me, circa may 2008

Two years ago, I was {very} pregnant.
(About 32 weeks, to be exact.)

I was thankful to still be pregnant.

And I had recently grown my fist {of many} stretch marks.

My good friend Stacey snapped these pictures
of my {humongous} belly for me.
And I love them to this day.
I can't believe that this was only two years ago. My pregnancy feels like it was eons ago. I can't really even remember what it felt like. The boys' first year is also blurry. Heck, what am I talking about? I hardly remember last weekend! Thank goodness for this blog, so I can go back and see what my life was like.

getting easier

With the boys turning two in six short weeks, I have been thinking a lot about my experience with them as infants and one-year olds. I have also begun envisioning our future (with more siblings someday) and I find that it is less scary than it was at one point.
I've begun to think lately that perhaps the hardest part of parenting twins is over. When the boys were infants, I really felt out numbered, I felt guilty and I felt sad for them. Yes, being a twin is ultimately a blessing; however that blessing is not without sacrifice. The boys often got half the attention they would have gotten as a singleton. And as the mom, I missed out on a lot of the moments I had envisioned for myself and my baby. I wouldn't change a thing, but I also won't say that this has been easy.
We have lived on the boys' schedule for nearly 700 days now. And I would have to say that while that is sometimes inconvenient, for the most part, it has been a lifesaver. We knew from the beginning that the most important thing we could do for our sanity was have the boys on the same schedule. We did round-the-clock feedings every three hours for THREE MONTHS. Then I was back at work, and the schedule was imperative to keep the boys happy as we bounced them between grandma's during the week, and parents on the weekends. As they approached one year, we were able to get down to one nap, to get rid of bottles (hallelujah!) and they were sleeping more consistently at night. And by the time this school year started (the boys were about 15 months) they were sleeping through the night 12 hours every night. Truly a miracle.
With all those struggles behind us, I would have to say that our biggest challenge right now is keeping Jack & Logan entertained. Sometimes we have timeout issues, but our main headeache is the weather! If it's nice, and we can get out of the house to the park, the boys are so much happier. Worrying about how to play with the kids is such a relief compared to the things I used to worry about. (ie: are the eating enough? why won't they sleep? will logan's belly button hernia need surgery? is jack's pyogenic granuloma really a cancer?) I find that with the boys at this age, I can relate more to moms with, say, a two and four year old, who are having the same issues with one-on-one time, sharing and playing nice. I feel less isolated in my struggle to balance two.
The hard parts of parenting tend to stand out (grocery shopping with two, bathing two splashing, wiggling toddlers, and wishing people understood they may look the same, but are different people), but there are some awesome things about having two kids the same age. The positives of having twins? They already say, "My turn", which means that they will wait for their brother to have his turn. This is amazing to me. They also have incredible empathy, and show unprompted kindness to their brother that warms my heart. I also will admit freely that I enjoy the attention my twins garner. I love when people remind me that I am doubly blessed, or tell me that they don't know how I do it. (I'm not sure how I do it, either, except to say that I have to do it, and I try my darnedest to do it well!)
In short I am happy to report that my struggle over parenting two babies has lessened. I am able to get housework done, spend time with the boys and have time to myself over the course of the weekend. I am working out regularly, getting enough sleep most nights, and am reading for pleasure. These are all things I fantasized about when I was sleeping in two hour blocks of time between feedings a year and a half ago.
I am happy to be where I'm at, and excited about what this summer holds for Josh & I as the parents of two two-year-olds!


Twins by the numbers

137,085 The number of live twin births born in the U.S. in 2006. (I think that number seems small.)

7,300 The average number of diapers twins go through in a year. (Lordy, don't I know it!)

$3,400 The average price of formula that twins consume in a year. (Thank you WIC!)

37 The average week of gestation for a mom expecting twins. (Hooray- I did it!)

35 - 45 The recommended number of pounds women pregnant with twins should gain. (I only gained 25, and was so worried the whole time!)

