Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We Made It!

After 13 hours, door to door, we finally made it to my in-laws home in San Salvador. That was on Friday so this post is obviously a bit late, but I´m on vacation so...oh well. Here is a quick overview of our travels, which went very well:

430am - snacks for the plane rides, times 2


520am - Checking in. I didn´t know it yet but Billy had upgraded us to first class for our Boston Miami flight. Merry Christmas indeed :) Also, I highly reccommend the GoGoKidz travelmate. It really amde getting through the airport a breeze.


600am - Chillin´in the first class lounge before boarding

700am - Sleepy but happy in first class

Our flight to Miami went well, although there were some storms so we were a bit delayed. But that didn´t matter too much because our flight from Miami to San Salvador was delayed an hour and a half. Then it was delayed another half hour because they were still loading bags. Thank goodness for Goldfish crackers.

300pm - Up from our naps and ready to play on the plane



430pm - Our final descent


We got home at 545pm (Boston time) to make our day a whopping 13 hours. The twins did great. They had tons of fun on the plane and were in good spirits the whole trip. Hopefully things will go just as smoothly on the way back.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

El Salvador or Bust!

We are leaving in less than 20 hours for the airport to get on a flight to Miami, to then get on another flight to San Salvador. And, even though I started packing over the weekend, there is still so much to do. Mostly we are worried about how to keep the twins entertained and well fed on the flights. We get to the airport so early that I'm not sure any shops will be open to buy last minute snacks. And even if they were, I doubt we would have time. Also, our Miami layover is only 90 minutes so if we are late getting in, we won't have much time to stop and eat either. I guess I should ask if a mini-fridge is allowed as a carry-on.

But in all honesty, I'm very excited for our trip - definitely more excited than worried. Once you are on the plane, there is no turning back, no matter how bad it gets. So, if/when it does get bad, you just grin and bear it and think about how sweet it will be to have doting family and friends for two whole weeks. With 80 degree temperatures. And beach houses. And lake houses. And mountain houses. Have I mentioned that I love El Salvador?

Also, Billy got me a new camera for Christmas. Its a Nikon Coolpix and I think will be able to get some better shots of my ever-moving targets (Sebastian, Collette) than my Sony Cybershot. I will try and post as much as I can from El Salvador. Especially pictures of their insane birthday party and of Christmas. And of them in the swimming pool, because who doesn't like to see a baby in a pool?

So, I'm off to pack and pack some more and run errands and try not to pass out from exhaustion (thanks baby #3). Wish us luck!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

They're Definitely Mine

Over the weekend, Billy noticed a peculiar way in which both Sebastian and Collette take after me: they both have an oversized labial frenum. It sounds gross but what it means is that the little piece of skin that connects your top lip to your top gums is too big and grows between the two front teeth. This is why I have a gap and why that gap never closed. I have some very mixed feelings about my gap - I have been teased plenty because of it but, almost as often, I get complimented on it. People seem to think it gives me character. So, I'm not sure what we will do if their labial frenums don't shrink. There is a pretty simply surgery they could undergo, one I may have had if I had known about it at a younger age. I think they do it on kids once they hit 10 years old. But, in a way, I kind of like that they have this little physical quirk of mine. I was almost positive they wouldn't get my red hair, so the gap is next best thing.

So, readers, what do you think? My guess is that, when the time comes, I will probably let them decide. Do you think cosmetic surgery for children is never ok?


Thursday, December 10, 2009

H1N1 Bullshit

I am so pissed about this H1N1 vaccine crap. This whole idea that they are only giving it to "high risk" groups is such a crock of shit.

Yesterday, my aunt posted on FB that she got the vaccine. I was a bit surprised because she is not in any remotely high risk group. She is actually the least likely to get this virus and even less likely to get seriously/fatally ill from it. I asked her how she got it and she said "at work." And guess what: she works for the IRS. Yes, our lovely government, parading their statements that only at risk groups will get the vaccine, are handing it out to everyone at the IRS. And, if I had to guess, other government establishments.

But, last week, when I was at my pediatrician's office, they didn't have any vaccines. For my 2 12-month olds. They said, "Oh just call back every week. We'll get some eventually." WTF??!! I called back this morning and they said they'll have some next week, and made me an appointment for December 16th. So, yes, they are getting it. But I think it's ridiculous that I have to call and beg and wait while they are just SO stockpiled at government offices that they are giving it to low-risk people. It makes my blood boil.

