Thursday, April 29, 2010

A new approach to nap time...

Eli has recently decided that napping in his crib is among the most offensive things I can do to him. If I lay him down and cover him up he immediately throws a fit and starts screaming. It doesn't seem to matter how tired he is. So my new strategy is to sit him up in his crib with a few toys so he thinks it's play time. Then after awhile he literally seems to drop in place and go to sleep. He often ends up in some incredibly bizarre positions but so far it seems to be working. Apparently he just wants to assert some independence and nap when he decides and not when I lay him down. Whatever works for the boy at this point is fine with me.
(P.S. his dad dressed him in this outfit). It's among one of my favorite things to see the outfits Marcus puts together. The other day Emerson had on jeans that were way to small for her and t-shirt that was a little tight so her little belly was hanging out. On this particular day matching didn't seem to be a priority. The shirt has a snowman and pants are brown with an orange string (with a matching shirt I might add hanging in the closet). It cracks me up. The background to this is Marcus can't ever tell if his own clothes match he asks me every single day before going to work if everything matches. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

To Follow up on my really awful night...

I'm going to have another one, this one of the academic variety. For some reason I thought my final paper for a class was due on Thursday so I thought I still had a little bit of time. A quick refresher glance at the syllabus informed me that the paper is due tomorrow, all 12-15 pages of it. Pages I haven't even started.

In my pre-twin days writing a 12 page paper the day before it was due would be no problem. However, I can no longer function like that, especially not following a night like last night. Dear lord help me this is not going to be good.

Ready, set, here I go. (Mostly I'm trying not to cry).

And I realize this is all my own fault. I wrote the date down wrong the first week of the semester and never bothered to double check until about 30 minutes ago.

A really awful night...

We had one of the worst nights we've had in a long time. Both babies went to bed at 7 without an issue and all was well until midnight when Eli woke up whining in his crib. Since he wasn't full out crying we didn't get him in hopes that he would go back to sleep. He didn't, the whining turned to crying, and then Emerson decided to join the party and she woke up screaming hysterically and wouldn't calm down.

After awhile we calmed them and they fell asleep in our arms and we attempted to put them back in their cribs. Then it started all over again. Finally around 2am I put Emerson in the swing because she was so exhausted but every-time I put her in the crib she screamed.

The weirdest and somewhat scariest part of the whole evening is when I woke up on the couch at 4 am with a baby in my arms. I had no idea which baby it was (turns out I had Eli), and I had no memory of how Eli and I ended up on the couch, and I was so disoriented as I laid there trying to remember what had happened.

Since my arm was asleep from the weight of Eli I slowly tried to get up and put him in his crib. Which didn't work and instead turned into another screaming fit. So I removed Emerson from the swing, put her back in the crib, and put Eli into the swing. Then I crawled into my own bed and asked Marcus how the heck I ended up asleep with Eli on the couch.

According to Marcus, Eli woke up at 2 and I was already asleep on the couch (where I had been since putting Emerson in the swing) and when Marcus came into the living room apparently I put my arms out for Eli, and then Eli & I promptly fell asleep together on the couch until I woke up 2 hours later. I have no memory of any of this which is incredibly creepy and I'm glad Eli didn't end up falling off the couch or something since I literally had no idea that he was there with me.

Now this morning both babies are happy as clams as though nothing happened, and Marcus and I can barely function. Fun times.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

March of Dimes Walk 2010...

It rained like crazy this morning but we decided to brave the weather for a little bit anyways to go to the March of Dimes walk. Even though we didn't really get to walk, we got to turn in the funds we raised, talk to others (including a couple who have boy/girl twins also born at 32 weeks). Listen to some stories of ambassador families, see some of the nurses from the hospital and NICU where the babies stayed. Eli and Emerson also seemed to love all the music and excitement and they were both just over the top excited basically jumping out of the stroller and our arms.

One of the most humbling aspects of the walk each year are the shirts and teams that are walking in memory of their precious babies lost due to prematurity. It's a reminder of just how luck we are when we look at Eli & Emerson and how well they are doing. I know that this is a cause that will be part of our family for a very long time. It's so important to Marcus and I, and is another part of our long difficult journey to parenthood. 
Early in the morning. Not totally aware of what's going on yet.

