Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Solar Power

Yesterday, I put a clothesline up on our porch, mainly for drying the cloth diapers.  We're now using solar power!  (Too bad my clothesline isn't tax deductible, like solar panels.)  Every bit counts, right?  =)

They May Never Crawl

We are starting to wonder how Miles and Vivienne will ever learn to crawl.  (I'm sure someday I'll look back at this and laugh... or cry.)  They don't spend any time on their tummies.  We put them down on their bellies, but as soon as their tummies touch the floor, they immediately flip over.  They have never taken a nap or slept at night on their tummies, either.  It seems like most mommies that I've talked to say that their kids started doing a swim-like motion on their bellies before they figured out how to transition it to crawling.  Well, at this pace, we might just have to wait for our babies to stand up and walk.  =)  I don't mind, though.  It's nice to know that I can walk away for a couple minutes and they will be right where I left them when I return.

New Double Stroller Running Record - 9:26 Pace!

On Monday, I ran my 4-mile course at a 9:26 pace with the double stroller.  I couldn't believe it!  Now, I don't have any more excuses for the lazy days when I'm "running" (if you can call it that) at an 11-minute mile pace.

Tobacco Road Marathon: Race Report

This is Jason's race report from the Tobacco Road Marathon that he ran on March 20.  I'm so incredibly proud of him.  He inspires me to do things that I never thought I could.  He reluctantly agreed to let me post this on the blog.  =)

After major competitions I find it useful to write a race report where I can reflect upon my training and how the day unfolded.  There are so many valuable lessons that I want to preserve for future races.  These reports are mostly for myself (I often re-read old reports in the days leading up to a race), but I thought I would share this report in case you are interested. 

The Summary

As always, I am indebted to my lovely wife, Leslie.  She continues to support my athletic endeavors and the training required to complete them.  I would not be able to race without her love and support.  Every Saturday morning she watched the babies until I returned home from my long runs (usually by 10 AM).  Leslie - you are a rock star mother and a great wife and friend.  I love you!

My previous marathon record was 3:18:59 (Chicago 2008).  My goal going into the race was to meet the qualifying standard for the Boston Marathon (3:10:59).  My "stretch" goal (which didn't come about until mid-way through my training when I realized it might be possible) was to break 3 hours.

I crossed the finish line in 3:00:21 (1:30:22 first half, 1:29:58 second half).  The final miles were brutal, but I honestly thought I was on pace to break 3 hours.  It wasn't until somewhere just after 25 miles that I realized I was going to fall just short.  And at that point there was not much I could do change that.

Overall I am satisfied with my performance.  I ran a well executed race and left everything out on the course.  Now I only need to focus on achieving a 22 second improvement for the next race :) 

The Details

 On Sunday March 20, 2011 I competed in the Tobacco Road Marathon.  It was the culmination of a focused 16-week marathon training program.  This is by far the most I have trained solely for a marathon.  It was also my first major competition since Ironman Canada in 2009.  After that race I needed some serious recovery time.  As a result I did not enter any races in 2010 (but in other fantastic news, 2010 was the birth year of our amazing twins Miles and Vivienne).

In September 2010 I started again with structured training (I put it off until the babies allowed us to get consistent sleep at night and the sleep deprivation wore off).  As always, I needed a goal to keep me motivated.  I find it hard to train just for training's sake.  That gets boring real quick.  The Tobacco Road Marathon offered a local race on a fast course, so I signed up.

6 weeks out from the marathon, I competed in the Goldsboro half marathon.  After not racing for all of 2010, it was a much needed tune up race.  Without a taper, I ran a 1:23:31 (6:23 per mile avg) and was extremely satisfied with the result.  Based on this time as well as my longer tempo training runs, I started to believe that a sub-3 hour marathon might be possible.  At my first job 10 years ago my office mate happened to be a sub-3 hour marathoner.  I distinctly remember thinking that it would be near impossible for me to achieve that goal :)

I set my alarm for 5 AM on race morning.  I had half a banana and one vanilla Ensure drink (250 calories) for breakfast.  I immediately started sipping on a 32-ounce bottle of orange gatorade.  At the race site I would nearly finish another vanilla Ensure drink as well as most of my gatorade bottle (needless to say I took a few trips to the port-o-potties that morning).