Has anyone else encountered this? I know a lot of people had their kids vaccinated a while ago and, from people I know, they also had to jump through many hoops to get it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Littlest Nugget


I know it's not much but here is the ultrasound shot of our newest nugget. We could see, but not yet hear, the heartbeat so things are moving along just as they should. And my queasiness is a constant reminder that everything fine in there. Why couldn't X-ray vision or superhuman strength be an early pregnancy symptom instead? Thankfully the Saltines and Goldfish are doing their job. For now :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bah Humbug

A couple weeks ago, Billy and I decided that we would not be having a Christmas tree this year. Which officially makes me feel like a scrooge. But I have at least 2 very good reasons why a Christmas tree is just not in the cards for us this season.

Obviously, reasons 1 and 2 are Sebastian and Collette, not necessarily in that order. I know that there are lots of ways to "child-proof" a tree. We can anchor it to the wall. We can buy a superyard and put this around the tree (because Christmas isn't expensive enough already). But honestly, none of that will keep them from doing naughty things. Mostly, I am worried about them eating pine needles. Maybe that's not a big deal but I really don't want to find out.

Also, we are going to El Salvador for Christmas. We are leaving on December 18th. So, if we had put the tree up right after Thanksgiving (which is what we usually do) we would have the tree for about 3 weeks. And when we got home, we would have a dried out tree with a huge pine needle mess. No thanks.

Even decorating is posing a challenge. I can't hang the stockings with care because the twins will most definitely rip them down within seconds. I can't put up any of the garland I use around the doors and banisters for the same reason. Ditto the Christmas tablecloth. Sheesh. This is what I get for having an open floor plan...

Needless to say, my house is not feeling very festive. I miss the holiday spirit that comes with decorating but know this just a one time deal. Now I just need to focus my brain on shopping and wrapping - that should bring some Christmas cheer my way!!

Did anyone else have to pass on the decorations for a year when your kids were a certain age?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Month in Review

Dear NaBloPoMo,

I am sorry that I was not able to rise to the challenge and post 30 times in 30 days. I talked a big game of posting lots of pics and interesting stories about first birthday parties but the absent minded professor in me took over and these things did not happen.

In total, I ended up posting 23 times. I guess that translates to about a C average. Disappointing, I know.

Here are my goals for this next month, although it's not NaBloPoMo any more:

Post 20 times
Buy a new cord to connect to my camera OR
Buy a new camera
Figure out how to upload videos from the camcorder
Take better pictures of the kids despite their increasing mobility/decreasing attention span

So, NaBloPoMo, you have bested me in 2009. But I will be back in 2010. And I'll be ready :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Makes My Monday: Baby Steps

Join in Makes My Monday at Twinfatuation!


Two weeks ago, I mentioned that Collette took her first steps. Since then, she has been getting better, but still not doing what I would call "walking." She is up to about 8 steps at a time and once even got to 17 steps. They are so small that she barely covers any ground, but every little one counts in my book.

Sebastian is a bit behind his sister. Collette has been standing alone for quite some time and is very sturdy on her feet. Sebastian is not as strong and steady and only recently started standing without holding onto something. But today, at bedtime, he stood up from the ground all by himself, without pushing up off of anything. And he stayed up for a bit, too! Later on, sometime between drinking milk and listening to Goodnight Moon, he stood up and took a step. It was just one step before he reached me but still, he did it! I was so proud.

Both my babies have passed one of the biggest baby milestones and before I know it they will be bona fide toddlers, toddling around. We will have the video recorder at the ready and, as soon as we re-load the software onto my computer (don't ask), I can upload some action videos to share with you all!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Guest Post: The Best Thing…



For NaBloPoMo, I asked Auntie Kim (and FavAuntie) if they would write a guest blog post for me. I promised them I wouldn't edit or censor - maybe just spell check. Auntie Kimis up first and has the honor of posting on Thanksgiving. And I'm thankful that I don't have to come up with a post for today. Hard to avoid the cheesiness.

The Best Thing...

There were so many great things that happened at Collette and Sebastian’s 1st birthday party. First of all, I really do enjoy any family get together – especially when all my siblings are there. When you add extended family, it only gets better (and louder)!

