee Ball, because you certainly won’t find me near those scary rides. I love a corn dog, deep fried artichoke hearts and barbequed corn on the cob. I just love the fair.

Usually the fair is in August, but this year they moved it to July hoping that a date change would increase attendance and profit. Sadly this isn’t working well with my schedule, since most of my nights have swimming and I will be out of town next week. Except tonight. Tonight is the first totally free, unplanned night that I have had since March. Between all the other commitments that I have gotten myself into, tonight may be my only chance to go to the California State Fair.

So when I woke up this morning I thought about going to the fair tonight. But if the Geneva Convention taught us anything it is that you will be punished for torture. It is supposed to be 102 today. I don’t care what you people say, 102 is hot and it is certainly a form of torture to go to a mostly outdoor fair with smelly, unwashed people.

I am not always a complainer about the heat. I generally tolerate it under one condition: it has to cool down at night. This week the weather is not cooperating with me. When I went to bed last night it was a tolerable 76 in my room. Brandon wanted to sleep with the windows open. For the second night in a row I woke up sweating around 1:30 am. When I looked at the thermometer it said 81. It actually got hotter in my room. You have to be kidding me.

“They” say that women forget about the bad parts of pregnancy and birth and that is why women continue to have children even after going through it. I think the same is true of all humans and the weather patterns in their cities. Because while I always remember that it is hot in Sacramento in the summer, I always forget how absolutely miserable it is to live here when it gets above 100. Every time we get this weather I curse this town and swear I am moving to more moderate temperatures. But by the time fall comes around, all I can think of is how lovely it is to live in such a beautiful place. *Sigh*

I don’t really want to go to the movies tonight. I want to go to the fair. But I will go with Brandon to see “Inception” on opening night because there is no way I am going to suffer at the fair when I have a chance to sit in a super cool theater and eat popcorn. And hopefully by the time I get home, my house will have cooled down too.

My feet hurt. And they are swollen.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Salt in the wound

My mom worked when I was growing up. And it was fine. I don’t remember her ever missing anything important or not having time for me and my two younger siblings. She was (and is) a great mom. As time passed she was able to work part time and that gave her the freedom to do more things with us as we grew up, especially with my younger brother and sister.

Sometime in my early teens I realized that my mom never had time to go on field trips with my classes. But since she worked less when my siblings were in school, she was able to go with them. The snotty teenager I was made sure she knew I knew that she did things with them that she couldn’t do with me.

But this post isn’t about parenting. It is about pointing out weaknesses.

Yesterday I got an email documenting pretty much every mistake I have made in the last three months of coaching. There was nothing shocking or eye opening. They were all things I knew. Some were things I had addressed, some were things I let slide. They aren’t the sort of mistakes that make me a terrible coach. Just the kind that I would do differently if given another chance. But reading it hurt. We know things about ourselves and our choices that we wish we could change and sometimes we suppress those things in hopes that they will be forgotten or ignored.

And I thought of my mom. I feel bad 10 years later that I gave her a hard time for not going on field trips because she knew she couldn’t and there was nothing she could do about it.

*****

By the way, the pregnancy hormones have finally hit me. I am emotional and people who I used to tolerate are going to be lucky if they are alive in the next 6 months.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

On our third anniversary...

July 7, 2007


Today Brandon and I celebrate our third wedding anniversary. But sometimes I think it is silly to remember only the last three years when really Brandon has shaped the last ten. He met me before I was confident enough to believe someone would want to date me. He knew me before I had decided who I wanted to be. Brandon loved me from the beginning and has made my life better because of it.

Before Brandon met me he had other loves: the San Francisco Giants, The Simpsons, music, movies and pugs. These things are sacred to him. These are the things that I cannot question or challenge. If I had been a Dodger fan, this whole relationship would never have started. I have pushed the envelope on some of these... he has even (reluctantly) agreed that our first dog could be a lab. He allows me to watch "crappy" movies and listen to "bad" music. But I knew he loved me (or at least liked me a lot) very early when he lent me his Gin Blossoms CD-- music that til this day still gives me butterflies as I think about the first weeks of our relationship. A man who loves his music doesn't part with CDs that easily. If Brandon knew then how good I was at losing CDs, I am pretty sure he would never have lent them to me in the first place.

Brandon put up with me leaving the country when I decided to live in Spain for 10 months. I returned the favor (with much less grace) when he moved to Colorado to pursue his career. I am independent, strong and opinionated. He has never asked me to be anything different.

