Monday, January 29, 2007

New photos finally

OK. I've heard enough grief. I finally headed down to the office with the camera, so I uploaded the latest and greatest. The first is Breanna, taken this past Saturday. The next is Lillian, also on Saturday. Though you can't tell easily in these photos, both girls are sporting two fresh bottom teeth. Yay! The bottom photo is Miss Lillian, really getting into her prunes. She LOVES to help eat. Enjoy!

Smoky Clothes and $80 later

We had a terrific weekend! DH's cousin and brand new wife (see my Dec. posts about the Up Nort' Wedding) came to visit us and we had a wonderful time!

We ate a lot, laughed a lot, ate some more, and really had fun. They're the kind of couple you can just relax with - no pomp. No circumstance. No fuss. Just fun. And as a bonus, they're naturals with the babies.

On Saturday night, we celebrated their visit by hiring a babysitter. This was our first "real" babysitter - someone who we actually paid to be there. A college student, oldest of 8, engaged and excited to start a family, she made us very comfortable with our decision.

She came over just as we were getting the babies ready for bed. We made sure they were asleep before leaving. She then had the evening to watch movies/tv/internet, etc.

The four of us headed out to paint the town red. GB Leighton was playing, and since we haven't been "out" in the scene for so long, we figured this would be a safe bet. Unfortunately, we were a little young to really get our groove on in this crowd. Somehow, Purple Rain works more like a lullaby for me. So we ran to a dirty little teeny bopper bar where we could dance a bit. DH was ready to boogie, but his cousin was not. Which meant the wives wiggled out to the dance floor for a couple songs and then hightailed it home.

The babysitter said that everything had been fine. She napped most of the evening away. DH went out to start her car for her, and then gave her a check. I later found out he'd paid her $80 to hang out with sleeping babies for a few hours. I nearly fell over! It's a good thing we aren't barflies - we'd go broke in no time! Too bad he paid her so much - we won't be able to ask her back without her expecting a big check. : ( Oh well. It was worth it for some memories.

Now we're tired though. Mondays are always hard, and even harder when we've had late nights. Maybe we'll get to bed early tonight. Good one. Oh well. Still totally worth it to have good company.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Smallest Luxuries

Since our girls have been home from the hospital, around 7 months now, we’ve been pretty confined. We’re still avoiding unnecessary exposure to germs by skipping out on the mall, grocery store, restaurants, etc. If it weren’t for my little grown-up luxuries that I can indulge in when I’m at home, I think I’d lose it.

I am so thankful for what I do have during the few moments when the girls can either occupy themselves or fall asleep. I love having the opportunity to bake. I’m not sure why it’s so therapeutic, but oh, is it wonderful to prepare sweets. Whether it’s cake or cookies or pie or bars, baking magically makes everything better.

And oh the fun I find in the new arrival of Inc. magazine. Some may consider it nerdy, but I just love this publication! That, combined with Lake Country Journal, Lake and Home, and Minnesota Monthly, make for great reading in bite-sized chunks. They’re often found in the bathroom, sitting on the counter and covered in splashes and drips. Because I never get to kick back and read for more than a couple minutes at a time these days, I typically have to multi-task. It may look funny as I wash one half of my face first so that I can keep reading, or seeing how much toothpaste I can drip on a page, but oh well.

And what more pleasure could there be than reading the Looky Daddy! blog. This guy is seriously in my top five of all-time favorite writers.

Contrary to public belief, not everything I do to enjoy myself involves reading. About once a week, I manage to get in a good shower. Not just a functional one for getting clean. But one that drains the water heater. One where I have the time to shave my legs – all the way up. And then moisturize with oil before I even leave the tub. I really hope to work up to two of these good showers a week.

One of my other treats – and probably the fewest and farthest between – are phone calls from old friends. The connections are rare these days, but they rejuvinate like not much else can.

