E&L: One Year!

One year old. I can barely believe my babies are ONE YEAR OLD, but the calendar does not lie. This time last year, they were squishy, tiny, wrinkly little babies who weighed a total of almost-twelve pounds at birth (and less than that when they came home from the hospital).

Today, they’re learning to walk, trying to talk, climbing the furniture, expressing their preferences for food and toys and books and fashion accessories, and it’s almost like they’re actual little people or something. TWO of them. Some people would even call them toddlers. (Not I, though. They’re babies. Large babies.)

Eleanor & Linus
Eleanor & Linus
Eleanor & Linus

In the past month, they’ve had their first Thanksgiving, which was great fun. Last Thanksgiving, we were just not sure how soon the babies were going to come, so we held off on making any plans because we thought we might wind up in the hospital. It turned into a quiet day at home (my husband cooked) and the babies waited another week or so to make their arrival. This year, we had two new little faces at our table! We let them try all the foods we were having: roast chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. They loved everything except the moment when CW sprayed a tiny, tiny blob of whipped cream into their mouths directly from the can (they were not into that at all, whoops!), but then they wound up enjoying dessert when we put a little bit onto their trays for them to pick up themselves.

Saturday, we had their birthday party, which turned out to be really fun. My BFF Claire a and her son visited for the weekend, plus we had our local friends over, many of whom also have little ones. There were a few kids around from age 5 months to 9 years, and they had fun running around and playing with some of the twins’ toys. We had brunch food and mimosas and cupcakes, and of course tiny smash cakes for the babies to try.

We like cake!

Y’all. The cake. It was amazing. E enjoyed her cake, which she dug into with one hand and ate fairly neatly. L, on the other hand, quickly realized that cake is delicious and that eating with one hand is not nearly effective enough. Perhaps he realized that this was a limited-time situation and that the cake would be taken away at some point, so he decided to dig in with both hands — and then quickly moved on to diving face first into the cake. We were DYING laughing. I will never forget it. Dude just kept going and going, both hands sunk knuckle-deep into the sides of the cake, frosting all over his face, and eventually ate (“ate”?) a not insignificant portion of cake and frosting. I am so proud.

Eleanor

At one year, E is 29.75″ tall (72%) and weighs 22lb 4oz (83%). She:

  • Has four five teeth. Her top two were slowly, slowly coming in over the past few weeks and they finally broke through. In the time it’s taken me to get photographs ready for this post, her fifth tooth (bottom left) came in!
  • Has taken 10-12 independent steps at a time on several occasions, but still doesn’t choose to walk very often. She prefers to walk while holding one of our hands or to crawl. I’m sure she’ll get to walking full time very soon, though.
  • Still scrunches up her nose when smiling and generally smiles with her whole face. She has the best dimples.
  • Has started refusing to wear her headband bows, to my great dismay. And so it begins: soon I’m sure I’ll have no influence at all over what she wears, so I’d better enjoy choosing her clothes while I can.
  • “Talks” quite a bit, though not with (m)any real/intentional words, mostly just babbling. She’s said “mama” and “dada” a few times, and “da” (possibly directed at the dog?) but we’re not confident any of those counts as a purposeful first word yet.
  • Points, claps, waves, and gives high fives — the lattermost she just learned this past weekend from her big buddy, Liam (my BFF’s son), age 9, who came to visit and is an excellent teacher.
  • Can be both a little bit shy and extremely friendly in the same moment — she loves to smile and wave at new people, but often only wants to do so from the safety of her parents arms/laps.
  • Loves to play with her Little People farm animals and put them into their places in the barn. Sometimes she also loves to stick the animals in my face until I let her put them in my mouth. Why, E, why?