The race start was delayed about 15 minutes due to shuttle bus issues (luckily one of my friends scored us a VIP parking pass so we didn't have any trouble getting to the race venue with plenty of time to spare).  I positioned myself about three-deep back from the starting line.  After the gun went off, I made a concerted effort to go out easy.  As a result, I was passed by many folks ... but I am not racing them today.  I am racing myself and I am racing the clock.  Besides, there is nothing to gain in the first mile of the marathon.  I would rather be a little slow than too fast.

The first mile ticked off in 7:05.  To hit my goal of sub-3 hours I need to average around 6:52 per mile for the entire race.  After the first mile I slipped in behind a good group of about 5 or 6 runners.  They were running very controlled and I heard them mention something about a 3 or 3:05 goal.  So I decided to stick behind them for a while to see how things went.  The first 8 miles were pretty easy.  Around mile 9 we hit a slight uphill.  Nothing major, but I guess everyone in our group was not paying very close attention to our pace on the hill.  While we had consistently been hitting between mid 6:40s to mid 6:50s for our miles, mile 9 was 7:09 and would actually turn out to be my slowest mile.  I remember that concerned me a little bit but not too much ... I simply resolved to not let that happen again.

We still had a good group together at the half way point.  We crossed 13.1 miles in 1:30:22.  Seeing that time didn't bother me too much, but I did obviously realize that I'd have to negative split the race to break 3 hours.  Negative splitting is my typical race strategy, and it was my plan for this race.  I ran the first half very controlled without a lot of exertion so I was fairly confident that I could bring it home fast enough for a sub-3 finishing time.

Knowing that we'd have to negative split, 3 of us in our group picked it up a bit and left the others behind.  Miles 14-20 averaged 6:43 per mile.  It was also during these miles where we started to pass a few folks that took it out too fast.

A small note about nutrition.  I don't really like taking solids during a marathon.  I was relying solely on the aid stations for my calories. Water and sports drink at every aid station.  The cups were rather small (think Dixie cups) so it made it hard to get a lot of fluids.  And I missed the aid station at mile 16 completely.  That might have turned out to cost me at the end ... who knows.

This course has a turn around at mile 19. It was around 18 miles that I started "feeling it" for the first time.  The miles weren't getting slower, but they were getting harder.  I knew it was too early to really start pushing hard.  But it was around this time I realized how much the final 8 miles were going to hurt.  I was hoping to delay that hurt until 21 or 22 miles, but here it was earlier than expected.  It also didn't help that our group of 3 had broken up.  2 of the guys went on ahead of me, but I was satisfied with my pace and effort level at this point in the race so I didn't chase them (I would ultimately re-pass one of the two at mile 23, but the other guy beat me by nearly a minute).

Just prior to the turnaround at mile 19, I passed an older gentlemen (50 years old).  He looked to be struggling.  But soon after the turn around he popped up again on my shoulder.  We ran together off and on up until about mile 23, and it was nice to have someone to push the pace with.  Somewhere between 22 and 23 I dropped him for good.

There is a long sloping hill for miles 23 and 24 (see the elevation profile at the end of the report).  Once you get through this you are pretty much home free.  These two miles were very brutal.  Looking back at my splits for these two miles, this is where I probably lost the sub-3 finishing time (along with my slow mile 9).  These miles were 7:01 and 7:04... exactly 21 seconds over the pace needed to hit 2:59:59.  But I didn't really realize at this point that I was off the pace.  You see, my Garmin had been nearly perfectly aligned with the course mile markers for most of the early race.  I'd pass a mile marker and my Garmin would beep (indicating another mile complete) and display the time for the previous mile.  Well, somewhere after the turnaround at mile 19, my Garmin and the course got out of sync. But it happened gradually rather than all of a sudden.  So my average pace according to my Garmin around mile 20 was 6:50 ... which should be good enough for sub-3.  After mile 24 it ticked up to 6:51 (and stayed there for the rest of the race).  6:51 should be good enough as well, but the problem is that my Garmin now indicated that I had run farther than the course mile markers indicated.  Thus the pace it indicated was actually faster than my actual pace.  Something I did not really realize the impact of until mile 25... which by that time it was too late.

