Lilypie - Pregnancy

Monday, December 19, 2011

Advice needed - family relationships

When I was a kid, my mom was paranoid about my sister, my brother, and myself. She was worried about everything. She considered her primary goal as our mother to keep us safe, at any cost. We could never do a lot of things other kids did. For example, we lived in an extremely safe residential area, about 5 blocks from our elementary school, but were not allowed to bike to school until several years after our peers. We could not go away to summer camps. When my twin sister and I both got accepted to the university we went to, my mother deemed it too dangerous and insisted that if one of us go, the other had to go too, and we had to room together.

One of her primary ways of keeping us safe from strangers when we were young was to constantly tell us all the terrible news stories about bad things that had happened to other kids. (I'm assuming in retrospect that they are true, but for all I know, she made them up). Stories of kids who were abducted, tortured, killed in various ways. Kids who went into public bathrooms alone, who allowed strangers to speak to them, kids who were "too friendly". I remember feeling panicked as a child after she would tell me these stories. I think they helped me grow into an adult who is anxious, uncomfortable around people I don't know, and really socially awkward. I'm sure part of it is just who I am, but I can't help but feel that this contributed. Certainly it gave me a lot of fears and nightmares as a child. (Ironically, my mom never understood why I had so many nightmares).

Turtle is a very cautious little boy, but Tadpole is bright, cheery, friendly, and outgoing. At the Christmas party we had last week, I saw her in many different people's laps. She likes other kids and people with dogs at the park. She says hi to everyone whenever we go out anywhere.

My mother has commented on her friendliness several times, and has said "we'll need to do something about that", or something to that effect. The first time it happened, I was alarmed but didn't say or do anything, just filed it away in memory. Now I'm getting concerned, and I'm not sure how to handle it.

Luckily, in some ways, my mother can't handle watching the kids alone, so I'm never in a position to have to refuse to allow her to babysit or spend time with them, since I always have to be there anyway. Also luckily, she doesn't see them THAT often - twice a week at most, and usually only once a week. But on the other side, there are plenty of other things she says and does that I'd like to shield my kids from - her snobbish attitude, her racism, her elitism. As a parent, she was overanxious, overprotective, overbearing, controlling, and manipulative. I don't want her to be close enough to them to pass any of her issues onto them. On the other hand, she is their grandmother and I don't believe in completely cutting off their relationship - she has her good attributes, and I don't want to shield my kids from all the negative things in their life, either.

Now that I'm writing this, I am thinking I shouldn't say anything, just be always present and always careful of what she's saying and how she's saying it. But ... I am uncomfortable and unhappy to have to be on alert at all times.

What would you do in this situation?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat

Wow, I didn't realize that it has been so long since I've posted. We've been really busy with the holidays, or rather, I have been busy. My husband isn't much of a holiday person, and my kids are too young to get it, so I do it all myself. I've been shopping and gift-wrapping and tree-and-house-decorating, and pretty soon I'll be crafting, baking, and Christmas-card-writing. I don't know how it will all get done in 10 days. Yikes!!!!! 10 DAYS!!!!!

Last night we hosted my husband's local company Christmas party, and it was fun! I had to work my arse off getting the house in shape, and my daycare called to say not to bring the kids in on Tuesday because she was sick, so it was like PANIC! It all went well, and somehow the kids even took good naps so I could get stuff done. Whew!

In the meantime, though, life has been really busy and I honestly don't see it getting easier even after Christmas. I'm using all my baby-free daycare time to get ready for Christmas, and so unpacking, organizing, cleaning, etc. has been put on hold until after the holidays.

Also, our contractor has all but disappeared, saying he has no money and had to take some other jobs to make some money, so our remodel is not exactly on hold, but having one person work on your house for about 5 hours per week makes for very slow going. It's annoying and we're starting to get really upset.

The kids are doing great! Turtle talks talks talks all the time now, he probably has about 30 words, maybe more (including animal sounds) and repeats us like crazy. Tadpole isn't really talking much (don't they say that girls usually talk first?), although she babbles and SHOUTS constantly. She clearly understands us, though, and is extremely active, on the verge of being hyper. They are so much fun! I didn't know that this age would be so fun.

I'm hoping they don't get overwhelmed with toys for Christmas. So far I've got them 3 or 4 toys to share, plus tricycles, and I know my mother has gotten them each a stuffed animal, book, 2-3 toys, and several outfits (she always goes overboard). I know my sister is making them some cool stuff, and I have no idea if my brother is doing anything. I also don't know if my in-laws in Italy are doing anything, but I doubt it. I suspect they'll make up for it the next time we see them, though. I'm REALLY excited about the first Christmas that they're sort-of aware of what's going on, and spending time with my side of the family. It definitely makes up for those years of wishing with all my heart to have little ones around for the holidays.

So here is a question for anyone with knowledge of daycare - if you can't bring your kids in because the daycare person is sick, should you have to pay for that day? Should I ask for a discount next month? Or see if she can take them some other time to make up for it? Anyone know what the usual rules are?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was lovely here, and I am so thankful just for that. The whole weekend has been quite nice, actually. We had Thanksgiving at our new house for the first time ever, and we managed to get it cleaned up and all the food cooked on time (or in the case of the turkey, way early) and set a beautiful table and gathered with family and friends. It was really wonderful.

Then Friday we went to the Sacramento Childre.ns Museum, which our munchkins really enjoyed. It was their second time there, but the first time with two able-bodied adults, so we could let them really do whatever they wanted, and they had a blast.

Saturday we went to Grandma's to set up her Christmas tree, which was a bit stressful for all involved since we didn't really have enough people to watch the babies, get boxes from the garage and attic, and set things up while keeping the babies out of trouble. My mom is also not a natural born leader, not by a long shot! So it was frustrating when I would ask her "what should I do now? Where do you want this ___? Where is this decoration or that thing or ...?" and her answer was always "well, I don't know" and no further information. In the end we set up the tree and put out a few decorations and that was about it, because we can't read minds.

But! Then we went to Ch.uck e C.hee.se. Not really my favorite place in the world, but the kids had a blast. Tadpole especially. She ran around and danced and turned in circles and climbed on things and marveled and pointed at everything. She was so incredibly hyper. Turtle is becoming afraid of things ... he wouldn't ride on the little mini carousel, and he won't get in those coin-operated toddler rides if there are characters on there that he would have to sit next to. Tadpole has no such qualms. Which brings up another issue for perhaps another post - how my mother dealt with such an outgoing attitude in her kids, and how I plan to do that differently.

Today was a great day, in that we finally, finally, finally, 1.5 years after moving into our new house, bought some new furniture (besides cribs). We bought a media center for our living room! And ... a TV! I am not really into watching TV, although I do watch a few shows on n.etf.lix once in a while. Also, hubby and I like watching movies, and it has not been fun watching them on our tablet because it's small and you have to hold it (ok, I know there are holders, but anyway). Our last TV was a really old 28-or-so incher that I believe I had in college, and now we are getting a nice TV! That we can watch movies on! And a piece of furniture that will make our living room look like a living room! Because we will have something other than a couch and a bunch of toys in it. Yay!

I was really, really hoping we'd find some bedroom furniture we like, because I am getting a bit tired of keeping my glasses, books, earplugs, etc. on the floor. Hopefully we find something soon, as we are both tired of furniture shopping.

We had baths tonight for the kids, and I have two things to say about that. First, they have started kissing us when we ask them to. At least Tadpole does, Turtle often shakes his head and says "no no no no". Tadpole was in a really kissy mood tonight, puckering up and going after everyone. So then I got the idea to say, "Tadpole, can you kiss Turtle?" And they kissed each other! It was so cute. I can't imagine anything cuter than two 16-month-olds giving each other a kiss.

Second, Tadpole seems to have become the champion of pooping in the bathtub. I think out of the last 5 baths, she has pooped 4 times. And tonight, even though I changed a poopy diaper right before I put her in the tub, she was acting like she was about to do it again, so I yanked her out. I don't know what to do, it's like it has become a reflex. It's really gross. Any advice?

So at the end of this Thanksgiving weekend, as we head into our first Christmas in our new house, I am so thankful for all we have, and especially for our beautiful children.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pictures!

Here is the Christmas stocking I am working on for one of the kids. It is made of felt. Nothing is attached yet, so I can still rearrange, and I will probably add a few more details, including a cuff and their name. I also have to glue the pieces down, and will add detail stitching, and I have to sew the front and back together and do detail stitching around the edges. Then I have to make another one! Also, I just noticed that the front door of one of the houses is gone, probably floating around somewhere stuck to another piece of felt.



And here are two pics from the sheep festival in my husband's town in Italy. I was not there, my father-in-law took these pics, but I think they are absolutely magical.

This first one is just outside of town:



This second one is passing through the wall of the fort that surrounds the town:



Monday, November 21, 2011

16.5 months

I LOVE this age. Despite my frequent complaints and a few bumps in the road, this age is so far the funnest, cutest yet. I was talking with an acquaintance at a friend's one-year-old's birthday party. The acquaintance has a 3.5-year-old and a baby, around 5-6 months, and I was reminiscing about that age and talking about how much I like the current age, even though I miss the little baby stages. The kids are SO much fun now, playing with everything, exploring, smiling, laughing, trying to talk.

We talked about how when they are babies, for a while you are just waiting for the big milestones and for things to get easier. You're waiting for them to start sleeping better, and then sleeping through the night, and then sitting up, playing with toys, crawling, walking. Saying a few words. And then suddenly they're little people, and they're so interactive and funny. They don't talk enough to talk back, and although they throw tantrums they're usually easy to distract or wait out, and then they're happy again.

