Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Olympics and Four Years Ago

It's funny how things take you back.  

Late last week I started watching a little bit of the Olympic coverage on TV.  I hadn't planned on it and flipped it on after the twins were asleep.  I got caught up in some of the personal stories of the athletes.  A few nights ago I watched Bode Miller for the first time and heard how popular he was and how he is a past Olympian.  And I thought, why don't I remember him?  My mind went back four years.

Four years ago this week I was newly (about 10 weeks) pregnant with the twins.  I had just met with a realtor, who became a friend, and put my little house on the market.  I was house hunting in a neighboring town to be closer to family and friends for help with the babies, and for a bigger, more family friendly house.  I was tired.  I was nauseous.  I was certainly not watching TV and definitely not watching the Olympics.  It was my fourth pregnancy in as twice as many attempts with the prior three ending in losses.  It's odd how I was more sure, less cautious this time. Somehow this pregnancy, pregnancy number four, had me sure enough that I was selling my house and moving into a big family neighborhood - a house and neighborhood which would have been impossible to live in if I found myself without a family.

What a difference four years makes.  I wonder if I'll be reflecting on this time in our lives four years from now during the next Olympics...

Friday, January 31, 2014

So January Sucked

Right.  You haven't heard from us in months and I'm going to post about the current one and how sucky it's been.  Honestly the other months were a bore compared to January: they were fine, Christmas was great, kids sat on Santa's lap for the first time and loved it, they're making great strides in toddlerhood.  Blah, blah, blah.

But January?  Here are the highlights:

  • Both kids were sick and Sweet Potato ended up in the ER where he was then admitted to the hospital overnight.  He had Atelectasis which is similar to pneumonia, RSV, low blood oxygen and dehydration.  Awesome.  To think I almost didn't even take them to the doctor and when I got there, the doctor said, "Go to the ER.  Right now.  Do not stop anywhere, just go."  When I got there, they told me we should have come by ambulance.
  • I took a look at my finances and came to the conclusion that I have been completely irresponsible to think I could afford full-time daycare until the boys start kindergarten. I've been pulling from my quickly depleting savings account every month to make it work and it's just foolish. Not to mention, I have not been very happy with the center. I did an all-out search to find new childcare with the ideal scenario of having someone come to my house since I work from home and would be there too. I had someone lined up, she offered me at least a 1-year commitment, I gave my 2-week notice at the YMCA daycare to which they promptly filled our spots, and then the sitter bailed. While I do think we dodged a bullet, it put me in a huge bind.  I found someone new on a babysitting website and she's set to start Monday. Please let her show up and work out.
  • Our second family, Fabulous D and company, is moving out of state tomorrow. Besides the loss I feel, her boys and my boys are brothers in every sense of the word.  And I'm sad for them.
In other news, my job is great, the boys are generally happy and currently healthy, I toured a preschool and liked it (because now that they won't be in daycare in the fall, they should go to preschool and the spots fill up fast - no UPK available where we live), and Grandma is coming for a long weekend visit in five weeks.  

Looking forward to February!

Update: I should have waited one more day to write this post.  On the way to picking up the kids at daycare yesterday (1/31), I got pulled over by TWO police cars.  My inspection expired in SEPTEMBER.  Oops.  And I was asked about my (fairly illegal) tinted windows I had done to block the sun for the boys when they were babies.  Luckily he let me go without a ticket.  So long January!  (car inspection scheduled for tomorrow!)

Friday, October 4, 2013

MeAndBaby Bits (and a crap-load of pictures)

  • Hello friends!  (not technically a "bit" but worthy of its own bullet just the same.)  :)
  • The boys and I had a great summer.  We spent a lot of time in the backyard with a slip-n-slide and kiddie pool, at the local parks, and tried a few new things like our first visit to an indoor bounce play center.

  • I attended a Parents Without Partners event (mentioned here).  It was meh.  It was a gathering at someone's house with a bonfire, tree house and trampoline. He basically lives in the woods (while also being in the suburbs) and his yard is a bit rugged and on a slope.  Not ideal for toddlers with a 1:2 adult child ratio.  I was hoping to meet other single parents, and I did, but most of the kids were older than mine.  I'll probably try another event when my boys are a little older.
The Dynamo walking down one of the flatest parts of the yard.
  • The twins turned THREE at the end of August.  And, so far?  Hardest age to parent.  I had a party for them at a toddler gym and it was a complete success, however.  So much fun and it accommodated a wide range of ages.  
Fabulous D's boys helping out...

Cupcakes for all!  Yes, there are 3 candles on each cupcake!
We opened gifts at the party.  The gift-givers presented their gifts one by one.
Then it was the twins turn handing out personalized party favors...
  • The boys started at a new daycare this fall through the YMCA.  I was very excited for this change but not sold on it just yet.  They hated it at first but have adjusted pretty well.  Me? Time will tell but I am keeping an open mind.  
1st day of YMCA Preschool.
  • Awesome sitter moved away a few days ago.  I'm really sad.  She means so much to the boys, and to me.  

Rock adventures with Awesome (former) sitter in our back yard.
  • We got some early Christmas gifts: family memberships to our local zoo and children's museum.  I finally am able to take the boys on my own to both places so these are great weekend activities!  
  • Speaking of Christmas, Santa gave me a gift early too.  (The picture isn't great - it's much nicer in person.) Santa asked me to wrap it for him and put it under our tree to be opened with the boys.  He doesn't want them to think Santa forgot about Mommy.   
Initials plus birthstone necklace.  Love.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


My life is full of constant change.  Before the twins were born and before TTC, everything seemed to stay the same and while routines are a must for our family, change is inevitable.  As the boys grow, I have to grow too and adjust.  I have to remind myself of this often.  And it happens so fast, I usually miss the last routine, and the reason I had it in the first place. 

