In Vitro Mania

I was minding my own business loading my (four gallons of) ice cream and watermelon onto the conveyor belt at the grocery store the other day when an US Weekly, 60-point-font, all-caps headline came screaming (almost literally) out at me:


I'll bet you have absolutely no idea which celebrity couple I'm talking about, right? (Snort.)

After reading the story, I breathed a sigh of relief. Whew. The world finally knows how little Knox and Vivienne were conceived. I know I'll sleep better tonight. How about you?

What the hell is the world's fascination with celebrities' fertility treatments? According to the story, Angelina and Brad apparently opted for IVF not because they were having problems conceiving, but so "she wouldn't have to deal with the stress of trying to get pregnant." Do I believe this? Absolutely not. IVF is hardly akin to lunch at The Ivy. I find it really hard to believe that Angelina would opt for months of injections into her highly sculpted and pretty-damn-near-perfect arse, bloodwork, and appointments with the dildo cam, not to mention the egg retrieval process simply because having lots of baby-making sex with Brad Freakin' Pitt was too much for her to handle. I'm not even sure the twins resulted from IVF, given that US Weekly is hardly the bastion of responsible journalism.

But apparently there is money to be made with a blazing "In Vitro!" headline. Before Brad and Angie, it was months of IVF speculation about J-Lo and Mark Anthony's twins. Before them, Julie Roberts and her twins. And I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the tabloids start quoting from their "reliable, and yet anonymous" sources that Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O'Connell's twins due in the fall are IVF babies too.

Why does it matter if the rich and the beautiful are turning to IVF to conceive their kids (if the rumors are even true)? Do these stories sell magazines because the publishers think they knock celebrities down to mere mortal status and make them more like the rest of us who have health issues, mortgages, and only one home (and it's not in France)? Or is the implication that IVF is something to be ashamed of? After all, these tabloid headlines appear right next to less-than-perfect celebrity bodies in bikinis captioned "Who's Been Funneling Down the Big Macs and the McFlurries?"

I realize that we're all to blame, in a way. We buy these magazines and fan the flames. But what is it about Hollywood's recent spate of twins and the fertility treatments their parents may or may not have received that's so intriguing?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Goodbye, Sher

Last week was a busy one for me. My mom was visiting, and I had a number of freelance projects to complete. I didn't have as much time to read and comment on my favorite blogs, so late Saturday evening I decided to catch up. I was reading Shannon's most recent blog entry, and happened to scroll down to read her next most-recent entry. I could not believe what I was reading.

A dear long-time blog friend had suddenly and unexpectedly died of a heart attack on the previous Sunday. I cannot believe that Sher is gone.

I immediately clicked over to Sher's blog, and the reality of what had happened hit me as I read her husband's tribute to her.

Sher was an incredible human being. Food and animals were her passions. She was an amazing cook, and her creations and food photography made me want to lick my laptop screen more than once. Sher was also a true friend to animals. At one time, she had a career as a lawyer, but left the field to pursue her true passion as a wildlife rehabilitator. She cared for many baby squirrels found abandoned in the wild until they were ready for release. Her beloved cat Upsie, who passed on earlier this year, brightened my weekends with her hysterical facial expressions and kitty-authored posts. She had recently adopted another kitten named Laura.

I can't remember exactly how I first discovered her blog several years ago. It may have been during my bread-baking days when I was scouring the blogosphere for food blogs. But I immediately found a wonderful friend in Sher, and we followed eachother's lives since that point. Despite recent health problems, she remained, as she always was: perpetually positive and upbeat. Her comments on my own blog were always so supportive and kind. I will never forget how she often wrote how much the photos I posted of Isabella made her smile and brightened her day.

It's incredible how the loss of a person whom I never met in person has affected me. And yet while I never had the pleasure of meeting her face-to-face, I knew instantly that she was "one of the good ones": a truly beautiful person with a kind soul and spirit.

Goodbye, sweet Sher. I'll never forget you.

More Tales from the Talentless

It's time to delve a little deeper into my psyche, which given the baby brain I've been suffering from lately shouldn't take that long at all.

Here are more of your questions from my blogaversary post answered:

Pregnantly Plump inquired about any accents or impersonations that I might do. I am fairly devoid of talent in this area, although I will own up to doing a mean Abby Cadabby (from Sesame Street). Yes, I realize how very sad this is. You need not remind me.

