Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Today was Benjamin and Asher's first Halloween.  I really had no idea how exciting it was going to be putting them in little costumes, so I didn't really think hard about what they would be, or where I would get costumes.  Back in September I saw these little Carter's costumes at Costco, and I bought them, because when you have to buy two of everything, cost is a factor!  Fortunately, the costumes fit perfectly and the boys were completely adorable.  We put them in their costumes yesterday for a Halloween party at a playgroup friend's house, and I was so excited that I decided they would wear their costumes all day today.  And they did!

In the morning, we took them to my parents' coffee group at Starbucks, where they were passed around and generally admired.  Asher loved having his sippy cup, and kept it in his mouth almost the whole time.  It is strange for me to see my baby doing a big kid thing like that, but it was time.

Then we decided to go to Ikea.  Eric and I have been discussing some changes to our bedroom, since neither one of us is particularly happy with our room the way it is now.  So we picked out a new wardrobe, and soon Eric will get to demolish the closet that was built into our bedroom.  The boys were in their costumes in the stroller:
Everyone was commenting on how cute, and other parents said, "oh, I should have put my child in his/her costume!"

Another big reason Eric goes to Ikea-- their meatballs.  So our trip involved a necessary stop for lunch, and with each adult meal you get a free jar of baby food (I had never noticed the baby food there before, but it's there!  I notice all kinds of new things now that I have children of my own).  Each boy got a jar of bananas, and now I think they are ready to make the Ikea cafeteria a regular stop of their own!  Asher LOVED, LOVED, LOVED his bananas!  How fitting for a monkey!
He was so eager for each spoonful that he would open his mouth and sing "Laaaaaaaa."  It was very funny, and I thought adorable.  Here are the boys in their high chairs, looking like little men and not the babies I gave birth to a few months ago:
On the way out, I gave them tastes of my frozen yogurt.  Asher also loved that, and I am beginning to think that he has inherited the Landes family sweet tooth.
He was sticking out his tongue and trying to lick it off his chin, he liked it so much.

Then we came home and tried to get them napping-- no luck.  So instead we had a photo shoot, which resulted in many adorable photos (see the top of this post).
Benjamin the tiger:
Asher the monkey:
I loved seeing them in their costumes and had a great day with them.  Tonight we had friends over, which turned out to be a good idea, because between feeding, bathing, and putting two babies to bed, and cooking dinner... we needed someone to open the door for trick-or-treaters! 

It really was a happy first Halloween for us, and I am looking forward to next year when Benjamin and Asher will understand what's going on.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seven months old today!

Today I was at work, so I didn't get any cute 7 month pictures, but hopefully tomorrow.  We also don't have a scale, so I can't weigh them, but tomorrow I will go use the scale at my mom's house to get an estimate.  I can definitely tell that their growth is slowing down-- they fit into a lot of the same clothes, and we haven't had to go up a diaper size in a while (they're in Size 3 right now).

Right now Asher is working on perfecting his crawling.  He's able to get wherever he needs to go, but isn't particularly coordinated about it.  He is just now starting to get that he can move his arms and legs in a coordinated fashion for more efficient travel.  But he might skip crawling now that he's gotten involved in pulling up!  He tries to pull up on everything, and he lacks some judgment-- pulling up on the exersaucer (wobbly), a baby chair (tips over), and his car seat, which he fell out of and hit his head on the stairs (I was not here, this was an oversight on my dad's part!).  But he is amazingly strong, and he won't sit still.  His legs are full of muscle, and I feel like I never got to have a chubby, sedentary baby.

Benjamin is working on transitioning from his hands and knees to sitting.  He keeps working on it, and has done it about twice, but is not yet consistent.  He is also practicing his crawling, but is more imitating Asher's fish-out-of-water flop and not really crawling.  But he is also pretty good at getting where he wants to go!  He is just adorable, and gets comments everywhere we go.  Yesterday he came grocery shopping with me while Asher napped, and I wore him in the Moby wrap.  He put his hands on my forearms and everyone commented that he was helping me shop.  He was so quiet and patient the whole trip, a perfect angel!

We introduced the sippy cup, which Asher seemed excited about.  He's not so good at actually drinking from it, but he loves waving it around and slamming it into the floor. 

We've made backwards progress with sleep.  After things really improving, and the boys waking up at most once a night to eat, we were headed back into twice a night territory.  Twice a night at seven months!  I don't think so.  So, we are trying to lay down the law and not feed them at night.  Last night they cried a little around 12:30, then woke again around 3, when we fed them, and then slept again til 6:30.  I prefer when they sleep til 7:30, but let's not push our luck.

