Monday, December 7, 2009
This time last year we had been on the wait list for 3.5 months and I was seriously deep into my adoption blog obsession, reading every blog I could find about adoption and/or Ethiopia. Sometimes obsessions are bad things (remember my search for the 'right' crib skirts?) but sometimes obsessions are cool avenues to great things. My blog obsession helped introduce me to this lovely mama who in turn invited me to join her Ladies in Waiting lunch group.
When I joined the Ladies in Waiting there were 7 of us all adopting from Ethiopia. Two had just gotten referrals, two were still doing the paperwork and the other three of us were in different places on the wait list. It was amazing to sit down and get to meet people on our same journey, to meet them In Person rather than just through words on a blog.
But as amazing as it was to meet these women, the true highlight of that lunch for me was when a recently ousted member of the Ladies in Waiting wandered in with her daughter, Mimi. They had been back from Ethiopia as a family for only two weeks at that point and I remember thinking as I touched little Mimi's hand "she still has Ethiopia on her..." It was like a celebrity sighting for me! I mean, here, in the flesh, was what we were all working towards...in 3-d, right in front of me... eating lemon slices! I can't explain why Mimi made such an impact. She was (is!) adorable but I think it was the fact that they had just come home, they had just crossed the finish line and that made it all seem so..... possible! When The Esq picked me up after lunch all I could talk about was Heather, Chris and Mimi and Mimi and Mimi and MIMI! He kept asking, "so who else was at lunch?" and I'd say, "and then Mimi scrunched up her nose! Her nose that was smelling Ethiopian air just 14 days ago!"
This weekend we took the twins to our neighborhood Christmas tree lot to pick out a tree. As we walked there I kept remembering Heather's blog entry from Christmas last year when they took Mimi to get a tree. I must have looked at those photos a thousand times... imagining what that must feel like, to do something as simple as picking a tree with your new child. And now, here we were, doing that exact thing. It just felt so full circle to me... I had wished upon Heather's photos and now here we were stepping into our own version. I, of course, cried at the hugeness of the moment.
That night, after The Esq hung the lights, we did the big reveal for the twins. They were whiny and fussy and I'm sure wondering why we were all sitting in the dark but as soon as we plugged in the Christmas tree lights everything stopped. The only sound was of their eyes widening in surprise. And we sat like that, the four of us, in silence, just looking, for a good 5 minutes (which is 4 mins longer then they have ever sat still before!). And every morning since, I have cuddled up on the sofa with Baby Boy (our early riser) and we have just stared at those Christmas lights while waiting for the rest of the family to get up. 6 am has never been sweeter. I might have to drape our houseplants in twinkly lights come January so this never ends.
December has just barely started and I am already a happy, sobbing mess over all the symbolism and joy of this holiday with children.... with my children.... I've said it before but I'll say it again...I just had no idea it could be like this.
Who knows if I'll get back to this blog before the end of the year so let me just go ahead now and wish you and yours the happiest of times. May you all feel as joyful and full as I do this year.
Kat, The Esq, and The Wonder Twins
A few updates:
*Since we are traveling for most of December, we opted to get a tiny tree this year with just lights on it. But you can see I have hung three very special ornaments: The black and white Africa was made by my friend Harmony (you can have one too... just go here!), the two red hearts were made by our 5 yr old friend Pippa to celebrate the twins first Christmas, and the wooden cross on the bottom right was made for me by a boy at the Kolfe orphanage in Addis.
*Mimi and her parents are currently on the wait list again awaiting word on her new sister... fingers crossed, they could get The Call any day now! Now THAT would be a cool Christmas present!
*Of the 7 Ladies in Waiting--5 of us have our children home (a total of seven kids!), one lady put her adoption on hold and the 7th has her court date this Friday for her adorable little boy! We all gathered together this past weekend for a holiday party...all the kids in one room... the joy, the noise, the happiness...
Sunday, November 22, 2009
We have made it to the 3 month mark in this new game called "Family." Last Monday was the three month anniversary of the first time we held our babies. The first time we touched their crazy soft skin, smelled their sweet-sour-delicious baby smells, gazed into their chocolate fountain eyes. And this Tuesday will be the three month anniversary of our walking into our house as a family of four. The first time our babies slept in their beds, played on the rug we bought specially for them, rode in the stroller to our neighborhood coffee shop.
Three months. Where, for the love of god, does the time go? Every day seems to last at least 2 weeks but when I look back it barely seems like we got home yesterday...certainly not 90 days ago!
Things are changing so fast...and with every change my heart simultaneously soars and breaks. With every little shirt they outgrow I grieve a little but I am thrilled at how well they are growing (Baby boy is in the 68%! This is the same boy who wasn't even on the charts three months ago!). I was exhilarated the first time they rolled over but devastated when that meant they stopped sleeping on their sides (with their little hands clasped in acapella singer style) in favor of sleeping on their tummies. Every day they do something new and amazing but that means they leave something else behind. Don't get me wrong, I want my children to grow and learn and change...just not so fast!!!
In an effort to not forget anything as time speeds by me, here's a brief list of some of the things that have changed since we first met the Wonder Twins....