2 The average age toddler twins give up a second nap! (We let our second nap go when they turned one. Now they are fighting the single nap they still have! But we are holding out. There is NO WAY we are going napless!)

These were the top twin names in 2008
-the year the boys were born:

(thank you to www.talk-about-twins.com for these stats!)


books i heart

I think I have done this recently, but with summer coming, I know everyone (okay, maybe not everyone) is thinking of their summer reading list. Imagining listless days soaking up the rays at the river or beach with their new bff (aka: recent book buy from barnes and noble)... or maybe that's just me.
In any case, here's my list. I love, love, love(!) these books. I have read and re-read many of them. I will warn you that I have been told I like books that have a lot of description. Extra words that, to me, are like little bits of poetry and help me really get into the setting of a book. For others, I guess, it's just fluff. For me, it's like a few clouds on a sunny day- just adds a little extra something to the whole feeling.
Here goes:

Anita Shreve:
Something about the way she writes, just gets me. She takes everyday things, like a pair of boots by the front door, and turns them into poetry. Love her. My favorite novels of hers include (but are not limited to):Sea Glass
This was the first book I read by Shreve, and I was hooked. Honora, the main character, is a twenty year old bride, and the book takes place on the coast (a common theme among my favorites). I desperately wanted to name our daughter Honora after reading this... but Josh vetoed it. Fortune's Rocks
"In the time it takes for her walk from the bathhouse at the seawall to Fortune's Rocks, where she has left her boots and has discreetly pulled off her stockings, to the waterline along which the sea continually licks the pink and silver sand, she learns about desire." First line, and I'm hooked. This book is about the growing up of Olympia, and it is a page turner. (Also, it is located on the coast.)

Body Surfing
This book is about Sydney, who has been once divorced, once widowed, and is a moving novel. I love Shreve's way with words, and this book is no different.


Ann Brashares:She wrote the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
This series is about four friends as they grow into their adolescence/adulthood. (I own all four of those novels). Loved them!
The Last Summer of You and Me
The Last Summer is a heartwrenching novel about two sisters, and let me tell you, I cried a lot of tears. The Last Summer also takes place on the coast, which I love. I'm telling you, read it!


Ya Ya Sisterhood books by Rebecca Wells
I read these quite a few years ago, but I loved them. I think I should probably re-read them now that I am a mother. They are set in the south, which fascinates me, and follow four best friends through raising their kids, etc.


The Language of Goodbye by Maribeth Fischer
This book is about a couple who left their previous marriages to be together. An interesting way to start a relationship, let me tell you.


Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
This is another one of those books where the author's writing allows you to fall in love with even the worst characters. My favorite character is Piper, who discovers that you don't need to worry what other people think, you just have to follow your heart. And while that sounds cliche, the manner in which she reaches this decision will have you crying. Bring kleenex.


The Birth House by Ami Mckay
This book is amazing. Flat out. I love each birth, each new mother, each fight to maintain their choices against modern medicine in the 1900's. Really good book. (Also near the coast!)


Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand
If I had to pick {one favorite}, this would be it. Should you choose to read it, bring tissue. And lots of it. This novel is about three friends, each at a personal crossroads, who together share a quaint beach house for the summer. As it shifts character to character, you can't turn the pages fast enough to get to the next person, and the next person. I enjoyed it particularly because when I was reading it, my boys were the same age as the baby Vicki has. And I loved how accurately Hilderbrand described the baby at that stage.


The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline
I read this book recently and recommend it to anyone who feels they are not living their life. The main character decides (after being fired) to do the unthinkable and follow her heart to a remote island in Maine (Yes, another oceanside book!). The novel makes you realize that you, too, could be doing more to make your life your own. I loved it.


What Remains by Carole Radziwill
It will give you the life perspective you need. She lost her husband and two best friends. Everything. In less than one year. Yet she still has hope. She is inspiring. (Note: She was married to John Kennedy's cousin.) Bring tissue for this one, too. {Did I mention this is non-fiction?}


B-Mother by Maureen O'Brien
I just read this one and it was a really accurate portrayal of pregnancy, and what I assume it would be like to give your child up for adoption. It was a page turner. (I have found that a lot of my books are about children, mothers & birth, as well as the ocean.)


