where I go from here, part I

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Last July I did a four-part blog on how I upended my professional life and stepped away from the legal world. I left it hanging as to what I would be doing now that I wasn’t practicing, mainly because it was still very much up in the air. For most of my pregnancy I knew that I was going to have twins and then..? Well, I got a phone call about two weeks before I gave birth that changed everything. However, I am going to have to back up to October 2013…

It was about October of 2013 that I was desperate for something, anything, to get me out of my firm job. I felt so helpless, all I wanted was a job where I felt safe, where I felt appreciated and needed. I was looking for teaching positions and wasn’t coming up with anything when I stumbled across Teach for America.

For those of you not in the know, TFA is a national non-profit organization that places educators in low-income communities. TFA states, “Our mission is to enlist, develop, and mobilize our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity.” What this meant for me, practically, is that I would be teaching in a low-income school while I earned my teaching credential. It sounded like an amazing fit for me. I knew about this TFA in college, but I already had plans to move to England and marry Rob so I had never considered it seriously. I didn’t really know the details, but I started the application process and crossed my fingers.

The process was rigorous. Essays to be written and lesson plans to develop. If I made it past the first steps I would have to present a lesson, on a topic of my choosing, to a classroom of other applicants. I made it through the interview process and everyone seemed very impressed with me. I say this not because I think I am super cool, but because it was such a different experience from where I was working. I was starting to become used to thinking I was crap at everything. Having people tell me I was qualified and a great fit was amazing.

Early January I found out that I had been accepted to teach English… in Las Vegas. I knew this was part of the deal. I could be placed anywhere in the country. But I also knew that I couldn’t move to Las Vegas. I tried to convince Rob that we could totally move and he was like, um no. And then, I lost the baby. Instead of turning TFA down I asked if I could defer for a year. I figured, a lot could happen in a year…

 

Evelyn & Olivia, Six Months

We found out that we were having twins on April 3 of last year. Today, April 4, Evie and Liv are six months.

What a difference a year makes…

Evie and Liv have been growing in leaps and bounds over the last month. I actually had to look back on my five month update to see how far we have come in the last month. They are continually growing, but they haven’t gone up much in the weight department since month five. I blame the stomach flu. It took down our entire house. I have never seen babies vomit like that. It was inhuman. It took them almost a week to get over it.

The flu really interrupted them getting established on solid foods. We are just now getting back into the swing of it. Rob spent the day peeling, dicing, and cooking fruits and vegetables. Evie and Liv are champs when it comes to fruit but not so much on the vegetable front. We just started baby yogurt and they went bananas for it. Current food favorites include pears, peaches, and prunes. Green beans are not very popular. I am working on mixing fruits and vegetables so they are at least exposed to the flavors. They are very insistent on helping feed themselves which leads to food everywhere, but they have both mastered getting the spoon in their mouth.

I was hoping that once we introduced food they would magically start sleeping through the night. Haaaaa. We are usually up at 11, 2, and 5.  Evie is getting closer to only needing one overnight feed but Olivia is like, give me all the foodnow. 

Both girls can now roll from back to belly and belly to back. This is adorable and dangerous. I don’t know if it is intentional or accidental, but no matter how far apart I lay them, they roll on top of each other. And not usually in a cute, they love each other sort of way. More like, how long is it going to take before one of them has a black eye? They are aware of each other but they don’t interact, per se. They mainly just stare. I am anxiously waiting for them to start babbling to each other.

They have discovered their feet. There is nothing cuter than Evie gnawing on her toes. Except, perhaps, Evie gnawing on Liv’s toes. Evie started occupational therapy today (finally). The therapist believes she is no longer delayed. However, she has been approved to visit Evie once a week so we are going to work on developmental play and hitting more milestones. She was impressed with both girls and thinks both are very close to sitting up!

Their personalities continue to emerge and I find so much joy in them. When I was pregnant I said I was most looking forward to baby laughs. We are there. They love being startled. They laugh and laugh when I scare them. They both like being thrown in the air and laugh hysterically. They laugh when I kiss their necks and when I sing Uptown Funk. They recognize faces and voices and turn their heads to look for someone talking to them. Arrrrghhh it kills me.

And now, lets move on to pictures before I turn into a puddle of mush.

IMG_5440Rob and I were able to attend the 125 year celebration of my university. Tad was one of my advisors in college and he is one of my favorite people in the world. I wanted to hug him 500 times. What you can’t tell in this picture is that Olivia just had a massive blowout and my hand is full of poop. Jen – 0, Olivia – 1.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetHolding hands. Evie | Liv

IMG_5439Evie | Liv

IMG_5444Mom, get this crazy child off of me!! Evie | Liv

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Nothing to see here.. Evie | Liv

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Liv | Evie

IMG_5429Bedtime with Daddy.

IMG_5383New bows for Easter. Evie | Liv

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Evie | Liv

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Livvy was laughing at me.

IMG_5438Evie

the internet is magic

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Recently the Today show did a segment on sharenting, or using the internet to share the highs and lows of parenting. Despite the completely ridiculous name, I am 100% on board.

