Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 2

We've been in the house 2 days now. We've unpacked a few boxes, and we still don't have internet. AT&T customer sucks. Dave had to convince them that our original appt to have Uverse installed -- dec 31, 2036--seemed a little extreme. Are they really that busy with new accts? If so, they are about to lose one.

Anyhoo, I'm typing on my phone. I'm drinking a glass of wine. I'm not as tired as I was last night.


Friday, November 27, 2009


we've moved in! no internet yet, but we're in! we have great friends. . .and a gret new house!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It's been a rough year, with the issue of my pregnancy, the twins' time in NICU and the remodel. However, it's also been one of the best years of my life as I realized what a community of friends and family I have.

Truly, I am thankful for understanding that we are part of a bigger community and we feel very lucky to be here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fin Slippy

I just poured myself an enormous glass of wine. I didn't even mean to do it. Well, yes, I did meant to pour myself some wine. It's not like I was planning on drinking milk and accidentally poured wine. However, I had no intention of pouring myself the amount of wine I did until I did it.

But now, what the hell. I'm going to drink it. I might even pour myself another one after that.

Things still look like we're moving on Friday. (And as this is Thanksgiving weekend, I expect by the time folks read this, we would have already been stuffed with turkey, moved and be mostly unpacked) The cleaners came, little things were done, the leak in the wall was fixed. Oh, yes. The last part was fun! At some point, someone saw water running out of the outside wall of our house. That's never good. Indeed, all of our (very active) crew stopped what they were doing and went to stare in very alarmed matter at the water running out of our house. If you ever want to see a construction crew jump to, arrange for this sort of event. Fortunately, the crew chief intuited where the likely leak was and they found it and fixed it with minimal disruption. Nonetheless, caffeine was not required in the afternoon.

As for the Fin Slippy part, I'm actually not referring to Finslippy, but to Christopher. We've taken to putting socks on his hands at night to help him from scratching his head. Since these look like fins, and we slathering him with aquaphor, he indeed reminds of us Fin Slippy.

We've also decided that there was no correlation between the milk I wasn't consuming and any change in his eczema, his problems do not seem allergy related. Nonetheless, we need to keep him covered in aquaphor. Last night, he would not sleep, which was annoying me. (I'm not up for mother of the year, in case you're wondering) Then I realized he was trying to scratch his head and couldn't because of the fins. I put the aquaphor on him and he moaned with relief and within seconds was asleep.

Yeah, I felt like a jerk for thinking he just had a "sleeping problem" instead of realizing he was in pain. It is obvious to me how I could go down the Crying It Out path on something like this, not realizing that Christopher was in pain. Not every problem is this solvable, but it was humbling to see how mistaken I was about why Christopher wasn't sleeping.

In any case, he's so covered in aquaphor that he could slip off the bed. Uh-oh. Must run. Crying.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cuteness and Scams

Have I mentioned how much of a flirt Bridget is? Actually, she's probably just more of an extrovert. In any case, she loves seeing what is going on around her. If I am feeding here and there is any activity in the room, she takes a sip and strains to look over her shoulder to see if people are still there and they are doing anything interesting. She also engages everyone she sees with smiles and laughs.

Christopher, like his big brother before him, always values the boob first. A parade with dancing monkeys and singing elephants could be going by, but if there's a chance to eat, he's going to take it.

Ok. That's about as creative as I can get on that part. They are painting like fiends at the house today. We're going to Lowes and getting the twins' closet system and a few other things. Hopefully, we can install that stuff tomorrow.

As far as scams go, I do want to talk about falling for one--the first time in forever. While bfing the twins and watching TV a few months ago, I saw something about a free trial for wrinkle reducers. Although I did not get that exact one, I did see about the Dermitage free trial. Although I know my brain has been oxygen deprived, I did not see anything else about buying any other products. Well, guess what. Yesterday, $100 worth of products arrived based on the "subscription" I signed up for. I cancelled my "subscription" today, but I have to keep and pay for the additional products they just sent me. I am definitely not the first person to call and complain--in fact, they told me where the information was on the payment page (on the absolute bottom)--not anywhere on the info about the trial. So they have covered their legal bases, but, in my opinion, they are still deceptive in their practices.

I hope this helps some other people in making a decision about using this product.

Further goals today: dye hair, take shower, move boxes, pack boxes.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Well, Alrighty Then

So the move has been postponed until Friday. There were issues with the floor and the cleaners couldn't do their cleaning, blah, blah.

In other news, though, the painting is done--the painters only have the interior trim left. (Neighbors, do not worry--the current light blue/green combination on the outside is not staying). We have our final light fixture up and there are other things that happened today.

Tomorrow, they finish putting in the doorknobs and doorstops, finish the trim, and put the final coat of polyurethane on the floor. And HOPEFULLY, they'll turn our electricity on. That would solve a lot of the potential problems so we can move in on Friday.

