Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Congrats, Strawberry! You won!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Oh the thought processes are so much fun to read! But, nope.
One, only ONE person, has come very close...and I had a feeling she would, you Indian diety you.

Let me stress: a country where our dollar is stronger than the local currency. Check out the Euro vs. the USD. Not so good.

Also, gay marriage is very, very close to becoming a law in this country. Five gay couples have already married in this country after judges gave them permission, however, some of these marriages have been overturned.

Travel Trivia

Some people buy all new baby gear. We did not and I'm proud of my used/second hand/gently worn cribs, bedding, gear, clothing and toys. It's my way of offsetting the carbon footprint I create by getting on a big ass jet plane.

We had been told that 4 months to 1 year is the golden age of travel with babies. After that things become quite complicated until after 2 1/2 years old.
With the money we saved from buying used (over 6K now, yes I keep track) baby gear, we decided to (a) set up the college trust for the boys (b) get the most of Chicken's time off and go travel!

I spent many, many hours while tandem breastfeeding researching vacation destinations. Thank god for the iPhone. My life would not be functioning without this one little piece of wonderfulness. (As a side note, I've now spent about 1,000 hours breastfeeding. Holy Shit.) It keeps me productive. Best Push Present Ever. Screw diamonds.

Our first choice was South East Asia and for a couple of weeks we thought taking the train from one end of Vietnam to the other sounded grand. But it's the hot, rainy season and 2 tiny babies cranky from the heat? Not so fun. Plus, the medical situation is sketchy and we would've had to hop a plane to Bangkok or Singapore to get quality care.

Of course I'm always game for Thailand, but wow are we glad we didn't go there again because holy crap I didn't see that coming. We'll go back again someday when the violence has calmed down, but for now it's too dangerous to fly in. And again...it's HOT.
I realized I had to stop planning vacations for US and think of everything the boys would need--temperate climate, good medical care, nothing too demanding combined with what we need--a place that isn't a 24 hour plane ride, where the dollar goes far (enough), family friendly, not terribly homophobic and we can get around easily with the kids. Good food is always a bonus.

Then, we got to watching the Olympics and thought we'd go to Vancouver (Hi E!). In fact, I planned out a vacation that had us flying into either Portland (Hi Donuts!) or Seattle (Hi Poppy and Cat and Kat and Bree!) and then driving up the coast. Or we'd fly into Seattle and take the car ferry or the train. And then we'd spend a week in Vancouver and the surrounding area. But...it could be really rainy. It could be a lot of time spent in the car (and thank god we didn't do this one because we found out in Florida the car didn't go so well....). And honestly, we can fly to Vancouver and do a week there anytime. It doesn't take that long to get there and there are some really good prices on flights.

Back to the drawing board.
Finally, we settled on a destination. A country we have both wanted to visit for a very long time. It is politically stable with good medical care, is reasonable gay friendly and very family friendly, the cities are easy to get around without a car, the people are warm, friendly and beautiful plus there is gorgeous natural scenery throughout the entire country. The climate for this season is perfect weather for the babies. Neither too hot nor too cold. Just right for baby wearing and sightseeing.
Best of all, when Chicken's mom and stepdad heard where we are going, they wanted to come with us! Yeah! We are going to have help for the first time in 4 months. A night off. A dinner out by ourselves. Eight hands for 2 babies. Perfect.
We will have one long international flight plus 3 domestic flights once we are in country. I think after this trip, I'll be able to make some money writing freelance articles on how to fly with babies!

So, where are we going? First person to answer correctly will win a prize from our vacation destination. I don't know what the prize will be, but I will pick out something cool when I get there and try to send it to you in a timely manner.
I will try to post the answer tomorrow or the next day.
Ready, Set, Guess!

