Monday, December 8, 2008

Travel snippet pre-kids

Ever notice how New York City smells like toast and coffee in the morning? This tantalizing breakfast photo documented said meal consumed at The Waverly Restaurant in The Village on the corner of 10th Street (?) and Sixth Avenue, in May 2007. I love how they served it all in a skillet. All that's missing from this pic to make it a quintessential NYC breakfast shot is one of those cool "greek" coffee cups, but alas, those are from the street vendors.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hub-eye Freb-end

Remember Zoom on PBS and Ubbi-Dubbi? Yes, I am almost 40 and my husband will be 43 next year, and yes the other night we amused ourselves to pieces speaking ubbi-dubbi! Little baby girl giggled along with us wholeheartedly. She has a love for nonsense. It was one of those warm and fuzzy moments.

In the past, I would occasionally say something to him in ubbi-dubbi and he would look at me glassy-eyed and lost. BUT...he has been studying!

The next day, he found on Wiki some information about the origins of ubbi-dubbi and how it is considered a Gibberish "language." Then for several days he emailed me in ubbi-dubbi, which I find very difficult to read, but very easy to speak. He now gets the method to the madness but has to work a little on where he places the accent on the syllables. With improper accent placement, I find it near impossible to understand what he's saying.

He's gotten so carried away that I had to shush him first thing in the morning as he was bellowing out ubbi-dubbi to one of the twins. It was a bit too mind-numbing for me to listen to at 7am.

Here's to getting in touch with your inner child! It's what staves off the gray and keeps my skin wrinkle-free.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Fruitful Harvest

Last year I prepared the soil of my body. In the fall we planted the bulbs otherwise known as embryos, and two little tulips bloomed in the Spring.

We have so much to be thankful for this year and are extremely lucky to have beat the odds. We are looking forward to raising children that are thankful for what they have, and we are hoping to avoid the Need for Greed that plagues far too many children in America. Our dream one day, when they are old enough, is to spend some time with the twins on Thanksgiving Day working in a soup kitchen.

There’s nothing I need or want, and now I have everything I ever wanted in the whole wide world.

Now that we are growing children, it’s time to think about growing a vegetable garden so the children can learn of the time, effort and patience involved in growing food rather than only seeing a box or can on a shelf or the mounds of neatly stacked produce in the market.

Here’s to a bountiful harvest in the future.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gas pain, a runaway dog, and did you know shoes can get dry rot?

Yesterday my mom took pity on my lackluster meal preparation of late (when I told her we’d be noshing on some vegetarian borscht and cold baked chicken – now there’s an interesting juxtaposition!) and whipped up a batch of gourmet mac n cheese to take home for dinner. She packed it up nicely, insulated with newspaper, so in theory it would still be hot when we sat down to eat. She even cut up some fresh green beans so I would only need to drop them in a pot of water. I had carrots too, could handle that on my own.

So, got the babies home, unpacked, figured we would be able to eat before their next feeding. Not so at all.

The boy started squeaking at 6:15, just as the veggies finished cooking. I made bottles and changed the diapers. Girl baby started crying uncontrollably, didn’t want food, didn’t want to sleep, nothing was working, and I was starving. I put her back in the crib and she settled down, even smiled. I left to go eat so I had the strength to continue the evening’s duties.

As I gobbled down the food, hubby said, “Maybe she’s over-hungry. We could try some oatmeal.” I scowled and said, “Noooooooo. She’s bawling. She won’t want that.” Also, I didn’t want her to choke on cereal while crying so hard.

After I inhaled my food, I was ready for another attempt to feed her. Just then, the dog wanted to go out. I opened the front door, and usually I grab Ashiko’s collar before putting her on her chain, but she bolted out the door in pursuit of one of the neighborhood cats (who happens to look just like Snoopy). I ran out after her, but stopped in the middle of the street and thought, “Great…this is hopeless…I might as well just go back inside…she’ll come home eventually.” But I walked around the circle towards the cat’s house, and the owner and her dog were returning from a walk. She said our dog was nearby, had been playing with her dog. I said, “Where is she now? She’s probably gone back home and is making me walk all the way around the circle.” Sure enough, when I got back, there she was in the front yard, waiting for me. Sigh.