I'm so tired and so ready to get this done at the same time.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Our closets and cabinets are beginning to vomit their belongings out into the rental. We are dutifully cleaning them, wrapping them up and gently putting them in boxes. There are steps forward in some aspects of finishing the house and steps nowhere in others.

Oddly, for the last two mornings, I've been waking up singing to myself: I Am Not Your Broom. I did not understand why until I read the lyrics. Then I found it very amusing.

After waking up this morning singing "I Am Not Your Broom" to myself, I then put myself back to sleep singing the round "Shalom, My Good Friend." I even tried doing the round myself in my sleep.

Yeah. Lots going on around here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Beginning of the End

We have entered the beginning of the end of the remodel. Dave is finishing up painting; I've cleaned the fridge and the stove to move back into the house. The final part of the house is being stained.

Our architect came by today for a final view of the house. She won three awards at a banquet last night in recognition of some of her projects being the best in category in Charlotte. Here is the one featured in the Observer. It's not too shabby having an award winning architect design your remodel. Especially, when the award is in the type of remodel we're doing (historic, but a boatload cheaper than the one featured here)

Tomorrow, Dave paints like a wild man while we pack up boxes. Monday, I'm hoping we move boxes and Tuesday we move furniture.

You can probably expect the next 5 or 6 entries to be variations on this theme as I keep up my nablopambo obligations and move houses. Have I mentioned how tired I am lately? Consider it mentioned.

Friday, November 20, 2009


First, the fun note. Today, Christopher had the most fun he's ever had in his life. The same sort of thing happened to Conor, but it was the worse day of his life and it happened during the throes of colic. It was pretty obvious that it was a pretty bad day for Conor and at 6 weeks of age---I was pretty sure it was the worst day of his life thus far. If he could compare, all other bad days in his life would be either a little worse or a little better than that day.

For Christopher, he had what appeared to us to be the most fun he's had in his life. How could we tell? The continuous laughter. What caused it? Listening to Conor read their bedtime story. We have no idea why that tickled Christopher's funny bone, but he loved it. Conor might as well have been successfully headlining a comic club as much as Christopher laughed. Bridget thought it was funny, too, but she didn't laugh nearly as much as Christopher did. Hence, the most fun Christopher has had in his short life.

The Ack part of our day comes from the remodel. BTW, although the beginning was stressful, the end is about to make us both nutty. er.

We had planned on moving in tomorrow, but that would have entailed every absolute thing happening exactly on schedule. And you know as well as we do, that doesn't happened. So then we thought we'd move in on Tuesday. It would have to be either Tuesday or next Saturday and we'd already given notice on our rental and it may be rented very soon.

So of course the unexpected arose and we haven't passed our final inspection (so no electricity), the exterior of the house hasn't been painted (and some parts of the interior), and part of the floor has not been finished yet. These are, in order, very important, slightly important, and moderately important. Without final inspection, we can't get our electricity turned on. So hopefully on Monday it will pass inspection and Monday or Tuesday, we'll have our permanent electricity. They can paint the house when we're moving in, I don't care. But the floor. Well, they are going to need to do a coat of finish on Sunday in order to do the final coat on Monday so that we can walk across it Tuesday to move in. We won't be able to put furniture in these rooms (the twins room and the upstairs loft), but that's no big deal. But if they don't come on Sunday, they'll have to do the final coat on Tuesday and we can't be living there when they do that.


Ack, ack, ack.

And hopefully, we'll have electricity on Tuesday.


But honestly, our friends are letting us stay here in the rental as long as we need. So if we HAVE to postpone the move until next Saturday, we will. It would just be really nice to have all those days to unpack instead of staring at the back of our house wanting to move in.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Well, that's how my day started. About 4:51, someone semi-small and very cuddly had some problems in his diaper. It was one of those noises that wakes one from sleep. And it didn't sound good. After a quick change of her poopie diaper, I realized that I, too, needed to stop by the loo and have a visit. (Not to be too graphic)

So, once again, I have taken one for the team. I'll say it again, I don't mind being sicker than the babies, and I don't want to say anything negative about my husband. But still.

The good news is that this bug seems to have come and gone quickly for us. I've heard that some folks are getting 10 days worth of bad poopie diapers. I'm hoping that was it for us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NICU Month

Apparently, November 17th is National Fight for Preemies day. I know that because of this amazing essay by Julie at A Little Pregnant. I have to be perfectly honest that I have not become a outspoken advocate for the March of Dimes, even after the twins' time in NICU. (Denial: It's not just a river in Egypt!)

But their time in NICU still affects me. I was a weepy mess after reading Julie's essay. And then on Tuesday, I ended up taking Christopher to the pediatrician because I felt like he was having apnea during a nap. The scoop is that I had left for a while and Christopher had gotten very upset with the sitter. I came back, nursed him, and he went to sleep. Except...

