Monday, December 13, 2010


Oh, dear.

Here's another fun feature of twins, although I would imagine this applies to all families with more than two children. We've been like a slow motion Domino collapse around here. It turns out it wasn't fifth disease. The fever has been too high. And fortunately, it is not the flu either.

It is, however, some sort of respiratory virus that has felled my children. Dave and I are just fine. But the kids are, as we say in the south, puny. Conor is actually home sick today for the first time in years. I honestly don't remember the last time he had a fever.

So for the twins, the progression was: cough, 101+ fever, puke, no appetite for a period of time, lethargy for a period of time (HATE that symptom), and then a secondary bacterial infection. Although those are many of the the symptoms for the flu, Christopher was tested and it came back negative. So, either it's a different flu strain than the one they were testing for or this is a different respiratory infection.

In any case, bleah. We've had someone with a fever here for 11 days. Woo. Hoo. I can't imagine Dave and I are going to get this if we've been around it so long (and the snotty kisses that go with comforting one's sick, pukey children) and not gotten it.

But there you have it. And famous last words, right? I'm sure I have just doomed myself to posting tomorrow about my 102 fever.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

5th and Poop

Continuing my goals to just post when I have time, here's my second post of the day. Since this morning, oh, joy!, we have figured out that both Bridget and Christopher have 5th disease. In the scheme of things, that's not a big deal. It's just a common virus in which the main symptom (besides a fever that lasts for the normal 3 days o' virus fever) is the bright red cheeks.

However, it's just one more thing to add on the list of reasons why tonight's sleep is going to be crappy tonight.

And in the goals of catching up on all the exciting things that have happened, let me share the story of The Poop In the Tub. Really, I don't know how to build up that story much beyond One of My Children Pooped In the Tub. That's pretty much the high (low) light of any story. It was Christopher and I should have known it was coming when he assumed the position.

Christopher is very picky on how he poops--which is in a yoga position--down dog to be exact. It's obvious when it's happening; yes it is when a child gets a determined look in down dog. I should have acted more quickly when he got in that position in the tub, but I thought he was reaching for a toy. Yet, he was not.

That's one of those things you just wish never really happened. Oh, yes. But still. It's a good story, right? Good time or good story. That's become our motto around here.


Here is a picture of the twins' Halloween costume. Yes, they were adorable! So adorable, in fact, that they were featured on the front page of the online Charlotte Observer for 3 hours the day after Halloween! And yes, I AM bragging about that. I have always felt that feeling "proud" of some other person's accomplishment is a bit narcissistic, reflecting in some way your involvement in someone else's accomplishment (which is rarely the case). It's why I'm often very, very happy for other people, but rarely "proud" of them.

NONETHELESS, I am so proud of how cute they look and that they were on the front page of our local newspaper's online edition. Ha! I even love that in that picture they have become Thing 1 and Thing 2 looking adorably like imps about to do something bad. :-)

The incongruity comes from talking about Halloween when I also want to talk about last night's HORRIBLE night of (no) sleep. We're in the 18 month sleep regression. I vividly remember this stage with Conor and was convinced we were doing something wrong; that the co-sleeping was coming back to bite us on the butt.

Ummm, no.

This is a normal stage in which children's brains explode and their sleeping stops. We're back to newborn waking. Add on to that Bridget's bronchitis and her coughing so hard in her sleep she wakes up screaming (and puking! Thanks, Dave, for taking that one for the team last night!). and there is not enough coffee in the day to help me think clearly.

And thank ye gods and goddesses that I am past tenure, so I work, but not kill myself getting papers out over the next 4 months while we get through this stage. Yes, I'm still planning on submitting 4 conference papers and a journal submission in the next 4 months (one is already done), but I'm not planning on 4 additional journal submissions in the next 4 months. That's the difference and it is a big one.

So there. That's what is on my mind. And that is how scattered I think and what has become the new normal for us. It works. :-)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Ummm, hey!

Yes, yes, I'm still here. Insert repetitive whine about how busy I've been.

I'm actually catching up on "things" this morning. This often happens when I've been working my a$$ off on "school" work and I have neglected my "home" work. Everything is work for me. Even knitting is "gift" work. Reading is "intellectual" work. Running is "health" work.

I am weird.

You should know that already, right? And by "you" I mean the three of you still regularly or even occasionally stopping by here.

I continue to have tons of conversations with you or topics I want to blog about. I JUST DON'T HAVE FREAKIN' TIME!!

So, whatevs. I'm going to do some picture posts now. And then I really hope I can work back in my life a few 10 minutes posts here and there when I have something funny or vexing to share.
So, yeah, HEY!! Hope you're doing well!! We're ok over here. Hoping I can share a few things over the next few days.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


So yes, we remain busy around here. With an active and exciting life. (The irony in that statement will become apparent later on) Why, just Friday night, both babies (ok, they are toddlers now), both toddlers had one mighty explosive puke each and the dog ate our dinner right off the table.

And we have recently decided to take a 3 to 6 month hiatus from eating out at restaurants. Bridget absolutely cannot sit in her chair when we are out any more. She *has* to go around to every table and wave "Hi!" to the people sitting there. Yes, she is adorable and yes everyone melts when she arrives at their table. But it's getting too much and we're afraid her light-of-1000 suns cuteness will wear out for others sooner than it will for us.

Christopher continues to blow us away. Apparently, he has become the leader in his daycare class. He picks up whatever the other children drop and give it to them. When they are playing in the sandbox, he hugs every child in there. And when they come back in from the playground, he leads all the children over to the sink to wash their hands.

I have to be honest with you: it's overwhelming enough to fall in love with one child every day. My head and heart are going to explode falling in love with 3 children day in and day out. That part between Conor and the twins--the 8 miscarriages---that part sucked. But this part is extra-special sweet.

So, umm, soccer! Yeah.

Conor has started playing soccer and it is really a lot of fun. First, at 99.9th percentile height, it is relatively easy to pick him out on the field. Second, Conor has perfected an advanced move to psych the opposing team out while he plays: skipping. Perhaps you saw that at the world cup this year? No? Really? Additionally, Conor has an innate enthusiasm about life (from me) and very long arms (from Dave). Let's just say, that while he is skipping, his arms are also wildly swinging about in happiness for playing the game. He is noticeable.

He is also not aggressive out there. He is not a ball-hog and keeps a fair distance from the action as if he has been told to play defense. (He has not) So during the first game, when out of nowhere he ran through the crowd and with a sliding-on-the-ground kick kept the opponent's ball from scoring, we were a wee bit surprised. So was he, we noticed, as he stayed in that position for a few beats replaying his defensive move in his head and looking towards us, grinning, to see if we noticed. Yes. Yes we did, we cheered to him.

He has since, in the last two games, scored a couple of goals and is gaining some confidence. He seems to really enjoy it and the nights after practice or a game, he goes to bed quite easily. Yay! Easy bedtimes are a cause for celebration around here.

We also enjoy getting to see other kids and experience the range of normal. Our favorite story thus far involves a sweet boy on the first night of practice. Let me preface this by saying that Conor's old teacher told us that 6 years old is a preview for puberty. If that's true, we are screwed. I never thought that 10% of the utterances I made to my son would be some variation of "keep your hands off your penis." We are MUCH more discreet than that and we don't want to introduce any shame to a natural act, but there are only so many times one can say such a thing before one wants to shout "STOP DOING THAT!" (which we never have)

So back to soccer practice. Perhaps you can guess where I am going with this.

Dave was standing near the boy's nanny as called him over in the middle of practice. She told him they needed a code word that she could shout out to him during practice so that he would stop "touching his pants."

The boy thought very deeply for minute. Then he suggested to her "How about: Let go of the tiger tail?"

I will wait for you to stop laughing. And I will brag on both my husband and the nanny that neither of them laughed (out loud) at that child. Indeed, the nanny just matter of factly said to the boy, "How about: Tiger tail."

