Housing Crisis

It was never our plan to have three children.

Much as I admire those to whom motherhood and the ability to wrangle babies comes easily, I am not one of them. I am selfish. I need me-time, and lots of it. Three children has always seemed like one more child than I could handle. And then there's my theory that the world is built for families of four: Four fit easily in a booth. Four can go on vacation together and share a room with two double beds. Four means no minivan requirement. I could go on and on.

Just as it wasn't in the plan to have more than two children, it was also not in the plan to move, or at least not for awhile. We love our house. Although it is small (1,500 square feet), it has enough space for a family of four. It has three bedrooms and one bath (which is upstairs, and which is a minor inconvenience, but has been tolerable). It was built in 1925 and is loaded with character. It has a wood-burning fireplace, leaded glass windows, beautiful crown moulding, arched doorways, gorgeous hardwood floors, a screened in back porch, and even a small, in-ground swimming pool in the backyard.

It's not a perfect house. The kitchen is too small for my liking. The bedrooms are small, Isabella's especially. Closet space, as it is in almost all homes built in the 1920s, is lacking. But when we saw this house nine years ago, when I was 24 years old, we knew it was the one. The competition for homes in my area was fierce then. We were outbid twice on two other homes by people bidding way over asking price. We saw our house the first day it was on the market, and wrote an offer that night.

But we realized that our circumstances had changed as soon as Luci and Nicholas came home. We are constantly side-stepping baby gear, toys, books, furniture, and each other. What once seemed like more than enough room for three people and three cats immediately became not enough. In the past nine months, it's only gotten worse. And it couldn't become more clear to me that Luci and Nicholas need their own rooms to solve their sleeping issues. They wake each other up constantly.

We have been half-heartedly looking for a house for almost six months now. We've been to numerous open houses and have had a very difficult time finding a suitable house in our price range in the area in which we want to buy. While the three-bedroom homes in our area are affordable for us, the four-bedroom homes are not.

And then last week we came upon a gorgeous four-bedroom house. It has a huge kitchen. 2.5 bathrooms. A gorgeous and enormous family room for the kids to play in. A large backyard. A screened in porch. A deck and a patio.

We went to the open house and then saw it again with our realtor later in the week. This was the first house we had seen that had everything we wanted. The problem was the price. It was more than we could spend. On Saturday, we decided to write an offer anyway, offering much less than the asking price.

Expecting a hefty counter, we weren't hopeful. Then, on Sunday, while at a picnic at my grandma's, we got the call from our realtor. The sellers had accepted our offer. No counter.

And now we have our house to sell. Our house isn't even in the neighborhood of ready to sell. We are in full-on decluttering, packing, and cleaning mode. My house looks as if a bomb detonated right in the center of it. We are listing it on Monday. We have to get an offer on our house in less than two weeks, or we will more than likely lose the house on which we had our offer accepted, since our offer is contingent upon the sale of our house.

If you're the praying type, please pray we can sell our house quickly. If you're the candle-lighting type, please set an inferno for us. If you're the vibe-sending type, please send good karma our way.

Our awesome realtor, who is also our friend, says that it's providential. If this house is meant to be ours, then it will be.

And as much as I'm really, really trying not to get attached to this house that is not yet ours and may never be ours, I'm also really, really hoping it becomes ours one day very soon.

The Rat Pack

We recently look Isabella and the twins to Chuck E. Cheese. I had my doubts about there being enough age-appropriate games and rides to keep an almost three-year-old occupied and entertained, but after hearing glowing reviews from Chas and my friend Dianne, who both have daughters around Isabella's age, we decided to give it a go.

Isabella was in a state of blitzed-out euphoria from the second we walked through the door.

And fortunately for us, our cloistered-for-bad-public-behavior twins were too.

Since I'm all about cheap (or free) entertainment these days, I was really satisfied with the deal we used, courtesy of a coupon from their website. For $18.99, we had a large pizza, four drinks, and 25 tokens, which was more than enough for Isabella to have a great time for two hours. Each ride or game was only one token. You can sign up for their website deals here.

For an extra .99 cents, I bought Isabella this cup, purely for the future blackmail photo op it provides.

There's a toddler area for kids with rides and games scaled down to their level. I would say Isabella was almost too old for the rides, but she really enjoyed the games and the playset/slide.