Marcus with the babies.

A Family Picture. Before the start of the walk.
Our team shirt (Wet from the rain)

Eli excited by all the activity.
Another family picture.

Back at home. Showing off their shirts.

Emerson & Eli post walk.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Job Offer...

I received my very first "real" job offer today!! The job where I've been interviewing called my references and it seems they all had great things to say (which is a little obvious since I can't imagine one would pick people without positive things to share). The offer is pretty generous considering it's my first job, but there are still many many things to consider.

1.) The location of the job (which is still thousands of miles from home) we always envisioned moving back across the country after graduation.
2.) Insurance costs. The job pays for mine but I still need to know how much it will cost me to add the family.
3) Marcus and his job options.

We're discussing, looking at housing options, waiting for more info. from the position, and hoping we can make the right decision for our family.

Aside from the practical things it feels amazing to get a job offer, in my field, before I've even graduated.  Somebody out there thinks I'm ready and qualified (even if I'm not so sure).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's never a good sign...

when a text message from your husband asks, "Are you in a good mood?"

Me: Yes why?

Marcus: Well you know how Eli reaches up for things on the table?

Me: Yeah

Marcus: Well I had a drink up there and went to the kitchen and when I came back um...

Me: What?

Marcus: Well he knocked is over and it fell all over the couch.

Me: What was the drink?

Marcus: It was Dr. Pepper and I did clean it up and it's drying and hoping it doesn't stain.

Babies who can pull themselves up are fun. Opps, we need to be much more aware of where we leave things.

No Time For Anything...

Things have been incredibly busy lately, which is par for the course considering it's the end of the semester. Final presentations (I had three last week), final papers (I have 5 still to go), final projects (2 still to go). This upcoming week is our last day of classes, then a week off for prep. then finals week.

After that graduation and a whole lot of unknowns. I'm trying not to dwell to much on all of that. Since my last blog update...

1.) Had a senior reception. Where many of our professors gave us toasts, and we learned that we're entering into a long line of alum, who will now be asked to give money to the school for the rest of our lives. (Which is nothing new my undergrad bothers me for money all the time).

2.) Went out for Chinese food and learned that Chicken Chow Mein is something different than Chicken Lo Mein. I did not know this and ended up ordering both dishes because I ordered Chicken Chow Mein really wanting Chicken Lo Mein. (I feel as though this is something I should have discovered before age 25).

3.) Emerson learned to wave. Her new favorite thing is to do all of her "tricks" in rapid succession. Arms up, so we'll say, "So big" lots of clapping, and then the flapping of her hands to a wave. It's hilarious and she loves the attention.

4.) Went to a meeting in New York about inclusion of the LGBTQ community into the NY Annual Conference, a much needed uplifting experience and a time to be among other like minded, justice oriented people.

5.) Church today with a Steel band. Can I just say that I think church needs to have a steel drum every day. It was awesome.

6.) Was unable to attend my brothers Welcome Home party yesterday in Nevada. After a year long tour in Afghanistan he is thankfully home safe and sound. I wish it would have been possible to get home for it.

7). Getting no sleep. Eli is doing this thing where he wakes up screaming several times a night. It's actually really scary because he's not even fully awake but he's screaming and it takes a really long time to calm him down and get him back in bed. I'm not sure what's going on but I hope this new stage passes quickly.

8.) Have been trying to raise money for our upcoming March of Dimes walk on Sunday. We're a little behind our goal because of everything else that's going on. Only a week until the walk.

I think that's it, back to school work.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I met Jodi Picoult!!

She came to my university to do a book reading and a book signing and I have been anxiously awaiting this day for the past month or so. (I'm a huge book nerd and I happen to love her books). She did not disappoint. She's hilarious, down to earth and extremely personable. We had a Q & A after the reading and I'm going to try and recount her answers as best as I can because they were wonderful and hilarious.

So these are from my memory about an hour after the event not exact quotes and if I get something wrong and Jodi happens to read this (you know because I'm sure she'll find a random link to my blog) then I apologize Jodi.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your research? 