***If I know you IRL and you know where we're going, you can't be a spoilsport and guess!!***

Monday, May 17, 2010

Right Decision

I got to the cat just in time. He was about to take a crap on the couch. There have been 3 other times we were not so lucky as he as already peed/pooed in our laundry basket, peed on our bed and peed on a baby item. He's also peed/pooed once on the kitchen floor. Now that I write this all down I see what's what.
I hated to do it, but I had to. I had Grunter in my arms getting him to sleep when I had to put him down quickly, thus scaring the bejeesus out of him, waking him up and sending him to fever pitch screams and just barely got to the cat in time to keep poop from my couch. We've put an old blanket down just in case, but still.
Damn. Having animals and babies is damn hard. Especially old animals.
He's had a great life. He really has.
When Chicken and I got together I had 4 cats. She thought I was the crazy cat lady (I kinda was). We don't have any of those cats anymore.
I took him in tonight at 8pm.
It was the right thing to do. We had 18 years together.
That's a long, long time.
Be well Boo Boo Bunny. I hope we meet again in another life. You'll hop on the bed and nudge me. I'll lift the covers and pat the body pillow. You'll climb under and curl up beside me, my arm wrapped around you, your head burrowed into my armpit, and your front paw kneading my shoulder. When I softly say your name you'll look up at me and softly meow back. We'll stay that way, like lovers, for a very long time. You were my kind of cat.

Baby Led Weaning

I am very, very, very interested in this method.
If any of you have blogged about this process in detail, could you leave a comment with the link in your blog? That would be great!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Oh and...

  • I did eliminate caffeine from my diet for a few days to see if it made a difference in nursing Mr. Fussy Fusspants. No such luck. Oh well, back to enjoying my latte!
  • I'm still not sold on CIO, but having the time to research other methods requires time to read sleep training books and time to read...what is that?? So I welcome comments on HOW DID YOU DO IT??!! Particularly if you had a fussy fusspants. If you had an easy-going baby...well, you are lucky!
  • We are still researching when to introduce the solids. The verdict is out. It used to be introducing solids early was the name of the game. Then, a few decades ago, the USA started delaying the introduction until after 6 months (at least here in the USA--please chime in if you are outside of the USA). Now, the progressive school of thought and research is swinging back as we have a booming food allergy problem. Peanut free zones, anyone? The thought is that we are creating more food allergies by introducing solids at a later and later age. Ah, the secret life of babies. I still think they are a little young and I'm going to hold off until 4.5 months at least especially with them being born a few weeks early.
  • CindyHoo--Yes, you can take turns in the night IF you have enough expressed breast milk to bottle feed. I have only in the past week been making enough for 2 bottles so this was never an option for us unless I stockpiled for a couple of days and then got a 'night' off or if we resorted to formula. If you are exclusively breastfeeding from the breast....there are no shifts 'off'! Your boobs are in constant rotation! Plus, Chicken never gets to sleep through the night because her 'job' is baby wrangling while mine is feeding.
  • When the babies wake up (or one and we wake up the other) she gets up, changes diapers and I go set up the milk bar on the couch (I tried to tandem breast feed in bed--HATED it). Then she brings out one baby at a time and goes back to bed. I feed them, burp them and bring them back to the bedroom, put on the swaddle or sleepsack and put them back in their cribs. Most of the time I can do this without Chicken's help, but sometimes I need her.
  • That being said, Chicken, oh glorious wife of mine, decided to give me a 'bottle night' as she calls it, last night. We did the dream feed at 10pm, I pumped and blogged afterwards and then went to bed on the couch while she slept in the bedroom with the twins. It is AMAZING what being able to skip one feeding AND get a quiet night of 5.5 uninterrupted sleep will do for you. I feel like a new person. Thank God. It was either that or die.
  • The boys are so freaking happy in the morning it makes me crazy (in a good way!). They are so amazing and at this stage it seems like they are changing daily. I love just watching them coo and gurgle and grin their way through the day. I love being a mom, but damn, this is the hardest thing EVER. I never, ever thought 2 little babies could be this much work. Nothing can ever truly prepare for motherhood, but I am so lucky to be able to finally experience it. Thank goodness I am an older mom with loads of energy. You certainly need it.
  • I'm convinced birth mothers have a mommy hormone that keeps them alive and trucking because while Chicken gets more sleep than I do (while I'm breast feeding) she still needs 3xcaffeine and drags. Anyone else notice this?? I'm tired but not like her. Must be nature's way of keeping the mother alive!
  • Despite the craziness of the last trip, we are traveling again soon. You knew that though, right? Oh yeah, gotta get those passports stamped.
PS--Post on induced lactation and the ABC's of plane travel with twins are in the works. I'm typing as fast as I can!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quickly-A Month's Update

