Monday, February 28, 2011
And on the topic of blog related things... see that "Follow" widget-thingy over there on the right? I would love it if you would just click on that lovely button and become an official follower of my page. If you do, I promise to love you. Forever. And I will not stalk you either.
My sister asked me the other day how she could know if I had posted a new blog without having to log into Facebook. The answer my friends is called a "reader." If you have a Google account you already have access to Google Reader. You just tell it what blogs you want to follow, and when a new post is published, it will appear in your Reader. You can access your reader from your computer or mobile device. I look at my Reader several times a day; the more blogs you add, the more posts appear! *Warning: this can become an obsession*
And if you are interested in finding new blogs, do what the rest of us do... search what blogs your favorite bloggers are reading and follow them too! Have fun!
I have two infants. I choose not to sit in the cry room because it is full of kids and their germs. Plus it makes me feel separate from the liturgy. But I do choose to sit in the back row, next to the exit, so that if one of my girls should start to cry we can make a quick and subtle exit. You see, church is not about me. It is about the community. My girls and I are part of that community, but we are not more important than any other in the community. While my children have a right to participate in the mass, I do not believe they should disturb it for any other.
Basically this comes down to manners. And having rules for your children. This child had no manners. His mother had no rules for church. So for 75 minutes I had a light flashed in my eyes. Repeatedly.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
My parents gave us a gift card for ClaimJumpers to use for my birthday. On Thursday night my sister babysat the girls while Brandon and I went to celebrate. Brandon drank a huge Guinness... as you can see he was quite content when it was finished =)
Last week I asked for some help on what to do with my swaddle escape artist. We applied several techniques and as you can see, Ana is now sleeping unswaddled! We learned that she likes having something next to her face, hence the little sheep-blanket-thing. I think the blankets with heads are kind of weird, but I guess they are the new thing! Grace still seems happy enough in her swaddle, so we will leave her in it for a bit longer. Also, I can't figure out how to flip that picture.
The girls got dressed up to go to church and to a "playdate" with some old friends and their kids. I use "playdate" loosely since our girls are too young to play. Mostly it was fun for the adults! This is the third weekend we have taken the girls to church, and so far so good. We sit in the back row for an easy escape in case one should get fussy. I don't think the girls were excited to take this photo.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Next week you will be four months old and our lives are going to change a little. Three times a week I am going to leave for awhile and go to a place we call "work." Before you were born I thought that I would want to go back to work immediately. I didn't think that staying home with you was going to make me so happy. I didn't know that I would find such joy in the daily tasks of being a mom to twin girls. Perhaps I was afraid of you. Maybe I just didn't know what to expect. But now I know and I wish it could be different. If I could be with you every moment of every day, I would.
We are lucky. Because I work for your grandpa I don't have to be gone so much. I will always be able to adjust my plans if you need me. I will be able to spend four days a week with you, and on the other days you will stay with your grandma and the other good people we found for you.
There have been many things in my life that I thought were hard. But I know the hardest thing so far is going to be driving away from you on Tuesday morning. I will be thinking of your smiles and wishing that I was holding you. My heart will be breaking as I think of all the moments that I will miss.
I know that it will get easier eventually. I know that I do good work and that my contributions to our family are important so that you girls will have a good life. But if I could do it all over again, I would get a smaller house, pass up on all the unnecessary purchases and have done everything I could so that I could afford to stay home with you longer. In four short months you have transformed me from wanting to be a "working mom" to just "mom."
I promise to treasure the moments that I am with you. I promise to do good work--valuable work--so that our time apart will not be in vain.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
The thing is, I don't feel that grown up. I still feel like I am figuring it all out. It's like I am playing a big game in this house where the babies are really dolls and the checks I write are actually just slips of paper I tore out of a magazine. I know intellectually that this is it, this is real life. But I am still wondering when I actually grew up? Or maybe the grown up part is that I realize that despite reaching such milestones, the growing is ongoing? I have a new set of goals for the last year of my twenties, and I have a whole new list of goals for the next decade of my life.
In addition to the retrospection of this birthday, I also have a new appreciation of what a birthday means. Now that I have my own daughters, I understand a maternal urge to celebrate. I want nothing more than to celebrate their little lives every moment of the day. I resist the urge to post every picture I take of them to Facebook. I value life so differently than I did just four months ago. When I woke up this morning I didn't really think about myself; I thought about my mom and how she must have felt 29 years ago when she gave birth to her first child. I thought about my own kids and how I will feel each November 2nd when I reminisce about their birth, about their presence in my life. This morning I thought of myself as merely a bridge between three generations.