She talked about the research she did on her latest book House Rules which deals with an autistic book who has a diagnosis of aspergers. She did expansive work observing and talking with teachers and students in schools in several areas. She also read had hundreds of children and their parents answer the questions. She got back hundreds of pages including 200 pages from one teenage girl with aspergers. That girl was such a phenomenal write that Jodi Picoult corresponded with her regularly to ensure that her character was authentic, and she also had this young woman read through the manuscript.

Additionally, she did a ton of research on the whole hype about autism and the link to vaccines. I won't get into everything she said but she was very through and well thought out on this and did an excellent job explaining both sides and then citing accurate research.

Q. Can you talk about your writing process (this was ask by me. I was hoping for some insight so I could write my own best selling novels, sell the rights for a screen play and live happily ever after). Unfortunately,  her system will not work for me. 

Each book starts with a question that she keeps thinking about and can't get out of her mind. If this question stays there for a couple of weeks that's usually a sign for her that it should be a book. Then the characters just show up in her head and start talking to her. (She described this as something like useful schizophrenia where she gets to make a living from her voices) and then once that becomes clear. She stops everything and starts her research. Once that's all taken care of she sits down and writes the entire thing out from start to finish in the order that we get to read the book. A novel usually takes her 9 months and her husband buys her a "congrats. on your new baby ballon" at the end of each nine months.

Q. How did you feel about the director changing the movie ending of My Sisters Keeper?
She was not happy. When she sold the rights to the movie the director told her he wouldn't change it unless it absolutely couldn't be helped and he would have a conversation with her about it. This did not happen and instead she found out about it  by email from a friend who got a copy of the manuscript. Jodi called the producer and he wouldn't talk to her. She went to the set to ask about what was going on and the director threw her off of it, and to this day she still doesn't know why.

She went on to say, that when a writer sells their book to a director it's sort of like an adoption. You don't get to call each night and ask if the babies been fed and taken care of. Later on you might find out that the baby went on to have a great family, good life, successful education, and sometimes you might find out you gave your baby to a crack whore (and that crack whore bit is a direct quote).

Q. Would you ever sell another one of your books to that director? 
"Hell no!" (direct quote). According to Jodi, when a book is as successful as My Sisters Keeper and sells as many copies as it did you probably shouldn't mess with a good thing.

Q. How do you balance work life with being a wife and mother? 
Her children are all in their teens now and mostly self sufficient, but she owes a lot of her success to the support of her husband who took on a lot of the day to day care. He's amazing with knowing she goes on tours, but she also has the ability and flexability to make sure she doesn't miss the concerts, plays and other big events in her children's life. Her children have always known that they come first.

Q. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? 
She always knew she would write. She started writing at 5 and just kept on doing it. She would write even if nobody read, because she can't not write. In college she sent a short story to 17 magazine and received a call back that someone wanted to buy it. She was ecstatic and called her mom and said, "I'm going to be a writer" to which her mom responded, "Great who's going to support you?" So Jodi Picoult went to work on Wall Street (which she claims is a miracle because she's not good with numbers). She then states she was lucky enough to work there during the crash of 1987 and received a nigh severance package and she moved away from there. Then she taught 8th grade English, got married, had a baby in a span of two years. After that she knew she wasn't going back to teach 8th grade because of layoffs and the fact she just had a baby, so she pulled out a novel she had been working on at that time, finished it, sent it to an agent, who sold it in three months.

Q. How do you decide your titles? 
Sometimes they are there from the start. Plain Truth was always going to be called Plain Truth even before it was written. Sometimes she has no idea and sends them off without titles and hopes someone else can come up with something.

Q. Any advice for young writers?
Just write and write every single day. Also don't scrape something until it's totally finished even if you think it's the worst thing ever written in the entire world. When it's all finished re-evaluate and if it still sucks scrap it but it might surprise and it might be worth fixing. Also take a creative writing class to learn how to be your own best critic.

Q. What was your favorite moment doing writing?
Doing the research for Second Glance which included a lot of paranormal research. She told a really creepy story that happened while she worked with some guys who specialized in finding ghosts.