Linus

At one year, L is 29.5″ tall (35%) and weighs 20lb 14oz (43%). He:

  • Has four teeth. The second top tooth came in shortly after I last posted about this, so they’re well established now and he’s been putting them to good use gnawing cantaloupe off the rind and digging into birthday cake.
  • Has taken 1-2 independent steps at a time, but mostly has been working on his climbing skills. He’s able to get up onto the futon in the nursery and onto the ottoman in the playroom without assistance.
  • Has the most delightful full-belly laugh. The other day, I started goofing around with him and something about the way I was shaking my head back and forth made him laugh, so of course I just kept doing it over and over until he was completely CRACKING UP and it was the absolute best. I love making this kid laugh.
  • Loves to read stories. He will get his favorite books off the shelf and bring them to us to read. I love letting him cuddle up in my lap while we read — he usually holds my hand/wrist and just snuggles up so sweetly. His favorite books recently are Brown Bear, Brown Bear and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 
  • Has just started “talking” a lot more. He’s always been a bit quieter than his sister, but lately he’s really got a lot more to say. He’s experimenting with new sounds. My favorite one is the “ga” sound he makes every morning when he sees the lit-up Christmas tree for the first time. He really likes it, I think.
  • Points, claps, waves, and gives high fives. And loves to grab people’s glasses right off of their faces! I find it a lot easier to wear my contacts, quite honestly. He’s obsessed!
  • Loves his stuffed animals, particularly an old monkey of mine that I handed down, and a new snow leopard his dad picked out for his birthday. He’s so sweet when he hugs them.

I love watching them grow up so much. We’re so lucky and thankful to get to be their parents.

I’m With Her

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to any of you reading this that I’ll be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton in today’s election. I’ve voted Democratic in every presidential election so far — Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama, Obama, and now another Clinton. The Democratic Party is my party. I tend to think I’m a little bit to their left, in the big picture, but I’ve always been proud to stand up and have my vote be counted in the blue column.

clinton-convention

This election has been a real shitshow, though, hasn’t it? While I’m deeply, deeply horrified by Donald Trump’s very candidacy (let alone by the possibility of him winning, holy crap), there’s a small part of me still in denial, still thinking this must be some kind of terrible joke. How could this be real?

First, we have the festering boil that is Donald J. Trump, who is not merely ignorant about both national and global issues, but is also a liar, misogynist, racist, homophobe, islamophobe, admitted perpetrator of sexual assault, and alleged child rapist. Then, to really deepen my disgust, we have the laying bare of our culture’s institutionalized hatred of women, as evidenced by the public’s responses to Hillary’s campaign. Seriously, just ask your Trump-loving racist uncle, or the Bernie Bro you went to college with. Republicans and Democrats are equally capable of barely-disguised sexism.  The election is stressful enough as it is, but between Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault and Hillary Clinton having to maintain her composure during the debates while being interrupted, shouted at, and actually loomed over by her opponent, this mess can be downright triggering. I know we’ll all be glad when it’s over.

But there’s something I don’t want to get lost in the midst of all our rush to get through this day: this is a huge deal. I want to really savor the moment when I fill in that ballot for Hillary Clinton — I’ll be casting my vote for the first woman president of the United States. And I’ll be able to tell my daughter and my son in a few years that they were there with us when their father and I filled in those bubbles. I want to do it in honor of all the women who fought for our right to vote and who aren’t here anymore to see this day. I want to do it in honor of all our daughters, a gesture of hope for their world. I want to do it in honor of (myself and) every other woman who has had to maintain her composure while being interrupted, shouted at, or actually loomed over while she is just trying to do her goddamned job (or groped or flirted with or mansplained to or ignored or …or …or…).

For all of us.

Because electing a Black man as president isn’t enough. Electing a woman as president isn’t enough. But those things are something. We have to keep pushing the needle, and this is a nudge in the right direction. I am proud to be part of that.

I also hate that, in the midst of so many people grumbling about having to choose between “the lesser of two evils,” or about how they “wish it were another woman,” we can too easily lose sight of what a great candidate Hillary Clinton is, and how great she could be as president. She’s qualified and experienced and knows how to work together with the opposition. She’ll champion rights for women, LGBTQ Americans, people of color, immigrants, and laborers. She knows that Black Lives Matter and says so, out loud and without qualification. She supports gun control and criminal justice reform. She supports a woman’s right to choose. She cares about combatting climate change. She uses big words; she does her homework; she believes in science.

I am not (just) voting against Donald Trump; I am voting, unreservedly, for Hillary Clinton. I am super fucking excited to do so.

Pantsuit up!

