aging

So yeah, I turned 32 on November 16. No biggie.

A thrilling birthday for me is dinner with my family.  And a clean house.  Gentlemen, you want to know what your wives want more than anything?  A Clean House. Clean sheets, clean floors, clean.  While my children wipe snot on me and I pick up “ickies” from the floor and I investigate mysterious little weird things my kids find, I still appreciate a clean environment.  Frank, well done.

This past birthday got me thinking – what does 10 years look like in pictures?  Sure, and duh, my life has changed in 10 years.  Husband, kids, work, etc, etc.  But when you look what the presidency does to dudes in four years, I wondered what happened in 10.  So, brace yourself, here we go:

 


Melissa and me 10 years ago.  Melissa was my roommate in college for two years.  Two. Amazing. Years.  So amazing, she moved to Oregon shortly thereafter.  Well done, Em, well done.

Not sure what is going on here, but this is from 2002.  This is what I looked like in college.  Tired. Messy. Collegiate. Someone get me a brush, a Diet Coke and eye make-up remover, STAT>].

Frank and I attending a wedding.  The Bright Wedding.  July 13, 2002, I believe.  I could be wrong.  Maybe the 16?  Who knows.  This was our first “nice” couple picture.  Frank would be the first to point out to everyone that he had hair when we started dating. Apparently pro-longed exposure to Emily either results in losing your hair or moving to Oregon.

This is about the time it got serious.  We were 12.  It was amazing. Christmas 2002.

Frank still had hair.

Me, getting ready to throw my bouquet.  Goodbye, singleness!  Hello Franky-pants!  September 2003.

Some time in the summer of 2004.  That same weekend I lost my most favorite wedge sandals.  Woe is me.  I will never forget. (Seriously, they were awesome, neutral sandals.  They were amazing.  Elongated my legs, comfortable to wear, and, swear to you, they could’ve brought world peace. Instead? GONE.)

I bet NBC wishes they had snatched us up while they had the chance.  This pic was from 2005 when NBC still had the sparkling team of Katie Couric and Matt Lauer.  Ah.  NBC.  Call us. K, thanks, bye.

This began an era of time where we did not take a normal picture.  So yeah, here’s the best I can do for 2006.

My sister and I, posin’. She’s such a hottie.  Love her.  Smooches. And of course, she looks amazing then and amazing now.  Dirty, dirty bird.

Seriously, from this ENTIRE 10 Year High School Reunion Season onward, Frank did NOT take a single normal picture.  This is the best I have.  Here you go, world. 2008. Can’t go back…

This should be proof enough that I have cooked.  So there you go.  2009. Emily Cooked. Bam.

Also, 2009.  Vegas.  That’s us, wild as ever.  After this picture was taken: OPTION A) Frank swam the canals and I ate all of the gelato in Venice (Las Vegas). We were arrested and asked to leave Vegas and never return. OR… B) after this picture was taken, we ate all we cared to enjoy at a buffet dinner and fell asleep by 10 p.m.  Choose your own adventure.  Go.

2010. Here I am.  Large and in charge.  Hello bay-bays!  This is about 7 weeks before the twins burst forth into our lives.  Ah… Twins.

Me and the twinsters.  Chillin’ at the NICU.  Also, at this point I discovered the benefit of flattering camera angles.  Ahhh…. Chins.

Yeah, that’s me and my bay-bays.  Sure, it’s not the best pic.  But who cares? And who has time to find a good pic?  Shhh.  Enjoy the babyness before you.  Soak it in.  Drink it up.  Bay-bays. Well, really, tahd-lers.

And really, so long as we are still laughing, that’s all that matters.

 

So yeah, I’m older.  If I live long enough, that’s bound to happen. Aging is a privilege.

Thirty-two.  I dig it.

stages of Weight Watchers

I was talking to my friend Ginger*, my on-again-off-again Weight Watchers (WW) buddy.  I have noticed a pattern emerging from our many trists with the evil dub-dub.

1. Grief. Right before you log on to WW.com to sign up AGAIN, I think “Did I have my last hot dog FOREVER? How about one more large cheesy beef with extra cheese, hold the veggies of any kind except for french fries (which is totally a vegetable) with extra cheese – make that orange cheese?” It is anguish and sadness that comes and goes when you least expect it.

2. Anger. Ginger is currently dealing with anger.

“Wait, how many points do you get?” she asked me on the phone tonight. “THAT IS TWELVE MORE THAN I GET!”

I could hear the rage pouring through the phone.

“Well, yay for me, Ginge, I’m fatter than you.  Woot!” I tell her enthusiastically, hoping to distract her.

“And I have to budget for JACK DANIELS!” she wails. “Do you know I ate a Smart Ones Cheeseburger snack burger FOR DINNER tonight?? It was four points.”