Do you know how children will hiccup when they are crying? They sort of try to catch their breath and it sounds like a hiccup. Well, Christopher was doing that while he was crying and then he fell to sleep. And then he started doing it while he was sleeping--just the hiccuping part, not the crying. And sometimes, between hiccups, he wasn't breathing. He. Wasn't. Breathing. He would hiccup and I'd hear him breathe a few times. Then he'd hiccup again and I'd start counting one, two, three, four, five, six...Hiccup and another breath. This happened for about 20 minutes when I called the doctor's office the first time. They told me it just sounded like he was recovering from crying and to wait for another hour and then they'd follow back. That's when I started counting the time between crying and noticed it was for a period of time. So I called the doctor's office and came in.

Of COURSE, when I woke Christopher up and he started gently crying, his breathing went back to normal. And when we got to the doctor, everything turned out ok.

But what GALLS the every loving HELL out of me is that the doctor spent the visit telling me why Christopher was crying and that I simply should not respond to him when he gets upset when I leave the room. What the ever loving fuckity fuck does that have to do with anything??

Apparently, because I told them that the episode started after he was crying and he was fine when they came in, I was classified as the Typical Neurotic Mommy Who Can't Stand For Her Baby To Cry. My sitter and I were both getting pissed and she was very glad (she later told me) when I said "Actually, I'm not concerned about how we handle crying. I came in here because we were concerned he wasn't breathing."

Two things from that: 1) When I start a sentence what "Actually" I can pretty much guarantee that I'm going to say something in which I think you are completely wrong and I am completely right. 2) No one, that is, NO ONE asked me why I thought Christopher wasn't breathing. NO ONE. They all assumed I was overreacting to his crying and not to the fact that he wasn't taking regular breaths. Since he was in NICU for not breathing, I think my concerns out to be taken seriously. I know this isn't the same as Apnea of Prematurity, but surely, my concerns deserved something more than "Well, isn't she the hysterical little mommy."

I have to say my sitter made me laugh as we were debriefing about the whole visit. Several times the doctor said "Well, as you know from when Conor was young, blah, blah, blah." My sitter said "I wanted to say 'Since you know that she already knows this, then why are you still talking?!'" That has made me laugh out loud several times. My sitter is much quicker on her feet than I am.

I have no doubt that I was very sensitive yesterday about this issue. A Little Pregnant's essay on her son's experiences in NICU stirred up some stuff with me. And I realized I don't have *any* positive feelings about their birth. Yes, I am thrilled to have my twins, but the thrill started when they came home, not when they were born and were whisked away to NICU. (And did I tell you that the first night Bridget came home, Dave was rough housing with Conor and accidentally--ha!--threw him into a ceiling fan? And Conor had to go to the emergency room and get 3 staples in his head? On THE FIRST NIGHT ONE OF OUR TWINS CAME HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL?) So let's just say that to me, the thrill of their being born to me started when Christopher came home, too.

Do you know what I think of when I think of their birth? I think of this picture. This is Bridget struggling to breathe just after she was born. I'm no medical doctor, but that big indentation in her chest does not look good to me.

So that is why yesterday, Dave and I decided to give some money to the March of Dimes. Maybe you'd like to donate some money, too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

High Chairs Or Thumbelina at the Table

Being the slow parents that we are, it wasn't until last night that we realized that instead of holding the twins in our laps while we ate, we could probably put them in a high chair at the table and they'd be just as happy. This is indeed true. And although they did not eat, we wanted to document their first time in their high chairs at the table.

So here is Christopher, eating his fingers per usual, and enjoying his new high chair.

And here is our daughter, Thumbelina, engulfed in her high chair. Seriously! Do you see how small she is in that chair!?!? We were absolutely dying of laughter.

And just so you can tell it wasn't just some wonky angle, here she is tonight playing with toys in her chair. It just makes me laugh. And she's grown!!! She's close to 25th percentile. How do the really small kids eat in their high chairs?

I absolutely love these pictures. Now, if they would just stop teething so we can all sleep, I'd be much happier.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Southern and Parents

As Dave and I ate this amazing gumbo that a friend brought by tonight, he decided that there are four groups of Southern food:

1) Cook the hooey out of it (i.e., any vegetable made in the south)
2) Add Bacon
3) Fried
4) Gravy

All I can say to that is: YUMMMMY!

In case you are wondering, the parents in our neighborhood whose children are starting kindergarten this year are obsessed with where their children are going to school. The vast majority of the conversations Dave and I have right now are where to send Conor to school. To give you some perspective, the debates are like CIO vs AP parenting....only worse.

Actually, I take that back. For my friends at least, we seem to be supportive of each other's kindergarten choices. And just before I started this blog entry, Dave and I realized that NONE of our friends are making the same choice! Not a single one. So from our perspective: none of our friends have looked at the same schools and all agreed on the same school.

What I appreciate the most about our friends is that we all seem to be supportive of each other. This weekend, a good friend and I had a cleaning party at the new house and could truly support that a school we didn't choose was indeed a good school and a good choice for each other's family. Dave and my impression thus far is that all the schools we've seen are "over the bar" in that they would be good educational choices. I don't think any of the magnet schools we've seen are bad.