In the last three years we have started jobs, lost jobs, endured financial struggle and personal struggle. We have argued a little, laughed a lot. Since we got married we have watched the entire series of LOST, The West Wing, The Gilmore Girls, Sports Night, Firefly and half of The Simpsons. Now we are tackling The Office. Last December we bought a house in a suburban neighborhood where we could raise a family. In May we found out that our family would double by this December.

On our first anniversary I locked us out of the house on a night when it was still 95 degrees at 10pm. He gave me a journal for us to write about our lives together. On our second anniversary we walked the streets of San Francisco and he gave me a camera lens so I could document our lives in photos. This year for our third anniversary he gave me a leather bound book of children's stories, so that in this next year of our marriage, we could introduce to our babies the tales of magic and mystery that we have both loved since our own childhood.

Happy Anniversary Meshugga! I love you.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Anniversary, the coast and a little more about babies

Next Wednesday Brandon and I will celebrate our third anniversary. We spent the last two years in San Francisco on our anniversary, but this year our situation is a little different and a little better, so we are spending TWO whole nights at an old inn on the coast! I will have plenty of pictures and stories to share next week.

I am tired and I need this trip. Since the beginning of April I have been working two jobs. I leave my regular job at 4:30 and drive 40 minutes to the pool where I coach from 5:30-9:00 pm. Around 9:40 I drag myself into the living room, try to stay awake while we watch one episode of The Office, and then put myself to bed before starting all over again. Saturdays are claimed by swim meets and it seems that every weekend has also been full of weddings, showers and parties. And I have been doing all this while in the first trimester of pregnancy. As I said, I am tired and I need this trip!

So tomorrow morning at 8am, Brandon and I will get in the car and drive several hours to the coast near Bodega Bay where the high will be 70 degrees. We are going to the local Independence Day celebration and to watch fireworks. On Sunday we will probably go hiking, but mostly I plan on staring at the ocean and enjoying a few days that are entirely ours... no work, no commitments. Although we love every celebration of love and life that we have been to this year, this weekend will be about us.

****

Just when I thought that I had given enough details about my pregnancy, Kim got all demanding "I appreciate the baby details, and now I need more, please. These are the questions you will be hounded with, so let us practice here, together." Here you go, friend!

1. Will you find out the genders? If so, when? And will you tell the world?
Before we knew we were having twins, we did not want to know the gender of our baby. We wanted it to be a surprise. But I don't think we had even left the office before Brandon said we could learn the gender with twins. I am super grateful to him for this... because I am a planner and not knowing the gender of TWO kids was going to kill me. We will find out on July 20 and yes, Kim, we shall tell the world!

2. Have you thought about names? If so, which ones?
We have thought about names and we have 1 boy name and 2 girls names. The first and middle names almost all honor someone we know or are named after a particular person. Although we will tell the world the genders, we ARE keeping the names a secret ;) Who knows, maybe we are naming a baby after you?

3. Where are you delivering?
I will deliver at Kaiser Roseville. Hopefully. Please don't let me go into labor in an obscure location.

4. How are you feeling?
I feel great. I did not have any nausea in the first trimester, just extreme exhaustion which was only made worse by the extra work (see above!). I get a headache almost every afternoon but it is pretty mild. At this point, the worst feeling is that I don't fit into my clothes. And for a girl who has dealt with weight issues for more than 10 years, that is indeed stressful. Thank goodness the cotton dress is in style... it is a lifesaver!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Holiday in Spain

I miss Spain.

The other morning I rushed out of Starbucks with my coffee in hand and I had sudden urge to be sitting in a plaza enjoying my cafĂ© con leche. The Spanish don’t rush their coffee. “To go” cups are practically unheard of. Friends and family sit around small tables in plazas and leisurely enjoy their coffee. I miss the slower pace. I miss taking the time to enjoy my coffee. I miss the company of my friends as we chatted. And oh boy, do I miss the delicious pastries.

I made amazing friends in Spain, especially one Spanish family with five siblings. They welcomed me into their family. Every time I visit them I feel like I am home. We laugh and enjoy each other’s company alternately in English and in Spanish. I even made a point to visit these friends while I was on my honeymoon. There is something beautiful about having friends that live half way around the globe. But I miss them. Madrid is hardly a weekend trip and with babies on the way, I am sure it will be years before I can visit again.