When we first met the twins they were lovable lumps. Lumps that took two whole arms to hold so they wouldn't slump down or fall backwards. Now they actively participate in being held. They ride on my hip with their hand causally placed on my shoulder while they glance around surveying their kingdom.
When we first met, they smiled at any and everyone who crossed their path. Now they save those big, whole face smiles for us and are a bit slower to smile at strangers. When being held by new people they will both search frantically to find us. Once they see we are right there, then they are comfortable examining the new person.
When we first met they were bald. Then Baby Girl had one curl.
When we first met, their only way of communicating with us was through long soulful gazes and occasionally whimpers. Now Baby Boy has full command of his ga, da, ba sounds and Baby Girl has a throaty growl that she likes to change pitch, volume and length of depending on what she's trying to get across.
When we first met they were immobile. We could lay them down on the foyer rug while we brought in the stroller and knew they would still be right there when we were done. Three months ago my living room looked like this (plus a few, tasteful, wooden toys).
This is my living room now. We have a full blown Baby Jail to keep the tumbleweeds (and plastic stuff) contained. They roll and scoot backwards and as of this week are starting to drag themselves forward using one arm and their chins.
And where they used to just lay side by side playing quietly with toys dangling above them... now they sit up and fight over toys in their laps!
When we first met, they had no interest or knowledge of each other. Now, Baby Boy will stare at Baby Girl for 4 or 5 mins at a time. She'll just be sitting there chewing on her toy or her toes and he'll just watch her. Occasionally cracking up in baby giggles. The other day I found them having such an intense mind-meld staring contest that I almost felt like the third wheel.
Which reminds me... they laugh now. Big hi-pitched fully formed laughs. At first it was like a car motor that won't quite turn over--one little burst of gaha!-- but now the giggles just pour forward.
When we first met Baby Girl, she had old lady wrists. You know what I mean...saggy skin that was all wrinkly and too big for her.
Now, three months and 5lbs later she has the perfect baby rubber band wrists. You know, the plush, pudgy wrists that look like a rubber band is making the crease.
When we first met them, Baby Girl pooed every time she'd have a bottle. Like clockwork. It was helpful when we needed to supply the local clinic in Addis with fresh poo because we knew all it took was a bottle. But now, they are both so grown up they just poo when ever! And all the time...5-6 times a day, with no set schedule!
The one thing that hasn't changed is how gorgeous they are...and how funny and charming and brilliant. Developmentally they are beyond their targets. Except for peek-a-boo. For some reason they still don't get peekaboo. Or maybe they get it but just don't find it very funny.
I don't really have a snappy wrap up for this entry... just things I've been thinking about lately. The mere fact that the twins have been with us long enough for us to notice changes...that in itself is amazing. I had no idea it would be like this...so much fun and joy and sadness all rolled into every minute. I had no idea how fast it would all change. I just had no idea...
Sunday, November 1, 2009
My friend Jen is making The. Most. Adorable. Shirts. EVER. Check out her etsy shop: Lil Blu Birds. And if the shirts aren't cool enough on their own...then how about this: Jen is giving 100% of the proceeds from these Most Adorable Shirts for humanitarian aid in Ethiopia. Jen adopted her son from Ethiopia last year and is lucky enough to be going back in a month or so. While there she will be handing out fleece wraps to people on the street and buying cows & goats for the orphanages so the kids can have meat for a change. Warm clothes and food that she bought with the money made from her shirts.
It's really a no brainer. But just in case you aren't sure yet, let's break it down into pros and cons:
Pros of buying a shirt from Lil Blu Birds:
1-easy peasy Christmas shopping. Just buy one of Jen's shirts and viola! Cross people off your list.
2-easy peasy good karma warm fuzzy feelings. Just buy one of Jen's shirts and viola! You are helping feed orphans and keep homeless people warm at night.
3-easy peasy way to look hip and cool. Just buy one of Jen's shirts and then sit back while your friends and family bask in the fact that they have a one-of-a-kind shirt that helps people.
Cons of buying a shirt from Lil Blu Birds:
(cue cricket noises)
oh, wait, THERE ARE NO CONS!
Go to Jen's etsy shop to see more cute designs (she's putting more up this week)
Go to Jen's blog to find out why and how she got started doing this
And start thinking about what you're going to do with all that free time you have this holiday season now that you no longer have to stress about shopping.
You can thank me later....
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Before we brought the twins home (two months ago yesterday!) I did a lot of worrying about what people would say when they saw our mixed race family. I come from the South and so was a bit worried about random comments from random strangers...how would I respond?...how would I explain these comments to our kids?...how would I put these stupid strangers in their place while not loosing face in front of our kids?
For some reason I never anticipated the comments would be positive! Or for that matter, just plain weird. Below is little sample of things people have said to me while I was out and about with the twins....
Homeless man pushing his grocery cart full of recycling past us as we take our morning stroll, "You are just like OctoMom" (ok, I used to be compared to Angelina Jolie...what happened?!?!)
Cute little blond girl-maybe 4 or 5 yrs old- in Beverly Hills, "Look mommy, Brown Babies!" Her mortified mother, "Oh no honey, those aren't brown babies, they are African Babies."
Not 5 minutes later from a cashier at a restaurant...