The course turns off the Tobacco Trail at mile 23 and you are then on the city streets until the finish.  But as soon as I turned off the trail, there was a pretty stiff head wind and a hill.  These two things contributed to the slow mile 24 time.  And also at this point I am now running all alone.  Sure I am passing a few late half marathon finishers, but there is only one other marathoner I can see and they (okay, it was a "she" ... exactly 3 woman beat me on this day) are pretty far ahead of me and I am not catching them ... ah ... her.  So for the final 3 miles it was just me.  Not much crowd support and no other runners to pace me along.  And it hurt ... really ... really ... bad!  There were so many times I wanted to quit.  So many I lost count.  What really kept me going was the hope of a sub-3.  After all, my Garmin told me I had a 6:51 average pace for the race up till that point, and I really thought that was going to be good enough ... even with my Garmin measuring the course as a little long.  I kept thinking how the intense pain was only temporary and how good it will feel to finish.  This is what I trained for.  I did not expect it to be easy, right?  I thought about the post-race meal ... really anything I could think of to keep me from slowing down.

So when I hit mile 25 and saw that I was in real danger to miss breaking 3 hours, I gave it one last effort to pick it up.  Mile 26 was a 6:48 ... and it was all I had left.  Somewhere during that mile I became certain that I would not make it and somehow just knowing that took all the air out of me.  My body starting failing.  My hands were going numb.  I kept hoping that I wouldn't face plant.  I seriously had visions of my body totally giving out and me literally falling on my face during some of the final turns.
Leslie and Babies at the Final Tur

I rounded the final turn just in time to see the official race clock tick over to 3:00:00.  A few seconds later I passed a cheering Leslie on my right.  She was holding both Miles and Vivienne.  But I couldn't even muster a smile or a wave.  I just wanted to get across that finish line as fast as possible.  I crossed in 3:00:20 on my watch (3:00:21 official chip time) and immediately was looking for someone to help me walk.  The guy handing out the finisher medals was smiling and walking towards me with my medal and he soon realized that I needed some help.  He and a friend helped me (i.e., carried me) to the medical tent where I hung out for a while.  But after some gatorade and a few minutes of rest I felt like I needed to at least walk.  So after a rather uneventful stay in the medical tent, I started walking off the race with Leslie and the kids.  It was a fun time as we saw many friends who had run either the half or full marathon.  We stuck around for the awards, but it turns out I just missed getting an age group award (I got 4th and the awards went up to 3rd place).
Family at the Finish Line

Overall I am very happy with my race. I knocked nearly 19 minutes off my personal best, I met the qualifying standard for the Boston Marathon by over 10 minutes, and when it got tough at the end I didn't quit.  How can I complain?

In my last marathon I focused on someone close to me for each mile starting after mile 20.  I started to do the same this race.  Miles 21 and 22 (both 6:53 miles) I focused on my kids.  Mile 21 was for Miles.  To take my mind off the current pain I thought about my precious son the day he was born and how he had to spend 24 hours in the special care nursery.  I remember how much we wanted to hold him but could not.  I tried to put myself in his shoes to feel what he was feeling.  Was he scared?  All he knew was the warmth and comfort of mommy's womb, but now he was out in the world on his own.  He hadn't yet felt the warmth of our embrace.  I also thought about what kind of man he will grow into.  Only time will tell...
Miles in the Special Care Nursery

Mile 22 was for my baby girl Vivienne.  I thought about how precious she was the first time I saw her and thought back to the first days in the hospital.  I also tried to hear her infectious laugh in my head.  It helped power me through the mile.
Daddy and Vivienne After the Race

Mile 23 started out for Leslie but that is also when the hill started and I lost all focus on my thoughts and had to concentrate on just not slowing down.  Sorry babe :)

Now I am just trying to decide what's next.  I am looking into racing in a local open water series this summer (a series of 3 1-mile swims and 1 2-mile swim).  After that, I'll probably start training for a November or December marathon.  And then (if I get in) Boston 2012!