Jess asked what I make for a typical weeknight dinner. Is this a trick question? Because "make" implies from scratch, right? Or at least, not from a takeout place. I am a horrible cook. Once upon a time, I was a kick-ass baker. Now I'm merely mediocre, given the rust gathering on my rolling pin. But I was never, ever able to cook well, probably because of a combination of my picky eating habits and my overly coddled Italian upbringing, whereby I merely need mention that I could do with some eatin' and four plates of macaroni appeared before me instantly.

So, to answer the question already, if it's a Monday or a Tuesday, chances are we're eating leftovers from the weekly Sunday dinner at my great aunt's house. The rest of the week, it's slim pickings. In the summer, we do a lot of grilling, so that means chicken breasts for me and hamburgers for the hubs. We also make pizza quite a bit (I still need to try Stacey's grilled pizza recipe). Oh, and my best friend often brings over smoked chicken and ribs her boyfriend makes, which frankly is the most awesome thing ever. Thanks, Jenny!

Chastity asked if I couldn't live in my current state (New York) where would I move and why.

Unquestionably, I would move to Massachusetts. Not only is Massachusetts a blue state, but it backs up its blue with legalized gay marriage and state-mandated, insurance-paid IVF. Also, the fabulous Sasha (who is about the give birth to her son any day now) lives there, and the state is home to incredible coastal vacation spots like Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. What's not to love?

Don Mills Diva asked about my most embarrassing moment. What comes to mind is an event that embarrassed both the hubs and me. Prior to getting married, we had to go through pre-marital counseling with the Catholic priest who married us. A long-time friend of the family, this priest is incredibly compassionate, humble, and about 4 feet tall, which makes me, at 5'2, a giant next to him. He wrote all his notes on our sessions on a big yellow legal pad. During one of our meetings, he asked us individually what bugged us about the other person. The hubs responded that I was impatient (true) and somewhat domineering (also true). His responses to the priest's question lasted about 30 seconds. Mine lasted a bit longer. I rambled through the several (dozen) things that bugged me about the hubs, from the fact that he wasn't handy and therefore couldn't fix anything around the house to his tendency for shaving and then leaving his hair all over the sink. It was a cathartic experience, really (or at least it was for me), and we all had a good laugh over our answers.

Once our sessions were over, we thought we had seen the last of the yellow legal pad.

We were wrong.

As our priest approached the pulpit at the church during our wedding ceremony, we sat in stunned silence on the altar as he slowly slid out a sheaf of yellow paper from beneath his garments. He then proceeded to read our answers to this question to the over 200 friends and family members in attendance as part of his homily, much to their absolute enjoyment and our absolute horror. It was a bit like going to confession, and later listening as your priest uses your confessionals in his weekly stand-up routine.

Damselfly asked about places I would like to visit that I haven't been already, and about places I would like to return to.

It's no secret I love to travel. The name of this blog is Interrupted Wanderlust, after all. I started this blog before I became a mom, so the "interrupted" part doesn't refer to motherhood dampening my travel plans, but instead "real life" (as in money and jobs and familial obligations) cramping my style. I would love to return to London, where I lived and worked for almost six months following my college graduation. I may live across the pond in a podunk town, but the city of London will always have my heart. I've been to Italy (Rome, Venice, Florence, and Pisa) but someday I will visit the incredible Amalfi Coast. I'd also like to visit Sicily, where my grandma's relatives are from. In addition, Austria (specifically Innsbrook) and Switzerland are on my list too. And like most mothers in the world, I'd like to hit a Hawaiian beach for two full weeks with no kids, a stack of books, and a hot waiter to serve me never-ending Pina Coladas while I relax on a lounge chair.

I haven't forgotten about you, Pru and Michelle. Your answers are next!

Happy 30th Birthday, Louise Brown

Today is the 30th birthday of Louise Brown, the world's first "test tube baby." Born in a U.K. hospital in 1978, Louise was a miracle of science. Her mother underwent egg retrieval, and her doctors were able to retrieve only a single egg for fertilization. They transferred it back to her uterus, and Lesley Brown became pregnant. While another woman had became pregnant from IVF just a few short years prior, her pregnancy sadly ended as an ectopic. But Lesley Brown carried to term, and her little girl Louise was born nine months later.