I like birthdays that pass without a lot of fanfare. I took the girls to meet Brandon for lunch. We shared dinner with one of my oldest and dearest friends. Brandon picked me up some tulips and I played on my new phone. My mom called the earliest this morning, shortly after I woke up. My brother called last, just before bed. On Thursday night, Brandon and I will leave the girls with my sister and we will go to dinner by ourselves. There were plenty of Facebook birthday wishes and text messages. And at the end of this day I feel loved. I feel appreciated. I feel ready to take on 29.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Oh, I could write pages upon pages about the difficulty of picking a stroller for twins, but I will leave that for another day. Today we talk about how I fear that using a stroller will lead to my arrest for shoplifting. Watch out Lindsay Lohan: I am about to make local news for accidentally stealing clearance baby items from Target or Kohl's.
It takes both hands to push a stroller the size of an elephant. So on the few occasions that I have escaped for retail therapy with my girls, I have struggled with how to hold my merchandise. I have tried holding hangers in my fingers or hung on the handle. I have draped clothing over my arms. I carefully balanced a shoe box on the cupholder, praying that it wouldn't fall off and hit my baby in the face.
Last week I almost walked out of Macy's with unpaid merchandise because I remembered it was there.
So please, if you see me on the local news, someone come bail me and my stroller out of jail. I will be the one staring at my double stroller, wondering how to break it down.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
And then my girls arrived and life with two babies just worked itself out. There were certainly nights where I didn't think I could get out of bed again and moments when I just wanted to feel normal-- but all new mothers have to adjust to their life. Now here we are, 15 weeks into my life as a MoM (mother of multiples) and I think I have adjusted well. I can manage the multiple feedings and extra diaper changes. I have mastered holding both kids at once.
But the the hardest part of having twins (so far!) is that I feel that I cannot give them both the time and parenting they deserve. When one baby is crying or fussy, the "good" baby is "punished" by being left to entertain herself. Somedays I feel like I am missing out on important moments of interaction with my child who is quiet, just because her sister demands me. It doesn't matter that they flip flop in these roles; I always feel like I am failing one when serving the other.
I know that all parents with more than one kid are pulled in several directions, but I think it is a little different with twins. They are the same age and at similar stages of development. I haven't had the chance to learn from the first born. Often I feel like I am missing out on them growing up, because I am so busy bouncing back and forth between them. Sometimes, at the end of the night, I am sad because I don't feel like I did enough with my girls that day. The thing about two, is I don't get a lot of one-on-one time.
But the moments I do get with each are blessed. And for those I am grateful.
Monday, February 14, 2011
- You got it all done in one shot! Why do people assume that I only want two kids? Sometimes I don't even know what to say, because I am so taken aback by people's assumption that having twins means that I won't have more kids.
- When are you having the next one? Apparently those people who don't think that two is enough find it appropriate to ask this when I will be having my next kid. Seriously, I got asked this by more than one person before my girls were even discharged from the NICU.
- How many more do you want? A dozen. At least.
- Do twins run in your family? They do now.
The thing is I have an answer to all of these. It's just that I find it strange that people are so quick to throw these questions at women who are still learning to identify themselves as mothers. I think I have an answer to these questions, but I reserve the right to change my mind.
I am the oldest of three children. My sister and brother and I are each 2.5 years apart. I loved having both a brother and a sister. I loved the age difference between us. It was close enough that we could be friends growing up, but far enough apart for us to establish our own identities. The only problem with three kids is that I often felt that one of us was left out. If we did "girl" things or "older kid" activities then my brother was left out. As the oldest I often felt left out as my brother and sister bonded over similar interests and were at home together after I left for school. Because of this I always wanted a family of four kids, anywhere from 18 months to three years apart. It seemed even.
Having twins has really made me reconsider what will happen next. I am sure we will want to have at least one more kid. But the timeline will definitely have to be reconsidered. 18 months? HA! I am not sure about that now. So when? Who knows. And how many more? I don't know. It depends on if I get twins again. There are twins in my paternal grandfather's family. The question is: was having twins a chance occurrence, or am I genetically predisposed to having twins? If I get twins again, I am done for sure. But if I were to get pregnant with a singleton, I would have to do some serious reconsidering. What if we tried for baby #4 and I got twins, bringing the count to FIVE?! See my dilemma?