Below are my splits (according to my Garmin) and the elevation profile from the course:

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Babies Feed Themselves

It's been about a month since the original "puff vomit" incident, so we decided to give them another try.  At lunch yesterday with our friends, we gave a few puffs to Vivienne and to Miles.  Vivienne picked them each up individually and put them in her mouth to eat.  Miles pushed all of his onto the floor.  =)

Today, I gave them some Mum Mums to try while I made dinner (chicken and vegetable kabobs).  They both really enjoyed eating them.  I think it was easier for Miles to pick up, because it's more like a large cracker (in comparison to the tiny puffs).

Here's to hoping that there is no late night puking around here...

Painted Kitchen

This is a little late, but better late than never.  When we moved into our house, the kitchen was very white - white ceramic tile floor, white cabinets, white counter tops and off-white walls.  (The previous owners must have been feeling really adventurous when they picked out off-white walls - whoohoo!!)  Needless to say, it needed a little color.  While my in-laws were here in February, I took the opportunity to paint our kitchen.

Here is what the kitchen looked like before:

LOTS of white
And here is what it looks like now (unfortunately it was overcast today, so the pictures are a bit dark):

New green walls and brighter curtains

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lean Me Back, Daddy!!

Yesterday, Jason had Miles in the Baby Bjorn while we were shopping at REI.  He kept leaning his head way back, trying to get Jason to lean him back.  He's been doing it again today.  He seems to love looking at the world upside down!

He has also developed a fascination of watching his right hand.  He'll twist it back and forth and just watch it move.  I'm hoping that this will develop into a wave, but that might be a lofty goal for him at this point.  =)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Running Mommy

Yesterday was a great day for a run.  I took the babies on a 4-mile run, with my pace right around 9:50.  That's slower than my non-stroller pace, but I was thrilled with that.  During my run, I couldn't help but notice how Spring has sprung in North Carolina.  The Bradford pear trees have already dropped their blooms, but the red buds and dogwoods are in bloom.  The forest is covered with tiny leaves that are just starting to open up.  Soon, the woods will lose their transparency and a new wall of foliage will frame the paths that I run on.  I love Spring and Fall in our beautiful state.

Today was a colder, overcast day, but Jason encouraged me to take another run despite my efforts to cop out and stay in the warmth of the house.  I had the best run that I've had in probably a year - 4 miles at an 8:48 pace.  I'm really happy with that!  (That was, of course, with no double stroller.)  Big thanks to my husband for watching the babies while I got my legs moving!

Sing Me a Song, You're the Piano (Wo)Man

Maybe she'll take after her mommy.

Piano (Wo)Man

Bath Buddies

Last night, Miles and Vivienne took a bath in the big bathtub by themselves (well, without Mommy sitting in the tub with them, but I was still watching them like a hawk).  There is nothing cuter than naked babies!

Prunes & Blueberries

Yesterday, it became very clear that Vivienne was painfully constipated.  =(  I knew that this was a possibility with the rice cereal.  She doesn't eat a lot of it, but I guess the combination of foods that she is eating is enough to make her constipated.  She even woke up last night in the middle of the night crying from the discomfort.  It was so hard to not be able to help her feel better last night. 

So, after the babies went to bed, I went to the grocery store to buy some prunes.  I bought regular prunes in a canister and brought them home.  I hydrated them in warm water and pureed them this morning.  Perhaps needless to say, freshly pureed prunes are one of the nastiest looking foods that I have ever laid eyes on.  Luckily, the babies love them!  They devoured them.  Seriously?  Sometimes they will turn away sweet potatoes but they can't get enough of the pureed prunes.  Go figure!

The prunes seemed to work within a very short period of time.  Let's just say that I had a date with our diaper sprayer.

I also made some homemade blueberries and peas for them.  I stewed the blueberries in boiling water for about 15 minutes and pureed them.  For dinner this evening, I mixed the prunes with the blueberries and the babies went nuts for them.  I've honestly never seen Miles be so excited about eating.