What really intrigued her was the tickets. You remember the deal. Play a game, and when you're done, the machine spits out a ticket (or many tickets). Isabella loved grabbing the tickets and handing them to me. When we were just about to leave, we fed them into a machine that tallied them up (no more counting them yourself), and then we took her over to the counter of crap toys to cash them in. She left with a ball, a sheet of stickers, and two plastic fish and was completely thrilled.

The pizza was just as bad as I remember it being. Of course, I was starving so that didn't stop me from eating three pieces. Isabella, however, thought it was great. The twins abstained from pizza citing something about a mouth full of gums and not much else.

As we were eating in the nothing-like-I-remembered "theatre" area, who should emerge from a door by the stage but Chuck himself. He walked right over to our table and encouraged Isabella to give him a high-five. She not-so-politely declined. He walked away pretending to cry, and then returned. Isabella then obliged.

Luci was very suspicious of the rat.

All things considered, we would go to Chuck E. Cheese again. It was inexpensive. Isabella had a blast. And there was enough excitement and stimulation to keep the twins quiet for a couple hours.

But if you were a Chuck E. Cheese regular, as I was in my youth, you may be disappointed. It bears very little resemblance to the place I remembered. There is no train that runs around the place. No ball pit. No super-cool stage show with waving international flags. No Swiss cheese crawl under the stage. The kids visiting there today won't know any different, of course, but it's my opinion that the CEC of the 1980s was much, much cooler.

And now it's time to soak my dentures and sip a nice cup of Sanka while yelling at the neighborhood kids for throwing their ball in my yard.

Isabella at 35 Months

Isabella turned 35 months old on Wednesday. One more month until the big 0-3.

Who is this little girl? Wasn't she just learning to walk and eating pureed carrots last week?

This past month, my dear firstborn has picked up a massively annoying habit, whose emergence is solely my fault and the hubs' fault. She's begun talking about herself in the third person, as in, "Isabella wants to go to the playground" and "Isabella needs help pulling up her underwear" and "This is Isabella's book and NOT the babies'!"

After trying to figure out where this came from, we realized that we often talk about ourselves that way, as in, "Bring the cup to mommy" and "You and mommy are going to the store" and she's picked up on it. Dammit! I've screwed up my child yet again.

I also have a little fear about her going to preschool and expecting her peeps and teacher to bow down and worship at the altar of Isabella. You see, my daughter likes an audience. If we're outside playing and our fabulous neighbors come over with their dog, she'll say, "Can the (ABCs) watch Isabella (grrrr...) go down the slide?" When her friends come over for a playdate, or she's around her friends in gym class, she'll ask them to watch her attempt particular tasks-jumping, catching a ball, etc.

This comes directly from the attention my family lavishes on her every time they see her. She is the rockstar, and she's used to being the center of attention, and even with the twins around now, she still is.

As much as she is very "me-centered" these days, she continues to be a great big sister to Luci and Nicholas. She basks in the praise I give her when she spontaneously does something to help them-pick up a dropped binky, give one or the other a toy, or lay out a blanket on the floor for them to play on.

This makes me long for the day when they can all entertain each other (I know, I know, they will undoubtedly knock each other around as well) and leave mama alone with her laptop. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy playing with Isabella and reading with her, but at almost 3, shouldn't she be playing more independently now? She is continually looking for my involvement in her play, and this makes getting anything work-related done next to impossible.

Birthday plans are in full swing. She's having a party with a few friends on August 15th and her big family party on her actual birthday, August 22nd. Her chosen theme has presented a problem, however. She chose Clifford as the subject of the sign my sister the fab artist is painting for her this year, and therefore Clifford is her party theme as well. But guess what? Clifford decorations, plates, napkins, favors, etc. are nowhere to be found, and I refuse to shell out $50 to an ebay seller for the last remaining party pack on planet Earth.

So, my mom and I are making decorations from scratch with the help of some templates on the PBS website. Fortunately, my mom who has a lot of time on her hands is an art teacher and an artist and quite crafty. We're keeping it simple, and probably running off Clifford coloring pages paired with some crayons as the favors.

(Speaking of keeping birthday parties simple, check out my latest article on this topic on Root & Sprout.)

She's still into stuffing books under her pillows and dictating topics for "Mr. Bleakman stories" before naps and bed (for the last month or so, her requests have always begun, "Mr. Bleakman had a problem...". Today's was, "Mr. Bleakman had a problem. He lost all his makeup and he couldn't find it anywhere."

I can't believe my little baby is turning 3 next month.