Of course, then there’s my favorite - one-on-one time with my DH. Every here and there, we pull out a bottle of wine or make a drink and have a real visit. Not about babies. Or poop. Or bottles. Or cleaning our messy house. Nope. A true grown-up visit – this weekend we pored over our country’s political climate and the scary times we’re living in. Luckily, we’re pretty much in line with each other, but we both tend to explore every possible perspective and love to play devil’s advocate just to open up the discussion.

Sure, I’m getting a little stir crazy, waiting for the weather to warm up enough to take the girls out for stroller rides. But in the meantime, I think I do have it mighty good.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ten Things

I did a lot of research before becoming a parent. Quite a bit of it came hands-on during my many years of a full babysitting schedule. During my pregnancy, I read and read and read. Of course, I also had lots of questions for my mom and my sister, who both have great medical backgrounds.

But there were some things I had to learn the hard way. Here's my top 10 list of what I wish I would've known ahead of time.

1. Baby clothes are sized as ridiculously as women's clothes. The numbers don't mean a thing. 6-9 month shirts are sometimes smaller than 0-3 month shirts. And trying to factor in the shrinkage factor is useless. You never know what will shrink down to teeny tiny sizes, while others don't shrink a bit.

2. Diaper brands are not important for everybody. Before the girls arrived, all I heard was that Pampers diapers are so much better and that anything less is just plain unacceptable - stinks and leaks galore. Brave soul that I am, I've recently tried some cheaper brands and they've all been fine. Why didn't I start experimenting during the first 6 months? Think of all the money I could've saved.

3. Just because most people think they know more about parenting than you do, no one knows your kids better you. I now know that it's best to follow your gut and politely thank the "helpers" for their suggestions. Because, of course, the majority of them feel compelled to tell you what to do. All the time. Because they know better than a new mom.

4. Online grocery shopping. Sure, I knew it existed. But why didn't anyone point out how valuable it is to pay $5 for someone else to do your shopping and bring it into your home? This means no dragging babies out (or scream-fits in the store), no pushing a stroller with one hand, pulling a cart with another, and grabbing food with yet another hand. Wait... how many hands do I have? Not only that, my grocery bill is tiny now that I'm shopping for specific items and not tempted by the sale on shrimp or fresh muffins. Plus, look at how much it would cost if I was giving up work time to shop - $5 is a steal!

5. Baby socks are always too tight around the ankles. Even on skinny minis. Even when they socks are size 12 months and your baby is only a month old.

6. While we're talking footgear, what's with the poor quality of tights? They are truly a wear-once-and-throw-away item. Even the name-brand ones. Darn.

7. Teething symptoms can last three or more months without producing teeth. I've been saying, "We're on the verge," since August.

8. Most people don't have the common sense to wash their hands before touching babies. And not just little kids. Seriously, I can't believe how many people come in from outdoors and go straight for the baby face - without washing up. I know some people have rolled their eyes at me on this one, but come on. I wouldn't want you touching my face with dirty hands, and I'm full-sized and healthy. Why on Earth wouldn't you scrub up before touching babies?

9. Pureed orange vegetables stain every piece of fabric they come into contact with. No amount of scrubbing or detergents (even bleach!) takes out orange veggies. Carrots, squash, sweet potatoes. None come out. And of course, I still haven't come across a black bib. Go figure. I've come to love my aprons at feeding time.

10. As a mom, I feel guilt over everything. That I don't spend enough time cuddling. Or reading. Or singing. Or pushing tummy time. Or playing. Or... I always wish I was doing more. Yet my DH marvels at how much time I spend with the girls and still have energy to keep up the house and even cook a few meals. This type of guilt, though, is a new, and so very unexpected feeling.

So there you have it. Future moms, take note. This is the stuff that no one writes about. Except me, I think.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Quote of the Day

On my mini-calendar: Two are better than one... for if they fall, one will lift up the other. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What's your earliest memory?

