Friday, September 17, 2010

Foto Friday

I did my first mommy and me class by myself this morning. It was chaos! But I did it. I thought more people might offer a bit of help, but the class was mostly nannies who just stared at me. Talk about the pressure!
Funny, when I go to these kinds of things on the weekend with Chicken other mommies are there and they are quick to help.

Afterwards we hit the swings--always a big hit.
And yes, my boys are wearing some pink!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gossip Boys!

The twins have made their TV debut on Gossip Girl.!

I meant to blog about it, but honestly even I didn't know when the episodes were airing. Just last week, I emailed the producer we'd been working with asking about the air dates as I knew the season premier was coming up. She was very nice and said she'd let me know shortly. As I didn't hear from her....I assumed they weren't in the premier episode.
Imagine my surprise when another blogger told me she'd just seen my twins on Gossip Gir.l!

It was a little upsetting not to be told. I know a lot of family and friends wanted to watch the show. But, it is available online here and the name of the episode is "Belles de Jour". Also, they are in the next two episodes as well on Mondays at 9pm EST on the CW.

Good thing we did set the series on the DVR so we were able to watch it. It's pretty crazy to be watching a show and see your baby!
By the way, in this episode, you are just seeing Whoop Whoop. Grunter should be on next week. Here are some stills from the show.

We wrapped filming the week before we went on vacation to North Carolina, so that's it for this show. They have been signed with a modeling agency. It's a lot of work and I'm not a stage mom at all, but if they get a job and it's an easy location for me to get to, I'll do it. So far, the job they were offered was in New Jersey, so I passed. We'll see what happens!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trying To Be As Green As Can Be Without Cloth

When I found out I was pregnant I had high hopes of being able to use cloth diapers. But realizing that (a) we have no washer/dryer in our apartment (b) we were having twins (c) we had no where to hang the diapers to sun dry them (d) we're having TWINS...

Well, that sent me scurrying to the next best option: finding the greenest disposable.

Because let's face it, I have limited time and resources here. I don't think any of my neighbors would appreciate me putting sort of poopy diapers in a community-shared washer nor do I have any way of "doing a hot rinse cycle, followed by a wash cycle, followed by a rinse cycle, followed by a nice sun dry on a line in the back yard" or whatever it is that I've read. The good cloth diapers all seem to need more than just a wash through.

When the twins came home, they needed preemie diapers and we went straight to Pam.pers because they fit great and they worked. We tried a package of 7th Gen.eration, but were not impressed with the fit.
Fast forward--now we've tried quite a few brands, included 7th Gen again. We do like the 7th Gen, but we've found an eco diaper that is even better (IMO)--Nature Babycare.
We are very pleased with this diaper, the fit and the lack of leaks. I will admit that since the twins started sleeping through the night, we do use Pam.pers for overnight as I haven't found any eco-friendly diaper that last 12 hours. If you've found one, let me know!

Trying to Be Greener says it better than me: (and check out her blog for a gazillion other green options, it's a great blog!)

I checked out Gdiapers, but I didn’t feel they were an option for me. Again, living in an apartment building, I just didn’t trust the plumbing – would I cause a flood if the diaper didn’t break up enough in the toilet? I understand that flushing them is not the only option – you can just throw out the inserts but they’re also more expensive than other eco-friendly disposables so I passed on them.

I ended up using 7th Generation‘s disposable diapers. I have been very pleased with them so far in that they’re chlorine-free and contain no latex, fragrance, or TBT (tributyl tin), they fit well and there haven’t been any problems with leaks. The big problem I have with them, though, is that I had always thought they were biodegradable they actually aren’t. I also wanted to find a diaper without gel inside.

So, it was back to the drawing board to find something “greener”. That’s when I came across Nature Babycare Diapers.

Product features:

- Award Winning Premium Performance eco-friendly disposable diaper
- Awarded the Eco Label “Good Environmental Choice” of Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)
- NO oil-based plastics against baby’s skin
- Kinder and more gentle to your baby and the environment
- Breathable and chlorine-free with natural based material, for natural protection
- Ultra-thin construction gives a non-bulky fit, enabling your baby to move around freely
- Consumer packaging is based on 100% natural renewable material. No oil-based plastics!
- Winner of the 06-07 Silver Award for “Best Disposable Diaper,” featured in Mother & Baby Magazine, a leading UK baby magazine

Features and Benefits of Nature babycare:
-Chlorine-free absorbent materials – does not contribute to dioxin pollution
-100 % natural based back sheet – NO plastic – reduce the greenhouse effect
-100 % natural distribution layer – NO plastic – reduce the greenhouse effect
-100 % compostable consumer packaging – NO plastic – reduce the greenhouse effect
-No latex, fragrance, or TBT (tributyl tin)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mixed Feelings

