Thursday, November 29, 2012

the adult version of a pitiful lemonade stand



We met when I was a sophomore in college. It was love at first site. She was a vivacious, bombshell blonde with an intensely loud voice and an infectious laugh. We were in choir together but I was certain she'd never seen me. I figured she'd be vain or vapid and decided against approaching her. She'd be like everyone else, I thought, and judge me or feel sorry for me. At 4 months pregnant and only 18 years old, I knew better than to try to make friends. But one night at a small party my roommates were throwing, and despite my turned back and disenchanted expression, her none-to-keen boyfriend insisted that we meet. We awkwardly shook hands while I fumbled for words. I felt it my duty to release her from the terrible predicament of striking up a conversation with a stranger in my obviously delicate and odd state.
"Patrick has told me so much about you..." I muttered quickly, while avoiding eye contact.  
"Oh really? Well he's told me so much about YOU! I've heard your a fantastic musician. I think we have choir together, right?" She asked while looking me directly in the eye. "And I heard you snowboard. You should come to this snow event tomorrow up in Park City with me," completely ignoring the fact that I was a waddling faux pas. 

And just like that. We were best friends.

It's been ten years. She's loved me through pregnancy, adoption, marriage, thousands of miles of separation, a marathon, grad school, another pregnancy, twins, and all the other aspects of my life over this past decade. 

And I've loved her through marriage, a marathon, grad school, moving to D.C, trips to Europe, a house, another house, pregnancy, and...

seizures.

Shortly after Leah turned 24 she began to have seizures. The seizures were debilitating and intense. She went to numerous medical specialists and they could not pin point the problem. But through a long, painful, and tedious process, Leah found a way to cope  -
and that's where Charlie comes in.

Charlie is Leah's seizure alert dog. Whenever Leah is going to have a seizure, Charlie gives her a 5 - 10 min warning of its onset by "freaking out". He will jump, bark, and even lick her face. This allows Leah enough time to get to a safe place and lie down or call for help. Charlie is an amazing dog. And how fitting for such an amazing girl?! 
Sadly, Charlie was recently diagnosed with cancer. He has gone through a major surgery to remove three cancerous tumors and will need to receive chemo and radiation therapy. These treatments are extremely expensive and while Leah has paid for the cost of the surgery, she cannot cover the cost of the treatments he needs to receive and the cost of having her baby (she is 7 months pregnant!) It's crucial Charlie is with Leah, especially at this important time, to ensure the safety of both Leah and her baby. 

SO 

I'm asking for your help. A few years ago I recorded a mediocre piano cd of Christmas music for close family and friends. I've put it up on CD Baby (here) where all the songs can be purchased and downloaded. All proceeds from the sale of these songs will be given to Leah to help cover the cost of Charlie's cancer treatments. I'm asking you to consider purchasing holiday music to support my best friend. If you'd rather avoid listening to my piano creations, I'm asking that you make a donation to my little Charlie Fund by clicking the "Donate" button right here on my blog (top right). 

Thank you for giving to a cause that has deep and personal meaning to me. Please pass this on to anyone you know who might also consider giving. 

I love you all.

Have a wonderful holiday season and the Merriest Christmas!

Sincerely,

Jo
p.s. To read more about Charlie, see the blog Super Dog Charlie Pants here,




Tuesday, October 2, 2012

bad days make good bumper stickers

Well I'm really looking forward to the day when my life isn't such a roller coaster of emotions. Of late I've had some pretty great days and one incredibly bad horrible no good awful day.

Friday, September 27th (henceforth forever known as Day From Hell).

It all started a few weeks earlier when I told my mother that we wouldn't be coming up to Kansas for my counsin's wedding.

My mom cried.

I felt bad. So I started thinking of a way that I could make the trek to Kansas. I came up with the plan that I would leave around 3am or so and drive for about 6 hours before the boys woke up (they wake up around 8:30 or 9 so naturally they would just sleep in the car until when they usually wake up - Clue #1 that I'm an idiot).

As the day for departure neared, Doug and I realized there was no way he would be able to accompany me and the boys due to the amount of school work and projects he had going on. So I decided I would travel just the three of us. No problem! (clue #2 that I'm an idiot).

The night before we were set to leave I was scrambling around the house trying to get all the last minute details figured out like,

1. Where does my mom live?
2. How do I get to Kansas?
3. What should I pack for the boys?
4. How much money do we have left in our account at the end of the month?
5. Can I afford gas there and back?

etc.

So when 12:30am rolled around and I was still not in bed, I knew 3am was going to get ugly.

3am Doug and I got up and got the car ready to go and in the pitch black got the boys changed and in their car seats and in the car without hardly a peep from anyone. I rolled out of the driveway at about 3:15. After 45 min of driving I knew my plan was brilliant and that I should be given the Trophy of Momhood, complete with gold stars and chocolate.

Then at around 4am something happened. I think there was a switch inside Whitman's head that clicked on and he realized he needed to cry as loud and as hard as he possibly could so I can barely keep my bleary eyes on the road or remember what on earth I was doing. The "go - ape-shit!" switch went off.

I thought surely we will go back to sleep (clue #4) but noooooo my kids are dutiful and Whitman pledged his soul to the ape-shit switch at some point in his short little life so he kept on belting his majestic voice until Charlie too felt the call of duty.

I pulled over and gave them both pacifiers. They sucked on them just long enough for me to be convinced that all was fine and I could continue driving. As I pulled back on to the mostly deserted highway they chucked those measly green plastic good-for-nothins across the car and let loose.

After nearly 2 hours of them screaming and it nearing 5 something in the morning I looked down at my speedometer to see that I was going over 90 miles an hour so I could get the hell to Kansas, just in time to see the lights switch on above the black patrol car that was hiding in the median with no lights on. Surprisingly, my boys were not impressed with the siren or the blaring lights and wanted to let the world know as I tried to hear the commands of the police officer who was shining a very bright flashlight in my face and my babies' faces. As it turns out, Texas patrolmen are EXACTLY as they are portrayed in the movies.

30 min later, and despite the policeman "feeling sorry for me," I was on my way with a lovely little $300 speeding ticket and two babies WHO WERE STILL CRYING.

I got to Dallas/Ft. Worth and pulled off into a gas station and began to bawl. I decided there was no way in hell I was going to drive with deliriously tired screaming babies and that no family or cousin's wedding or even my own wedding would have been worth it at that point. So at about 6am I called my mom and told her we weren't coming, which of course made her cry. Awesome. I called my brother and told him we weren't coming, which of course didn't make him cry, because that'd be weird, but made me cry at the thought that they wouldn't be able to meet their uncle for even longer now. I called my husband and cried and told him the whole saga, and at 6am he seemed to only be able to grasp the $300 ticket (me to Doug: Can you FORGET about the damn ticket for one second?) Then I called my cousin, who I am only sorta close with (as in we are family but not HEY its 6am and I'm randomly in your city and remembered you live here and I'd like to take my screaming babies over to your house and crash for a bit before I turn around...not that close). But I called my cousin and miraculously, she answered.