Likes: Playing hide-and-seek, jumping in puddles, eating the twins' dropped puffs off the floor

Dislikes: The almighty authority of the supreme ruler (Me)


This blog has been a bit on the quiet side this week, and there's a reason for that. Details to follow soon. And no, I am not pregnant.

Too Old To Give Birth?

Last week, the 69-year-old Spanish woman who underwent IVF and became the oldest woman on record to have given birth (at 67) died of cancer. She left behind 2-year-old twin sons.

This is a topic I've written about before, but the particulars here are different. I can't seem to get this news story out of my head.

The woman lied on her fertility clinic paperwork. She flew to L.A. from Spain and told her doctor she was 55, the maximum age for treatment at that particular clinic.

She was quoted in a newspaper article as saying, "I think everyone should become a mother at the right time for them." I can hardly disagree with this statement.

Obviously, this case has ignited a storm of controversy and discussion about whether or not there should be a mandated maximum age for women undergoing fertility treatment (currently, that's a decision left up to individual clinics).

Attempting to legislate or even to voice an opinion on who should (and should not) be able to have children places you on a very slippery slope. Consider this: if this 67-year-old woman choosing to get pregnant was reckless and selfish (as she has been accused of being) given her advanced age, then women who smoke, have a dangerous profession (for example, police work), or engage in other high-risk activities and choose to become pregnant are reckless and selfish as well, and yet no law would ever curb their ability to get pregnant. And what about men who choose to father children in their seventies? I haven't heard any outrage over the fact that Larry King is 75 and has two very young kids. I've heard of no one calling him selfish. When she first gave birth, much was said about her not living to see her kids graduate from high school. Larry King likely won't live this long either, and yet because he isn't a woman, fathering children at his age is somehow more acceptable?

Supporters have said that mothers of any age can die of cancer. And the Spanish's woman's own mother lived to 101. She obviously believed she had longevity on her side, when unfortunately, this wasn't the case.

But while I firmly disagree with any law that would mandate a maximum age for fertility clinic patients (women should always have the choice regarding when (or if) they become mothers and government should play absolutely no role in this process), I also can't help but feel sorry for these two little boys, who must now grow up without her.

What do you think?

Carbs and Sugar are a Girl's Best Friends

I don't get out much.

Our babysitters are 80 years old, and can't be left alone with the kiddos for any length of time. They also can't drive after dark.
Since the birth of the twins last October, we've left all three kids just once in the evening in the care of my amazing friends who allowed the hubs and me to celebrate my birthday at our favorite restaurant.
So in the evenings, when the rest of the world is going out to dinner, a movie, or drinking themselves into oblivion, you'll find the hubs and me parked on the couch, watching bad reality tv while Isabella and the babies sleep upstairs. It's a small, small world, which some of the time suits me just fine. Most of the time, though, it's too small.
Needless to say, the "Girls' Night In" giveaway I entered on Tracey's blog intrigued me. A new BlogHer group call "The Juice" was sponsoring the giveaway, and the prize was awesome: A basket of candy, DVDs, snacks, and a t-shirt - everything you would need to invite friends over for a "girl's night at home."
It was as if the fates were smiling down upon me because I won!
Here is what arrived at my house on Thursday:

There are Cheetos, people. Cheetos! (Or I should say, there were Cheetos, since I basically ripped open the bag and poured the contents directly down my throat immediately after taking this photo.)

Oddly, there are also three 90-calorie Quaker granola bars in this basket o' unhealthy wonderfullness. I'm not sure what they were doing in there, but I promptly stashed them in the back of my cupboard, to be consumed once I've devoured snack heaven and need to lose the five pounds it will no doubt add to my "still-need-to-lose-7-pregnancy-pounds" frame.
And while I didn't invite my friends over for a "Girls' Night In" to share the motherlode with me, I have been thoroughly enjoying eating my way through the kinds of foods that normally don't make an appearance in my house because I have absolutely no willpower whatsoever, and would eatandeatandeatandeatandeat myself back into my fat pants if I bought these kinds of things on a regular basis.
Thank you so much, Tracey!

Luci and Nicholas at Nine Months (*Updated)

Luci and Nicholas turned 9 months old yesterday. I've included a lot of photos in this month's update because honestly? This is the most fun month I've had with them since their birth. Things are getting easier. I never thought I would utter those four words, but it's true. They are less fussy. They cry less. They're sleeping better (relatively speaking), and I'm feeling less suicidal at the end of every day.