1.  Childcare

The daycare center the twins attend is charging a hefty additional fee for the summer.  I was not aware of this fee when I enrolled them and while I admit there is a tiny (so-tiny-not-worthy-for-the-table-of-contents) line in the Family Handbook, it does not say what the summer fee actually is. The summer camp cost for 18-month-olds to age three at my center is an additional $125 per kid and for kids older than four, it's $225.  There was a letter on the boys cubbies at pick-up one day last week saying it's due in two weeks and not optional.  My boys are too young to attend field trips so this charge is for in-house events.  When I asked the director about it, she said they plan to bring a bounce house in and have a reptile guy come in.  Big whip. 

I have two problems with this:  1.) Short of the blurb in the handbook, I didn't know about the fee.  It was never a discussion during my lengthy conversations with the director back in November and December before we enrolled.  She said, "We don't really think about it when it's so far away".  How helpful.  2.) The amount is excessive. If it was $50, I would probably be slightly annoyed but would pay it and forget it.  But $125?  I asked around on Facebook and found out some centers charge no fee up to maybe $50 for this age.  One friend pays nothing additional for her 3 year-old and pays $75 for her 7 year-old. 

Fortunately for me, my awesome sitter saw my FB post and offered to sit with the boys for the summer full-time!  She had been part-time before they started daycare and had not previously wanted full-time, not to mention, I could not have afforded to pay her full-time.  She offered to watch them for less than what I pay daycare.  Without the summer fee, it will likely be a wash cost-wise since I will have to provide breakfast, lunch and snacks now but still a savings overall.  This will be an adjustment for sure but I'm looking forward to it.  Since I work at home, I'll get more time with the boys and won't need to leave the house to take them to school.  They get a lot out of daycare learning wise and socially, so that's a small drawback but they'll be back there (or another center possibly) in September.   Awesome Sitter starts on June 24th. 

2.  Physical Support

As I've previously mentioned, the twins' only grandparent, my mother, moved six hours away in February.  The adjustment has been okay.  We have video chats at least once a week.  These calls are mostly great with her only saying a few silly things to the twins like, "Do you need a hug?" (really) and I think the boys look forward to the calls.  Her departure left me with less physical support and I'm losing even more later this year.  Awesome Sitter is heading south this fall and Fabulous D and her family are heading there too in December or January.  I've known these changes are coming and I'm really sad.  Selfishly, I want them all here for me and the twins.  They are our second family.  Fabulous D's boys and my boys are half-brothers and my boys ADORE her boys.  They talk about them non-stop. 

Having Awesome Sitter and Fabulous D nearby gives me sense of security for emergencies or sickness.  Knowing they won't be here has given me anxiety.  I really have no one else I can call in a pinch.  None of my other close friends live close by or are in a position where they could help.  Short of knocking on a neighbor's door for big emergencies, I'm stuck.

Now, before I get blasted for choosing to be a SMC, let me say, I know.  I know it was my choice to do this on my own.  It is my responsibility to line up help and I will do that.  This blog is my place to document my fears and anxieties and get support and advice from my blog readers.  That's why I'm writing about this now. 

I'll figure it out.  Like I always do. 

3. Joining

I've been toying with the idea of joining a local division of Parents Without Partners.  They have lots of events and after paying the $40 annual membership to PWP, admission fees to lots of places when attended as a group are discounted.  The group goes on hikes and camps out and has picnics.  Now, more than ever (see item 2 above), I need more people in our lives and short of my readers, I know no other single parents.  I don't actually have a lot of friends with small children in general and zero single ones. 

The initial meet and greet to join the group is at a coffee shop each month, kids welcomed.  Okay, but I have two toddlers who often want to go in two different directions. I might be able to park them in chairs and let them color (I probably will try), but me running around a coffee shop chasing after one or both doesn't sound too doable.  Not yet anyway.  This ranks up there with me taking them by myself to the public library and even the park.  If it's a big park, forget it.  I just can't. 

It is getting easier but really, I find this age to be harder than infanthood! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

More on Potty Training

First off, thank you for the supportive comments on my last post.  I appreciate it!

I wanted to elaborate on the potty training.  The boys occassionally use the potty at school.  In fact, the Dynamo actually POOPED on the big potty at daycare on his second day there.  Seriously.  And he was only 2 years and 4 months old at the time.  At home, both boys sometimes use the little potties I have set up in our bathrooms.  We talk about it all the time; sometimes they're into it, sometimes not.  The Dynamo has figured out that it's a good stalling tactic at bedtime.  I don't push it, scold, or reward short of big applause and high fives.  I probably should start to work on it more and find a reward system that works for us.  With Sweet Pototoe's allergies, we don't really eat sweets but stickers might be a good option.  (If anyone has any good recommendations for a sticker chart or other non-food reward system, I'm all ears!)

It's true - I can be lazy when it comes to potty training.  We have a night time routine and when I add the potty time in, it bumps our routine by up to 45 minutes.  And, I don't know if it is because they're boys, but they could care less if their diaper needs to be changed.  They rarely tell me.  They don't like the actual changing of the diaper and I do talk about how they won't have to have it changed when they use the potty, but unless it's a major blowout, and sometimes not even then, they don't ask to have it changed.

I do like their teacher but he ticked me off (obviously) with the lazy comment.  I told him what we do at home and he said "parents are lazy" right after I told him clearly meaning that I was.  He does know that I am a SMC and has said more than once how he thinks it's great how I became a parent.  He tells the boys all the time in front of me how their mommy works hard.   

He also thinks every kid should be potty trained by age 3.  I have a toddler book that says boys and girls are different and the average age for boys is 39 months.  I think my boys are on track.  Honestly, I hope they are completely diaper free soon and I will step up my efforts at home but please, don't call me lazy.  Or any mother for that matter.  That's just rude.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

May Mayhem

Wow, May was a crazy month. A few of the highlights:
  • First ever school pictures!  Not crazy about how the photographer combed the Dynamo's hair but otherwise I am hugely impressed.  I'm lucky to get them both looking at me at the same time let alone also smiling!

  • Local zoo trip. It gets better for the twins every time we go.