Tiger tail, indeed. Dave and I have routinely been shouting Tiger Tail to each other around the house and for no reason mentioned previously except that it makes us laugh really hard.

I continue to blog that it's crazy around here. You should continue to think that. Sometimes, it still shocks me that we have twins. That we have 3 children! And that we're only at the beginning of this crazy ride. Ah, well. It's crazy but it's our brand of crazy and so far it's still pretty good.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Bleb

I have a bleb. It is as lovely as it sounds. I will explain what a bleb is, but first I have two confessions.

1: I am still breastfeeding the twins.

2: they are still sleeping with us.

There! Now you know our dark secrets.

I talked a lot more about breastfeeding with Conor than I have with the twins. I'm not sure why, except it may have something to do with the same reasons why I would NEVER breastfeed the twins in public, and I breastfed Conor in public all the time.

Breastfeeding a singleton is one of those Hallmark moments in which mother and child gaze into each others eyes with love and connection. Breastfeeding twins is more like being a sow. Especially when one has an athletic daughter who prefers to nurse in a down dog position. And will sometimes attack one's breast like a tribble. Of course, you know that I don't think there's a damn thing wrong with nursing twins--as mine are 15 months old and I fully plan to go at least two years---but it is not a Hallmark moment. The double twin standing nursing pose? Well, let's just say, we have pictures and you will not be seeing them.

And sleeping with us? Well, we've always done that and it just makes it easier. It's just that with a bleb, one will often wake up in the middle of the night with the sensation of a knife stabbing you in your bassoomies.

So yes, we're going past 6 weeks of my bleb, a milk blister. It apparently can take between 6 and 8 weeks for a bleb to heal. Yippee! Truly, I've not been doing everything I can--such as applying wet heat (as hot as one can stand) every 4 hours around the clock. Dudes--it hurts. But I am NOT going to get up in the middle of the night to soak my boob for 20 minutes before the twins wake up and nurse. Hells bells, I RARELY even sleep 4 hours in a row to wait for them to eat again.

Yes, here's the part you may not understand. The twins sleep as well as Conor did---they get up two or three times a night. Each. EACH.


That means that on a good night, I'm up only 4 times. That has happened, oh let's say, twice in the last 15 months. Most nights, I'm up 6 times a night. Occasionally, I'll use my running watch (HA! RUNNING! I RAN ONCE! HA!) to "lap" how long I sleep. It's a good night--and I feel well rested---if I get one stretch of about 3 hours. Then the laps will get shorter to: hour, hour, hour, 45 minutes, 30 minutes...time to get up.

I'm tired. I'm not going to deny that. And blebless, I can sleep through most feedings. But it's doable. And I know that in another year or so, they'll be sleeping much longer and eventually, so will I.


I freaked a bit when I read on my twin mother's support group that other MOMs who co-sleep, when their twins finally started sleeping through the night, it took them months...MONTHS (I'm shouting a lot in this entry)...MONTHSSSSSSS to finally sleep and feel rested again.

Bleb. Breastfeeeding. Co-sleeping. A sleep schedule that would make normal people scream.

So now you know.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Conor, in his school uniform, on his first day of school.

Bridget on her first day of daycare.

Christopher on his first day of daycare.

Things are going well. Conor learned the French ABCs today and has been practicing saying Bonjour to all of us. We are still working out his bus issues, but it will be fixed soon.

Bridget and Christopher are having a rough time in daycare. Bridget is miserable there and perfectly fine at home. Christopher is ok there, and clingy to the extreme at home. He's actually really mad at me when I come to pick him up and, honestly, he melts into tears from the time I arrive until we get in the car. I think that's when he realizes I'm not leaving him. Their teachers are WONDERFUL and, as we asked, they are holding Bridget pretty much all day long. Things are actually getting better for her, and hopefully, they'll get better for Christopher soon.

It's all good. It's all the right things. And I'm having a lot of fun at work making progress on research projects and projects outside of the university. Work=fun is amazing.

9:30 and time for bed. We're back on marathon training schedule to get the kids to school. We're just not running now.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Conor starts kindergarten on Tuesday. We thought he was starting last Wednesday with the rest of the Charlotte Mecklenburg system. We thought wrong.

Apparently, here at CMS, they have a staggered system. We thought (along with many other first time parents) that meant that not all the schools start at the same time in the morning. While that is true, it also means that kindergarteners get a "trial" day the first 5 days of school; that is, they only go one of the first 5 days of school. So some kids had their trial day on Wednesday and then start kindergarten for real the NEXT Wednesday, we have our trial day on Tuesday and then start for real on Wednesday.

So, um, yeah. That's actually fine. Conor starts kindergarten in two days. And actually, the twins start daycare tomorrow.

Halle-effin-lujah. We had two great nannies. Two women who were fantastic with the twins. But I am going to be so glad to the twins back to our regular daycare where I don't have to worry about what to tell someone to fix them for lunch, if I have the food I want them to have for lunch, if there is enough food for the nanny to eat something for lunch, does the nanny know how to prepare what they should have for lunch, and then to repeat the whole thing again for snack. Seriously. We loved the nannies, but I am so glad to be sending them to daycare.

Of course, the panic attacks in the middle of the night of how we're going to do all this have been a lot of fun. First, we cannot afford after-care for Conor. We were going to send him to an aftercare program at our church, but we honestly and truthfully do not have the money. How is that possible? Due to an amazingly low fixed rate mortgage we are not paying any more for that. And we were fine when it was just Conor is daycare, so what the heck?

I'll tell you the heck. It's doubling the daycare payments AND the new car payment. We had paid off both cars a while back so we didn't have a car payment. But the twins can't fit in a jetta, much less the twins, Conor, Dave, me and sometimes a dog. Here's a number that made Dave and me slack jawed in pain and anticipation: in 4 years when the twins enter kindergarten and we pay off the car, we'll have $2,000 more tax free dollars per month to, I don't know, to do what? That is so much money right now, we could use it for toilet paper and still end up ahead.

So that's been part of the panic attack--we have no money, we can't afford for Conor to be in after school care, but I, um, kind of have to work! But then we got some good news and some kind of bad news that helped solve the after school dilemma. Basically, if Conor rides the bus and I take him to the bus stop, I will have plenty of hours to get my work done during the day and Conor will not be in after school care. That's the good news. The bad news is that it will be a long-ish day for Conor--although not really longer than daycare. But it will start early. REALLY early. The twins' time in daycare will be about the same as Conor's has been these last 5 years, but not worse.

So that's where we are. I think it's sort of funny that people think I'm having a hard time with the twins going to daycare. But I don't. I'm more worried about Conor. I want him to have enough free time during the day--that doesn't involve sitting on a bus. I know it's going to work out. It always has. But the transition is going to be a little crazy and that's a little bit overwhelming right now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Viral Pneumonia

Now that's a blog title!

Um, so, uh, yeah! It's been a busy week. First, viral pneumonia is not nearly as bad as bacterial pneumonia. And, indeed, we caught Bridget's viral pneumonia/chest cold early.

Ok. So let's back up a bit. Bridget appeared to come down with croup (from her brother, as you may recall) last Monday. I am not that worried about croup, so I saw no need to call the doctor. And then Bridget sort of melted over both Dave and me and wouldn't move from sitting in our lap with her head on our shoulder.

Lethargy is never a good sign in a feisty child, particularly one with a fever.

Additionally, Monday night, Bridget started throwing up. Tuesday morning, we opted to go in to the doctor, because again, Bridget could not even lift her head off our shoulder.

I expected the doc to give me another lecture about how viruses can cause croup, blah, blah, but instead he put Bridget right on a nebulizer. Fortunately, her breathing cleared up so no need for x-rays or oxygen. Instead, we went home with an albuterol inhaler and orders to come back Friday.