"They are how old? Wow, you really lost your pregnancy weight quickly!" So in a span of just 5 minutes someone said I had African babies and someone else thought I gave birth.
"Hey, look at these cute dolls Trader Joe's is selling...OMG they are real!" I'm not making this up. A lady actually thought the twins were a display of some sort.
"Been there." From an older lady dressed in all white (white blouse, crisply pressed white trousers, white silk man's vest, white straw panama hat and a huge white cameo ring). She then proceeded to tell me how she had only been expecting one baby "the other one hid" and therefore got the surprise of her life when they "pulled another one out." Her boys are now in their late 40's but apparently used to throw their poo at each other. All this was related while we were in line for coffee.
"They look JUST like you! Your husband must be bummed there's no trace of him in them huh?"
"Adoption?" This from a biker dude we walked past on Larchmont. When we said yes, he stood up and gave us a one man standing ovation.
"Two boys?" This from pretty much everyone we meet even though Baby Girl is, well, a GIRL and I tend to dress her in uber frilly dresses. Not to mention she is petite and has the features of a little pixie while her brother is 4 pounds bigger and already has a comb over! Which brings us to...
"He's bigger than her huh?" Did I mention he's almost 5 pounds heavier then her? And it shows in every way so I find this question kind of odd...obviously yes, he IS bigger. I always want to reply "not really, he's just retaining water weight" or "not normally but he's gaining weight for a role." But of course, I just nod and say yes, he is bigger.
"A boy and a girl...well I guess you're done. Shop closed!"
"Are you the babysitter?" This from two African American women I passed on the street.
"Are you breastfeeding?" Yes, I actually had a complete stranger, on the sidewalk, ask me if I was breastfeeding. Crazy.
But mostly I get comments like "These are the cutest babies I have ever seen" and "You are SO lucky!"
And you know what... they are right :-)
ps...speaking of cute twins... head over here to wish this family double congratulations!
EDIT -- not 2 hours after posting this I was walking into Target with the twins and as I passed a lady with a baby and a toddler she looked at me with pity and said, "Twins. I'll pray for you."
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
We've been busy since I last posted... The Esquire has gone back to work, making me officially a SAHM (that's 'Stay At Home Mom' for those of you not in the loop). Luckily for me (and the twins) we have found a lovely woman who is going to help out part time. It's amazing how guilty you can feel for only having two hands and one lap!
So since it's pretty clear I can't write much at the moment...here is a pictorial glimpse into our first 6 weeks home as a family...
Here are the twins at Costco... they loved the outside hotdog stand part where people treated them like minor celebrities but they weren't too fond of the actual shopping part. I think this might be our last family trip to Costco.
Needless to say, the twins have spent a lot of time in their sedan of a stroller, which we like to call The Cart in honor of our friend Aynie (another Aynie-ism we've adopted is to say "he's spilling" instead of "he's spitting up"...so much more pleasant don't you think?)
We spend a lot of time strolling the cart around our neighborhood...
Here we are at the La Brea Tar Pits...
And then at the local corner mercado where you can buy injera, lottery tickets, and whiskey...
Here they are kind of enjoying our neighborhood's annual Little Ethiopia Street Fair and Parade.
The fair and parade are an annual elebration of Ethiopia's New Year (Sept 11th), which this year rang in the year 2002 (their calender has 13 months, so they are 7 years behind us). The parade is held about 3 blocks from our house and I was very excited for the twins to take part... even dressed them up in their little Ethiopian outfits. Unfortunately, I forgot how LOUD parades were...we left after the elephant.
That same week the twins received their Green Cards, which means they can legally work in the States now! Sadly, a month later and they are STILL just sitting around playing with their toes. To celebrate their new status we had a Green Card New Year's Party.
We spend most afternoons outside on our back porch watching the hummingbirds
Or on the front sidewalk watching for Dada to come home
Baby Girl has spent a lot of time and energy on her hair, as you can tell from her one curl. I call it her Spike Lee Cindy Loo Who Do
And of course we do A LOT of this...
The twins turned 6 months old earlier this month... they are eating well, sleeping well (at night at least...naps, not so much), rolling like tumbleweeds, sitting up on their own for a few seconds at a time (when not distracted by our cheering) and even starting to steal toys from each other. Our pediatrician has declared them brilliant in every way. Hey, it's not bragging if it comes from a professional.
So that's our last 6 weeks in a nutshell...it's been crazy busy and yet I'm not really sure what we've done other than tummy time and changing diapers. It hasn't all been easy (did I mention the lack of nap schedule?) but it's been fun and for the most part really good.
So here's hoping I actually write something before another 6 weeks passes! But just in case...Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
So I'll admit, the dishwasher thing isn't by choice...but the line drying is. I hate hate hate our energy sucking dryer but luckily I live in Sunny Southern California...it just makes sense to line dry. 10 mins to hang, 2 hours in the sun, and presto...dry clothes. The bonus: I don't have to rush to get them as soon as they are dry so they don't wrinkle. Heck, I can leave them on the drying rack all day! And the bonus bonus is feeling smug that I didn't have to use any electricity.
It seems so simple to me and yet people think I'm crazy for line drying. You would not believe how many people think I will stop line drying now that we have twins.