We had a beautiful weekend away and it's always nice, if a bit stressful, to get the boys out of the city and back into nature.
Yes, the naps were a bit messed up and yes, they fussed in the car (OK, screamed a bit) and yes, they didn't get a bath every night (um, they didn't get a bath at all, but we did do a washcloth) because it was too hard to find a suitable place to bathe them BUT overall it was good.
We were able to get them out for nature walks both days visiting this reservoir and this gorgeous Japanese garden and we were able to catch up with not only Chicken's father, but also her brother, his wife and their son (who is 10 days older than the twins).

Of course the whole point of the trip--why we were invited--was to meet Big Gay Dad's new boyfriend. BGD told us a few weeks ago that he was not only dating again (already) but that he had a boyfriend. Honestly, we were shocked. It seemed too soon. His partner, "Brock" died in April from an 8 month battle with lung cancer. His ceremony was in June...and now it's only August and you' Seriously, dating?
But I don't know what it's like to lose my partner to a slow, evil disease. I don't know how I would act/react. Maybe I would go on, too and throw myself into the dating world so I didn't have to feel so much pain. I don't know.

Regardless, we not only met the new BF, we stayed at his house for the weekend. I almost feel sorry for BF. BGD is having all of the family members meet him, they've only been dating for 2 months and he's getting an instant family. Not just an instant family, but one who adored Brock, spent the last decade with him and is still mourning him. BF is no Brock.
Brock was gay his whole life, but he was an upstate outdoorsy man. He camped, hiked, fished, cooked, skied, biked, played tennis and was an avid sailor. He was a writer and a poet, a sculptor, glass maker and jewelry designer. He could do just about anything he tried and he tried many things throughout his life.

We would often go up in the summertime and take the sailboat to one of the many islands on Lake George and go camping. One thing Brock was really looking forward to was having grandchildren. I believe he would have been the perfect male role model for my boys and we couldn't wait for them to meet him and spend time with him upstate in the country.
We are so thankful Brock was able to hold on until he could meet and hold his grandsons.

Meeting BF made us realize even more how much we miss Brock. Since we were not able to attend his ceremony, Chicken and I never properly grieved. Quite unexpectedly, this weekend propelled us into grieving. The realization that BF will never camp, hike, get dirty, play tennis or sail with our boys. BF is a former dancer with Martha Graha.m. He is an antiques dealer. He is very, very femmy. He's not so good with babies...or the outdoors.
Chicken's dad is a wonderful grandfather and we are lucky to have him, but oh what a pair he and Brock made.
We found ourselves crying in bed and holding one another as we realized the shattered dreams for our boys. Brock would have been the best grandpa ever and this weekend made us miss him more than ever.

The last time we saw Brock before he got sick was the day we told him we were pregnant with twins. Brock was a twin. He was filled with happiness for me. He was the only father figure I've ever had. I really miss him and I'm not ready for someone else to take his place.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Little Twins That Could

All went well this morning with the exception of wake up time/nap time.
That's a hard one to predict.

We aimed for a 9:45 train thinking it would more or less coincide with the morning nap.
Unfortunately, the boys didn't get our memo, woke up at 6am and were ready for a nap earlier than expected.

There was a bit of hysterical crying for 5-10 minutes before we decided to just leave the house early because they would probably fall asleep on us.
Good thing because it took forever to get a cab at rush hour.
It took so long in gridlock traffic they both fell asleep in the taxi.

The luggage situation is totally doable and I think we will not have a problem wearing the carseats next time.
After all, we just have to get from the apartment to the cab, out of the cab and to the train and then there's a car waiting for us at the other end.
We can do this!!
But oh, I can't wait til the day I don't have to pack up pumping/feeding supplies. It takes up so much valuable packing space.

Our plan was for them to nap on us during the train ride. However, we didn't count on the VERY loud speaker announcing the stops. That seems to jolt them. Darn. We will see how that goes for the 2 hour ride. They sleep in the stroller with sirens going by so I think they will be OK. I just hate feeling their little bodies startle.

You know what? It's all going to be OK. We are going to just take it as it comes. We have done a great deal of work establishing good routines but at the same time I want flexible, adaptable kids.

For now, I'm going to sit back and enjoy the scenery as the Hudson River Valley unfolds before me. You don't get to relax with this view when you drive.

Hudson River Valley

Grand Central Station with Grunter and our 2 bags.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, September 9, 2010

All Aboard

We are going to try a new adventure with the twins tomorrow--train travel!
They have been on subways and we were on 3 different types of trains in Argentina, but this is a whole new territory.