  • A full week of Jury Duty. Meaning I was picked to sit on an actual jury. I had it in my head I would be excused the first day for some reason. I have to say as much as I was dreading the process - driving into the city during rush hour, parking, paying for parking, etc - I really found it to be quite interesting. Fortunately (fortunately?) it was an attempted robbery and sexual assault case as opposed to the THREE murder trials going on at the same time. OH and they were filming the new Spiderman movie in my city the same week. Streets were closed and traffic altered but I got a few peeks of film making. And how cool is it that a big movie was filmed in our city? They changed it up to make it appear to be NYC with car chases and crashes. 

  • Mother's Day - The boys made these for me: 

  • Day Out with Thomas and His Friends event. The Dynamo wouldn't ride the train once we were seated but it was still a fun time. 

  • This happened: 

  • Our own jungle!

    Just after a storm passed through, I and a lot of my neighbors heard and felt these trees come down.  I was sure something hit the house!  Nothing did but it scared the shit out of me. It happened at about 9:30 PM and the boys were asleep.  Neighbors came from across the street to see my entire back yard encompassed with fallen trees.  Turns out a rotted Poplar tree fell at the base and took out part of my big Sugar Maple.  These trees outline the border of my back yard as do all the ones in the back.  One of my neighbors cut up the trees, took some of the good wood for his fireplace and he and his kids dragged the remains to the curb for our Village to pick up.  I'm so lucky to have such great neighbors.  Of course, now every time it rains and/or is windy, I wonder what's going to fall next.

  • Memorial Day - I took the boys solo to the Memorial Day Parade. This was a little victory for me as they are at the point where they don't want to sit in a stroller (or most any other place) for long periods of time. I managed to get their wagon in the trunk of my car with the handle pushed through the pass-through opening in the back seat (between their car seats). A bungee cord held the trunk down enough for me to see out the back window. It worked well. I wish I had tried it sooner - there were lots of trips where that wagon would have come in handy! But now I know for future. 
Waiting for the parade.

  • Parent/Teacher conference at Daycare. Let me start by saying how much I love the boys' teacher. The boys adore him and I think he is an excellent male influence where the boys are lacking men in their lives. That being said, he told me in so many words that I am lazy (in regards to potty training), that my boys should be drinking out of regular cups (they do when seated at the table, otherwise they use sippy or straw cups), and that they need more work on eating with spoons and forks (using one hand). He's not wrong, but, as is true with many of my blog readers I imagine, being told I'm lazy stung a bit. I'm exhausted and trying to stay afloat on my own with them as my first priority and maintaining my household next.

    He also told me that he has witnessed the Dynamo get winded and have labored breathing when playing. I've seen this too and we have a doctor's appointment on Friday to see what's up. Hopefully it's not a big deal. Asthma and food allergies are related but it's Sweet Potato who has the allergies. More on this to follow. 

  • Garage Sale (Technically June 1st but including with May because the prep time involved took days before the sale.)  What a PAIN garage sales are! I did sell some things and made some money and got rid of some stuff (which, yes, is the point), but geesh.  And I parted with some momentos of infanthood which was a little difficult but necessary. 

So far June appears to be much calmer.  And I'm happy for that!  Job is still going great - I wonder how I ever managed not working from home after doing it for nearly three months.    

I'm dealing with some internal struggles, too, right now.  I need to get them out and write about them because I know you all can relate and always provide so much support.  I think I'm a little bit in denial but I'll share soon.  Putting it here is my reminder and this will make sure I do talk about it.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Oh Hiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

Hello out there!  (Or as the Dynamo would say from the top of his outdoor play set, "Hi Up Dare!"  (even though he is the one "up") and I would answer, "Hi, down there!"  And then we would reverse it.

I thought I would drop in for a quick update!

We are doing really well!  My new work-from-home job is awesome.  I feel really, really lucky to have landed this job.  It's challenging and a lot of work and I love that.  I feel productive which is a nice switch.  And I don't think I have to tell anyone the benefits of working from home.  I mowed the back lawn the other day on my lunch hour. 

And before anyone asks (although my readers probably know better), YES, the kids are still going to daycare.  When they are home, I can barely walk into another room without them needing or wanting something so there really is no way I could work if they were here with me during the work day.  I am amazed by how many people have asked me this and even mothers and a mother of twins!  My routine is great - I take them to daycare ("school") in the morning, come home and start my work day and then pick them up at the end of the day.  It's a nice separation of home/work life too with the added bonus of my own bathroom, kitchen, office (with windows that open), super casual clothing, and noise control.  It's a dream so far.

And speaking of work, I have to get back to it so I will leave you with some photos.  I've been trying to keep up/catch up on your blogs but not commenting as much as I should.  I will try to do more commenting soon. 

Waiting for Elmo and Sesame Street Live to begin!

At one of our favorite places: the local children's museum.
Reading stories before bed.

Crazy Hair Day at school.  (and a photobomber!)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