As someone who struggled for two years to conceive, I owe Lesley Brown's doctors a debt of gratitude. Doctor Edwards and Doctor Steptoe and their team fought tirelessly for years to perfect IVF, to make parents out of couples who so desperately longed for a child, despite growing pressure from a number of groups and the media to end their reproductive research. 30 years ago today, they succeeded, and now millions of parents all over the world, including me, reap the benefits of their courage.
Lesley Brown and her husband also deserve thanks, for their strength and willingness to take part in an as-yet-unsuccessful medical procedure. Pioneers often take on a great deal of criticism when their choices buck the moires of the established culture, and I'm sure it wasn't easy for them to decide to undergo IVF when so many were calling for an end to their doctors' research.

Today, IVF is still a lightening rod issue. I have no problem telling anyone how Isabella was conceived, or how I came to be pregnant with twins, but it's clear from the reactions I receive that not everyone believes in medical intervention to achieve pregnancy. People tend to have very strong opinions on the topic, opinions based on moral values, or on the belief that infertile couples seeking years of treatment as I did should instead "just adopt," an idea I find hard to swallow based on its belittling characterization of adoption, the belief that it's somehow easier than infertility treatment (it isn't), and that babies are immediately available for anyone who wants one (they're not). The audacity of anyone telling another person how to build her family is pretty repulsive to me as well.
My daughter is an IVF baby. The twins I'm carrying are too. I will never, ever forget this fact, or take for granted how very lucky I was (twice over), nor will I forget the two dark years I waited for what I thought I would never have. IVF made me a mom once, and God-willing, I'll be a mother to two more sometime this fall. Thank you, Dr. Edwards and Dr. Steptoe, and Mr. and Mrs. Brown. Without you, I wouldn't have this little face to wake up to each morning.

And happy 30th birthday, Louise.

Wordless Wednesday: Air Bella

Isabella at 23 months

Isabella turns 23 months old today. In just one more month, my little baby, you know, this one

turns two years old. Birthday preparations are in full swing. We're having another large family gathering (with just a few friends thrown in) at my grandma's house because our own is in no way large enough to accomodate the over 40 people attending. The theme this year is Sesame Street, with which Isabella is obsessed. It's the only tv show she watches (and really, only the puppet segments interest her) but she loves the characters more than she loves her parents. That much, I know.

Isabella has been working on her vocal stylings over the past month. Girlfriend loves to sing and knows almost all the words to "Five Little Monkeys," "Ring Around the Rosey" (or, as she calls it "Ringa Rosey"), "Itsy-Bitsy Spider," and the chorus to Mika's "Grace Kelly." Have I mentioned she also has a small Mika obsession? I'm a fan of the song, and made the mistake of showing her the video on YouTube a few months ago. Now, she asks me 400 times a day to "watch Mika."

Her vocabulary continues to amaze me. Trust me when I tell you that I am not a smug mommy (which I realize is exactly how announcing that your kid talks well sounds). But we get a lot of comments about "how well she talks." My personal theory is that all kids develop differently. Isabella is a talker, while other kids are far more adventurous, or more willing to try new things, or eat a much wider variety of foods than she does. Or they have a much more laidback personality than she does.

This month, my grandma had knee surgery, so Isabella would compassionately ask her each time she saw her, "How your boo-boo is?"

Righteous indignation also made its debut this month, as she started announcing, "Mommy took my spoon/rock/Red Bull and vodka AWAY!"

She's also started thanking me for making her meals, which I must say I'm a big fan of. Just the other day, she said, "Thank you for cooking my ronis (macaroni), mommy."

And she's begun exclaiming, "Oh My Goodness!" (I have no idea where she picked this up. Neither the hubs nor I use this expression.)

She loves playing outside, taking her pull toys, wagon, and stroller for walks, and crayoning. She always wants me to crayon with her and assigns me impossible objects to draw, such as elephants and Elmo. Oh, and I'm also only allowed to crayon on specified pages of her sketch books. If I dare color on "her" page, all hell breaks loose.

Her shining moment (and mine) this past month happened about a week ago. She was in her crib playing while I was in the bathroom down the hall getting myself ready for us to head to the library. I knocked my coffee cup against the faucet, spilling the white-hot contents everywhere. I yelled, "Oh f--k!" Can you guess what two words came cascading down the hallway for the next five minutes? Yeah, well, before you throw stones, it's only three more years 'til she hears it on the bus anyway.

She's still going through the same bedtime issues as she was last month. It's not pleasant for either of us.