Everyone has certain ideas about how they want to live. Mine include trying to be as Green as possible; trying to make as little waste as possible. I believe in tote bags versus plastic or paper grocery bags. I believe in walking more than driving...if you have to drive, make it the smallest car possible. I believe in cloth diapers and glass bottles. I believe in composting, recycling, freecycling, and craig's list. I believe in using my own refillable water bottle. I believe in Etsy and other made-by-hand websites. I believe in opening windows rather than using AC. I believe in eating what is for sale at my weekly farmers market. I believe in drought-resistant, California native plants instead of water sucking unnatural green lawns.
Sadly, I don't get to live all these beliefs every day. We rent so the garden is out of my control (though I am strict with the sprinkler usage...no one can accuse us of ignoring the water restrictions.) We live in LA so we have to drive more than I'd like...but we do walk much more than the average Angeleno (the mileage on our last car was so low that when we went to trade it in the dealer accused us of turning the odometer back). And as you all know... my dreams of driving like a European in a tiny car were dashed when faced with the realities of two rear facing car seats. I'm Green but I'm also realistic. I suppose, on the scale of Green living, I'm still a pale, pale lime. But I'm trying. And I don't think having twins means I have to stop trying.
So my next big step in practicing what I preach... cloth diapers. Or a biodegradable diaper. Or last resort, a disposable diaper made of post-consumer recycled content (free range wood pulp anyone?). Surely there must be a diaper out there that can contain my children's poop and yet doesn't have a half life longer than uranium.
And so the research begins. I'm looking into these and these and these. And I have set the goal of cutting down our diaper-footprint by the time the twins are 8 months old. That gives me 3 months to figure it out and 3 months for them to finish getting over any little Ethiopian souvenirs they might have growing in their poop.
Here's where I actively seek your advice. All those who have diapered before me--singleton or twin poo--what did you do for diapers?
Seriously, have you ever seen cuter bums then these? Not to mention the quality of head control and tummy time... but I digress. Diapers people...please help me find a diaper that works AND doesn't exist longer than my kids!
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Our trip was amazing... in every respect. Everyone we meet, everything we saw, tasted, felt, experienced...the good, the bad, the ugly... all of it amazing. We truly lucked out in many, many ways and for that I am grateful. None of us got sick while traveling (though being at home is a different story). Our twins sleep pretty well for 5 month olds...and were superstars on the long flight home. My best friend Lori went with us so we had an experienced mom to help out, our own photographer to help record the week and a good friend to share this special time with all rolled into one. Our paperwork and embassy appointment went super smoothly. We had a chance to visit with family friends while in Addis (and let's face it, going to a friend's home always makes a trip better). We gained a life long friend in Solomon, our wonderful driver. Even the dreaded rainy season was reduced to only one or two crazy, hard, short storms a day. I am sort of embarrassed to talk about how lovely our trip was over all. I know that Ethiopia can be a hard place to visit under any circumstances and that meeting your children and their family, trying to bond and attach...all that can be difficult and heavy but for some reason we lucked out. I am aware of how blessed we are.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all fairy dust and unicorns. We saw heartbreaking things and heard tragic stories. But even in all the heartbreak we were still amazed and in awe by the country, the people, the experience. I am so proud to say my children are Ethiopian.
We have actually been home for almost two weeks. Sorry to leave you all hanging here in BlogLand but it's been hard to write. Why? Well #1-I think I've mentioned that we have twins now. TWINS. Two parents. Two babies. Kinda hard to hand off a kid when your husband is already holding a kid! #2-they are unnaturally cute...so it's hard to tear myself away for a blog. Oh! He made a raspberry noise! And #3-because I'm just not sure what to write. Let me rephrase that...I'm not sure HOW to write this blog now.
I want so badly to post pictures and info on my children. I want to prove to you that they are the world's cutest twins. I want to wax on and on about how crazy soft their skin is (like touching AIR). I want to share every detail of our trip and our return. But... I am hesitant to do that. How can I post pictures and details about my sweet innocent 5 month old children when my own husband chooses to remain anonymous? I could make this blog private but then I'd miss out on all the random visitors. I could make up code names for the twins... Jayna and Zan? And just show you photos like these
Or I could just get over it and out my husband so that we are all equally exposed on the world wide web. What to do, what to do. I'm just not sure yet. I want to keep the blog...I like having a place to put my thoughts and I like your companionship. So I just need to figure out how to go forward. Anyway, that's why I haven't posted until now. But I figured I needed to post something and let you all know I was alive and happily ensconced in a family of four before I got another "WHERE ARE YOU??" comment (which I love by the way! Thanks for missing me!)
Here's something that I can write about now... the other major life changing event I've gone through since we last spoke...
Sadly, the Mazda 5 just wasn't big enough for 2 adults, 2 rear facing car seats and the largest double stroller known to man. Or rather...it was JUST big enough for those things and nothing more. The Odyssey holds all of us, our gargantuan stroller, two loads of Costco shopping and 15 beverages all at the same time. (Yes, the Odyssey holds 8 passengers, and has 15 cupholders ...you do the math).