Sometime around 7am I showed up at my cousins house with my boys who had resorted to quiet whimpering because their voices were all but gone. As I picked them up to bring them in her house, I realized they had had major poop explosions (no sense of smell, remember?) in their carseats and they were di-i-sgusting. But only having two arms I just picked them up anyway and carried them, poop now up my arm - and all, into her house. I promptly changed them (Hi cousin!) and then they played around for a bit while I attempted to set up the pack-n-play for 25 min.

It was sometime around then that my cousins neighbor backed into my car.

Running on about 2 hours of sleep, my NEW car being hit didn't really seem to phase me. Somehow, it seemed to make sense. I started hallucinating about the stairs caving in and my legs being made of bloody sponges. Yeah. I don't know. I was deliriously tired and freaked out from the 3 hours of screaming that were still resonating in my head. I got the guy's info and then took a short nap, reaffirming to my cousin that we would not be crashing at her house long. The boys would just take a short nap and then we'd be on our way.

4 hours later.

Yeah, the boys took a 4 hour nap so I was at her house for a very long time. I felt terrible. Not to mention that I now made things very awkward for her and her neighbor. Ugh. Sometime around 2 or 3pm I finally was able to leave her house. The boys were perfectly well behaved and were thrilled with the new brain-frying dvd device that I had bought especially for this trip so they would be good little boys in the car.

They were angels on the way home (though I did stop frequently this time). We made it back around 8pm - I still hadn't had anything to eat or drink that day so the moment we got inside, Doug gave us all big hugs, the boys wiggled until they could get down and stretch their legs, and I went to the kitchen to get something to drink. I saw that Charleston was pulling up on a box that was on the ground. I took a swig of water and looked back down at him just in time to see him face-plant into the tile floor. I ran over and scooped him up and he screamed into my chest. I imagined the Momhood Trophy of wonder and chocolates slipping slowly out of my fingers. I held him tight and rocked him until I finally pulled his head off my chest to look at him. He was bleeding profusely. My shirt was soaked. I had blood all over me, him, the floor, my legs. Everywhere. I almost passed out and yelled Doug's name seconds before I almost dropped Charlie. Doug grabbed him and immediately got the bleeding under control and managed to soothe him and eventually make him laugh. We still aren't sure the extent of the damage. It was the end to a very very bad day.

As I was driving back from Dallas to Austin I tried to come up with a few bumper stickers for the lesson I learned that day.

Don't have twins.

Wait. No that wasn't it.

Don't babies and drive.

or if you'd rather,

MADB (Mothers Against Driving with Babies).




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy Days are Here Again

What up Blog World! Long time no talky talky (my bad)

Here is the loooooooong update

On Doug

Most days Doug is loving school. He comes home pumped about all the cool stuff he is learning and he works very very hard to make time for the family and get all the school work done and still have time to keep up with other media to help him in his program. Basically he is crazy busy but somehow is doing a really great job of juggling it all.

On the Provo house

Looks like the house will most likely close by the end of the month. The mortgage company approved the short sale and we are waiting for the final word from the city. I'm sad but also relieved and also a bit detached from the whole thing now that we are in the swing of things here. Though this is my favorite time of year in Provo and people post pictures of the canyons and a part of me just wants to cry and slowly stroke the computer screen... but I disgress. The house sitch is shaping up and we couldn't be more grateful.

On Austin

Cooler weather has arrived (at least for a little while) and it has been SO NICE! We've been able to keep the windows open at night and we have been outside EVERY DAY for like a week now. Holy crap is it nice to be about to not be stuck in the house. This has really really improved our mood (the collective House of Crabb mood that is). We also found a rockin' awesome park very close to our house (not close enough to walk but only like a 5 - 10 min drive). It has equipment and a water splash up pad thing and tons of stuff for kids. It also has a LAKE and a beautiful path and deer and bunnies and stray cats that I will eventually domesticate enough to take home with me (don't kill my dreams - just keep nodding your head) and the park is practically deserted most of the time. It has been an amazing find.

On the job front

I have had two interviews this past week that both went very very well. I would be grateful to work for either company. The two companies are very different and the jobs themselves are slightly different but both would entail doing training, which just makes me so excited! I'm going to describe both a bit in detail so feel free to skip this boring part  -
Job 1 - I'd be a trainer/consultant for a small software company that has created a product solely for the vast and confusing world of higher ed accreditation. They require you have an advanced degree (which makes me feel like maybe grad school was worth it afterall) and they pay well. Its VERY close to our house here (AWESOME!) and I think I would absolutely love what I'd be doing and would also really get the chance to push myself and move up since its such a small company. I wouldn't be doing quite as much training as the other job but the consulting portion of the job sounds equally as appealing to me, so I'm not bummed about the training part only being about 60% of the job.
Job 2 - I'd be a contract trainer working part time for a subsidiary of the State of Texas who does all their employee training. I'd train all sorts of things from tech topics to professional development topics. They are not flexible on the hours (classroom trainings are pretty standard 8 -5 with the trainer coming early and leaving late) but I get to choose what days I would work so hopefully I could try and make it work around Doug's schedule. Its also pretty close, pays reasonable and the company is really really great. I'd really get a TON of training experience under my belt and I think I could add some real value in other areas of the company and could even make it a full time role if it made sense/cents.
For Job 1 I have a second interview next week where I am doing a 30 min training to show my stuff. I plan to just blow it out of the water. I'm so excited to knock their socks off. I'm definitely more interested in Job 1 but I think either would just be an amazing blessing for our family. We are really getting down to the wire in the financials and could really use some employment.

On Working v Staying Home

I suppose I really came to terms with staying home a few weeks ago in the depths of my despair about it all. I felt like I really came to a point where I felt like if this was what God was asking me to do then I would learn to be happy doing it. I can very easily see the joy in staying home with the boys. On days where they were in a good mood and I had stuff to do and I could meet up with people or speak to adults at any time in the day (more than, "No I don't need the receipt. Thanks.") I had some really fabulous days. I feel like queen of my domain and was so pleased with myself for things like successful trips to Sam's Club. I think I'm happier working outside the home but I also think I could be happy not doing so as well. I take great comfort though in knowing that I'm just doing exactly what I feel God is telling me to do. Right now that looks like I will working which also means that we will have to figure out some childcare options. I feel really torn about that and I worry about time away from my little guys, but I also know that if I'm supposed to work then the Lord will also show me exactly what I should do with my boys. I have a lot more respect for stay-at-home moms and I think both routes can be both very difficult and very rewarding.