Tadpole is still a little fireball. During circle time at our weekly playgroup, she does not sit quietly with me, oh no, definitely not! She runs around in circles inside the circle, clapping, shouting, laughing, waving at everyone, and everyone laughs at her. She gets so hyper sometimes! She's started fighting back against Turtle, and one of her favorite things to do now is smack him on the head, usually while he's stealing one of her toys. She is still a happy little bug, smiling at everyone! Her vocabulary isn't expanding too much, she sticks with "hi", "bye-bye", and a few other things that I can't tell what she's saying. She still only does a few animal sounds, but she often says something that sounds like "Hawaii". One of these days I"ll figure it out.

Turtle has had a vocabulary explosion! He learned new animal sounds every day, and often repeats words that we say in both English and Italian. He started saying something that sounded like "babbo" and after a few days we realized it was "bottle". He babbles constantly, and thinks we should understand everything he says. Also, he can work the ipad. As in, he can turn it on, swipe it to unlock it, and pick what he wants to do. Often what he wants to do is watch Sh.au.n the Sheep. He can start ne.tfl.ix, select Shaun, and start playing it. He can also start up most of the toddler games he likes. We have to keep it hidden, which we don't always remember to do, or else he has a meltdown if we don't let him play with it.

This will be the first Christmas that they're aware of what's going on, and I'm excited about it. I'm making them felt stockings (we were in Italy last year, so I didn't even worry about stockings). I'll post a pic later today or tomorrow. We'll probably get a small fake tree to put on the table this year, so I don't have to worry about them getting to it, and I plan to decorate the mantle and put a wreath on the door, and that's about it. We're thinking of getting them tricycles, plus a couple other small gifts like blocks. And my brother and his family will be here for Christmas! My brother hasn't even met my kids yet, and I haven't seen his two older kids in a couple years (they're 3 and 5, so they've changed a LOT). We saw his wife and their 18-month-old back in the spring, but the little guy will have changed a lot, too. I'm SO excited to get all the American cousins together for the first time!

Like I said, I'll post a few pics sometime in the next 24 hours, including a magical one of my husband's town in Italy that his father took during the fall sheep festival!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More rambling

I am sick. We are all sick. Hubby brought it home with him from his last business trip, generous guy that he is, and shared it with all of us. Yay.

I am doing better these days. I still have such mixed feelings about daycare. God, I NEED that time to get stuff done, but ugh, I miss the babies so much when they are gone. Today, hubby is out of town and my friend's hubby had a business dinner, so we got our kids together at her house just after I picked up the kids from daycare. So I had pretty much no quiet time just with them today. I got home half an hour before their bedtime. Tadpole was wiped out! It was pretty funny. And Turtle, who'd been throwing fit after fit at our friend's house, suddenly became happy and sweet and was giving me hugs. He just missed me and wanted to spend time with his mama after being at daycare all day.

Also, I talked to the daycare about switching days, and she said she couldn't do it right now. She is getting another kid on Mon-Wed-Fri, and isn't equipped with highchairs and beds to do four kids on any one day. I wasn't going to switch them right away anyway, but now it's not even a possibility. And I had thought that I could look for another place, but now I'm realizing that the kids are used to her and her place, so switching could be traumatic for them. I totally recognize in hindsight that I should have found an ideal place right away instead of counting on being able to change later. So I don't know what to do. For now, through the holidays, we will stay where we are, and then we'll see.

In the meantime, the list of stuff to do just keeps getting longer! I hope to have a good chunk of it done by New Years or at least mid-January, and then we'll re-evaluate!

Next week is the first real Thanksgiving dinner at our house! We're having my mom, my sister, and 4 or 5 friends (one friend might have to work, he doesn't know yet). I'm excited and nervous! I've cooked the turkey for the last few years at my mom's house, but now I have a house to clean and a table to prepare and a lot of stuff to plan. I'm looking forward to it, though.

Anyone have any good turkey recipes?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Halloween pics



I'm doing a lot better these days, and we've been really busy this weekend. I just found these pictures from Halloween. They're not that great, unfortunately. I've asked a friend who took more to send them to me, but she hasn't yet. So there you are, the best I can do at the moment!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Daycare

I chose a daycare for my kids that was opened relatively recently and is run by a young woman who seems quite capable and so far has handled the kids very well. She's really sweet and loving with them, but I've also seen her correct them when they are rough with each other or misbehave (which they need). I am not at all concerned about her ability to take care of my children.

One of the main reasons I picked this daycare is because it is very close to my house. It is a 10-minute walk (max - sometimes I do it in less), and I LOVE that I can pop the kids in the stroller and have a nice walk over there, and not struggle with carseats and screaming, plus I get to actually enjoy the walk there and back. The first few times we went by bike, but then I needed to swap out the bike trailer into a stroller and that was a pain. But it only took about 3 minutes to get there. I'm not sure what I will do when it starts raining, or at least on days when it's raining hard.

I am struggling, though, because Turtle especially freaks out when he realizes I'm leaving. It's really heartbreaking. Today, he just wouldn't get far away from me because he knew if he did, I'd leave. I just stayed in the doorway and he kept bringing books and sitting in my lap and looking at me nervously if he strayed farther than a foot or two. When he saw I was leaving, he started screaming. Even the caregiver has talked about "making the transition easier" for him. I feel so bad. I realize that this isn't a problem with this particular daycare (I don't think), I think it's a separation anxiety problem, and I don't know if I'm doing the right thing.

The major downside of this place is that it is TINY. It's a little one-bedroom apartment. On nice days, which we've had so far, she takes them for walks, to the library, to the park, to the playground. But I'm worried about what will happen when it starts raining. I mean, I know people who have kids and live in small apartments, so I know it will be fine. But I still can't help but wonder if it's better to find another place.

Also, because the place is so small, she said she might take on another kid on the days mine go (Tue-Thur), but might not, and if she did, one more would be her max. Which is a bit of a disappointment, because we wanted our kids to get more socialized with other kids besides each other. Today, her Mon-Wed-Fri kid was there (around the same age), and they already seemed like they were having a good time when I left (well, Tadpole anyway).

Another negative is that because she has the other kid Mon-Wed-Fri, she wants my kids Tue-Thur, and Thursday is the day I usually go out with my mom's group, which I am now not doing. So the kids are actually losing that socialization opportunity, I'm missing my chance to see my other mom friends, and we're all missing chances to go to some of the fun places and do the fun activities the group has planned lately. If today goes well with the extra baby at daycare, I might just see if she's willing to switch it up at some point and maybe do Mon-Tue, so I can have the kids on Thursdays.

So I have mixed feelings. I was hoping to have the kids in a more formal setting, although I think they're young enough that it doesn't matter at this point. Perhaps switching to Mon-Tue will be better all around - they'll be with another kid on Mondays, have extra attention on Tuesdays, and we'll get to socialize on Thursdays.

Thanks for hearing me out! I'd be interested in hearing about your thoughts and/or experiences with daycare, too!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

So where is my village?

I think I'm depressed. I'm not really sure, because I have good days. But overall, I feel strung out, tired, overwhelmed, and here's the kicker: any time any stupid little thing goes wrong, I am on the verge of crying. I'm actually getting a decent amount of sleep, but I feel exhausted all the time. I don't really have anxiety, I don't think, but I feel pretty hopeless most of the time.

I feel bad saying this. Logically, I know I am extremely lucky. I totally recognize that. I know I have two absolutely gorgeous children, what I wanted more than anything, and I would not go back and change that for anything. And I have no material wants. I have a car, and a beautiful house, and I live in a wonderful town and we can afford anything we need. But I don't have much time for myself, yet, and I don't have any long-term goals in my life (not too many short-term ones either, actually), which I think is contributing to my feelings.

I'm also clearly not over a few things from my past, most especially the breastfeeding debacle. I have so many regrets. I was just reading Anne Lamott's "Operating Instructions" (good book, by the way), and she quotes someone (don't remember who) as saying that forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past. And I am struggling so hard with this. With how the labor and delivery and breastfeeding went, because I had such grand ideas and I failed at all of it.

I think the breastfeeding still bothers me the most because I had a choice there. I didn't have a choice for the labor and delivery problems - I made the best and sometimes only choices I could based on the problems I faced, and there was nothing better I could do. But breastfeeding - I COULD have done it. I could have been better prepared, could have tried to find more help, could have gone to La Leche League meetings. I was producing milk, and I could have worked at latching and maybe I could have made it work. Maybe. I don't know because I gave up.

I had some of the same problems then as I do now - I was isolated and lonely and desperate for some normalcy in my life. I had no support system at all, no one who was helpful, no one who was positively encouraging. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I used to think it was because kids needed so much work that you needed more than one person to do it all. But I get it now. It's because it's a hard job, and you just can't do it alone, physically, psychologically, emotionally. I sorely felt the lack of community at that time in my life, similarly to how I do now.

We live in our suburban houses with our fenced-off yards and our cars and sometimes I spend an entire day with no interaction with the outside world other than through my phone and computer. It's so lonely.

In addition, it takes a village because even though many aspects of motherhood come "naturally", instinctually, many don't. New mothers need to be mentored, need that sense of sisterhood from other mothers, need a hand sometimes, need to have someone hold their baby and can then hold someone else's sometimes. And by sometimes, I mean multiple times a day, not once a week. We need a real community, and most of us don't have it. We need to have others who came before us teach us, inspire us, support us.