The virus continued this course for a while. Bridget has no energy, ran a high-ish fever (102 to 104), threw up, and as she got better, had diarrhea. And of course, there was the junky cough. Coughs are not good indicators of chest colds/viral pneumonias. Lethargy is. REMEMBER THAT if your child loses all his or her energy.

So, yeah. She's better now. The ultra-conservative doctor put her on an antibiotic which freaked both Dave and me out. This doc HATES antibiotics and to give her one without her having a bacterial infection really freaked me out.

In any case, school starts back next week and I am completely not ready for it. Last week, I had planned on doing what I'm doing this week. But I couldn't leave my little baby while she was this sick. So I'm trying to catch up this week before next week starts. I'm a wee bit freaked out.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Life With Twins

Do you want to know what life with twins is like? Do you want to know why Mothers of Multiples (MOMS) say it's much harder than you can imagine? Let me share this story with you.

Let's say you have a twin, a twin with floppy windpipe, something that while noisy is not that dangerous. Unless the child develops croup. At this point, it is prudent to put this child on prednisone to reduce the swelling in the throat and help the child breathe. This is a good thing. There is just one caveat: the major side effect of hyperactivity. Let's, hypothetically, call this twin: Christopher.

So on a Friday night when Christopher's twin sister falls asleep at 7:30, Christopher is a whirling dervish around the family room, giddily playing with every toy he can and manically running back and forth along the room until, oh, say 10:30. On the second night of medication, his parents look up whether benadryl can be given along with prednisone and, lo and behold, IT CAN! So on Saturday night, Bridget passes completely out at 7:30 and Christopher is only up until 9:30.

Not being slow, the parents of a twin on prednisone will, on the third and final night of medication, give benadryl right after dinner. And HOORAY! Christopher goes to sleep at exactly the right bedtime of 7:30. And so does his sister! Hooray! Hooray!

But that's not what it's like to be parents of twins. No. The twin god laughs when both babies go to sleep at the same time after two hellish nights. Nope, life with twins means that the sister twin wakes up at 7:50 and refuses to go back to sleep. With just one child, a) we would be enjoying a free night tonight or b) we would have enjoyed two previously free nights. But instead, we have one child peacefully sleeping and another happily playing, having had two amazing nights of sleep under her belt.

So, there. We were away for a good 11 day trip to see Dave's family in the midwest. AND WE DROVE! Yes! 6 days in the car for an 11 day trip. It wasn't as bad as you might imagine, and there were a couple of unexpected highlights including a hotel bathroom that opened into the bedroom and zooming (and subsequent squeals of laughter from the kids) over Ohio hills in Amish country. There was also an AMAZING thunderstorm and 12 straight hours of lightening. There was so much continuous lightening at one point that I thought a police car was outside the house and the lights were flashing through the window.

More, more, more to share. Christopher is walking now and has been for two weeks. Conor starts kindergarten in three weeks. The twins start daycare (AND NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON) in 4 weeks.

I'm not giving up this blog. I know I say that every (rare) time I update. I'm not ready to give it up yet. I am ready for a little more free time, but I have no control over when that is going to happen again.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer School

{Start blog}

{Insert paragraph bemoaning lack of blogging activity}

{Insert paragraph subtly rescinding apology because current state of life eliminates ability to post}

{Insert long and winding paragraph expressing hope that current state of life will pass by and sleep and mental abilities will be restored}

{Mention recent blog post written in head about Charlotte Observer's series about SIDS being over used on infants' death certificates (good) and arguing that cosleeping will kill children (bad). Provide link along with compelling argument as to why Charlotte Observer's attempt to win a journalism article has provided poor and misleading advice to parents.}

{Provide witty and entertaining account of twins' first birthday, along with Bridget's ability to walk like a zombie monkey and Christopher's current status of taking 3 steps. Share engaging stories of Conor, which woo the reader to perceiving the wonderousness that is this child}

{Mention that summer school is nearly over and how little research has been done but class has been a boatload of fun}

{/End blog}

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Why, Hello There!

Yes, yes, still around. Not leaving. Hopefully, when things settle down in August as far as kindergarten and daycare, I'll have a little more space to get back to blogging. (To document my life? To work out troublesome issues? To help others?) I'm sure the reasons will evolve, but let's consider today a Documenting Blog.

Let's review the last 7 days, shall we? (feel free to scan the first sentence of each paragraph to hit the highlights and get out of this long entry)

Last Tuesday, Conor lost his first baby tooth. I'm not sure when it's supposed to start but his lost his at 5 years and 10 months. And not only that, his first permanent tooth is coming in and, indeed, is what knocked out his baby tooth. And if it's incoming position is any indication---braces are in our future.

Last Wednesday, Bridget took her first 6 steps. It was the first time she had taken more than a few steps while cruising. Even more exciting, Dave and I got to see it together. That's not always the case if you're not a SAHM or a SAHD, so we were pretty psyched. By Thursday, she was walking across rooms. Christopher was not amused at all the attention she was getting and by Thursday afternoon, every time we cheered for Bridget, he performed what we call Trick #2: Clapping his hands. So it became a cheer-a-thon of being excited for Bridget and rewarding Christopher for clapping. (Do think think there's sibling rivalry? By Friday, Bridget had figured out how to clap and Christopher was taking 2 steps before falling forward into the closest person's arms)

On Friday, Conor graduated from preschool. I had expected that I would weep at the passage of my little boy out of the daycare we have loved since he was 4 months old. (Conor is staying home the rest of the summer with the nannies and then with me when I take July off work) No. I cried as some of Conor's special needs classmates triumphantly performed in the graduation ceremony just as well and enthusiastically as Conor's "typical" classmates did. (Ummmm, everyone did)

Sunday was the twins' first birthday party. It was a lot of fun and pretty cool that we were able to invite a lot of neighbors over with their children who are about the same age as the twins. Conor was the only baby in the 'hood when he was born. Now, we have 3 1 year olds within a 5 house radius. That's exciting.

On the other hand, remembering back to what happened a year ago when the twins were born was not a lot of fun. In fact, I was sad. My twins are perfectly happy and healthy now. And they are at least developmentally caught up if not ahead. But the day they were born sucked. I got to see them for 10 minutes total that day and they were covered in tubes and wires and did not look like healthy babies. EVERYTHING TURNED OUT FINE. I know. But that is not what parents have in mind when they think about their babies' arrival.

So where are we?

OK--Monday, the babies had their first year check ups. Christopher is clocking in at 80th percentile weight and 85th percentile height. He is 4 ounces less than what Conor weighed at one year...and one inch taller. YIKES. He is going to be huge. Bridget remains at 15th percentile weight, but 50th percentile height!! She is a skinny baby with ginormous feet, if I have to describe her.

So yes, that has been my last 7 days. There was also a baby shower in there and some massive cake decorating going on (must post pictures), but you get the idea.

I am also teaching summer school (love it) and Conor is out of school for the rest of the summer. (There are a few camps coming up, but he's going to have fun and goof off this summer before school starts)

I do have more to say, but honestly, I hate reading long blog entries. And Conor and I are reading Charlotte's Web together, so it's time for me to go.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Oh, Dear

We've been praying for an easy year this year. Apparently, God said HA! Well, it's not that bad, but it's certainly not "easy."

First, last week, my good old friend "Aunt Flo" returned. I was actually quite surprised. My cycles started back up when Conor hit 10 months old. The twins are 10 months and 3 weeks old now, so the timing is about right. But now I am breastfeeding TWINS. Two babies. One boob for each. And yet, my cycle has returned. I have imagined the conversation going on inside my body:

Ovaries: Should we send one down? It's about that time again.

Boobs: No way! I'm workin' double time up here. There's no way she would be able to support another baby.

Uterus: Have you SEEN her ass? Go on, Ovaries! Send one down. Heck, send two!

So that was a lot of fun.