So then…I scooped up whiny girl baby and she was crying again. Sat down with her at the dining table, and she still didn’t want any bottle. I said to the hubby, “Hmm…maybe she does want some oatmeal.” We got that ready, and after the first spoonful she cheered up and let out a lonnnnnnnnnnnggggg loud toot. Aha! So it was gas pain that was causing all the distress! She ate all the cereal, happily tooting during the meal, had a few sips from the bottle and fell fast asleep. She was worn out from the ordeal! I then had to apologize to the hubby and (cough, cough) tell him he was RIGHT for suggesting the cereal idea. Newman!

This morning, I yanked an old pair of shoes out of the closet that I haven’t worn in 10 years. I’ve had them since 1993. They were always comfy, a classic style, German-made, long-lasting, yada yada. When I stopped at my folks’ at lunchtime to deliver some pumpage, they said, “Where’d all that mud come from that was on your shoes? We’ve been cleaning up little piles of it here and there.” I said, “What mud?” and looked at the bottom of my shoes to find that the heels had dry-rotted and were crumbling all over kingdom come! Who knew shoes could get dry rot?

I returned to work and entertained the Chief of Fashion Police with my fashion faux pas. She said, “Only YOU would keep shoes for 15 years!” She actually admitted they were a cute style but gave me a demerit for my socks that didn’t bear any matching quality to the rest of my ensemble, which is always a sore spot with her. But hey, at least I don’t wear my purple Crocs every day anymore! Those were my preggo work shoes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Motherhood Has Made Me Mushy

Last Thursday, I teared up during Obama’s infomercial because I am so proud of him and all the things he stands for and the hope that he instills in our country.

Friday, my mother told me that some family friends had lost their 43 year old son in a sudden collapse earlier in the week.

Saturday, while I shopped for a sympathy card for the family, a John Denver song played on the drugstore’s radio, with lyrics something like “There’s so much more I’ve got to do.” John Denver will get you every time. I lost it.

And in light of the recent death of this young man, as I sat last night with my sleeping son in my arms, I thought about how much I love my parents and how much they love me. Now I know how true it is when a mother says, “No matter how old you get, you’ll always be my baby.” And now I know why every time I leave my parents’ house with the babies in the back, my dad tells me to take my time going home, and every Fall he tells me to be careful driving on the leaf-covered roads. Now I’ll be a little less-inclined to shrug it off and just say, “Yeah, yeah.”

This morning, I teared up on the drive into work, especially when I heard Jesse Jackson during some rehashed election coverage. It is a GREAT day to be alive in America, no matter your background. We are all one now.

Sadly, I discovered that I have to work on January 20. My mom suggested I feign illness to stay home and watch Obama’s inauguration!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Should Have Named the Dog BPITA

BPITA = Big Pain In The Arse

The dog almost killed herself the other day, and for a split second I thought about letting her!

Lately, as I buzz around the house at breakneck speed getting all my non-mom-that-hubby-can't-help-with-stuff done, the dog is ALWAYS underfoot. I swear I'm going to stomp on her rib cage one of these days and will have to add an emergency vet trip to my already long to-do list.

The other day, as I sat down to pump, I had one kid asleep in the swing in the living room and the other amusing herself in the Exersaucer next to me in the kitchen. The dog was quiet enough, for the time being, under the kitchen table (where I pump). She found an empty round Quaker oats box and was nibbling on the rim of it.

Moments later, unaware that she had left the room with the oat box (as she often does with paper egg cartons as well, to go shred), I happened to see her stagger past the kitchen door and saw that she had the oat box stuck on her snout up PAST HER EYES. I thought, "Hey! I should take a picture!" So I got up to go get the camera, but as I passed Sheeks I realized she couldn't breathe with her nose and mouth trapped. I went to pull off the box but it was really tight! A stronger tug did the trick, and no harm was done.