Over the last month, they've changed quite a bit. Most notably...

They're sitting up, almost independently. Both need a bit of support to prevent face-plants, and Luci sits up better than Nicholas, but it is so nice to have them upright. Their temperaments have changed (for the better) and I think this new skill has a lot to do with it.

I believe I can say this now without jinxing myself: I think we have seen the end of the "screaming through dinner" routine. After 8.5 long months of wanting to take my fork and stab it into my eardrums, we can finally eat in peace. Hallelujah!

Speaking of mealtime, we've introduced sippy cups and puffs. The twins stopped their nightly serenades before the introduction, but their cups and finger foods keep them occupied in the highchairs. Nicholas' pincer grasp is better than Luci's, although I think his skill may have more to do with the fact that the boy is insatiable and Luci could frankly give or take food. We're questioning her lineage as a result.

Thankfully, my two littlest still love stroller-rides. When she was their age, Isabella suffered from strollerphobia, so I am so grateful Luci and Nicholas like to take walks. I've found the fresh air helps them sleep better, so needless to say, we try to take a walk each morning, and then after dinner too.
Luci and Nicholas hit the baby pool for the first time on the 4th of July. They loved it, and dined on some fresh squid to mark the occasion.

The sleeping situation is improving slightly. In general, once Nicholas is down for the night between 7 and 7:30, I won't see him until the next morning, somewhere between 6 and 7am. That is, unless Luci wakes him up. She's usually up around 10:30 or 11pm and then again around 2:30 or 3am. I nurse her during these times, even though I know she doesn't need to eat, because it's the only way to get her back to sleep. If they were in different rooms, I would let her CIO, but for now, it's quickest and easiest for me to just feed her and get her back to sleep this way.

Both babies are starting the crawling process. When on their tummies, they will reach for toys out of their grasps, and then use their feet to push them forward. They both roll really well now, and can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.
About a week ago, Luci spoke her first word, which, much to my annoyance, is the same as Isabella's first word: "Dada." While she once trailed behind Nicholas in reaching milestones, and in physical and cognitive development, I think she has now surpassed him. She sits up really well, and has almost completely mellowed out and lost the whiny tendencies, crying, and crabbing during the day that drove me to the edge for the last 8 months. Her babbling now sounds more like "pre-talking" and it's been very cool to hear her "voice" emerge from the baby noises she's been making to this point. Her eyes are still blue, yet turning grey, and her hair is much lighter than her brother's. She loves peek-a-boo, gnawing on books, and the jumperoo.
Nicholas would be in his absolute glory if I held him 24/7. He has a raging case of mommyitis, and if I'm in the room with him, even if someone else is holding him or playing with him, he cries until I pick him up. He's still a bit on the crabby side at times, but he is a total lover-baby. He loves to be kissed and tickled, and he gives huge slobbery kisses. His pincer grasp, which he picked up almost immediately, is awesome, and he continues to eat more than any baby I've ever known. He hasn't started "babbling" as Luci has yet, but I will say that his screams are operatic and Mariah-esque in quality. He enjoys food, his stuffed bunny "Sonny," and also food. Lots and lots of food.

Teeth Count: 0
Word Count: Luci-"Dada"
Diaper Size: Huggies Size 2, but approaching Size 3

Clothing: 6 months

They're headed to the pediatrician tomorrow for their 9-month checkup, and I'll update this posting with their stats when I return.
* Nine-Month Stats
Weight: 14 pounds, 6.5 oz (less than 5th percentile)
Length: 26 inches (7th percentile-she's finally on the charts!)
Head Circumference: 44 cm
Weight: 15 pounds, 6.5 oz (less than 5th percentile)
Length: 26 inches (less than 5th percentile)
Head Circumference: 46 cm

You, Me, and HP

I've said it before, and now I'll say it again. My readers are some of the most talented people I've ever had the pleasure of "knowing." You are writers and photographers and potters and floral designers and knitters and graphic design wizards, and I'm willing to bet there are people reading here who have skills or businesses they keep under wraps too.

As you know, I write for Root & Sprout, an incredible parenting resource. The site is growing by leaps and bounds, and receives on average 7,500 hits a month and over 35,000 page views. Root & Sprout also has a Google page rating of 4 out of 10, which is excellent for a blog of its size and age.

I'd like to share with you the details of an awesome ad promotion the site is running for the month of July for those of you looking to potentially make your businesses some extra money or drive some traffic to your personal website.