Then on Friday, we were filmed for part of a Blue Cross Blue Shield Commercial. I'll post more about that when it comes out, but despite having lived in Los Angeles for 10 years, we were a bit surprised about the crew that arrived for the process. Make up, lightening, sound, BCBS big wigs, and a director and producer. My role was essentially to stare lovingly at Dave as he told our story, not for any sexist, "wifely" reason and pretty much because I had no idea what had actually happened. Sadly, my staring at Dave involved looking at him in profile, and I predict an uncanny resemblance to Professor Snape in the commercial.

On Saturday, we attended our first NICU reunion party. This was quite nice. It was a HUGE party with lots of families attending. We saw a couple of our nurses, which was quite nice. We did not see our favorite nurse, but we also missed Nurse Control-A-Lot, so overall it was a win.

This morning, on the other hand, I had to attend an academic integrity hearing for a student of mine whom I caught plagiarizing. You might think that would be an easy thing to do: AHA! A student has been caught doing wrong! I will get him/her!! You cannot imagine how it is not like that at all. At our school, hearings are rare. Most of the time, students get a "settlement" in which they admit their guilt, receive their "penalty" and the information is kept top secret for 8 years and then destroyed. So, cases like this are the exception.

And this case did not go as expected. There was lying, denying, external attributions of fault, anger, sulking, admissions of other plagiarism, and general Things That Are Not Good. And that was just me!!

I jest.

It was bad. And it was bad to see the student do what I would presume are all the same things that have gotten him/her out of trouble before. This was not a growth experience for this student. This was not a moment that is going to make him or her finally straighten up and fly right. This was just one stop in what I would guess is going to be a long line of messing up rather significantly. He/She did not get out of this. He/She was found guilty and was dealt a pretty severe penalty. Still, there is no relief.

And the emotional fallout for me has, surprisingly, been high. I protect my students. I cheer them on and coach them and want them to grow and do well. I recognize that not all are at that stage in their lives or have that goal, but if they want it, I want to help them achieve it. It's not fun and it's not why I'm a professor.

Oh and what else? I forgot to register to review for a conference so I may have let that person down. I have my first dissertation defense on Friday (on self harm in adolescent girls. Light and fun topic!!). I have 25 student project papers arriving tomorrow and another student waiting for another review. AND Christopher has a double ear infection and is quite cranky/sick.

There is more. There is always more. But I'm sure you're tired of hearing of my whining. God(dess) knows I am.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why I Don't Post More

This is photo tableau of why I do not have time to blog. They keep us on our toes from morning to night. If they just weren't so darn cute.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What A Week

Sometimes, I have to work really hard to come up with the prose to make things sound interesting around here. And sometimes, it sort of writes itself.

Obviously, you can be the judge of whether our last week has been as eventful as I think or whether I should have spent a bit more time, effort and actually grown some talent to make it seem more compelling.

Let's just go chronologically, shall we? Friday, Nanny #2 and I were discussing a blister/sore that Nanny #1 had noticed on Bridget on Thursday. I had said, on Thursday, "Oh, she must be sucking her hands and fingers and got a blister. Babies do that when they're born, you know." Then Nanny #2 said, "Wow, it really looks like a burn."

Ding ding ding ding ding. I rewound my brain and remembered when Bridget stuck her hand between the bottom of the hot oven door and the top of the oven storage drawer. She had only cried for a moment and when I stuck my hand in there it wasn't hot. Apparently, though, it was.
A quick trip to the doctor and a diagnosis of a 2nd degree burn and instructions how to take care of it---neosporin and hand washing (although he showed me how to wash Bridget's hands, which annoyed the ever loving hell out of me)---and we were back, none the worse for the wear.

Then on Sunday, Conor tells us a story of how he and his new playmate found a dead mouse? And how his new friend pushed all the blood out of this dead mouse by putting a rock on top of it and squishing it. I'm not even going to try to make that more dramatic than it is, but basically I flipped out. If you'd like to know why, then read this article. In any case, how we're going to deal with this issue is still in motion, so no more comments about it here, except it freaked me (and continues to freak me) out.

Monday and Tuesday were mellow, just normal random throw up, crying, and lack of sleep. And that was just Dave!

I kid! It was our multiple offspring, but I had to put that there. Then this morning, oh, let's say at about 4 am, the random throw up (Bridget once Monday morning) became more regular (Christopher, three times in a row. then again at 7 and then again at 8:30). Since Christopher had had congestion for the last 8 months and we think it's related to allergies and our Doctor (Dr. Here's How You Wash A Child's Hands) refuses to listen to us and he was constantly yakking, we decided to take him to the doctor's office. And see another Doctor. HA! Cheating on our doctor! And trying to find one who listens and doesn't think I'm an idiot.

Surprisingly, this new-to-us Doctor DID listen to me about Christopher's congestion. Why yes, he said, 8 months a really long time for a child to be congested. Some children are born sniffley, but still. It could also be a problem. And for the first time, a doctor agreed with me that Christopher's eczema is likely related to his congestion. After diagnosing an ear infection and an unrelated stomach bug, he suggested we give Christopher a half teaspoon of benadryl to see if that will stop his congestion.

At home, Christopher had his first doses of both penicillin and benadryl, and took a nap. A long nap. A long nap in which he did not snore. For the first time since we brought him home from the hospital.

But that's not all! No, burns, mutilated mice and yakking, infected, congested children do not cover all the excitement around here! No, the last bit of thrill happened during dinner, when I looked over at Bridget and saw a growing redness around her mouth, cheeks and nose. After deciding that I was not imagining it and going through a mental checklist of what we ate new for dinner that night, I narrowed it down to the eggplant Bridget had loved so much she'd have 3 helpings. But allergic? to eggplant?! Why, yes, it is possible! And a quick call to the after hours nurse made me very, very grateful that we'd bought children's benadryl today. The nurse was as excited as I was, saying that if we didn't have it, she would have stayed on the phone as Dave had gone out to get it, come back and give it to Bridget. Yeah.

She is fine now. We have to give her another dose in 6 hours but the rash went away in about 45 minutes. And tonight, she and Christopher are both sleeping well and breathing well. We know this because we've been checking on them quite a bit. But no more eggplant at our house. I fully realize that I am the only person mourning that fact. But it also scares me that Bridget has a food she can't eat again. It sort of freaks one out to know that something she could eat could make her sick. Or worse.

It's been an eventful week. I would just as soon it not be eventful any more. I could use boring. I could stand to be bored for a while now.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Hello There

So there's busy. And there's working mother of 10 month old twins and a 5 year old and a working husband. Hello!

I'm not leaving this blog. But I may be on leave this semester from it. By the time we get the babies to sleep and the place somewhat cleaned up, I just want to sit down with a glass of wine and watch TV. Even if that does happen, I usually only get 30 minutes to 1 hour of free time. And the often brain work required to do that is more than I have left.

And I don't really feel bad about that. I feel bad about a boatload of other things. But not about neglecting this too much. Except, I do feel bad about not documenting the twins' babyhood as well as I did Conor's. I know that happens moving from the first to subsequent children, but I still feel guilty.

Especially when I have such news to report as Bridget nearly walking and Christopher clearly saying "Daddy" (no Da Da) to Dave. Christopher has also started playing advanced Peek-a-boo with whatever linen he can find. And I just checked the previous blog entry and I did not mention that Bridge started to cruise about a month ago and can now stand up momentarily on her own. Christopher has just started creeping, in comparison, but he's still pretty darn proud of it.

Why here he is, creeping up on poor Patches instead of being in bed. Another difference in first vs. later children is that if one isn't ready for bed, I don't sit in the bedroom rocking for an hour until he goes to sleep. I'm sure we've doomed him or Bridget to a lifetime of horrible sleeping, but that's just too damn bad. I can't sit up there that long any more. And I don't believe it anyway.