On Church

We still don't have really any friends but I do feel a lot of love from/for people at church. We have all the young 19 year-old missionaries over for dinner 2x a month and they are just so cute and earnest and...hungry. The church is responsible for feeding them but because our ward is of the generally poor kind, not a lot of people sign up to feed the poor kids. So we feed them pancakes or pasta or whatever. Its been a lot of fun to have them over.
I was asked to be the music leader for the children. I've been asked to be this before and have turned it down, but this time I felt the distinct impression that this is what I should do right now. I'm actually really excited! I keep thinking of all the wonderful VBS (vacation bible school) songs I learned as a child and all the wonderful traditional Christian/Baptist kids songs I learned that none of these Mormon kids will know. On the other hand, not having grown up LDS, I have no idea what any of these songs are that they sing. So I guess it will be a learning time for everyone. I'm only with the children for about 30 min so its just enough to have fun and not be stuck with a bunch of kids for hours on end at church. This will be one of the first ones I teach:

Zacchaeus was a wee little man
And a wee little man was he
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see
And as the Savior passed that way
He looked up in that tree
And He said, “Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I’m going to your house today
For I’m going to your house to stay”

On the Boys

Sigh. I feel so in love. Seriously. I feel like a lovesick puppy for these guys. They are so wonderful. They are just smiley and laugh all the time. They love each other and they love me and Doug and they just bring so much joy to us and everyone around them. I mean, have you seen this video?


And lest I paint a fake picture, they do drive me crazy. Whitman is OBSESSED, obsessed I tell you, with eating dust bunnies. Seriously. You may laugh but this kid will literally pull fibers off of the rug or carpet until he gets enough to make a wad and then will shove the whole thing in his mouth. I am constantly pulling the nastiest crap out of his mouth. And Charlie. That kid. He is just into everything. And he is really really clingy right now. Like if I walk anywhere he needs to be right at my feet. And if I stand for more than two seconds in one spot then he will pull up on the back of my legs so I can't walk anywhere for fear that he will loose his precarious balance and fall. And they are teething again and have days where they are just SO whiny. But the nice thing about those days is that they sleep a whole lot more when they are teething so its slightly more tolerable.
But all that aside, they are just wonderful. They love to crawl up on to me or Doug and just lay their face on your face like this (sorry for the poor quality)



They love to go out on errands and they always behave whenever we go out...and the people always shout... I'll stop but seriously, they are well behaved. Its great. They both now crawl very well and love to chase Patches the cat. Charlie can pull himself up onto anything and can sorta walk a little bit when holding onto things. Whit is starting to pull himself up on stuff and is a very good walker when we hold his hands. They both have the little pincher hand move goin' on when they grab Puffs (dissolvable cereal snack thing). Whit loves water and will drink the entire sippy cups worth of water if I let him. Charlie, on the other hand, is not much interested in water. They love baths and they enjoy splashing each other and watching the water go down the drain. We showed them a laser pointer the other day and they chased the laser dot around everywhere. It was very funny and also I felt a little bad somehow, like I was making fun of their baby brains or something. Nonetheless, it was funny.
Here are a few more poor quality phone photos...

Charlie - left, Whit - right, more interested in chest than toys. Whit probably found a dust bunny...

Whit - left, Charlie - right, Charlie has his hand on Whit's leg. So sweet. 



Charlie - left, Whit - right
On me

I feel hopeful right now. I feel happy. I have yet to figure out how to train for the marathon in February and make amazing homemade meals each night and keep the house clean  (though I have far less dust bunnies these days...!) and possibly be employed/search for employment and do church and make friends and feed my marriage and keep connected with loved ones and all the other things that are important to me. I don't know how to balance it all. I've obviously let blogging slide a bit, eh? :) Truthfully, I don't spend much time online anymore and I'm grateful for it. I feel like I don't always like what I become when I spend gobs of time on the internet. I'm striving to find balance there too. I'm reading a ton more and I'm really just trying to soak up every moment with my boys. I know I likely won't be home all day with them forever and so I try to just enjoy my time with them. I feel like this whole thing is hard. Its a challenge. But its also exactly where we are supposed to be and knowing that has really made all the difference. I likely won't be blogging as often but I'll try to update every week or two and post more (and far better quality) pictures and videos of the boys.


Much love to you all


Sunday, August 26, 2012

sad jo is sad


That is sad Whitman. That was taken moments before this...


I kinda know how he feels. 

This has been a really tough week. I think the transition was going ok at first. We were busy getting everything set up and we were mentally prepared for the challenge of the first few weeks. But then I think somewhere in the back of my mind I thought it should start getting easier by now. 

Doug had orientation last week and starts classes this week. I have a lot of mixed emotions right now. I'm so excited for him and this program. It feels right and I think this will seriously be one of the best things for him. But meanwhile this is exceptionally challenging for me. I've had my hand at being a SAHM now for a bit and my observations are this:

1. I have a very real and very strong respect for stay-at-home-moms. This is a really tough job. 

2. I will need to make serious efforts to stimulate my intellect. That sounds snobby or condescending or something I'm sure but this isn't some plight against other stay-at-home-moms. This is me. This is me who is used to spending a very large portion of my day getting to read all the academic journals and articles that I want and call it working. After 6 hours with my boys and having only read the instructions on how to hang the door johnny jumper bumper jump jump thing, I sorta want to take up...I don't know, calculus or something. 

3. This is a lonely job. Partly because its still one thousand degrees outside and partly because I have no idea where the hell I am, we don't go outside much. The boys schedule keeps us mostly indoors and since I have no friends here, I am alone inside most of the day. Some women from church have a playgroup thing but as terrible as it sounds, I'm sorta not interested because of the women who go. Is that so rude to say? Man I'm going to sound like a real snob here but I'm just writing it like it is. The women I gravitate towards at church (which granted I've only met a few and only briefly) but the two women I like best at church so far is one 65 year old retired professor who is so sharp and whitty and sassy and has a really great Texas accent and one woman who is around my age and is in a PhD program to become a geneticist. Unfortunately, neither of them go to playgroup. And neither of them have kids. 