First, you'll need to join the Sowing Seeds group at Grow Together, which is Root & Sprout's social networking site. Sowing Seeds is a group of people who are interested in receiving news about special offers, interesting products, or family-friendly services.

Next, purchase a $25 Sowing Seeds ad spot. Details of what you receive with your Sowing Seeds ad are on the group page. Through July 31st, you will automatically receive a FREE 30-day sidebar ad at Root & Sprout with your $25 purchase of a Sowing Seeds ad spot.

If you write a blog post about this promotion, as well as tell your readers about Root & Sprout and Grow Together (and provide links), Melissa (Root & Sprout's Founder and Creative Genius Extraordinaire) will extend your sidebar ad another 30 days. You will need to send the direct URL of your post to Melissa's personal email address at woolgatherings at gmail dot com.

So, you'll receive $55 worth of ad space for only $25! This promotion is open to all family-friendly blogs, websites, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, and anyone with a product, book, site, or service to promote.

On behalf of Melissa, and Root & Sprout's other team members and monthly writers, thank you in advance for your support! All ad money goes directly to those who write articles for the Root & Sprout website.

You can find out more about Root & Sprout here.


Since the latest Harry Potter movie comes out today, it's the perfect time to answer Meredith's question about whether or not I am a Harry fan. And the answer is: Yes! When my husband started reading the first Harry Potter book years ago and asked me if I wanted to read it when he was done, I declined. Fantasy/Sci-Fi books are not my thing, and I'm generally not a fan of kiddie lit either. But, I decided to trust him when he told me I would like the book, and I'm glad I did. The books are captivating and well written and the movies are excellent representations of the books, which is really important to me (Hello My Sister's Keeper producers-I'm looking at you!). I'm hoping to make it to the theatre to see the latest movie, since watching HP at home on DVD just doesn't do justice to the films. Are you a Harry Potter fan? If so, please leave a comment and tell me why.

Stacy and Clinton - Are You Paying Attention?

My grandma arrived at my house this morning clutching a fistful of old photographs to show Isabella. Included in the bunch were some of yours truly.

Lest you think that my fashion problems emerged as an off-shoot of work-at-home motherhood, I present to you the following.

Picture This: Upstate NY. Spring, 1990. 14 years old.

I am on my way to my 8th grade dance at the Catholic grammar school I attended for nine years.

Note the following:

The gigantic poof of bangs took me and a curling iron at least 30 minutes to perfect in the mirror before school each morning. I then applied half a can of Aqua Net to them to seal the deal (literally). They were bullet-proof.

I sported this long, permed look for two years in grammar school. It's hard to see in this photo, but the chemicals created an adorable two-toned look to my cascading mane of nastiness once the perms began to grow out.

And lastly, my dress. Yes, I attended a Catholic school. Yes, I was puritanical, nerdy, sheltered, and totally square. But what in the hell was I thinking when I selected this dress? The drop-waist, asymmetrical, multi-tiered hem? The color, which looks like I bought it in Boca while visiting my grandma? And the coverage? I think the Duggars show more skin.

I didn't do much better in high school.

Picture This: Upstate NY. Spring, 1993. 16 years old

I am about to depart for the junior prom at my Catholic high school.

The hair is slightly improved, although not much.

The dress, however, is horrendous. It is white, people. WHITE, for the love of all this is good and holy!

And I am wearing white tights! And satin shoes!

And apparently, from my pose and expression, I actually believe I look quite good.

Fortunately, my boyfriend at the time thought I hung the moon and therefore bit his tongue about my attire.

I'm so sexy, it hurts.

My Quasi-Vacation

My mom left Monday after spending 10 days here. It was beyond fabulous to have her here, especially considering she arrived with a huge cooler packed with pre-cooked meals (chicken, turkey, spare ribs, etc.) for us. Dinnertime in my house is far from the twins' finest hour of the day and apparently she look pity on us, given that our meals mainly consist of leftovers from my aunt's weekly Sunday dinner and cold cereal.

She spent seven weeks here after the twins were born, and while having her here for that length of time wasn't a 24/7 walk in the land of milk and honey, she cooked, she cleaned, and she took care of me so I could better care for Luci and Nicholas. I am very lucky.

This time around I was able to get out of the house quite a bit, something I'm still not able to do as often as I would like given nap schedules and the twins' sometimes-cranky personalities. What was especially nice is that I went out a lot with just Isabella. Spending one-on-one (or two-on-one if my mom or the hubs went with us) is really important to me, and to her.