Despite her few issues and my numerous ones, I am in awe of the little person she's become. And as much as I'm anxious for her to group up in certain ways, a very big part of me wants to keep her a baby forever.

Current Likes: Trying on shoes (a girl after her Auntie Karrie's own heart), hiding, The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Current Dislikes: Bedtime

22 Week Update

You know that throaty groan many tennis players release when hitting the ball across the net to their opponent? I'm officially at that stage of my pregnancy.

I spend (or used to spend) a lot of time on the floor with Isabella. Most moms of toddlers do. However, it's getting increasingly difficult for me to stand up without significant physical effort, or bend over to pick something up for that matter, hence the "pregnant-woman grunting." I am only 22 weeks. The babies are probably a pound each and shorter than a ruler.

It's going to be a long couple of months.

My complexion hasn't gotten any better since last month. In fact, it's gotten worse. I find a new giant, honking zit on my face nearly every single day. I am pretty. Oh, so very pretty.

And in mental health news, Isabella had a massive tantrum in the parking lot of the library a few weeks ago. She refused to hold my hand while walking to our car. I attempted to pick her up, while balancing a diaper bag on the back, two books in one hand, and my keys in the other. She went completely limp, making it impossible to pick her up. I had to drop everything in my hands to heave her thrashing body under my right arm before she darted in front of a car, while some kind stranger picked up my keys and books from the ground. She was crying and so was I, not because of her behavior, but because I realized in that moment that I had absolutely no idea how I would ever be able to handle going anywhere with a toddler and two infants by myself.

On the positive front (I swear, I'm not this whiny 24/7, unless you're talking to my husband who might give you some very false information about my temperament), we have acquired a second bouncy seat, donated by a friend whose grandchild no longer uses it. Score!

And there's been some discussion on the baby name front. I'm planning a post on it soon, but I will say we are close to having a name for the girl, and one of your suggestions might be a winner. Maybe.

I'll leave you with a photo of my enormous gut. I am resisting the urge to post the comparison photo of my first pregnancy at 22 weeks, but if you're as fascinated by belly shots (and the huge difference between singleton and twin pregnancy sizes) as I am, you can check it out here.

Summer TV Sucks

I watch a lot of tv. While I would love to be one of those who retires to a chaise lounge with a glass of iced tea in one hand and A New Earth (is there anyone in the world not reading this book besides me?) in the other after the wee tot is in bed for the evening, the sad fact of the matter is that I'm often too exhausted to do so much as turn a page. Granted, I do read everyday, for at least a half hour before going to bed, but the majority of my evenings (when I'm not on a deadline) are spent zoning out in front of the tube.

It's an exciting life. I know.

In the summer, however, all my favorite shows are on hiatus, and it's awful. No Grey's Anatomy. No Amazing Race or Survivor or American Idol. Worst of all, no Lost. (Which isn't even coming back until January!)

Now the hubs and I must fill our plates with sub-standard fare, because if we didn't, we'd actually have to talk to eachother and what married couple wants to do that at the end of a long day? We're watching reruns of The Deadliest Catch. We're watching The Mole. We're watching American Gladiators. We're even watching The Baby Borrowers, people. It doesn't get much worse than that.

But amidst the crap tv, there are three shows I'm watching this summer that I simply adore to an embarrassing degree.

The second season of Say Yes To The Dress just started on TLC. The show follows brides with vast amounts of disposable income in their search for the perfect wedding dress at Kleinfeld, a NYC bridal store that's apparently the biggest and most famous bridal store in the free world. I find the show fascinating because my own wedding gown was a bargain. I loved it to pieces, but my mother's dress for my wedding cost more than mine did. To watch the women on this show drop upwards of $8K on their wedding gown is oddly alluring. I wouldn't have spent that much on my dress even if I had that kind of money (hello? $8K will buy you one kick-ass European honeymoon!), but I love watching them agonize over their ability to dance in a dress with a mermaid silhouette and weigh the pros and cons of choosing a dress with a see-through corset style bodice. Plus, it kind of makes me want to plan my wedding all over again.

Also on TLC is the new show Rock The Reception. You've all seen this, right? The video of the wedding couple who start off their first dance all sweet and nice and "Unchained Melody" and then all of a sudden launch into a hysterical dance routine to "Baby Got Back"? Well, the reality geniuses at TLC have turned the premise into a tv show. Two professional dance instructors visit engaged couples days before their weddings and teach them a routine to spring on their unsuspecting guests at their reception. I've only seen one episode so far, but it's hysterical. Really. No, I swear. It is!

