Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No... They're TWINS

As the parents of twins, in the first year of their life I basked in the glow of attention from complete strangers who wanted to see my TWO infants. I was warned/alerted by twin parents this would occur. A double stroller with two carriers is a magnet for people to come and talk to you, and share their own twin story. I am very proud of my two little ones, so it didn't bother me at all. I enjoyed showing off Marly and Dean, and happy to share about my pregnancy. I let anyone see them and typically pulled back the Bundlers to give a better look. I will admit, Mark and I did get annoyed by strangers asking if they were identical. Well, No... We have a BOY and a GIRL (dressed in color appropriate coordinating outfits).

Marly and Dean are now more than a year old. Dean has more "big boy hair" then Marly. Dean is two inches taller (typical for a boy) then Marly. Dean walks, while Marly does not. Lately, the comments Mark and I have been receiving from strangers are a bit more irritating.

"My........ Your kids are close together in age!"


"W0w.....those two could almost be twins!"

Last night, our family was out for a walk. Several adults were enjoying the fine spring evening with a beer on their deck as we strolled by. A gentleman saw us and commented,

"Holy Cow!... talk about BACK TO BACK babies. That must be a handful!"

Seriously folks, do I look like a baby making MACHINE??? Yes -- my babies are back to back, with an age difference of less then two minutes.

I have decided the next time I get a similar comment, I am going to tell them I am expecting again and can't wait for another baby!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dean enjoys a beautiful Sunday, sans sister!

While Marly was at home recovering from illness, Dean enjoyed the animals at the Peace Lutheran Spring Fling !!!
see post below...

Sick on Sunday

Today when I arrived at work I had to wipe the remnants of our weekend off my my shoes.

On Saturday I woke up before dawn and knew I was sick. Mark was already gone to Caribou. I did NOT want to open my eyes, my head was pounding, and I suspected it was only a matter of time before I threw up. Indeed I was right.... I needed HELP! Kelly to the rescue at 7:40 AM. She headed down to take care of Marly and Dean so I could be sick. She even gave me one of her migraine pills. What an ANGEL she was/is. I was feeling much better by mid-afternoon.

Sunday we headed off to church. Everything was fine until just before the end of the service, when Marly became sick. Sick in the pew, sick on the red aisle carpet, sick on the narthex floor, sick at the entrance of the nursery. I was scrambling to try and clean up the awful mess before parishioners began to exit service. The nursery volunteers did NOT seem to understand my urgency to get a bucket and rag of some sort. A kind old woman gently removed a very quite Marly from my arms as I scrambled about. Inside the sanctuary, Mark was facing a similar scenario. He headed to the kitchen when he realized baby wipes were not going to do justice to the mess. Fortunately, the folks in the pew behind entertained Dean.

After the service, Pastor Kyle kindly came and told me NOT to worry about the mess and to take care of Marly. We all headed home and Marly spent the day sleeping (after a bath...).

This incident made me realize we are truly members of a church community. During my pregnancy, the congregation watched me grow. They saw me two days before my c-section... worshiping with tears in my eyes during a snow storm when few ventured out. Now the congregation is watching Marly and Dean grow. Many kind souls helped Mark and I this past Sunday. Many fellow parishioners come and chat with us regularly. We know we belong here. I feel blessed to find a comfortable church home for Mark and me, Marly and Dean to grow in.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Routine Visit

Today I had a routine, yearly exam scheduled with my Dr. Nothing notable, except I was excited for a return visit. When I think about it, this is the longest I have went between visits to this man for years now actually.