As for the thousands of conversations I have in my head on this blog, the latest is what a witch I was on Easter! Yes! I won the award for worst mother of the year on Easter morning...BEFORE church! When we walked in and saw our friends, they kindly said "Happy Easter!" My blaring eyes, wild hair and frothing gave away my true meaning when I said "HAPPY EASTER TO YOU TOO!"

I'll simply provide the 15 minute highlight of dressing the twins in their very expensive outfits and then us all losing it. These highlights include: figuring out that their sailor outfits were not navy blue, but were black. Dressing infants! In black! For Easter!!

Then Christopher's button came off before I could even put his outfit on!! Did I mention EXPENSIVE? (And I don't mean "target" expensive)

Then we went down for pictures---one button gone be damned! I was going to take some pictures. Conor is running around the house in corduroys despite the hot weather. I sent him to change his clothes and he came back with a decent outfit and a tobaggon on his head he wouldn't take off. Fine.

"Sit down with the twins to get your picture taken."




"Fine!!! Then years from now when you look back and don't see yourself in these pictures I'll tell you that you refused to do it!!!!!" <--the peak of my bad motherness.

Seven bad pictures later, another button fell off of Christopher's EXPENSIVE BLACK EASTER OUTFIT. It only had 4 buttons! And 2 fell off in 10 minutes.

I believe that I was enraged at this point. All those images in my head of beautiful Easter pictures of my children in their matching Easter outfits (none black, by the way) as we go to church to have everyone oooh and aaaaaw of their cuteness is completely blown. I am so angry. So mad at the everybody. So achingly frustrated. And we're going to Church. On EASTER.

It got better. But it didn't start off that well. And now I've made my confession to you.

Time to relax. After I get Christopher back to bed and actually to sleep.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

She's Alive!

Yes, we're still alive over here in the Mother Thing household. But just barely. I have a ton of things I want to blog about, some factual/chronological and some more meditation on current events in our family.


I don't have the time. It's 8:00 over here and although Christopher is sound asleep, Bridget is practicing her cruising. Oh the joys of a 9 month old and her sleep. In any case, the good news is that Bridget sleeps almost the entire night once she gets to sleep. It's just getting her to sleep and getting her to stop waving and cruising and practicing saying Da Da that's the issue. The big difference between us as parents with Conor and us as parents with Christopher and Bridget? Instead of sitting in their room and rocking and rocking and rocking and rocking (and rocking), we just bring her back downstairs and do some work until she gets sleepy. Then lickety split, she's back in bed and asleep. I have no doubt that's All Wrong (for your family), but it works for us. You try convincing her that little girls who can wave can sleep just as well as little girls who can't.

Speaking of other baby issues, I used my infant CPR this morning. This was not a fun event, in case you're wondering. We were eating breakfast and Christopher appeared to be having problems swallowing. Since he had a cold, we figured he had some sort of mucus issue that was causing the problem or that the livermush (!) he was eating was too big. Then I looked over and he was making the choking face: Mouth open, struggling, no sound. I picked him up out of his seat, threw him upside down over my left arm and began to thump him with my right arm. I would like to say that I was incredibly focused and not at all feeling adrenaline. It took two thumps and then it came off of his windpipe, he coughed and it came out of his mouth. it was a velcro round from one of Conor's toys. Dave and I were actually still pretty calm by this point, but Conor was nowhere to be seen. It wasn't until after Christopher started his comfort boob that Conor poked his head back in the dining room again. It scared the carp out of him. I honestly though that the infant CPR class they made us take before we could take the babies out of NICU was b.s. Now? Not so much.

In better baby news, the twins were dedicated at church on Sunday. It was a beautiful ceremony and they were angels. Yes, I do owe you pictures of them (and the house) soon.

Speaking of the house, the great irony of the remodel is that we have more work to do on the house now than we did before the remodel. That annoys me!! We were hoping to have a few years of doing nothing, but we still have to decorate, organize, etc. etc. for a while more. And the CLEANING! It takes a lot more work to clean this bigger house with 5 people in it than it did in a smaller house with 3.

In any case, here's something good for you to know: if you paint your house a darkish blue, it's going to change colors quite dramatically based on whether it's in the sun or the shade. And even the direction of the sun (east, south) makes a big difference. Sometimes I drive up to our house and think "Oh, dear" and sometimes (in the shade), I think our house color is really nice. It's like living in a mood ring, though, that's for sure.

OK. Bridget is eating my leg. This is generally a sign that she's ready for sleep. Let us hope.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hold On

I'm still here and I have about a zillion blog updates to write. I'm just so tired after working and getting the babies to bed that the hour I have to myself after the kids go to bed and before I go to bed, well, I'm keeping that hour to myself.

General stories to follow:

*Quirks, Part Deux: Conor's underwear
*Bridget: It's her world, we just live in it.
*Christopher: My head is too big to hold up all the time. Now I'll cry.
*Amy Bishop is a nut, but I freaked out and talked about tenure all the time, too.
*I'm a wonderful human being!!!!: How I yelled at my mom, accidentally pointed out a couple who broke up before my class and were crying, and made two graduate students plus my son cry (irony in title will be prominent in that post)
*I'm still keeping the weight off from Pukefest 2010. Except as soon as I said that, three lbs jumped back on.
*(In a follow up post) I weigh the same as I did before I had Conor, but none of my body parts are in their same location. Plus my boobs are HUGE. And I don't like that any more.
*Two showers a week: Why working mothers don't smell as pretty as they used to.
*Our Remodeled House: Why do we have so much more freakin' work to do on it?
*Our Remodeled House, Part II: Blue looks different in the shade than in the sun. Whoops! Next time, we'll paint the house yellow.

Stay tuned for more exciting episodes of....This, That and the Old Mother Thing.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


The twins have grown out of that blank infant stage and have started to become distinct babies. They still really dig each other, holding hands while they nurse and touching each others' faces first thing in the morning. But they are quite different as far as their personalities go.

Christopher is just like Conor was. He laughs easily and, apparently, when I sneeze, tickle him, or throw him in the air, I am the funniest mother that ever lived. And like Conor, he is not all that interested in movement. Like Conor, when you are a fat baby with a ginormo head, it's hard to actually propel yourself around with your arms and legs. Unlike Conor, Christopher has decided to just lie on the floor and kick his legs like he's trying to swim across our hardwood floors. The good news is that he has advanced from last month when he would kick his legs for a few minutes and then put his head down and sob. Now, he'll kick and perhaps even spin around a bit before he puts his head down to rest a bit and try it again. It's really the only time he gets upset. When I say he's a happy child, I mean that 95% of the time, he's amusing himself with his toys and then looking up at whoever is around, cocking his head to one side and laughing. It's hard not to run over and grab him and kiss him when he does this, so I don't even try to resist.

Bridget, on the other hand....

Well, Bridget makes you work for her smiles. They are absolutely worth the effort because her whole face will light up, but she's not giving them out for free and never giving them to strangers (who usually make her scream). And quite unlike Christopher, the child is very, very mobile. She's not crawling yet (THANK GOD(DESS)), but she's creeping her way all over the house. The child is tiny, yet she's cover a space that is proportionately enormous just to see what is there.

She was trying to eat the mirror in our bedroom and so I put her way on the other side of the room to keep her safe. She made a beeline back to the mirror, stopping only for a minute to chew on an extension cord along the way. (A box of new baby proofing supplies arrived today, in case you were wondering) And because she is still drooling so much, we can tell where she has been crawling. Much like a giant slug, she leaves a trail of spit in her wake.

And just today, she started to growl when she crawls. She is still the queen of raspberries and feels free to use them to make comments about everything. But now, she's growling. She's not angry; she's just playing with her voice. But it's a bit disconcerting seeing this extra tiny baby crawling across the floor with a trail of slime behind her while she growls.

Speaking of disconcerting, Conor has started to really blossom into his own person. His own quite quirky person. (He is our child, you know) The latest was his proud declaration that he did not want to poop at school. While Dave agrees that he would not poop at their school, either, Conor when on to share how he will "move his poop back up inside" so he won't poop at school.

