a tuesday night.

It’s Tuesday night at 8 p.m.  I am lying on the floor watching the twins play.

Carrie, who has methodically crawled and climbed on every piece of furniture I’ve allowed her to crawl to and climb on, is cruising along our coffee table trying to, very nonchalantly, get her hands on the large black remote control.

I am watching her side-step along the table toward the remote, while simultaneously watching Ellie writhe on the floor. Miss Ellie has to be very motivated to want to crawl and, coincidentally, very few things motivate her.  She has crossed about eight feet of floor space in our family room through a series of rolls, pivots and shuffles.  Along her path, she’s stopped to study fuzz on the floor, blinking lights on the receiver and to plant her face on the carpet while sticking her rear as high up into the air as possible, creating a human pup tent.

And at this very moment, watching Ellie give her face rug burn, I am comforted by the fact that I have twins.

When you have one baby,  you compare your child to other children. With one, I imagine you wonder if you’re doing something wrong and, invariably, congratulate yourself for something you had nothing to do with. The joy of twins is that I know I’ve raised both girls almost exactly the same.  They have faced the same challenges, they have had the same opportunities and they share the same genetics (pro or con, who knows). And yet, with so many things similar, they are nothing alike.

Ellie ate first, Carrie crawled first.  Ellie rolled over first, Carrie rolls over most. Ellie is more calm and patient, Carrie is more… um… dynamic?

I’m sure there will be plenty of other times where one child does something before the other. But for those of you out there currently wondering why your baby isn’t crawling/walking/rolling/scooting/cruising as far or as fast or as frequently as another baby, hopefully I can offer you some comfort there are some things (many things, even) that as a parent that are far outside of your control.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Parenthood is of Steve Martin watching his son run headfirst into the walls with a bucket on his head.

Yeah, I expect my kids will probably do ridiculous things like that.  I suspect there will be times that I will be somewhat embarrassed even.  And of course, I am sure I will document those embarrassing moments on my blog because, well, I want my kids to know that what they do has consequences.

So yeah, Carrie is right now screaming at the remote control that magically (thanks to mommy) moved to the other side of the coffee table.  She is slamming her little fists of rage against the coffee table, incredulous that her calculations of distance and time to said remote were so off.

And Ellie, well, she’s been rubbing her face into the carpet for about five minutes now.  I think it’s time for bed.

happy thanksgiving: road trippin’ with two infants…

While we (Frank and I) would love for everyone to live under the impression that getting out of the house with two infants is, “no biggie” and “easy-peasy”, I think it’s time to blow that myth out of the water.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving at the K Compound less than an hour away from our house. Throw a few babies and some food in the car and go, right?



First, we have to assess our laundry situation.  While letting the kids roll around in vomit-stained onsies is A-OK for most Thursdays, we actually have to make the kids look somewhat presentable for Thanksgiving. Which means that we have to find two coordinating outfits (yes, coordinating – don’t judge) and two coordinating back up outfits (I mentioned they [well, really Carrie] still vomit, right?). The vomiting has improved somewhat, which means that we just need pants and shirts. We are willing to gamble that they will not vomit so profusely that we will need to change their socks. (Which has been known to happen)

If they vomit that much, we’re coming home.

Second, Frank and I have an on-going battle regarding some of the girls’ accessories. Frank seems to be under the impression that there is such thing as A Bow That is Too Big. (From Frank: “This bow is literally, LITERALLY the size of their already off-the-scale large noggins. Add the extra cheek weight and the poor kiddos can barely hold their heads up. Normal bows, people say ‘aw, how cute’ – these bows, people say ‘aw, those poor kids.'”)

I am of the school of thought that there is no such thing as A Bow That is Too Big.

We spar for a few minutes on this topic, which involves me accusing my entire family of loving Frank more than me, a love which leads my family members to falsely state that they agree with Frank’s opinions on infant girl hair accessories. I tell ya – you live with people your entire life and BAM – they side with your spouse.  Bah. But that’s a blog post for another day.