“Wait, four points?” I ask, concerned. “I counted it as five points today when I had it for a snack.”

I hear rustling in the background. “Wait. You’re right. Five. Hold on – that was your SNACK? I don’t even get a snack!” she continues hysterically. Then I hear gulping. I assume it is the aforementioned Jack Daniels.

3. Delusion. About partway into day three, I start telling myself that I really am not THAT bad off. Who cares if I have to use a rubberband to close my pants and I’m not even pregnant?? Whatevs. I can live like this.

4. Horror. This usually immediately follows delusion when I see a picture of myself now or step on the scale. Horror also has a lovely subcategory of shame-spiraling: I will never leave the house again! WHAAA!!!

5. Acceptance. This usually happens on a day when I’ve been distracted by reality TV long enough to forget to eat an entire chocolate cake.  And I think, “Wow, how do I have so many points left for dinner?  This is amazing and WW is an awesome program!”

The important thing when it comes to successfully participating in WW is to try to live in stage #5, until you can get your dear friend Ginger on the phone so together you can experience #1-4.

Otherwise, I usually just eat a chocolate cake and pour dark hershey’s syrup directly into my mouth.

And yet, I’m not really sure why my pants stopped fitting. Curious.

*name has been changed to protect the somewhat innocent…

… Also, Ginger would like you all to know she’s moved on to Vodka…

how’s it goin’?

Welp, I’m holding fast to my New Year’s Resolutions – sticking to the old Weight Watchers routine and working out. I was hoping everyone else at the gym would have less resolve, but apparently they are all just as resolved as I am.  Which means I have to park in overflow.

Which really, is probably for the best, right?  I mean, I’m going to the gym to WORK OUT, right?? It always cracks me up to watch people fight over parking spots to be closest to the gym door. (which I can understand if you have children/babies/etc to carry into the gym…)

So following Weight Watchers and doing the Couch-to-5K program is going alright, but I am finding it somewhat difficult to adhere when trying to juggle working full time, two babies, Frank and sleeping. Eating well requires planning and thought. Mindlessly popping food into my mouth is not going to shed the pounds.  And getting to the gym, even for a simple 30 minute work out, requires a ton of planning, too. Who has the kids? When will I eat? Do I need to go somewhere afterwards that requires me not to be a sweaty mess?? Ugh.

We use Cozi.com for all of our calendaring and tasks and shopping and meal planning needs.  It’s pretty awesome.  And they have an app – because – really – who doesn’t? It has been really helpful in getting us on the same page and it has been helpful in planning out our weekly meals.  But wowzahs. It takes a lot of coordination to keep this ship a-sailin’.

So there’s all of that.

I’ve also (foolishly?) agreed to run a 5K in May with my amazing friend Jamie because if she is going to go run a 5K and she has two kids, then by-golly, I am going to get on that bandwagon.  Plus, she’s responsible for inspiring me to do the Couch-to-5K program.  I blame her for all of this madness.

Smooches to Jamie!

And if that is not enough, Frank is probably going to run it while pushing the babies in the jogging stroller.  He’ll still probably beat me across the finish line because he’s a mad crazy runner, but whatevs.

The point is, I really have to do this Couch-to-5K thing every week because man-alive, I am totally not ready for the run if I have to do the run tomorrow. I could probably sign in for the race, get to the starting line and then dry heave from panic.  Too much info?

Yeah, probably.

Onward!

thoughts on pregnancy

… very post partum!

The girls will be nine months old next week and I find it interesting how frequently I think back on my pregnancy, the delivery and the weeks following.  I suppose the fact that my dear friend VIcky is going through some pregnancy concerns may have triggered some of these thoughts (if you pray, please pray for her and sweet baby Bubbles and her husband Tim and their little boy Caleb).  But anyway, in no particular order, the things I think about are:

How strangely calming it was to be on hospital bed rest.  Perhaps that’s where the phrase “peace that passes human understanding” comes from. And while I’m sure I was not always peaceful about it, the way that I remember it was that I didn’t have much anxiety about the situation most of the time.  I remember being alone in my room a lot, looking out the window at the office of my childhood pediatrician. The memories of my childhood pediatrician are pleasant, although most memories involve being home from school sick.

Aside from actually being sick, I usually liked being home from school sick because it afforded a sneak peek into a world I didn’t usually get to enjoy.  It put the world into a new context for me – a glimpse into what adults did while I was at school. Often I would look at the clock and think of what I should be doing in class and compare it to what was going on in the world around me – the mailman delivering mail, neighbors out walking, adults going to the store and so on.  I would hear my bus stopping near my house, dropping off all of the other students who had gone to class and I wondered what it would be like if I had been at school that day and was disembarking the bus at that moment, instead of tucked away in my bed.