About Twins:
One and the Same by Abigail Pogrebin.
This book is, hands down, the best one out there. And I should know. I have read plenty of twin books.


About over eating, weight loss & living life to your fullest:
Women, Food & God
by Geneen Roth
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This book gave me my life back. I am feeling my feelings, making my choices and living my life for the first time in a long time. And it feels so amazing.


So there you have it, my all time best book list.
Happy reading, friends!


logan & jack

Today we were at the park with the boys when another mother asked me if their personalities were different. And I thought, I wonder if people reading my blog wonder the same thing? So, for those of you wondering about the differences between our two little monkeys, here they are.

Logan is a very picky eater. He is also more outgoing, more of a daredevil and a huge flirt!

Jack is a momma's boy (which I love), he will eat anything, and is far more shy than Logan.

They do have the same mannerisms most of the time. They walk with their hands behind their backs, they pat their knees to the music and just use their hands in the same way. (Although it seems that they may be mirror twins after all. Jack eats with his right hand predominantly, and Logan with his left. We will know for sure when they have a dominant writing hand around age five.)

I have also noticed lately that their voices are becoming more and more similar. I can still tell them apart most of the time, but it's getting more difficult.
I think it's nice when people ask me if the boys are the same or different. People have a lot of misconceptions about twins, and I like to be able to set the record straight once in a while. The biggest thing I face as a mom of twins in public? People instantly saying, "Double Trouble" when they see the boys. I will not stand for this. I ALWAYS (every.single.time.) say to these people, "No... we say "Twice as Nice." I think it's important that the boys don't grow up hearing that constant negative feedback about their twinship. My favorite comment? "You have been doubly blessed." I hear this mostly from grandma's & grandpa's, and it warms my heart to be reminded of the amazing blessing God has given me.


800th post... totally random

Is it possible that this is truly my 800th post? What have I possibly had to say for 799 posts? In less than two years, I have bombarded you with an average of 40 posts per month. Mostly I suppose I've been bragging about my adorable twin sons, my awesome husband, my loving family and my fabulous life. But you have also been there for me as I have cried {metaphorically speaking} on your shoulders. Your comments, love & support have bolstered me through some very dark days. For that, I thank you. This one is dedicated to all who read my blog; who care one iota about what I say; and who love my kids. You rock!

We are one week from freedom for Josh. He has FIVE days left at his student internship, and we are {very} excited to be closing this chapter of our lives. It has been an exhausting, strengthening time, but one that I won't mind just looking back on... as long as I'm no longer living it!

The boys are just getting cuter everyday. Their bubbly baby boy voices tempt me everyday to stay home from work and just play. They love to hug and I say, "One, two, three, SQUEEZE!" and we squish their bubbas up in nice, big bear hugs. It's adorable to hear them count along and shout "SQUEEZE!"
Today we took the boys swimming. The whole drive there Jack was {wildly} signing "swim!?!" "swim?!?" like he couldn't believe we were really going. And then when we were leaving he said, "Bye, water. I love you. See ya!" I was cracking up when Josh told me about it. This kid is his mother's son.

This little boy had his first "playdate" as a singleton. My sister-in-law had him over to play with his cousin Gustav. All. By. Himself. She said it was so fascinating to see how the two played together minus Jack. You can check out the pictures here on her blog.

The boys are getting to the point where they choose when and whom to hug and kiss. It is sweet as can be to hear their little voice from behind saying "hug" as their squishy baby arms wrap around my waist.

