Sunday, November 27, 2011


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 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


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 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


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 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, 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, 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, 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.