MeAndBaby Bits

  • The twins and I ended up with no plans this past weekend after a playdate was canceled and the weather was a little too cold to play outside.  This makes for a long weekend.  And, the boys have decided that they are no longer napping on the weekends.  (More on this below)  This makes for an even longer weekend.  When it's just the three of us from Friday night to Monday morning, and two out of three of us just turned two and a half, it can be challenging.  From now on, if we do not have plans, I am putting them in the car and we are going SOMEWHERE.  Even if we have to just drive around, we are getting out of the house. They need to blow off steam and I need for them to blow off steam.  I'm embarrassed to say I lost my cool and Sweet Potato now knows how to say 'God dammit'.  Not a proud mommy moment. 
  • I'm not ready for the boys to be done with naps on the weekends.  They are not ready either even though they may think they are.  When they graduated to toddler beds, we stopped trying to nap in their room and went to bean bag chairs and blankets in the playroom.  And it worked for awhile.  Over the past few weekends, it has gone from only one day for both kids to one day for one kid to no days for no kids.  They are great at going to bed at night and staying there.  I tried last weekend getting them to nap in their beds again and that was a no-go.  They nap great at daycare on cots.  I was thinking of bringing their sound machine back into the room to see if music might help but I can't find it!  I had to take it and everthing else out of the nursery and have slowly started bringing things back.  Thoughts?
  • I have two days left at my current job.  My new, work-from-home job starts Monday. (I have Friday off to finish getting my home office in order and run some errands.)  My plan is to really give this new company all I have professionally (something I failed to do at this job since I was so frustrated with the schedule and started looking for something new practically from day one).  I really hope this new job works out and I can do it and like it and they like me.  Stay tuned.
  • My mom has been gone for almost three weeks and sadly the boys haven't asked about her.  Her visits had slowed down in the months before she moved away already so that's probably part of it.  I have been talking about her to them and hope to get Skype set up so we can do some video chats. 
  • I belong to a food allergy support group for Sweet Potato's allergies and this weekend they are having a food-free movie night at the church where the meetings are held.  I'm excited about going - it will be the boys' first experience with the "big screen" and I hope they sit still.  We are to bring camp chairs or blankets.  I'm debating whether or not to bring their Thomas the Tank folding chairs, camp chairs for all three of us or just a blanket.  Little decisions like this can make or break an event.  Not to mention I have to carry it all and walk them up and down stairs in the basement of the church.  Wish me luck. 
  • It seems March is the month of events.  Along with movie night, Grandma's birthday and my birthday, we also have tickets to see Sesame Street Live on St. Patty's Day.  (Thank you, Sarah, for giving me the idea!)  I have enlisted a friend to come with us for the 11:30 AM show and I think I am more excited than the boys are. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Action Plan?

Last night I fell down the basement stairs carrying a box of books and pictures frames in preparation of converting my guest room into my home office for my new job.  I slipped on something I left on the side of the stairs and skidded down them on my back dropping the box with a loud crash and sending pieces of glass everywhere.  I hurt my back and it's sore today. I'm okay but it scared the shit out of me.  The twins were asleep two floors up with their door closed.  I was in my PJs and didn't have my phone on me.  What if I really hurt myself and couldn't move?  It would be a good twelve hours before anyone missed me.   

I lived alone for twelve years before the twins came and didn't give this a second thought.  Now that they're here, everything is different including me trying to take better care of myself for them. (and being less careless!)

I know it's impossible to predict something bad happening and the reality is something really bad could happen at any time.  How does one take precautions for their children just in case?  Is it possible?  Do any of you have any kind of check-in/action plan in place?  I'm not talking about a will (although I still need to finalize that).  I'm talking about an immediate need for help when you can't get to a phone.  This time of year I don't see my neighbors much.  I doubt they would notice if my car didn't leave the garage one morning.  My thoughts are all over the place today.  I think this back pain is making me nuts...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thank you for the supportive comments on my last post.  I have a new job and start in two weeks!  I will be working from home and am very excited!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Potential Opportunity!

Last week I had two job interviews.  TWO.  With two different companies.  This week I have had two more interviews with one of those companies.  Over the past year I have had a handful of call backs for new positions, mostly from recruiters with jobs that either still entailed on-call/after hours work or that didn't pay enough for me to keep my house. 

Last week was the first actual in-person interview I've had since the one I had for my current job almost two years ago. 

I've been reluctant to say much to anyone about these possible opportunities because of the whole jinx factor.  The jinx factor was strong for me when TTC and, as silly as it might be, it has carried on to other parts of my life too.  But I can't keep quiet.  I might get an official offer TODAY from one of these positions! 

I would take either one of these jobs if offered to me and the one I haven't heard back from and that is slow moving likely doesn't pay as much as I would like/need.  I don't know the exact salary but they are a not-for-profit and when asking me my desired range, indicated that it was "slightly" high.  (But she said slightly like 3 times so I don't think slightly describes it.)

I'm sitting at my current job (with very little to do) writing this post and willing my cell phone to ring.  I've spoke with the two owners and the sales person and the person I would be reporting to spoke to one of my references yesterday and indicated they were very close to making me an offer.  This potential position would be a work-from-home opportunity with another software company.  They seemed pretty anxious to fill this new role for their growing-fast company and I would be thrilled to be able to tender my resignation and 2-week notice here today.  Thrilled. 

  • If this was to work out, I would no longer be required to be on-call the week of March 18th which would be through my birthday.
  • If this was to work out, I would no longer be required to be on-call for the weeks of Memorial Day and Christmas and I would no longer be the back-up on-call person for the week of the 4th of July.
  • If this was to work out, I would no longer work one evening shift per week plus one Friday night per month in which Awesome Sitter has to pick up the boys from daycare.
  • If this was to work out, I would no longer be required every 4 weeks to be on tap for middle-of-the-night-come-into-the-office software installs that no one told me about at my interviews.
  • If this was to work out, on my lunch breaks from home I could take my shower, do laundry, pick-up the house, and even run to the grocery store saving a ton of evening time spent doing these chores.  Evening time much better spent with the twins or sleeping!
  • If this was to work out, when the boys start school in a few years, getting them on and off the school bus might be easier.
Now before you think that I might be being petty about the on-call stuff since that is not uncommon in my field, let me explain the abuse of on-call that this company has.  On-call for this company means required weekend non-emergency work.  It means maintenance procedures that should/could be performed by other departments.  It means non-emergency administrative stuff that can easily be done during normal business hours.  To me, on-call should be emergency issues only: keep the customer running, answer customer calls, work customer high priority issues.  Only.  I was the only person on-call for my last job 24/7.  I did do some things from home after hours but I had a big window of time in which to complete them and the emergency stuff where I had to go in on a weekend or at night was rare because it was for true emergencies only.  Here, documentation (for statistics purposes and analysis) is required to be completed during off-hours.  A friend of mine who is a long-time partner for a consulting firm agrees - this is not what on-call should be.

If this was to work out, I might actually start to feel productive again and be happier and less stressed.

If either of these jobs works out, it would be a very good thing.  Stay tuned!