I suspect/wonder if many women look forward to their OB/Gyn visit a year after delivery. It is an opportunity to see the professional who played a significant role in our personal life for at least 9 month with lasting effects. I realize it is my doctor's job and profession to attend to his patients care and medical needs. After a long day or night at the clinic or hospital, he heads home to his kids and family. As the care receiver though, it is so personal. Actually, Mark and I would not have kids to head home to without him. When Mark and I wanted kids, Dr. E saw or spoke to me on the phone monthly. At visits and appointments for care in the two or more years gone by, he has given me disappointing, sad, routine, and happy information. While carrying Marly and Dean, he saw my shining face and growing belly even more often. (Oh wow, your having twins... Someone told you that already, right? Well, we are going to be seeing A LOT of each other.) When it was time for delivery, he scheduled the date for the c-section. (How about next Tuesday? You can negotiate if you want.) He showed up on cue at 7:30 AM and glanced at my BP. (I knew I picked the right day!) Oh, I almost forgot he was taking bets on how much the babes weighed when he pulled them out. All this and Dr E really isn't very funny at all.

A year gone by, I wondered if dear Dr. E would remember me like I fondly remembered him. My clinic is part of a large system operating under guidelines designed to provide high quality patient care in a cost efficient fashion. When he entered the exam room, he said my name and knew right off he had pronounced it wrong - but could not recall exactly how to say it. (...and I saw you A LOT, I should remember that). He did need the computer chart on screen for FULL recall to WHY he saw me A LOT. (ah yes, and twins too). All went well with the visit. He even remembered and asked about you, husband Mark!

Doctors are professionals. They are also people. I am appreciative of my care today, even though I know there is no balance in the roles we come to play in each others life. I am appreciative of Marly and Dean too. I guess what I am really saying is I am grateful, take it for what you will or for whom.

Oh yes, and I promise Dr. E to check my blood pressure regularly. (I think it's just white coat syndrome, but...???)

(((okay - if I were a good blogger, I would have the photo of me in the hospital right before the c-section. Check back. I will try and add it!!)))

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

On Tuesday, Marly, Dean and I made a special birthday visit to Grandpa David's office downtown at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. We brought him homemade POPPYSEED cupcakes for his special day. Grandpa appeared quite proud of his grand kids as he introduced them to everyone in the office. He also took them to the 'pit' on the floor of the grain exchange. Marly and Dean enjoyed playing with the discarded paper left over after the close. After making a mess with the chocolate frosting on the cupcakes, Marly & Dean headed down to the Little Wagon to meet a few more of grandpa's associates.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Daycare and all is well

Marly & Dean are on day 2 of daycare and all is well. Mark tells me my blog is boring because it lacks visual support for many entries. Once again, I am without photos. No photo of Marly and Dean buckled into their car seats headed to their new destination. No photo of them when they got home from their first day. No photo of the coordinating outfits I have sent them in each day. Yup... not only do I NOT scrap book, but I don't even have a photo to download this time.

Yesterday morning was drop off - DAY ONE. Mark could hear Dean scream after he exited the Infant Two room at the New Horizons Learning Center near our home. A call later to the staff assured us the tears were short lived. Dean chose NOT to nap on his first day. Marly went with the flow. She had her favorite crocheted blanket with her. Dean brought Oscar. Unfortunately, for health reasons of some sort, plush animals are only allowed at nap time, and only until the child drifts off. This was a bit of a problem when Dean arrived clutching Oscar tightly for support. Dad had fun prying Oscar away and stashing him in Dean's locker.

Today everything went almost too smoothly for Mommy's taste. Mark left for Caribou around 4:30 AM. I loaded up the kids just after 7 AM. A kind mom helped me with both doors at the daycare (including the punch code) as I toted Marly and Dean, one to each arm. We got inside their room, we got settled in, and neither of them made a peep or a second look when I departed. I watched them on camera from the common room outside for several minutes.... no tears to be had. NOT ONE SINGLE TEAR FOR MOMMY!

Anyway, it is not home, but I do feel comfortable they are getting good care and learning social skills. We will see how long they arrive in coordinating attire...It is only two days a week. Who am I kidding, I love (am obsessed?) doing it!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Relinquishing the Key!

Yesterday I had my own personal milestone in motherhood. I relinquished the key to the pump room. This means I turned in my personal key to the lactation room for breastfeeding/pumping mothers at the Gillette Children's admin building. Today it was passed on to another employee returning from maternity leave.