Today was a very successful day from a baby food culinary standpoint!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cary Moms Playdate

We had another playdate here with our friends from the Cary Moms Playgroup.  We had 10 babies here, including Miles and Vivienne.  I also managed to vacuum the entire house beforehand (so nice to have a clean floor) and bake some muffins for everyone.  Nothing is better than a house full of babies.  It warms my heart.

Control Freak

I think we have a control freak on our hands.  =)  Vivienne loves the remote control.  Even when I'm nursing her, if she notices that I'm changing the channel, she will go for the remote.  She just loves to play with it, talk to it and eat it.  I don't even want to think about what it's going to be like once she knows what the Disney Channel is...

Differences Between Boys & Girls

I suppose this is probably the first of many blog posts about how different my little boy and my little girl are.  As their personalities are starting to shine, the differences between the sexes are already becoming evident.

Vivienne has become quite the little communicator.  She claps her hands when she's happy (oh.  my.  gosh.  It's so cute!!).  Over the past couple of weeks, she has become much more vocal.  She says,"Da da da da da da," over and over.  She also says other consonants, but "da" is definitely her favorite.  I think "Dadda" is going to be her first word (though I don't think she quite knows who "Dadda" is yet).  Miles also likes to chatter, but Vivienne is definitely our Chatty Kathy.

When Viv plays, she will pick up a toy, inspect it, put it in her mouth and then set it down and pick up another toy.  Miles will pick up a toy, shove it in his mouth, and then bang another toy with it over and over and over.  This boy really needs a hammer!  He is definitely good at improvising by turning each and every toy into a hammer at different points in the day.

When we're out walking, Miles loves to look around at nature.  He likes to see the trees and the birds and feel the wind.  Vivienne also enjoys this, but she would just as soon recline in her seat and chew on her Sophie giraffe.  I'm not sure that this is really a male trait versus a female trait per se, but it's an interesting difference between the two of them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tobacco Road Marathon

Today, Jason ran the Tobacco Road Marathon.  His main goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which required him to run faster than 3:10.  His stretch goal was to run the marathon in under 3 hours.  He blew away his main goal and just barely missed his stretch goal with a chip time of 3:00:21.  We are so proud of his accomplishment, though I think he keeps wondering if he could have somehow skimmed 21 more seconds off his marathon.

Jason got up this morning at 5 AM and rode with some friends to the marathon.  I got up with the babies at 7 AM and we left around 9 o'clock to get to the marathon in plenty of time to see Daddy finish.  While waiting for Jason to appear, I started chatting with a woman who was waiting on her husband to finish as well.  (She's adopting a baby from Ethiopia, so we had a very interesting conversation.)  Luckily, she offered to take a photo of me holding both babies and cheering Jason on.

I'm holding Miles and Vivienne, watching Jason cross the finish line.
After the race, we walked around with Jason (very, very slowly) so that he could cool down a bit.  He ate some pizza and we scarfed down quite a few pieces of free Great Harvest cinnamon chip bread (the best stuff in the world). 

Family photo after the race

Daddy and Vivienne

He'll always be her hero.  =)
After we got home, we took a marathon nap and had the standard post-race meal at Wendy's.  Jason loves to eat Wendy's, but only after an Ironman or marathon.  Luckily, I get to celebrate in the post-race festivities and partake of some Wendy's myself.

Me and Miles at Wendy's
Then we laid out in the yard on a blanket for a while to enjoy the balmy day.   This evening, the babies were in the big bathtub together for the first time.  After that, I spent an hour or so changing out all the door knobs upstairs to satin nickel knobs (replacing the cheap builder knobs that were all scratched up).  Now, I'm enjoying a glass of shiraz while Miles and Vivienne sleep soundly in their cribs.  It was a wonderful weekend, but it went by so quickly.  They always do.

Congratulations to Jason on an amazing marathon today!  I love you so much, and I couldn't imagine a better daddy for Miles and Vivienne.  We are all so proud of you!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy 8 Months! (A Round of Applause!)