Over a year ago I joined a group of first time moms on Facebook. It’s a private group, there are only about 20 of us. I actually joined the group during my first pregnancy. We were all expecting in September 2014. When I miscarried I almost left the group because it was so hard, but something told me to stay.

Fast forward to today and these ladies are now some of my dearest friends. I am still in awe of how much we have grown together. When I found out I was pregnant again, my mom group was amongst the first to know. When I found out it was twins I posted while I was still in the doctors office. We have shared incredibly high highs with each other and many of us have gone through great losses over the past year. The sense of support and camaraderie is unlike anything I have ever experienced.

It was such a gift to have a group of women all going through pregnancy together. Whether we were sharing tips on how to deal with the less fun parts of pregnancy (morning sickness, exhaustion, constipation) or discussing our plans and hopes for labor, we were there for each other. A fair few of us ended up with complications and having someone else to go through it with was priceless. Having 20 or so women to talk to while I was on bedrest did a great deal for keeping me sane.

And now here we are, all with babies between 5-10 months old, all figuring out parenting together. We all have different approaches and are doing things our own way, but what has kept our group together and thriving is it is judgement free. The pervasiveness of judgment amongst parents, especially online, is one of the huge pitfalls of “sharenting.”  People get all riled up because parents make decisions on either end of the spectrum. It can be so easy to fall into that trap. Someone is parenting differently than I am, clearly they are doing it wrong. I know it can happen to me. Parents, especially moms, can turn into schoolyard bullies and I am certain this is one of the reasons people have negative feelings about discussing parenting and motherhood on the internet.

But I wouldn’t be sane or have the amount of confidence I have in my parenting decisions if it weren’t for my mom group. Because we are spread across the country and all have small babies, someone is always awake to offer advice or support. Further, these women have made me laugh until I cried on numerous occasions. To be really cheesy, laughter is the best medicine when you think your children may have actually driven you insane.

It really does take a village, my village just happens to span the US.

Evelyn & Olivia, Five Months

Five months and they are babies, not newborns. Evie rolls over like a maniac and continues to kick Olivia in the head. Olivia has yet to roll over, content to just stare at her sister in wonderment. They have truly figured out that there are two of them and they grab for each other and stare at each other. It’s adorable and amazing, but I have already had to say don’t hit your sister!! Welcome to my life.

So where are we?? Evie is 14 lbs, 2 oz. She is 24.5 inches long and has a 16 inch head. Livvy is 14 lbs 6 oz. 24 inches long and a 16 inch head. They are both in the low 20s in their percentiles but are climbing at a quick rate and their pediatrician is pleased.

We had them assessed for any developmental delays and I wasn’t surprised with the results. Evie is slightly delayed in her fine motor skills and eye contact. Olivia is right on target. The day they were assessed was the first day of whooping cough (great scheduling, Mama) and Evie was just not going to be assessed no matter what. She was about a week behind Olivia in grasping and eye contact, which she has more than made up for now. I am continually learning, do not compare them. Just don’t. Evie made eye contact after Olivia, but Olivia hasn’t rolled over yet and shows no interest in it. Evelyn also learned how to throw a full body temper tantrum before Olivia. My quiet Evelyn is long gone. We now have to strap her down anywhere before we turn our backs. Milestones are so fun! I have had some wise twin moms remind me, they are sisters, not the same person. This is my mantra when I get worried.

We’ve entered the world of baby food which can be a minefield of opinions. Rice cereal? Oatmeal? Homemade? Organic? Baby Led Weaning? Start at 4 months? 6 months? Excuse me while I bury my head in the sand. Luckily, the mom group I belong to is judgment free and we have moms trying tons of different options. Further, my older sister has paved the way for me. She made all of Ainsley’s baby food and has been a fountain of information. All I have to do is text, sweet potatoes? She’ll text me back directions for cooking, good vegetables and fruit to mix it with, and spices that go well.

In case you were wondering, sweet potatoes, prunes, and bananas are a big hit. Zucchini is not. We are mixing oatmeal in with their purees, which they love. They did not love rice cereal and both looked at me like I had offered them poison. Note taken, girls.

We started them at 4.5 months because, just because. One Saturday I decided to give them sweet potatoes because I know them and it was time. I was very nervous that it would be a battle to have them figure out purees but they ate the whole container. So, I guess I know my children. Yay for parental validation!

Rob’s mom came all the way from England to see the girls last week. It was a lovely visit, but the end was hard for everyone. We took the girls to the zoo and the aquarium and the park and it was beautiful to have Rob home and his mum here. Unfortunately this visit coincided with their 4 month.. WTF?! For those of you not in parenting-land, month four is growth spurt month and sleep regression month. Fun times for all involved. Praise God for grandmas and afternoon naps. And Starbucks. I go too often and will not be judged.

As they get bigger I think they are getting more identical. They are getting closer in weight and their subtle differences are shifting. Evie continues to have a bit of a rounder head and narrower eyes, but these aren’t differences I would expect anyone but family to pick up on.