Seeing the 4 “grandkids” (or nieces and nephews to me) together is always memorable. Our nephew Ben, the oldest of the four kiddos, is always so mesmerized by the smallness of the twins. Watching him interact with them is so cute! Morgan, who is 2 ½ years old, was so good with them on Saturday – she left me very impressed! She was very good at sharing/passing toys (even though they weren’t hers!) to appease Collette and Sebastian. She, too, seems fascinated by them since she is used to being the smallest and getting all the attention!

Another great thing about the birthday party was all the presents!!! I know how much the twins love their toys so to see all of the new, fun stuff they got was awesome. I got some great candids of them and their new toys, the fake fruit/veggies being a definite favorite:









Although the babies did a good job during their party, they definitely were not acting like themselves. They weren’t nearly as talkative or hyper. This was not surprising to me as there typical afternoons don’t include cake, gifts, and 20 guests. They were out of their comfort zone and clearly overwhelmed by all the external stimuli. Nonetheless, they gradually got more comfortable and explored, played, opened (read: watched Mom open) gifts, inhaled cake, etc. Which reminds me, watching them “have their cake and eat it too” was so funny! They seemed a bit confused at first (as cake tastes nothing like their typical asparagus spear or roasted red pepper) but in a good way.

So…I always wonder if the babies know who I am, if they recognize me when I come over, if they know the sound of my voice, etc. Well, something happened at the birthday party that made me realize – yup – they do! In the beginning when Sebastian was being very shy, he kept looking for a familiar face. Nicole was usually busy doing something else so she wasn’t in view. Sebastian found me, crawled over, crawled on my lap and squeezed me tight. At first I thought, “Aww, how cute, he’s hugging me!” But when he wouldn’t let go and kept looking around (as if to say who are all these strange people and what are they doing in my house?) I realized he was holding onto me because he knows me, I’m familiar to him, he felt comfortable with me. I could have cried. But instead I just squeezed him back. And, in my opinion, this was the best thing that happened at the twins’ 1st birthday party.

-Auntie Kim

Thanks Auntie Kim! We love you!!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Way Back Whenesday: Belly Pictures

Cheryl at Twinfatuation hosts Way Back Whenesday! Hop on over to see lots of other fun stories from way back when...

When I was pregnant with the twins, I bought one of those pregnancy record-keeper books called the Belly Book. Among other things, it has pages for you to paste a belly picture every week. With a twin pregnancy, the growth happens pretty fast so you can see changes in just a week. With this pregnancy, I don't think I will see such big differences from week to week so I may just do month to month photos. This weekend I will take my first one. I am already *showing* - I have been for about 1 year. The abdominal separation the twins left me with makes me look perpetually 3 months pregnant. So, stay tuned for some shameless half-nakedness.



In the meantime, here is a picture from WAY back, my last twin belly picture. I was 34 weeks pregnant when this picture was taken and, although I didn't know it at the time, my babies were just a few days away.



November 17th, 2008


I think this will be fun as a comparison shot as I grow with baby #3. I wonder if/when I will get this big!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

AWOL

Since I have twins, I have everything in pairs. Including sippy cups. And because I am slightly neurotic, I can only use matching ones together. Because God forbid Sebastian be drinking from the Take 'N Toss cup and Collette from the Nuby - the horror! Well, Houston, we have a problem. A sippy cup (a Munchkin brand one) has gone AWOL. Which means I can't use its pair. Grrr.

However, the more concerning thing about the sippy cup's desertion is that I know, wherever it's hiding, it's got a little bit of milk left in there. And that milk is now spoiling and curdling and I can only imagine how foul it will be once I find it. This mom gig is not all it's cracked up to be...



I'll have party pictures up tomorrow - Thanks Auntie Kim :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Will History Repeat Itself?

This seems to the question on many a commenter's mind as of late: Will it be twins, again? Of course, I won't know for sure until we see an ultrasound but all signs point to NO! Thank the sweet Lord. Strangely, many of my MOT friends have secret fantasies about having another set. I think they are crazy. I mean, don't get me wrong - if I find out its twins, I'll love them just as I would one baby. But there is not even one little piece of me that wishes it were twins. I'm really looking forward to a "normal" singleton pregnancy. And hopefully one baby won't take the same toll on my body that two did.