And finally, I'm watching that bastion of guilty summer pleasure television, Big Brother. There is just something about this human train wreck of a show that I could not live without. Most of the "houseguests" are certifiably insane, their behavior on national tv can only be described as questionable on a good day and abhorrent on a bad one, and I.Love.Every.Last.Minute.Of.It. The hubs reads the spoiler pages online and tries to ruin the show for me by telling me who's nominated, which houseguest took a whipped cream bath with which other houseguest, who is having sex with whom, but most of the time, I like to remain surprised until the show airs every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Why, oh why, can't this show be on every day of the week?

Okay, I can't be the only one mired in crap summer television. What are you watching?

Does Having Kids Make You Happier?

According to this article, the answer is no.

Recently published research has found that satisfaction with one's marriage and life decreases quite a bit after the arrival of the first child, and only increases when the last kid leaves the nest. According to the studies, parents are happier fixing a leaky faucet or sleeping than they are when they're hanging out with their children, and those with kids are about 7% less likely to report being happy than those who never had Junior.

Apparently, your childless aunt and uncle are the happiest people you know.

I found these studies fascinating and unsurprising. In fact, my guess is that the number of unhappy parents is actually a lot higher than was reported, because how many people do you know who would own up to riding the misery train since little Aidan and his sister Brooke arrived? The answer: not many. I include myself in this group, of course. No, I'm not miserable (right now, anyway) but try complaining about parenthood to anyone who knows what you went through to have children in the first place. Magnify that with my own feelings of guilt with admitting that sometimes motherhood sucks the big one, and you would hear me responding, "Of COURSE I'm happy with my life! My child is my entire world. My Alpha AND my Omega!" when presented with that question.

I come from an extremely "child-centric" family. My mom, her mom, and my aunts all sacrificed a great deal for their children. I reaped the benefits of this, and grew up surrounded by more love and attention than I think most kids receive. For this, I'll always be grateful. But what about my mom, my grandma, and my aunts as people outside their roles as mothers? Were they happier for having had children? Or were the financial, personal, educational, and even marital sacrifices they made for their kids secretly eroding their levels of satisfaction with their lives?

Parents (and especially mothers) are taught that having children is the single, most fulfilling thing they'll ever do. In a number of ways, it is. The degree of love I have for my daughter is like nothing I've ever experienced. I cannot imagine my life without her, and I am incredibly thankful for the miracle of science that made me her mom.

But is my life infinitely more complicated and stressful since having her? You bet. Am I sometimes miserable? Hell yeah. But I don't think admitting this makes me ungrateful or the worst mother ever.

Parenthood isn't all trips to Six Flags and 4th of July picnics under the stars. Sometimes it's back-breaking drudgery, followed by monotony, followed by many a mini crisis over how you're going to afford preschool.

I wish I had realized this as I was painting parenthood with a fantasy brush while going through infertility treatment. Was I ever in for a rude awakening when my daughter arrived.

Parents who are willing to admit that sometimes raising kids impacts their lives in negative ways are my personal heroes. Why? Because they speak the truth. They aren't hiding behind the unrealistic and unattainable "perfect mom" or "perfect dad" persona society expects them to adopt the second the cord is cut, but are instead owning up to the fact that a little misery doesn't make them Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. It makes them human.

Homes, Books, Seasons, and Boys

Here are some more answers to the questions asked on my blogaversary post.

Tracey and Jess asked about what my dream home would have to include and where I would like to live.
In a lot of ways, my current home is my dream home. It's 83 years old, has a wood-burning fireplace, crown moulding, a screened-in porch, and a small, in-ground pool in the backyard. The only problem is that it's becoming too small for our "growing" family. So, my dream home would be a bigger and "greener" version of what I have now. It would have solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, a master suite with a bathroom (our current bedroom is tiny and our house has only one bathroom), a finished basement for kid paraphernalia, and a huge kitchen (again, our current one is small). And I would definitely want my own Virginia Woolf-esque room of my own in which to read and work. Ideally, I would love to live on the water somewhere too. Something like this would suit me nicely.