And in bullets. I have so many posts swimming around in my head and just not enough time to write everything down, so I'll try my best in bullets.
  • We went to Florida almost a month ago. The travel itself was pretty smooth. The trip was not. Chicken's stepfather was dying of cancer and took a turn for the worst a couple of days after we arrived. We were shuttled to four different places--with all of our stuff and twins in tow--as a loved one died. The condo we were supposed to stay in was only ours for 2 nights as family members arrived to visit the hospital. We saw members of the family exactly once as everyone was constantly at the hospital and then at the hospice. In the end, we ended up having to get a hotel for the last 3 nights or change our plane ticket and come home earlier because we had no where to stay! The hotel was cheaper than the plane fee. It was terribly stressful. We fought for the first time since the boys were born. The babies were feeling our stress and they were cranky. We have never been more ready to get home.
  • The stepfather died the day after we left. Chicken's father is a wreck (Chicken had two dads) and it's all terribly sad. Cancer sucks.
  • We discovered in Florida that the boys really hated their car seats. That was not something we were anticipating since "all babies love car rides". Eh. Not so much.
  • Upon returning home we decided to do car seat training by taking them out in their snap n go single strollers as much as possible. Three weeks later they are pretty good and we rarely have the meltdowns getting them in as we used to. I don't know how they will be in the actual CAR, but it has to be better than before.
  • Florida was good practice for travel. We became a well oiled machine even while stressed out. We know how to work as a team and to get things done as efficiently as possible. Communication about expectations is key. We also realized we can't do as much as we thought we could while out and about and need to scale down. Travel is different now!
  • The three month mark has gotten easier but a 'schedule' is still elusive.
  • Their feedings are still not predictable. We can almost count on 3 hours in between feedings, but there could be days that it's 2.5 or last night where it was 2 hours. I know this is because I am exclusively breastfeeding them on demand, but it's frustrating to know that if I were bottle feeding them or formula feeding them I would have more control over this.
  • We are getting better at naps. Since they started rolling over and we stopped swaddling, they can both suck on their fingers which is a source of great comfort to them. We still give them paci's at naptime and bedtime, but we don't have to worry so much now if they lose one.
  • We are also really paying attention to the signs that they are tired BEFORE they start whimpering so we can catch them in that golden moment and put them in their crib. We don't do naps anywhere but the cribs. Living room is for playing and eating and bedroom is for sleeping and diaper changes. Period. I think they are getting it.
  • We are trying the 'put to sleep while drowsy/tired but not fully asleep' Weissbluth method. It is going pretty well with Grunter but Whoop Whoop is....well, he's high needs!
  • We will begin sleep training and CIO in earnest in a few weeks after they have passed their 4.5 month mark.
  • I was initially quite resistant to CIO, but every twin mom I talk to who is getting quality sleep had to do CIO and get them on a schedule. It's going to be SO hard, but I know it's the only way and I know they are old enough now. I can't have two babies who can't soothe themselves. Impossible.
  • They had their 4 month pediatric appointment a few days ago (a week early) and things are looking good, but they are still so tiny. It's weird because they are hitting a lot of the milestones on target (or before, like the rolling over) but they are long and lean and only in the 3rd and 5th percentile for weight.
  • I have to remind myself that breastfed babies gain weight more slowly than formula fed or bottle fed babies, but it does make me doubt my milk supply. However, when I pump I consistently get more and more milk, so I know I do have enough to feed them.
  • I'm still taking all of the herbs for my milk supply and therefore my armpits always smell like an Indian buffet because that's what fenugreek will do to you.