Monday, February 11, 2013

MeAndBaby Bits

  • The twins have been in daycare for 6 weeks.  And they love it.  And I love that they love it.  On day 2, the Dynamo pooped ON THE POTTY at school.  That happened before any pee on the potty took place and before any real talk of potty training at home took place.  I have had little potty chairs in our bathrooms for some time and both boys have sat on them in their clothes but really that had been it.  They both have now randomly pooped and peed on the potty at school and the Dynamo has now pooped and peed in his little potty at home.  This was a nice early bonus of daycare as I did not expect to be doing any potty training until at least Spring.
  • My mom is definitely moving.  And it's happening this weekend.  I'm sad that the boys are losing time with their Grandma but happy for my mom.  That's all I can say about this right now.
  • Work still sucks.  As in really sucks.  The after-hours rotation (and by after hours I mean in-the-middle-of-the-night for several hours) schedule has picked up as we have lost people in our department.  There is now the potential for some after hours event to take place for me every 3 to 4 weeks.  The anxiety I feel over this is extreme.  I've talked to my supervisor and the head of our department since this was not explained to me when I started employment.  Those chats have not gotten me too far. I have been actively looking for something new.  I think this will likely get worse before it gets better.  I'm trying to control the stress I am feeling from this worry so it doesn't affect the boys.
  • The boys are still doing well with speech therapy.  They are in session two times per week with their therapist now going to their daycare. 
  • One of the infant teachers at daycare commented how the boys look like me.  I told her I don't often hear that - I usually hear that one does and one does not (see this post).  She asked if Sweet Potato looks like his dad.  Instead of just saying yes which is sort of true since he has the characteristics of the donor and sort of not true since I do not consider the donor their dad, I told her and anyone else in earshot how I used an anonymous donor but Sweet Potato did have the same traits as the donor and so well, yes, the answer to her question was yes.  And then I apologized for over-sharing when, in fact, I'm not sorry but want them to know the boys' story as I am open about it.  It was slightly awkward as I was rambling on like I am here.  The teacher was great about it and said something like they hear a lot of stories and sharing was fine with them.  Or something. 
  • Toddlerhood is hard.  Age almost two-and-a-half is either more difficult than infanthood or I suppressed that past time in our lives and just don't remember it.  There are pockets of easier times like when the boys play nicely together and I can step out of the room but, as a whole, meeting both of their needs (sometimes at the same time) is overwhelming.  I'm trying to let other things go more - like the need to make sure the house is picked up all the time - in favor of spending quality, happy time with my kids. Along with that, I need and want more support.  I'm not really a joiner but I've been looking around a bit online for SMC and other single parent groups.  I can't seem to find anything local that appears to be current. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Unexpected Gratitude

She kept staring at the twins and then looking at me. "They look so different from each other."

I smiled at her.

She said it again, perplexed that twin boys could look anything but alike. "I mean, he looks just like you. And he... Did you get to pick?"

This caught me off guard. It was Christmas Eve at my cousin's house and his 20 year-old cousin on the other side of the family, a single mother herself to a 2 year-old boy, was intrigued.

"Pardon me?" I said, as it was sinking in what she was asking. Obviously I hadn't forgotten that my boys were conceived with anonymous donor sperm but it isn't something I had thought of recently.

"Did you get to pick?"

"Oh. Um, yes. I did."

"Did you see a picture?"

"No, I didn't see a picture first." (At least not for this donor as by the time I got to IUI #8, the fancy bank with the bells and whistles was out of my price range.)

"It's just [The Dynamo] looks just like you and [Sweet Potato]...." her voice trailed off.

"Right. He looks like the donor", I said.

"So you saw a picture?"

"No, (again) I didn't. He has the same traits."

"Oh so you know about him."

"Yeah. A little bit."

She and I were not close. I see her once, maybe twice, a year at a party or holiday. We had never talked about anything personal before. Obviously, someone told her how my boys were conceived and she was curious. I'm glad she was. I'm glad she reminded me of the questions to come. And of the wonderful thing an anonymous person did that enabled me to build my family.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Special Days

Today is our anniversary.  Three years ago today, I made my family

I found the boys playing with this handy kitchen tool and could not resist grabbing the camera.  If only they new why.  :)


We had a very nice Christmas.  The boys know who Santa is now so it's more fun for all of us.  They saw him when he made a special appearance at my cousin's house on Christmas Eve but kept their distance. 

Santa is sitting right behind Sweet Potato!
The Dynamo watching as Santa departs.


Toddler beds are going pretty well with some modifications:  the boys don't take their naps in them.  They sleep in the playroom on the floor or on their bean bag chairs.  They've been great about staying in their beds at night and while it's not the norm, the past few days I have actually been awake in the mornings before they have. 

Photo courtesy of awesome sitter delivered via text.
We're in the middle of our first major snow storm of the season and they're predicting a foot or more of snow when it's all said and done sometime tomorrow.  I couldn't be happier about it especially since I am off from work this week.  Looks like we'll get good use out of our snow attire!


Happy New Year!   May 2013 bring you JOY.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Toddler Bed Adventures

My 27 month-old angels (ha) have graduated to toddler beds.  I was in favor of keeping them in cribs forever and prolonging their developmental growth for as long as possible for my own selfish reasons*. But Sweet Potato had other ideas. He began quietly climbing out of his crib a couple of weeks ago.  He would open the bedroom door and saunter down the hall, one time with no pants on. The Dynamo wanted some freedom, too, and after seeing his (littler in size) brother climb out, he tried it -a little less delicately.  Fortunately for me the climbing only happened during naptime and after a few days of it, I knew I had to convert the cribs to beds.  I ordered new mattresses too (because the old ones were in sorry shape) and bed rails to keep them from rolling out.  A big production was made about their "new big boy beds!" and they even got to help put them together. 

Looooong story short, all items except the beds and one dresser have been removed from the room including the light bulb in the ceiling light.  The clothes that used to be kept in the dresser have been relocated to the spare bedroom and the dresser drawers taped shut.  Before the bed conversion, while they didn't spend a lot of awake time in their room, they had access to the dresser and didn't pay too much attention to it.  The same goes for the closet door which they have taken off its track at least three times.