Spain made it out of the second round of the World Cup and I couldn’t be more excited. The Spanish are fiery, passionate people and their love of soccer is amazing. I can only imagine how crazy it must be in that country right now! A por ellos! Viva Espana!

Some days I just want to be there—walking on old, stone streets, listening to the beautiful language and enjoying the tastes of Spanish tapas and wine. Today is one of those days.

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I realize I didn’t give many details in the last blog post... so to update you: I am 16 weeks pregnant with twins. I am due December 16 but twins don’t like the timeline of singleton babies, so we expect them any time after mid-November.

When I first found out I was having twins I started reading. Unfortunately most of my reading was full of horror stories about bed rest, preterm labor and NICU. I spent weeks panicking about how I could possibly care for two babies, wondering how we could afford day care and just in general shock about double everything. Since then I have found more positive reading on the realities of being a twin mother. Although I know it is going to be difficult, I know that with the support of family and friends that we will survive.

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Now that my coaching job is winding down, I plan to blog more. My husband loves when I write, which I think is funny because I tell him everything anyway. So even if it is just for Brandon, I will be back more often. I promise.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hi, you might remember me.

I had a lovely idea that after buying our house in suburbia and having stable jobs that Brandon and I would have a baby, get a dog and see how life went from there.

And then the doctor told me I was having twins.

My idyllic dream suddenly changed a little and I have spent the last 6 weeks trying to imagine what life will be like with two babies. Let me tell you, the dog is going to have to wait a few more years.

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So I haven’t written a blog in weeks (err... months?) because all I can think about is “I am having two babies.” And writing about that on a daily basis is not very riveting blog material.

But I have continued reading blogs daily and creating imaginary friendships with people who may not even realize I exist. I love reading blogs. After checking my email I turn immediately to my blogs to read about my friends and my “friends.”

These writers let me into their lives on a daily basis. They share their struggles, their joys, their dealings with parenting, job loss and death. The bloggers I read are from all over the country and teach me about how life is different beyond the great state of California. I’ve learned about photography, shopping, travel, kids and cooking. I know more about some of these people’s children than I know about my own cousins. I feel so connected.

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On Saturday my grandfather turned 90. He is a beautiful man with a wonderful heart. People love him because he is gentle, thoughtful and kind. When we were little he took us to fast food restaurants that my parents never let us visit. He built me a child size table and benches which is safely stored at my parents until it finds a place in the room of my children. He has been a carpenter, an upholsterer, a bartender, a father, a friend. I am so grateful for my papa and I wish him many more years!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm a regular

For the last 7 weeks I have been working two jobs-- I work my regular full time job until 4:30, and then I head to the pool for 3.5 hours of coaching. While I am definitely worn thin, both of my jobs are rewarding and I enjoy what I do. But by the time I get to Friday I am done. I don't want to work anymore and that includes cooking, cleaning or anything at all.

So I convinced Brandon a few weeks ago to find a Mexican restaurant that was still serving dinner when I got home at 9:30. It was such a pleasant way to end the week that we have gone back every Friday since then.

Three weeks later, we are regulars.

I have always wanted to be a regular. Like Lorelai and Rory in the Gilmore Girls. Or the kids from Bayside when they went to the Max. Or how about the 90210 crew at the Peach Pit? When you walk in they know your face, your drink and your order. They don't know my name and we don't engage in small talk, but there is something nice about being recognized. I feel appreciated. I feel like I am somehow part of their Friday night.

So Brandon says we have to go back now. Every Friday night. Because we are regulars. And that is what regulars do.

Friday, May 14, 2010

NO RUNNING ON THE POOL DECK!

Why the heck don't we just let kids run on the pool deck?

You can't go to a pool without hearing a parent or lifeguard yelling "No running on the pool deck!" So the kid slows down to an Olympic-paced speed walk and still gets around the pool in record time. As a swim coach and certified lifeguard I have found myself saying it day after day.

Last week I started wondering why we care. We let kids run on basketball courts and sidewalks and streets. I am fairly certain that concrete is dangerous to elbows, knees and faces regardless if it is near water or not.

Case in point. This week while I was coaching there was a kid playing on the basketball court near the pool. He bit it and came running in with a bloody face. No one was out there yelling "No running on the basketball court!" It would be absurd if we said no running on the blacktop.