Right now I am happy to be a mother to twin girls. But there is something special about having siblings of different ages. There are teaching and learning moments that only siblings can do for one another. There are the kinds of memories that only siblings can create. I don't know what the future holds for our family, but I hope there will be more kids in it.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Oh, you thought I meant something from Victoria's Secret? Or the color of my roses? Oh no, my friends:
My husband is convinced that I am a closet Pink fan. Apparently I like to rock out to her music. Now if you asked me if I liked Pink I would tell you "hell no." I have to think really hard to come up with a song that she sings. But upon reflection, it's true: if you play me a Pink song, I am going to sing along and shake my butt. So maybe that makes me a fan. I think it is adorable that he noticed that I like her music, since apparently I didn't even know I liked it. I have a feeling it is going to get a lot of play time in my car. Basically Brandon, good gift.
Don't worry, my romantic of a husband also got me a Kindle and a bottle of my favorite champagne. But the gift he was most proud of was the Pink CD.
In case you are wondering, I was romantic, too. I got him 2010 World Series Champions gear. He loved the San Francisco Giants before he loved me. So trust me, this counts as romantic.Now for the mushy stuff.
To my husband: we have celebrated ten Valentine's Days together. Although I treasure each of those ten days, it is the 364 days between February 14ths that have been the most significant. Those are the days when we listened to music, watched movies, spent endless hours driving to each other's houses, writing letters and making life plans. In between Valentine's Days we fell in love, traveled the world, got married and started our family. Today may be a day for love, but I love you each and every day. Happy day, Meshugga.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
As I have mentioned a few times recently, I have been doing a lot of walking. All this walking has given me some time and fodder for the general etiquette of sharing the streets. Here we go, kids. Take notes.
- When walking past someone on the sidewalk, it is courteous to say "hello" or "good morning" or even "howdy" as my dad likes to say. If you aren't the vocal type, a small head nod, smile or the half-wave works too. But to pretend like I don't exist is just rude. Wearing head phones does not exempt you from this. You can still see me.
- If you have the sidewalk to yourself, walk wherever you like. But when approaching someone head on, follow the rules of the road! Take the right side, just like when driving.
- If you are walking two abreast and are approaching someone on a narrow sidewalk, one of the two of you should step behind the other or step into the street. Again, follow the rules of the road.
- If I am pushing a stroller and we will not be able to comfortably pass one another on the sidewalk, please be kind and step aside. My monstrosity is agile enough, but it is much easier if just let me through without having to make any complicated maneuvers. I will certainly pay you the same respect when your turn comes.
- When approaching someone while you are walking with a dog, keep yourself between the dog and the stranger. Not everyone does this, but many people are afraid of dogs and I think this is just nice.
- Speaking of dogs, pick up their poop. Or at a minimum, get it off any walking area.
- If you know someone behind you is moving faster, it would be nice if you just let them pass you. Nothing makes me anxious like walking right behind someone for a long stretch because they speed up right when I am about to pass them.
- Oh, I love the awkwardness of passing the same person twice. This happens frequently when walking a loop in the opposite direction of someone else. To say "hi" again or not? I say yes. Or go for the smile the second time around.
- I appreciate, although it is not necessary, when runners let me know when they are going to pass me from behind.
- Bikers, get off the sidewalk. If there are absolutely no people around, then fine, ride on the sidewalk, But unless you are a kid, leave the sidewalks for people. In my city there are bike lanes everywhere. Use them.
Why the heck did I get all worked up over walking?
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
I ate Oreos today. A lot of them. Enough to make me throw away the rest of the package just so that I wouldn't eat those too. Wasting food was the lesser of two evils in this situation. Some days I make good decisions, some days I eat Oreos. Luckily when my husband got home he refused to let me wallow in my afternoon of bad decisions and we walked to the grocery store to pick up dinner.
Although it was a little chilly after the sun went down, it was a gorgeous evening for walking. Early in our marriage Brandon and I used to walk all the time. Although we lived in a nice condo complex, it was near some more "interesting" parts of town. Our regular walk included passing by a liquor store and tattoo parlor. I love walking with my husband because it gives us uninterrupted time to talk with one another. There are no distractions, just us talking. In those early days we talked about finances, weekend plans and hopes for our future. Today the topics are the same, but the details are different. We have filled in many of the blanks. I love the challenging walks I do with my mom for their exercise value. But I cherish the walks with my husband for the value they add to our relationship.