  • It took 10 weeks for Whoop Whoop to latch on without a fight. We had about 3 glorious weeks of blissful breastfeeding, but for the last couple of weeks he's screaming at the breast again. It only happens during the day. When he's tired in the middle of the night or early morning he's perfectly happy on the booby.
  • It makes me crazy because it's not the wonderful bonding experience it's supposed to be when he's ballistic and it's incredibly difficult to tamden feed when one guy wants to be anywhere but near your breast and the other guy is merrily sucking away and would stay there for an hour if you let him.
  • I started drinking caffeine again--just a single shot espresso cafe au lait every morning. I try to limit it to just this one glorious drink a day made right here in my very own kitchen. I haven't noticed any effects on the babies in my milk and mama sure does like being a bit more awake these days. A bit more. Only a bit.
  • Speaking of...sleep deprivation sucks. I got three hours last night in what was a truly spectacular hell night. Haven't had one of those in a very long time. I hope it doesn't repeat. I don't know how much longer we can go only getting sleep in increments of an hour or two here and there. Sometimes we are sure we are cracking. It's not pretty. Because you blame the babies. And it's not their fault, they are only babies. But it will make you crazy, the lack of sleep for months on end.
  • Which brings us to the dream feed and maybe a bit of formula. This week we have introduced the dream feed. The boys usually go down for a long stretch beginning their night time at 7-ish. At 10 we have started giving them a bottle of breast milk and then we go to bed. After this bottle they will sleep (usually) 3 hours but sometimes even longer. It's unpredictable but we'll take what we can get. So far we haven't had to use formula to do this, but if I don't have enough breast milk, I'll do it. At this point--to get a little more sleep--yeah, I'll do it.
  • Because while I was in denial I really had bags under my eyes in my passport photo, turns out I do. That's what four months of no good sleep will do to you. It ages you.
  • Next month we have been advised from our pediatrician to start on solids--first up: applesauce, followed by bananas and then rice cereal. SOLIDS! They are growing up so fast. I can't get over it. But I'm really looking forward to seeing their expressions when they eat for the first time!
  • All of you who reassured me the preggo weight would come off were correct. I'm down to the final five pounds and I can now fit into 3 pairs of my old jeans and a few pairs of pants. I still feel super flabby and I've got a little bit of jiggly belly, but for not stepping foot in the gym, I feel damn lucky. I know with the right amount of cardio, pilates and yoga I can be back to almost pre-pregnancy fitness. Someday.
  • Our gym has baby and me yoga and pilates....we have yet to make it! But we will!
  • Some of you may recall I had to put my 18 year old cat, Savvy, to sleep the month after the boys were born. Since then, my other 18 year old cat, Bunny, has rapidly declined. The last two weeks have been the most notable and I don't want to wait as long as we did with Savvy. After she was gone, we realized that we'd waited too long and just how bad her quality of life had been for quite some time. This cat is very special to me. He was my favorite (I know, you are not supposed to have one...) and I know he is suffering. I was truly hoping that both of them would pass before the babies were born so they would never be pushed out of the spotlight. But that didn't happen. It makes me so sad to know that Bunny has spent the last months of his life not getting the attention he was used to for 18 years. Now, I am trying to do the humane thing and ease his suffering before he gets worse. Tomorrow I have to say goodbye and my heart will break.
  • Chicken returns to work at the end of June and even though she will work from home quite a bit, I am terrified at the thought of suddenly losing my full time mommy help. We have been doing this together the entire time and I have no idea how I'm suddenly going to manage by myself. I feel like such a wuss because I know so many twin moms do it solo, but I honestly don't know how. If I had two babies like Grunter--yes, I could do it. But with one Whoop Whoop? I am TERRIFIED!! If you don't have a high needs baby, you have NO idea!!
  • Stay tuned for how it all turns out.....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Where Are We Going, Mommy?