Lucky for me, overnight has been pretty good for this transition but naps have been almost non-existent.  I managed to get them to nap this past weekend both days by taking turns sitting with them on their beds after letting them burn off some energy like wild boys running around their room while I watched for about an hour and a half.  This is clearly a work in progress.  Their lack of naps has made them unbearable after work and they collapse early for the night and wake up EARLY for the day.  I'm reminded of their infancy a lot these days! 

In other news, the boys will be starting daycare full-time after the holidays.  I've yet to decide on which center (due to Sweet Potatoes food allergies and the centers' proximity to home/work) but have narrowed the list down.  I knew this was coming.  I did consider enrolling them this month after my mother ditched me yet again (this time with no notice) for a scheduled-where-she-gets-paid day of babysitting while I work.  That and the fact that she cannot handle the boys for long periods of time anymore on her own.  (Frankly somedays I can't either*).  I pushed it to January 2nd to give us more transition time with the new sleeping arrangements since they will be napping on cots at daycare, and because I have Christmas week off from work and can prep them -and me- for this new phase in our lives.

*not really.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Picture Post

My Sweet Boys

Sweet Potato

The Dynamo

Teef Brushing

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

And now she's pissing me off.

Putting aside the whole moving thing for a minute, my mom has been adjusting her babysitting schedule a bit to allow for time with the long distance boyfriend.  My awesome sitter is very accomodating and switches days with her a lot. 

I mentioned in my last post that my mom will be going away for Thanksgiving.  And also New Year's.  Not only did she book her flight for New Year's without getting babysitting coverage (a.k.a. asking me to see if the sitter will switch days), she sent me two emails Sunday night:

From: My mom
Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2012 9:30 PM
To: Me
Subject: Thanksgiving


Sorry to say, but the trip for Thanksgiving is going to have to start on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.  That means I can't sit on Tuesday but can on Monday. If [awesome sitter] can switch from Monday to Tuesday, there'd still be coverage for the boys.  Could you ask her or do you want me to call her?

From: My mom
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2012 5:23 AM
To: Me
Subject: just remembered

You work late on Mondays, do you think [awesome sitter] could work the late shift, from 5:30 to 9:30?

How about, she just says it point blank: "sorry to say, but.. ".  Really?  

To make it more interesting, she is planning on going to his house this weekend and he is coming back upstate to visit her next weekend.  The twins and I have Halloween festivities planned next weekend.  It looks like she is choosing to miss those too - specifically a party with Sweet Potato's food allergy group.  She attended an event with us and this group in the spring and really enjoyed it. 


Thank you very much for your comments on my last post.  I love the support I get here.  In a real emergency, I know I could call Fabulous D or even a neighbor for help.  I hope I never have to.  The non-emergency emergencies cause me anxiety too.  The things I don't want to bother my best friends or my neighbors with but still need someone to be there for.  And the times when the twins just plain overwhelm me and I need a break. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rules on Becoming a SMC

My mother might be moving.... away.  Like six hours by car, away.  She's my only immediate family in the area and my first line of defense.  Or support.  Or help.  Or something.

She met someone.  A friend introduced her to her father and after emailing and talking on the phone with him for about a year, he drove here to meet her.  They vacationed together.  And he drove here to see her again. She has plans to visit him next weekend by plane, is traveling with him to his daughter's house in another state for Thanksgiving, and has already booked a flight to go there for the New Year's holiday.  She said it's a miracle they found each other.  I'm THRILLED for her.  Thrilled.  Truly.

It's no secret on this blog that my mom and I do not always see eye-to-eye.  Part of that, I think, stems from the fact that she has been lonely and her only real outlet has been caring for the twins a few days each week and helping me when I've needed it.  She has been so much happier since she met this man and, in turn, we have been getting along really well.  (She still does things differently with the boys than I do but doesn't flip out when I mention it, or when I ask a question -we both are tolerating things better.)

And now there's talk about one of them moving so they can be together.  He has grown children but no grandchildren nearby.  He has a house and some boating and wood working hobbies.  He already wants to sell his house and move to a quieter neighborhood.  But you know what?  She wants to move there.  She has an apartment so I guess it makes sense but he already wants to sell his house.  They are going HOUSE HUNTING when she visits next weekend. 

She has grandbabies here.  She wants to move away from them.  He lives an hour outside of New York City. And she loves the city. 

The selfish part of me (and, yes, I am aware that this post is showing the selfish side of me) wants to call her out.  We talked about this.  She said she would be here.  Before I started fertility treatments (when the "plan" was one baby), I asker her if she was on-board.  To be fair, I would have proceeded even if she wasn't but not only was she, she offered to help.  Originally she wanted to watch the kids full-time.  And I'm not even just talking about the childcare I would be losing - what about the Grandma care?  What about the middle-of-the-night trips to the ER and I have 2 kids and one of me?  What about the fevers and colds and broken bones and what about when I get sick?  We talked about this.  I don't lean on her at night right now.  I (knock on wood) haven't had to call her for help beyond her scheduled babysitting since the boys were sick last year.  But she does help.  She comes by most Sundays without me asking and I get to run an errand or color my hair or mow the lawn or clean out closets.  She does most of the twins' laundry.  She sews holes and makes sauce and plants flowers.

I do my damnest to do it all on my own "just in case" I have to.  But to actually HAVE TO?  Without a safety net? 

I had a feeling this was coming.  When she brought it up, I was very supportive.  We joked about what furniture of hers I would get.  I didn't say a word about my reservations about how I would manage my mother's choice to move away from my family.  Typing it out makes it sound even more ridiculous.  I could have called her out.  I could have said, "You said you would be here.  You said you would help.  You said I could call and you would come running."   And more recently, I could have said, "We talked about me taking a new job and you said you would help with the twins when I am on-call for work."  But, nope.  I didn't say any of it.  And don't plan to.  Even if I could say those things out loud, if anything I had to say convinced her to stay and he moved here and he hated it or they hated it or whatever, she would probably resent me.  And possibly resent the twins.  I could never risk that. 