Normally when we go to visit family upstate it requires renting a car. In Manhattan, the average price of a rental car is $100/DAY. Over a 3-day weekend, you'll easily shell out close to $400. This is not part of our financial picture.
Before babies, we would sometimes take the commuter train to the last stop and talk Chicken's mom into picking us up. She didn't like this as it was a long drive for her, so we didn't do it very often, even though it's only about $30 round trip.

Now, we are getting creative.
Chicken's dad--the big gay dad who lost his life partner to cancer in April--has a new BF who lives in a town much closer to the train station. We always had to rent a car to see BGD, because he lives closer to Canada than NYC.
Big Gay Dad (BGD) wants us to meet the new man in his life so we are going to go spend the weekend with them at the BF's house.

Since we talked about this trip before ordering the car seats, I came up with a good 'trial' plan. I shipped the car seats to BGD. He will install them and drive his car to pick us up at the train station. We have packed one carry on suitcase (that will fit in the luggage rack overhead) and a diaper bag. The boys will ride in the Ergo, no need for a stroller this weekend. Basically, we are trying to keep it as light as possible.
BGD is driving to Florida next week and will drive us down to Manhattan on the way, unload the car seats, us, etc.

This is a good trial to see if we could handle taking the car seats on the train with us backpack style. I ordered the travel bags and now I'm anxious to see if I could actually wear the car seat on my back, the baby on my front and pull a suitcase at the same time.
I think I'm going to need to start lifting some weights!
It seems like if this trip is successful, surely we can do it with the backpacks. I hope so, because it will save us a ton of money.

The only part of the plan we don't like, but we can live with, is getting to the train station. The subway is too much of a hassle and slightly dangerous trying to get a suitcase down the stairs while wearing a baby.
BUT, the alternative is a taxi and we would have to wear the baby in the taxi as we have no car seats (this is legal). Many parents in NYC do hold/wear their children in taxis because sometimes you just need to get places and you can't be lugging your 25 lb car seat with you. So, we are going to taxi it.
We took some taxis in Argentina while wearing the babies, so we're going to do it again. We're only a 15-20 minute ride, so at least it's not too long.

I'm really looking forward to getting away and being out in nature. I love the city, but I love getting out of it as well and I really want my boys to grow up in the best of both worlds.
Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sleeping Through the Night!!

I wanted to wait a few nights to make sure it was true....but they did it! The twins are sleeping through the night.

When we were on vacation (on exactly their 7 month birthday) the boys both had some loooong stretches of sleep that have never happened before. We didn't know if it was the ocean air that everyone had claimed or not...because last week sleep was a bit off again.

But, while on vacation we basically stopped the 10pm (ish) dreamfeed bottle we'd been doing (7 oz) and decided to let them wake up on their own. They really surprised us and slept far longer than we anticipated. There was one 10 hour night for Whoop Whoop and a 9 hour night for Grunter.
Last week Whoop Whoop was teething and well, sleep and teething? It doesn't go so well.
But once that first little tooth broke through on Sunday (and what a cute little tooth it is!) the good sleep came back!
  • Sunday they went to bed at 6:30pm and woke up at 5:30am--ELEVEN HOURS!! And then, they went back to bed after I breast fed them and slept til 8am!! Heaven! No fussing in between, nothing but sleeping.
  • Monday they slept for TEN hours straight, woke up at 5am and went back to bed til 8am!!
  • Tuesday they slept for ELEVEN hours again! (But this time when they woke up at 5:45, they just fussed in their cribs and didn't go back to sleep. Oh well, can't win them all.)
In just three days, I feel like my life has changed. I am not a walking zombie and don't wake up begging for a chance, any chance, for a nap. It is so beautiful.
Plus, their naps are wonderful. They are doing two naps a day for about 1.5+ hr each nap.
I owe it all to sleep training. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it was HARD, but I'm so glad we did CIO sleep training. They are such excellent sleepers now!
The fog is lifting. It took a long time, but they did it!!!

Now, too bad my boobs can't sleep through the night:( I tried it and they woke me up almost engorged so now I am going to do a pump at 6:30pm after they go to bed, another one at 9:30pm before I go to bed and then set an alarm for 12:30 and do another pump. That should last until the babies wake up. I wish I could go all night, but I already noticed a drop in my milk supply from 'trying' it that way the last 3 nights and I worked too hard to get my supply up to screw it up now. Any advice on this? Am I am the right track?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

When BFing Goes Too Far....

Ah Strange But True! Well, cows ARE sacred in India....

