Wednesday, November 19, 2014

10 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays

As many of you know, I write a weekly blog for our local newspaper. 

This week, I wrote about choosing to be thankful at Thanksgiving instead of focusing on what I don't have. 

While all of that is true and I am trying to have a positive, thankful attitude, this is the other side of how I'm really feeling:

Holidays can be stressful on anyone.

Whether you’re attending a big family gathering where your creepy cousin Earl will be in attendance or schlepping it 3 hours away with your brood of young kids to sit in awkward silence at your in-law’s house, here are 10 sure fire ways of surviving this holiday season…as long as you don’t have to drive anywhere.

Pinot Baco


Sauvignon Blanc

Pinot Gris
Cabernet sauvignon
Pinot noir

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Last Post before D-Day

This will probably be the last blog I write before I go into labor with the boys. I keep hoping they'll make their debut early but even though I'm dilated and like 50% effaced, they're hanging in there...the stubborn cusses. If I knew my neighbors better I'd start galloping up and down our road while eating pineapple or something but they already throw us weird looks as it is so I'm just going to sit here and sulk that these boys apparently want to hang in there til the last possible minute.

It definitely doesn't help that everyone has been prepping for this birth like its our first rodeo. Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate all the help and warm wishes and prayers, but when you're ready to go into labor, you never actually do. I think I jinxed us the day I started the nursery...although, come to think of it, that was D's suggestion so I'm gonna blame that on him. Also, my father-in-law just left after staying with us for a few days in case I went into labor and had to book it 75 miles to the hospital where my specialist would deliver me--which was basically money in the bank that I wouldn't go into labor. So while, again, it was really nice having him here to help out with the girls, it didn't make my pregnancy any shorter.

I really wanted to savor this pregnancy, I really did. I knew once finding out I was pregnant that it would be my last go-round and I was determined to enjoy it. Alas, I'm not built in such a way that an alien invading my body (much less two of them) is cause for celebration. I mean, it's been nice cramming whatever the heck I want down my gullet, but even that has gotten old the last few weeks. Turns out you can't really enjoy a McDonald's splurge if your stomach is being wadded into a teeny tiny little ball by 2 squirmy little bodies.

And they are squirmy. At the hospital I've been going through bi-weekly NSTs and the nurses always marvel that the boys are able to move around so much...just another reason I'm considering grounding them when they come out--Momma can't sleep when the babies are performing their own special in-utero acrobatic show.

It is nice that I can kind of tell their personalities already though. Baby A is a sloth and I rarely feel him move. On the ultrasound you can see he is jabbing a lot, but instead of on my bladder and lungs, hes kicking and punching his brother, who always has his butt in Baby A's face. Baby B literally falls off the NST monitor 15 times in 12 minutes because he is kicking and wiggling so much. Thankfully, at this last appointment they were both head-down, so we're hoping we can avoid a c-section.

One question I get a lot is how we plan on telling them apart. A lot of people go the route of, "Oh, well I'm sure you and D will be able to tell, but how will other people know which  one is which?!" Um, hello people. I'm the chick who spent the first EIGHT MONTHS of my second kid's life waiting for her to turn into her older sister. You really think I'll be able to tell which twin is which simply by looking?! Not gonna happen.

Today I bought these...which I'm hoping will help for a while anyway. Do you think the nurses and doctors in the hospital will judge me if I pack them in my overnight bag?

And on top of that, we're not gonna do matchy-matchy on their clothes. I mean, my mother will be DEVASTATED to learn that her grandson's will not look like they stepped out of a Twins-R-Us catalogue, but if for no other reason than my sanity, I will be dressing my kids as differently as possible. I still haven't ruled out dressing one in only blue and the other in only green or brown. I'm sure that might impact their psyche or development or something, but at least they'll know their own name when it comes to discussing things with their therapists.   

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Great Santa Debate

Man! I just wrote an article for our local newspaper about how to deal with the question of Santa and your kid. It was a topic suggested to me by our editor and while definitely a worthwhile to explore, the fact that this is such a hot topic amongst Generation Y parents might say more about my generation and our obsession with trying to not warp our kids or ruin their capacity to have have faith than it does a real, thorough look at how to explain Santa....IT'S SANTA CLAUSE, PEOPLE!! Do you know anyone at work who believes in Santa? Or better yet, anyone in middle school that still believes in Santa? I think the fact that we take it all so seriously is just another woeful indicator of the helicopter-style that is becoming more and more a trademark of this generations' parenting. 