Yesterday, when we were walking around the circle, she thought someone's pumpkin was a cat. Her moderate amount of intelligence deduced that the pumpkin was at the house where the cats lurk outside, and one of the cats is orange. So she put two and two together and pulled towards the pumpkin. But I thought dogs were colorblind? When we walk in the dusk, she thinks large rocks are cats too.

There's a reason cats score higher on their SAT's. :-)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Off-Roading It

Sunday presented us with beautiful Fall weather, so after my chores and errands were done, I packed up the kids and dog and headed for Hartwood Acres. I really wanted to test the performance of the BOB jogger, so we hit the trail that goes down to the horse stables. This was the first time the dog has been in those woods all year! To my dismay, Sheeks munched on some horse nuggets along the way.

I forgot how steep and rutted-out the path is down to the stables. This is something one doesn't notice when one isn't steering a 32-pound stroller full of 30 pounds of babies and trying not to slip on small rocks and roll on twigs in the process, all with an eager dog leading the way as well. There's a good reason the BOB has a hand strap for any possible runaway moments. It was an exhilarating trek, and we were rewarded at the bottom of the hill by one of the Clydesdales looking all cute and pastoral to greet us. We encountered another couple near the stables who looked at us askance as if to say, "You brought ALL that down THAT hill?" Why yes, indeed. We are crazy. Kai and Seda loved it despite their bobbing around.

After that, we moved on to the paved path. Pushing the aforementioned load up the long, not-so-steep hill back up to the mansion is quite a workout! Can't wait to do it again!

We are venturing out on a less than exciting trip today to Target. Whee!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nurture and Nourish

Wednesday was a gray October day. There were bursts of yellow, orange and red scattered amongst the fading green of another summer gone by.

Earlier at work that day, I had heard someone say that on a dreary day they just want to go home and crawl into bed. I wonder why this is? In our part of the world that gets 4 distinct seasons, perhaps it is because Autumn is a time for bedding down, in preparation for the long sleep of winter, so we can waken refreshed again for Spring.

When the days darken, rather than turning in, I turn to my fond childhood memories of helping my dad build a fire, building couch forts with my brothers, playing board games in the family room, baking with my mother, donning musty ponchos and going on Sierra Club hikes, and sundry homey activities. These are the sorts of free fun things that nurture the spirit. I am soooooooo looking forward to recreating that life for my children!

Gray days also make me want to cook up a batch of chicken stock or bake bread. And nothing says homey like chicken stock simmering on the stove or bread baking and wafting throughout the house.

Tuesday when I retrieved Kai and Seda from my parents’ daycare, my mom had some chicken stew bubbling away in the oven. Wow, did that smell good! I returned home to my second bowl of vegetarian chili this week, accompanied by homemade corn muffins that I made on Sunday. The muffins were from the recipe on the box of cornmeal. When I bake, I measure. When I cook, I wing it, inventively. If it's good, I write it down so I can recreate it. Here is an estimation of the recipe:

Vegetarian Chili

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
Half green bell pepper, diced
Half red bell pepper, diced
1 package Boca crumbles (3 packages come in a box) – could use reconstituted TVP instead, 1 cup dry? (textured vegetable protein)

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
Few dashes of chipotle powder (optional)

1 15oz can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 15oz can black beans, drained
Half a bean can of water
1 28oz can diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen fire-roasted)
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Saute until onion translucent. Add garlic and spices, stir, saute until fragrant.
Add remaining ingredients, stir, bring to simmer, turn down and cook on low for an hour or two.

Serve with cornbread or tortilla chips. Top with grated cheese if you like.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Twenty Tiny Toasty Toes

The furnace Last week, my furnace guy Ralph said a ceramic tube on the pilot assembly was cracked. Wednesday, he said he'd found the part. Yesterday, the living room was 59 degrees with no heat. We didn't really care, as we like it cool, and I bundled the babies up with pants and hooded sweaters over their sleepers. So this morning, Ralph came and finished the job and now we are cookin' at a balmy 65, which is how we like it.