Tracey also asked about my favorite book. It's Toni Morrison's Beloved. The book is absolutely incredible, and a testament to the powerful force of motherlove. I wrote my Master's thesis on it.
Finally, Tracey asked about my favorite time of year. Without a doubt, it's the Fall. Here in upstate New York, the colors of the leaves on the trees in autumn are nothing short of breathtaking. It's cool out without yet being freezing cold, and pre-Isabella, when I had ample time to do with as I chose, it used to be my favorite season for baking. I love all the fall spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice. Crap, I'm hungry now.
Sasha asked how many serious relationships I had prior to getting married. The hubs and I started dating when I was 21, but we had been friends since I was about 16 years old and was working with him in the video department of the biggest grocery store chain in our area. Prior to the hubs, I dated my way through the store, which was a popular pastime of many kids working there. I wasn't the store skank, I promise!
I had a year-long relationship with a very nice cashier boy who met with and exceeded familial approval when I was 17. This was followed by a much shorter relationship with a very different sort of boy who worked in the video department with me (and coincidentally, also the hubs) whose approval never really arrived because he was into the goth scene and my very Catholic family no doubt believed he was burning Bible pages in his spare time.
So I guess the answer is two. Maybe 1.5?
More answers coming soon!

Frozen Bliss

My grandma is a young and relatively healthy 78 years old, with an excellent memory of the past, and especially of my childhood. She enjoys telling anyone who will listen about the summer afternoons I would spend at her house (practically every afternoon). She has an enormous inground pool, and I was a water baby. I was content to spend hours upon hours splashing around, doing cannonballs off the diving board and diving for disks at the bottom of the deep end.

However, fun and games poolside came to an immediate and screeching halt the second the bell of the ice cream truck sounded. I could hear that bell when the truck itself was blocks away.
As grandma likes to tell it, I would yell "SKIPPY!" (the same of the ice cream truck at the time), jump out of the pool, and run dripping wet through her backyard, down the driveway, and throw myself at the truck, forcing it to stop until grandma carrying her change purse was able to catch up and pay for my treat.
My selection? Always, a snowcone.
They were rainbow-flavored and rock-hard. I wasn't really a fan of the snowcones you could buy at ballparks or amusement parks, because the ice was always too soft for my liking. No, I preferred the hover on the edge of teeth-chippage eating my frozen confection.
Following a sprint to the truck one day when I was about 12 (cough21cough), I discovered that Skippy no longer sold the snowcones. Soon after that, I started to spend my summer days with my friends, and later working, so I didn't have the opportunity to chase down the Skippy truck at grandma's too often.
But hearing the bell of the ice cream truck, now called Mr. Scoop's, as it travels around my own neighborhood always brings me back to my childhood.
Last week, I was taking a walk with Isabella and we happened to come across the truck stopped on the street. I checked out the pictures of the treats on the back of the truck, and to my utter delight, I discovered snowcones are back! I didn't have any cash on me, but I vowed to correct that error in judgement the next I set out for a walk. But my craving for a snowcone wouldn't go away.
And then I remembered what I had stored at the bottom of my coat closet.
For Christmas this past year, my sister, remembering one of the most prized toys of our childhood, had given me this:
The Snoopy Snow-Cone Machine, that icon of early 80s kiddie fare. We dined on Five Alive snowcones that night, Isabella's first encounter with the treat.

And it was good. So very, very good.
For you Snoopy snowcone virgins, here's how it works:
You load the top of the machine with ice cubes. Then, you turn a crank in the back, and the ice is magically pulverized! Scoop the shaved ice into a cup...

and serve to your toddler who thinks she has just won the food lottery.

More? Please?

No? Fine. I'll lick up the dregs from the table.

Snowcone Brain Freeze

The Best Gifts I Ever Received

Ness asked about the best gift I ever received. She specified that I couldn't say my daughter, but no worries there. She didn't even make the list! I'm kidding, of course. (Today, anyway.)

It was hard to pick just one gift, because while yours truly tends to suck in the gift-giving department, the hubs pretty much rocks at it. He's given me some awesome presents over our 11-year relationship, except for the time he presented me with three wicker laundry baskets as a Christmas gift in the second year we were dating. But generally, he knows me well, and as such has given me Broadway theatre tickets, weekends away, and even an antique enamelware teapot from Belgium (which makes me sound like either an enormous dork or a stuffy snob, but trust me, it's really cool).

One particular gift from him sticks out as especially awesome.