And really, that’s what it was like on hospital bed rest.  The world was going on around me and I was watching it happen from my adjustable hospital bed. I tried not to think too much about work, although I checked in frequently to make sure that everything was OK. It was as though if I could just make it another day and just stay pregnant a little bit longer, it would be so much better for our girls.  I made it ten days.

I also think a lot about the labor and delivery. I remember it like I was watching things happen to me and not actively doing something about the situation.  As a matter of fact, I spent much of my mental energy trying to stop the freight train of labor so that Frank could be there for the delivery.

I was apprehensive about delivery because I felt like there was a big question mark hanging over the outcome. I wondered, somewhat fearfully, what my children would look like.  I wondered if they would look like real babies and if the image of alien-looking babies would follow me for my entire life.  It made me sad to think that their birth wouldn’t be “normal” – that a trip to the NICU was a certainty.

I remember the doctor announcing I was “complete” (ready to deliver), but was only measuring 9 cm (normally you measure 10 cm before you push).  Then I realized that the reason I was “complete” was because they were expecting me to deliver very, very small babies.  I was filled with dread.

When they wheeled me into the operating room to deliver and told me to start pushing, I was suddenly confused and unsure of how to do it.  I had thought about this moment over and over in my head, but I found myself afraid to push.  Not because I was afraid of pain, but I was afraid I’d push too hard and hurt the babies.  Silly, right?

I pushed anyway. The girls were born within 20 minutes.  I remember wondering, as I was pushing, whether they would cry when they were born.  When Ellie was born, I found myself holding my breath, waiting for her to take her first breath.  Oh, and when she cried, it was the sweetest sound I’d ever heard.

And when just three minutes later, Carrie was born, screaming and all angry, I was flooded with relief.

Yes, they were small, but OH! they looked like real life babies! I was so relieved.

I did get to hold Ellie in the operating room for a few seconds – long enough to snap a picture.  I think about that moment a lot – how surreal it felt. How different that moment felt than I had ever imagined.

I also think pretty frequently about getting to go see my girls in the NICU after I spent time in recovery. My entire pregnancy, the thing I couldn’t wait for was hearing the lullaby played over the intercom system at the hospital.  But all the times I had imagined it, I was holding my babies with my husband.  Instead, the first strains of the song rang out as I was being wheeled to the NICU through a long, winding hallway.  The doors of the NICU ward opened and directly ahead of me painted on the wall was an excerpt from the poem “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And oh, how those words chilled me.  I remember seeing those words when we toured the hospital two months earlier.  I remember seeing those words on our tour and saying a quiet prayer in my head that I wouldn’t see them again.

There I was, facing those words and hearing the song playing over intercom and my heart was so sad.  “This is not how I imagined it!” I wanted to say.  But there were no words.

As they wheeled me into Ellie’s room, the second lullaby started playing for Carrie. They wheeled me up to her incubator, a glass box, and there was my very small, but very beautiful, baby girl.  She was hooked up to monitors and an IV and wearing only a diaper.

They placed her in my arms and I think about that moment, too.  I was so sorry.  I felt like she was hooked up to monitors and IV’s and I didn’t do everything possible to stop it. I came up short and she had only been alive for a few hours.

Carrie hadn’t been cleaned up yet or fully observed, so I didn’t get to hold her.  I looked at her through the glass, marveling at her tiny, perfect features.

I think a lot about going back to my hospital room on the Mother & Baby floor.  All of those rooms, in my mind, were full of babies and their mommies.  And I was going back empty and alone.

I think about swallowing all of those feelings and thoughts when I saw my little girls. They needed me to be strong.  They needed me to be happy when I saw them and to cover them in love. This whole thing wasn’t about me any more.

I think about the next day when they explained to us that the girls would need feeding tubes. While we were sitting in Carrie’s room, they ran her feeding tube through her nose and into her tummy.  She screamed these fragile, tiny baby cries that broke our hearts.

I remember the sound of the breath leaving Frank as he watched them run the feeding tube.  The “oomph” was like he had been punched in the gut.

I think a lot about the nights when we first had them at home.  The nights sort of blurred together. On the morning that Prince William and Catherine Middleton married, Carrie woke up at 3 a.m. Frank and I wound up watching the entire wedding, thanks to Carrie.

I turn these moments over in my head, over and over.  I think about what they mean, how they changed me, and wonder what would’ve happened if things went differently.

But what happened is what happened, as un-profound as that is. Months and months later, the girls are doing great. They are healthy, vibrant, active little girls.  They laugh and squeal and chatter.  It’s hard to imagine that they were born a minute before they were meant to.