Once we get their outfits planned, next comes the task of trying to figure out how many times the girls will need to eat and then packing twice as much in the off-chance that we stay longer than we think we will, etc, etc. Packing bottles and formula, gathering snacks, selecting mushed up nasty infant food containers, finding clean spoons, figuring out what else to feed the girls and how many bibs to bring (the magic number today was SIX, for those of you playing along at home) and then tracking down the beloved bunny-kin baby china set (yes, you read that right – the girls have inherited infant china from their GRANDFATHER from when HE was a child…).

Oh, and then we had to wash down the girls high chair seats because, as you may have heard, the girls tend to vomit/spit up/do the technicolor yawn ALL THE TIME (their highchairs detach from the bases and then plug into a portable base that attach to regular dining chairs). You’d be amazed at where I found vomit/food/mysterious substances.

Then, because both girls are on the move and OH.EM.GEE getting into EVERYTHING, we have to bring the baby corral.  And a blanket to put on the floor so that the aforementioned vomit doesn’t stain the carpet because when Carrie gets excited or moves quickly or laughs or does ANYTHING, she urps. (We asked the doctor about this at their last visit and the doctor said, “Well, is she upset about it?” and we said, “No, but we are!” and she shrugged her shoulders and said “put on your big boy/big girl undies and deal.”  OK, she didn’t say that last part, but that’s essentially what she said. And then Carrie puked. No seriously. Right there. For dramatic effect – and then she smiled proudly.)

So then we pack diapers.  I get a little over-zealous in this department and pack twenty for a three hour visit and then Frank dials it back to ten. And we pack toys. And pacifiers. And an extra blanket because well, if the twins do a big urp, we might need to switch out blankets for a fresh one.

While we are hunting down all of these items, we are realizing that even though WE JUST DID LAUNDRY, most of the items we need have to be washed!! Ah!

And then we stand there and look at the mountain of STUFF and realize that we STILL NEED TO GET OUR STUFF TOGETHER.

OK, so all that gets done and all of the baby stuff that can be placed by the door is placed by the door and then we make a check list of all the other stuff that is in the fridge or that has to be assembled in the morning so that we don’t forget ANYTHING.  We put the babies on the checklist because, and please tell me we are not alone, we are secretly VERY afraid that we will load up the car sans babies and not realize it until we are pulling up at Frank’s parents’ house an hour later. (“Aw crap, not again!”)

So, three hours after our “poop is in a group*” I am hiding upstairs writing this all down so that I can say to my children in ten years, “This is why Mommy cries.”

Frank is in the basement writing his memoirs entitled Why do Babies Need China Dishware? And Other Pressing Questions From a Pilot. I’ll let you know when the book gets picked up by a publisher.

Tomorrow, though, we will load up the car and splash on some perfume/cologne to hide the subtle yet nagging odor of vomit that seems to follow us everywhere, and act like, “Oh em gee, we rolled out of bed and the girls were fresh as daisies** and the car was packed and I don’t wear mascara*** – my lashes are totally this long always!”

Sure, it seems like a major headache to get out of the house with two infants, but in the end, it is totally worth it. Great times with family, wonderful memories made and delicious dinner enjoyed. And I am particularly thankful that this year Frank has Thanksgiving off and we can do all of this packing together.  Cuz lemme tell ya, both of us have had to do it alone and it is not pretty…

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!!

*Poop in a group, as I just learned recently, is a very nice way of saying something else bad.

**This is a total falsehood.  Frank gave them a very thorough Frank-style bath tonight.

*** Love me some Mary Kay Mascara!!

nine. freaking. months.

Yeah, I’m going to forego my traditional blah blah blah update about the twins.  The girls have officially been alive outside of me longer than inside of me.  Well, I could’ve made that statement at 8 months, but I missed my opportunity, so I’m saying it now.

The girls are MOBILE.  Weighing in at approximately 20 lbs and measuring 29″ each, these girls are crawling fiends. Well, Carrie is a crawling fiend.  Ellie crawls when she feels there is something that necessitates purposeful movement. There are very few things, in Ellie’s mind, that necessitate that much effort. Carrie can spot something she knows she shouldn’t have from 10 feet away and in three seconds, Carrie has that item in her mouth. Both girls looooove our cell phones.  Carrie has crawled over my FACE to get to my cell phone.  I thought, for just a moment, that she was going to give me kisses or hugs, but no.

She wanted to get to my cell phone, no matter the obstacle in front her.  No matter if it was my head.