Around 5pm yesterday, I built a fire, the first of the season. Hauled up two loads of firewood to outside the front door. Tons of spiders in the wood pile! Sadly, some met their maker in the inferno. I kept the home fires burning until we went to bed after enduring the VP debate. Anyone else have a headache after listening to HER? I was hoping for some implosion, but alas, she wasn't as bad as she could have been.

Today I'm doing some serious cleaning, or at least making some headway. I'm lucky Seda and Kai have long naps so I can get stuff done without feeling I'm ignoring them too much!

Right now, as I type, I'm looking out at the silvery sky above the field across the road. It is a watercolor gray, like Payne's Gray out of the paint box. There are twinges of color changes happening in the trees. I'm glad fall is here. I'm ready to go on more walks with the kids and dog now that the weather is cooler.

Yesterday I went to my first meetup event of Pittsburgh Hip Mama held at the Quiet Storm Coffeehouse in Friendship/Garfield. That place is always a favorite of mine. Met a couple nice moms of young babies, looking forward to more events with this group.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Crazy Eights

First we were two, now we are four. 4 times 2 is 8, and today is our 8th anniversary. This is us in the judge's chambers around 2pm on Friday, Sept. 29, 2000. Lucky for us we were married in a year ending in zero's so when we're 90, we'll easily be able to figure out how long it has been.

Almost exactly a year ago, Kai and Seda came to be when our DNA was mixed in a dish. How romantic.

I won't be getting the traditional pottery or bronze gifts, because I'm far from traditional. I will probably be getting a humorous card, as is our tradition. We don't really do gifts for each other. After all, we've given each other the greatest gift of all this year, the gift of children. Tonight's dinner will be crusty tilapia, mashed potatoes and peas, one of the hub's favorites.

I guess you could say we celebrated yesterday, by going out to lunch at the Indian buffet. Of course the kids were there with us, soaking up the curry fumes. We can't wait till they are ready to eat there too. Kai was awake and very interested the whole time. Seda slept through most of it, despite my waiving a papadum under her nose.

It's been a crazy day on the kid front. It seems like all of a sudden they are requiring more food at each feeding. There was much screaming at mealtimes and I couldn't get the food down their gullets fast enough. There were nursing strikes and hunger strikes thrown in as well. Now why would you go on strike when you're hungry? We went grocery shopping late morning, came back, fed, bathed, and late this afternoon I was sat across the living room from them, watching their angelic sleep.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


K got the go ahead from the doc on Thurs to do some light weight bearing on his foot. Now he can hobble around like a crony of Captain Jack Sparrow with one crutch, a cane or no assistance at all. So this morning, he changed a diaper for the first time in 2 months! That means about 1200 diapers escaped his involvement. Wow...1200 in two months...good thing we do cloth! That's 1200 diapers that never went to a landfill!

These kids still sleep most of the day, all night, and are awake for an hour or two here and there before or after a feeding. Some days I can even sneak in a nap when they nap. These are still the easy times I guess, but I can tell that Seda's going to be on the move before Kai. She was the one kicking up a storm in the womb, while he just relaxed. I'm in no hurry for the crawling to commence, that's for sure. I'm going to have to start eating more because the weight loss will continue while I'm chasing these guys!

Friday, September 26, 2008

When will the nightmares stop?

Not theirs, mine. At least once a week, I have a nightmare that we are still trying to get pregnant. The poking and prodding, the emotional burden, the whole nine yards! I wonder why this is happening? The dreams are vivid, and I'm a bit stunned when I wake up and realize that I do indeed have two beautiful babies in my midst.

We are the survivors of infertility and IVF. Here is our success story.

Our journey through infertility began in 2001, when we sought treatment after trying for a little more than a year. I was already down one ovary, but I was only 32, so there was still “time.” Well, that “time” was told by the slowest ticking clock in history, even though my obsession with wanting to get pregnant and have kids was racing at full speed.