The hubs and I took Isabella to Bounce It Out. She had a blast on the inflatables. Then we took her out to lunch, a rare treat for her and for us.

Later in the week, my mom and I took her to lunch, and then we stopped to feed the ducks.

We went on a picnic at the local park, and we brought the twins along this time.

My mom wanted to buy Isabella some new books, so the three of us spent some time in Barnes & Noble. This was one of our finds. Very cute, and a great message for girls.

And we capped off the week with a visit to the Strong National Museum of Play, possibly Isabella's favorite place on Earth.

This is the "sandbox," which is filled with these awesome "stones" that I'm going to try and find online so I can fill a baby pool with them.

There's always time to stop and churn some butter!

Isabella is really interested in the Berenstein Bears books lately.

And of course, no trip to the museum would be complete without a ride on the carousel.

Given that I am perpetually unsatisfied, the ten days of having my mom here did little to rejuvenate me. Instead, my taste of freedom left me wanting more: more help, more freedom, and more time away from my house with its perpetual noise and never-ending responsibilities. With three children, having an extra adult here to provide a 3:3 kid-to-adult ratio is a huge help, but even with help, I still had to change diapers, make meals, serve meals, nurse, dress, bathe, and entertain at least one kid at all times. And given my mother's penchant for spending time with Isabella (and only Isabella), I was often the one caring for the twins, while she watched the easiest of my bunch.

One of these days (and I hope it's soon) I will learn how to roll (and roll easily) with three kids in tow. And I also need to find someone (any volunteers?) to watch my kids a few times a week for an hour or two just so I can escape somewhere without them and recharge my dwindling supply of patience.
And I know this will make me a much happier mommy.
Thanks for all the great questions! Stay tuned for answers coming soon.

Enigmatic No More

Thanks so much for all the blogaversary wishes on Tuesday. You like me! You really like me! And some of you delurked and said hi. That? Was awesome. Thank you. Also-hi! Comment again. I won't bite, I swear.

BUT-did you miss the part in my post where I threw out the opportunity to ask me anything you wanted? In past years, I've received lots of really interesting questions. If I had 48 hours to myself, what would I do? How many serious relationships did I have prior to marrying my husband? What was my most embarrassing moment? But this year? Just one, from the lovely Meredith of Pregnantly Plump.

From this I'm gathering that either I'm laying myself a bit too bare on this blog and you all know everything you care to know about me, or you simply overlooked that portion of the post.

So, last chance. Leave your questions in the comments section. If none appear, I'll slink back into my hole of despair to examine where I went so very wrong in writing this blog.

And apropos of nothing I've just written: Check out my most recent article on Root & Sprout: 7 Tips for Dining Out with Preschoolers.

Will I Last Four More?

Break out the leftover fireworks and sparklers.

Today is Interrupted Wanderlust's 4th Anniversary.
Every time I post here, I am still humbled that you wonderful people from all over the world, most of whom I will never meet in person, care enough about me to comment and offer support, encouragement, and a (virtual) shoulder to cry on when I need it. You've sent me baby gifts, and presents for no reason at all when the drama factor on my blog has run high. Two of you have designed blog headers for me that completely captured exactly what I envisioned as the visual representation of IW. And I've found and been found by people with whom I swear I share a bloodline.
I am incredibly grateful to all of you who read here day after day (including my faithful lurkers, whom I would LOVE to delurk and leave me a comment today-hint, hint) and can somehow wade through my madness and talk me down from the ledge when life gets, shall we say, challenging. In the past four years, I have developed some amazing friendships through blogging. Sometimes my friends in the computer understand me more than my IRL friends and family. I will always be grateful for each and every person who reads me here.
In honor of IW's blogaversary, I'm trotting out my annual "question and answer" tradition once again. Here's your chance to ask me anything you want to know. Leave your question(s) in the comments section, and I promise I'll answer every single one in the coming weeks.
Two of my incredible readers have recently had gorgeous baby boys! Congrats to Jeni on the birth of Mason on June 19th and to Damselfly on the birth of "Junebug" on June 30th. Both new baby boys enter their families as little sibs to big brothers.