Eric and I had trouble falling asleep after 6:30 because he got a text from our neighbor, Tom, that his wife is in labor!  We are so excited and are still waiting for the big news, but happy birthday to their baby!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A few pictures

I just wanted to post a few pictures of my boys and the fun we are having:

The boys really enjoy yogurt.  I love Benjamin's yogurt mustache in this picture, and Asher is down to one sock... He removed his other sock, and I can't even remember what happened to his clothes!

Here Benjamin is helping my dad install a new DVD player.  Very helpful!
Here is Asher, who crawled into the exersaucer and then got a little stuck...

We have had some trouble getting the guys down for their afternoon naps the past couple of days.  Today we separated them, and Asher would not settle down.  I went into the guest room to find him in the pack n play, with no pants on, on his back, chatting away and grinning at me!  What a cute monkey!  We ended up sticking him in the swing where he slept for over two hours, until Benjamin walked up to the swing in the walker and reached out to stop the swing.  Benjamin was laughing, and Asher's puzzled expression was pretty funny.

Here Benjamin crawled into my down throw and wrapped himself up.  He is absolutely the cutest bug in a rug I have ever seen.
Tonight Eric and I made ourselves a delicious dinner, and enjoyed some quiet time just the two of us.  At the end of nights like that, I sometimes forget I have babies!

I cannot help but feel that I am double-lucky to have these babies.  The pregnancy was scary, and the first few months were so hard, but to now see two beautiful, perfect babies... what a blessing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Guilt and Anxiety

Let me begin by saying that I am so, so tired.  Last night Benjamin cried for some unknown reason for about 2 hours.  This has never happened before!  Usually our boys are easily soothed, but last night, anytime we put Benjamin down in his crib, he just cried and cried.  And then today both babies were only interested in 30-45 minute naps (by my standards, not a nap, but they would NOT go back to sleep).  So I am very tired.

I am having feelings of guilt over my student loans, which we just began paying back after 1 year of deferring them since I was not working or earning any money.  I also saw how much I owe, and it makes me sick.  I feel awful that Eric was prudent in his choice of college, owed very little in loans, and has worked since the day he graduated (literally. He graduated on a Saturday and started work on Monday.  I have worked so sporadically that it is kind of embarrassing), and then he went and married me and now he is taking care of me, and our twins, and helping carry my debt.  And I went to school for four years of college and five years of graduate school, and am barely working. 

I also feel uninvolved with my field in general.  I let my membership lapse in all the professional organizations I was involved with, although I am now re-joining.  I have not looked at any kind of recent research, I haven't attended any lectures or meetings, or talked about my work with anyone other than my supervisor.

So there is guilt that I invested so much time and money into something that I am barely doing.  I know that it was an investment in my future, and that I chose a career that I will like doing for the rest of my working life, but at this point I feel pretty useless.

There is the anxiety about my work, and money, but I also have anxiety about how quickly Benjamin and Asher are growing up!  They'll be seven months old on Tuesday, and I cannot believe how the time has flown.  Recently I looked at some pictures from the first couple of months, and the pictures look like they are of completely different babies.  Those babies were so small and helpless!  The babies I have now are big, active, and curious.  They are so strong, and when I watch them crawl around on the floor, and pick up and play with toys, it is hard to remember they used to be little floppy babies who could barely pick up their heads.  When they look at me, or Eric, or each other, and laugh, it makes those days of nothing but crying or sleeping a distant memory.  Other than not sleeping through the night, they are perfect right now.  I wish I could freeze them as they are for a little, to just enjoy this stage.

And so I feel guilty anytime I do something that is not focused on them-- like eat breakfast-- while they are awake.  They seem perfectly content to play with their toys, or in their exersaucer/jumperoo/walker while I eat, but in the back of my head, I always feel like I should be interacting with them.  So for the most part while they are awake, I am playing with them on the floor, reading them books, or feeding them, changing them, etc.  And around me, the house is going to pot.  Toys everywhere, dishes on the counter, baby socks scattered around the first floor (Seriously, socks for 6 month olds? Who love to eat their feet?  We have soggy socks all over the place!), mail in stacks by the door...  I can't stand the way the house looks, and yet I can't get the cleaning done, since they're not sleeping much at naps and I want to be with them while they are awake.