Miles and Vivienne turned 8 months old today.  They are such beautiful, happy babies and I am so proud to be their mother.

They both love to sit up and play with their toys on the floor.  They can sit up for very long periods of time without falling over now.  They also like playing in their exersaucers and bouncing in the jumperoos.  (We have an exersaucer and a jumperoo downstairs and another set upstairs in our room.)  The babies are mesmerized by our cats, Chloe and Noah.  The cats have become more and more comfortable with the babies and will often lie down on the blanket beside them while they play.

Miles and Vivienne both make lots of sounds now - squeals and consonant sounds and razzing.  It's fun to hear them learning to use their voices.

Can... almost... reach... cat...
Vivienne loves frozen applesauce in the mesh feeder.
Vivienne is a delightful baby girl.  She is very easy-going and sweet, and she loves to explore our faces and necks with her hands and plant big wet kisses on us.  Vivienne loves her Sophie giraffe.  She's a great eater and will eat pretty much anything - sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, peas, green beans, cereals.  She has recently discovered that she loves frozen applesauce cubes in the mesh feeders.  I give her at least one of these per day now, and she is completely content until she has sucked every last bit of it out.

Vivienne has the cutest little blonde pixie hairdo.  Her granddad (my father) says he has a hard time imagining her with longer hair.  I have a hard time picturing her with long hair, too, but I'm sure it will grow that long in the blink of an eye and then we'll have a hard time remembering her with short hair.

Miles is a cuddly little boy.  He loves to be held and to bury his face in our chests.  He is very alert and observant, always looking all around and soaking in the world around him.  Miles loves to be outside.  Whenever he gets fussy, we can just walk outside with him and he's completely content.  He looks at the sky and the plants and watches the cars go by.  He loves when I put him in the carrier during our walks on the path behind our house.

Miles has a beautiful head full of hair.  He was born with a head full of very dark hair, and then he lost all of it.  It has grown back a beautiful light brown.  Everyone says that he has what looks like the "perfect little boy haircut."  Of course, I haven't cut his hair yet.

Miles isn't as excited about solid foods as Vivienne is.  He likes apples and sweet potatoes, but he doesn't care for anything with any texture to it (green beans, peas, etc).  He still wakes up once per night to nurse and then quickly falls back asleep.

Both babies have the sweetest, gummy smiles.  They don't have a single tooth yet.  I'm happy to hold onto their gummy smiles, but I'm also eager to see what they will look like once a few of their teeth come in.

Today, on their 8 month birthday, Vivienne learned to clap!  The four of us were sitting on the front lawn on a blanket and we started clapping.  Vivienne followed suit and started clapping her little hands together right along with us!  It is the cutest thing.  Yay, Vivienne!  A round of applause for your 8 month birthday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Looking Back

Recently, I've been noticing how quickly the past 8 months have gone by.  Tomorrow, Miles and Vivienne will already be 8 months old.

It seems like just yesterday they were these adorable, bald, quiet little babies.  I remember wondering what their voices would sound like and thinking that I just couldn't wait to hear them make some sounds or say some words.  Now, they have heads full of hair and they laugh and squeal and babble all day long.  I love hearing them chattering away in the back of my car while we're out running errands or going to a friend's house.

Just a Couple Days After They Were Born - Our Little Berries
Going Home From the Hospital (Miles Barely Fits in His Seat)

Viv was so tiny (and so unhappy)!

It seems like just yesterday that we had to support their heads and hold them in the baby bath tub to keep them from slipping underneath the water.  Then, they grew stronger and I was excited that I could hold them without having to hold up their heads.  I remember thinking that it was going to be great when they could sit up on their own without needing us to hold them.  Now, they can sit up on their own for virtually unlimited amounts of time, occasionally toppling over if they overestimate their reach to grasp that one irresistible toy.  They bathe in the big bath tub with mommy, sitting up on their own and playing with their bath toys.