I absolutely love the weather we have been having in Northern California. With the exception of yesterday's blustery weather which drove me to the mall, it has been sunny and warm. It has been great for me so that I can get out of the house for all those walks. But I have been a Californian long enough to know that any day now could mean rain. And that rain could last until May. Like last year. So I am cautious about my joy for the sun.
Apparently my monstrosity of a twin stroller is a magnet. When I walked past people I heard them whisper (mostly) nice things like "twins" or "how cute, they are twins!" But honestly, several people actually said to me, "You have twins!"
How am I supposed to respond to that? Because, obviously. I know I have twins. And you didn't ask me a question or even give me a statement I can refute. You may as well have told me I wear glasses. Because I know that, too. But then they stare as if they expect me to have a response other than "yup."
I am now accepting recommendations for clever remarks.
I also learned today that a lot of mothers on maternity leave and/or stay at home moms spend their time at the mall. I could not believe how many women with babies there were! Let me tell you, I am happy that I haven't been spending time at the mall. In one fell swoop I spent more money than I care to admit to the internet. It was definitely a nice afternoon to get out and pick up a few fun things, but my bank account can't afford that kind of entertainment!
Monday, February 7, 2011
In the beginning of our relationship there were a lot of typical romantic acts-- flowers, gifts and surprise dates. Brandon and I spent most of our early years in a long distance relationship and so we wrote dozens of letters to each other. In my crafting days I made him picture frames, clocks and a message in a bottle. While preparing to spend a semester abroad, I wrote Brandon a note or got him a little gift for each day I would be gone, each in it's own labeled envelope, stored in a box that I had mod podged with photos and magazine cut outs. We were young, in love and we cherished those ways of showing our feelings for one another.
As Brandon and I grew, our relationship matured and we learned to show our love in other ways. I love the unexpected text message or the way he grabs for my hand when we are walking. When he lets me watch trashy, reality television instead of a sporting event or when I get to pick the movie I am reminded that he loves me. A few years ago he woke up early and covered the mirror in our dining room with love song lyrics written in red pen. There are moments when I watch him with our daughters that are as precious as any gift he as given me.
And then there was today when I was moved so deeply. You see, although Brandon has always loved to shower with me flowers, DVDs and other things he knows I like, his favorite way to show how he feels is through music. Since we started dating in 2000, Brandon has been making "mix tapes" about our relationship. He names them and picks out music to describe how he feels at a particular point in time. They often include songs that I love, even if they are not his favorite.
Several years ago I stopped listening to music in my car and opted instead for talk radio. From morning until night there is usually some talk show that I am happy to listen to. But this morning Brandon and I traded cars and he had last been listening to a CD he had made in a series he calls "The Brandon and Erin Story." I have heard the CD many times and it may be my favorite of all the CDs he has compiled. As I was driving I was moved to tears as I realized how lucky I am. Brandon doesn't just pick songs to fill time. He picks songs that mean something. I was reminded of how deeply he knows me and loves me. Cheesy as it sounds, I felt wrapped up in love. I literally had a warm, fuzzy feeling.
I felt like I had opened a love letter; it was intimate. As I listened to each song I tried to remember what about them would make Brandon choose it for a CD about us. As always there are songs from Dave Matthews Band and others of our favorite artists. I laughed when it got to "Love Bug" by the Jonas Brothers-- Brandon's snarky acknowledgement of my brief and misguided obsession with the silly song. Then there are songs like Better Than Ezra's "Breathless" and Live's "Hold Me Up" that literally floor me with their emotion.*
With Valentine's Day less than a week away, it is easy to get caught up in thinking about flowers, jewelry and romance. But I don't need any of those gifts to know how incredibly blessed I am. Our new family is the incarnation of our love, and Brandon is constantly writing the soundtrack to our life.
I love you Mushy.
*If you have never heard either of these songs, you need to check them out. Really. Go. Now.
Friday, February 4, 2011
In separate Super Bowl news, my extended family was discussing Super Bowl as a holiday on Facebook and someone posted this article from the LA Times about why the Super Bowl may be moving permanently to President's Day weekend. I am not sure the best way to honor our country's leaders and history is to usurp the weekend with football. I think enough people have a hard enough time remembering why we have a few Mondays off in February as it is; add the Super Bowl into the mix and we might as well stop teaching history to fifth graders and educate them instead on first downs and the arguments over instant replay.