4. Doing anything with twin crawling infants is insanely hard. This week I went to a WIC appt. Yes WIC. Thats where we are at. Medicaid this week. WIC last week. Food stamps next week. I am a leech to the system. Anyway, taking two babies to a WIC appointment by myself? OMG. First I decided that they might actually stay in their car seats and not crawl around so I carried both boys in their car seats for an exceedingly long distance (maybe not that far but it was one thousand degrees out as well and WIC isn't located next to Pottery Barn if you know what I'm sayin) So I was trying to go quick - with two 20lb babies + two 20lb car seats. So just getting in the damn building was rough. Then the actual appt was a nightmare. I was trying to fill out paperwork, keep both boys entertained and quiet IN THEIR CARSEATS for what ended  up taking 1.5 hours. Yes. I ended up taking them out of their seats once they started loosing it and then I tried to keep them both wrangled into the same area of the nasty linoleum floor while keeping random crap from the ground out of their mouths, to which they were none too pleased. I am now that evil woman who takes every cool thing they find on the ground away from them. "Look mom, a toe nail clipping!!!" RAAAAAHHHHHHH

5. That all said. I can totally do it. My new mantra is "Its only 2 years". On the days we stayed home I was able to feed them and get them to take naps and play with them and also make dinner and do lots of household chores. At some point in the future I imagine I will likely be able to go grocery shopping and perhaps make friends with people and see said friends. And I do really enjoy them (when not at the WIC office). They fantastic babies who aren't very fussy and are really sweet to me and each other. I will just set them on the floor in the kitchen and they are content to just play with measuring cups and bang on pots and pans while I clean or cook. And (I thought this was totally genius of me and this is the new type of thing I reward myself for thinking of instead of smart new corporate initiatives) I placed one of them in a jumper thingy contraption and the other one in a jumper thingy contraption so they could both be jumping right next to each other and I placed them right in the bathroom and I TOOK A SHOWER. Yup. I did. I took a shower while the boys played in jumper things in the bathroom door jam. Small victories but a victory nonetheless. 

Hopefully someday soon either Doug or I will get a job so I can stop stressing about money. I think I can be comfortable working or staying at home (though that is not my preference but again - insert mantra) but I just would like to know which it is and get on with it. If I'm going to be home then I need to come up with a plan that works for me to be able to not be sad jo all the time. If I'm going to be working then I will need to find childcare options when Doug is in class and figure out how to juggle all that. Right now Doug and I are both just applying to jobs like crazy and hopefully some day soon one of us will get one. 

They're cute, huh?!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Austin is HOT...and I don't mean sexy

105 today.

The fact that I'm still able to write a blogpost right now is a bit miraculous.

And if the heat doesn't get us, this cold will (see how I can still be punny despite being sick?). The whole Crabb fam is sick. The boys were all sick for about 5-6 days and right when I thought they were all getting better and I had held out from baby kisses for long enough, well, then I got sick. Blah. As you well know, I'm kinda a terrible person when I'm not feeling well. BUT I'd take me sick over the babies sick any. day. They were so pitiful with their little coughs and drooling from teething and sweating from everyday being like 105 stupid degrees. Fussy babies suck man. Especially two fussy babies. And then moving to a place where we don't know anyone who we can pawn them off on so we can get a few minutes to be away from said fussy babies. Double blah.

but LEST this post be a giant complain post, let's highlight some good things.

1. These babies are obsessed with black people. Its almost a bit embarrassing. They start reaching for them and smiling and bouncing all around whenever they see someone with beautiful dark brown skin. I guess living in a place without much diversity was more depriving them I even knew.

2. Despite going to church in a very rough area of town, we go to church with some really fabulous people. I met two beautiful ladies, sisters (actual sisters - not church lingo) in their late 60s, who have been a total God-send. They invited me and the babies over for dinner when we first got in town. They were just SO delightful. They are my only friends here thus far and I'm already abusing them. I'm borrowing a book (they have an incredible book collection of all the books that I want to read - we have very similar tastes - which really, actually, makes sense since I'm not-so-secretly a 75 year old in a 12, I mean 27, year olds body) AND they are watching the boys for us for two hours on Monday while Doug and I celebrate 7 years of mawage.  Friends are nice to have. I miss my friends. But this is the happy part of the post...

3. The babies can crawl and both of them have TWO teeth! I sorta feel like they are mobile little puppies now with their sharp little baby teeth gnawing on everything. We also have a new routine of giving them a bath every night since they get so sweaty here and every night when we plop them in the bathtub together and dump water on their heads, they laugh and laugh at seeing their brother's hair all matted down. Its really a lot of fun. And then they splash and splash. Whit also likes to put his hands in the water and then quickly put them in his mouth and try and suck up all the water he can.

4. 600 square feet ain't bad. We will totally be able to make this space work. The biggest challenge so far is the bathroom but we will get that better organized in the coming week.


Anyway, thats all for now. I hope to post a bit more often once we get fully settled, which will hopefully be by next week. I'll also do a bunch of before and after photos of this place if my camera doesn't melt. :)

Have a great Friday and weekend!





Friday, July 6, 2012

good music and good reads

Just a quick post with a few good reads and my new favorite song right now...

First, the song -



You should listen to it. Its good.

Second, one of the best articles I've read in a long time about the struggles of work/life balance as a working mother. This article is my life right now and it really is VERY well written.

Read it HERE.

Third, I actually read this article years ago but I still think about it. Its about racial disparity in our immediate social circles. Its so fascinating. The author takes out a craigslist ad to find a black friend. It really challenged me and makes you think about those with whom you surround yourself.

Read it HERE.*

*(its a bit of rough language at first. It was originally published in GQ which is NOT Christians Weekly or The Ensign...) 

And lastly, the boys have really taken notice of each other...


They now roll over on top of each other and pull each others hair and touch/smack/pinch each other's faces. I think its the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

You can check out more of our goings ons over on instagram HERE, including a picture of the amazing double rainbow we saw last night. 

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

happenings



Well its been a little while. Life is crazy.

Here are the updates

The Boys

They have started to really take notice of each other. Charleston thinks Whitman is just about the funniest person on the planet. Whitman soaks it up and blows raspberries and makes noises with even more gusto when Charlie is watching.
Charlie is rolling around like a champ. We can no longer lay him down and expect him to be anywhere close to where he was previously. We also can no longer lay him on beds or couches. He also LOVES this crazy stand-up bouncer contraption. He would play in that thing all day. He is also getting pretty good at sitting with less and less support.
Whit is not interested in rolling over unless we lay him on his stomach, in which case he will roll over immediately and without any problems. He doesn't especially like sitting either. Mostly he just wants to lay on his back and make funny noises and babble and screech and make his brother laugh.
Charlie, on the other hand, is generally quiet. He doesn't make much noise and is very chill until he isn't. And then watch out. Man. That kid really has some lungs.
They both are pretty great with other people still. Charlie really has eyes for the ladies already, preferably ages 18-30 or so (sigh) and Whitman really lights up when anyone over the age of about 65 is around. I'm hoping that continues into at least his thirties.
They are also both really into grabbing mine and Doug's faces. They pull our faces close to theirs and try to put our faces in their mouths. Its really sweet and kinda painful and slobbery all at the same time.