NONETHELESS, today a friend explained to me how "parents she knew, parents whose parenting styles she respected, had chosen a particular school (<--the school she mistakenly thought we are choosing), but it simply was not a good fit for her child." Now, being the psychologist interested in communication that I am, let's parse that statement. If that statement had been "That's a good school, but not a good fit for my child or my family", I would think that was a fine, non-judgmental statement. Indeed, I think all of our choices are based our family's beliefs about what makes good education (pedagogy or pedagogical philosophy if you want to sound fancy; I have had to submit my personal pedagogy at every job appointment or review I've had as a professor). Some are more traditional than others. Some are less traditional than others. There you go. That's fine.

But that's not what this woman said. She had to justify her statement by talking about the families who have chosen this particular school by saying she "still" thought they were good parents. Implying, of course, that they had chosen the WRONG school, but she wanted me to think she respected their (clearly poor?) parenting style. Let me translate, "GOOD Lord, they don't seem like wackadoodle parents but that school sucks!!!" She even continued on trying to convince me that this school had poor resources and weak parental involvement until I finally got her to understand we were talking about another school--although, ironically, I know people who go to the school she was referring to and they love it. Good parents, too.

Have we not been through all this before? here's a clue: see CIO vs. AP above. I'm over it.

It recently occurred to me that we don't tell each other how to be married, do we? We don't say to each other: in order to have a good marriage, you must have sex X amount of times in Y amount of ways; you must split (or not) your finances in this way; you much divide house chores this way; you must live in this house with this many children and this many pets; you must do everything I've done exactly the way I've done it or your marriage is bad and wrong.

Somebody might try to tell you (or me) that, but my response is simply: Bite me. Marriages and other long term relationships are unique. No one expects that all marriages are the same. Why then do we expect other family choices, like um, parenting, should be the same, too? Insecurity is the answer. And I am too dadgummed tired to be insecure about that.

I think it's time for me to go fix me some fried bacon gravy and cook the hooey out of it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


So the mini-Conor clone known as Christopher, yes, what is he like? The similarities between Conor and Christopher are pretty amazing. They look alike, they smile the same, they are hitting their physical milestones at about the same time, and they have the same interest in food!

One big difference is Christopher's temper. Conor has a definite midwestern calmness about him that isn't anywhere in Christopher's consciousness. I have learned that when the boo-boo lip emerges, I have a nano-second to react or the screaming and the (nonverbal) cussing begins. Neither Conor nor Bridget have a temper like this. And although it keeps me hopping, I think it's awfully sweet.

On the other hand, Christopher (like Conor) is a big laugher. I have already found his ticklish spots and kisses on his neck get him going every time. Bridget honestly just started laughing today. We were outside and I was double slinging so I didn't have any free hands. Nonetheless, Patches really, really wanted me to throw the frisbee. Instead, I put my foot under it and lofted it up in the air as high as I could. Although it only went a few feet, Patches happily fetched it just like I'd thrown it across the yard. After a few fetches, Bridget started giggling. The more we did, the louder she got. I have no idea why that was so funny to her, but Patches and I were very happy to keep doing that funny version of fetch to keep her laughing.

But back to Christopher. Christopher (like Conor) is also a very smoochie boy. But either I didn't notice it this early with Conor or Christopher is trying very early to figure out how to kiss. Last night when he was supposed to be going to sleep, Christopher decided it was time to flirt. And then he started coming at my face with an open drooly mouth. Since I know he knows where the nummies are, I was a bit confused. Then I just gave me him cheek and he put his mouth fully on it, drooled a bit and then pulled back looking very pleased with himself. I have to admit that this was so adorable that we did this for a very, very long time. Who can resist one's son trying to reciprocate love? I certainly can't.

And the most unusual thing about Christopher is his ability to provide amazing back massages at this early age. Let me explain. I am finally confident having both babies with me in bed. However, at some point in the night I have to roll over and feed one while the other snuggles against my back. (As an aside, I have become the queen of rolling over in one spot) While Christopher snacks, Bridget is likely to gently tug at my pajamas should she get hungry. Christopher, being the enormo baby that he is, is a bit more dramatic.

He will flail his limbs beating me in my back to get my attention. Once, I rolled over and he was attacking Dave thinking that might be a new source of milk. But if I'm really lucky, and he's more just stirring in his sleep versus demanding food, his flailing arms and legs will hit on some pressure points in my back and relieve some of the tension there. It's definitely not a skilled massage, but it's a freebie back rub and I do appreciate it. (And no, I've never delayed rolling over to get more massage---it's not that good!)

And I'm very excited about our new buckle tai sling for Christopher. We got it yesterday and I was able to put it on once today. Christopher loved being on my back and going about the day. I have to work on it though. I tried to put it on a second time and ended up whacking Christopher in the head with my elbow. There was crying and it was not good for anyone. But, once I figure it out, I think it's going to be a life saver.