Then the article went on to talk about how the NFL has been so successful at increasing viewership of the Super Bowl, saying: "Over the last decade, the NFL and its TV partners have undertaken several initiatives – some noisy and others subtle – designed not only to boost the league’s fan base, but its stature in the country as well. These moves have included aggressively promoting the NFL to women, creating more big events beyond the Super Bowl and not being shy about making the watching of a football game seem like a patriotic act." (Joe Flint, LA Times Online, 2/4/11)
Really? NFL fans watch the Super Bowl because they like football. I could be wrong, but I think that non-NFL fans watch the Super Bowl for two reasons: the commercials and the half-time show. This is the only time--ever--that we rush to the TV to watch the commercials instead of fast forwarding through them. And I have certainly would never watch football to feel patriotic. We all know that baseball is the American pasttime... Plus I want to know how they count these viewers, because I have been at a lot of Super Bowl parties in recent years, but I can't tell you that I actually watched the Super Bowl. Half the fun of the Super Bowl is the food and the football pool. The best kind of winning is when you win money for arbitrarily writing your name in a box.
All my complaining aside, we are hosting a Super Bowl party this year. Now if I only knew who was playing...
I ate ice cream every day of my pregnancy. Literally. EVERY DAY.
And then my kids came out and didn't like dairy in their milk. Ironic much? I gave up all things dairy and cried a good bye to cheese, yogurt and ice cream.
I miss ice cream... *sigh*
In other news my girls are growing like crazy. They are 13 weeks old and have doubled in weight. They both smile all the time and it melts my heart. At the risk of jinxing it all, they are sleeping wonderfully. Ana sleeps at least eight hours and Grace sleeps between five and seven hours. I think she would sleep longer if we let her sleep on her stomach, but I have let the hype get to me so she will sleep on her back until she can roll herself.
Question for moms: how do we know when to transition to sleeping unswaddled? We tried one night with Ana and she was so squiggly that we wrapped her right back up.
I love February. It is a month for birthdays and Valentines and it comes right before my most favorite month of the year. This year it is extra special because it is the last month I will be home with my girls. I am savoring every moment.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
When I found out we were having two babies I started to think about all the twins I knew and the twins I had taught. I thought about what things I thought were special and what things I didn't like about how some had been raised.
The one thing I knew was that I wanted my girls to have their own identities and to be their own people. Even if they were identical in every way, we wanted them to know that they were unique to us. So Brandon and I decided from the beginning that we would never call them "the twins." Through 33 weeks of pregnancy and in 13 weeks of life we have been successful. We say "the girls" and occasionally "the babies" (for unrelated reasons it is also a pet peeve of mine to call a baby "the baby" all the time instead of using his or her name, so usually I don't use "babies" very much either). We also call them by individual name. I don't want them to be collectively branded for life.
I believe in this individuality so strongly that when we thought they would be identical, I was against dressing them the same. I didn't want to impose that upon them. (HAHA. Little did I know that once it was clear they were fraternal I would go crazy in wanting to match them! Hypocrite much? But there is something cute about having matching babies...)
There is loads of research and opinions on how to raise twins. I am still scratching the surface. But I do believe this: while twins are certainly special, I don't want their twinness to be what defines them in life. Our girls will have a unique relationship, distinct from other singleton siblings, but we will raise them as unique beings, just as we would have raised two daughters who were born at separate times. We hope to cultivate their special relationship while giving them the space to grow as individuals.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
My mom and I have been walking everyday. And I am not talking about a wussy walk around the block. We are walking fast, on hills, while carrying nine pounds of kid in front packs. It is kicking my ass. And then in the afternoon while the girls and I are waiting for Brandon to get home, I am packing the girls up in the stroller and taking another walk. The second walk isn't really a workout like the first one, but is still good for my body while also helping me relieve stress.
I am proud of myself. I feel silly saying that, but I have had so many years of poor decision making that a couple of days of good choices deserves a pat on the back. I have been eating better and making better choices in general about my health and body. In two weeks I have lost 5 pounds which is a healthy pace for weight loss.
When I look at my girls I want to be the best version of myself. I want to be a role model in every way, which means making good choices for my body and my life. I hope that my girls are exactly the motivation I need to continue making good choices and to keep on walking to a better life...