Q. What's next? (I can't wait for this book!!)
It's a book about gay rights and embryo adoption. To top it off the main character does music therapy so each chapter in the book is going to be a different tract, and Jodi Picoult wrote a song for each chapter and the book will include a recorded CD that goes along with each chapter. The topic sounds amazing and the music is an added bonus.

That's most of what I can remember. She was hilarious and I loved meeting her.  I'm sad because my picture turned out really blurry. Oh, well such is life.
Me & Jodi Picoult

Reading from her latest book House Rules. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Two things from today...

1.) Both of my children are afraid of the vacuum cleaner. Today Eli was in the swing napping and Emerson and I had some lunch together, and she made a huge mess all over the floor. So I put her down on the floor to play and brought out the vacuum. As soon as I turned it on she started screaming hysterically and she was literally shaking. It actually really freaked me out because I had never seen her scream/shake like that before.

I turned the vacuum off and picked her up, and she calmed down all the while shooting the vacuum weary looks. I decided to try and introduce her to the vacuum while it was off, trying to let her touch it and see that it wasn't scary, but she just clung to me, buried her head into my shoulder, and would occasionally glance at the vacuum and yell at it.

(Eli had a similar reaction the other day when Marcus was vacuuming and Emerson was in the swing). This is such a random unexpected thing to scare them. Aren't babies suppose to like the "white noise" of a vacuum? Poor baby she was so so scared.

2.) Marcus left this evening to go pick up the pizza we ordered for dinner. He was wearing his university sweats and a striped polo shirt (because he hadn't changed his shirt from work/school only his pants). A few seconds after he left he came back in, looked at me, and asked, "Why didn't you tell me I looked ridiculous?"  Haha...

More on the Job search 2010...

Since this interview last month I've had three phone conversations and a second in person interview. Things seem to be going in a positive direction. I also know for a fact that they have contacted at least one of my references. Also at the second in person interview they asked me when I would want start and started trying to sell the area and the city to me. So right now I'm cautiously optimistic. I should know in a week or so if they are going to offer me the job.

It would be nice to know so I could shift my attention from job hunting to house hunting (since we have to move out of our current home on May 31st).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

11 Months old (2 days late)...

Eli & Emerson are 11 months old!
More failed attempts at getting both of them...

To look at the camera.

Crazy kids...


Eli at 11 months can....
  • Crawl on his hands and knees
  • Pull up to a stand
  • Cruise a few feet along furniture 
  • Still hates cheerios or any food with a texture 
  • Doesn't seem to like naps much anymore (he's too busy standing up in his crib).
  • Loves his dad and cries when Marcus leaves
  • Steals whatever toy his sister is playing with 
  • Plays with his tongue all the time
Emerson at 11 months...
  • Finally really loves her toes and plays with them all the time
  • Can do "So Big" all by herself when prompted
  • Just learned to clap (today)
  • Loves picking little tiny things up
  • Likes to feed herself the purees by using one pointer finger to scoop it up
  • Can sit
  • Loves her brother and gets overly excited every time he sees him
  • Tries to copy the things Eli does
  • Still has stranger anxiety around most people 
  • Has really amazing fine motor skills and will sit and study things for a long time
That's all that I can think of at the moment. It's crazy that in one month they'll already be a year old. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Four Generations of Elaine...

Since I was a little girl I always knew that if I ever had a daughter her middle name would be Elaine. There was never a doubt or question in my mind, and luckily for me Marcus had no issues with that all. Growing I loved being named after both my grandma (or my mama mou as we call her) and my mom and I didn't want to break that tradition. When we were all together in February for my sisters wedding I insisted on a four generation picture.
Lola Elaine (my mama mou/grandma)
Elaine Michelle (my mom)
Sadie Elaine (me)
Emerson Elaine (my daughter)

I love this picture. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's weird...

I'm taking a class called Body & Soul where we discuss all things related to sexuality, gender, etc. This includes infertility. My group decided that for our group project we are going to plan a worship service that focuses on infertility. It's very weird to sit on the sideline and hear others talk about my reality. To hear them name certain things accurately and other things not so much.