My town actually has a lot of support for new moms, but you have to get yourself up and ready and out of the house, and get your baby ready, too. And with twins? Well, I just couldn't do it regularly enough. And one thing my town DOESN'T have is a mother's of twins club. I was and still am isolated. Sometimes the thought of getting myself up and dressed and my contacts in and socks and shoes on and my purse and keys and sunglasses, and THEN getting the kids changed and dressed and their socks and shoes on and the diaper bag packed with diapers and snacks and water bottles and books and maybe bottles of milk, and then struggling to get them in their carseats ... at that point, it doesn't seem worth going out.

Anyway, I am rambling. My point is, I don't know how to tell if I am depressed, and I don't know how to go about getting a professional opinion. I don't know if therapy or drugs will help me feel better. I want some advice. Especially in the absence of a village.

Monday, November 7, 2011

16 months

(Sorry for not having Halloween pics yet, I thought they were on my phone, but they're actually on the camera and I'm tired and lazy tonight.)

Turtle and Tadpole were 16 months yesterday, and they are little balls of energy and sass. They exhaust me. I end every day wondering how our house got so destroyed after I spent so long the evening before cleaning it up.

They are super sweet and interacting more and more, which is awesome to see. They also want interaction with me even more, and they fight constantly for my attention. Turtle is the worst, he grabs my finger and wants me to go everywhere with him and do things he can totally do for himself, like pick a book off the bookshelf. He LOVES books and spends a lot of time each day flipping through them, preferably while sitting on my lap. He takes my finger and uses it to tap the animals he sees, then makes the animal sound or waits for me to do it. I think he's saying a lot of words that we just don't understand yet. Today he said "bubbles" and he clearly wanted me to blow some bubbles for him. He is addicted to TV, which worries me. I've had to use it a lot lately just to get a moment free to heat up dinner or go to the bathroom (I'm currently a single mom while hubby is traveling), and then it's hard to pry him away. He's teething badly and that makes him awfully cranky.

Tadpole is crankier than usual too, I suspect from teething. She's more independent than Turtle, in a way. As long as I'm nearby, she's ok, I don't have to always be playing with her or touching her. But if I leave the room or her sight, she freaks out and comes to find me. She likes books, too, but isn't very interested in TV at all. Whew, at least I don't have to worry about one of them. She's not sleeping well again, waking up early in the morning. Also, she seems to still need two naps, or else she just needs an earlier nap than Turtle - she regularly falls asleep in her high chair at lunch. Which is actually pretty funny, since she'll try to keep eating while her eyes are closing and her head is drooping. She understands more words than she lets on, since sometimes I'll say the name of an animal in conversation and she'll make the animal sound, and I won't even realize right away that she was picking up on my conversation.

They constantly test my limits and patience these days. They think it's funny when I say "no". I gave them a box of dry lima beans to play with and some measuring cups and scoops, and at first they had a ton of fun scooping up the beans and pouring them into different containers. Then Tadpole kept holding a few right in front of her mouth, looking at me, and smiling, just waiting for me to say "not in your mouth!" Today they were throwing the beans everywhere, so I packed them back up again. Also, Turtle was climbing onto the Leap..fr.og musical table and I kept telling him to keep his feet on the floor, and he'd just laugh. I can tell that discipline is going to be a real issue soon, and I'm dreading it.

And now the pictures:

First smoothie! Or maybe second, I don't remember:



I bought these balls at T.a.r.ge.t, and put them in laundry baskets, which was fun for a while. Now they just throw the balls all over the room and it's a pain to pick them all up.



I had the brilliant idea of putting them in the bathtub, too. Which was actually quite fun, but it was a huge pain picking them up.



Swinging at the park today. It was cold. I've started dressing Tadpole very girlishly, since she STILL doesn't have much hair and people constantly think she's a boy. Even when she's wearing pink.




And that's that. I still want to write about daycare and my mixed feelings, but I haven't had time. So, I owe you guys a post on daycare, Halloween pictures, and hopefully sometime soon some photos of my house, since the remodel is almost coming to a close!!! Hope all's well out there in blogland!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Random bits and pieces

I am a single mama again, for a week, since hubby just headed off to Europe this afternoon. He'll be back in the states on Monday, but not home until Wednesday night. Boo.

So today has been a lot better than the last two days, and I've been thinking a lot about things I've been wanting to write. I figured it's a good time to get some of it down. It's a mash of advice, questions, and observations, hopefully there's something of interest to everyone.

- No one warns you, before you have kids, how hard it is to get a crib sheet on a crib mattress. It's really hard, especially if you use crib bumpers.

- The general consensus is that crib bumpers are Not Good, because they may contribute to SIDS. We used them anyway, however, because our kids kept banging their heads on the crib rails. One night Tadpole managed to get her leg stuck between the bars of her crib by just sticking her foot through the bars ABOVE her bumper, so major fail there. She was pretty unhappy about that. On the other hand, the bumper prevents her many many pacifiers from falling out of bed, so it's well worth it.

- I seem to be addicted to coffee. I drink it decaf, and only in fancy, frou-frou blended drinks with chocolate. I am addicted to the taste, I think. I would like to break this addiction.

- I had NO IDEA that the transition from two naps to one nap was actually a transition PERIOD. I thought that one day you just realized that your kid(s) didn't need two naps anymore and you just put them down a bit later and they slept longer and voila! Well, surprise! That's not how it works! It drags on and on and on, while they keep changing their minds daily about whether or not they want to sleep and how tired they are. And usually, on any particular day, one baby wants one nap and the other wants two. Which just sucks. I am looking forward for the transition to end and for everyone to be happily settled on one nap.

- We did not buy a glider when we found out we were (finally) going to have babies, which many people do. My mom donated her rocking chair, which she used when I was a baby, but I actually prefer these chairs from I.KE.A, which we already owned, and which allow you to sort of bounce, with a quicker rythym than a rocker. Just a note of advice. They don't work well for breastfeeding twins, though.

- I actually have a lot of interests other than sports, and I realize I haven't given that impression on this blog. Among other things, I like reading, crafts, cooking (I'm a foodie), and gardening. I am very much a do-it-yourselfer. I want to write more about that in future posts.

- I have mixed feelings about daycare, but since crazy things keep coming up (like WINDOWS IN CARS BREAKING SPONTANEOUSLY) and my pantry being taken over by moths, and so on, I need the kids to stay there for a bit while I patch up our house and our lives. I want to write more about all of that, too. Is that boring to read about?


Today, I hung out with my kids. We had lunch with their dad before he left for Europe. We made a mess of the house, which I haven't cleaned up because I have been writing blog posts. We read books and played with puzzles and refused to take naps, and were cranky and cute and sweet. We had an overall good day, with the usual ups and downs, and no broken car windows or stupid brain lapses resulting in forgetting to put on the parking brake (and therefore no damage to our cars, which is a big improvement over several other days this past week). No vomiting (so far, it's only 9:30, though). So in the scheme of things, compared to most of the last week, today gets a pretty high score in my book.

And the plot thickens ...

So yesterday was sort of a horrible continuation of the day before. Today is much better, and I'll write a follow-up post lickety-split, but I just have to get yesterday down because it felt like it almost killed me.

So to catch up - Sunday: Tadpole vomited. Monday: Turtle vomited in the car all over himself and we spent the day driving around to visit all my mother's friends while trying to deal with the situation, and while she wasn't particularly nice to me. Sigh.

Tuesday morning.

I let hubby sleep in until about 8:15, then Tadpole, who's been up for a while, goes to wake him up.

Turtle wakes up and I go in and OMG, the smell. The smell of vomit. It's everywhere, particularly in his hair because that's where he likes to rub everything these days. My mind immediately starts racing ... they can't go to daycare, obviously. Which sucks because WE ARE COMPLETELY OUT OF MILK. Which I didn't think would be a problem, since they should have been in daycare, but CRAP! We have no milk! And this room and everything in it, including the baby, reeks.

So I quickly strip the baby and the other baby (who still smells of vomit from HER little party on Sunday) and dump them in the tub, totally impromptu, and then my husband comes running in, saying "crap, I had an important call at 8! I am going to go take it in the guest room". And leaves me alone with two pretty unhappy babies in the bathroom, where I have not prepared myself with towels, clean diapers or anything. And it's pretty cold in the house, too, so the babies are clearly getting cold. Sigh.

They get tired of the bath pretty quick, unsurprisingly, especially since I had to scrub Turtle's head pretty hard to get the vomit out of his hair. Poor little guy. So I RUN to grab diapers from the laundry room (just next door), race back, pull Tadpole out of the tub and quickly rub her dry and diaper her, then pull Turtle out of the tub and dry him and diaper him, too.

Out to the living room, both babies getting really cold and cranky, and I'm looking for clothes to put on them, when my husband appears, all annoyed that they're crying and interrupting his call.

Anyway, let's make a long story short and say it was a VERY stressful morning, and I finally got things calmed down and everyone dressed and warm and relatively quiet, and I stripped Turtle's bed and put on some clean sheets so at least it would be ready for naptime. BUT. I still had to go buy milk.

Quick aside - did I mention that my phone got shut off because an online account got broken into and my bank decided to cancel my card for fraud and my card paid for my phone? And my phone company's website decided not to recognize my password or secret question so I couldn't log in to pay for the phone? Yeah, so I had no phone for a few days.