Yeah. That's one of those things that you learn about a family member that you care about and still think, "Dude, that's weird." But we shall judge not his poopitude. We've talked to him and his teachers that if he needs to go he should go. But he prefers to poop here in the bathroom he prefers to poop in (versus the other bathroom downstairs). Folks I PROMISE you, we did not put any pressure on potty training.

And then, his teacher overheard him explaining to his classmate about having a new sister "One of the good things about having a baby sister is that your parents love you more because you can be more useful." Dave and I were a bit saddened by that. Does he think we only love him b/c he's useful? No, but still! When we asked him about it, he told us that he told his classmate the good thing about having a baby brother and sister is that you can go to your room and shut the door when they start crying.

I have to be honest with you. Of all the things we would have imagined Conor to say about being a big brother, being loved more because we put him to work and the ability to get away from their crying would have not be on our top 20, even top 30, things we would have expected him to say.

So there. He's not us. Conor is his own little funky, loving, slightly bizarre and completely lovable person. He's really separating and keeping secrets and having his own opinions. And it's really nice. Quirky. But nice.

Friday, January 29, 2010


I just realized what Michele was talking about a few posts ago. The Artisan Bread can become doughy in the middle---unless you cook the hooey out of it. Yes, using my southern roots of Making Sure It Is Really Done, I usually add on at least 5 minutes to the cooking time for the bread. I've yet to burn the bread (and I've REALLY let it bake), but there are times when it's less than done. So, umm, yeah. That's my advice. Cook it to death.

And both bowing to and bucking southern tradition: We have a big snow storm coming. And so I went out to buy milk (along with a bazillion other people at Harris Teeter at 8:45 this morning). But I did NOT buy bread. Instead, I bought flour to make it.

Dave is calling our bread "microbread" after the microbrew beer we got used to in LA. Once you get used to drinking locally crafted and brewed beer, it's hard to go back to Budweiser and Miller Lite. We both think the same thing is true of this bread. A regular loaf of bread from the store is going to taste awfully "light" after the toothsome, chewy stuff we've been making.

OK. Time to go stare out the window at the snow. As much as I mock Storm Watch 2010, I'm fully southern and am obsessively checking the radar and two or three weather forecasts. Lame. But me!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I've had some wine with the dinner party we had tonight. Can I still blog?

We'll see.

Anyhoo, good and bad news with Conor's options for kindergarten next year. The good news: our local school is no longer Title 1 Choice. That's great. Sort of. Our local neighborhood school is Good now. But it doesn't feel like it, to be honest. One year out of being "good" still seems sort of sketchy to me. And the real issue is that all of a sudden we've dropped a notch in the lottery standings. In Charlotte, the lottery for the magnet programs goes in this order: within 1/3 mile of the school; siblings; Title 1 folks; in the transportation zone; everyone else. We've moved from "Title 1" to "Zone" in two of our (former) choices and "everyone else" with our final choice. We've subsequently changed what our lottery choices are.

I KNOW it's "political" our choice not to attend our local school. "Good" people in our neighborhood do. And by "good" I mean "good"--people who want to do good in this world and help spread the wealth of resources and attention. I am too selfish in my career to do this though. I can't work and run the PTA at the elementary school to. (I realize no one is asking me to do this, but it my delusional mind, that's the level of involvement needed)

So we got data for the lottery assignments from last year. This is the list of the number of people who applied to the 2009 CMS magnet programs, the number of people who got in and the number of people who were wait-listed. The good news (for us) is that it doesn't appear that there is a problem for us to get into a language immersion program. Indeed, we've decided to opt for French, Chinese and German in that order. We had eliminated Chinese earlier because we heard it was so popular there was a wait list for it. there is not. Since we knew there was one for French, too, we didn't want to go for programs we had little chance to get into. However, we're pretty sure we'll get in to the school (the language immersion) we want to now.

It's our friends who want to get into the more popular traditional and learning intensive/talent development schools who are going to have a harder time now. One very good thing is that our local school also has a magnet program for learning intensive/talent development. And we hear it's really, really good. it is one of the reasons why our school has graduated from Title 1.

And that's good. I understand that it's good. And in 5 years, our local school may be THE school to go to. In fact, it may be *THE* school to go to next year. I GET IT and I FEEL GUILTY that we still are concerned. Still, even if it had been "good" for the last five years, Dave and I still might prefer the language immersion program. it's really appealing to us. We've just thought, since we've lived in our neighborhood, that we'd always at the top of the list to get it. And now, our chances have gone down. Only slightly for our choice, but more for our friends.

So you know the weird part? After writing all this out, if we ended up NOT getting into the language immersion program and getting into the talent development/learning intensive program at the local school, I think that would be fine. I think it would be more than fine---I think it would be good.

We'll see. We finalized our choices today. Fingers crossed, mes amis.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bizarro World

Every time I blog about something here, the next day the opposite thing happens.

So imagine what last night's sleep was? W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L

Christopher slept without eating from 7:15 pm until 4:15 am. Bridget decided to sleep in 2 1/2 to3 hour increments. I only got up 4 times last night because of the babies. AMAZING!!!

Of course, there is always something to complain about. Otherwise, why would we be here?

The most exciting part was the two (2!) automated phone calls from Charlotte Emergency services at 1:30 am telling us that if we needed to flee flooding water, not to do so in a vehicle, but to call the fire department. OOOOOkay. Although our back yard is way flooded and you could probably get around in a kayak, we were not in danger of flooding. ON THE SECOND FLOOR.

And the irony, the IRONY, that it was the best night of sleep we've had in months and we're running around the room with our hearts pounding, adrenaline flowing worried about which set of parents had bad news.

The second part was the incredibly painful breast waiting for Christopher to finally wake up and eat. OH MY GOODNESS it hurt and there was no way in H E Double Hockey Sticks I was going to get up and keep him from sleeping as long as he could. Nonetheless, that's another big clue that the babies are still eating at night.

And, of course, when Christopher did come in to see us at 4:30 he was so excited to see us that he decided to practice his consonants and vowels (ba goo ba ba ba da paaaa), touch our faces and generally roll around the bed and have a party.

Then we gave him another dose of motrin and we all went back to sleep.

And based on my history, tonight is going to suck loudly because last night didn't and I told you about it!

At least, I think we'll be free of the emergency services calls. I hope.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


NOTE: I'm posting this just to complain, not to get assvice. It's just one of those things one wants to point out that is different for parents of twins as opposed to singletons.

So, defensiveness acknowledged and up front. I'm not really sleeping all that much. The funny part is that I don't really notice how tired I am until I start thinking about it. Or actually until I start thinking---research lab was a challenge this week: we were talking so quickly that my head was spinning by the end. And I'm the professor!!

Anyhoo, I decided last night to use my athletic watch to find out how many times I was waking up and how long I was going between nursings. Perhaps I should explain what happens: the twins go to sleep in their own cribs (HOORAY!) and when they wake up, we bring them to bed. Unfortunately, they wake up relatively early, around 11. One reason for this is that I know they are still eating at night. If, per chance, someone sleeps a bit later, my boobs are rock hard, filled with milk. I can also tell that during the night they are "eating." I don't really know how to feed them more during the day, but apparently I need to.

Back to last night, I decided to hit the lap button on my watch every time I woke up and rolled over to feed someone. Did I mention that during the night, I'll be facing right and at some point the baby behind me will whack on my back until I roll over and feed him/her. Then the baby on my right will spoon me for some time and then whack me on the back until I roll back over and feed him/her? I feel like I'm rolling over about 6 to 8 times per night, but am I doing it once an hour? Am I doing it every 15 minutes, which is what it feels like. Am I over or underestimating how little sleep I'm getting?

Well, last night, I did 8 "laps" during the night. That means, I rolled over 8 times during the night. That's about right. Sometimes I've done 6 times (great night!). Sometimes I've done 10 (suck egg dog night).