E&L: Eleven Months

E&L turned eleven months old on Friday. It’s so weird how time keeps passing and every month they’re another month older, isn’t it? Yeah. That. In less than a month, we’ll celebrate their first birthday. Somebody hold me!

They’ve grown so much, I’m constantly amazed. Last week, I swear L’s feet grew so much overnight that his little sneakers no longer fit him. How does that happen?!

Eleven Months Old!

This past month they celebrated their first Halloween, to everyone’s great delight. They also had their first trip to the neighborhood playground to play on the swings. As you can see here, they are the perfect age/size to share a swing, and they had a blast. The loved going down the slides (in our laps), too. I’m so thankful for slightly cooler weather, which means we’ll probably be spending plenty of time down at the playground in the coming weeks.

Eleven Months Old!

At eleven months, E:

  • has learned to clap and will do it pretty consistently whenever we do, and often on her own. She claps during meals a lot, possibly because she’s excited about food. I think we might be related.
  • stands up on her own whenever she wants, and can easily sit back down again without falling. She’s taken a step or two, but so far only when one of us is holding her hand.
  • “talks” (babbles) all the time. She has said “mama” and “dada” to/about us a couple of times, but I’m not sure if it was intentional or not. She’s getting close, though, I think. The best part is that she’s just always got stuff to say, so I hear her little voice all day long. It’s adorable.
  • is holding steady with just her two bottom teeth for now.

Eleven Months Old!

At eleven months, L:

  • finally got that new top tooth he’d been working on for what felt like months. It popped through a week or two ago. The drool is still coming, though, so either he’s just a drooly baby or the other top tooth is on its way (I can’t tell).
  • just learned to clap for the first time yesterday (so, technically after turning 11 months, but whatever). He was SO pleased with himself and wanted to clap along with the rest of us all night. Just darling.
  • has figured out how to climb up onto the futon in the nursery if he has something to boost up one leg with — such as a toy or his sister’s back. Danger Baby!
  • loves to laugh at his sister and imitate her. She was spitting her food out and blowing raspberries at dinner the other day and he was DYING laughing. Just cracking up. Then he started doing it, too, in between laughs. He just loves her.

We have so much fun with these two. It’s even better than I imagined, you know?

Pumpkin Patch and Halloween

We have been enjoying the fall lately. Here in Alabama, the weather is still regularly in the mid-to-upper eighties, but I think we’ve had two or three cooler days so far. See evidence below: I actually wore a jacket to the pumpkin patch!

Four of Us

This was my first time visiting an actual pumpkin patch on an actual farm (as opposed to buying my pumpkin from a giant bin in front of the grocery store). It was a really pleasant day to stroll around and enjoy the fresh air and take pictures. I’m sure we’ll do it again — the babies were still too little this year to enjoy some of the kid stuff they had available (pens of baby goats & pigs, a big slide, hay bales to climb on, etc.), but they’ll have a blast next time.

Mom & Eleanor & Linus
Dad & Eleanor & Linus

We came home with a couple of pumpkins for the front porch (which we didn’t carve — I’m just not that into carving, plus they last longer if you don’t) and the strong desire for some pumpkin muffins, which I made. Successful outing.

Halloween was really fun, too. I mean, can you EVEN?!

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I can’t. Can’t even.

I’d been feeling all this pressure to come up with some really cute thematic twin costume and I kept coming up empty. Some year we’re going to do Luke & Leia for them and Darth Vader & Padmé for us, but we figured that’s a better idea for when they’re older. This year, we just didn’t come up with any ideas we really liked. Ideas that were suggested and then vetoed: lobster and chef, shark and surfer, bee and flower, etc.

At one point, we had nearly decided on ordering a matching pair of pumpkin costumes from Amazon, but we decided to sleep on it. The next day, the pumpkin costumes we liked had sold out and every other pumpkin costume was either not available via Prime (and wouldn’t ship until November) or was not in their size. THWARTED! Everything else we thought was cute on Amazon was crazily overpriced (like, $40 or more PER COSTUME, which is insane).

In desperation, I checked the Halloween aisle at Target and happened upon the elephant and the giraffe. Guess what Wubbanubs they happen to have and love? An elephant and a giraffe.

THEY COULD DRESS AS THEIR BINKIES, YOU GUYS. And so they did.