For those of you following along, it took 2 more tries to get their baby photos for the passports! Four total.
The third time wasn't a charm at all as the nice woman wasn't working and #1 A-hole was.
We decided to go to a different location and get them done there...and by the time we got there both babies were asleep! Didn't matter anyway because this location had a non-working piece of machinery and couldn't do it. Urgh.

We took a day off after that and I practiced a bit on my own at home and decided that I would bring my camera in as it had a faster speed than the one the store was using.
The girl working was really nice about me wanting to use my camera. And....that's what worked! We laid each boy down on a white piece of poster board and stood above them and snap! Yeah!!

It took us 3 hours at the passport agency and that's WITH an appointment. I swear, we got the slowest government employee there. He was totally overwhelmed with the fact he had to do 4 applications at once. We had to stand up there at the window for almost 2 hours...
And can I tell you how many kids were at that place? It was like a nursery in there. We didn't need to worry about bothering anyone with a baby crying because there were about 20 kids in there under the age of 3, no kidding.

The next day Chicken was able to go down and pick up our new passports.
I still can't believe we all have this new last name and now we all have every single piece of legal documentation to show it. We are a family. With all the same last name. And passports!
Where are we going, Mommy?
(Yes, I stole this idea from Next in Line! It was too cute to resist!)

Little Man

Little Man in the morning light on my chest
Smiling, reaching, stretching your neck up and down from side to side
Experimenting with this new trick of yours, how strong you've become
Cooing at the shadows on the walls, mouth in an O at the wonder around you
Sweet, warm, baby breath upon my face
Tiny fingers grasping onto my big ones
I nestle my face into your neck and drink you up
This moment of ours in the early morning
I would give up anything for you
Just to enjoy every minute with you
These precious days are going by all too fast
Who knew a love like this was possible...
If you want to stay on my chest all day as morning lights to afternoon and fades to evening...
We could.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

A year ago I was giving Chicken a Lupron shot in the upstairs bathroom of her mother's house as we started our egg donor cycle.
This year I'm a mother of two amazing little boys.
I hope you all get to celebrate Mother's Day next year.
If you are already a mother, I hope you stop every day and cherish the small moments.
I am learning they go by all too soon.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I Haven't Really Left You

I feel bad that I don't comment very much. It's just so hard.
I can read all of the blogs from my iPhone, but it's much harder to type out all of the comments and everything I'd like to say.

It's difficult enough to just keep blogging but I'm trying.
My laptop goes days without being opened and so I haven't updated my blogroll, put bfp's in the appropriate category, listed all the blogs I'm reading (because I read so many more than what are listed).

I'm beginning to find a few more moments of free time, life IS getting easier. But, whew.
Life with twins is hard, y'all.

I remember reading on someones blog that is was so unhelpful to hear how hard it was going to be or that they didn't know what they are getting themselves into.
And that's not helpful, but my god is it true.
It's the physical sleep deprivation more than anything else that you just cannot expalin to people who have not experienced it.
And even if you have 2 kids close in age...it is still not like having twins.
They are simply in their own category and the only ones who truly get it are other twin moms.

Thanks for those of you who continue to read along. I'm still reading along, too, and someday I hope to be an active commenter again.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Crib Separation Anxiety

I'm the one having anxiety, not the boys!

After Grunter decided he was all grown up now and could roll with the big boys, we did look into the sleep positioners. While I'm sure they have indeed worked for others, it was not going to be a good fit for us. Grunter has flipped around like a swaddled, crazed mermaid from about 2 weeks old.
He is a mover and a shaker and I have no doubt he would've slipped and scooted himself right down that device, causing me more anxiety than the possibility of him rolling over.