I guess I wish I knew I had made the right choices, and am doing the right things.  I tell myself I must be doing something right, since I have two boys who are thriving, happy children.  And Eric does not complain-- all this guilty and anxiety is self-inflicted.  I'm sorry for the long complaint, but it's been rattling around inside my head, and I wanted to get it out so I can get what will hopefully be a long, peaceful night's sleep.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A wonderful visit from Memere and Pepere

Eric's parents came to visit us for a long weekend.  The time flew by, and I wish that they could have stayed for much longer!  How many people get to say that about their in-laws?  Well, I am really lucky because Pat (Eric's mom) and I get along really well.  We definitely have our differences-- for example, she is very neat, organized, and cleans regularly.  I am not always organized despite my desire to be, and while I am not dirty, I don't prioritize cleaning over much, so it is always done when it's done.  But we have a lot of common ground, and have always had a lot to talk about, and certainly now that we are both mothers to two boys, I find it so helpful to have her advice and hear her experience.

Anyway, they arrived very late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning (2 am).  We had a terrible night with the boys, one of them was up about every 2 hours.  Then on Thursday the boys napped poorly; they would go down and sleep for 30-45 minutes and then be up again, tired and cranky, but refusing to sleep another minute.  We dealt with it, but ended up spending the day at home managing their naps and lousy moods.

Here are some pictures of Benjamin with his Memere:
And Ben and his Pepere:

Their grandparents brought them a walker, which our pediatrician suggested when she noticed how much they like standing up and bearing weight on their legs.  Both boys got the hang of it very quickly, and it is really fun to watch where they choose to go and what catches their interest.  Right now, they're interested in each other:
Whoever is in the walker will walk over to whoever is stationary, and they laugh at each other.  It is really adorable, and I hope the start of a beautiful friendship!

Eric and Steve (his dad) got a ton of work done around the house, including replacing our kitchen sink and installing a laundry tub in our laundry room.  Pat helped me with the boys, did countless loads of laundry, and cooked us a practice Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday night.  She didn't need practice cooking, but I practiced my turkey-eating.  I think I'm in good shape for the holiday!

After they left today, I decided we should take advantage of the beautiful weather and my adorable children and take some photos in the park at the end of our street.  We are not great photographers, and we had a hard time with the settings on the camera, and a hard time getting the boys to look in the same place, but we managed a few good photos.

Here I am holding Benjamin:
 And here I am holding Asher:
Here is Asher eating leaves.  I had hoped that the leaves would be on the blanket and look decorative and fall-like, but who was I kidding?
The boys falling over each other:
And my favorite, the three of us together:
There is more to say, but I am tired.  Last night we had Benjamin crying at 10:30, my sister calling because her cat is missing at 10:40 (and while I am sorry he is missing, I was SO relieved that no one was dead that it felt like good news), Asher crying at 10:50, and my sister calling back at 11 to say that she had spotted the cat and he is not dead, but not yet home.  So not a great night of sleep!  But overall, a good weekend, and I am looking forward to my parents' return from Italy on Tuesday, I have really missed them.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

I wish I did not have to be so aware of pregnancy and infant loss.  All the women I know who have lost pregnancies or babies born living had also required fertility treatment to conceive, and it is so unfair, that these women who have waited so long to conceive then lose that special baby.  I admire their strength, in continuing on in life and in their efforts to conceive again, and to finally have a baby in their arms for good.  All of these women, the ones I know personally, are such wonderful women and would make wonderful mothers, and any child born to them will be lucky.  Tonight I am hoping that this coming year brings my friends those babies that they want so badly. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

I miss my mom!

Today was a beautiful day, and all I wanted was to take a walk with my mom.  I had originally planned to take the boys up to visit my friend Shoshana at her new apartment, but she is sick with a cold, and so we decided we'd go some other time.  I tried to recruit other friends for a walk, but everyone else was busy.  Then I decided I would get some errands done, like hemming a new pair of jeans so that I have jeans to wear with flats and sneakers while I run around with my boys (prior to pregnancy, I wore 3+" heels everyday.  I still won't buy heels that are less than 3", but I also won't wear heels while I cart my babies around).  All my pants are hemmed to be worn with heels (and yes, all my pants are hemmed, I'm 5'2" and have a long torso) so I have very few choices.