The girls are also quite vocal these days. They say “Da da da da”, which is to be expected, but to my delight, they also say “Ma ma ma ma.” I’m sure they have no idea what they are saying, but I don’t care. It is music to my ears!

When Carrie is tired, she whines and sticks two fingers in her mouth.  When Ellie is tired, she also whines and rubs her eyes.  Both girls go to sleep within ten minutes of being put down for bed and usually sleep for 10-12 hours at a time.  We are truly spoiled parents!

Mostly because they are babies, and partly because they are girls, the twins are equally enthralled by my jewelry.  They reach for necklaces, dangling earrings and bracelets with greedy intent. I love watching them play with toys, alternating from loving investigation to “I’m going to eat your face off!” nom-nom-nomming.

This month, the girls started feeding themselves Puffs.  They love all puffs equally, pinching them with two fingers and jamming them as far into their mouths as possible.  Unfortunately for us parents, puffs when moistened turn the consistency of mucus.  Then they harden like glue to their hair, face, clothes, high chair, etc. ICK!  We also let the girls sample their first limes. While Carrie was fairly non-plussed at the introduction of the tart fruit, Ellie loved it. Grimacing and smiling, she stuck the lime in her mouth, pulled it out to examine it and then stuffed it back in again. I think I know who is going to enjoy Sour Patch Kids in a few years!

Knowing that the girls are just a few months from toddling, it is hard to believe that we are most of the way through the infant months. Everyone says that the time as parents flies by, and I don’t want to be cliche, but man – it does go fast! The milestones start piling up on each other faster than you can even believe.  It seemed like it would be years before they would start smiling intentionally and socially – and now – that is old news! It reminds me to truly enjoy every single moment because it goes in an instant!

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.

eight month update

It’s amazing to think back to a year ago when my belly was just starting to show a little bit and I was still a month or so away from feeling the girls moving around.  And here we are, a year later, with nearly mobile little baby girls!

Ellie has not started crawling, but she is an avid roller.  If I turn my head for just a moment, she is already on the other side of the room!  She loves to sit up on the floor and investigate toes, blow bubbles with her mouth and kick things.  While she often comes across as the more docile, less aggressive baby, Frank and I have both seen her steal her fair of toys from her more outgoing twin sister.  Ellie seems to be about an inch or so longer than her sister, but they are both comfortably wearing 12-18 month clothing.  As always, Ellie seems to be just a little bit more reserved than her sister, but once she warms up to people, she flashes these warm, inviting smiles that make me melt.  Ah!  Love this girl!

Carrie is ::THIS CLOSE:: to crawling.  She gets up on her knees all the time and rocks back and forth.  While I’m excited to see her experience this new world of mobility, I am acutely aware that their time as babies is going to be over before I know it.  I am trying to savor each moment.  Carrie is our social butterfly – she loves to smile and flirt with people when we are out.  She is very chatty and she has this million mega-watt smile that she flashes at anyone who pays her any attention.  When she really turns on her smile, her little knows scrunches up and her eyes dance.  Love this girl, too!

Both girls have bright blue eyes, which leads me to believe that they inherited their mama’s blue eyes for good.  The girls are both eating champs, although Ellie is a little bit pickier about what she likes.  They have been able to feed themselves their bottles for a while, which is a HUGE time saver at meal times.  Now we need to master the sippy cups…!

gratuitous baby pictures

Our life is busy and it is full and it is happy.

We love spending time with our girls.  We love learning more about them and playing with them and snuggling!

Miss Carrie is our little giggler.  She has a big personality and loves to play and gab.  Her favorite thing is to squeal loudly.

I love when she scrunches up her nose!

Miss Ellie is a sweet little love bug.  She seems to sit back and observe things – looking around rooms, taking in the sights.  She can get chatty and giggly, but not as easily as her sister.

Ellie saying, “I’m just hanging out here, taking in the weather and the sky and the trees.  And you’re all like, ‘smile Ellie!’ I mean, goodness, what’s a girl gotta do for some peace and quiet??”

Ah, I love these girls!








seven month update

Both girls have discovered their feet and LOVE to grab them and put them in their mouths.  This is probably Frank’s least favorite part of parenting (as he hates feet!).

