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)