Anyway, we went out to run errands.  And it just seemed like nothing went quite right.  There weren't any major disasters, but I parked next to a planter, and had to move the car so that I could open the door and take Benjamin out.  Then, after getting the boys strapped into the stroller, I found that the meter was broken-- after I had put my quarter in.  So I had to scribble a note on the back of an old shopping list so that I wouldn't get a ticket.  In the meantime, Benjamin and Asher are just sitting in the stroller on the sidewalk, and all these other moms and kids were walking up and down the street, and I worried that they were thinking, "what kind of a mommy is she?!?"  Oh, and I hadn't brushed my hair, so that is pretty scary looking.

We went to the dry cleaner to get the pants tailored, and their door wasn't wide enough for the stroller.  One of the women that works there had to come out and stand with the stroller on the sidewalk so that I could do my business inside.  Now, the fact that I could trust this woman is one of the benefits of living in a friendly area like we do, but I was definitely frustrated. 

The rest of the morning had some other similar frustrations, but we made it home in time for naps, and picked up some wine along the way.  Of course, afternoon naps did not go well.  Neither baby slept well, or for very long, so rather than eat lunch, take a shower, fold the laundry, and get some quiet time, I got to just eat lunch.

We went out again for another walk and to the playground around the corner (Benjamin still doesn't like swings; Asher still does).  By 5 pm, the boys were starting to get cranky because of their lousy naps.  I thought, "great, Eric will be done work and can come help me!"  Wrong!  Eric is suffering from some kind of strange stomach ailment-- I have heard from him that it feels like gas, he feels nauseous, he feels like he is going to have diarrhea... but none of the above has actually happened.  So at 5 pm, Eric stopped working and went to take a nap.

I played with the boys, read them a story, fed them their cereal and sweet potato, and then started getting them ready for bed.  This meant that I stuck Asher in his jumperoo while I took care of Benjamin, who was in worse shape.  As I was nursing Benjamin, Eric came to the door of the nursery and said, "You're putting them to bed already? It's only 6:30!"  I told him that when I am doing it alone, and they won't stop crying, 6:30 is late enough.

They were in bed by 7, and I took off to CVS to get Eric some Pepto-Bismol.  I came home and had dinner alone while Eric languished in bed, and then joined him to watch some TV.  But at every point today, all I could think was how much more fun, and how much easier, things would be if my mom were around.  Of course I survived, but today will not go down in history as one of my favorite days.

I am hopeful for tomorrow.  At the very least, our nanny will come and I am sure to take a shower, brush my hair, and get out of the house.  I told Eric if he isn't feeling better tomorrow he has to see the doctor.  Which is funny (ha, ha) because he doesn't have a doctor-- in the 5 years since Eric has lived here, and the 6.5 since we met (oh my goodness, today is actually 6.5 years to the day since we met!) he has never once been sick enough to warrant medical intervention.  But I told him no sitting around waiting to feel better because I need his help!

Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day, and Eric feels like a new man when he wakes up.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Busy week

I guess the title of the post says it-- we've been busy.  Today  I realized that Eric and I have not had a dinner alone since Monday.  I love to socialize, but I think I am ready for a quiet night at home, and an early bedtime.

This past week we did a lot of cooking and entertaining.  On Monday I made turkey chili and cornbread; on Tuesday, Eric made chicken enchiladas; on Wednesday, my parents were over and we had salmon; on Thursday our neighbors joined us for dinner and Eric made turkey burgers, and I made oven fries; on Friday a family friend came for Shabbat and brought spaghetti and meatballs, but I made challah and an apple crisp; Saturday another set of neighbors joined us and I made brisket and a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  And if that wasn't enough, today I baked whole wheat-blueberry scones!  Our counter is full of baked goods, and our refrigerator is full of leftovers.

 (a picture of Asher asleep after nursing one morning this week)

My parents left Thursday evening for Israel; my cousin Noa got married today in Jerusalem.  I have seen a few pictures already, and she was a beautiful bride, and I am very sad that we could not go.  When we first heard about the wedding, we checked out airfares, and at $1500 a person, it just didn't make sense for us.  One day, I would really love to take Eric to Israel.  I've been twice and it truly is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.  After Israel, my parents are off to a week in Italy, which is wonderful for them.  If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that back in January, my mom took a trip to France and Asia while my dad stayed home to work, so this is a long overdue vacation for the two of them.  Of course, I miss my mom's company already.