The House/Move/Austin/Jobs situation

I've got a one-way ticket out of Provo on July 25th. I'm flying with the boys and my friend Missy.
Doug drives out that day or the next with our cat.
We are renting a VERY small house in an area of Austin called Jollyville. Sounds nice, right?
We don't have jobs.
We used a significant chunk of our savings to pre-pay rent for 6 months because we don't have verifiable income so no one wanted to rent to us unless we pre-paid.
We are slowly selling things and boxing up stuff.
We had buyers who had to rescind their offer because of some personal things and so we accepted one of the back-up offers just this past week. Selling a house is stressful.
We gave them a refresh tour this past Monday and it nearly broke my heart. I'm so sad to leave our beloved home.
I know. Onward and upward. But sadward. Sadward too.
I have a phone interview in about 30 min for a part-time instructor position with an education company. It probably wouldn't be enough to cover expenses but it might work. We'll see. I'm still contemplating the stay-at-home route. I have been considering giving it 6 months to see what I really think of it and then re-evaluating.

And also I found another graduate program that I think I'm going to apply for when we move to LA after Austin. I'm starting to think grad school is like having a baby(ies). The whole process during it is mostly awful but the end result is pretty great so you forget about all the crap you went through because you're so pleased with the result. Its natures convoluted way of increasing the educated population.

Damn nature.

Anyway, thats the happenings right now. Remember when I said life is crazy?

yeah.




Friday, June 15, 2012

random stuff Friday

via

remember how I said sometimes I hate the internets? ...like I wrote that a few days ago...

Well I love it again.

I love it when it is inspiring and hate it when it creates materialism and jealousy. I have a hard time guarding against those things sometimes.

Anyway, here are a few random things for Friday

this quote
“You must have some vision for your life. Even if you don’t know the plan, you have to have a direction in which you choose to go. You want to be in the driver’s seat of your own life because if you are not, life will drive you.”
- Oprah Winfrey

HERE is an interesting TED talk on web interfacing. Technology is soooo cool sometimes.

HERE is an fabulous article in the NY Times about the 80% of businesses in America that are considered small businesses and whether they can survive the emerging market and economic times

HERE is a boardroom table made out of Legos. Its awesome. 

HERE is the merging of science and art to create a hot air balloon desk. Also very awesome.

Lastly, HERE is a link to my instagram for pics of the boys' first experience in a swing. SO FUN!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 11, 2012

internet and instagram



sometimes I just get sick of the internet.

I've just started an instagram account for times like this past month when I don't feel like being on the internet but still want to post pictures for friends and family who want to keep up-to-date and see the boys, etc.

HERE is the link


Thursday, May 24, 2012

My New FAVORITEST PICTURE EVER

left - Charleston, middle - hottie face, right - Whitman
Doug's convinced this isn't a great photo of him but I think he is dead wrong. He surprised me with this photo for Mother's Day. :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

more on the boys

They turned 6 months old last week.

Crazy.

charleston - left, whitman - right





Their latest developments include standing (with support), sitting (with support), crawling (with their heads down, haven't figured out the arms portion of crawling - pretty sure their going to rub a hole in their foreheads) and screeching.

Yes. Screeching.

That'd mostly be Whitman.

like

Think of the movie Dumb and Dumber and the most annoying sound in the world, and then picture a really cute 6 month old baby doing it repeatedly...and that's life right now. Sometimes really cute. Other times really painful to the ears.

Meanwhile, Charleston has discovered his toes.

5.13


And the two of them have taken to "sharing" toys...

whitman - left, charleston - right - looking identical that day

I'm putting together a little photo montage of them over the past 6 months and will post the gross video of them experiencing their first solids...soon.

And while we are on the topic of babies, here are two interesting articles.

This one is about how children develop moral cognitive functions. Brain scientists have found that the average age for full cognitive moral development is between the ages of 7 - 9. (See John Medina's Brain Rules for Baby for further info on the topic). Fascinating!

and This one contends that the key to "success" in adulthood is learning self-control as a child.


And lastly, I had a great mother's day. I was very sick (still have a cough actually) and Doug let me sleep in. We had a little picnic and went for a walk by a creek in the canyon. It was wonderful. I know Mother's Day is an emotional day for many people. I hope you all were able to get through it unscathed. :)



 



Thursday, May 10, 2012

just stress blabber

This is a blather post. No pictures. No videos. No links.

I'm feeling stressed. We are in the process of selling our house. Its stressful. I love my house. I know a house is a house and I will make the next place just as much as a home to us, but... I'm still sad. And stressed.

Selling our house means finding housing in Austin. This is also stressful. I have no idea where to live. When we've moved in the past it was just me and Doug. No biggie. But now we have a cat and two baby boys and finding the "right" place is a much higher priority than it was in the past. And craigslist is a freaking joke. And trulia isn't giving me much traction either.

And work. Sigh. work. I have no idea. I'm able to pursue training still but the chances of me getting a trainer position are slim to none. There is a large part of that role that I would not enjoy. So maybe its a blessing. I've been trying to dissect exactly what I love about it so that I can find jobs that capitalize on the best parts. But really, I have no idea. I feel this immense pressure to find the "right" job so I can both be available for my boys and be able to provide for all of us. I want to support Doug while he goes to school but I also don't want the entire duration of his graduate program to be a waste of my time/pursuits. And in the meantime, I'm really just putting forth the least amount of effort possible until I'm done here, because really if I'm done here one way or the other, what does busting my butt for the next 2 months get me? I could go the extra mile but instead I'm just at par for the course.

And I feel this real pull for both my career and my family. I never had crazy career aspirations. Not originally. When Doug and I first got married I wanted to find meaningful employment that also allowed me significant time with my family. Then somewhere along the way I got leadership role after leadership role and discovered that I'm not bad at leading. And I liked leading. And then that's all I wanted to do. And suddenly being a lowly adjunct professor at some college came second place to being CEO of a non-profit. Training was really just this thing I loved that would help me get there.

But now I have a family. And I really like them. And I'm not sure that I want to make the sacrifices necessary to attain some CEO position, even though I might like the job. I have no doubt that I could be a CEO. Maybe that's arrogant to say, but I believe that with my drive and the Lord's blessing, I could have just about anything. I really believe that.

And I think thats what stresses me out. I don't know what I want now. This has really NEVER been my problem before.