ANYWAY - we went to Ta.rg.et, since we were short on diapers, too. It was windy. REALLY windy. I have a minivan, the kind that has rear side windows that crack open an inch or so (called "wing windows", apparently), and one of them had been stuck open since we left our car at long-term parking when we went to Italy, and we kept forgetting to close it.

After shopping, I load the kids in the car, and I'm standing at the back, loading the bags, when I hear a big crash. Somehow, I didn't see anything, and I thought maybe it was a tree branch cracking off in the wind. I get in and start driving away. After a couple minutes (I can't believe it took me this long), I realized that it seemed awfully ... loud ... in the car, and sort of windy. I turned and looked over my shoulder and THE FREAKING WINDOW WAS GONE!!!!!! The wind had ripped off the window.

I pulled into a parking lot, got out to look, and sure enough, no window. I raced back to T.ar.get, and some idiot was already parked in my spot, but I could still see the glass all over the ground. I have no idea how I didn't notice it before. I feel so lucky that the wind ripped it outwards and it broke on the ground, instead of into the car.

At that point, I almost had a breakdown, because it had been a really rough week. Actually, last week, I took my husband's car (used to be our mutual car) to the store, and forgot to put on the parking brake, and it was windy again (sheesh, this wind, it's killing me), and a gust of wind blew my car backwards into another car while I was grocery shopping. Basically, both cars had a scratched bumper, but she reported it to insurance and I've had a million calls and I already cried about that, and now this. (Do people really report such minor things to insurance? Wouldn't it have been easier for me to just PAY for her stupid bumper?)

Today was better, thank goodness.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Freaking Halloween

Today sucked. God, it was awful. I agreed to go to my mom's house for Halloween, partly out of guilt that she didn't see the babies in their costumes last year. This year, Tadpole was Supergirl (I ironed a logo on a plain blue shirt, my sister sewed on a make-shift cape, and she wore a cute red skirt from Ta.rg.et), and Turtle was Charlie Brown (plain yellow shirt with jagged stripe drawn on and brown pants). They were SO CUTE!

BUT!!!! My mom lives 45 minutes away, and about 20 minutes into the drive, Turtle pukes. all. over. himself. In the back of the car. UGH!!! It was on a stretch of highway with nowhere to stop, no exits, etc., and Tadpole had just fallen asleep. So I drove the rest of the way there (poor thing), stripped him, and washed his costume at her house while trying to prevent them from eating too much cat hair.

My mom's friend comes over, and I decide it's time to change everyone's diapers, based on the smell.

Mom's friend: Oh, I remember when we had to carry around diaper bags!

Mom: Oh, Sunflowerchilde always had these big ideas, that she wouldn't have to carry around a diaper bag, that she would breastfeed, that ...

Me: Excuse me! That's very hurtful. I WANTED to breastfeed, and got no support from anyone, INCLUDING YOU!

Mom: Well, I didn't care about breastfeeding. I mean, I didn't care about breastfeeding you, and I didn't care whether or not you breastfed.


I guess she was trying to make a point about how idealistic I was and how reality was sort of kicking me in the teeth, and I get it, point taken, but it still hurt a bit. Although I recognize that she didn't have any idea what it meant to me.

We went to lunch, and drove all over creation visiting her friends to "trick-or-treat", with both kids falling asleep at various inopportune times. Poor things spent hours in the car today, and poor Mama had to get them in and out of their carseats a million times.

Then on our 45-minute drive home, I start feeling not-so-good. When I'm close to home, I call hubby who, like a saint, immediately offers to come home and when he arrives admits that he's not feeling well either. Ugh, poor guy. I puked my guts out and laid in bed while he handled dinner for the kids and putting them to bed. They desperately needed a bath, but no one was up for it. Tonight, he is my hero.

And now I feel like total crap and am going to bed. I'll post pictures of the Halloween costumes in the next day or two, when I'm feeling a bit better.

Friday, October 28, 2011

15.5 months

I always want to write down how things are going, and I never have the time, and when I do have the time, I don't have the motivation.

Tadpole and Turtle and growing in leaps and bounds! At their 15-month appointment on Monday (they were actually 15.5 months), they weighed 24.5 and 25.5 pounds respectively, and they're around 32 inches tall. Almost as tall as hobbits! Which is an idea I have for them for next Halloween. If they let me pick by next year.

They just learned to give kisses and it is SO sweet! I think my heart might melt every time they do it. Turtle will even stop crying to give me a kiss if I ask. Of course, he starts crying again right after, but hey. It's enough.

Turtle is talking up a storm! He says no, and does a lot of animal sounds, including dog, elephant, chicken, chick (baby chicken), lion, duck, sheep, and frog. He has done a coyote howl a couple times, too, and he says coco (with the accent on the second syllable, like coCO) in order to say a bunch of different things, many of which we haven't figured out yet. Tadpole just says "hi" and "bye-bye", and she'll occasionally do a couple animal sounds, usually dog and sheep.

I bought a couple small kid-sized plastic chairs at the thrift store for them, and they love sitting in them, although they're still slightly too small to sit in them easily. They also love the legos I borrowed from our toy library, and they are both still completely crazy about books. Which is wonderful!

Their second Halloween is almost upon us, and I made their costumes myself! They're very simple and required almost no skill or time, so don't be too proud of me. I'll post pics over the weekend, or Monday evening.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Daycare

My babies start daycare tomorrow. I'm ... nervous, to say the least. Also a strange mixture of sad, relieved, excited, guilty, terrified. And other stuff. I feel a bit like of a failure. But I feel relief because finally, I get a bit of time for myself. Not just to breathe, but to get stuff DONE around here.

With the babies at home, I barely break even. Right now they are down to one nap most days. I spend that nap cleaning up after lunch and after the morning, washing the dishes, picking up toys, sweeping the floor, making phone calls or sending emails. After they go to bed, at 8pm, I clean up after dinner, unpack and repack the diaper bag, unload the car from errands, fold laundry, sort mail, pay bills, etc. If they've had a bath, I also have to clean up the bathroom, put away toys, and wipe down the tub. I go to bed wiped out, and then I get up pretty early and start all over. I can usually maintain things, but the problem is I started out behind and I'm still behind.

There's paperwork to be filled out and filed and sorted and recycled, and it's everywhere. There are closets to be cleaned out. The garage is a total disaster. It has a lot of stuff we never unpacked after we moved, a lot of old baby stuff, and all the regular "garage" stuff, and it's all in a big pile because the contractors moved it here and there and eventually shoved it all in the middle. And now it's covered in an inch of dust and dirt, too. There is furniture to be moved around, including in the kids' rooms, and it's hard to do that when they're awake and impossible to do when they're sleeping in there. We have a food moth infestation AND a clothes moth infestation, and I haven't been able to do anything about either one. In the last few weeks, we've had our heater go out, and the contractors have cut our electricity, water, and gas on various occasions, requiring me to spend a lot of time on the phone, or showing repair-people around to fix stuff.

On top of that, I never get to the gym. I don't get to work out. I feel like crap because of it, and I think I am actually more tired. I only shower a few times a week (when do you people shower? How?!). Every once in a while I manage to make a nice meal, but most of the time it's total crap, and we have to put the kids in front of the TV at some point just to get a few things done.

Next month, my husband will be going on an 8-day trip to Europe, and then later a 5-day trip to Europe. In between, he'll be doing lots of day trips, which often involve leaving at 7:30am and getting home after I go to bed, which means I handle everything from the moment the babies get up to the moment they go to bed, plus clean-up. I'm just so tired.

I have a dentist appointment next week, and I've had an intermittent toothache I haven't had time to get seen to in the meantime. I somehow got my birth control renewed without going to see the OBGYN, but I have to do that soon. My bras are all destroyed and I haven't been able to get new ones.

So that is why they are going to daycare two days per week. And why I am heartbroken about it, but also relieved to be able to just DO some of this stuff. And hopefully in a few weeks or months I can catch up, and we can reevaluate how things are. Maybe everyone will be happier with daycare. Maybe we'll hate it and we'll stop. In theory, we can choose whatever works for us and all be happy with it.

And sheesh, I make it all sound bad, which it's not! I mean, I don't get stuff done because I'm spending time with my beautiful children, and we generally have a lot of fun, even if we are running errands some of the time. Today we just got ice cream and hung out in the plaza in our town, played in the fountain and ran around and bought art supplies for some fun things I hope to do now that I will actually have TIME to do them. I will be able to prepare them on daycare days, and we'll be able to do them on days they're home, and I'm hoping the time we spend together will be more quality time.

Am I just kidding myself, though? I will miss them like crazy when they're not here. Maybe after I get things under control, I'll keep them home again full time. Maybe not. A blogger I read once said that she thought parents who work (I'll modify this to parents whose kids don't spend the whole day with them) may not love their kids more than parents who stay at home, but they probably appreciate them more, and I suspect that might be true. So we'll give it a shot tomorrow and see how it goes. Wish me luck, please!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

15 months (and ten days)

Last night, as every night, my husband and I went to check on the babies just before we went to bed. We always creep in with a flashlight and make sure everyone is settled, put an extra pacifier or two into Tadpole's crib, and make sure Turtle has his little elephant.

When we went into Tadpole's room last night, she was asleep sideways across the top of her crib, completely wedged up there, on her back with her arms thrown out wide (she often sleeps like that). She had her right foot hitched jauntily up over the crib bumper, with her foot sticking through the bars of her crib. We often wish we could take pictures of Tadpole while she sleeps, but that was definitely the best photo-op-that-couldn't yet.