My 30th birthday fell on a Thursday, and I was at work. Our office manager called me down to the front desk and said I had received a package. My husband had sent me a huge box of Dippin Dots ice cream. Dippin Dots are possibly my favorite food on the planet, but because they have to be kept at something like -5,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit, you can't buy them from a grocery store's freezer case. So my husband ordered them directly from the company, and had them shipped to my office. It wasn't especially expensive and it wasn't flashy, but it was something he knew I would love, and that's what made it so special. You can read more about it here. I chronicled the Dippin Dots tale for my 30 in 30 project two years ago.

I couldn't pick just one "best gift" because to leave out this other one would be to ignore a gift that really shaped a big part of who I am today. For my college graduation present, my mom gave me a study abroad trip to London. I graduated from college in May of 1997, but in January of that year, I went with about a dozen other English majors and my favorite English professor to the U.K. to take a course called "Literature and London Museums." I was bit hard by the travel bug. I fell in love with London, with travel abroad, and with the exploration and understanding of other cultures. When I returned home, I made plans to hightail it back across the pond as soon as I could, which I did in August 1997. I lived in London for almost six months, trekked all over England, Ireland, Scotland, and France while I was there, and made it a goal to travel as much as I possibly could before having kids. And I did.

Now, "traveling" is a trip to Target with a drive-thru stop at Starbucks for a Caramel Macchiato, but I figure it's only another 18+ years before we head abroad again.

More answers to your questions coming soon.


I can't believe I'm more than halfway through my pregnancy already.

At my most recent appointment, my doctor told me she would have the date of my scheduled c-section (planned for 1-2 weeks prior to my due date) in the next few weeks. She says her plan for me is to last until 38 or 39 weeks, but that obviously twins sometimes have other plans. My doctor is also going to be out of the office having and recovering from surgery for three weeks from the end of September to mid-October. That makes me nervous, because she really wants to be the one to do my surgery, since she did my c-section with Isabella and in her words, she "knows that we're dealing with in there." (I had four abdominal surgeries when I was ten, hence the reason I'm having my second scheduled c-section, and she knows where the scar tissue is and isn't within my abdomen.) But obviously, I'm hoping to last as long as possible, so hopefully her surgery won't be an issue.

In the last week, I've started feeling big. Of course, I've looked pregnant for awhile, but I'm really feeling it now, whereas with my first pregnancy, I really didn't feel it until well into the 3rd trimester. I have gained 20 pounds. 20 pounds. I am 20 weeks pregnant. Total weight gained in my first pregnancy? 28. Oh well. Pass the ice cream.

I've been expericing some wicked sciatic nerve pain down my right leg, which is exacerbated each time I pick up Isabella. I had this the first time around too, but again, not until much later on.

I have so much to research, plan, and buy in the next few months. I haven't made any decisions. I haven't bought a thing, although a wonderful friend gave me her son's bassinet. When the receptionist at my doctor's office handed me an envelope of paperwork to fill out and mail in to the hospital at my appointment last week, I promptly broke out in a cold sweat and stuffed it in my purse, unopened. I know I have plenty of time, but the combination of the babies potentially arriving early and my Type A personality have made a mild panic set in.

My mom was here for an extended visit and last week we did do a little baby browsing. I saw coordinating crib bedding sets for the twins' nursery that I really love. I like this for the girl and this for the boy. I've also begun the arduous search for a double stroller with a toddler seat (or ability to accommodate a toddler seat). My limited research has turned up these two as the top contenders. A stroller is hugely important to me this time around where it wasn't really before because it's the key to my mobility. No stroller means no escape from the house. And while the twins will (hopefully) be born in November and it will be cold here, I desperately need to be able to take walks and not be trapped inside. Trapped Kristi = potential PPD=bad. Very, very bad.

Now, please tell me if I'm crazy. Most of my relatives seem to think that it's odd that I want the twins' nursery completely set up prior to their birth. They seem to think that since the babies will be sleeping in bassinets in my bedroom for the first few months of their lives (as Isabella did to make middle-of-the-night nursing easier) there is no need to even have cribs bought, much less the room painted before they get here. Strangely enough, no one thought it odd when I wanted Isabella's room done prior to her arrival, but this time around, apparently I should be content to keep the room as a guest room until the babies are four months old.

