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.