Lately they've been talking more. They babble almost constantly, and sometimes it seems like they might say something intelligible. They do a bunch of animal sounds, although not always on cue, and most of them they do in Italian (animals talk differently in different languages, did you know that?). Turtle says "no" all the time, and I'm not sure he knows precisely what it means, but he does know that it's something he should say when he's unhappy, or doesn't want something, or DOES want something he can't have. Tadpole says "hi" and "bye-bye" while waving, which is adorable. Sometimes I think Turtle says "what is this?" or "what is that?", but I can never really tell. When they're exposed to two languages, it's even harder to guess what they may or may not be saying.

It is sometimes surreal to me that I got what I wanted and that I will most likely never get it again. That what I craved for so long is already passing me by, in a way. It makes me want to stop and savor every moment, even the bad ones (the tantrums, the horrible diapers, the food on the floor and in the hair and everywhere). I'm trying to live in the present without mourning not only the past but the future-that-will-one-day-be-past, which it turns out is much harder than I expected.

And in other news, I'm finally working on their rooms, now that the construction on our house is slowly creeping towards being finished (KNOCK ON WOOD!!!!). So maybe I will actually get that done soon and post some pics, the way many infertiles do after they get pregnant but BEFORE the baby is born. I am only 16 months behind.

Hope y'all had a good weekend. Cheers.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Little stars

I've been wanting to write so long about the little stars of this blog, Turtle and Tadpole, of course. I NEED to start writing more regularly, but as usual it's 10:20pm and I want to get to bed because I will be up in no more than 8 hours. So here are some bullet points.



Tadpole-

- Super independent
- Now waves and says "bye bye" in this sweet, sugary voice (it almost sounds like she's faking being nice), usually at appropriate times
- Today she was lying on her back on the couch in her fleece footie pajamas, reading a book, feet crossed. Cutest thing EVER.


- Usually the sweetest, happiest baby ever. Right now she's cutting 3 molars. She's a bit miserable. So are the rest of us.
- Still hates wearing bows on her head. Hats too. Good thing cold weather is just around the corner.


Turtle-

- REALLY wants to talk. Babbles constantly in his own language. Like making the sounds of animals, and now can respond if you ask him what sound these animals make (either in Italian or in English): consistently does dog and cow. Sometimes does donkey, chicken, sheep. He does funky little clicking sounds for cat, because that's the sound we make when we call our cat.
- Throws a lot of temper tantrums. Drives me crazy. He's very willful, knows what he wants, and if he really has his mind set on something, he's impossible to distract.
- Lately what he wants the most is computers, to the point that we've had to ban them from the common area of the house completely. I'm really happy I got a smart phone now.
- Another thing he wants is to climb on everything. Often to get to a computer or other electronic device. We have no more chairs in our kitchen. Here he is climbing the contractor's ladder:

- Has become super sweet. Will give me butterfly kisses and hugs, it's the sweetest thing ever.


I joined a gym with child care, and haven't been able to bring myself to use it yet. A friend and I traded off watching each others' kids the last two days, so I actually swam 1500 yards this morning. Tonight, I am physically exhausted. My back, my shoulders. Thank goodness hubby is coming home from NYC tonight and tomorrow is Saturday. I need a break from picking up and carrying around heavy babies all day.

Today was also our first "playgroup" at our cooperative nursery school. It's 1.5 hours, once a week. I was super excited about it, but now that I've gone, I'm not that thrilled. My expectations were definitely too high. I will keep it up a while longer and see how it goes.

Well, my back is aching, so it's time for me to get to bed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Trying again? (Part 1)

So I've started writing a long, long post about whether or not I'd want to try for another baby, and it's sort of going nowhere. I wanted to write and post at least SOMETHING. Today I was thinking about my very general feelings about it.

I tend to NOT want another baby when things are at one end of the spectrum or the other. When things are really bad, I think that there's no way I could do this again, especially since having another one would just make things more stressful and more crazy and so on. I question my sanity for even thinking about it. When things are really good, I don't want to mess it up. I'm happy with my life, and happy that we'll be introducing our kids to the things we love sooner rather than later, like the great outdoors, skiing, hiking, and yes, other things too, like music, crafts, and reading books. I'm excited to start doing all that, and I know that having another baby would delay at least some of those things. It would be that much longer before we'd have the whole family participating in activities together.

On the other hand, when things are just good, and I am content, and we are hanging out at home and the kids are entertaining themselves or laughing at each other, or we're meeting friends or family, then I want another one. Because those are the times when another one would be even more fun, and a bigger family is even better. Then I wonder how I could even doubt my wishes to have another one.

So, briefly, that is one facet of the discussion for me. Other things of course include infertility treatments, travel, careers, etc. I will get to those another time. In the meantime, I'll write another post about Turtle and Tadpole, just as soon as I find some time!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quick notes to show I'm still alive

So! Here we are. It is my bed time and I am a single mom this week so I REALLY should get to bed, but I just have to write. I have so much going on in my head right now, but I've got to bullet-point it.

- Turtle and Tadpole are awesome and funny and fun and tiring and busy and active. They are now into climbing. On EVERYTHING. Their toys, chairs, tables, the couch, you name it and they climb it. I'm having a hard time keeping up with them.

- I am actually looking into child care, trying to figure out what I need. I am a SAHM, and I really do want to raise my own kids, but I'm exhausted, I need some time for myself, and I also need time to run the house, pay the bills, do the shopping, etc.

- Tadpole seems fine with giving up her morning nap, and Turtle doesn't. I'm at a loss about what to do about that. I really need them on a schedule or I don't get anything done.

- I am a bit obsessed with decorating their rooms right now, since they are finally almost ready. They are painted and I think the only thing that's left to do is to finish the closet in Tadpole's room.

- I am thinking of starting baby sign language, even though they're already almost 15 months old. I've been working on the sign for milk. I'm just tired of all the crying and I'm hopeful this will help a bit.

- Both babies are cutting molars. Tadpole has three coming in at once, although it feels like only one is actually cutting through right now.

- I'm so so tired. I should go to bed. After I clean up the kitchen and put away laundry and blah blah blah. Ugh. So tired.

Hope everyone's having a good week.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm sorry

I wrote a post, and blogger ate it, and then wouldn't accept my password and then we had sick kids. And then we traveled from Italy to the US, with one kid still sick. But Italy was on strike and our flight was cancelled, so that took an extra 24 hours, and then there was a storm in Frankfurt, and OMG, it just sucked. Then we got home to a house that was covered in dust and dirt (we're STILL remodeling). The floors were dirty. The furniture was dirty. Any clothes not in a closed-in space were dirty, as were towels and bedding and the kids stuffed animals and the blankets made by their great-grandmother and you get the point. EVERYTHING was dirty, and stuff was piled everywhere, including on and around our bed.

So, I spent the evening we got back and all my free time since cleaning and doing about a million loads of laundry, and the kids are not very understanding of that, and so I have had no time to write blogs, although I've read a few posts here and there when I could.

Right now they are strewing tupperware all over the kitchen, but they are quickly getting bored of that, so I have to go. I really hope to start reading more soon, and especially writing, but until I get some part time child care or preschool or SOMETHING, I have no free time anymore.

Hope all is well in your part of the world.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Busy little bees

We went to Switzerland this past weekend. Which was fun! But not really a vacation, as traveling with twins is never a vacation, I've found, unless you have tons of family who want nothing more than to entertain your babies, change their diapers, and feed them in the middle of the night. And also make sure they don't get into trouble in places that aren't baby-proofed.

But anyway, we stayed with a colleague of my husband in Lausanne, and it was lovely, although hot (who knew that it ever gets hot in Switzerland, the land of snowy mountains?). We went for a hike, in which I destroyed my heels by not using hiking boots (smart!). The kids swam in a fountain, got carried up a long steep hike in the Swiss Alps, saw cows with giant Swiss cowbells, ate Swiss cheese, and explored Lausanne. On our last evening, a few hours before we were going to start our 5-hour night-time drive back to Italy, we noticed that Turtle was more tired than usual and lethargic, and then we noticed he was really hot. We gave him medicine, packed everyone into the car, and began our long drive back ... fun! Both babies woke every time we slowed for a toll plaza or traffic. I had to sit in the back and soothe them, so I got very little sleep. Turtle's fever rose and fell for a few days, but seems to have broken now, thank goodness. I also feel a molar coming in, so I'm hoping the two were connected.

Turtle and Tadpole are really big for their age, but growing much more slowly now. Turtle has a decent amount of hair. Sadly, Tadpole doesn't, but what she has indicates that she may be curly. They're both pretty blond, which is weird since hubby and I are quite dark, but apparently he was a blondie when he was a baby, too. I STILL can't really tell what color their eyes are.

They're obviously starting to understand some English and Italian, and they babble a lot. Turtle, when asked in Italian what sound the cow makes, will say "booooooooo", and if he sees or hears a dog he says "bow bow". They both wave when they hear someone say "ciao". Tadpole says Mama constantly, but doesn't seem to know what it means.

Tadpole is still quite the athlete. She climbs everything, and runs everywhere. It's hard to keep up with her. Turtle, on the other hand, is slower, studies everything, and is sweet. Lately he has quite the temper and is quick to start screaming when he doesn't get what he wants.

I've found in the last few months that feeding children is really frustrating. Since we're sort of on vacation here in Italy, I've been pretty lax about things, and they've eaten a lot of ice cream (at least once per day), juice, cookies, etc. I don't know if that's making them not want to eat their normal meals, but it's been tough. Also, they seem to change their minds almost daily about what they like and don't like. For a few weeks, they ate tomatoes like they were going out of style - yesterday, tomatoes were disgusting. It's frustrating and hard to deal with, and requires a lot of patience, which is sometimes in short supply.