That said, I'm pooped. Time for bed and getting ready for the new week. Not that it's really that much different than the end nor the middle of the week. Or the weekend for that matter. I don't know how fulltime SAHMs do it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Place Holder

This is a place holder post so that I can still qualify for NaPlambo or whatever the name is. Good day but pooped. Cleaned the house of the new kitchen with a friend and picked up my buckle tai, the new sling for the babies. I realize it won't solve all our problems with young twins, but I'm thinking a lot is going to be fixed as I'll be able to pick up both babies safely at the same time.

Tonight's bedtime routine was a bit long mainly because Christopher got a second wind and decided he wanted to practice kissing me. Who can possibly resist a wide-open, smiling, mouthy kiss from a short bald chubby guy who laughs every time he presses his drooly mouth against my cheek? I certainly can't. I'm even looking forward to those same kisses tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Naps

Today was one of the few days that both twins have had good, substantial naps today. They had a good 2 hours this morning and a good 1 1/2 to 2 hours this afternoon.


It's so nice when they are not whining from their lack of sleep. That said, I think my daughter needs to better understand that no one is making her roll over. If she doesn't want to roll over, she doesn't have to! Rolling over and landing on her belly apparently pisses her off to no end. No one has any expectations of her rolling, yet she continues to roll and blame us for it. Can't wait until puberty!!

We've also decided to delay our move into the new house. I need to tell my mom and dad who are helping us move, and if they are reading this before I talk to them--we're delaying the move. There are issues with letting the floor completely cure before we move in and it would just be a good idea to wait a few more days.

Oh, yes. Now I remember what I wanted to blog about this morning. This idea probably came to me about the time I was getting dressed. Yes, my post twin pregnancy body. Honestly, I can get back into most of the clothes I was wearing before I got pg last year, but nothing fits the same.

First, and most shockingly to me, I really miss my A-cup boobs. As Dave pointed out with wide eyes and up and down hand motions upon seeing an old picture of me, I was "flat, flat, FLAT as a board! There was nothin' there!!" This cannot be said about me now and I cannot tell you how surprised I am to miss my former flat-as-a-board like figure. Clothes fit better and it's easier to run around.

Second, my belly is huge. In fact, I think I might have diastasis recti, or basically my stomach muscles have stretched too far apart. Besides the lovely pot belly that I can't get rid of despite being at a decent weight, my back and shoulders are all tweaked and I'm in pain most of the time. I'm hoping the doctor will provide some advice if I really have it. But truly, my body shows the what I've done with my life the last couple of years. And it's ruined my chances of ever being a Victoria Secret model. Just saying.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I haven't really dedicated single blog entries to the twins as individuals, and I feel like I ought to. Although it's easy to lump them into a unit ("the twins"), they are quite unique and a lot of fun just by themselves.

Bridget is a bit of a pistol. Originally, we called out a Code Binky whenever she was going to sleep and dropped her binky. While we'll still call out Code Binky, now it's more like Bink! Bink! Bink!! to whomever is closest. And sometimes, we don't even need a binky to get worried. That's when we call out Code Bridget, which means, figure out what the problem is and fix it before all Bridget breaks loose.

The child can scream. You can be holding her when all Bridget breaks loose and not become deaf from the sound of her screams. It is obvious to others when this happens by the frozen expression on the holder's face and he/she thinks of a way to calm Bridget, and the blood coming out of the holder's ears.

That said, she is also one of the most charming people I know. This morning, she was playing in her exersaucer, and she looked down at Patches and gave him her huge toothless grin and crinkled nose. Patches was so excited by her flirting that he hopped up, trotted over to her and gave her a big kiss on her face. We really, really try to discourage the dog kisses, but I get the reason why he did it. When she smiles that charismatic smile, it's hard not to come over and scoop her up and kiss her.

Of course, now she's upstairs protesting a little about going to sleep. Dave is with her for now. I'm hoping she'll let him put her back to sleep so I can have a break. It is incredibly hard being a SAHM (even temporarily) for twins.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Crappity Crap

Today was one of those days that I will happily forget the details. Just so I can later read back and go, "Oh, yeah, that day definitely sucked", I shall share some of them with you.

The gist of the problem was that neither of the twins took naps today. Christopher had a couple of 20 to 30 minute cat naps, but Bridget didn't sleep at all. There was screaming all around, and I don't mean just the babies.

Then about 3:00, we went over to meet with the other children's choir members at church. Conor's kinder choir (and the other youth choirs) sang at the Southern Christmas show. Of course, both babies fell asleep on the drive over to the church (yay!) and woke up screaming on the drive over to the event (booo!). I sat in the parking lot at the event and nursed both babies and they were in happy moods during the entire 20 minute concert (yay!). And in case you're wondering, 20 minutes is a good length of time for children to sing and not nearly enough reward for getting the whole family over there.

In any case, it's raining here. A lot. I woke up this morning thinking: Ida? Ho! I'm tired of the rain and it's disconcerting to see the animals gathering two by two and the big wooden ship being built at the end of the street. If you think I'm exaggerating, last weekend was the first weekend in 8 that it didn't rain. And to compensate for it, we've had 3-5 inches of rain in the last 2 days.