Like today someone in our meeting said something about someone who had a kid so they weren't infertile anymore, and so I jumped in with, "Just because they have a kid doesn't mean they're not infertile." It's in these moments I want so bad just to tell my story, but again it's not just my story, it's Marcus story, and Eli & Emerson's story. So the best I can do is offer my experience from a non-personal perspective, and help make sure the reality is honored in a way that is appropriate, respectful, and educational.

Easter 2010...

I think what I love most about blogging is it's a constant reminder of where I've been. I was re-reading my post about easter from two years ago and saw I had written this in my infertility blog about our struggles to get pregnant.
Of course with each holiday Marcus and I always remark, "It would be more fun with kids." We have felt that way these past couple of Christmases and now with Easter. It's hard to think that had we been successful in getting pregnant when we first started trying we could have an 18 month old. It's just one more reminder of what could have been...and what we'll continue to hope for. Maybe by Easter 2010. 
And it appears my prediction of hope was correct because for Easter 2010 we had not one baby but two.
The arrangement of the easter baskets made me so happy, easter with my babies. A nice reminder that despite the frustration, exhaustion and being totally overwhelmed Eli and Emerson are two of the most wanted and loved babies in the entire world. 

I think it hit more with easter than Christmas because I'm in a much better place now in regards to some PPD stuff with the help of my therapist and medication. (But all of that is another post for another day). For now more about easter. 

It's funny because both babies were so transfixed by their baskets. They both just sat still (a miracle for Eli) and looked...
And looked.

Eventually Eli took everything out of his basket, but Emerson just continued to look. After baskets we hurried to get ready for church. With some quick pictures beforehand (which turned out to be a good plan because Emerson had a diaper explosion all over her pretty easter dress at the end of the church).
This is the best we could get. The sun was blinding them and they were distracted by the flowers.

Then Church. Eli went to the nursery again and Emerson stayed with Marcus during the service. Being the only babies at church they get a ton of attention from everyone. Emerson isn't really too pleased with all of it. Then after church we went home to take naps before our Easter picnic in the park.

Eli loves being outside and wanted to go everywhere. He was frustrated that we wouldn't let him play in the mud and put little sticks in his mouth.

 Emerson in her second outfit of the day.
Emerson and her Godparent Delfin. Emerson adores Delfin and he is the only person aside from me and Marcus the Emerson willingly goes to. 

Playing in the Park

Happy Easter 2010! 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Alone time...

Marcus took the babies on an hour long walk today so I could have some much needed quiet time in our apartment. I've missed having time to myself in my home. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with my time, but in the end I just read. It was lovely and the babies had a good time with their dad.

Emerson & Eli on their walk. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Good but busy day, plus I'm losing my mind...

I was so looking forward to today because Marcus didn't have class this morning which makes my day so much calmer and relaxing. Usually on Fridays I also have nothing planned so we can both relax at home. I had this in my mind until I woke up and remembered it was Good Friday, and while I had spent hours planning my church's Good Friday Service I neglected to organize and email the reading parts to the various members involved in the service. (Example #1 of why I'm losing my mind).

So I dragged my tired body out of the bed and into the living room to finish my work. Eli tried to help by standing up next to me and attempting to pound on my keyboard (it's really not much help, but getting at my laptop is among his primary goals in life). I finished the last minute service preparation and in the process also discovered that if I ring a really large bell both Eli and Emerson freeze in place and just stare. (I rang a bell 33 times at the end of the service to symbolize the supposed 33 years of Jesus' life and I brought it home to practice).  It was amazing one minute I had two crazy, active babies, then with the ring of a bell they ceased all movement and just stared it was hysterical. (I need to borrow the bell from the church more often).

I needed to be at the church by 11:00 but I was so exhausted that I decided to take a quick 20 minute nap which just put me completely behind schedule, but it was much needed as I was at a point of not functioning. The service was at 12:00 and it went really well and then I was back home by 2:00. I ate a quick lunch and then headed to the school to meet with a friend to discuss our group project. This project is due on Wed. April 7th. I did not know this until I went to class two days ago and the professor said, "Okay we'll start presentations next week." Panic mode set in immediately. I had zero knowledge of the fact that the project was due so soon, plus I have a job interview set up during class time next wednesday so I'm not even going to be in class (Example #2 of why I'm losing my mind).