Last night, my DH was rather amorous toward me as I bathed our babies. Up to my elbows in fluffy bubbles at the kitchen sink, babbling Breanna in hand, DH kept getting frisky with me. I tossed some bubbles toward him, shooing him away. “You don’t want your daughters’ first memories to be of daddy acting like a 13-year-old boy, do you?”

It’s one thing to steal some kisses and a butt pinch here and there. That’s great for a family to be comfortable seeing sweet affection. But no one wants an image of their parents going past that line.

And so the great debate began – how far back can people remember? I’m not talking remembering routines or recognizing faces – but true memories that you can look back at as you get older.

I think that I can remember back to my mom being pregnant with my sister, so I was just over two. As we relaxed on our brown and orange velvety floral couch, Mom and I had a tea party for three on her belly. Complete with tiny cups, saucers, and a cookie plate, we had tea with the baby. It’s kind of foggy, but I do remember this much.

That’s probably the last time I was willing to share anything with that new baby for a while.

Dear readers, what are your earliest memories? Please share!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


When one takes the risk to put oneself out onto the vast internet, something interesting is bound to result eventually.

This morning when I was picking up a coffee and paying for gas, I heard someone say, "Hi, Mary." Since my name isn't Mary, I didn't look up. I heard it again, closer. "Hello, Mary." A friendly-looking bobbed 30-something walked right up to me and asked how the babies are feeling.

I felt a moment of panic, wondering who this woman is and why I don't remember meeting her. She smiled and told me about how she has a little one who also got sick after the holiday hubbub and that luckily his bout was much quicker than the twins'. As my mind spun, I tried really hard to place her, without insulting her by not having any idea who she was. Had we worked together at some point? Same church? A friend of my sister, perhaps? A neighbor? One of DH's old pals? I was blank. And starting to get a little freaked out.

Then the kind woman dropped the hint. "I wish you would update once a day. I check your blog every morning, just hoping to find something new. The way you write, I feel like I've known you for years."


I asked her name. Julie. And how she came across my blog. She explained that her sister is friends with a sister of one of my friends. When word got out that I was having premie babies, my friend asked her sister and her sister's friend to include us in their prayers. I melted. All my defenses instantly dropped, and goosebumps covered me.

We visited a little more, but I really had to get going so I wouldn't be late for work. I promised I'd update more frequently. So Julie, when you read this in the morning, thank you for making my day. Have a wonderful rest of your week, and I'll be in touch more often. I promise.

Throughout the morning, I kept coming back to "Mary." Why did she call me Mary? The lightbulb finally went off - Sweet Mary Sunshine. Gosh, I feel like an idiot.

P.S. The babies are back to normal. Each lost about a pound during their bug, but oh well. I guess it just means we'll get a little more wear out of the cute outfits they've been wearing all season. If anyone has any hints on how to get them back to sleeping for longer bouts, please share. The dark circles under my eyes are getting harder to cover. Makeup can only do so much.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Resolution

No, I'm not going to deny myself chocolate. Or wine. Or spending. I'm not going to join a gym, spend more time writing, or keep my house cleaner. But I am going to set one goal and I am going to acheive it.

I am going to get at least four hours of sleep in a row every single day. Now I realize that that might not sound like any kind of goal, especially when you hear some of the other great big resolutions people come up with at this time of year. But when you're in these size 7-and-a-halfs, four hours sounds like a huge luxury. Especially after the past two weeks. I plan to enlist my DH - first night is tonight. We can take turns.

The girls appear to be on their way to recovery. No one threw up yesterday, so that in intself is reason for celebration! Lillian is back to eating without formula restrictions and seems to be doing well. Breanna is eating half-strength formula and lots of pedialite still.

That darned pedialite is great stuff, but only holds off hunger for about 2 hours, we've learned. My, do I miss the days of only getting up once or twice a night with the babies.

The carpet cleaners are scheduled to come on Monday to take care of our carpets and sofa, love seat and recliner. (I scrubbed my best, but I want them steam cleaned after all this.) And then life will be grand again.