I'm pooped and the rain doesn't help. And tomorrow, we're going to another school open house and I have to take a shower and wash my hair at some point. Bleah, bleah, and more bleah.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Language Academy

This morning, I went to the public K-8 language academy open house. I know I've mentioned it before, but to repeat myself, our local elementary school is one of the worst in the county. WOOHOO! The middle school after it is pretty bad, too. And the high school after that is not known for being the top in the county.

So we're looking. Today was the first open house and I was pretty impressed. The building itself is nothing to get excited over (which is important to many folks around here). It's 50 years old. But it has some of the highest test scores in the county and, well, I don't know, the kids learn another language.

And I don't mean "learn" another language like I learned French in high school. I mean starting the first moment of the first day of kindergarten, they are immersed in their language track. Even on the first day, the teachers speak no English but they do a lot of pantomiming.

We toured a kindergarten class in each of the four languages: Chinese, Japanese, French and German. Holy Freaking Cow. These children were exposed to the language for the first time at the end of August. And maybe it's because I could understand enough of the German and French, but the Chinese and Japanese classes blew me (and the other parents) out of the water. Kids in all the classes were completely understanding and responding to the teacher in their language track. They were all doing math, singing, spelling, just doing all this amazing kindergarten another language. Wow. Seriously, the students in the Chinese class were doing something with math that just made my jaw drop. I know I'm hormonal, but it was amazing.

What a gift we feel we could give Conor, even if he does not choose to use it in a career. How amazing to be completely fluent in another language. At this point, we're debating between French and German. I speak some French and I think that if our children knew French and English, they could go anywhere in this world. However, we have good friends in Germany and we will likely visit with them and hopefully vacation with them (in Spain! long story). In addition, there is a German family right across the street from us.

In all honesty, I would be thrilled if the kids started in one of these languages and then picked up the other in the 5th grade (also an option). Seriously. WOW. This is a free option for us here in Charlotte, NC. Pretty dang cool.

That said, we are also going to see an International Baccalaureate, a Montessori, and a traditional elementary school. But this was amazing.

Oh, and thanks for yesterday's comments and friendings (speaking of France), :-) . Like Carter, my identities bleed on each other. And I appreciate Matt's thoughts about posting links. Now that I've fixed my FB problems, I can do that with interesting stuff. But do I friend our Dean on FB? I'd love to, but I think she'd think I was a wingnut.

Back to the subject, are your schools as whacked as this? Do you have to search for a school or can you just go to the one closest to you?

Monday, November 09, 2009

New Media

Here's a big change of subject, but something that has been on my mind. I have a question for all you folks who blog and/or use Facebook and Twitter. I do all three and am in a bit of a quandry over what to do with some of these media.

First, if you're on FB and haven't friended me, give me a holler. I'm actually quite a bit more active on it than I am here. I also have a twitter account (see the right) which I sometimes use and I sometimes don't.

The issue for all of these things is how much I "talk" about personal stuff and how much I talk about "professional" stuff. Back in the olden days when I first started blogging, one was advised in no uncertain terms NOT to talk about work stuff online (see Dooce). But now, I'm finding that folks are using blogs and FB and twitter to talk about work things.

Certainly, it's still not advisable to talk about office gossip online a la "Can you believe what an idiot so-and-so is?" or "I think X is dating Y." Although, really, that would qualify as both the most interesting and the most boring stuff depending on whether you knew so-and-so, X or Y or not.

But a lot of folks, and actually, a lot of my peers, are twittering and blogging and FBing about professional things. And none of them are blogging about social things, much less "mother" things.

So should I use my FB or twitter accounts to be more professional? (This venue is too far gone t all of a sudden be professional) And what would I talk about? We've already established that office politics are out. Do I twitter/FB about teaching or general professional activities throughout the day ("Am running SPSS now! Next I'll do confirmatory factor analysis! WOOHOO!")? About what I'm reading ("Information and communication technologies are cold media!")? About what I'm researching (No way on that--it's not peer reviewed and I don't want someone to steal my ideas, should any one of them be worth stealing)?

Some friends/colleagues post about things they've read in the NY Times, etc. But I figure my friends, should they be interested in such things, would have already read it.

My concern is that my colleagues are talking about smartypants stuff and I'm talking about poopie diapers (Christopher had a DOOZY today; it was like a volcano shooting out of his diaper and pants). I don't want to sound so "fluffy". And I actually do get really excited about my research and my work. I actually can do smartypants stuff myself. I just don't know why anyone would want to hear about that from a tweet. And all the good stuff about teaching ("Let's see, what do you need on the final to get a B in the class? Well, you got a D on the first exam. A D on the second exam. And a D on the third exam. Hmmmm, you need to score 457 on a 100 point test to get a B in this class." <--actual conversation from several years ago), I can't really do since I'm no longer anonymous on any of these venues.