Don't get me wrong. I really appreciate a mini-van and what it does...I just thought we had a few more years before we had to get one. I will love it in a week or two, but for now I'm a bit startled to see it in our driveway. And have I mentioned how much I love my Zoom Zoom? I get a little weepy at the thought of The Esquire getting to drive it to work every day. Sigh...I'm counting on the 15 cup holders and automatic sliding side doors to help me get over this pain.
I guess that's it for now. I'll figure out where to go with this blog and be back soon, I promise. But now I have to go watch Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum sleep... they both do this crazy little thing with their thumb that we just can't get enough of...
Friday, August 14, 2009
-The Esquire pacing around the house waiting for the cab while giving me a constant update on the time "10 mins!" "5 mins!"
-the cab driver taking us to LAX asked if we had family in Ethiopia...and it hit me- Yes! We do!
-seeing The Esquire show the baggage claim lady a picture of the twins
-realizing as we push our 76 bags through security that we are THOSE travelers now
-reaching into my carry on for something and pulling out the little hoodies I'm bringing for the twins
I can't believe it's time.
And by the way, NOW I'm giddy :-)
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tomorrow we are leaving for Ethiopia for 10 days...and are taking 9 bags, 5 of which weigh over 50 lbs. Note: we might as well be taking the rocking elephant with us...we're taking everything else!
And yes, we will come home with less luggage but more baggage if you know what I mean. We'll leave behind the diapers and formula and wipes and bottles and crayons that we are taking to the orphanages but we'll be bringing home two humans. And that, my friends, is just plain craziness.
People have been asking me all week how I'm holding up? Am I emotional? And every time I've replied, "who has time for emotions? I have too much to pack and do and buy before I get on that plane Friday!" These past few days have been all about one thing: GET ON THE PLANE. I can honestly say I am looking forward to that 16 hour flight to Dubai where I can't do a single thing except sit and sleep and read and think and sleep some more.
But this afternoon, when I put the last luggage tag on the last steamer trunk sized suitcase, I did start to realize what was happening. And I should be honest here, because that's what blogs are about right? Honesty. (those pants don't make you look fat at all...) The strongest emotions hitting me today weren't about what we are going to do/get/become...no, the strongest feeling running through my heart and mind today was about all that we are losing.
Now don't get me wrong, I am so ready to get my hands on those babies I can barely type right now. I am more in love with these two little people that I have yet to met than I can even say. But that doesn't change the fact that our lives are about to change and that makes me a bit sad.
I am madly, crazily in love with The Esquire and I adore our life together. I love spending time with him. People always ask what it was like to travel with him for 14 months...just the two of us, and I always jump to say just how perfect it was. I would happily spend 24/7 with him for the rest of my life if I could. I am selfish with his time and his attention...in a nutshell, I want it all.
So as ready as I am for this next chapter in our lives to begin, I'm also a bit sad that this last chapter is ending. Never again will it be just the two of us. Never again will we sit around and wonder about who will make up our family. Never again will I have The Esquire all to myself.
Again, please don't misunderstand me, I can't wait to see The Esquire as a father. I daydream about the Wonder Twins with their noses pressed to the window waiting to see his car coming down the street at the end of the day. I can't wait till we go traveling as a foursome and we get to see the world through their little eyes. I can't wait to see who we will all become once we all have one another. But none of that changes the fact that I'm in mourning for the life we are leaving behind.
And I think that's ok. I mean, isn't there some quote about in order to move forward you have to look backwards? Something like that? Well, there should be.
Anyway... that's where I am tonight. I can be jittery and giddy and excited tomorrow about our future, tonight is all about where we are right now. And that's why I'm going to stop writing now so I can go enjoy my last evening alone with my man.
Talk to you in a few weeks... ciao!
PS... ok, because the blog posts with pictures of nurseries are always my favorites, I can't sign off without showing you ours...and a few comments about some of my favorite things...
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
And it's not that I have such incredibly important things to write about but still, it's nice to jot it down, to have it here so we can look back later and remember this crazy time unlike any other.
I want to write about how, at my very core, I Am A Traveler. I love to go, see, move, do, sit in new places were I don't understand the language. I like to take long trips with very few possessions. I have a habit of quitting my job and taking off for 6 months to continents I've never been to before. And when you are a Traveler, that means you are a very good packer. I know how much contact solution I use in a month down to the ounce. I actually like only having 3 outfits to choose from for months and months at a time. I know which adapters to use in which countries. I routinely suck the air out of ziplock bags in order to flatten my clothes even more so I can use a smaller suitcase. I designed and had my mom sew my own special hidden money pockets that I use in place of those stupid money belts that everyone can see a mile away. I am good at selecting and packing essentials for long trips. It's what I do, it's who I am.
I am now in over my head.
All day my head runs in circles....How many cans of formula do I need for 8 feedings x 8 days x two kids? How many diapers for two kids who may or may not get sick? Wait, I need bottle liners? Do I want more short sleeve onesies or more long sleeve onesies? How many pairs of socks do non-walking 4 month olds really need? Do I need lice medication and scabies medication? What are scabies? Wait--my kids don't have hair--cancel the lice meds! How many wipes... two for each diaper change, 8 changes a day x two kids for 8 days, that's 256 wipes! If Twin A weighs 12lbs and eats 4-5 oz every 3-4 hours and Twin B weighs 9.5lbs and eats 3-4 oz every 2-3 hours than how many bottle nipples do I need to bring?