Marly and Dean are now more than 13 months old. I have not used the pump room for about a month, yet I had resisted turning in the key. For one year, this closet with a chair, plug in, and mini fridge was my own personal haven. In that year, I came to know Tina (a Doc's research assistant) who's cube was just inches from the door. In the beginning, I was there three times a day. In the end, I was glad to be able to breast feed Marly and Dean for a year.

Really, I had no difficulty breastfeeding. I enjoyed doing it. My pediatrician sang my praises and made sure to tell me at each visit what an amazing job I was doing for my TWO babies. Funny thing was, prior to their birth and in the first few weeks of their life, I just thought I was suppose to do this for a year. I had read it in the books. My OB agreed. The hospital steered me down the same path. The pediatrician said, "Great!" I don't feel extraordinary in my act, but I do owe thanks to two key things which played a strong role in my achievement (besides the support of Mark, and of course Marly & Dean) - My Employer and My Pump.

At work, no one ever questioned the use of my time given to the task. Occasionally a co-worker would ask if I was still pumping, and then say, "Good for you!" My first day back to work was a full day staff meeting. My manager (who does not have children) asked me several times if I needed to go pump. That set a tone of acceptance for me.

I also dedicate my success to the Medela Pump n' Style Advance. I borrowed this expensive pump from a friend, and it is worth its weight in gold. This is the BMW of breast pumps. I love that darn thing. I pumped at work. I pumped in the car. I pumped in the car WHILE DRIVING. I pumped in airport bathroom stalls. I pumped on vacation. Through it all, the pump was tried and true. I used her little cooler on top and often stopped for free ice at SA. Really, I should have named her.

It is time to return the pump to her rightful owner, but I think I will miss her. Actually, what I am REALLY going to miss is the high calorie consumption & tiny waist line which resulted from the milk production. AND, I will REALLY miss the rather voluptuous bosom which resulted. Glorious cleavage oh how I loved thee!!! Long gone you are now! I wish I had shown you off more.
Ah yes, those babes do grow up too fast.
Marly & Dean, Mommy loves you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mark's Big Day

Today Mark had his first day at his new job. He is in the Caribou Coffee management program. After completing several weeks of training, he will be a store manager, and then aspires to be a district manager. Mark loves the SMELL of coffee and is impressed by the Caribou company. He is trying to learn to like the actual product of coffee itself ! Currently, he is testing the waters with Lattes. We all know I LOVE coffee. At Mark's second interview (conducted at a Caribou location), the district manager asked Mark if he would like a coffee. Mark said, "No thank you." The DM looked at Mark inquisitively, and asked him again. This time Mark ordered a regular coffee, which he sipped. When he was leaving the interview, he threw the mostly full cup in the garbage. He hoped the DM did not notice the loud thug made when it landed. At the third interview, Mark spent an afternoon at a Caribou with a manager. This manager LOVED Caribou and introduced Mark to her favorite drink - a triple espresso. Mark was flying high after that! I can't wait to get home and see how his first day went. I also hope that I beat him home so I can see his expression towards his children when he arrives after his first day away from them! Today Auntie Kelly is caring for Marly and Dean, as she will several days a week. How lucky are they (and mom & dad) to have their auntie looking after them!

Monday, April 7, 2008

What's up with Marly & Dean

Here's what's happening with my two! Dean has lots of teeth, top and bottom. Marly has two on the bottom and one on top. Dean's favorite food at the moment is cottage cheese and sauteed fresh spinach. Marly LOVES ice cream like her daddy! They eat all foods and get plenty on the floor. They were weaned from breast milk to whole milk at one year with no trouble.

Dean's favorite bedtime vice is his blue bear named "Oscar." There is a pink "Mrs. Oscar," but Marly's bedtime favorite is her crocheted blankets from Aunt Toots. Dean takes hold of both bears, Marly gets both blankets... Dean wanted Oscar to take a bath with him last night. He does know the difference between the pink one and blue one and prefers the blue one.