To make a long story short, after losing a right ovary to a 3.5 lb cyst, then trying 6 IUI cycles with Clomid, then a lateral incision myomectomy, a blighted ovum m/c, acupuncture, naturopathy and another vertical incision myomectomy, then trying on our own a few months with a repaired uterus, we finally took the plunge into the world of IVF. Our first cycle in April 2007 was a bust, but the second cycle in October 2007 was a roaring success. We became the proud parents of boy/girl twins in May 2008, about 8 years after initially talking about having kids! Whew! What a journey it has been, and I have the road map of scars to show it.

After the first unsuccessful attempt, I was ready to give up. We even started talking about adoption. I started thinking more positively about things and quit dwelling on the negatives in my life. In that respect, I did a lot of yoga and walking to keep my brain in good shape. I hugged the dog a lot too. We had one more chance for another IVF cycle, and my best advice to anyone is to take that last chance when you have it! When the doctor asked if we were sure we wanted all 3 embryos transferred and reminded us of the risk of triplets, I said, “Let’s go for it! We’ve got nothing to lose.” I must say we were a tiny bit nervous about the first ultrasound because triplets would mean so many things, like needing a bigger car. We were thrilled when we saw the two little gummi bears on the screen! I work in a fertility clinic and was a patient in the same, so it was fun and easy just walking down the hall for bloodwork and ultrasounds.

The things I have learned along the way are this: A definite reason for infertility is so much easier to deal with than being diagnosed as “unexplained.” We of the unexplained are always trying to figure out a reason for being broken and we really beat ourselves up about it. And as hard as it is to go to your gyne’s office and see all the pregnant women, they are really there to give us hope that we too will one day stand in their shoes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Four months old!

These are our first and last kids…a boy and girl, Kai and Seda. Who needs more? It’s the perfect equation. We already have the dog, so we are now an instant nuclear family. Good thing we don’t live in China, or we would have had to leave Seda at the curb. Besides, I considered pregnancy to be a debilitating disease because I’m such an active person and was pretty much totally immobilized by the seventh month. I’m also going to be ancient (40) in February in terms of fertility, so that’s that. Mission accomplished.

The little rascals are trucking along, plumping up nicely for being born 5 weeks early. Yesterday we celebrated Kai and Seda’s fourth month out in the air-breathing world. No fanfare, really, just a commemorative photo to add to the fourth picture slot in my twelve-slot frame.

There was no way of knowing that the last four months were going to be this easy. Not sure what I expected, but it’s been a breeze! Shortly before they were three months old, they were sleeping through the night. Up until then, I thought that the waking-up-every-three-hours-at-night thing would never end.

Pregnancy was also the best weight loss program I’ve ever encountered! Not that I have ever dieted, per se, but I have tried to lose 10 pounds or so over the last 6 years by watching my food intake and exercising. But nothing works as well as breastfeeding! I now weigh 10 pounds less than before getting pregnant!

I am gaining SAINT status these days because my husband had foot surgery on August 12, and I haven’t killed him yet. I’m amazed how much time is taken up by all the little chores he would do that I now have to do while he recovers. This, of course, is in addition to my usual role as cook, grocery shopper, maid, groundskeeper, new mom of twins, dog walker, etc. I bet you never thought about how many trips up and down the stairs are required when you do five loads of laundry in one day. That is five trips per load, so 25 trips per day! I think that’s why I now have legs of steel. Fortunately, this isn’t a daily occurrence. We do cloth diapers, but that’s the least of my worries. So again…I think I deserve a saint award of some kind. A coworker recently asked how my hubby was doing and asked if I’m still planning to stay married to him! I of course said, “Yes.” He’s on crutches, and that is thirsty work, and of course he can’t fetch his own glass of water. So Yours Truly runs to his aid. He did acquire a wheelchair to have a much-needed break from using crutches in the house. This is great for him, not much help for me, and fun for the twins as he takes them for joy rides up and down the hall. Women at work say they would be bitching and whining about his lack of help, but I say there’s not much point because I can’t do anything about it.

And when will he be back on his feet you ask? Ohhhhhh…January or so. He’s dreaming of skiing by February. Hmmm…bet he has no dreams of CHORES. I have put my letter in for a sabbatical from holiday entertaining this year for sure. We will be traveling for that to the homes of others, so no EXTRA work for me! Yay!