Trying the costumes on them for the first time was one of my best parenting moments so far. Each of them was absolutely DELIGHTED by the sight of the other twin in costume. They just looked at each other in amazement, grinning and giggling and eventually trying to grab each other’s faces. It was hilarious and adorable and so, so sweet. They’re the best babies.

On Halloween evening, it was 88º and I was wondering if we would regret the warm, plush costumes, but the kiddos did great and didn’t seem to mind at all. We went out for pizza and then explored the downtown trick-or-treat, checking out people in their costumes and hanging out with a few friends who’d also brought their kids. There were tons of adorable costumed babies being pushed around in their strollers and the whole thing was fairly delightful.

Next year, I suppose we’ll do the neighborhood trick-or-treat. Our neighborhood is really perfect for it (sidewalks, lots of families, pretty safe), but it didn’t seem like a good fit this year. Honestly, I just didn’t feel comfortable knocking on doors to basically just ask people to admire my kids and not actually collect any candy. E&L are still too little for candy and it would have felt like collecting candy for ourselves. Well, it would have ACTUALLY BEEN collecting candy for ourselves. Which, yeah, I like candy. But I have a job. I can buy my own candy.

 

 

 

Fall Roundup

I’ve been out of the rhythm of blogging lately, which has started to get me into that state of mind where I feel like when I finally write something here, it has to be something “good” or “important” or “well wrought,” which is just not going to happen any time soon.

But whatever happened to just blathering on about life as I’m living it, huh? Let’s try some of that and see how it feels.

It's decorative gourd season!

Are you ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest?

As I write, I’m currently on a little break between classes and office hours, drinking an ice-cold can of Diet Coke from my new office mini-fridge. I’ve been wanting one of these (the fridge, not the Coke) for years, but kept on not buying one. I’d see them in Target every August as school was starting again, stacked among all the back-to-school dorm supplies, and I’d think to myself how great it would be to have one, but inevitably I’d decide to wait until they went on sale after the students moved in, and then they’d be gone.

But then, I had the sudden realization that I could ORDER one. ONLINE. From Amazon, where they have everything. What, am I new here?! I even had it delivered right to my office. I felt like a GDMFing genius, I tell you what. It’s such a pleasure to have a supply of cold drinks right here — and, even better, I have immediate access as soon as I get to campus at 7:00 AM so I can put my packed lunch in the fridge without waiting for administrative staff to get here at 7:45 and unlock the break room, which is not even on my floor, and which I may not even have time to get into before my 8:00 class. So that’s cool.

(Sorry.)

High of 70, you say? I'LL TAKE IT.

Speaking of other cool things, it’s almost like (knock on wood) fall is finally arriving here in the swamps of the Deep South. Could it be? A high of just 70 degrees today and tomorrow?

Well. A quick check of reality/the weather forecast shows it’ll be back in the 80s again in a few days, so we’d better make the most of it while we can. I’m wearing boots and a blazer and a scarf to work today, for example. Really living it up. Tomorrow we’re taking the babies to a pumpkin patch to buy some decorative gourds and take some photos and feel festive about the season. Maybe I’ll even drink a hot coffee and wear a jacket or a vest or a flannel shirt or even two of the above. (Please expect a deluge of cute babies with pumpkins in your social media tomorrow.

Roberta in action.

Next weekend, CW and I are running a local 5K with the babies and Roberta (our jogging stroller). It’ll not only be our first family 5K, but also my husband’s first road race EVER! He ran XC in high school, but hasn’t taken part in any official running events since then. I think he’s pretty excited. At the current time, my run pace is a lot slower than it was pre-pregnancy and a lot slower than CW’s pace (he’s a smidge faster than my pre-pregnancy pace, which doesn’t even seem fair since I’m “the runner,” but I’ll get over it). So I think our plan will be to have CW push the stroller and I’ll run alongside so we can go at my best pace, which will be a pleasant stroll for him. We’ll probably run 31-33 minutes, depending on how hilly the course is (I haven’t looked at it yet because I’m just trying not to activate the SRS RNR programming loop in my brain right now). If we happen to break 30 I will consider it a fall weather / race day miracle.

I suppose that’s a fair roundup. Now how are YOU?