Sleep and napping has been rough, too. Tadpole is back to getting up 2-3 times per night if not more. They go to bed quite late here, like all the babies we've seen - 10:30 pm. This morning they slept until almost 9, but sometimes they're up at 7 or 7:30, and naptime has been all over the place. I think they're sort of transitioning to one nap, but not at the same rate, and keeping them synchronized, especially out of their home environment, has been impossible.

I have a lot of stuff in mind for when we get home - we're going to start a toddler play-group at the local nursery school, once a week. I also want to do diaper daredevils, which is a tumbling/gymnastics class. In addition, I plan to join a gym that has a pool, a Master's swim team, and two hours of free day care. I'm hoping once I get their naps straightened out that we can go in the mornings so I can swim. It's something I'm REALLY looking forward to.

This weekend, we leave for the east coast of Italy to stay with my brother-in-law, his girlfriend, and their collective 5 kids at a sort of campground (they have cabins). I'm both looking forward to it (fun with cousins, hopefully beautiful views, nice swimming) and dreading it (sleeping in a cabin with two babies, cooking all our own meals, 5-6 hour drive each way). Either way, I'm sure we'll have a good time and we can leave when we can't take any more.

How're y'alls summers going?

Friday, August 12, 2011

No pics (sorry!) but job advice needed

I was planning to post pics, but my husband just told me that he moved the pictures off the SD card onto his computer and will get me copies ... sometime. Who knows when? I really wanted to post pictures of the kids here, but alas, they are not available to me. Sigh.

Moving on ...

I'm trying to figure out what I want to do with my life when Tadpole and Turtle start school. How does one go through that process when one isn't strongly drawn to any particular field? Or how does one recognize that one is drawn to a particular field when it's not terribly obvious? Help!

When I was younger, I always wanted to teach. Well, I cycled through a bunch of different career ideas, both realistic and not, but teaching was usually always on the list. And then ... I don't know what happened. Actually, I remember a few things that happened, one of which was a summer teaching internship program into which I was accepted and which my mother begged me not to go to because my father was ill. She basically tried to put my life on hold for about 8 years because my father was not well and it might be my last Christmas/birthday/summer with him (etc.), although in reality it was because she didn't want me to leave her. (Now she's claiming that SHE'S not well and doing the same thing - nice!) Anyway, I agreed to stay home and work concessions in a movie theater instead of having a career-building internship, and I often wonder, what if?

In the meantime, I got a law degree, but could not find a decent job and bounced around from one meaningless job to another, which after a couple years paid decently well but found me dying inside from shuffling papers in a cubicle to support over-regulated government programs in which I did not really believe. (BTW, there is no underlying political message here, and I'm quite surprised I wrote that last sentence, but there you have it.)

So anyway, now my kids are two years away from preschool, and I know that if I want to make a major change in my career, the time to start is now. I'm looking into a teaching credential/master's program in the town where I live, and I can apply this fall for the following year, which means I'd start teaching the year the kids go to school. I used to think I wanted to teach high school, but I'm no longer sure. Having young children has really brought out my love for seeing them learn basic things at an early age. I also have to have classroom experience, which I don't have, and I have retake all the exams because I'm sure my scores are too old now.

I don't need to worry too much about income because my husband has things covered, so pay is not a huge issue for me, but job availability in general might be. My town is small and from what I've heard teaching positions can be difficult to find. I might be willing to commute, but not too far, and there aren't a lot of places that are super close. Also, I'm nervous about the idea of having a classroom full of children. I'm not that experience with handling large groups of kids.

I guess the thing is that I've put a lot of time and energy into things that in the past have not worked out for me (like a law degree), and I've decided in the past (when I was studying for the bar exam for the second time) that I didn't want to go forward with a teaching credential that would take another two years of my life and have nothing to show for it in the end because I wouldn't like teaching. I just want a job that I look forward to going to most of the time, and that doesn't feel like it's crushing my soul.

So ... this goes for those of you who love your jobs, or who switched careers, or who teach. Give me your thoughts, please!

If you love your job, why? Is it the people you work with? The work you do? Did you always know that was the job you wanted?

If you switched careers, why? Did you hate your prior career, or just not find it fulfilling? Or did you realize later on that what you really wanted to do was something else?

If you teach, please tell me your thoughts, the pros and cons. Is it something worth doing in your mid-thirties if you have to start from scratch? What do you love and hate about your job?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hello from jetlag ... er, Italy

Yeah. I know, it happens every time. Jetlag. I HATE it. It's 3:30 in the morning here. We have a baby sleeping in our room. We started with Turtle, but we woke him up every time we moved, so now we are sleeping with Tadpole, who unfortunately wakes ME up because she's such a fussy sleeper. And once I am awake in the middle of the night in a time zone 9 hours off, well, good luck getting back to sleep!

The trip here went pretty well, in my opinion. Not quite as good as I had hoped, but much better than the worst I was expecting. Apparently after a month of cold rainy weather, we brought the warm weather with us, as we've had two beautiful days of sunshine and warmth.

The first day here, I went crazy eating delicious food and gelato and wine, and I paid with some terrible stomach-aches, and now I am taking it easy. I've been working on getting the kids back on some sort of routine, but it's been a bit tough with the jetlag. Little kids here stay up much later than I am used to in the US, so the usual routine we had at home will probably not work here. I'm still trying to figure out how we're going to handle it.

Our evenings after dinner are spent at a cool little open-air cafe/bar that is built in the original entrance of the 19th century stone fort that surrounds the (much older) town. The cafe has a jukebox, a big dance area, tables and chairs, ice cream of all sorts, food, drinks, and nice porch-swing-type seating here and there. I'll try to take a picture and post it. The kids of the town spend the evenings playing songs on the jukebox and running around or dancing. Tadpole and Turtle are having a great time chasing the other kids and hanging out with my husband's extensive family, and it's a nice break for us to have lots of free entertainment for the kids.

I'm surrounded by lots of people in really great shape (and a few who aren't) as well as plenty of exercise opportunities and lots of babysitters, so I'm hoping to really get some hiking, biking, and running in my schedule for the next month. Today, my husband's aunt dropped off her 9-year-old daughter with me and my husband's cousin and the kids so she could go on a 2-hour run. How awesome to be surrounded by family and able to do something like that spontaneously! Tonight after Tadpole fell asleep on my shoulder at the cafe, we brought the kids home, put them to bed, and asked my MIL to stay with them while we walked the two minutes back to have another drink before going to bed. The kids are spending so much time with grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and even more extended family, it's a beautiful thing.

Plus I'm really hoping that being immersed in Italian at this point in their lives will help offset the fact that I am an English-speaking stay-at-home-mom in an English-speaking country. I don't know a lot about raising bilingual children, and while it helps that I am almost fluent, I still don't speak to them regularly in Italian in the US, and they don't see their father that many hours per day, plus we speak to each other in English. I think we'll have to change a few things in the future (Italian should probably be our family language rather than English).

Anyway, a lot to think about and a lot to write about, and hopefully I'll start taking some pictures and posting them, as it is a really beautiful green summer here. Cheers!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Off to Italia!

And so, once again, off we go to Italy to stay with the in-laws, this time for 5 1/2 weeks. I'm a bit nervous of the trip there, and dreading the first couple of days as far as sleep goes. I'm really excited about the first couple of days as far as showing off my little munchkins to all the friends and family. I'm really dreading the trip back, since we leave in the morning, so we really can't expect them to sleep.

I'm quite busy packing for myself and the kids. I've actually already packed all of our clothes in one big suitcase, but I think I need to pare it down a bit, as there are still some things that need to go in there and it's getting pretty full. The kids have so many clothes! I admit, it's partly my fault, but there are a lot of people in their lives that like to buy them clothes. Packing with two 12 1/2-month-olds running around is a challenge.

In the meantime, our house is still deep in the throes of construction, and it changes every day. We now have a front door (yay!), but can't get into the garage directly from the house, so I have to carry everything out the front door into our courtyard (which is just dirt at the moment) and around to the front of the garage and go in that way. I also had to block off the new hallway to the new guest room, as that is completely unfinished and there are nails and dust and all kinds of stuff the kids could get into.

On top of that, while we're in Italy the contractors at our house will be demolishing closets in all the existing bedrooms plus our main storage closet in order to construct a hallway to our addition, which consists of a master bedroom, bathroom, hallway window seat, and laundry room. So in addition to just packing our stuff for the trip, I need to get stuff moved out of four closets or at least boxed up so the contractors can move it easily. I think it's an understatement to say I am overwhelmed. My husband has been doing a lot of day trips for work, including some late nights, but luckily no overnight trips.

In any case, the kids SHOULD be napping (they're not, but I know they're tired, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping they drop off soon) and I should be carting stuff out of closets, unpacking the car, washing dishes, unloading the dishwasher, packing my carry-on, and about a hundred other things. So off I go! Wish me luck!

P.S. I started a post about having more children, and it's been tough to write. And it's getting long. I hope to have it up soon after we get to Italy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Current schedule

Our current schedule is going really well, but it's about to get shot to hell in two weeks when we leave for Italy. I figured I'd put it here for posterity and so i can lovingly remember what it was like to have a schedule after we've schlepped two one-year-olds halfway across the world.

This schedule is subject to change without notice, unfortunately.