What was nice to find out is that I actually had a couple of long stretches last night. I had one 2 hour stretch and one one 1 hour 15 minute stretch. I know that's not a lot, but it's wasn't so bad. Of course, I also had a 50 minute stretch and an 8 minute and a 16 minute stretch, too, which definitely sucks.

The babies are actually sleeping quite well on their own. Each one is getting about a 5 hour stretch of sleep on his/her own. The problem is that they are still waking and eating (not comfort sucking---at least not early on) after that 5 hour stretch.

Here's the scoop folks: I have no idea how women who do not breastfeed do it. Although I'm up a lot during the night, if I'm awake for an entire minute, I'd be shocked. A couple of times, I'll stay awake 3 to 5 minutes thinking about something, but really, I wake up, position the bbs and then go right back to sleep. I'd rather sleep all the way through, but if I'm having to deal with this, I'd rather deal with it with the babies in my bed than any other place.

Also, can I tell you HOW ADORABLE it is to have the babies snuggling up against me? Especially when both of them throw a leg and an arm over me. It's so cute. And it's not just me. When I get up in the morning, they roll over to each other and snuggle up with each other to sleep for a bit more. We're snugglers around here. Tired. But snugglers.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Few Minutes

Both babies are down and I'm getting a few things checked off my list. And oddly, one of the things to check off my list of things to do today is to make a list of all the things we need to do in the house and yard this year. There are a lot of things we need to do just to finish the remodel!

Surprisingly, we have a lot of things to do in the yard. The contractors, bless their hearts, parked their trucks all over our yard and our grass, which used to be the envy of everyone in the neighborhood, is gone. There are issues in the back yard, too, and we've go to figure out where we're going to put all our outdoor furniture which used to go on our (now nonexistent) deck.

The good news, at least, is that we can now permanently cross off our list "Fix Leaky Roof" because for a while, that's going to be someone else's responsibility.

In other news, we heard from one of Conor's teachers about Conor's views on being a big brother. A classmate is going to have a little sister and the classmate is not happy about it. According to the teacher, Conor told him that it's fun having a little sister and that being a big brother is nice, too. The highlight of her version of the conversation was "Your parents will like you more because you can be useful."

Oooookay. That made us feel like crap. I don't think he meant it in the adult interpretation of that story. Cuz we like him plenty when he's just sitting there. However, he does like having things to do which are "his" responsibility with the babies. Still. As a psychologist, I'm going to blame it on having a high need for achievement.

Even better, when we asked him about that conversation, what he told us he said "When you're a big brother, you get to go to your room and shut the door when the babies start crying." Great! That's not much better.

OK. Bridget's up. Must go.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Michele from In Between the Parentheses, who is a real bread baker, asked about our bread. We are still following the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book. Honestly, it is the easiest thing I've ever cooked. And 5 minutes a day is the maximum I spend making the bread.

The challenge, though, is in the planning. If I want bread tomorrow night, the easiest thing to do is make the dough tonight and then bake it tomorrow afternoon. That gives it time to rise and time to bake and cool. But my active time in actually doing something is never more than a few minutes a day.

We've even been making sandwich bread using their dough. I bought some wheat dough and tomorrow, I'm going to try out the light whole wheat bread. We've even made our own pizza dough using their recipes and it's YUMMY: light, crisp and fresh tasting.

Have I mentioned we now have a weekly pizza night? Every Friday night is pizza night. One pepperoni for Conor and Dave and one grown up pizza for Dave and me. (Dave eats a lot of pizza). This week's grown up is going to be some variation of chicken and pineapple.

OK. Time to wind down.

Have I mentioned how wonderful our new nanny team is? How AMAZING? How much the babies love both of them and How. Much. They. Clean. The. House. A friend just pointed out some research that women professors with paid help at home are more productive in terms of publications than others. I'm thrilled to find this out. It may make next year's choices a lot easier---stay with Nanny Team or go to daycare.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I have read that one is supposed to do this, but I've never been able to stick to it until recently: weekly dinner menus.

I am finding this to be really, really helpful in organizing ourselves around here. Sunday night, I figure out what I have left in the fridge and what the organic produce folks are going to bring and what I ought to eat out of the freezer. Then I make changes in the weekly food chart. Then, for the last two weeks, I figure out what I'm going to order from HT.

I was quite lame in last week's online ordering, not understanding why my master list was filled with wine purchases. Then I realized Dave had gone to the store to load up on cheap alcohol. Once I deleted those, then all my regular stuff was right there. I can click on something and add it to the list. Or not.

I'm also putting together a master grocery list. This is a list for HT, TJs and BJs (Harris Teeter, Trader Joe's and BJs, a local club shopping center). I'm trying to put on each list what stuff we use is the cheapest where. And my goal is that's the only place we buy it. For example, wine is verboten now anyplace but TJs because it's so cheap there. Whole chickens are at BJs only because they are cheap ($.89/lb).

This has to be one of the most boring blogs entries I've ever written. Really? Who the HELL cares where we buy our groceries. The scoop is that I am obsessing on saving money. March 1 is our first mortgage payment for the remodel, which is not all that different from the mortgage and equity payments we made before. It's just that now, we have an additional $1200+ childcare payment. That will only last for 4 months (March, April, May and June) at which point Conor graduates from daycare and we get back $700 a month. (Can I just point out that right now, we're paying at least $1900 in daycare costs per month; we were used to Conor. Now we have Conor and the twins)

So until Conor graduates from pre-k, we are going to be freakin' broke. I mean, the budget is not clear how income is going to be greater than or equal to output. In looking at our budget, the thing we by far spend the most on per month is food. Even the occasional Target or Home Depot splurge doesn't hold a candle to what we regularly spend on feeding ourselves each month. (And we're not buying steaks folks--we eat healthy and frugally; leftovers do not go to waste around here). So my goal is to continue eating healthy (including the organic food delivery; it's not as bad as you'd think) and frugally (I'm making my own bread; we are not eating out; I'm buying dry beans and cooking them instead of canned beans; we are eating less protein and more economical whole grains). And BTW---online shopping completely gets rid of all that marketing and product placement effects that consumer packaged goods have spent years perfecting. It's OBVIOUS what the best price is. Yay for the consumer on that one!

So again, NOT VERY INTERESTING. But that's our lives.

Speaking of spending a boatload of money and the complaining about being poor, I need to get some pictures of the finished house. We love it. And the twins. We wouldn't make a different choice on either for the world. Just going to be a bit tight for a few months.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Food and Sleep

The main issues around here seem to be getting enough food to everyone and making sure that everyone gets enough sleep.

Dinner times are absolutely crazy and I'm not sure if it would be better with just one baby, but it's out of control with two. With Conor, I think at this point, we were feeding him and then eating our own dinner later. However, we've been eating with Conor (early) for a really long time now, so it doesn't seem reasonable to cook two meals in such quick succession.

Besides, the babies are eating what we're eating, just pureed into a slurry. That's right. Even a 7 months old, the babies eat what we eat and not special baby food. Tonight was roasted chicken, roasted sweet potatoes and sauteed yellow squash. Last night they had a hamburger (no bun), baked beans, blueberries and breastmilk shake. It was such a lovely shade of brown! We're sure you'll see it soon at your local fastfood joint.

We've only been doing this for a couple of weeks. I have known in my head that there is no scientific evidence suggesting what babies should eat when; it's all cultural. That means that the advice to hold off on protein, wheat, dairy, peanuts, strawberries etc. etc. and to start with rice cereal is not scientifically based and in fact, in other countries, parents feed their babies with different orders of food. Nonetheless, I've been following the US pediatric recommendations on what to feed children when and what not to feed them until later, UNTIL a brand new study came out from the American Pediatric Association that basically says start with meat. Additionally, there is no benefit to waiting to introduce foods that are related to allergies and in fact, that strategy could cause allergies.