Did I mention I know how much contact solution to take on a 4 month trek through SE Asia?
I want to write about the nursery. Which is a lovely hodge podge of old and new and borrowed and bought and even a few things bartered. We have lots of trinkets from our travels and even a few things from when we were both babies. Because the first thing we got for the nursery was the Robert Indiana HOPE print (created for Obama's campaign) the nursery has somehow become a red, white and blue theme. Sometimes I find The Esquire just sitting in the nursery, looking at all the little things, dreaming of what's to come.
I want to write about how simultaneously overjoyed and terrified I am. I was a nanny for a few years, so I know what it's like to spend all day with two kids. But those kids were different ages and more importantly, they weren't MINE. I went home at 6pm. Don't get me wrong, I still love those kids with all my might but they weren't mine. On Monday Aug 17th someone will hand us two humans... and they WILL be mine. Forever. For EVER. That is the happiest and scariest word I know these days.
I want to write about how fabulous all our friends and family have been since we passed court. My mom went out and instantly bought a pack and play so the twins have a place to sleep at her house. My father-in-law tracked down an old friend in Addis Ababa so we will have a friend to show us around. Our neighbors have been popping by offering to run little errands. My best girlfriends have been sending us hand-me-downs. This lovely lady put up with me for 5 hours as I hemmed and hawed over changing pad covers and debated the ethics of all little girls clothes having "Princess" stitched on them. She took me by the hand and said "this lotion, this diaper cream, this bathtub." She is the only reason I am not still standing in Target right now trying to decide between the blue blanket and the green one.
I want to write about the amazing full moon that is out tonight. There was a time when I could tell you exactly where I had been for every full moon for almost a 3 yr span. I always look at the full moon and wonder where I'll be the next time it comes around. Tonight it hit me, with a jolt, that the next time the Man in the Moon is at his fullest I'll be home, with my husband. And children. You would think after a year of waiting and 6 days of non-stop shopping that that thought wouldn't have surprised me as much as it did. At what point will this be old hat?
I want to write about so much more but the washer is done and the eggs are over boiled (I did pause to rescue the nipples). It's almost midnight...almost Thursday Aug 6th...almost one day closer to meeting our kids....
Friday, July 31, 2009
This morning at 8:30am The Esquire woke me up. He normally wakes me before he leaves for work but I was surprised to see him still in his tee shirt and not in a suit.
"I promise I will never call you this again, but today it's ok. Good Morning Mama."
Yup. It's official. We're legal. We're parents. We have twins. I am a mama. The Esquire is a daddy.
Holy Hannah. Let the games begin!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I should start off by saying technically this is still The Day Before The Day Before our court date...because I never managed to fall asleep last night. Court date nerves have already kicked in.
I had an early morning play date at the beach with this one and her mom, and this one and her mom. It was perfect...overcast and cool but not chilly, the waves were making that perfect roaring noise that could lull an ogre to sleep. Not me of course. I'm still sleepless. Mimi kept showing us how she could do the splits. LT kept pointing out all the "doggies" (who were really birds, but her diction on the word Doggies was perfect).
Later I ran into Julie at the local Target. I was trying to decide what size our twins might be in a month and she was trying to find overnight diapers for the plane. We kept interrupting each other to ask how the other was doing. "are you ready to leave?" "are you nervous about court?" "do we really need a rectal, an oral AND an armpit thermometer?"
It's good to have women who have gone before living so close by. I feel like I'm about to graduate high school and they are all here to help me figure out that silly cap and which parties to go to.
I ended my day with my weekly Pilates session (I know, it sounds all hip and Hollywood but I have neck problems so it's not really that cool). Rebeca, my Brazilian trainer normally yells (good naturedly) and conveniently forgets how to count ("6, 7, 8, 3, 4, 5") and pushes me to my limit. But today I think she could sense I was in a different state of mind and we had the most lovely, relaxing, stretchy kind of class. Afterwards we discussed how seriously beautiful the twins are. Objectively of course.
And now I'm home. We've got Cuban food for dinner. And the crib mattresses arrived. We may watch some Harry Potter (I can NOT read another book on attachment right now...I need some mindless entertainment). And then we'll go to bed. And lay there. And whisper about what's happening elsewhere in the world.
Around 11pm LA time, the Judges will be going to work in Ethiopia (give or take an hour depending on whether they start at 8am or 9am or if they go get coffee first...). And at some point while we 'sleep' tonight, they will review our case and hopefully declare us a family. While we lay wide awake in bed tonight, on the other side of the world someone will hopefully make us parents. Now that is a crazy thought.
And that was my day. I feel it should have been bigger, crazier, with more excitement and fun. It should have involved travel and fireworks and bourbon and wild horses. I mean, this could be IT. If all goes well tomorrow, then everything will change. Today's activities should somehow reflect that change. The difference in Today and Tomorrow.
When I was in Ecuador I went to the equator (did you know the word Ecuador is Spanish for equator? Never say this isn't a teachable blog). It felt like a big thing ya know ... to stand on the Equator. I wanted there to be a change of light or music or something to mark the fact that I had just crossed from one hemisphere to the other but instead there is just a line that the Ecuadorian Tourism Authority have painted on the road. Sure, there's a little museum near by, but no confetti.