This morning they woke up during my work out (I am currently doing Mama Wants Her Body Back, and as corny as the name may be, the workouts are short, INTENSE and totally doable. Another plus? The instructor kind of reminds me of Sarah Jessica Parker, which means the entire time I am splayed out on my living room floor in my HUMONGOUS yoga pants and supertight hot pink sports bra, sweating to death and thinking that there is NO WAY I can lift my tree trunk of a leg into the air again, I stop and think of how HOT Carrie & her friends are and how un-HOT I am with my lumpy thighs, bread dough stomach and flabby arms- and let me tell you, I LIFT THAT LEG!!! And pray for legs that could sport some Jimmy Choos!) So I got them up cause they were screaming as I did my lunges. But once I got them up, all they wanted to do was hug me as I tried to finish my workout. Here I am doing crunches and plank leg lifts while Jack is smushing his bubba and sweet binky face into my back saying "hug?" Oh, bubbas... I love you!

Here's what I want. It's very simple. I want financial freedom. I want time for myself & my husband. And I want {oh so badly} to be a stay-at-home-mom. Is that so much to ask? After all that we have worked for? I surely hope not. And I hope that when May arrives, and Josh begins his job hunt in earnest, I hope that God shows me his generous hand yet again. We have been so blessed throughout our entire journey together. Always making it through, even when we were sure we wouldn't survive. I am so excited for the next chapter to begin.

Mostly because I believe the next chapter is titled "SAHM". Those four, sweet little initials are all I need for happiness. To wake up everyday, knowing that I won't have to leave those little boys. That I can have my cake and eat it, too. (Or use my bathroom, and clean it, too. Ha!) I am so excited for Josh to finally have his own classroom to run as he sees fit, to have all his hard work pay off, and to be able to fully devote myself to him and our children. It's all I've ever wanted, actually. My dreams will all come true when I am a stay at home mom. I wanted: to be married, to get my bachelors degree and to be a stay at home mom. Once that happens, I guess I will have to start making new goals. Pretty awesome stuff.
While we're being random... here are some {adorable} posts from this time last year. I love this one and that one. Where, oh where, did my babies go?

Well, here's to 800 more posts!



random facts

-I have never mowed a lawn.

-I own 82 {completed} journals.

-I am fluent {mostly} in American Sign Language.

-In the 10th grade I fell desperately in love (but not that kind of love) with a set of twin boys at a church camp where I was a counselor. They were about the age of my little brother, hilarious and sweet as could be. From the moment I met Atom & Andy, blue eyed and blond haired, I wanted my own set of identical twins. Fast forward ten years and voila! I have them!

-I have had four surgeries: hernia correction, tonsillectomy, c-section & gallbladder removal. All painful, but all worth it... although I must say that the c-section removed the most amazing thing(s) from my body!


Super Nanny Saves The Day

Today started out okay enough. The boys let me sleep until 7:00, I started some laundry and they were really well behaved. They let Daddy sleep in by being good,quiet boys; they gave me lots of snuggles; and even let me sneak away into their room to {further} baby proof it. (Our nephew recently escaped his crib, and this got me thinking that someday our children may discover that escape is possible. And with our recent Windex incident I don't want to take any risks.)
Then I wanted to take a shower. Mistake #1. I showered, shaved half my legs, and got out, sensing that trouble was brewing. The boys were playing with our printer and jumping on the couch. Then while I was blowdrying, Mistake #2, I heard the front door. I answered to find my sister-in-law returning a plate. I took the plate and headed into the kitchen to find the boys... They had opened a "child proof" drawer, and dumped a box of paper clips & thumb tacks onto the floor. When Josh heard me shout "Oh, nooo!" he came running out of the bedroom where he is still working on that massive project for WSU. I pulled the drawer out of the cupboard and all but threw it on top of the dryer. I JUST WANTED TO BLOWDRY MY HAIR!
Forget it. Threw my hair back and got the boys in their high chairs to do some art, Mistake #3, as they preferred eating the crayons to coloring with them.
Then I called my mom.
I am so exhausted. (See previous post for where I'm at mentally...) She gave me the pep talk I needed to get through lunch and assured me that if I just came over to her house, she would help out with the boys and be the listening ear I needed.
I cried a little more, fed the boys lunch, put them down for naps, fell asleep myself, woke up when the boys did and headed to her house.
Then the fun began:
As soon as we got there, my headache began to disappear, and the joy on my boys' faces warmed my heart.