Unswaddled, Unhappy, and Unhinged

Today marks the end of Week 1 of Operation "Stick the Twins in One Room and Let Them Fight It Out Like Hellcats" (otherwise known as Sleep Training). We finally got off our collective arses and decided that we needed to get Loud and Louder sleeping together in their room. They had been separated since the age of four months, when we moved them out of the bassinets in our bedroom. Luci transitioned well to her crib. Nicholas did not.

If you've been following the hellacious odyssey of the twins' sleeping issues the past few months, you know that:

A) Nicholas hated his crib and slept only in the swing, including through the entire night, except for a brief morning nap in his crib, most of which he spent crying

B) Luci slept (swaddled) in her crib just fine, but napped in Isabella's bed for her morning nap because of A),


C) While Nicholas would at times sleep (in the swing) through the night, Luci never would, meaning I was up feeding her at least once every night.

Last Friday we decided to throw caution, predictability, and the hope of something even resembling a peaceful evening to the wind and put the twins in the same room together beginning with their morning nap. I also decided to stop swaddling Luci at the same time, something she seemed to fight before bed, but oddly not before her naps. It was time though. Summer + Swaddling = Sweaty Baby.

And so I nursed Luci before her nap, just as I normally did. I brought her to her crib, rocked her a bit, and gently placed her in her crib. Even before her body hit the mattress, she went ballistic. She had no idea what to do with her unswaddled body. I nursed Nicholas, rocked him as well, and then placed him in his crib. He was seriously unhappy with me, the crib, and the universe.

If the sound of two apoplectic babies doesn't make you want to pluck out your eardrums with any sharp tool within arm's length, I'm not sure what does. We followed my friend and fellow twin mom's suggestion of Modified Ferber (enter room and pat backs/tummies, rub heads, etc.) after 5 minutes of crying, then after 10, then after 15). She told me she never had to go past 15 minutes; her twins always conked out by then. Luci and Nicholas? Had no intention of ever stopping the endless screaming.

That first morning "nap" never happened. I think Luci and Nicholas each slept for 10 minutes during their afternoon "nap." Nighttime was a complete and total disaster. I was up virtually the entire night with them, feeding one while the other fell back to sleep, then awakening a short time later to the other twin crying, and dashing in to grab him or her before the other one was awakened. They simply will not sleep through each other's cries. It is maddening.

Now, one week into it, there are good naps and nights and there are horrific ones. At this point, the horrific outweigh the good. Both are up a lot more often than they were when Nicholas was in the swing and Luci had their bedroom all to herself. This, of course, means that I am up a lot more overnight, because I am feeding whichever one is crying before he/she awakens the other. One crying baby in the middle of the night is difficult enough to deal with.

It seems so cruel to force them to sleep in the same room together. How awful to be awakened by your screaming sibling several times a night while you were peacefully sleeping. I know twins get used to this arrangement, and mine have no choice. They live in a 3-bedroom house, and we needed to get Nicholas out of the swing and out of our living room and the hubs off the couch and back into our bedroom.

But right now, it's very hard for me to see this ever working. I cannot imagine that the day will come when they can make it through an entire nap or through the entire night without waking each other up.

Fortunately for them, they are adorable bundles of schmooshable love when they sleep, and just as I did with their sister, I have taken the photos to prove it.

Luci, unswaddled for the first time.

Nicholas, wisely covering his ears and wishing his sister would STFU already.

It WILL get better, right?

Resort-Style Living

Lest anyone think that 8-month-old twins and an almost-three-year-old put a cramp in one's vacation style, allow me to show you how we're rolling this summer.

Behold, the indoor pool* we invested in to entertain the kids.

It's incredibly versatile.

You can eat your afternoon snack in it.

(Hey-How YOU doin'?)
You can watch Blue's Clues in it.

You can stick your binky-loving baby in it.

You can cover it with a blanket and hide underneath it.

You can carefully arrange a circle of maracas in it, telling your mother "Mommy, we must place the maracas in the pool, not throw them."

You can even assemble Play-doh worms in it.

And, if you're willing to splurge, you can hire two young, but incredibly talented, vocalists to serenade you poolside you while you pound the crap out of said Play-doh.

*Thanks to Jamie from Sticky Feet for the idea of hauling the baby pool inside the house. Isabella was totally stoked at the idea of the pool in her living room when she got up from her nap one rainy afternoon last week.

Quick Snapshot:

  • 34-year-old writer and
    mother to a daughter
    born in August 2006 following
    IVF and girl/boy twins born in October 2008 following FET. Come along as I document the search for my lost intellect. It's a bumpy ride. Consider yourself warned.

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