If/When we pass court tomorrow it will be like that. Just stepping over a line on the sidewalk. And yet... and yet.
Monday, July 27, 2009
It was a pretty bi-polar weekend for me dealing with this: one minute I felt, "it's all going to be fine." The next minute I thought, "this in NEVER going to work out!" But The Esquire never wavered (at least not externally). The last thing he said on Sunday night was, "we will get a call within 2 days with our new court date assignment." And first thing Monday morning we got the call. The man knows things. Just call him the Clairvoyant Counsel. Feel free to give him a call about your future...
Late Sunday night...when I was at my lowest... we got the perfect email from Emily. Three in fact. Full of new photos of The Wonder Twins. Oh. My. Goodness. We need to come up with a new word for cute...because that word falls flat when you see these two. Her cheeks. His smirk. Their toes. Wow. Also, Emily sent us a little video... in which the twins do nothing but lay there and stare at the camera. But again I say...WOW. It's the best movie I've seen all year.
So for your sake, I'm hoping all goes well on Friday so I can show you these new photos. And of course for our sake I'm hoping all goes well on Friday so we can tickle those toes ourselves soon in person.
In the meantime, you should all be working on new adjectives to describe indescribable cuteness. And keeping your fingers crossed of course...
ps--good luck to everyone with court dates this Friday!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The day before your court date, MOWA (Ministry of Woman's Affairs) has to file an opinion on your case. The MOWA office did not open today so they weren't able to write opinions on all the cases due for court tomorrow.... therefore all the cases scheduled for tomorrow have now been canceled and must be rescheduled.
Hopefully before the Ethiopian courts close on Aug 21st for the rainy season.
Hopefully. Hopefully. Hopefully.
Yes, we're pretty crushed (thanks for asking). But, we love our agency and we know they are working hard on our behalf. And we have faith that the Ethiopian Government and MOWA are working hard on the behalf of the children. So--with those two things in mind, we know it will all be ok. In the end the twins will be home with us and all will be well. I believe that. I do. Sure, I believe it in a slightly crushed-need-to-lay-down-and-watch-Gilmore Girl-reruns-all-day kinda way right now, but I'll be back up on Hope Mountain tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
So...while we sit here NOT counting down the days till Friday (2), I thought I'd entertain you with some more Twinfo, some fun facts if you will. Found this list online so I can't vouch for it's accuracy--but it is vaguely fascinating. #'s 16 & 18 are my favorites...
28 Interesting Facts About Multiples
1. Up to 22% of twins are left-handed. In the general populace, only 10% are left-handed.
2. Did you know that where you live can help determine whether or not you conceive multiples? If you live in Massachusetts and Connecticut, the twinning rate is 25% higher than the general populace.
3. On the other hand, if you don't want twins, move to Hawaii. Their rate of twin births is 30% less than the rate in the rest of the nation.
5. The Yoruba tribe in Nigeria has the highest incidence of twinning in the entire world. Why? They eat lots of yams.
6. One amazing mother in Chile gave birth to the last of her 55 children in 1981. Her children includes five sets of triplets (all boys). Now that mom has her hands full!
8. Both Elvis Presley and Liberace were twins? Their siblings died at birth.
9. The famous advice columnists Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby) are twins.
10. William Shakespeare fathered a set of boy/girl twins.
11. Fraternal twins run in families. Identical twins are a fluke of nature.
12. There are 7 different types of twins: identical, fraternal, half-identical, mirror image twins, mixed chromosome twins, superfecundation, and superfetation. These other types are very rare.
13. Due to sonograms being more widely available earlier in pregnancy it is now estimated that for every live twin birth, there are at least 6 other "twins" that no one ever knew about due to the vanishing twin phenomenon.
14. As if the woman in Chile did not have enough children, a woman in Russia in the 1700's, gave birth to 16 sets of twins, in addition to 7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets of quads!
15. The earliest twins were ever born? 22 weeks! Each twins was less than 12 inches long and weighed only slightly more than a pound.
16. Twins do not have to be born on the same dates. The longest gap between birth is 85 days.
17. 27 lbs. and 12oz. Total is the heaviest combined birth weight of any set of twins.
18. Cirque du Soleil employs the most sets of twins. (With the exception of course of the Twins restaurant in New York City where you can only be a waiter if you are an identical twin.)
19. Only 14% of women carry multiples past 37 weeks. Most women give birth prematurely.
20. 56% of all twin births are spontaneous. (Meaning the couple did not use fertility drugs.)
21. Only 16% of triplet births are spontaneous and only 5% of quadruplet births are spontaneous. Anything more than quadruplets is not spontaneous.
23. 82% of multiples are delivered via c-section, while 5% are delivered vaginally. The rest are delivered both by c-section and vaginally.
25. Identical twins experience nearly identical brain wave patterns.
26. Conjoined twins occur in every 1 out of 400,000 twin births.
27. Once you've had fraternal twins, you are 3 to 4 times more likely to have another set!
28. The rate of identical twinning is much higher in mothers that are very young and very old.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
And then we preceded to spend the next 7 hours crossing things off this list....