And without further ado, my little peanuts.
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IMG_4405Evie | Liv

IMG_4411Evie | Liv

IMG_4450Evie trying sweet potatoes for the first time.

IMG_4465Liv | Evie

IMG_4665The girls at the zoo with Grandma.

IMG_4670Livvy and Dad at the zoo.

IMG_4693Evie loving her bubblebath.

IMG_4694She kills me.

IMG_4705Livvy is a big fan of sweet potatoes, she just hasn’t gotten the whole spoon thing down yet.

IMG_4755Livvy and Aunt Jilli at the aquarium.

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IMG_4815Evie would like Rob’s dinner.

IMG_4823Evie | Liv

IMG_4825Evie | Liv

IMG_4828Evie | Liv

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EvieIMG_4851Liv

IMG_4857Livvy and Aunt Jilli at the park.

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IMG_4898I always feel bad if I don’t post an even amount of pics of the girls, but Evie was dead asleep during this little photoshoot.

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note: most of these photos were taken by Jillian, official twin photographer.  

whoop whoop

This post is long. The last couple days have been long.

Evie and Liv got their first real cold two Fridays ago. Runny noses, low fevers, lethargic, fussy babies. They just started daycare so I was pretty prepared for them to have colds. It was a rough week. We decided to head to the pediatrician last Friday because they didn’t seem to be getting any better. It sounded like the cold was starting to settle in their chests. I thought I was just being an overly cautious new mom, but the pediatrician surprised me by telling me she suspected whooping cough. Great. The girls were swabbed to find out if it was actually whooping cough or just a bad cold.

Saturday and Sunday the girls stayed pretty much the same but on Sunday night they started to sound a bit wheezy. I called the on-call pediatrician and guess what? She had just gotten the results. Positive for whooping cough. wtf. Since the girls were wheezing she wanted us to take them to the ER.

The ER on a Sunday night of a three day weekend is exactly what you would expect. It was insanely full of coughing kids and vomiting adults. And, for some reason, a lot of people weren’t wearing shoes. On top of this, the measles is going around southern California. Needless to say, the ER was really the last place I wanted to be. Luckily the intake nurse was understanding and let us wait in a little side room. I think this was mainly so we didn’t give people whooping cough, but I was still grateful. We were taken back pretty quickly but things went downhill from there. Though the girls seemed to have relatively minor symptoms, because of the positive test, they were going to be admitted. But there were no beds available in the pediatric wing. We sat in the ER for 14 hours.

I can safely say it was the worst experience of my life . Evie and Liv were sick and uncomfortable and had no real place to sleep. They decided to start IVs on both girls. It took four tries and a NICU nurse to find a vein on Olivia. I thought she was going to burst a blood vessel from screaming so much. The emergency room staff as helpful as they could be, but babies just don’t do well in that kind of environment.

At 10:30, Monday morning, we finally were admitted to the pediatric wing. We were able to feed the girls and they passed out in their little hospital cribs. Eventually we met with the pediatrician on duty and he told us,  based on the girls’ symptoms,  he doubted they had whooping cough. To say I was frustrated would be an understatement. The main reason we were there was that positive whooping cough test. Rob and I finally decided we needed to get home and get some sleep and take showers. We had been up for 36 hours. We slept for 3, showered, went back.

No change in Evie and Liv, but they were going to keep them overnight for observation. So Rob and I decided to.. just do it. We went home and slept for nine hours. A huge part of me felt guilty for leaving the girls, but a huge part of me felt like.. OMG I JUST SLEPT FOR NINE HOURS. Each of the girls had their own nurse over night so really, they wanted for nothing. It was only mom guilt that had me worried.

This morning we went back and the girls looked great. They had received breathing treatments throughout the night and were breathing well. All of the nurses kept commenting on how healthy and chunky they were. I was like, I know. 13 lbs each, thankyouverymuch. After a few hours of hanging out the new pediatrician arrived and declared them free to go.

So. What now? We are still waiting on the secondary test to determine whether or not they actually had whooping cough. However, since there was a documented positive, everyone in the house has to do a round of antibiotics even though we have all been vaccinated. In itself, that isn’t bad, but getting 6 adults into the doctor during flu season is going to be fun. The girls have now completed a full round of antibiotics and are no longer contagious. We have to follow up with our pediatrician to ensure they continue to get better.

I declare whooping cough weekend over.

IMG_4249Evie, headed to the hospital.

IMG_4253Finally in the pediatric ward, passed out.

IMG_4257Look at that little bruise she got when they were putting her IV in! Grrrr…

IMG_4254This face says, sleep? I don’t even remember what that is like.

IMG_425613 lbs of solid baby belly.

IMG_4270Hi guys!

IMG_4274Dad needs some sleep too.

IMG_4277Liv is happy! Even with an IV.

IMG_4279Evie learned to roll over on Friday and has declared sleeping on her back to be the worst.

IMG_4285On the way home!