Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Birthday Party

This will be a post in pictures. If I wait until I have time to write about the whole party, then it probably won't happen anytime soon. Plus, I'm not sure a detailed account of the party would be all that interesting anyway. I'm actually really happy with how it turned out, despite being really worried about us going overboard. Considering how hard we worked to get to a 1st birthday celebration, I think we deserve to go a little over the top.


Party dresses! Labeled P and R for easy identification. They are also wearing shoes for the first time.


Party venue! Historic carousel.

Banner of monthly pictures. Idea found online, but actually made it ourselves (except the horses which were bought on etsy)


Centerpieces! These are completely the work of SH. Who knew he was so crafty? We sent those lollipops home with a few kids - those parents probably hate us.

All set up and ready for guests to arrive.

Birthday name banner. Overcast day.

Yummy!

Carousel of old-timey candy! This was SH's idea that my SIL and niece were able to put together at the last minute.


Smash cakes!

Paige and Riley had very different approaches to eating cake.  




Well, that's pretty much it for pictures that don't have a bunch of other people in them. Seeing as how I don't even put pictures of myself on this blog, I probably shouldn't post pictures of other people. 




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

One

Happy 1st birthday to my beautiful girls. 







In some ways, I can't believe it's been a year already. In others, it feels like a lifetime ago that I was heading into my 3rd IVF and getting that first ever positive pregnancy test. Pregnancy is a weird, vague memory that almost doesn't feel real. It's hard to believe that a year ago today I was having an emergency c-section thanks to pre-eclampsia. You wouldn't know by looking at these perfectly healthy, happy babies that for the first 10 days of their life they were hooked up to all sorts of tubes and machines and that we had to leave the hospital without them. It's been a roller coaster, that's for sure. The first few months are a blur and taking care of two infants has been incredibly hard, so hard, but also so amazing. I love watching them discover the world around them. I love watching them figure out how their bodies work. Their faces light up when I go into their room in the morning to get them up or when I get home from work and it makes my (cold, cynical) heart melt. These two tiny humans have changed my life. They have changed me.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A day in the life

I'm jumping on the bandwagon because I think these posts are fascinating. I decided to do it on a weekend since I'm with the girls all day. This day is not very typical, though. We are getting ready for their 1st birthday and for our family coming into town next week so there is a lot more going on than normal. 

This was yesterday:

6:00 - wake up :(
6:05 - realize i can't fall back asleep and get up. Check FB because I am too tired to function yet.
6:13 - hear Riley babbling and kicking the end of the crib
6:22 - make a pitcher of formula for the day
6:30 - start coffee. SH is up
6:33 - put laundry in dryer that has been sitting in the washer for a day and overnight. Throw blanket from bed in washer because the cat puked on it in the middle of the night
6:38 -all is quiet. Riley must have fallen back asleep
6:45 - coffee!
6:57 - babies are stirring
7:00 - time to get them up. I grab Riley and change her diaper, SH grabs Paige. We give them their bottles. Paige actually drank the whole thing which is unusual.
7:13 - put them in their car seats. We got into the habit of having them sit still and upright after each bottle because of the reflux. They used to go in the swings, but we got rid of those. Give them wubbanub pacifiers to entertain them
7:20 - start working on projects for the bday party
7:30 - babies have had enough of sitting still. Thankyouverymuch. Move them to play area.
7:35 - continue with party projects.
7:45 - smell poop. Change Riley's diaper
7:55 - clean kitty litter, more laundry. SH continues party projects. Girls are playing happily and peacefully.
8:15 - start getting breakfast ready, check for poopy diapers and put girls in high chairs
8:25 - girls are munching on grapes and clementines. Paige is stashing grapes in her cheeks like she is a squirrel. SH takes the dog for a walk.
8:35 - feed girls some oatmeal and Greek yogurt
9:00 - after eating some puffs and then screaming because I had the audacity to clean off their faces, the girls are back in the play area
9:05 - relax on the couch for a few minutes
9:10 - SH washes the breakfast dishes
9:17 - I smell poop again. Change Paige's diaper.
9:25 - more laundry. SH puts girls down for a nap.
9:30 - eat some toast. Actually remember to take vitamins.
9:45 - sounds like girls are asleep. SH heads off to get some party prep items.
9:50 - open a box that my MIL sent with presents for the girls' birthday. She used diapers as padding. Score!
9:55 - start cleaning kitchen
10:50 - kitchen finally clean. Even cleaned the microwave. Why did that take so long? Relax and play some words with friends before the girls wake up.
11:05 - the babies are stirring. Go in get Riley up, change her diaper and put her in some clothes for the day. Try to clear all the snot from her nose but she screams and fights me. She has a whole lot of snot this week from a mild cold.
11:15 - get Paige up, change her diaper and put her in clothes for the day
11:20 - girls quietly playing together In the play area
11:25 - turn on Disney radio on my phone. Girls are fascinated and keep trying to get to my phone.
11:30 - get in the play area with the girls. Am immediately accosted by babies wanting snuggles. 
11:45 - they wander off to play with toys. I take a couple Advil because I suddenly have a wicked headache. Perhaps it's the Disney radio. More laundry.
11:55 - dance around the living room to the delight of Paige and Riley. My dancing is hilarious.
12:00 - "do you want to build a snowman?" No. It's 95 degrees outside. The girls are getting fussy. I start to get lunch ready.
12:10 - diapers checked and everyone in high chairs. Finger food? Turkey meatloaf and peas. Plus, a few purée pouches since a lot of the finger food will end up on the floor
12:15 - the animals have learned the babies drop food and start sniffing around. The cat just scored a piece of turkey meatloaf.
12:30 - they actually ate a lot of turkey meatloaf. These girls are definitely carnivores.
12:40 - lunch is over and I give them sippy cups with water. They still don't quite get the sippy cup and mostly bang it in the high chair tray.
12:50 - more screaming as I clean their faces. I try to explain to them that I wouldn't have to do this if they would stop wiping food all over their face
12:55 - put them down to play. Paige starts crying. I pick her up. Still crying. I pick up a paci, realize it's dirty so put it down. Harder crying. Find a clean paci. No more crying. Now we're hanging out on the couch while Paige looks out the window. Riley is playing on her own.
1:00 - try to put Paige down to play. More crying. We continue to hang out on the couch instead
1:10 - SH is home from his epic run of errands. Everyone is excited.
1:15 - excitement didn't last long. We now have 2 crying and fussing babies.
1:30 -put them down for a nap
1:45 - sleeping babies. I just realized I am still in my pajamas. Change into real clothes.
1:55 - finally eat lunch
2:00 - neighbor is spray painting on his balcony right outside my window. This is not helping my headache.
2:10 - drink a Mexican coke hoping the caffeine will help my headache. Work on party projects.
2:43 - I hear some babbling. Not a very long nap. Maybe they'll go back to sleep.
2:52 - Nope. They are awake. Let them babble while we get bottles ready.
3:05 - we get them up, diapers changed and feed them bottles.
3:25 - back into the car seats for about 10 minutes to let the formula digest
3:35 - Free the girls from their car seat prison. Take out the trash. Walk the dog around the block because it's too hot walk farther. Continue with party projects.
3:50 - Play with babies while we wait for glue to dry. Change Riley's poopy diaper.
4:20 - Still have a headache. The glue is soaking through the ribbon on our party project. Thankfully we tested before doing it on the actual project. Now we are on the hunt for fabric or ribbon glue.
4:30 - Take more Advil and decide to lay down for a little while to get rid of this headache.
5:05 - took a short nap. Still have headache. 
5:20 - Girls have been checked for poopy diapers and are in their high chairs ready for dinner. Tonight's selection of finger foods is cheese, red pepper, and apple. We were going to make them grilled cheese but it's too hot for cooking with fire.
5:29 - Think my headache is finally going away.
5:45 - Throw in more laundry while SH finishes feeding the girls dinner. Headache is still here. Take more Advil.
6:00 - Feed the animals. Babies scream while SH cleans their faces. He tries to explain how much easier and faster it would be if they stopped fighting.
6:05 - Paige goes in the exersaucer and Riley goes in the door bouncer swing.
6:10 -Relax for a few minutes. Check FB. SH is doing dishes. I feel guilty for being on FB so I help dry.
6:20 - Give overdue flea treatment to animals. Babies are still happily bouncing and exersauce-ing.
6:30 - Decide to skip baths tonight because of headache. 
6:35 - Paige is getting fussy so I take her out of the exersaucer. We snuggle for a few minutes before I change her for bed. I realize she has dried food on her forehead and reconsider the bath situation before deciding to just clean her with a diaper wipe.
6:40 - SH gets Riley ready for bed.
6:42 - Start getting bottles ready.
6:45 - Realize I put the bottle in the warmer but forgot to turn it on. For the 2nd time today.
6:50 - Read a couple of books. Try to keep Riley from eating them.
6:57 - Feed them their last bottles.
7:10 - Put them in their sleep sacks, turn on sleep sheep and put them in their cribs.
7:15 - All is quiet in the nursery. I think that might possibly be the fastest they have settled down and gone to sleep. They must be extra tired tonight. 
7:18 - SH is making grilled cheese sandwiches after all. Turns out that's pretty much all we have in the house.
7:20 - Wash last 2 bottles and put them all in the sterilizer.
7:30 - Eat dinner. Realize all the stuff I didn't do today. Totally forgot to order the food for the party. Only got one room clean. Didn't actually finish any party projects, but did make progress.
9:30 - Haven't left the couch since dinner. I am exhausted. Remember that I washed the sheets this morning and need to make the bed.
10:00 - Head to bed to sleep in my nice clean sheets and try not to think about my never ending to-do list