Now before you get all preachy about the extra dangers of water and drowning, I understand and I don't think we should let kids be unsafe. But I just think it is a little crazy that for some reason our society has deemed it unsafe to run around a pool but fine to run in other places. I don't plan on changing the no running rule at my pool and endangering the lives of 145 young swimmers.

But I can tell you one thing. When practice is over, I am going to start running sprints around the pool.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Green thumb

I can kill any plant. Even a cactus. But when I discovered two weeks ago that there were rose bushes in my new backyard, I got really excited.


Just like I do everytime I don't know how to do something, I called my mom. She gave me some tips and lucky for me the plant hasn't died yet.


Of course it has only been two weeks! Here's hoping that my roses last!




Thursday, April 29, 2010

SHEEP!

I should have been born on a farm. I was meant to frolic through high grass with cows and sheep and goats. When I was younger I lamented that I was born in the wrong era, as I was certain that Laura Ingalls and I were supposed to have been best friends. Fast foward to the suburbs in 2010 and my visits with farm animals are usually limited to the annual State Fair.

Not this year. The sheep have come to my town and I couldn't be more excited. I have been chasing the sheep around my town for the last two weeks. The spend a day or two in different areas eating the grasses. Since Saturday they have been very near our house. In fact on Monday night my husband took Molly to go visit the sheep. Unfortunately Molly had an encounter with the electric fence. (Needless to say, Molly doesn't care for the sheep anymore)

This morning as I was about ready to make my lunch, I heard the sheep. Not the distant "baa-ing" I had been hearing all week, but the "baa" of a sheep in my backyard. I ran downstairs to see the sheep right behind my fence. I didn't even care that I was going to be late for work. These guys are awesome.


Did I mention there are 2200 animals? 2100 sheep and 100 goats. They were actually getting ready to move them, so a few minutes later I saw them block off the road to get 2200 animals to cross the street. The kids trying to get to school were pretty excited.


Yes, I just wrote a blog post about sheep. I am awesome.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things I have learned from "House Hunters"

Most of what I love about HGTV's "House Hunters" is learning how the rest of the country lives. Apparently us Californians don't do it like the rest of the country.

1. Yards. In California we have fences. This is my backyard space, that is your backyard space. Don't mess with mine and I won't mess with yours. But so many of the yards I see in other states don't have boundaries. There are just hundreds of feet of grass between you and the neighbor. Question: how do you keep your dogs from running away? Except for the animal issue, I think I like life without fences. It looks a lot prettier.

2. Basements. My grandma's home in the Bay Area has a basement. It is cold and concrete. That is where she threatened to send us when we misbehaved. I know that some of the older homes in San Francisco and Sacramento have basements, but for the most part, basements are foreign to me. Everytime I watch House Hunters people want to see a finished basement or a least a basement they can finish themselves. I guess I just don't understand this yet.

3. Man caves. Apparently man caves are very desirable outside of California. The men on that show are always looking for a space (ie the aforementioned basement) to set up their man cave. My husband has a man cave. It is called the garage.

There is one thing I know to be universal about homes across our country, however: some people do strange things while designing and decorating their houses.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Let's get reacquainted

1. I don’t get my toothbrush wet before brushing my teeth. It works fine without water.
2. I never put my seatbelt on until I have backed out of my driveway or parking spot. It is a bad habit, I know.
3. I never put CDs or DVDs back in their cases, which makes my husband very angry.
4. I don’t do things until the last minute. This is not because I like to procrastinate or am lazy, it is because I don’t have incentive to do it earlier. If you need it Friday, why am I starting it on Monday?
5. I never liked baseball until I met my husband. He gave me a beer, a hot dog, some garlic fries and taught me to appreciate the game. Now I love baseball.
6. I don’t think any sort of sports draft needs prime time television coverage.
7. I have joint custody of Molly the wonder dog. She will be at my house for 9 days starting this Saturday. Yay!
8. I put salt on everything. People are always telling me that it is bad. But I haven’t died yet.
9. I get incredibly attached to people and places. When I meet someone or go somewhere, I dig in deep. This is why it is hard for me to say goodbye.
10. I want to be able to write my blog more frequently, but for the love of God, I am searching for time to do it. I work my regular full time job AND then coaching swimming from 5:30-9pm every night.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Miss me?

Friend: "Dead or alive?"
Me: "Dead"
Friend: "Caused by?"
Me: "Buried alive. By my work."

I opened Google reader this morning and I had 108 unread blog posts in the last couple of days.

I miss writing my blog.