Dean walks about. Marly is most mobile on all fours. Both like to get outside now. Marly loves the swing. They also have a fixation with tooth brushes at the moment. They like to fight over them even when there are two. They have Disney ones that blink too, which they received in an Easter basket from Aunt Jan.

They both weigh 21 pounds. Dean is two inches longer then Miss Marly. They take morning and afternoon naps still. They both still like a pacifier. Yes we need to work on that one! Sleeping at night is sporadic. If is is not one, it is the other..... Last night, it was Marly and her stuffed up nose.

They will be going to a daycare center two days a week starting this week. They seemed very unsure of their surroundings last week when we went on a tour, and I hope they adjust quickly to all the activity around them. We thought the two would look out for each other, but Dean quickly abandoned Marly and went to another area to cry! Marly toughed it out on her own and played with the toys in front of her as another nice little boy showered her with kisses.

My Babies go see the Zoo Babies!

Marly and Dean last Friday at the Minnesota Zoo!

I took the day off work for our Anniversary, Mark's Birthday, and to spend time together before Mark starts his new job this week. We headed to the MN Zoo to see the zoo babies. Is it ironic at all that we drove to the zoo and paid admission to see FARM animals? Dean enjoyed the goats most.
Mark got a little uptight about the goat poop.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rachel's Belated Birthday Dinner

Some time back my Dad and Chris started taking us to dinner some place special for our birthday's. Each of us gets to pick where we want to dine for the occasion. Unfortunately, we all have busy calendars... so the dinner may not exactly land near our actual special day. Just last night we were out for Rachel's February birthday. We went to 'Fogo de Chao' in downtown Minneapolis, which is Brazilian. The waiters come around with giant skewers of meat. There are 15 different meats to choose from in variations of beef, chicken, sausage, pork and lamb. It was delicious.... but both Mark and I decided we have NO desire to eat any meat today. Maybe not tomorrow either.

Anyway, as I was sitting at dinner watching my family, I was feeling very grateful for this tradition we have created. You see, this tradition is a "post-mom" tradition. I know gathering at a restaurant may not seem like any big deal, but for me... it is and I am glad.

Funny thing about these dinners... I always try to sit next to Brett. As my brother, I can eat off his plate or drink his beverage without asking (old tradition). Mark always gets peeved if I do this to him! He thinks it is gross. Also, I am so appreciative to Dad and Chris for kindly letting us choose very fun/special restuarants for our events!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Playing Hooky!

Last Tuesday Gretchen and I played hooky, took PTO, and enjoyed an encore performance of 'Jane Eyre' at the Guthrie Theater. I have read the book at least three or four times, and studied it in an English course while in England. I thoroughly enjoyed the adaption of the novel. I was excited by the anticipation of knowing what would happen next on stage. After the 10:30 AM performance we had lunch at the nearby Spoon River. My delicious vegetarian bake was neatly complimented by one well mixed, perfectly garnished Bloody Mary. We had a lovely time.

Seriously, what a great way to spend a week day! Neither of us had any cause for the guilt that would occur if we were to leave our husbands and kids on a Saturday to enjoy a show. Our kids didn't know the difference. Our job duties were still there for us on Wednesday. We purchased the tickets just the week before, and I am so glad we did.

Sometimes I find the less I plan ahead, the more fun (less anxiety?) I may have. There is a knack to finding just the right balance of planned versus free time, with all the important people and groups we want to share our time with. I am well aware I will contemplate this more and more as my babes grow. Gretchen and I tried to see this performance last fall. The stress of finding a workable date became too much, and we never went.

Sometimes I achieve just the balance I desire with Mark, my children, my family, and my friends in one weekend or day. Sometimes I am overbooked and overwhelmed, with only myself to blame. Then I find those days with nothing 'planned', and become fearful I am 'missing out' on something or somebody. When the sun has set, I usually haven't missed anything at all. I am sure most (or all) of us struggle with balance. I guess it is how we handle it that matters most. Some days I am successful, and some days... not so much.

Last Tuesday was a success.


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