The boys look like they are going to be tall and for the last couple of weeks we've been discussing moving them to their separate cribs because we were afraid they would soon start kicking each other in their sleep and waking the other one up.
Our decision to unswaddle Grunter also forced us to separate them.
Now that he has free movement, there's no way we wanted them in the same crib together.
So, two nights ago, my tiny babies became big boys. No more swaddle, no more sleeping together. Sigh.
I just wasn't expecting this at 14.5 weeks! I mean, I'm really pleased that developmentally they are doing so well, but considering their 'real' adjusted age is only 10.5 weeks, I certainly wasn't expecting this.

The first night we removed the swaddler portion of the Halo SleepSack (love this product, it's a 2 for 1 deal, just like twins!) and put him on his back. That night was a bit of a nightmare.
He grunted and snorked and cried and barked out in the night. I was a mess worrying that he was face down suffocating himself. My worst fear has always been that I will wake up and one of the boys will no longer be breathing, so this was like my worst nightmare scenario.
However, every time I checked on him, he was on his side, never on his stomach. Just as I suspected...he's a side sleeper!
We all got little sleep and by 4am, we brought his car seat to the bedroom and he slept for a blissed out 4 hours. Pretty much a record for him, so he really needed it.

Last night, we figured we had no option, but to just suck it up and try it again. It has to get better. And it did. He went down just fine, even better than when we would swaddle him. First time down and we never had to come back for any soothing. Yeah!
BUT, when I put his brother down (swaddled), he began thrashing about and I thought...hmmm? Time to unswaddle him as well?
I did, but it took 6 tries to soothe him and get him to sleep. Chicken decided he needed to be swaddled and that I was just paranoid, but guess who decided to roll on their side all swaddled up??!! Yep.
So, Whoop Whoop is also swaddle free today.

This morning during tummy time, Grunter rolled from his stomach to his back, THREE TIMES. I guess I don't need to worry so much.

Separate Cribs. Swaddle Free.

Time sure is moving fast.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Roly Poly Problemos

For the last week or so--right around the 3 month mark (but 2 months adjusted) both of the boys have been rolling onto their backs during tummy time.
This seemed early...but great.

Today, Grunter was taking a nap in the crib when we heard an unusual squak. We figured he was waking up and ready to eat, as usual.

When we went in we found he had rolled--while swaddled--from his back to his front!
Scary though because he couldn't move since he was swaddled up.
I think the swaddler gives him an unfair advantage of flipping and rolling that he doesn't have otherwise. Plus, I can already tell he is going to be a side sleeper as he prefers to roll on his side while hanging out.

Is it time to unswaddle and just do the sleep sack portion??
I'm scared because he still can't raise his head a long time during tummy time and doesn't have the upper body strength his brother has.
I'm also scared that he won't sleep as well with his arms moving all over.
What to do? What to do...?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Third Times a Charm?

The passport photos for myself and Chicken are done.

We did a re-do with the boys. This time a very nice lady had they lay on the floor on top of a white blanket we had brought.
Chicken and I would hold their heads facing perfectly straight, count to 3 and let go.
Some times this worked, but wow, babies really like to turn their heads.
We thought we got 2 good photos but when she printed them, the were blurry and the blanket was rumpled....which means they are no good!!

Today, I'm going to try some photos at home myself and if it works, just go in and have her size and print them since she offered us yet another re-do.
Just in case we have to try it in the store again, we are going to use a piece if white poster board instead and I'm bringing my camera as it has a much faster speed than the digi she was using.

Fingers crossed. Third times a charm.
We don't have our appointment at the passport agency until next week, so we have tine to keep trying!
This is crazy!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, May 3, 2010

Painful Passport Photos

This has been on my to-do list for quite some time. With the name change, we have gotten most of the change overs done, but not this one. However, this one is a terribly time-consuming project and we just haven't been able to get to it. Now, we have to act.
The problem is that it require such a significant amount of time just for the photos.