5:-6:30 - one or both babies wake for a bottle, then sometimes go back to sleep for an hour
6-7:30 - both babies wake up for the day, usually around a half hour apart, but not always. If they get up early enough, I might take them for a run, or otherwise we play
8:30 - breakfast! If Papi's here, he helps with this. They split a jar of Earth's Best fruit and grain combination. I don't think it's enough, actually.
8:45-9:30 - play time! Or sometimes TV time, but lately no one is interested in watching TV
9:30 - nap time. Babies drink 6-8 ounces of formula
10:30-11 - (this can vary a lot) - we're up again! More play time.
12 - (this can vary quite a bit, too) lunch! Usually some variation of what I'm having, but can also include plain pasta or other finger foods.
12:30-2 - more play! Or errands, or go to the park, listen to music, read books, drive Mama crazy
2ish (give or take a half hour) - afternoon nap, after 6-8 ounces of formula
3:30ish - awake! Play time, errands, etc. This is when things can sometimes start breaking down, as Papi doesn't get home until 6, and people start getting cranky.
4:30ish - snack! Usually plain yogurt, or applesauce.
6 - Papi gets home (when he's in town)
6:30 - Dinner! Lately, it's been more normal table food, but we're still doing some baby food
7 - Baths and/or TV, which consists of Italian children's music videos and a few English ones, too.
7:20 - change to jammies and brush teeth
7:30 - down for bed with another bottle - Turtle usually eats 8 ounces, Tadpole anywhere from 2 to 8 ounces, usually around 4 ounces.

And that's it! My boring life, but it is sometimes really wonderful.

Today after lunch we went to the library. Turtle is fascinated by computers and books, and found the toddler computers, where he proceeded to keep bugging the kids playing games and throwing screaming fits each time I tried to drag him away. Tadpole also likes computers, but is equally happy to run around, pull toys off shelves, befriend other people, and basically drive me crazy and make me worry while she smiles sweetly. I'm not sure I can really handle them alone at the library anymore, at least until I know they'll behave a bit better.

Now it is naptime, which means chore time for Mama. Time to clean up the kitchen, sweep, wash the outdoor toys that are getting filthy, and catch up on things!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rambling

It's 6am. It's been over a month since I posted. Life has been tough. I've lost pretty much all my day help, and I'm managing just fine, but I don't have extra time for blogging, unless my cat has woken me up at 5:30 and insomnia kicks in. Actually, Turtle woke me up much earlier and I haven't slept much since then. So I am tired. But they'll both be up within the hour and I am having trouble sleeping, so I'm officially giving up and waving the white flag.

My kids turned 1. I have two one-year-olds! I wish I'd had time to write. I wanted to write a letter to them, too, and I didn't. They are wonderful, sometimes terrible, adorable little creatures, running around, playing with toys, getting into everything, eating new things (Tadpole) or not (Turtle), throwing temper tantrums, almost sleeping through the night (most nights), starting to say a few hard-to-discern words (Turtle), dancing to the music, climbing in the dishwasher, and putting everything in their mouths. They keep me really busy!

Also, my computer died, and it took me a little while to get a new one. I've just been a little out of touch with the online world for the last few weeks.

We're leaving for Italy for a 5.5-week trip, which I haven't really started preparing for, and we're going in 2 weeks. We'll have two 13-month-olds on a 12-hour flight. I'm actually a little scared.

I have lots of friends having kids, including one friend who had her son, her first child, the day after my kids' first birthday. Another is a friend from work who knew quite a bit about my struggles with infertility (and has gratefully taken a lot of the baby stuff off my hands). I've been buying a lot of shower and baby gifts, and remembering a year ago when it was my turn, and missing it. My husband isn't missing it at all. I have lots of thoughts on having more kid(s), and whether or not I think it's a good idea, which may all be moot anyway since we don't even know if it's a physical possibility. I'd like to write about it. In all honesty, I don't know if I have time.

So, here's to kids (not babies anymore!) turning 1, to summer, to bloggy friends (who i'm still following, even if I have no time for commenting) adopting and getting pregnant, to other bloggy friends whose babies are also growing up, and to friends in real life who are having babies too. Here's to Italy, and rock climbing, and having time to write even if it's time I'd rather be sleeping. Here's to life, and hopefully to more writing in the very near future.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Advice - one-year-old twin activities

You might want to skip this one if you don't want to read about babies, but I'd still appreciate any ideas I can get.

I've been a single mom these days, and it's exhausting. Both Tadpole and Turtle are walking, and it's hot out, and I thought that would be awesome because we could spend all day outside! Unfortunately I've realized that two walking babies means it's really hard for one adult to keep tabs. The park is really difficult because I can't keep track of which baby is putting what in their mouths, and I can't really let them play on the playground safely because I can't keep them both from falling off. The public pool is definitely out, even with a group of other moms. We're doing swim lessons once a week, and planning to do Diaper Daredevils once a week after the babies turn 1, but until then ...

So my question is - what can I do with walking almost-one-year-old twins, by myself (or with other moms, but no extra adult)?

So far, all I have are:

1. Stay home and play
2. Drive to a playground I've been told about that has a fence and very small play equipment
3. Baby pool in back yard
4. Zoo, but can only do this so often (also it's a 25-minute drive)

The kids are getting bored, and so am I. Help, please!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Advice needed, please!

Hi friends, I need advice. Badly! Some of it is baby-related and some of it is not. I'll split up the categories in different posts that I'll put up later, because I am lacking in just about every part of my life. Please, please, please, give me what you've got, even if it's not much.

Organization - How do you stay organized?

How do you keep your paperwork, bills, legal documents, etc. organized? My desk is constantly getting cluttered, things get put aside for "later", etc. I TRY to sort out and throw away junk mail before it gets on my desk, and I also try to pay bills really quickly, but there's always more stuff than that. So how to you keep your paperwork organized?

How do you keep your appointments - do you have a day-runner, a desk calendar, a smart phone?

What about chores? I am always forgetting things, like cleaning the pool, finishing the laundry, sweeping, dusting, etc. It seems like there are endless chores and I can never catch up. We're having someone clean every other week, which helps, but there's still a ton to do in the meantime, and I feel like I'm always behind. Do you have some way to make sure everything gets done, and in a reasonable amount of time?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

11 months!

Squeezing in a VERY short post here while the babies stay down for naps (I hope!). They were 11 months old yesterday, but Tadpole got sick and made the day quite busy! Poor little thing, she has terrible digestive problems. I changed her diaper so many times yesterday, and she has bad diaper rash from it, too, and then at dinner she puked up the entire contents of her stomach. Her diapers are leaking, requiring me to do a lot of laundry, and she's not sleeping well, so Mama and Papi are tired, too. I'm looking forward to her getting better, and hoping that Turtle doesn't get sick, too.

In the meantime, we've had weird weather for this time of year, cold and rainy. We haven't been able to get out of the house much, and we're all cranky. Today should be the start of better weather, let's hope it's the start of better health in this house as well!

I WILL write more soon, I hope, as soon as the little guys are feeling better. A brief update - both are walking. Tadpole's walking quite well, Turtle still prefers crawling as a method of getting around quickly. He's a slow, cautious walker. I never really realized that new walkers were so cute, but they are. I am guessing it's a very fleeting stage, though. Tadpole has already improved so much. It's also getting harder to take photos and videos of them, as they instantly focus on the camera and WANT IT RIGHT NOW. Any time I've tried to film them playing or laughing together, it ends up with them both crying because I won't give them the camera. We'll have to work on that.

Hope your week is going well and that you're all in good health!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Life is cuh-razy!

Babies hit 10.5 months recently (two days ago?), and now they're both walking. It's really insane, although I didn't realize that learning to walk would be a months-long process (thank freaking goodness). Luckily right now they are both really slow and end up crawling a lot. I cannot even imagine what life will be like when they are walking reasonably well and/or running.

We had a barbecue on Sunday and invited some of our friends with babies and a few moms from my new mom's group, and it went really well. However, it's the first time we've entertained with them awake since they've become mobile, and it was completely insane. I learned a lot, like why pools NEED to be fenced in when you have young children and how hamburgers are not really an easy barbecue choice because they need buns and condiments and lettuce and tomato and cheese and so on and so forth and while you are slicing and toasting and sticking spoons in and shuttling all that stuff back and forth you can't keep an eye on your kids while they are both heading straight for the pool, and even if you CAN keep an eye on them, it's really hard to grab them both while your husband is manning the grill. I also apparently forgot every lesson I ever learned about run-on sentences.

But Saturday, that was awesome. Really. Since we've decided to start getting babysitters to come after the kids go to bed so we can go out to eat, we've mostly gone to fancy restaurants, because we can't do that sort of thing with the kids. It started getting a little old. We did use to like to go to nice places, but not that often, and interspersed with casual places and sandwich shops. Going to only nice places, over and over again, actually gets a little boring. SO! We decided (and it was ALL MY IDEA) to do what we used to do for fun regularly - we went to the climbing gym, completely wore ourselves out in less than an hour, and then went for dinner at a casual restaurant. And then went home relatively early and went to bed. And it was AWESOME. And that was after an already-fun-filled day of going to the farmer's market with friends and then the public swimming pool.

Maybe I am crazy, but I actually like being sore after working out, and it hasn't happened much lately. So now I've been a little sore for a couple days, and it means that the awesomeness of the date is still with me and it makes me happy. Which is good, since I haven't done anything healthy for myself since then, but I am completely determined that this week, I will go biking and running at least once each. And maybe, just maybe, I'll go climbing again (oh I hope so!).