E&L: Ten Months

E and L are now well over ten months old (I’m a little behind in my updates). I can’t believe how soon they’ll be celebrating their first birthday — yikes! They occasionally seem to have grown overnight, and they’re now wearing the 12-18-month clothing I bought them for this fall and winter. Some of it’s a little big, still, but it basically fits. I can’t believe how big they are!

Eleanor & Linus

They had a less fun milestone recently: their first cold. It hit E a lot harder than L, and we were constantly having to help clear her nose with the Nosefrida (recommended!) so she could breathe while drinking her bottles. Poor Booboo. It’s cleared up well by now, but it was pretty gross at the time.

Their cold had the bad luck of striking while I was out of town for the weekend — my first ever trip away from the babies! That was its own kind of milestone, I suppose. It was odd to be away from them and I missed their baby snuggles, but it was a good thing for me to get time to go somewhere for myself — and of course CW handled everything just fine in my absence (although I wish he hadn’t had to deal with sick babies on top of it all).

Eleanor & Linus

At 10 months, E:

  • Can stand up and sit back down without support and practices this skill over and over again.
  • Still has only two teeth with no signs of any new ones coming. So. Should I order some baby dentures, or what? Heh.
  • Says “da” all the time, as well as the occasional “ba” and “ma.” But mostly “da.”
  • Loves to give hugs and, when we’re burping her after a bottle, pats us on the back to help us burp, too. Thanks, Jellybean!

Eleanor & Linus

At 10 months, L:

  • Cruises around on all the furniture and will walk around the room while pushing his activity table (as if it were a push toy, which it’s not designed to be, but Blueberry DNGAF).
  • Still has only two teeth and still drools all the livelong day, convincing me he’s about to cut some new ones, but has been doing this for over a month with no changes.
  • Is an extremely fast crawler and LOVES to play chase and hide.
  • Makes a whirring, trilling noise whenever he gets excited, especially when we come into the room first thing in the morning.

They honestly just continue to be such delightful babies. They sleep at night (mostly) and nap well (mostly); they love to eat; they play together all day and love to be with us; they charm old ladies at the store and love their babysitter. We just adore them.

Fitness & Food Highlights: Week 8

Last week wasn’t the greatest in terms of meeting my workout goals, but I finished strong! I took some unplanned rest days in the middle of the week because my weird sore foot (I have, like, three distinct problems bothering me with my foot off and on, some of them since the twins were born, and I don’t want to get into describing it all, but it is occasionally totally fine and occasionally totally frustrating). By the end of the week, though, I was feeling better and had a great run on Saturday and a strength session on Sunday.

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Here’s what went down:

Monday: Rest Day. Would have worked out if I’d been on campus, but Labor Day threw it off.

Tuesday: Ran 3 miles (31:04). I did speed intervals on the treadmill and it felt great in terms of pace and fitness! My fast intervals were easily sub 9:00, which is pretty good for me at this point! I’d planned on making it four miles, though, but my sore toe problem forced me to stop earlier than I wanted.

Wednesday – Friday: Rest Days (foot issues)

Saturday: Ran 4 miles (44:42). This was my best outdoor run to date in terms of distance, pace, and attitude. The slightly cooler weather helps me SO MUCH. The last mile of this route is normally quite grueling and I have to take sad walking intervals, but on this day I had no problem powering through despite the hills and humidity. I even cranked up the pace to around 9:15 for the last quarter mile — totally surprised myself!

Sunday: Body Pump Class (60:00). Body Pump is my favorite group fitness class BY FAR. I have so much trouble motivating to do strength training on my own, but I love doing it in this type of setting. I’m not able to make any of the weekday classes due to scheduling, so I was just DELIGHTED to find out that they added one on Sunday afternoons and I can make it work. I got a little overzealous on the squat track, though, and my legs are sure complaining today — in a good way, though.

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Food Highlights: My husband’s perfect poached eggs, brie and grapes, and all the prosecco we drank while celebrating some good news.

Goals for the Coming Week: Weigh in. I haven’t done that in a while and I always get nervous about it. Better just get it over with. Don’t exacerbate sore foot. Stay mindful of my eating plan and calorie goals (this has been tough lately).