Ellie is our serious baby.  She is very pensive and sweet.  She rarely cries unless she is hungry or tired.  Even then, her cries are more like whines/complaints than full on squawks.  She tends to be up earlier than her sister in the morning.  She loves to get her snuggles and is an avid roller – I’ve seen her cross the entire room rolling!  She isn’t as chatty as her sister, but when she talks, she expects to be listened to.

Carrie smiles and talks to everyone.  I have no idea where she gets that from ::wink::.  When she realizes she’s hungry, you have exactly 2.3 seconds to get a bottle or spoon in her mouth before she loses her ever-loving mind.  (My apologies to our neighbors…) It’s crazy because she will be smiling and laughing right up until the point that she is hungry and then BAM! It’s so impressive that Ellie just sits and watches Carrie when this happens.  Like her sister, she is rolling and chatting. When either girl gets tired, they “sing” themselves to sleep.

Ellie: So, what is the deal with the flashing lights and picture taking?

Carrie: I don’t know.  Just look disinterested and she’ll go away.

Ellie:  I dunno, she seems to be pretty persistent.

Carrie: Excuse me.  Um, Ellie?  Excuse me.  EXCUSE ME.
Ellie: Is she still talking to me?
Carrie: Ellie, Ellie, Ellie!  You gotta try this rolling thing! SO. FREAKING. COOL!
Ellie: She’s still there, isn’t she?






baby stuff I’ve loved…

Just a few of the items that I’ve loved and a few that I don’t think we could manage twins without!

In no particular order:

Boogie Wipes:  They are what they sound like.  They are saline wipes that are designed for grabbing the occasional “bear in the cave”.  I like them because I can also use them on drool, food, etc without irritating their skin.  Plus, the fresh scent smells good, so that’s always a plus.

Lap Pads: Heavens.  Thank goodness for my dear friend Erin who told me about these marvelous inventions.  From lining our changing table, placing them in the crib to protect the sheets and using them as changing pads on their own, these lap pads have been life savers.  At the very least, they have been instrumental in preventing me from having to change the sheets on the cribs multiple times. (yay, acid reflux!)

The Twin Snap n Go: For the early months, this was a MUST HAVE!  We received ours as “hand me downs” from our dear friends who had twins just over a year before we did.

The Chicco Quattro Together: The perfect stroller for tall parents!  The handle adjusts up and down about 5 inches, giving us just enough extra room to comfortably push the stroller.  Frank is 6’9″ and I’m 6’1″, so finding the perfect stroller was a must for us – and considering how much we push our stroller around, it is saving our already weary backs. Also, if you decide to go the route of the Chicco brand car seats (we did not), the Chicco car seats can snap into this double stroller, negating the need for the Snap n Go.

Sophie the Giraffe:  I know this sounds dumb, but this giraffe is excellent!  It is the perfect shape for the girls to put in their mouths, makes nose and is easy to grab.

Cozi: One of the best ways to keep life organized.  It has shopping lists, to-do lists, a calendar and so much more!  You can assign tasks and calendar entries to specific people in your family.  It keeps us sane and on top of things!

High Quality Swaddling Blankets: It sounds silly, but whenever we had a choice, we always chose to use our Pottery Barn Kids swaddling blankets.  It just seemed like we could get a tighter and more effective swaddle out of these because of their stretchy soft material, than we could out of traditional swaddling blankets.  While it may not seem like a “must have”, I will tell you that at 2 a.m. when I had about 20 minutes of sleep, I wanted the best swaddle I could get.

The Twin Pack ‘n Play:  Our twins slept in this bassinet whenever grandma came over to stay.  It was great because they could sleep in her room, next to the futon.  Now that they have outgrown the bassinets, they are now using the play yard.  I love when we can use something for more than one function!

The Graco Blossom:  We just purchased this (online, from Amazon for big savings – hurrah!) and we love it.  The chair serves four purposes, which, if all goes as planned, will last a long time.  It can be a booster seat, a strap-on high chair, a standard high chair and a youth chair. The chair comes with a play tray, a regular tray and a tray cover that can be easily removed and washed.

Twin Related Onesies: It was just so fun!  See below:

Starbucks: Not just for the coffee (which was also excellent!), but also for the delicious and healthy meal options.  My personal favorite?  The eggwhite spinach and feta wrap.  So, so, SO good.