I know I don't want to be a full time stay-at-home-mom. Most days that I'm home all day with the boys I want to punch myself in the face. Is that bad to say? This isn't a reflection of my love for them. Its just how I feel. But if I'm going to pull myself away from them, I want it to be meaningful and something that I really enjoy. I think that's one of the things that stresses me out about looking for new employment. I've been able to work at a place that I really love for a very long time. I love what we do. I love our material and our research and the value we provide for people. I don't think I can pull myself away from my boys to hock some magic pills or some fertilizer or something. But I don't think I could stay sane not doing something outside the home. So, I need to find a job that is meaningful, has workable hours so I can take care of my boys, and pays enough that I can provide for everyone. 

Right now that combination feels impossible.



Sooooooooooo I bought a dress. A dress for stress.


On a completely separate note, the boys had their first solid food experience last night. Carrots. It was so fun. I will post a video soon. Its both gross and totally endearing. Kinda sums up little boys in general, right? :)


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

movers and shakers

left- whitman, right - charleston on 5.1.12

The boys are learning how to roll over and crawl. (sorta sounds like commands for a dog). Its so cool to see! Last night Charleston rolled over a couple of times in a row and he just had the biggest smile on his face. You could tell he was really proud of himself. Whitman gets really frustrated if he can't get all the way over. He'll grunt and make a really loud moan if he gets stuck on his side. It is very entertaining!

In other news -

My company has decided all of a sudden to continue to let me pursue training.

What?

yeah. Weird. I guess because they couldn't make financial sense of me working remotely in my current position, they decided they didn't want to loose me afterall. So they've decided to let me finish my training to become a facilitator. I still feel a bit gun-shy about the whole thing but grateful nonetheless that I'll get the chance once again to do what I really love.

And in other other news

I'm now done with nursing. Completely. And also, all that breastmilk that I had stored up in the deep freeze?! OH yeah. They've totally burned through all that.

sigh

I was feeling really guilty about the whole thing until everyone's comments on some of my previous posts on the topic. So THANK YOU for that. Especially the one from my brilliant friend Aleisha about using the atonement to wash away guilt. Not to get all religious on you but Wow. What a novel idea! I am like a new person now (crazy how the atonement does that).

And especially with my new rigorous training schedule redux, there is no way I could continue to do both. I bombed my last training when I tried.

so yeah. There's that.

oh and lastly, I thought I'd include the awesome picture my husband sent me yesterday when I was at work...


far left - grandpa leigh's legs, left/center - charleston, right - whitman: going for a walk 5.1.12

 That is a picture of the boys wrapped in sweat pants. The text read -

"Uh. Forgot blankets. Using some sweat pants instead."

(Sweat pants, I'm sorry to say, that he found in the car that have been there since our trip to the hospital nearly 6 months ago...slightly embarrassing. And also sweat pants that I"m pretty sure Whitman was trying to eat - yuck!)

This reminds me of the time when I was in my father's care as a young girl and he had bought me pants that were too big. We went to the park and they kept falling down. So my dad got into the trunk of his car and found some stiff rope and fashioned a belt with a GIANT bow to tie/hold my pants up. I wish I had a picture of how ridiculous I looked whenever my dad was taking care of me. :)

There is a certain level of control you just have to let go of when a man is the primary care-giver.

On the other hand, they were dressed and he took them for a walk and kept them warm. I give a hearty thumbs up! He really does do an amazingly great job.

That's all I got for now.

Have a great day!

 


Friday, April 27, 2012

we bought a zoo...i mean a car



Its a 2008 Mazda 5. We named him Bullet. He is a sporty little hatchback that also happens to have sliding doors and a third row option... but trust me, he is not a van. Its hard to tell from this picture but when I am standing next to it (me, remember, me as in 5'1") I stand taller than the car. See? Its not a van if I'm taller than it. We will keep the third row folded down most of the time so we can fit the stroller and whatever else in the back, but its handy to have the option of extra seating.

I may or may not have sat in the front seat for a solid 5 min this morning trying to figure out how the key worked. But it was like 6am, so I was probably just tired.

Also I may have driven with the air on even though it was like 30 degrees out.

And I might have unlocked it three times before I figured out how to lock it.

Is this a good time to mention that I have a master's degree?

(sigh)

Anyway, here is a cute and poor quality phone pic of the babes

left - Charleston, right - Whitman (always with fingers in his mouth these days)

The boys are teething. They suck on their fingers and everything else that comes near their mouth. They are surprisingly good-natured about it though. They look so similar in this photo, huh?!

And lastly, here is a cool ad for the Olympics about motherhood that I thought was so sweet...





Friday, April 20, 2012

in love

phone pic taken 6.11

He'd hate that I was posting a picture of him but I'm doing it anyway. It was his birthday yesterday. I won't make it all long and mushy like I have in the past (ahem) but I would just like to say that he is an amazing man and an incredible father and I love him all the more for that.
My husband takes care of our boys during the day when I'm at work and there just aren't a lot of men that could/would handle taking care of newborn twins all on their own all day long. Every month we have a nurse come by to work with the boy's development. She helps ensure that their prematurity doesn't become a hindrance to their development (a free service offered by the state to premature babies...cool, right?). Every month she is completely floored at Doug. She says after 20 years of being in her line of work, she can tell immediately if a parent is doing the developmental exercises that she prescribes each month and sure enough, she can tell that Doug really works with them and is always coming up with innovative ways to help the boys thrive. Its truly touching and inspiring to behold. I seriously think this woman is in love with Doug.

phone pic taken 3.12
But not at much as I am!

His birthday was pretty weak-sauce. I got him a shirt that was too big and a belt that was too small and he ended up making most of his birthday dinner. We ended the night with some hot...baths for our babies. What'd you think I was going to say? :) No candles. No singing. Pretty lame really. Feeling a bit guilty about it still considering all he does for our family...

So if you get a chance, tell this guy happy birthday! I know he'd appreciate it. Sometime I'll get him to post about what its like to be a stay-at-home dad and the self-image challenges that can arise. A hearty happy birthday would really be nice.

ok. Thats all for now. Have a wonderful weekend!



Monday, April 16, 2012

a 'no babies no boobs' post

I was talking to my husband yesterday and he said "you don't write on your blog as much anymore and when you do its all about your boobs"...

woops. Sorry. I guess this blog has been a bit boob and baby-centric.

So I thought I'd list a number of things I've been reading/checking out/digging lately-

First up, here's a new song I'm loving




 I think I've looked at this virtual magazine from School House Electric Co. about 100x

Did you know that its criminal to lie about receiving military honors? Its being reviewed by the court on claims that its a violation of free speech. Interesting, no? You can read about it here.