I have few boundaries between my identity as a professor/research and my identity as a mother or as "Anita." I don't blog or tweet or update on my work not because I don't really get excited about it, but because I can't imagine that many other people getting excited about it. ("Woohoo!! Sense of virtual community! WOOHOO!! Comes from interactions and support! Is mediated by norms! Sanctioning hurts it! YEAH, BABY!!! Now, we're talking!!")

I don't know. Maybe now that I have tenure, when I go back to work I will twitter or blog a bit more about being a working mom. Maybe about the research process. Maybe some about what I'm doing. Or not. We'll see.

Do you twitter or FB with work colleagues? Do folks at work read your blog? How does that work for you?

Now, I'm going to go open the fridge door and hope that some sort of snack food has magically appeared in there from 30 minutes ago. I am SO HUNGRY. I am ALWAYS SO HUNGRY. And I did eat an avocado and nuts today already. And I finished up the hummus a few days ago and they were out of boiled eggs. I'm not a skinny minny by any means from all this bfing. But BOY AM I HUNGRY.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Went to Ikea today to look at closet systems. Also, got our H1N1 vaccinations at a local clinic.

I am POOPED. And it's time to put the babies to bed. I would blog afterwards to write something more witty than this, but I'm at 50-50 whether I'm coming back downstairs after the twins go to sleep.

Just one more thing: Bridget has figured out both front-to-back and back-to-front roly polies. She is adorable and amusing herself and us to no end. We've also lost whatever unguarded time we have had with her.

sigh. I am so tired.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Lessons Learned Part Deux

Today, Dave worked on painting the downstairs while I cleaned out the cabinets in the kitchen. Here's another lesson we've learned: move all your stuff out of the house. We thought they wouldn't end up working in a couple of the rooms and moved a lot of our boxes in there; they ended up in those rooms--including a foot through the ceiling of a closet nearly ruining a substantial amount of our clothing. (Contractor is going to fix that).

The kitchen cabinets still had some stuff in them and we noticed this week that lots of dust had gotten in there. Yuck. I still have about half the cabinets to clean and a lot of dishes to wash.

Bottom line, we should have moved everything out and then could have easily moved everything back in.

Here's a question for you: do you use shelf liners? I always thought it was a Southern thing. None of my roommates up North or out West used it and thought I was a nut for suggesting it. however, the dirt I'm seeing in the shelves would be a lot easier to clean if I could just, oh, I don't know, change the lining as opposed to unsuccessfully trying to scrub it out. How about yor house? Do you use it? What kind?

Off to review an NSF grant proposal on a Saturday night. Fun times!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Remodel Lessons

This will be a multi-part post. Just warnin' ya.

We've learned a lot about the remodel. Not the least of which is goes along the lines of "Hmmm, didn't think that was going to be as important as it was." Some things seem obvious and some still feel like revelations most days.

First of all, we're really happy with our architect. That was totally worth the money. The reason is that we never would have come up with their solution for adding a master suite and an extra bedroom. Our solution would have sucked.

Second, our contractor charged by the task, not by the hour. So if it took less time or more (like the problems they found in the old family room), that was on their dime. There was no construction problem that came up that we had to pay extra for.

On the other hand. . . .

The extra charges we ended up paying for had to do with wanting some lighting or plumbing fixture that was nicer than our allotted construction "allowance." This is apparently where everyone pays more than they think they are going to. Occasionally, it's simply going to the contractor's preferred store and picking out fixtures that are more expensive that you meant to. Other times, it's part of the realization that after the construction, you really need an X in this Y space.

More specific things we learned:
*Working with a contractor generally gets you about a 50-60% discount on the store's prices.
*You can occasionally find online specials that cost about 20% what the store is offering. Not 20% off. 20% of. Very nice.
*A clever husband can sometimes find building materials for sale on Craig's list and save, oh let's say, $1500 off the best deal the contractor can get. Go, Dave!!

And here's the hardest and most strange lesson: Those extras--those lighting, plumping and paint choices--appear to be the most important ones, but they are not. I'm not thrilled with my custom built bathroom vanity. It's built exactly the way I asked for it on the design. But I don't think it's going to work for me. However, for a little bit more money (probably less than $100), I can have that fixed. The general bathroom on the other hand--the shape, location, windows, etc? That I really like.

Even if Dave and I picked the butt ugliest lighting and plumbing fixtures and paints, they can eventually be replaced. Yes, it will cost money, but only a couple of hundred dollars really. The house itself? Not so easy to change. Those are the things one sees and uses day to day and they are really the least important. Yeah, I get it, they are the most important as far as how pretty and stylish the house looks. But it's the bones of the house that really have the most importance in how well your house is going to work as a home.

So there you go. Ideas we hope you can use in your remodel. I have absolutely no doubt more will be coming. (Like how to get cheap granite for your counters!)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

You're my Friend, Aren't You?

A few weeks ago, we were leaving church and as we got into the mini-van (!), Conor shouted to another family as they were getting into their car ((sigh)) "HEY!! I know you! Don't I know you!? You're my friend, aren't you!?"