Aren't we over-thinking this a bit much?! I mean, were any of your lives ruined because you found out Santa wasn't real? Side Note: If I find out your kid is the one who tells mine that Santa isn't real, I'm spitting in your egg nog. I'm not joking. (Oh, and kids under 10, if you're reading this Santa is totally real, I'm just bitter because I get lumps of coal in my stocking).

Anyway, writing the article, which I totally stand behind and believe, got me to thinking about some of my own childhood memories of Santa-Christmases past.

Up until we were in 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade, respectively, my sisters and I would all pile-up in one bedroom on Christmas Eve. We slept in the same room so that we were all aware of when another one was about to make a mad middle-of-the-night dash to the living room to try and see if Santa had come yet (because 5 AM just wasn't early enough). I'd like to say we treated this time as a reflection on all the blessing we had and that we spent the time bonding and singing Christmas carols to one another...but, no. It was a time of tense waiting and barely concealed hostility (especially aimed at our oldest sister Linz, since she was the one who would typically try to break out of jail and get a sneak-peek at our Santa swag before anyone else).

Turns out the suspicion was well placed. One year, I think it was probably Christmas 1991, we had a Santa Swap-Up. It was 5 in the morning and we were all going through our piles that Santa had left when Brat, my younger sister, noticed she had two Beast (a la Disney's Beauty and the Beast) Barbie dolls.

"Mom, did Santa accidentally bring me two Beast dolls?!" she asked confusedly, her red hair a mess around her freckled, 4 year old face.

"No, that's weird. I thought each of you had a Beast doll on your piles. Robbin, do you have yours?"

I only nodded in response because I was wallowing in blissful happiness in a mound of Matel-Pepto-Bismol-Barbie pink.

"Linz, is yours on your couch?"

With her back turned toward my parents, clutching two Cabbage Patch kids in her greedy little hands, my older sister (7 at the time) goes, "No. But he brought me these two babies instead, I think." 

As an adult I understand the look that passed between my parents. As a child, it was all lost on me as I started organizing dates for Belle and Beast to go on.

"Uh, Linz, that Beast doll was on your couch and that baby that you're holding was on Brat's."

Without missing a beat or bothering to turn around, Linz responds "No it wasn't."

Again with the looks between my parents. "Um, Linz, I think it was. See how each baby looks kind of like each of you? Robbin has a blond one on her couch. Why would Santa give you a brown-haired baby and a red-haired baby and then give Brat two Beast dolls?"

"I don't know! That's what he did," she responded, still obstinately not looking at my parents and marching the dolls over the mounds of other toys she had yet to look at.

"Linz [instead of "Linz" her full name was used here, but I'm not gonna write that down for fear of retaliation], that baby was on Brat's couch. Give it back to her."

"No it wasn't! It was on mine. He gave it to me and I'm not going to share."

What followed was my oldest sister being dragged into my parents room for a Come-to-Jesus chat at 5:30 in the AM. There were some tears involved but eventually Brat got her baby and Linz was "forced" to take to Beast doll.

To this day Linz will swear she did not sneak out of our bedroom while Brat snoozed on guard duty and do the swap, even with video-graphic evidence that proves the contrary, but...ahem, Linz? The jig is up. We know Santa Clause. And she told you to put that doll back where you found it. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Joys of a Twin Pregnancy: Three

As I waddle uncomfortably into the home stretch of this pregnancy, I realize there are still a few joys of carrying twins that I haven't full covered. They are as follows:

1) A new understanding to the saying You can never be a "little" pregnant. You are either pregnant or you're not. I've heard this a million times and I agree wholeheartedly. Most of the time you hear this after the question, "How pregnant are you?" So, sure. You can't be a "little" pregnant; you can however, be doubly pregnant! With twins you get twice the number of Braxton Hicks, twice the morning sickness (which will come back with a vengeance during your third trimester btdubs) and oh, yes. You gain more weight. For most women I think it's only 10-15 lbs more but when you're already 35 lbs heavier than when you first got pregnant, every ounce is felt on your swollen cankles.