But, again, she might be moving away from her grandsons.  They are a huge part of her life.  In one of our early arguments, she feared I would cut her out of their lives, (which I would never do) and once she asked if I would allow the boys to have a continuity of family.  Now she might be choosing to move away when there are possible other options. 

And I might be losing my safety net.  And breaking a huge SMC rule.  Physical support.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

MeAndBaby Bits

The past few weeks have been full of activities and appointments.   I'd like to get it all down here and in order to do that, I need to bullet. 
  • The twins and I had our first professional (if you don't count studio pictures at JCPenney -and I DON'T) photo shoot.  I received the shoot and some prints as a Christmas gift last year.  While I haven't seen the pictures yet, the photographer was awesome.  He asked what we like to do as a family and I told him go to the park.  So off to the park we all went and he spent over an hour with us taking candid and some posed pictures.  I cannot wait to see the photos.  The Dynamo was a tough cookie - refusing to smile or sit with me on the blanket at first.  Sweet Potato was a ham the entire time!
  • We made our third trip to the zoo.  Great fun and the twins almost actually paid attention to the animals this time. 
  • I took the boys for a visit to my old job.  The people there were like family to me and so good to me when I was pregnant and when the babies were first born.  I left that job when they were five months old and we have visited twice since then.  (once also when I was on maternity leave).  It was a nice visit but I think it was our last.  As unhappy as I am with my current work situation (re: schedule), I need to close the book on that part of my life.  My old job was my whole life for so long that it's been an adjustment to end that "relationship" but I think I am finally there.  I will stay in touch a bit with a few former co-workers and that's fine.
  • The boys had their 2 year check-ups.  I have been taking them one at a time separately but the schedule didn't allow it this time so Fabulous D joined us (thank God).  I will update their "Grow With Me" pages with their full stats but in summary, they are doing pretty well health wise.  Sweet Potato hasn't gained any weight since his last check-up but the doctor isn't too concerned about it.  He was concerned, however, with both boys' lack of speech.  And honestly, I am too, and have been for awhile.  I think I am encouraging the lack of words, though, by not forcing them to say what they want when I already know.  The guidelines are that they should have at least twenty words (they maybe have 10?), a few two word phrases (none), and are understood at least fifty percent of the time (maybe 20% of the time of the words they do say).  The interesting thing is there are words they have said in the past (like "dark"), that they don't say now.  They were referred to the Early Intervention Program and so far, we have had the evaluation portion.  More on this in a coming post but the short story is they are both "severely delayed" in speech but at or exceeding development in all other areas for their age.  They will be participating in weekly speech therapy.

The Dynamo and "bubbo!" (bubbles).

Sweet Potato at the zoo. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Date

(look at me - two posts in two days!  I guess I'm tired of having posts float around in just my head - usually when I am driving, or taking a shower - so I'm going to try and get them out there.)

So yesterday was the work vent.  The issues remain, obviously, and I continue to job search being careful to only apply for positions where on-call rotations are not listed in the posting.  I have applied for probably a half-dozen or so jobs over the past year.  Zero call backs.  I will keep chugging along and see what happens.  Fingers crossed.  The sitter said to me that I need to find a rich man to marry so I can stay home with the boys.  If only it were that easy! 

Which leads me to today's topic - I went on A DATE.  This is the first date I have been on since before the boys were born.  It was a few weeks ago and it was with an old flame.  I've talked about him here before and allowed him to break my heart more than once over the years.  This time though?  No heartbreak. 

He initiated and persisted on taking me to dinner even when my schedule didn't really allow it and I had to change our plans a few times.  We met at the restaurant (my idea) and I admit I got a few butterflies when I saw him in the parking lot but from there, it went down hill.  After our initial updates (both of us have new jobs since we saw each other last, I have a new house, family stuff, etc), he carried on throughout the entire dinner talking about an ex who cheated on him and just moved out of his house.  I had thought all this time that he was just a non-committal workaholic when in fact, the non-committal part was about me.  Duh.  I think I knew (no, I know I knew) this deep down but this time it hit me like a ton of bricks. 

He met the ex online and she has three school-aged children from two prior marriages.  She was still married when they met two and half years ago (a few months after our last date and we have been in touch during that time).  He moved her into his house, remodeled his basement to make room for another bedroom, they talked marriage(!), went to counseling (are you kidding me), and apparently in April when he refused to get a joint checking account with her, she moved out when he wasn't home and into the house of another guy.  And her Facebook status now says "engaged" according to a friend of his (he is not on FB).   But she was still calling him/loved him/wanted him back.  He left his cell phone in his truck during dinner so she wouldn't interrupt us.  You know, because him talking about her the whole time was so much better. 

I sat there in disbelief as he spoke (flagging down our waitress to bring me more wine) and when I finally had a chance to talk - about something else - he got up to LEAVE.  We were done eating and he had paid the check but I literally said to him, "Did you just get up to leave while I'm talking?"  He said, "Oh, I'm sorry", but basically kept on going.  So, this time, (no, really - THIS time) I'm done.  I have new priorities and those two little people I can't wait to see when I get home have changed my attitude.  He's not worth it.  He said he wanted to take me out again.  I didn't answer him at dinner but sent him a text when I got home and told him I wasn't interested.  Then I deleted all his messages and emails.  The end. 

Even though this date was a bust, I'm not throwing in the towel on dating altogether.  Hopefully, I won't have to wait another three years for date number two but I'm also not actively looking (as if I had time).  If something presents itself, I'm open to it.  I'm just glad this time I didn't get sucked back in.  And, hey, at least the food was good.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Work Vent

I'm having a really hard time with my job.  (I almost typed that I hate my job but the only thing I really hate is the word hate so I don't want to misuse it.)   There are some petty dislikes I could live with if it weren't for one big one that I can't get past: the schedule.  Not only is there an on-call rotation (more on that below) but there is another rotation in the mix that could cause me to have to go into the office off-off hours (3 AM - 11 AM for example) and it's the sort of thing that is planned last minute - as in the day before.  Yeah.  That really doesn't work for a one-parent family.  Not to mention they never told me about this second rotation during my lenghty interview process.