Dave and I laughed about this. It's not so different than he and I are: happy to see people that we know, unsure about who our friends are, hoping that the people we know are our friends or that they might want to be our friends, and most likely, appearing very geeky to the people that we know and scaring them off from actually being our friends.


But it was still very cute. Then last night, we had dinner at church so we could see Conor's kinder-choir sing (speaking of cute!). Conor spent the first part of the dinner running around the entire dining hall pointing to friends and shouting "I know you! You're my friend."

On the one hand, that's sweet. It shows how comfortable he is at this church and that he's starting to get to know other kids. And on the other hand, visions of junior high are dancing in my head. And it's Not. Good.

Neither Dave nor I were the popular kids in high school and judging by the pictures we've shown each other from those days, it's clear why we didn't have a lot of dates. I don't know, maybe acknowledging the other kids and how he likes them (or how he thinks they like him, I'm not sure) is the path to popularity that Dave and I missed. I'm definitely not saying that we want Conor to be a popular kid. The one thing Dave and I do agree about high school is that it's better to geek and not peak.

But still. I'm not sure about all this running around to the different tables and saying "You're my friend!" I think that it shows how unselfconscious our son is and how utterly assured Conor is about being accepted for *exactly* how he is. That's amazing! How lucky to feel that way in your life. I just don't want him to lose that feeling. Or, more honestly, I know that feeling is bound to go away some time. And it's could be a painful experience for him. And it's a little bit sad to know that about life.

It just hits too close to home. You're my friend. Aren't you?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Off of Milk

Christopher has horrible eczema and we think it's due to a milk allergy. Honestly, it's really bad. If you can look past the triple chins and the pinch-able cheeks below, you'll see just how awful his breakouts have become.

And this was the day after the really bad break out.

So I'm not eating any dairy. And ironically, I can't eat goat's milk or yogurt either because of the high correlation between cow's milk and goat's milk allergies. Folks, I had no idea how many milk products I'm used to eating. Besides cream for my coffee, I apparently consider ice cream and cheese as my go-to snacks when I'm hungry. And I'm always hungry. But that's another post.

In any case, I need to go get some snacks that are not Halloween candy and are not potato chips and are also not dairy. Any suggestions? I'm really hungry. And I can't have Christopher looking that scaly again.

We'll do another picture at the end of this week. So far, his skin has really improved and doesn't feel nearly as leathery as it did. If we get close to clear skin, I'll be thrilled. And hungry. And perhaps thinner?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Big Butts

I was just upstairs talking to myself in terms of a blog post: "You know this house, the rental, looks a lot smaller from the street than it really is. Like our remodeled house and most houses in this neighborhood, it's got a small facade. Like most people I know, it has a small front and a big behind. Heh heh heh heh heh. This is something I should blog for Naplambo or whatever this is called."

So yesterday you saw our big behind. Today is our small front. Behold the before.

And the after. Not so much of a difference.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Remodel

Here's a little before and after of our house. This is before in March.

This is pretty much the same shot at the end of September.

We still have a few more weeks' work to do including painting, finishing the floor, and installing the plumbing and light fixtures. You know, little stuff. (Oh, and the colors are going to be what you can see on the outside of the after picture--dark and light blue).

We've just decided that starting November 20th, we're going to start moving in. And yes, it was crazy to remodel when expecting twins. But what the heck.

In any case, remodeling lessons will be following. Once I can type without the babies crying.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

National Blog Posting Month

Should I? Would it finally jump start my a$$ to record the life of my twins in a more detailed basis?

Why the hell not? Why not stress myself out with a task of my own choosing!

I say this at the end of a 5 minute break of mild fussing and the beginning of a larger fussing session. (Dave has just come back from the house; a break for me)

Halloween was fun. Except for the fact we only trick or treated for 15 minutes because of the rain. Pictures are here (to be added when facebook actually sends the link). Actually, I cannot fully express to you how bugged I was that we were only out of the house about 25 minutes for Halloween. I had apparently been looking forward to this event for a really long time and because of a little thing like a sudden downpour, all the members of my family who could use words wanted to go back home. By the time we arrived there, the rain had stopped, but we still called it a night.

For those of you who do not have infant twins in your home, perhaps this will illuminate just how isolating it is to be at home with them all the time. I've started walking during the day during their naps, which has helped a lot (they are in their stroller). I'm trying to call more friends on the phone so I can at least talk to people. I am trying to schedule a few lunches or coffees out with some friends to get out, too. That is more challenging than you can imagine because we're trying to finish up the remodel and Dave is saving us tons of money by doing work for us. But it means that I am home alone more, too. So, it's a trade off of not getting the work done that we need to get done on the house versus my sanity.

In any case, I had really been looking forward to Seeing. Other. People! Being out of The House! Experiencing this thing I've heard about called "fun." It happened for about 15 minutes in the rain. And then we came home. I honestly felt shat upon by the universe. Happens though, huh? This is one case where you can honestly say, "Girl, you need to get out of the house more."

Ain't that the damn truth.