Here are my weekly feminist articles -

This is a great discussion about whether the economy is sexist. Are women really receiving less wages and are they more or less affected by the market? An interesting debate to be sure.

This is a study about women and global peace, a topic I frequently follow. Did you know that nations where women are economically empowered are far less likely to be a nation that suffers from violence? Further, nations who have women present and with legitimate pull at peace negotiations are proven to have greater sustainability and success of peace plans. This is so much the case, that the United Nations founded a program called Empowering Women in 2009 to equip women with market share in order to subsequently affect the rate of violence in third world countries. Cool, right?

And a couple of less cerebral pieces -

Now that I am working full time, I skip my lunch hour so I can get home an hour earlier and see all my men (see I didn't say babies because this post isn't about babies... also just ignore that I wrote any variation of babies now 3x). HERE are ideas for five healthy lunches that I'm going to try out just as soon as I get to the grocery store.

And lastly, we are starting to look at cheap rental places in Austin. Wah wah. I was getting pretty bummed about going from our fabulous home back to a rental and went looking for something to cheer me up. I found THIS article here that shows 10 ideas for dressing up a rental. Hopefully we'll be able to use some of these ideas and help our little rental feel like a nice home...hopefully.

So there you go.

Ok.

Maybe just one baby thing? Did you know American Eagle has a baby line? Did you know Ralph Lauren does too? I'm always on the prowl for cute baby boy clothes (way harder to find than cute girl clothes, in my opinion). My current staples are GAP Baby, of course, and H&M. I check out Zulily occasionally too but have yet to buy anything from them.

Ok. Now I'm done.

Have a great day!





Friday, April 13, 2012

Weaning - part 2

Wow.

I have received so many comments and emails and phone calls and facebook posts and wow. So many people with so many different opinions! I’d like to thank those of you who have given me so much support through all of this – and that actually includes those of you who shared with me your feelings that I should not conclude pumping. I realize you are (hopefully) sharing with me your thoughts out of love and concern and I appreciate that.
I wanted to give an update on how the weaning is going.
Better.
That’s all.
Ha. Just kidding. No, it really is going better. I actually found a somewhat decent article on the mechanics of weaning. I can tell my supply is slowing dropping off. I realize now that I was crazy impatient in this whole process and expecting that my body would go from producing 1 gallon of milk a day to 0 ounces a day was going to happen in a few days was a bit na├»ve.  I really think the B6 is helping too. I also try to go longer and longer between pumping and do a slightly smaller amount each time. I use ice packs whenever I can and I have been wearing sports bras all day and night for a week now. These things are really helping with the physical side of weaning.

As for the emotional --

Whew. I don’t know. I’ve read so much stuff on this (like this and this and this). I’ve read through everyone’s comments multiple times about not feeling guilty. I think in the end, I am still trying to have peace about this decision. I’m using the space I have here as a therapy of sorts in order to do that.
 
I’m a proponent of taking care of your children. I have never been a huge breastfeeding or bust (ha. I just made that up but that’s clever. Lactivists should coin that) Anyway, I’ve never been one of those crazy breastmilk people. I wanted to give it a shot because with the boys being so early, I felt like one of the few things I could do was provide them with some natural anti-bodies during their uphill struggle to just develop. I think it helped their undeveloped immune system and I’m still glad for that.
I have pumped every 3-4 hours since they were born nearly 6 months ago. I have never had the luxury of just feeding them. Even when I was tandem nursing, I would have to pump afterward because I was so engorged. I decided to pump exclusively when I went back to work (two weeks after we finally got them home) so we wouldn’t have nipple issues. I have seldom had the sweet bond that can come from nursing a baby. Have no doubt, nursing twins is a job. It is work. At least for me, it seldom was the sweet cuddle time I would have enjoyed. Maybe we would’ve gotten there eventually? And as for losing weight, I slimmed down fairly quickly but I still had an extra 10lbs on while breastfeeding. Just weaning in the last week I have already lost 5lbs.
I have had mastitis. I have had severe bleeding and even given them pink breast milk. I have had plugged ducts that have dropped me to the floor and caused me to cry in pain for hours. I have pumped for hours at a time to work out ducts. I have used heat and ice and massage. I have called hotlines at 3am. I have altered my diet. I have taken fenugreek to be able to produce enough. I have bought a deep freezer just to store any extra I could produce. I have pumped in every place imaginable including on a toilet in a bathroom at a restaurant, under my desk at work, bare chested in an airport bathroom during a 20 min layover, in the back of a rental car, in the passenger seat of our car on the way to wherever. I have bought nipple shields and pads and storage bags and pump parts and nursing bras and nursing pillows and hands-free pump bras and lactose free everything and yeast free everything and creams and cloth covers and so on. Besides not sleeping, I have missed countless opportunities to be with my boys or friends or my husband so I could go back to my bedroom and not disturb anyone. I have missed meetings at work. I have missed movies and poker nights. I have done all of this, and more, without complaint. I know I have sacrificed for this. 

And despite all of this, I’m having a hard time with the guilt. I think this comes from feeling like a lot of my worth to them is providing breast milk since I’m gone most of the day at work. If I can’t physically be there for them, at least I could provide something physical. And now that I don’t have that anymore, I’m having a hard time feeling valuable to them. I know that is ridiculous. My logical brain tells me that I do a lot for them (not the least of which is listed above), but my emotional mommy-guilt brain tells me I need to do more.
So that’s where I’m at. I’m sure in another few weeks I’ll see them thriving and I’ll have the opportunity to sleep and get my hormones all balanced again and things will be looking up. At least I’m hoping for that. 

Until then, though, I thought I’d share one last thing. It’s a great piece about being judgmental. I’ve realized through this whole process how incredibly judgmental we can be of each other and ourselves. In fact, most of our judgments of each other are really insecurities we have within ourselves. I think that’s why we see it so much in the world of parenting. We all feel insecure as parents. It’s an area where we get little feedback and where we don’t know how to define “success”. That’s a tough grading curve. My favorite part of this piece is the following analogy –
“A man spends all of his day in a coal mine and his entire body and face are filthy. As he arrives home he sees a mirror his wife has bought. He looks at the mirror and sees that his reflection is dirty, so he takes a rag and starts cleaning the mirror. He tries and tries with all his might but his face still remains dirty. Of course this man is acting foolishly, as it is not a problem with the mirror but rather his own filth.”

Have a wonderful weekend.