Viv Standing at Her Musical Table

Hanging Out with Chloe

My Beautiful Boy

It seems like just yesterday that they could only wear premie clothes and 3-month clothes seemed enormous.  The 3-month clothes have now been packed away for quite a while.  Miles is almost exclusively wearing 9-month clothes and Vivienne is starting to outgrow some of her 6-month clothes.

Viv eating her sock after our walk yesterday.

Isn't she lovely?

Sweetest Boy in the World

I remember being so sad during the first couple of weeks after the hospital - lamenting the passing of our time in the hospital with them (thinking that we would never get that time back), sad that their first week was already over.  I was an emotional wreck in great part due to the hormonal changes of having just had twins.  Now, almost 8 months later, I realize that I fall more in love with Miles and Vivienne with each passing day.  I am sad to let go of the time that has passed - each moment that I will never get back again - but I love to watch them grow and develop.  It's so amazing to discover their personalities.  They have so much spunk for such little people.  I can't wait to see who they become.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When Does Spitting Up Stop?

Seriously, I seem to remember reading that spitting up would stop after about 6 months.  Well, apparently that's not the case for all babies, because Miles still spits up on a daily basis, almost after every single feeding.  I've gotten very accustomed to only wearing cotton shirts and jeans, because I know that everything I wear will have spit up on it within 30 minutes of putting it on.  At least it doesn't appear that the spit up makes Miles uncomfortable.  I guess it is just a "laundry issue," as everyone says.  I must say that I'm looking forward to the day when he doesn't regurgitate his breakfast, lunch and dinner (and snacks in between) onto my shirt (or pants or rug or car seat).

But he's cute even with spit-up dripping out of his mouth.  =)

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Cutie Pies (Video)

This is just some video of Vivienne and Miles being ridiculously cute.  Most of this stuff is for the grandparents, but the rest of you can watch it, too, if you're really, really bored.  =)

Running and Food Poisoning (A Bad Combination)

This weekend started out great!  I ran all the way to the 540 construction and back, which is just under 6 miles round trip. That's the farthest that I've run since before I was pregnant.  I was running without the babies, because Jason offered to watch them while I got out for a little while.  It was great to soak up the wonderful weather we've been having lately.

I also decided to eat some leftovers that were apparently a couple days too old.  I hate throwing away food.  But I guess I've learned that I would rather throw away food than throw it up (sorry, I couldn't help it).  Sunday morning around 4 am, I woke up feeling nauseated.  Let's just say it wasn't pretty.  Then I managed to fall asleep again and woke up at 8 am nauseated again.  Ugh.  Nothing like hugging a toilet and then trying to breastfeed two babies at the same time.  It wasn't pretty at all.  *shiver*

Luckily, it was a Sunday, so Jason was home all day.  He was an absolute champion of a daddy (as he always is) and watched them all day while I slept.  I would come downstairs long enough to nurse them and then crawl back to my cave upstairs and pass out.  I went to sleep last night around 8 pm and slept until 7 am this morning, only waking once to feed the babies around 3 am. 

I seem to be back to normal today.  I think I'll just walk today and pick the running back up tomorrow.

It Gets Better After HOW LONG?!?

I remember when the babies were only about 2 weeks old.  Another twin mommy came over to drop off a meal for us, which was much appreciated.  She also gave me some advice, and she told me that she and another twin mommy agreed that twins get much easier after four months.


FOUR MONTHS?!?  Are you freaking kidding me??  I'm not going to survive four months of this!  (Of course, I didn't say that, but I sure thought it.)  It was so difficult in the beginning that to hear that "it gets better after four months" literally made me want to cry.  Actually, I might have cried about it, but I can't remember - at least I'm sure I didn't cry in front of her.

Anyway, it is true that around 4 months, you really hit your stride and the babies start to get much easier.  But the truth is that they get easier every day.  You learn to read your babies, and your babies get to know you better, too.  You understand how to meet their needs, and you fall more in love with them every day.