Obviously, this ain't happening. I am way too tightly wound to deal with crib assembly, changing table supplies, and furniture organization when I won't even be able to tell you which end is up in the first few months of the twins' lives. We're not in the financial position to deck out another nursery like the one we did for Isabella, but is it unreasonable to expect that the room that currently houses a double-bed, two storage tubs of Isabella's outgrown clothes, and half my husband's wardrobe in the closet is at least minimally capable of housing two infants who may or may not enjoy bassinet-sleeping?

End of gripe.

I need to make a list (perhaps I will bore you to tears and do it here) of all the things I need to accomplish in the next few months to get ready for these babies.

Because ready or not, they're coming. One of these days, I'll actually get around to realizing this fact.

Five Words I Thought I'd Never Say

Thank you, George W. Bush.

My "economic stimulus" check arrived in the mail yesterday.

I'll be doing my part to bolster the crappy U.S. economy by paying bills and buying various and sundry baby gear.

If you're getting a check, how are you planning to use it?

Thanks for the blogaversary wishes. You came up with some great questions. Answers are coming soon!

Also, the July issue of Root and Sprout is live. I have one article in this month's issue, about 5 easy things you can do to give your baby a healthy and "green" start. To submit your own article to Root and Sprout, check out the writer's guidelines here.

Hand Me My Leather

Today is Interrupted Wanderlust's 3rd anniversary.

I write this blog as stress-relief. I write it to preserve memories that I would otherwise forget, milestones that deserve documentation, and the everyday mundane moments that make up my life. I'm am still surprised that people comment here, day after day. It's humbling, to say the least.

When I look back over the past three years of blogging, I can't help but think that although I certainly am biased, I have some of the best readers in the blogosphere. Honestly, the support, encouragement, and hilarity you've offered here over the years means more to me than you'll ever know.

Since I've a giver (Sometimes. Okay, almost never, but still...), I've decided to dig up a little something I did on my blog's 1st anniversary, because I'm original like that.

In honor of my blog's 3rd anniversary, I'm offering you the opportunity to once again ask me any question you wish. If you've been reading here awhile, you know I'm pretty honest and open, so I'll agree to answer (almost) anything.

So, as I watch my mailbox for the influx of assless leather chaps (the traditional 3rd anniversary gift is leather, of course), let's hear it.

What do you want to know?

Pink Lemonade Ice Cream Cake

Once upon a time, before the birth of a certain little girl, I considered myself a baker. I baked. Like, all the time. As in, I was whipping up at least a batch of cookies or muffins every weekend. I even made my own bread.

My own bread, people.

Shocking to no one but me was the fact that becoming a mother who also works from home eats up a lot of your freetime, and by a lot, I mean 99% of it. Since Isabella was born, my baking has dwindled to maybe once every few months. I still make the desserts for all the holiday family gatherings, but even attempting to make two or three pies requires extensive strategic planning well before baking day even arrives.

As a result, I've been all about quick and easy desserts lately. (You know, as opposed to this little beauty I whipped up for my grandma's Memorial Day picnic a few years ago.)

So, if you're reading this from the States and heading to a 4th of July picnic tomorrow, you can make this no-bake Pink Lemonade Ice Cream Cake (from my Delightful Desserts Pampered Chef cookbook) in less than half an hour. I've made it a few times now (most recently for Memorial Day) and it's been a hit with my family every time.


51 reduced-fat vanilla wafers, divided
3 TBSP stick vegetable spread (Crisco), melted

2 cups vanilla ice cream (light or fat free also works)
1 can (6 oz) frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed (3/4 cup)
1 container (12 oz) fat-free whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed and divided

Garnish (Optional)
More Cool Whip
Lemon slices
Mint leaves


1. Lightly spray 9" springform pan with Pam. To make crust, place 32 vanilla wafers in a plastic bag, seal it, and crush into fine crumbs using a rolling pin. Place crumbs in a bowl. Add melted vegetable oil spread and mix well.

2. Press crumb mixture into bottom of pan. Line inside of pan with remaining wafers, slightly overlapping and with rounded side of wafers next to collar of pan.

3. For filling, combine ice cream and lemonade concentrate in a bowl, and beat until smooth with a whisk. Fold in 3 cups of whipped topping. Poor mixture into crust, and freeze until firm, at least three hours.

4. When ready to serve, place dessert in fridge for 15 minutes before slicing.

5. Run knife around sides of dessert and release the collar from the pan. Garnish as desired.

Serves 16

I'm placing this recipe in my Recipe Index. Betcha didn't even know I had one, did you?

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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