After the group meeting my friend and I went to the used bookstore in town for a little bit to browse (and I had self control and only bought two books). Then I came home and decided to take advantage of the weather and go play with the babies outside on the grass.

We were having a great relaxing time playing. I was feeling content that I was done with a busy day when I randomly asked Marcus the time. He picked up his phone and said, "5:10" and at that moment an instant lightbulb went off in my head. I had an appointment at 5:30 with my therapist and it was all the way across town. (Example #3 of why I'm losing my mind). I totally spaced an appointment that I have every week at the same time. And to make things worse I did the exact same thing on Wednesday evening.

I sat down for dinner on Wednesday after finally getting my fussy babies in bed and opened my email which contained a reminder that read, "Remember we're meeting tonight (Wed) at 9pm." I looked at my watch it was 9:07, I yelled out to Marcus, "What day is it? Is it Wednesday?" And like a mad-woman tried to gather my things so I could run to my meeting that I not only forgot but also was now late for. (Example #4 of why I'm losing my mind).

So now I don't trust myself at all and have a little notebook that I have written everything in to. I can no longer trust my memory as it seems to have disappeared completely. So overall a busy day in which I barely remembered the things I needed to do. 

One more for my research...

Remember my quest from a few days ago to explore the question of twins knowing who's older and whether they would be better off not know. (Here's the first post). I mentioned that every twin I knew or met I would ask them the question. So I started today with an older man at my church (who is probably 60 or 70). He's an identical twin and also a surprise for his mom who didn't know she was having twins until the birth when there was an extra baby (OMG I can't imagine that being the case thank goodness for early detection I needed all the preparation I could get).

Anyways, today I posed the question to Dr. Bob (he's a pediatrician) and also Baby B, the younger of the two brothers. According to Dr. Bob occasionally his twin brother would use the older card to insist they do things his way, but overall (at least at this point looking back) Bob has no ill feelings about knowing he was Baby B and that his brother was older by. The few minutes were all completely inconsequential. I realize this is incomplete research since I don't have access to Dr. Bob's twin brother (who is also a doctor) but based on what I've read if there's going to be an issue about the age/minute thing it is usually most present in Baby B, as was the case with my sisters.

So one more case study for my research (Marcus thinks I'm nuts by the way).

Overheard on the baby monitor...

Marcus talking to Emmy: Good morning Emmy! Why are you so serious? It's Good Friday.... I guess it is kind of a serious day.

(Prior to this conversation with Emerson, Marcus brought Eli into the bedroom to tell me Happy Good Friday. Then Marcus asked me, "What happens on Good Friday." To which responded, "Jesus dies." Marcus looked slightly horrified and then said, "That's not good at all." haha)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Eli loves his Dada...

Lately Eli has become really attached to Marcus. He says Dada all the time. He looks for Marcus when he's not the in the room, and all day long he looks at the door and then asks, "Dada?" The saddest/cutest thing is when Marcus leaves for work or school. Eli frantically scoots over to the door (as close as he can get). Then pulls himself up into a stand and starts yelling DADA, DADA and then he looks back at me and starts crying when Marcus closes the door. Luckily his sadness about Marcus' departure is short lived but for the rest of the day anytime anyone comes through the door, (whether it's me returning from class, or friends coming to baby-sit) Eli looks expectantly and says Dada. Only to be disappointed when it's not.
Standing, watching and looking right after his "dada" went to class. 

What I read in March...

1.) The Associate - John Grisham (4/5)
2.) The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith (2/5)
3.) My Life in France - Julia Child (3/5)
4) The Souls of Black Folk - W.E.B DuBois (5/5)
5.) Balancing Act - Meera Godbole Krishnamurthy (3/5)
6.) The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown (5/5)
7.) Notebooks - Tennessee Williams (5/5)
8.) From Old Notebooks - Evan Lavender-Smith (5/5)
9.) The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - Anne Fadiman (4/5)

And this doesn't include any of the books and articles I've read for school. Not too bad. Some of the longer, slower reads like Notebooks slowed me down a little, but I've enjoyed allowing myself to have time to read for pleasure. I've missed it since starting college and now grad. school and it's just the kind of break I need to re-center myself when everything else seems so out of control at the moment.