So we're feeding the babies what we eat. They are gobbling it up and are quite happy about it. It's a little tough cooking our dinner and then blending it down in a timely manner for them while we're all waiting for dinner, but that's what we do.

There are other crazy things I'm doing, like making all our own bread. But we can talk about that later. It doesn't take time, it just takes planning. and it's so much better tasting. And it's a boatload cheaper. In any case, it's just constantly crazy around here.

Folks may be wondering how our sleep is going. The good news is that the twins are going to sleep in their own room now. Umm, yeah. They were sleeping in our room all night every night until 2 weeks ago. Now, at least, they start in their room and move to ours somewhere between 11 and 3. More often it's 11 and not 3.

I don't even look to see what times they wake up any more. It's too depressing. The best nights are when no one wakes up from 11 until 4:30ish or so. Those nights are not frequent. and the thing is, they are mostly not waking up to comfort nurse back to sleep. I can tell you that they are EATING during those times. If they don't wake up until 4:30, I've got concrete in my boobs, they are soon full.

Thank God(dess) I can nurse in my sleep. Except for those few nights when Bridget wakes up and wants to party, if I'm awake for an entire one or two minutes, I'd be surprised. Sure, I'd rather sleep continuously, but a one or two minute, even a 5 minute, wake up is not that bad.

And we both think the twins have not caught up growth-wise to what they should be. Christopher is tracking to Conor's height and weight, but we think he's going to be bigger. Bridget is still small and skinny. It seems to me that all her calories are going to getting taller instead of getting fatter. And I *think* it's more typical for kids to get fatter and then taller, not the other way around.

So there. Food, sleep, food, sleep, food, sleep. That's what my days (and nights) mostly consist of.

I'm going to the chiro tomorrow for my back. I don't think the tingling and numbness is a good thing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

So, Ummm, Yeah

I am really, really busy. And somewhat in pain. My back has been alternately going numb and tingling, so I think it's time to find a chiropractor and get some work done.

I started work last week, and at the same time decided we needed to go in a different direction with one of our nannies. Thank god(dess) for Sitter City. Seriously, if you need a sitter or a nanny, get your tired a$$ on there and find one. There are 4,700 people in their database for Charlotte. We found an amazing woman to complement our other fabu woman and now we have a childcare team that the babies love (already! They love the new nanny already!!!) and who are really and truly helping me work this semester.

But I have to be perfectly honest with you. I'm so incredibly focused at work that I simply do not have time for crap. I can only afford X amount of daycare hours per week with the twins, so I have to do what needs to be done when I need to do it. I have started online shopping with Harris Teeter, we are having organic produce delivered to the house and I'm using weekly menus to decide what to cook.

Also, I'm afraid that I've become a bit of a beeyatch taking no prisoners and getting done what I need to get done. On the one hand, I don't want to be a "pit bull" (what we called hard ass women when I was working in the real world). But on the other, I kind of like it. I'm getting problems solved and getting things done that need to get done.

But what really needs to get done right now is I need to sleep. And to get my wonky back fixed.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Well, Isn't That a Kick in the Head

Well, today wasn't all that eventful.....*after* I fell down the stairs.

Yes, I fell down the stairs this morning and NO I wasn't carrying a baby. Yes, that is the most important thing but OCCASIONALLY, it's nice to know someone is concerned about just selfish ol' me. I have since learned that wool socks are especially bad to walk down wooden stairs and that more than a few of my friends have taken that same dive bruising their ribs and banging themselves up.

My back is completely whacked out and I look like Quasimodo. I took some leftover pain medication from one of my miscarriages soon after it happened. That was not such a good idea. I apparently cannot write research papers while I am loopy. It didn't feel all that bad this afternoon, but now I'm really hurting. I'm thinking that tomorrow morning is going to be even worse.

And I have no idea how it happened, apart from the obvious. I just remember falling down and thinking "Surely, I'm going to stop. Surely, I'm going to stop now. SURELY, I'm going to stop NOW, there are no more stairs!!!"

Great. I really don't want to deal with this right now. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Good Lord

And I don't mean that in a positively religious way.

Yes, what did I last post? And when? I just checked the blog and indeed "Overwhelmed" was the last thing I posted about. And it's pretty much all I've felt for the last 8 weeks or so. Christmas while moving with twins and breaking in a new nanny to prepare for going back to work after being off for 9 months? Well, let's just say I don't recommend it as a positive influence on your marriage or your sanity.

We have, however, survived. And although there was that memorable cookie dough throwing incident on Christmas Eve, by Christmas day I felt we had rounded a corner. At some point, I had to just stop and realize that my family doesn't care all that much about the quality of the food or the craftiness of the decor. And really, the most important thing was that Santa had a wide welcome mat into our home.

We had a bit of a conundrum with Santa that my Mom and Dad generously saved. Dave and I are apparently one of the few people in America who have decided to save money for presents beforehand as opposed to just spending and paying off Christmas for the next couple of months. This means we have a budget and it is pretty limited. Conor really, really, really wanted a special Lego set and if we bought it, it would pretty much eat up his entire gift budget (we did go over budget for him, but still, he would have had squat if he'd gotten that set). So we told him Santa had to spread his gifts out and he probably wouldn't get this set.

On Christmas morning, Conor was very happy with his gifts from Santa and did not overtly express disappointment that he didn't get that particular Lego set as he got another Lego set from Santa. Well, Mom and Dad bought him that Lego set for Christmas. When Conor opened it, well, I've never seen such an expression of bliss and happiness over a gift by anyone in my life. He hugged it and gave a very contented smile. And my Dad (trying to save our face) told him that they had asked Santa not to give it to him so that they could do it. Conor then interpreted this to mean that Santa had brought the present to my parents who then brought the present to him.

I am so happy my parents gave him that Lego set, but I tell you what: I have never felt like such an ass in my life. I don't care WHAT Conor asks for next Christmas from Santa, he's getting it. He can have a god blessed pony next year if he wants it. Indeed, this would be the year he should ask for a new car, because he's not getting one when he turns 16. Yes, in the scheme of things, we could have afforded that Lego set. But we were trying to be frugal since we're running up on some dire straights financially. Still, that one moment of joy in what Santa wrought would have been worth the extra money. This experience also makes me feel very empathetic for folks who simply cannot afford that special gift for their children. The guilt they must feel has to be overwhelming.

Ok, enough o' Santa. I'm back to work this week for the first time since April 13. I know that because I found the receipt for my lunch and indeed some of the lunch from that date still on my desk. Lovely. I obviously was not planning on being out of work for the next 9 months. Even I, slob that I am, wouldn't have left a dirty fork, a milk cap or any of the various half filled cups on my desk for that period of time.

I like going back to work and preparing for classes and working on papers and grants. Our daycare situation, however, has become unsettled in the last two days. We have confidence that everything is going to resolve itself, but it is a wee bit stressful now.

As for the house, we've unpacked all but three boxes and are finishing the last major projects. The house is cleanish, except for the Lego explosion that is Conor's room. We're hoping the Ikea toy storage set will help us in that area.

Life with the twins is actually going really well. They are finally sleeping in their own room in their own cribs!! WOOHOOOHOOOHOOOHOOOHOO!!! I'm a bit excited about that. And despite what we were warned about the transition from our room/bed to theirs, it was nothing. There were no crying or anything. Let that be a lesson that your mileage may vary quite a lot from other people's experiences. Even better, the twins' naps have snapped into place. We are not training them: the naps are emerging on their own. Hallelujah and a-frickin'-men. I feel a lot better having the nannies step in when the babies are more stable.

I feel like I'm giving a book report of my life. I'm ready for some sanity to come back here. Some quiet? Some stability? A few minutes to collect my thoughts and relax? Yeah. I do sometimes step back from the dinner table and observe the chaos and wonder when that's going to happen, too.