Chouthi Bai breastfeeds her twenty-day-old pet calf in her residence at Kilchu village, near Bikaner, in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan August 21, 2010. Bai has become an attraction in Kilchu village and receives many visitors curious to see her caring for her pet.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blog Before Buying

I don't know why I thought I could get away with buying a big purchase without running it by the experts FIRST, but I have learned my lesson!
After coming home from NC (and almost 13 hours in the car each way with the boys kicking the back seat) we realized these 'babies' are fast becoming little 'boys' and the Graco Snug Ride infant car seats are quickly being outgrown. My head seems to spin daily with just how FAST time is going by these days.
Big boy car seats?? Already??

Since we don't have a car and we don't regularly go anywhere in a car, we figured we might as well bite the bullet now before we decided to go on a last minute trip and were stuck with too-small car seats.

As luck would have it, BRUS is having a great trade-in sale. You bring in your old car seat (and loads of other items--you'd needn't have purchased it at the store) and you get 25% off a new purchase--needn't be the same type of item. There are a lot of participating manufacturers and we still had a crap load of BRUS gift cards we'd been saving for exactly this purpose.

I did the obligatory research--Britax was participating in the trade in--and decided to go with the "Marathon" car seat. I wasn't thrilled about the huge LazyBoy type of footprint and did wonder how comfortable I would be riding between 2 of these in the back if need be (and there's always been the need on every car ride...) but figured I'm small and this is a fantastic (expensive) car seat, let's do it.
My Twins Club forum had mentioned a 'Radian' car seat, but I couldn't find this brand...and it wasn't listed on the trade in sale.

Off we went, trading in the Graco car seats and buying the new ones. AND we got a pattern that was being discontinued and was already discounted $50 off! With my trade in, the sale price and the gift cards, we ended up only spending about $45 for TWO car seats that retailed for $280 each. I felt like I'd gotten a great deal.
When they were delivered the next day, I took them out of the box, took the boxes down to recycling, managed to (barely) fit them in the front closet and went on with my day, which involved updating my FB status with my score.

And that's when One of His Moms let me know about the Sunshine Kids RADIAN car seat. And I realized I had made a HUGE mistake. Cue Panic. I hate making mistakes. I mean, who doesn't, right? But I feel like I'm a really good researcher and I don't make purchases without a great deal of thought. But I really dropped the ball on this one. And the super had gone home and I can't return these car seats without the boxes and he had probably already broken down the boxes and basically OH SHIT.

You see, the Radian folds flat. Not only that, but it's rated just as high, if not higher than the Britax. And it's perfect for those of us whose car seats don't live in the CAR but in a closet. AND because it folds flat, it has this handy travel bag you can wear as a backpack and you know...TRAVEL with your car seat. Which is clearly the selling point for me.
Because what the HELL was I thinking?! These babies are going places and they are going to need a car seat when they get there! Why was I paying out the ass for an expensive, BIG car seat that I couldn't travel (easily) with? Why was I thinking we would just rent a car seat with the car rental if we flew somewhere? Sleep deprivation has robbed me of some critical thinking skills.

I finally decided the only thing I could do--besides cry--was to write a note to the super and hope to hell the next morning he still had those boxes. Otherwise, I was screwed. When I took the note down...I noticed the recycling door was cracked. This door is always LOCKED after hours and what did I find? My boxes. Not even broken down! JOY!
God wanted me to have the right car seats:) Unfortunately he did not want them to get them at a discount.
I was able to return the Britax to BRUS, get the refund AND....for some reason they had a really hard time with that and I ended up $30 ahead. They knew it, but they couldn't figure it out, so go me!
However, Sunshine Kids was not participating in the trade-in sale, so I found the car seats at (and Amazon) for 20% off which was cheaper than what BRUS was offering. They are expensive, but this is a purchase that is going to last us for years and see us through a great deal of travel, both car, airline (they fit in the overhead bins) and train. Who knows, they'll probably be on a boat at some point, too. I think we'll get more than our money's worth.

I'm so happy to know there are other moms out there who know their gear and steered me in the right direction. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
Next time, I promise to not make a major purchase without blogging about it first!

PS--The sale is still going on at BRUS, go take advantage of it!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Beachy Vacay Pics

Bad Ass Babies...
Mama and Whoop Whoop
Grunter bouncing on the balcony
Grunter in the exersaucer in the sand
Put the baby in the kitchen sink.
Whoop Whoop in the beach exersaucer
Mommy and Grunter. That's about as much beach as he was into.
Flying Grunter above the ocean
The fam
Mama and Flying Whoop Whoop
Nice View
We sat them beside each other...but they did the rest! I hope they are the best of friends.
Mommy and the boys at the pool. They loved the pool!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We Survived, and More

So, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be. I'm really glad I posted here and got some feedback. You were right. Mostly.