At my last job I was always on-call.  They outfitted me with a laptop and cell phone and paid for my high-speed Internet access at home (I really miss those perks), but the on-call at the old company was nothing like the new company.  At the new company, it's fix it right now, immediately and hey, we screw up a lot so you will have A LOT of work to do when you are on call.  No plans away from home that entire week as you need to respond within fifteen minutes. Which sucks big time because I'd really like to enroll the twins in a Saturday morning toddler soccer program this fall and I can't.  I will be on-call once during the session.  At the last job, if it was off-hours, I usually had until the the start of the next day or all weekend for weekend issues.  I rarely had to go into the office to fix something on the weekend and I was the only one on-call for my department. 

I have never had a problem finding a job.  In my twenties I quit a job and moved to a new town before I had a new one.  And I had a new one within three weeks.  When I decided to leave my last job, the one I have now was found very early in my search and was the only one I interviewed for.  Now I am a parent with more responsibilities.  And the job market is not the same as it was twenty years ago.  I can't just quit.  I mean, I could and go to a placement agency but if I was to find something, it probably wouldn't pay the mortgage and the sitters and the grocery bill all totaled up.  As it is now, I am barely squeaking by and have to transfer money from my savings account to cover my monthly bills - a lot. 

I really like the new company's core values, community involvement, diversity and they are very family friendly.  If I could get into another department where there is no after-hours work involved, I think I could be very happy there. Unfortunatly, you need to be with the company a long time first and there are only two other departments that don't require after hours work. 

I think about this all the time.  And I dread going to work.  Even after maternity leave and spending almost four months with my babies, I didn't dread my last job like I do this one.  I've been looking for a new job.  A lot.  I even met with a placement agency.  Unfortunately, I know a little about a lot of things but not a lot about just one thing - which is what they look for.  Argh.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mid-Summer Highlights

I had the first week of July off from work to spend with friends and attend a wedding.  Here are some of the highlights from that week:
  • A close friend who I had not seen since the 2ww for Beta with the twins (I wrote this post from her house the last time we were together) came to visit and stayed with me for a few days.  It was so great spending time with her.  I wish she never moved away.
  • I went out three nights in a row which makes the number of times I've gone out at night since the boys were born about four.   
  • On the 4th of July, Sweet Potato fell into a pool. We had been sitting on the steps going into the pool but it was still scary as hell. Thankfully, my mommy instincts kicked in and I yanked him out by his legs. He didn't swallow any water.
  • On one of my nights out (see second item above), my mother CUT THE DYNAMO'S HAIR without my consent or knowledge.  And then didn't tell me about it.
  • One of the pipes under my kitchen sink burst. My awesome handyman, who hates plumbing, fixed it on the same day.
  • I went to a fun wedding with some close friends who I hadn't seen in a long time. 
  • The twins attended their second ever parade and second ever trip to the zoo.  Although insanely hot during the parade, I would classify both events as a success.
  • Worth repeating: my mother CUT THE DYNAMO'S HAIR without my consent or knowledge.
In other news: remember this guy?  I won't be surprised if no one does. I heard from him again last week.  We spoke about a year ago and maybe one time before that since the babies were born.  Nothing much there to report - there was some talk of going out to dinner but it hasn't happened.  The reason that I'm bringing him up is that in our messaging back and forth, he reminded me that I am a SMC.  Which is perfectly fine but I guess I sometimes forget. I mean I never forget that I run a one-parent household but I don't often think of how we got that way.  At least not right now with the twins being so young. 

Here's some excepts from our messages:
J:  So tell me, do you think U chose the right "guy"?
Me:  ?
J:  Only time will tell
Me:   I don't understand the question.  Seriously.  (I really had no idea what he was asking)
Me ~3 minutes later:  Ohhh, the donor?
J:  Yes, duh! :)))
Me:  I don't even think about it.
J:  :)
Me:  I forgot how old fashioned you are
J:  I'm not, I was just wondering if you ever think it
Me:  He's my hero
J:  That's GREAT! I am really happy 4 U!
Me:  Thanks!
J:  You always did have your shot together. :)
Me:  A lot of good that did me when it came to you
Oh and speaking of going out on a date (something I have not done in three years and the last one was with J), that blind date guy?  Yeah, he never called.  Oh well!

In other, other news, I'm planning a non-party birthday party for the twins 2nd birthday.  Just us and some close friends who are regularly in the boys' lives.  All those family members we only see once or twice a year?  Not so much.  Maybe I'll change my mind next year but until my boys can tell me who they would like to spend time with, I'm choosing who I think they enjoy being with the most.  A big party for adults (who are not necessarily my favorites) with bigger kids my kids barely know who overwhelm them?  I'll pass. 

And in case you missed it, while I was out one night, my mother CUT THE DYNAMO'S HAIR without my consent or knowledge.  I'm thinking this may deserve a post in itself.  I bet you can hardly wait.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

21 Months and 1st Parade

I had 5 glorious days off from work for the holiday weekend and had an awesome time with the twins. There are some long weekends, hell there are some short weekends, when I can't wait to go back to work so I can have a baby break but not this time. The weather was awesome, the water toys, pool and sprinkler have been in full force and the boys have loved it!

We went to Fabulous D's son's soccer game one night and Sweet Potato was on the edge of his stroller seat watching most of the time except for in this picture -

The bling on his wrist is his super cool medical bracelet for his food allergies.

We went to that picnic I talked about in the last post.  A fenced in back yard sealed the deal! 

Dismantling the yard games.

On Memorial Day, the twins attended their first parade.  It was a great success!

It was really hard to come back to work. The boys are verging on the terrible two's and I see signs of that already sometimes but for the most part, this age has been a whole lot of fun!