2) Preferred seating anywhere you go. Now, a lot of you might think this is common in singleton pregnancies too, but besides one or two occasions, I can't really think  of a time when I got preferential treatment just because I was pregnant with my girls. But, besides the obvious fact that I've looked 9+ months pregnant for the last two months, I notice a lot of people eying me suspiciously and a little nervously when I'm in public because of the spectacle my huge belly makes of itself. What?! You mean it's not normal to see EIGHT distinct bumps travel across your gut? For the unwitting stranger I'm not 8 months pregnant with twins, but I'm about 10 months pregnant with an octopus monster that will come out thrashing madly and hitting anything in it's path. So yea, people give me a wide berth when I'm out and about.

3) Achieving goals. Specifically, weight-related goals. So many moms stress out about getting back into "pre-baby" clothes. I remember after the birth of my first I was disappointed that it took four whole months to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. With my second I accepted the fact that it would take a little longer to get back into my size eights, but I still kept my eyes on that particular prize. This time around? Dude, I'll be stoked to get back into my maternity clothes.I am HUGE. I outgrew maternity clothes about a month ago and since then I've resorted to sweatpants and my husband's shirts, whenever possible. And I know a lot of women are probably thinking, "Oh, that's not so bad. I wear so-and-so's shirts to bed all the time!" Well, good for you. Do you wear his L-Tall t-shirts out to the store? And when you're wearing them, do you still show that sexy 4 inches of "midriff" that isn't covered by the panel on your maternity pants and where your husband's shirt wont reach? No? Just me? Great.

4) I have a new (if somewhat limited) range of motion. Not only am I huge, I am also extremely awkward. Honestly, I just tried moving my left arm across my body so I could sit my coffee cup down on a table at my right, and I couldn't make it happen! No joke! I have one kid stretching out his body like he's getting ready for the high jump across my rib cage so any lateral movement is pretty much out of the question. As is bending over to pick up the girls crayons for the 235,434th time because Mr. Sprawl-and-Flex is laying on top of his brother, Stretch Armstrong who is alternately curled up in a "V" position and laid out like he's lounging poolside at the Wynn in Vegas. You think I exaggerate? Even my seasoned doctor was shocked at the positioning and sheer movement of these kids.

5) No-stress naming. This part comes only after you have stressed about it though because silly you, you undertook naming you twins with the same gravity you did your singleton. I was there for a while, I wanted meaningful names; names that said something about who I dreamed the boys would turn out to be. Rookie move. 'Cause I've figured out I'm carrying two kids, and they can be grateful that I've lugged them and their huge, acrobatic selves around this long. I fully intend to feed them and dress them and love them and all that jazz, so I honestly don't care anymore what their names are. My favorite suggestions so far have been Bo and Luke (Dukes of Hazzard) and unless the husband comes up with something different, that's what we're going for.

We hopefully find out on Tuesday next week if we have to deliver these kids earlier than expected because of their kidney issues. If so, we'll still have a couple of weeks to get the naming thing down. And I have two more weeks so I'd imagine I'll put on about 15 more pounds between now and then. And then I'll have them. And I'll never, (Oh, Lord, please!!!) never be pregnant again.

Monday, December 2, 2013


And I hate this b*$#h.

Mealtime at the Ol' Homestead

You know what never gets old?

Line going, "Uh! Ugh! Eh!" when she wants something. Really, its music to my ears. I especially love it when its accompanied by a chorus from Big Girl that is some rendition of, "Me too! Me too!" Usually this lovely song is a prelude to mealtimes, or snack time, or anytime I'm in the kitchen and there is a potential for food to be shoveled down their gullets. Seriously, I better not let them catch me walking near the pantry.

Recently, it has come to our attention that this little song and dance will only get louder with the addition of two squealing newborn boys. Newborn boys who will (God willing) turn into demanding little toddlers themselves. My dad often likes to remind me that boys eat more than girls to which I quickly respond that I have no ordinary little girls, only 16 year old boys trapped in the bodies of my one and two year old female children.

My dad's helpful comments have started to get D and I thinking, though. You see, we're still cushioned sweetly somewhere between denial and ignorance that, in about four weeks, we'll be proud parents to two more little bundles of pooping, sleepless joy. And about 6 months after that, we're going to have to feed them something other that what comes out of my sadly, irreversibly deformed post-childbirth body.