The more I talk to people and hear their stories, the more I realize that life rarely turns out as expected or planned. Perhaps that’s what John Lennon meant when he said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Life is fragile and delicate and rough and sharp and beautiful.

i like to move it, move it…

After having the twins, I was secretly worried that I’d never want to work out again.

I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.  I was worried that I’d lose all motivation.  That I’d become one of those people who are just so overwhelmed by my children that all I can do is sit on the couch and hold them and pray that they wouldn’t cry.

Don’t get me wrong – when they were brand new preemies, there was a lot of sitting on the couch, holding them and praying.  Although I was generally praying they wouldn’t vomit on me.

But now that the girls are three months old, sleeping a little bit more consistently and generally not vomiting as much as they had been (praise God!), I feel like I can indulge in jogging again.

Mentally this is going to take a lot of effort on my part.  Let’s assess the situation.

First, I am carrying a bit more weight than I had been carrying over a year ago when I had been running.  I haven’t weighed myself in a while (ah, the mental anguish of the scale), but I estimate that I am still carrying about 10 lbs from my pregnancy.  I had also gained about 30 lbs during fertility treatments in the two years prior to conceiving the twins.  Oh, joy of joys.  That all being said, jogging will likely require a lot more mental stamina than it had in the past.

Second, because I don’t know how jogging will go, I am a bit afraid to do it.  Even the first few jogging steps that I will take will require a lot of focus and determination.  I have to re-learn my body and I have to re-learn the skill of mentally pushing myself further than I feel like I can go – without injuring myself.  Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I am injury-prone.  And no, I am not someone who “pulls a hammy” – I am someone who gets distracted, trips over my own feet and falls super-man style on my hands and knees.  Yeah.

Third, I am going to put myself on a running schedule after today.  It’s going to require a lot of time management coordination since I go back to work full time after Memorial Day.  We are considering buying a jogging stroller, but I don’t think I can even put the girls in the stroller until they are 6 months old.  Does anyone have any recommendations?  I’m looking at you, Runblondie!  If I am going to be committed to running again, I want to make sure that I have the right baby gear so that I can’t use it as an excuse!

I will post an update after my afternoon run…  This will be interesting…

help!!!

Sooo.

We went nearly 3 months without sugar.

THREE WHOLE MONTHS.

Then we hosted a cocktail and dessert party.

Sounds harmless, right?

But the problem was that we made/bought TOO many desserts.  Even with 40 people attending, we have SO much left over.  I brought most of the extra desserts into work and pawned the rest off on anyone who had arms to carry them.  And STILL I have a 1/4 of a chocolate cake and a 1/4 of a berry cobbler and a 1/4 of an apple pie.

And all of them seduce me.

“Emmmmmily!”

“Yes?”

“I am a delicious pie/cake/cobbler.  You can give up sweets TOMORROW.  But right now, how about a slice/scoop?”

And I am weak.

So tomorrow, it’s game on.  No more sugar again.

It’s not like I feel good eating this sugar.  I feel TERRIBLE eating it.  My teeth feel sugary – I brushed them 3 times after the party and STIL felt icky.

Ok.  The clock starts up again.

I just wish broccoli spent as much time seducing me…

a tale of two brownies

Two fudgey, chocolaty, delicious looking brownies are sitting all sultry-like in my refrigerator.  Untouched, unsniffed and uneaten.

Saddest thing you’ve ever seen. Truly.

But, this has been an exercise in resolve.  Determination. Perseverence. Discipline.

“Emmmmmily… oh, Emmmmmmmiiiiiilllyyyyy!”

Can you hear them too?  It’s the brownies! They are calling for me.

I. Must. Stay. Strong.

Ok, all kidding aside.  It has been rough giving up my refined sugar habit.  And I say habit because that is exactly what it became over the years.  If I couldn’t think of something, I’d just go get a “hit” of sugar.  If I finished lunch, but wanted to make the lunch hour more satisfying – Sugar!

Without it, I realize that I am somehow LESS anxious.  Less concerned about what I’m going to eat.  I know that if I eat a satisfying meal, I don’t have to stress because of all of the extra dessert calories.  I know that sounds strange, but I think that I would go into a nice meal that included dessert knowing that I was going to feel bad afterwards – knowing that I would regret it.  But now, I feel like I can eat a meal and be satisfied and not upset – does that make sense?

I wish I could tell you that I’ve lost a lot of weight doing this.  I’m down a total of 4 lbs.  It’s not great.  It’s the same 4 lbs that I feel like I am constantly losing and gaining and losing.  But at least I’m down and not up, right?

And really, it’s not the brownies that concern me right now anyway.  It’s the compromising situation that I found Ed in when I got home tonight.  It’s everything you’d expect to find on Entertainment Tonight: Scandalous. Scintillating. Skanky.

… more on that after the commercial break!