Here's to a good week for all of us.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tadpole is walking!!!!! (and some other stuff)

Tadpole started taking a few steps at a time a couple weeks ago, but has been really wobbly and unbalanced. She could take maybe five steps before crashing or toppling into someone, and she wouldn't let go of the furniture or my legs unless she had a very nearby destination in mind. Yesterday, at IKEA, she just took off, and she's been going ever since. She can't stand up without having something to pull up on, so once she falls, she finishes her journey by crawling. It is SO CUTE to see her walking along, waggling her hands in the air to keep herself balanced. Sometimes she grabs onto Turtle when she starts losing her balance and then they both go down (Turtle doesn't walk, but he pulls up and stands and will let go and balance for a while). The whole domino effect thing is pretty funny.

I'm going to write a post in a day or two about a blog I stumbled across about orphans. I've had a lot of stories pull at my heart lately. I guess I really am a bleeding heart liberal, but I've never understood how stories of orphans and sick children wouldn't make anyone's heart hurt. In any case, there was a post on this blog about a 4-week old Haitian orphan that broke my heart, and I mean that in a stronger way than I've ever meant it before. I've been crying off and on since I read it, and I'm in the process of figuring out how to channel my feelings into something worthwhile. I'll share it all in the next few days, once I've had some time to think about it. In the meantime, I'm trying to stop crying and keep my children in perspective, and remember again how incredibly lucky I am to have them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Epic failure today

Ugh. Ate terrible, didn't exercise. I'm just so busy!!!!!

I spent a good part of the day in a town about 30 minutes away, at one of those paint-you-own-ceramics shops, painting decorative tiles to embed in the stucco when we do the exterior of our house. I'll have to remember to post some pics when I pick them up. We also went to IHOP for an American-style breakfast (a one-time treat for my cousin-in-law from Italy), but I did not do a good job of eating well. And then we finished dinner too late to exercise. I really don't like exercising after dinner.

Also, I set up my new bike trainer and tried it out yesterday, and it is louder than expected. We don't have a TV, so I was trying to watch n.etfl.ix on the ip.ad (without additional speakers or headphones) and I couldn't really hear it. So I will have to try again with headphones, I guess.

Between the kids, who take up almost all of my time, cooking, cleaning, watering my vegetable garden, and all the things I have to do to make this house run, I'm just struggling to find exercise time.

Tomorrow should be better. It will keep getting better. And in any case, spending a few hours painting tiles has really made my heart lighter. I'm starting to wonder if I could have a business doing this ...

A few pics to show off my little ones:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

New me

Things around here have been up and down as usual, and I've decided to make some changes, starting tomorrow. Well, I have been setting up for things today, but tomorrow is my official start day. Not because I'm always putting things off (although I do tend to procrastinate), but because I want an official, clean start.

But first ... a few pics of my little ones.

This is Tadpole at the park today, I LOVE this picture. It completely captures Tadpole's happy, outgoing, fearless personality. She was crawling back and forth through this tunnel, and my sister caught this pose in which she looks just happy to be alive:



And this is Turtle, sleeping on our outside swing. This picture is a bit older, partly because my husband came up with some hi-tech scheme for keeping our pictures on a shared drive and then he left for a business trip to Europe (his "European Tour") and now the stupid thing is not working. But anyway, cute sleeping baby picture. This showcases one of Turtle's typical funny behaviors - he often crosses his feet just like that.


So anyway, onto more serious things. I have been really unhealthy lately. Eating terrible, barely exercising. I feel down about myself, and unhappy with how out of shape I am. I've also been unhappy because I actually LIKE running and biking and swimming (and rock climbing) and I never get to do those things anymore.

So I am going to try to make myself accountable, somehow. I have gone running a few times in the last couple weeks, running the loop backwards to switch it up and make it more interesting (which surprisingly helped). It's only 1.8 miles, but I'm hoping to add another mini-loop soon. I go right after the babies go to bed and before we eat dinner. I also just set up an indoor bike trainer on our patio, and will start riding tomorrow night. And I have hand weights and a resistance band. I also have a gym membership that I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever use.

My goal is to do 30 minutes of cardio per day, at least 5 times a week, plus weights at least 3 times a week.

I also want to eat healthier, so I want to journal what I'm eating to keep track. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to see what I can do for the next 5 days. It's not always easy, as I constantly have family from Italy and they want to cook, and I can't exactly dictate exactly what to make (i.e. last night I asked my cousin-in-law to make potatoes, which I was imagining boiled or roasted - she fried them). But I'm going to cut out the coffee drinks, the desserts, the extra sugar, the butter, the fat. I'm going to try really hard, when it is within my power (and recognize that when it's not within my power, it's ok).

And then, when I get this under control, I know I need to do some work mentally and emotionally. I'm sincerely hoping that these steps will help in that direction as well, as I will hopefully feel happier and better about myself.

Wish me luck!

Mother's Day

I was never a fan of Mother's Day, my entire life, way back before I was infertile. I hated it as a child. We always went to some giant Mother's Day extravaganza at a ballroom or country club, sitting on folding chairs at folding tables, getting low-quality food from a buffet, wearing uncomfortable dressed-up clothes, being surrounded by tons of other people doing the same thing. I HATED it.

Then I was older and didn't get along with my mom well. I was expected to make a trip home from college for the entire Mother's Day weekend, while my friends hung out, enjoyed the weather, and sent their mom a card or made a phone call, which their mother's appreciated. Even with the trip I made home for the weekend, it was never enough. If I got a card, my mom expected flowers. If I got flowers, then why didn't I get a card? My mom is like that - she dwells on what I don't do. Anyway.

Then after my Dad died in May (and his birthday was in May, too), we started going to the cemetery for Mother's Day, which is two hours away, then out to lunch and wine-tasting. So even after I became infertile, I didn't really care. Going to the cemetery doesn't feel like Mother's Day. I would buy two bouquets, one for my mom and one for my dad, and that was that.

This year, it didn't feel much different. My husband and I don't really celebrate holidays a lot, but we particularly don't like commercial holidays like Valentine's and Mother's Day. I bought myself a necklace for Mother's Day this year, with my kids' names engraved, but that was it. No other gifts, except a beer glass from my sister (we have a small collection). We went out for "high tea" (which wasn't good at all), and then the best part of the day was taking the kids to the playground. I didn't have high hopes, and it was a pleasant day, and life goes on. I'm happy it was no big deal. (I just wish that for the price, the lunch would have been a bit better).

For those still TTC, I hope that someday soon, you'll be here, too. I hope you'll have your dreams come true, and it will be wonderful. And Mother's Day may be a special day for you, or maybe it will be just like every other day, as it is for me. But either way, I hope every day will be a special day because you'll get to spend it with your little one. For me, Mother's Day is a day to wish that for you and for all the women whose hearts still aren't whole.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Challenges

I have to say, life with twins is NEVER dull! Boring, sometimes, yes. But dull, definitely not. Separation anxiety has set in with full force, and while it's nice to know your kids need you, it's rough when someone is trying to help so you can just get something done and there is always at least one baby still crying for you. Sometimes it's enough to just sit on the floor while they entertain themselves, but don't even think about walking to the other side of the room to throw something away .... then it's panic!

We are STILL having sleep problems, but we're working on it. As usual, the fact that our house is a complete disaster and the remodel won't be done any time soon is making things much harder. We still don't have a room for Turtle, and he's starting to outgrow sleeping in a pack n play. We currently have another family member staying with us to help while my husband is traveling (he'll be traveling something like 2.5 weeks within the next month), but as soon as she leaves, I think it's time to turn our office/temporary guest room into a second nursery, with the actual crib and his clothes. Hopefully by the time we have any more guests, we'll have another bedroom. Alternatively, if we can get Tadpole to sleep through the night, in theory they could sleep together, the problem is when one of them wakes the other one up, it's all over. We can't let them cry because they keep waking each other up and neither can get back to sleep with the other crying.

Anyway, people constantly talk about how much Tadpole and Turtle do or don't look alike, which is a bit silly, as fraternal twins aren't any different than any other sibling pair (biologically speaking), they just happen to be the same age. There's no reason for them to look more alike than normal siblings. However, sometimes I can't help comparing their different personalities and behaviors and marvel at how different they are. For example:

- Tadpole LOVES her pacifier.
- Turtle also loves Tadpole's pacifier, but can't figure out what he's supposed to do with it once he has stolen it.

* This is sort of a catch-22. I will possibly need to wean Tadpole from the pacifier, but at least it keeps her from putting everything in her mouth like Turtle.

- Tadpole crawls really well, and will probably walk soon because she is fearless.
- Turtle is stronger, sturdier, and more stable than Tadpole, but still doesn't crawl well and is too afraid to try to walk.

- Tadpole eats almost anything, and is at least willing to give anything a try. She's just not too picky.
- Turtle is suspicious of everything, and usually makes an awful face after the first bite, even if he ends up liking it.

- Tadpole is always happy, hyper, and excited. She smiles at everyone, wakes up in a great mood, and has a perpetual twinkle in her eye. She is super busy and into everything.
- Turtle is often cranky, whiny, and difficult. You have to work for a smile, and he often wakes up in a terrible mood. He is studious and generally patient, except with Tadpole.

There's a lot more, but it would take forever to write it all. Suffice to say that we are all doing well, still working on sleeping, but by the way, naptime is going much better! Thank you, white noise machines!

More soon.