We headed straight outside where we stayed until dinner time.




Logan, hot on Jack's trail...

Logan saying "close".

My {adorable} toddlers...

Soon my parents got back from their garage sale-ing and the boys waited anxiously for them to come play with us!

{Jack & Logan}
After an afternoon of joyful-running, giggly-laughing, baby-chasing, trampoline-jumping, bike-riding, Goldfish-eating, KoolAid-drinking, cousin-loving, girl-talking fun; we had dinner and went for a walk.

After spending the afternoon just enjoying the sunshine, the company of family, and a lack of responsibility, I realized:
These boys make it ALL worth it.
Every dust covered shelf, unmade bed, unwashed towel...
Every unshaved leg, untended toenail & undone hair day...
I just need to remember that "this too shall pass",
one day I will have plenty of time to tend to my house, myself.
And then I will miss their baby selves, their new voices,
their giggles, and their tiny hands pulling at me.

I just have to stop moving long enough to recognize what I have
{two beautiful blessings from God}

instead of what I don't have
{time for me, or my moldy bathroom}.

{Here's to looking at the big picture.
And enjoying the journey.}

darkest before the dawn

Houston, we are a go/no-go for launch... Two weeks and counting. And while two weeks may sound like the blink of an eye to some of you; let me assure you that to me (who is fumbling her way through a darkened cave with two babies on her back toward a light the size of a dime) it is anything but short. Two weeks is akin to the amount of time you spent in labor, or lost your child at Nordstrom's that one time. You know, the kind of time that stretches seconds into eons, and minutes into eternity? Yeah, that kind.
And while I am fumbling through the craggy, spider-covered darkness of my cave, I am so thankful to hear my supporters, my cheerleaders, near the end of the cave, closest to the light, screaming my name, telling me I can do it, assuring me that it will all be worth it.

I have to give you all a shout out. Without you, I would just give up... sit on a moist, moss covered rock and cry until help arrived, bats flying in my hair, cave dwelling creepy crawlers shivering up my spine. I would close my eyes and pray for brighter days, all the while moving no closer to that brightness where you are.

My dear sweet husband, who started our adventure into the cave. You are the reason we stepped into the darkness... knowing that the light at the end would be worth the journey. Your persistence, despite being hit by a drunk driver, despite that G.D. test you had to take in Seattle, despite having a wife & twin sons to care for, you persisted, and that is the reason we have become the parents we have always wanted to be. Educated ones. I gladly give up time and energy for you & your journey, because you are my everything. And I am so proud of you that sometimes I could cry.

My super Nanny, who has brought encouragement, nourishment, & flashlights when I need them most. You are my rock, my example, and my knowledge that given enough strength, one can face the cave. Even with twice as many kids as I have. You are my listening ear, my calming voice, and quite frankly, my savior on days like today when I am ready to lay down and let the bats give me rabies. Thank you. It's not enough, but thank you. I love you and aspire to be like you. By God's sweet blessing I find myself more and more like you everyday.

My sidekick Sister, who loves my kids as much as I do. Who plays with them, hugs them, watches them, and holds them as if they were her own. Who shares her son and her time with me, when I need it most. Who let me take a break today (and paint my toenails, even though no one can see them in my cave) and encouraged me to find the energy to continue my journey toward the light. You are my best friend, my sounding board and my strongest priority setter. Thank you for the clarity of your words, your unending honesty and your support, especially the last few weeks. I love you and am so enjoying parenting side by side.

My mom told me today that it is darkest before the dawn, so the pitch black darkness I faced today is proof positive that brighter days will come.

The sun will shine.


to top it off...

This afternoon Roxanne, the boys & I met up for some ice cream at our favorite 'dish' downtown. Here Jack is waiting for ice cream with Ritz crackers.

And here they're playing with Roxanne.
She's so fun!

I just LOVE these kids.
It amazes me...

Logan "feeding" Ferris some of his water.

And sharing that water with Roxanne, too.

It was the perfect afternoon to top off a perfect day!