I AM TOO BUSY!!!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

If you read this really fast it might feel like one topic.

I am paranoid. We already know that. But do you ever wonder if there are moments where we are spared some sort of disaster? Are there "what ifs" that we don't even know about because we were spared?

Molly the dog is staying at our house while my parents are out of town. She sleeps next to my bed and I have never heard a peep out of her. Last night at 3:40am she was up and walking around the bedroom. She came back next to my side of the bed and sat staring at me until I got up. She raced down the stairs to the door. I let her out in the backyard and she spent 5 minutes in full reconnaissance mode. Molly circled the backyard with her nose to the ground and the hair on her back raised. I called her and she just kept going. I was thoroughly freaked out and woke up the husband who told me to stop worrying.

Molly finally came inside and laid back down on her bed. But it was a good 30 minutes before she actually put her head back down and went back to sleep. Needless to say it was at least that long before I went back to sleep too.

I don't know if there was a bird taunting her or some real creeper outside my yard, but I still want to thank Molly for saving my life.

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Yesterday I had my annual "lady" appointment. After teaching sexuality to teenagers for four years I am generally not weirded out by this anymore. However yesterday in the room I was really bothered by one thought-- should I leave my socks on?

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I am ever so grateful for the arrival of Friday. This week has been busy, busy, busy! Brandon and I will attack the forest of grass in the backyard (it is literally two feet tall), FINALLY hang up some curtains that haven't been up since we moved in, and I will attack the laundry pile that has been accumulating. I will do my taxes for a second time because I completely disagreed with the outcome the first time and hope that doing them by hand instead of using the fool proof TurboTax will result in something better for me. *sigh* Outlook not good.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What is the statute of limitations on overdue library charges?

Sometime around my senior year I was riding the bus home (yes, I still had to take the bus occasionally) with sophomore boys who were reading "The Catcher in the Rye." While I considered myself well-read in the classics, this was one book that I had never opened. After reading the first few paragraphs I decided that I would read the entire book and headed to the library.

I can't tell you why I went to the library. I don't do libraries. I buy books and I borrow books but I don't get them from the library. But sometime around my senior year I was riding the bus home when I decided that I should borrow "The Catcher in the Rye" from the library.

"The Catcher in the Rye" didn't do much for me. I remember thinking that it must be a book for adolescent boys.

Several months later I realized I hadn't returned the book the library. I put it in my car so I would remember. I went to college without returning it. The book got packed up with all my other books when I bought my condo. It didn't get returned.

This weekend when I was unpacking books into the bookshelf in our house, I found "The Catcher in the Rye."

Sometime around my senior year I was riding the bus home when I decided to borrow "The Catcher in the Rye" from the library and I never returned it. It is ten years overdue.

I remember seeing a story on the news once of someone returning books to a library some 50 years after they had been checked out. Looks like I better hold on the book a little longer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Erin go braugh!

Last August my family went to Ireland. Besides beginning in Dublin (and our trip to the Guinness factory), we stayed away from the really touristy places as we went in search of the places my grandfather’s parents were born. We had a fabulous driver/tour guide named Liam. I think he is part leprechaun. He helped us appreciate the culture, the food, the beer and the idioms. He pulled over every time I saw some sort of livestock I thought deserved to be photographed and he truly showed us the beauty of Ireland as we uncovered our family history and explored Ireland. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are some Irish sayings and a few photos.

Yes, they have a school of falconry. One part boss + one part Hogwarts = AWESOME.


"An Irishman is slow to a bar and slow to leave it."

"Better five minutes late than 20 years early."

"You can boil an egg and fry another and he'll say you boiled the wrong one."

"Whatever pushes your boat out!"

This little guy wanted to be my friend. This is also an occasion where I literally made the driver stop the bus.

Ireland is covered in "famine fields." They are what is left of the potato fields from the famine times. Out of memory and superstition they go untouched.


"Willful waste makes woeful want." Pretty sure it means drink all your beer.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip:
After a day of talking to local people, we found the site of the home where my paternal great-grandfather was born:


This is the castle where Pierce Brosnan had his wedding. It seriously looks like a fake cut out. It is real. And we snuck in.

The Irish Wake was not made up. We stopped in a tiny little town for lunch and stumbled upon a group of men who just found out that one of their friends had passed away. It was noon and they were drinking. That's how I want to be celebrated!

I tried my best to embrace all things Irish. But I do not like to drink Jameson straight.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!