First of all, Chicken and I both have to do hair and make up. If I'm going to be showing a photo for the next 10 years, I'd better look as good as possible. My last passport photo was crap and I have been waiting 10 years to make a better one. Since the twins have been born, I can count the number of times in the past 3 months I've done hair and makeup. Once. That was for a trip to the DMV. ONCE. (But it was a good photo!)

Because it's damn hard to just take a shower, let alone do anything with my hair besides pull it up. Oh and about my hair. You blogger ladies were not kidding about the shedding. Holy sheddsville. It it coming out by the handful. I don't even bother to wash it more than once or twice a week because it's so disgusting. I have to pull it out of the drain at least 3 times while I'm showering because otherwise it's like I'm wading in the River Ganges.
And the showering part....well, since the twins have been born I don't shower daily anyway. Or even every other day. There are some days I can fit it in, but mostly other things take priority. Like sleep. And eating.

So Saturday a very nice friend came over and she and Chicken took the twins out so I could have a nice shower, do my hair and makeup and in general, relax for an hour.
Chicken was able to get ready while I fed the boys and after that we all went out to do the photos.

Since Sept. 11, the process for baby passport photos has changed. Because you know, there are SO many baby terrorists.
The baby--regardless of age--needs to be looking straight ahead, not smiling, mouth not open, eyes open, hands out of face/mouth, and--this is the really hard part--there cannot be any other hands showing. As in, holding up your baby's neck. Yeah. That's hard people.
We kept waiting every week thinking...maybe this week their little necks will be strong enough. And they are stronger, oh yes, every week. But strong enough to hold up by themselves? Nope.

The photo guy at the drugstore was a complete A-hole and did not want to be working at all, let alone helping us. Chicken and I got ours taken first and then proceeded to get the boys in order. It was hard and by the end, Whoop Whoop was. not. pleased.
Then, photo guy prints them out and Whoop Whoop has part of a hand showing behind his neck.

Photo Guy: I'm sure it's OK
Me: It's not OK, the passport agency will reject this.
Photo Guy: I don't think so.
Me: Have you ever gone down to a government office with twins and waste your entire day because they rejected a photo?
Whoop Whoop: Crying.

So, Whoop Whoop did not leave with a photo.
The photo he had for Chicken was good. Mine was blurry and AGAIN he tried to tell me it would be just fine (it would not be, they would've rejected it) and gave me extreme attitude to have it done over. I think he adjusted the color just to piss me off because it came out looking like I have huge bags under my eyes. I mean, come on, I know I'm sleep deprived, but I don't *think* I look that bad. Or maybe I do. Meh.
Grunter's looked OK, but I was a little concerned that it wasn't a straightened photo. It's pretty easy to make a lopsided photo straight, but I let it go.
We all had this slight shadow in the back of us, but it was so slight I wasn't sure.

We decided to come back for Whoop Whoop figuring 3 out of 4 was pretty good all things considered.
Until I got home. And realized that he had cut Grunter's photos 2 different ways, so they in fact were NOT identical and yes--would be rejected.
Then, I got on the site and double checked about the shadows. You guessed it. No go.

Yesterday, I took the photos back in to complain about the employee and the photos. Turns out there have been MANY people complain about this guy and we were told to come back and another woman would do them and they only charge us for 3 (so refunding one of the them). The photos were, in fact, done incorrectly.

Fair enough. BUT the TIME involved. Oy.
So today, one more time, hair and makeup for the 2nd time in 48 hours. It's a record. I haven't been this clean or looked this good since I don't know when.

Later this week or next, we all get to go downtown to the passport agency and wait and wait and wait and wait. And probably wait some more.
But then the next day we get to go pick up all 4 passports (And I think--hope--only one of us has to do that).
Then, we're off to see the world.
Well, eventually. One country at a time.