Monday, April 9, 2012

breastfeeding and weaning twins



SO I have started the process of weaning. My goal was always to get to 6 months and we are less than 30 days out so I have begun. As it turns out, weaning is not easy. In fact, this process has been a little hellish. First off, there isn't much info online. What you do find whenever you look up how to wean is "DON'T DO IT". Most people write about how you shouldn't wean unless absolutely necessary and let your kid wean when they are 2 years old and blah blah blah. Then they write about how emotional it is and so on.
Let me tell you - I don't need anyone helping me feel more guilt in this process. I already have enough. I wish resources online just said - people wean for a number of reasons. Good on ya for trying to breastfeed and here's how to wean. 1,2,3. bada bing bada boom.
Because here is my world right now sans how to wean info: I have ice on my breasts. I have ace bandages wrapped around my chest. I have cabbage leaves on my boobs. I am taking B6 and ibuprofen and will start some sort of anti-histamine at some point. I am pumping 2-3 times a day on the left boob and 4-6 on the right and trying to keep track of when I pumped last for either and how much and for how long so I can do less of both and wearing a sports bra everyday..
yeeeeeeeeeah. This sorta sucks.
I finally called a breastfeeding hotline number today and the lactaction consultant told me to get the lumps out with a warm pack and to pump till almost empty about twice a day. In between those two pumpings I should only pump if I need to relieve pressure.
I'm a smart woman but somehow this whole process has been beyond me. Doesn't that plan sound like I'll still be pumping for a long time? Am I going to be doing this for weeks and weeks?
ugh
We have enough in the freezer to last them for another few months. Somehow that helps me justify my decision to be done at 6 months. Why do I feel so guilty about this whole thing? Its ridiculous. My TWIN boys have been on breastmilk since they were born. Thats nearly 6 months with two babies. I literally haven't slept through the night in 6 months so that I could supply them with breastmilk. They've been sleeping through the night for 2 months. Thats crazy, right? They sleep and I don't. Does feeding two babies for six months convert to 1 baby for 1 year? It does, right?

...right?

Whitman - left, Charleston - right


Friday, April 6, 2012

Travels with Twins: Austin


feeding the boys in Zilker Park - 3.30.12

Well last week we travelled to Austin TX with our boys. It was…an adventure. I thought I’d list a few things we did well and a few things we didn’t do so well for those who are or might decide to travel with a baby (or babies).

Things that went well
  •           Dressed the boys in what they’d wear the next day the night before
  •           Had everything ready to go for the early morning flight and at the last possible moment put the boys quietly in their car seats and drove to the airport while it was still dark outside.
  •           Had bottles for the plane take off and timed the take off with their normal breakfast time
  •           Packed cups in the diaper bag for hot water to heat the bottles up in (the ones they provide you on the plane are too small, so in a moment of genius I thought to bring the cups we normally put hot water in to heat up the bottles. Yup. S-M-R-T I am so smart)
  •           Upgraded to a small SUV at the last minute ( a Ford Escape) which afforded us much more space, which was nice
  •           Had my father in Austin in the room next to us so we could do a few things without the babies
  •           Had my father pack the portable crib, the stroller, diapers and wipes, so we didn’t have those things to try and fit in the luggage
  •           Brought toys and books and the pump bag and dish soap to clean parts and bottles
  •           By the end of the trip, we figured out how to fit in the things we wanted to do while the boys napped and how to have fun with them in parks and things when they were awake
Things that went not-so-well
  •            Didn’t bring moby wraps. At the last minute I decided they would just take up space and that we could just keep the boys in their car seats until they boarded the plane and then put them right back in them when we got off the plane. NOOOOO. BAD. As it turns out, you are usually required to check the car seats in with your luggage. Thus we had our carry-ons (the diaper bag, the camera bag, and the pump bag) PLUS two babies. And no free hands. So that made it extra challenging during our layover as well as in the Austin airport (which has no moving sidewalk things to you have to hoof it on your own). These babies might only be 12-13lbs but damn they get heavy after a while.
  •            I didn’t pack blankets. While Austin was 90 degrees and we didn’t really need them, Provo was very cold and the boys were cold to and fro.
  •           We didn’t plan very well for the boys. We had a lot to get done each day: check out the school, look for housing, etc. and every time we drove somewhere the boys would fall asleep. They slept way too much during the day. Then we would arrive some place and they would wake up as we moved them from the car seats to the stroller. They had so much energy to get out that they would just cry and cry. THEN we were stressed and embarrassed wherever we were going because our awesome and beautiful babies were going ballistic. By the last day or two, we started to figure out how to adequately plan for the boys needs and still go do things we wanted to do. It just took 3 days of NOT getting it right. So the beginning of the trip was a bit rough.
  •           We brought a stupid stroller. We have two strollers. One is a fabulous Bob stroller that my dad bought us off of ebay. It was a steal and it is just fantastic. We also have an umbrella stroller of sorts called a Jeep (yes, produced by the car company – weird – and no they shouldn’t be making strollers because they SUCK). We brought the Jeep because we thought it took up less space and would be easier to get in and out of the rental car.  It did take up less space, sorta. But it was a pain in the butt. It didn’t have adequate shade coverage. It had flimsy wheels so the boys were jostled all about. It wasn’t good for small babies and they kept slipping way down into bad positions.
  •            We probably should’ve rented a house. We shared a room with the boys. This was tough because while they are great sleepers, they were in a new place and every little noise we made after they went to sleep woke them back up. It also meant that our bedtime was basically the same as theirs. I had to pump with virtually no light at all and every little noise they made had me sitting up in bed.

So overall I’m not sure how to rate the trip. Doug was pretty disappointed in his perceptions of the program as well. That made the whole trip feel like a downer. He felt like the other kids in the program weren’t all that serious about screenwriting. The professors seemed like they were unsuccessful screenwriters who had fallen back on teaching and were uber- reverent of successful screenwriters (instead of counting themselves as one). In the end, he wrote a student who graduated last year and won the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship, which is a public fellowship that is the most sought-after in the industry and affords people a year of income to write and wins them an agent as well.  Anyway, he wrote this guy and the guy said that the program gave him two years to hone his craft. He didn’t have to have a job and fit writing in on the side. He had a full ride (like Doug) and was able to write and get feedback from readers. That, for him, was what he wanted. He had access to industry execs through the program and it wasn’t as cut-throat as LA, which is great when you are just starting out. The pressure of LA is something you need at some point but I don’t think we are quite there yet. 
So that’s that.
The food was great. The music was wonderful. It wasn’t as ugly as the rest of Texas. It wasn’t half as beautiful as where we currently live. BUT it will do. We’ll make it work. Its hard to fall in love with a place immediately. Especially when you’ve grown to love your current station.

On a totally unrelated note: check out these guys sitting up in a bumbo like a boss. WHAT UP!!!


Charleston - left, Whitman - right (Charlie didn't feel like looking at the camera. Whit was in deep thought)