With Big Girl I was really good about pureeing food and freezing or canning it (I know, first-time mom much?!) and even with Litlte Gril I would puree whatever we were eating and let her work on that. But again, we're not dealing with typial little girls. They both eat more than I do (and y'all, I'm pregnat with twins) and Little Girl often finsihes whatever her sister doesn't. They were in the "baby food" phase for about two months, max. Big Girl had a full grill by the time she truned one, even cutting her molars early so determined was she to enjoy "real" food. And Little Girl, well she just now got her 8th tooth but by month 6 she made it abundently clear that the only way we'd get her to be quiet at mealtime was to chunk off a piece of steak (or whatever meaty protein we happened to be eating) for her to gum to death and just pray she didn't choke on the whole food she insisted on getting. (And if you're thinking a 6 month old can't insist, you have clearly never met out littlest sweet angel girl).

So here we are, at the cusp of being a family of six and already I am stressting about what I am going to feed Thing One and Thing Two. Firstly I have to figure out how to get them food safely without their sisters noticing. (I also have to worry about their older sister eating them, but that's not really a part of this conversation.) Then there's the bigger question of what we'll feed them and how. I'm not talking about spoon versus finger food either; I'm tlaking about financially, how the hell are we going to afford two more mouths, especially if their appetite is anything like that of their sisters.

If I was confident I'd have normal babies then I probably wouldn't think about any of these things (well, minus the Little One wanting to eat them) but I hold myself under no such delusions. If I have two little girls who can eat their parents under the table, how much worse will it be with two little boys? Is my dad right? Will they eat more than my girls? Is that even physically possible?! And if so, that leads to my bigger question of where will D get a second job? 'Casue right now we're living comfortably, but if we have to feed two more appetites like those of our girls, we're in serious trouble. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Joys of a Twin Pregnancy: Part Two

This pregnancy keeps getting more and more fun. I have decided not only should there be block on all medical websites (I'm looking at you, WebMD) on pregnant ladies computers, but the Google search function should be disabled altogether. Every time I go on that sucker and type in "___ Weeks Pregnant Identical Twins" the first 12 hits are some variation of "I delivered my identical twins at __ weeks." Thanks, but no thanks. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for not being pregnant anymore, but at this point the babies would have some serious health issues to overcome if they were born now. Not to mention the nearest NICU is about an hour and a half away from my house and my two girls...not an ideal situation to say the least. The earliest the kids could be delivered locally and potentially get to stay here would be at about 36 weeks, or January 5th. So maybe if we all visualize that date in our minds, that's what we'll make it to! While we're at it, let's also visualize a healthy, uncomplicated, easy labor and delivery. And what the hey, while we're visualizing, let's all think of a 7 layer chocolate cake a la mode, resting beautifully on my dining table. Let's work on that last one first, shall we?

Besides all the positive, feel=good stories out there about delivering 10 weeks early, there is also the uninvited commentary from strangers at the store/on the sidewalk/any place my feet touch the ground. This weekend I was in line at Fred Meyers and a lady smiled knowingly at me and asked when I was due.


Her face dropped. "Are you having twins?!"

"Actually, yea."

"Oh, good! You look like you're about to pop."

Thanks, lady. Way to ruin my impression that I looked like a supermodel.

Or then while we were trick-or-treating I go this from another pregnant lady (clearly, someone who should know better).

"Oh, looks like another November baby!"

"January actually, but they're twins so yea, I look about 9 months pregnant."

Again, her face fell. Then she looked to my one and two year old and goes, "Ugh, twins! How are you going to manage that?! That'd be terrible. I couldn't manage."

Thank you.

But there is a plus side to the size too. A lot of times, after people have picked their jaw up off of the floor, they say something like, "Wow, for having twins you look great!" Looking past the ovbious qualification that I look like crap if I was only pregnant with one baby, they say this like I'm supposed to be housing a small contingent of Russian circus performers under my enormous girth. Granted,  Line will sometimes disappear for a few minutes only to surface from under my "bump," but I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna have to register my gut in its own zipcode before this pregnancy is all said and done.

I hope.