BTW...just in case you think this list looks light and breezy, let me add that it was THREE loads of laundry and TWO cribs (without an instruction manual) and one 47 ton treadmill (which we could only get as far as the dining room by ourselves...handy for when we want to snack on the run... ).
Some of the cuter proof of our labors...
Yes, that's a bear and a camel in the new stroller. What? You people let your cats try out your baby things... I let my camel.
And then, to reward ourselves for crossing off all but one thing on our list, we went to The Apple Pan for our favorite hamburgers and then to see the new Harry Potter movie. Yes, we're Harry Potter fans. And yes, I had read this book. I knew how it would end and yet...and yet I still cried at the end. When they all held up their wands ... it got me.
And so that was our Sunday... productive and hot and now, thankfully over! Time to go dream up another to-do list....
Saturday, July 18, 2009
SIX days until our court date.
A few weeks ago we got this update on the Wonder Twins:
...after he had his bottle he did what all babies do - and the caregiver was happy to change his diaper!
...was very content having her photo taken and would instantly smile when the camera was pointed at her as if she was posing just for the camera.
Did you catch that? He poops and she smiles. That's right... they're BRILLIANT! I mean, it's obvious right? They are so smart in fact, that I have begun to worry we aren't prepared for them. I mean, here we are, buying teethers and rattles and other such things recommended for 4 month olds when it's sooooooo clear they are ready for the big time.
So in an effort to be more prepared for my super genius kids, I sent away for this:
My good blogger friend Harmony recommended this dvd series to me and I trust her cause, well, she's a professional occupational therapist. She knows this kinda stuff.
This dvd alone will help my budding geniuses with correct letter placement, teach them sight words, give them tips on how to hold avoid confusing b,d, p & q ... !
Ok, so seriously, I'm not going to push this on the Wonder Twins...yet...but as someone with BAD handwriting who is married to someone with even WORSE handwriting, I'm excited to know we have this as a resource for the future. Thanks for passing it on to us Harmony!
So... did I mention we've only got 6 days left?
***EDIT: for some reason the first time I published this, none of my links worked! It was as if I was trying to hoard all the cool learning dvd's for myself! If you are interested in this amazing dvd or perhaps the ones they have for cursive writing, etc...then go here: Steps4kids.com It's truly a great resource!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
So...this past weekend we went back to Georgia for my friend Sally's wedding. Sally and Susannah and I have been friends since we were 2 yrs old. Crazy.
Sally makes amazing wedding cakes. This is the cake she did for us. The sugar dogwood blooms were so gorgeous people thought they were real. I love this cake.
Susannah is an ordained minister creating a new UCC congregation in Atlanta. She married The Esq and me 4 years ago on my parent's farm. She was kind enough to humor me and wear her black robe instead of her springtime white one so we wouldn't match. :-)
I have known these women longer than anyone outside of my family. We've had our ups and downs but we've always been together in one way or another.
Here we are in Assisi, Italy, in front of St. Francis' church.
I'm pretty sure we were fighting this day ...or maybe at this point we had stopped speaking to each other all together ...whatever, we still took a moment out of our argument to pose for the photo op. That's the kind of friends we are. Even in the middle of an ugly fight we still stop to take the pictures because we know eventually we'll get over it and will want those memories.
Here we are at our High School reunion in 1998...
I know it doesn't look like it but I swear we've all had different hairstyles in the past 10 years.
It was a lovely, intimate, fun, perfect wedding. Susannah, The Esq and I stuck around after wards to gossip with the newlyweds and to help finish off the cakes. (Yes, cakeS...as in more than one. I told you the bride was a wedding cake maker...of course she made all four of her wedding cakes! And everyone of them was delicious!
Back at my parent's house that night, my mom got out all the toys and clothes she had saved from my childhood. I had the best time going through all these things with my mom and grandmother. Everything had a memory for someone. I am so very, very happy that my mom let me pack up most of the clothes to bring home for the Wonder Twins.
Here are three little outfits my mom made for us. The little jumper on the right was my brother's favorite outfit when he was little. As for the dresses, I love how they are 4 feet wide and only half a foot tall. Apparently I was a very short, wide baby.
My mother also made this little red and white two-piece seersucker outfit for my brother. Yes, it's a little blazer. How cute is that! The label says "Specially handmade by Mother." I guess this is proof that my love of seersucker is genetic.
I just love that she made all of these...and that I now can force MY kids to wear them! Though it does make me a bit sad that I'm not as crafty as she was. Somehow I don't think crocheted owls will be as appreciated in 30 years by my kids.
Oh, and I can't forget about The Esquire's favorite part of the trip (besides the tomatoes, bbq and cake)... the fishing. Saturday morning before the wedding he and my dad pulled in this monster...
Yup. That's an 18lb catfish caught in my parent's pond (the same pond we got married by). Good times in Georgia indeed!
And now, after 3 blissfully fun days in GA, we are back in LA. Our court date is in 10 TEN days. So far I've been too busy to get nervous about it...which is a good thing, let's save that for next week! In the meantime I have a lot of little clothes to iron (!) and put away. And I have to find someone in LA growing tomatoes... I'm in lycopene withdrawal!
ps: as for Nanny's story about her only tipsy adventure...well, it's a good one, but you'll have to get her to tell you that one.