Now we're already at almost 8 months, and four months seems like such a long time ago.  Somehow we all survived it.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lunch at SAS and Carrots in the Garage

Today was a great day with the babies.  They both took great naps this morning.  Vivienne fell asleep on my chest for about an hour and Miles slept in his crib for almost 2 hours.  Then we went to SAS to have lunch with Jason.  We love seeing him in the middle of the day.  SAS has a great cafeteria - excellent food and live piano music every day.  After our meal, I always enjoy grabbing a cup of free coffee to go.  I think the babies really had fun (and soaked in all the attention from the SAS employees sitting near us).

After lunch, we did some grocery shopping and went for a walk with Elise and Greg and their 3 canine companions, Scout, Max and Hank.  We must have been quite the spectacle - a double stroller, 3 dogs and 2 babies in carriers.

After the walk, I finally got the babies to take a nap at the same time (seriously, it's so hard to get them both to nap at the same time after noon).  I needed to puree some carrots that I had steamed for them, but I wouldn't dare run the food processor in the kitchen while they're sleeping.  So there I was, standing in the garage, with the food processor.  My, how life has changed!

Taking the Kitchen into the Garage

Baby Ear Cleaning

Miles and Vivienne have had stuffy noses for a couple weeks, but nothing very serious.  Yesterday morning, Vivienne was coughing a lot.  It was a dry cough, but it seemed like she just couldn't stop coughing.  We took her temperature (SO glad that we don't have to do this rectally anymore!!), and she didn't have a fever.  I called the advice nurse just to be safe.  The nurse recommended that we bring her in to get checked out.

So, I took both babies to the doctor's office by myself.  This really isn't a big deal unless one baby decides to have a bad day.  If one baby is crying, then I basically can't really hear anything that the doctor is saying to me.  Luckily, both babies were in a good mood.

While we waited for the nurse practitioner to come in, Miles and Vivienne proceeded to completely annihilate the paper that was covering the exam table.  Miles just wanted to rip it to shreds and flirt with himself in the mirror.  Vivienne just wanted to immediately eat as much of it as possible.  She has a refined palate for papyrus, apparently.

The NP wanted to check Vivienne's ears to be sure that she didn't have an ear infection.  She couldn't get a good view of Viv's eardrums, though, because there was ear wax in the way, so she had to clean her ears.  Of course, I was thinking,"Ok.  This will be easy.  Grab a Q-tip.  Do a little digging.  No big deal."  I was clearly wrong.  I had to hold Vivienne's arms while she stuck this long tiny Q-tip in her ears.  Honestly, Vivienne screamed louder than she has ever screamed for any shots or any other pain.  I had no idea this was going to hurt that much.

After the ear torture cleaning, the NP was able to see her eardrums.  The first ear (the one that she really screamed for), she said it looked slightly red, but she wasn't sure whether that would indicate an infection or whether the redness was from the torture cleaning.  The other ear looked just fine.

So, the test was inconclusive and I had a virtually inconsolable baby.  Even when I tried to nurse her, she just kept screaming and wouldn't eat.  She's never done that.  Poor baby, she just wasn't feeling good and now her ear was hurting.  The NP gave me a prescription and said that I should fill it if Vivienne's symptoms seemed to worsen.

Luckily, the hard morning was followed by lunch at the Chik-fil-a drive-through (I think I enjoyed that more than the babies) and meeting some dear friends at a playground to chat and play. 

Starting to Stand (Supported)

Miles and Viv have gotten really strong at standing lately.  They have been standing with our support for quite a while, but now they can do it for quite a long time.  Vivienne is very steady on her feet, but Miles is still learning to steady himself.  We have a musical table (you can see it in the background below) that they like to hold onto while they're standing up.  We still have to have our hands on them, though, because they will eventually fall over.

Look how tall I am, Mommy!
I love you, Mommy.
Happy babies!

Twins in Diaper Covers

The best pictures of Miles and Vivienne seem to be when they're just wearing their cloth diapers and covers. 

I love those big blue eyes.
Vivienne is sitting up so well now.
Her fat rolls make me smile.
Eye of the tiger, Viv.  Eye of the tiger.
Happy Babies
Vivienne is doing her best "sprinkler" dance.
The joys of twindom...  learning to share.
Oh, no you didn't!!  Nobody takes my Sophie!!
Two gummy smiles warms a mom's heart.