Friday, September 5, 2014

I need a village

To say this first year has been tough would be an understatement. SH and I have done it all on our own. SH's family is mostly in Colorado and mine is mostly scattered around the greater Southern California area. So, even though I was born and raised in Los Angeles, my family still seems to live just far enough from where I live that it's not really practical for them to help in any real way. Friends who have kids are too busy with their own stuff to help us out and friends without kids are terrified of the idea of taking care of twins. I have an aunt who is already talking about having the girls come spend the weekend with her, but not until they are at least 2 or 3.

 For the first 5 months we were both home with the girls and since February SH has been stay-at-home dad extraordinaire. A couple of times when family was visiting, we managed to get out to a movie. We have hired a babysitter twice so we could go out to dinner. We don't do it more often because that adds about $100 to our night out. Not cheap at all. We need to find a nice, responsible teenager to babysit at night when the girls are sleeping because paying "professional" babysitter rates is just too much for someone who is going to sit in our apartment and watch tv. Last weekend our neighbors babysat (for free!) so we could go out for a nice dinner. Basically, I can count on one hand the number of times we have gone out and left the girls in the care of someone else. It's not that we don't trust anyone. We want the help. We just aren't very good at asking for it and apparently, our friends and family aren't very good at offering it.

I have tried to find some new mom friends and I haven't been very successful. Partly because I am pretty terrible at making new friends. I seriously suck at it. I joined an exercise class for moms and babies, but I find that moms of singletons have a hard time getting over the twin factor. There is a constant "I don't know how you do it" that is a part of the conversation and I have a hard time just steering the conversation to general, shared kid stuff. Then when I went back to work I could only go to the class on Saturdays and I was usually the only one at the class. Turns out it's all SAHM who go to the class so they only go during the week. Yet another thing I don't have in common with them. We also joined our local parents of multiples club. We have gone to a few events with members and twins of all ages and early on we went to a few of the play dates for our specific age group. Of course, at that point the kids were too young to play and it was just about the parents talking about their issues. Again, we couldn't relate to any of them. There was all sorts of talk of nannies and night nurses and that just isn't our life. So, we've had a hard time connecting to anybody. Also, our playgroup is not very active at all. I started a Facebook page for us so we could all talk, ask advice, and organize play dates. Again, very little activity. Everyone joined the group, they just aren't using it. I get the impression from talking to parents at the bigger group events that our group's lack of activity is fairly unusual. So, I guess it was just bad luck that we got a dud of a play group. I'm still going to try, though. I think knowing other parents of twins is going to be really important.

The problem with going it alone is that it is exhausting. On Saturdays, I get the feeling all SH wants to do is get away to do something that doesn't involve diapers or bottles for a few hours. He is burnt out. Sometimes he can do that, other times there is too much other crap to do.  I also need time on the weekends to recharge, but I feel guilty that I am again leaving SH to take care of the girls alone.We are both so exhausted it's hard to get the motivation to do anything other than survive. I would love for us to actually spend the weekend together. I would love to start doing more fun stuff with the girls now that they are so much more aware of their surroundings and interacting with everything. So, to solve that problem, the girls are going to start daycare a day or two each week. I'm raising the white flag. We need help! SH gets his time to recharge during the week (and perhaps get some errands run while he is kid-free). I can get a pedicure or get my haircut on the weekend without feeling completely selfish. And the girls can play with some other kids and get more comfortable being around new people.  My cousin (the one relative who lives really close to me) told me she takes her kids to this in-home daycare once a week. It's run by a Russion orthodox Jewish woman who had 8 kids of her own. It's in a pretty small apartment, but she is great with kids. My cousin's toddler apparently loves going over there. She has only two full time kids and then a few part time. When our girls are there, she will have her daughter come over to help or it would be too much for her. She is really cheap and walking distance to our house and she makes kosher lunch for the kids. It's perfect. The atheists are sending their kids to a super religious daycare provider. What could go wrong?

This is just the beginning of my efforts to expand our village. I'm feeling good about it.