As for the babies, they are both working on crawling.  Asher is really moving now, and is getting all over the place.  Asher particularly likes to crawl towards Eric's laptop when he turns on the camera.  So we now have a gate at the top of our basement stairs, and have taken the coffee table out of our living room so that the boys have a large play space. 
 (our "new" living room)

On Thursday, a package arrived at our door, and Eric and I got all excited that perhaps it was the rubber tiles we had ordered for the boys... but instead it was our semi-annual wine shipment.  Eric remarked that it was surely a sign that times have changed-- pre-baby, that wine shipment would have made our day!

Both boys have also taken an interest in the cats.  Only Trouble is brave enough to come around them much, but they just love to see him.  Asher will crawl over to him, and Trouble will stay in one place until just before Asher gets to him, and then will back away.  At one point, Trouble did approach me while I held Asher, and Asher loved it.  Asher giggled while I took his hand and helped him pet Trouble.  But Asher loves the cats, and every time they look at him he gives them a huge, goofy grin.

Benjamin has started blowing raspberries, which he thinks is hysterical, and Asher has remembered how to screech.  We went for a walk yesterday and met another baby, and when Asher practiced his screeching, the other baby started to cry!  That baby must be used to quiet, which we don't know much about around here.

This weekend we are in for a treat: Eric's parents are coming for a visit!  I would really like for us to all go to an apple orchard.  Although I know Benjamin and Asher won't care and won't remember, it is a tradition I had with my family as a child and one I'd like to have with my own children. 

As anniversaries of milestones in my pregnancy occur (one year ago this weekend, I was 12 weeks and had my NT scan which showed 2 perfect and healthy babies, and we announced the pregnancy on Facebook), I am reminded of just how much our lives have changed.  I am so in love with my babies, and I just adore them.  I find myself wanting to freeze time, to preserve these moments, and I just hope that the future is as wonderful as today.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Another trip to Boston

Cambridge, Massachusetts is the #1 road trip destination for these babies!  On Thursday we drove up to Cambridge.  I was a bridesmaid in our friend Cass's wedding, and her rehearsal was Thursday with the wedding Friday. 

The boys were wonderful in the car on the way up.  We left when it was time for their morning nap to start, and so they took good naps the first half of the ride, and then I sat in back with them and played with them, and fed them, and then they napped some more (and so did I!).  When we got to Cambridge we were all eager to get out of the car and stretch our legs, so we took the boys to the play ground next to my grandparents' apartment building.  We put the boys in the swing together, and they were so cute.  Asher loved it!
And Benjamin wasn't sure how he felt:
But they got lots of comments on how cute they were.

We walked into Harvard Square and got coffees.  As a child, I always walked with my parents into the Square, and we always got ice cream at Herrell's.  Herrell's is closed now, which made me very sad! So we are creating new traditions, like hot chocolate at Burdick's, but it's not quite the same.  So many of our old favorite places have closed and there are so many new places that it is almost like a different Square.  Do I sound old and crotchety yet?  But it is still a beautiful walk, past all the gorgeous old homes, and I hope the boys will be able to love Cambridge the way I always have.

On to the wedding.  Cass had planned for the ceremony to be in the Boston Public Gardens; unfortunately, the weather had other plans.  The rain held off until almost 3 on Friday, but then there were downpours.  The ceremony was moved indoors, to the Prudential Center, where the reception was already planned to take place.  It was still beautiful, but as someone who had their wedding ceremony outside, I know how disappointing it is to have the plan changed at the last minute.

We had a wonderful time!  As my mom said, I cleaned up nicely!  I styled my hair, put on make up, wore my bridesmaid dress and heels, and definitely did not feel like, or look like, a mommy of twin babies.  Eric brought the babies to the ceremony, and we got a quick picture of us as a family, which I am eager to see.  I will post photos from the wedding as soon as Cass passes them on-- Eric brought the camera and took zero photos!  We hired a sitter to stay with the boys at the hotel room for the rest of the night so that we could enjoy ourselves.

I brought my pump and pumped mid-wedding so I could continue to fit into my dress.  After having a cocktail, I had to throw the milk down the drain, but it was worth it to let loose and dance with Eric and my sister.  We had a wonderful time, and I think it was good for Eric and me to do some of the things we used to do, and remind ourselves that although we are parents now, we are still people who enjoy each others' company and a good time. 

We were completely exhausted the next day (up til midnight + sharing a hotel room with 2 babies = very tired!) and drove home, and went to bed at 9 pm.  We have had some trouble getting the boys back on schedule, but I am trying, since we are all so much happier when they nap.  We don't have any more trips planned until Christmas time, when we will go up to my in-laws for the holiday, so our lives should be pretty quiet for a while.