While we didn't have enough child-free adults to go around--considering the amount of babies we had (5 under 7 months old, 2 toddlers and 3 seven year olds), everything was OK. MIL wasn't too demanding and everyone understood that all of the babies were on their own schedules. Yes, ours went to bed before everyone else, but when they saw how tired they were in the late afternoon, they realized we weren't crazy--our kids really do need to go to bed early!

As far as the boys and their schedules/sleeping, well, they surprised us all! They must have gone into vacation mode because they slept later/napped later/went to bed later than they have ever done at home.
It worked out really well as everyone would go to the 'big beach house' in the early evening (5:30-6:30ish) for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. This is a family that takes cocktail hour very seriously. A little too seriously for me, but even I indulged in exactly 3 adult beverages for the week. Normally, we would've missed this social hour of everyone getting together (drinking) because the boys would be doing a bath or already in bed. But, they were going to bed around 7 pm or a bit later almost every night. We would give them baths, plop them in the Ergo's, walk down the beach, hang out a bit and come back home, give them a bottle and off to bed they went.

Chicken and I took turns staying inside during the day while the boys napped so one of us could get some beach time. MIL came over twice during afternoon naps so Chicken and I could do something together. We even had family members over to our condo twice to cook dinner together--and the boys never woke up! It helped that we had a balcony with a table for 6 and it was the farthest point from our bedroom.
Other nights Chicken would go to the big beach house where everyone was having dinner together, fix a plate for me and walk it back to the house so I could have dinner.
One night someone babysat and we went out to dinner by ourselves! Oh Joy!

We even had a couple of nights that qualify as "sleep through the night" with Whoop Whoop sleeping for 11 hours straight and Grunter for 9 hours. It was unbelievable. Everyone kept saying it was the ocean air. I'm ready to live near the beach if that's the case!
It was difficult, but not impossible to tandem feed them. I used the couch cushions and made do, but mostly I just BF them solo and it was nice to spend the 1-1 time with them.
We didn't bring a baby bathtub, so they got baths in the kitchen sink which was really cute. We used their car seats to feed them, which was messy, but totally worked.

As usual, we brought too many clothes for them as they mostly spent their waking hours either at the beach or at the pool. They were either in their swimsuits or their diapers, but rarely in 'real clothes'. They both LOVED the pool, but Grunter was pretty scared of the ocean. He did alright with his feet in the sand, but when the water would come up, he cried. W2 on the other hand, was fearless and we were able to carry him out and play a bit with him. Since neither of them sit up on their own yet, it was hard as they couldn't really 'play' but I know the next beach vacation will be much easier.

Things went well until the last day or so when MIL pulled some BS about the car she loaned us. I don't know why she always is trying to make Chicken's life harder when she goes out of her way to make Chicken's brother's lives easier, but it is always this way. It's very hard for me to watch this over and over and over and not get impossibly angry at this woman. I can't think of a single time we've spent with her, that Chicken doesn't get hurt in one way or another. It's always something.

I was also keenly aware that once again--she took no photos of our family at all. She is always taking photos of her other grandson and sending them to the great grandmother. The great grandmother is asking for photos of our kids's up to us to send them (and we're lazy and haven't in a long time). But it kills me that when she is around the twins, she doesn't take out her camera, snap some photos and send them with the package.

When the boys were first born, she took some photos at the hospital and at our house. Then, she put together one of those multiple photo frame things and send them to the great grandmother. I saw this when we visited her last April. Guess who is missing from every single photo? ME. I do not exist.
Chicken finally confronted her mother about it and her mother came up with the excuse that she "didn't have any good shots of all four of us".
Um, you don't have any good shots lady, because you never take any.
I gave her the damn camera she uses. I carried and birthed and breast feed her grandchildren. I really don't know what else I can do. The only thing we can come up with is that I am alot like her ex-husband (and so is Chicken. Thank God we get along with him). I'm so over her and can now breathe a sigh of relief that this vacation is over and I don't have to see her again for a (hopefully) long time.

Would I do it again? Probably not. Will we be asked and expected to do it again next year? Probably.
The concept of family is something I very much want for my boys. I just wish I enjoyed the 'family' part a bit more.

This blog post was supposed to be a bit more positive, but I got really sad writing it. Life with her mother is such a struggle and it gets me down writing about it, but I needed to get it off my chest.
I'm so glad to be home. Just the four of us, our little family.