So, how do I know it's not twins? Well for those of you who don't know, we have used IVF for both pregnancies, this last one a single FET. We know there is just one embie in there - if it does end up being twins, they will definitely be identical. And run the risk of sharing a placenta and/or sac, both higher risk situations than my fraternal twin pregnancy. Also, the hormone levels (HCG, to be exact) does not indicate twins. Just hints at a very healthy, singleton pregnancy. Of course, I will sleep sounder once we see the nugget on the screen and see the heartbeat. Hopefully that will happen sometime next week.

In the meantime, thank you all for your well wishes. We are so thrilled to be adding another baby to our family.



PS - we are due July 25th! Now I have to wrap my brain around the concept of being pregnant for the whole 40 weeks. Hrm...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

O.N.E. = O.M.G.

I couldn't even post yesterday there was so much going on. Sebastian and Collette turned one!! I can't even believe it. I won't say all those cliche things about how fast they are growing up or how it felt like just yesterday we were holding them in the hospital. Mostly because I don't find those things to be true. It has been an amazing year, to be sure, but at the same time it has been a lot of work - the kind that certainly feels like 12 months.


Very first picture of Sebastian


Very first picture of Collette


I wasn't sure if I would get really emotional on their birthday. Leading up to it, I was sure I wouldn't. I didn't get choked up at the thought or start to reminisce about their newborn days. But, at a MOT meeting, someone was passing on a twin breast feeding pillow. The same one that I had. The one I had given to another MOT. And she gave to another. And now that MOT was the one with it tonight, already passing it on to the next lucky mommy. And I had to blink back the tears. It was like seeing a little piece of our history that seemed so far away but there it was, staring me in the face. We have come so far since then; it feels like remembering something you saw in a movie, not something you actually lived.

And then yesterday (their birthday), it was Billy's turn to "sleep in" while I got the babies up. As usual, they stood up in their cribs as soon as they heard the door open, all smiles and squinty eyes. I started to sing "Happy Birthday" to them but couldn't finish it, I was so overwhelmed. With excitement. With joy. With pride. My babies had made it to one year and we were all happy and healthy and enjoying life as it is. What more could a mom ask for?

The rest of the day was spent getting ready for the party, having the party, cleaning up the mess from the party and recovering from the party. I know it's no excuse (especially during NaBloPoMo!!) but blogging was just not part of my recovery plan. My house is still a disaster from the amazing generosity of friends and family. We will have to give away some old toys that will be replaced by all the awesome new stuff we got. Of course, with another nugget on the way, I am nervous to get rid of anything because for all I know, it could be #3's favorite. But, my toy/stroller/clothes hoarding is a topic for another post.

So, we made it. 1 year. 12 months. 365 days. 525,600 minutes. In that time we have learned:

To drink
To nap
To sleep through the night
To eat
To babble
To splash
To roll
To crawl
To stand
To clap
To play
To laugh
To love

And a million more. I can't even imagine how amazing this next year will be. Happy First Birthday Sebastian! Happy First Birthday Collette!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Auntie Kim!!

Yes, this is a busy month for the Soto household. Four birthdays (if you count Sebastian AND Collette), plus Thanksgiving - its exhausting. Anyway, today, the day before my babies were born, is my sister Kim's birthday! Last year I gave her a pretty awesome (belated) birthday so I won't even try to top it this year. Except maybe the news that she will be an auntie again is pretty close.



Happy birthday to you Auntie Kim!! I can only hope to repay all the help you have given us this past year. I don't think I could have done it without you.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fight For Preemies!


The blogosphere is taking today to bring awareness to premature birth and all that comes with it. As a mom to preemies, I am joining to share a bit of what it was what like to have preemies and why it's important an issue.

Up until 34 weeks and 2 days, I had a picture perfect twin pregnancy. I had appropriate weight gain, mild symptoms, no high blood pressure, no swelling, no gestational diabetes. My babies were growing and developing well inside me. All was good in the world. And then I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. They admitted me to the hospital and shortly discovered that my kidneys and liver were under a lot of stress and very close to failing. 2 days later, at 34 weeks, 4 days, I had an emergency c-section and delivered two healthy, yet premature, babies. One boy and one girl, as you already know.


All in all, our experience was not so scary our harrowing. Both Sebastian and Collette could breathe on their own and regulate their own body temperature. They didn't need light therapy for jaundice. But they were small. And lazy. They just weren't ready to be born. So, dubbed "feeders and growers" they stayed in the NICU for almost 2 weeks, learning how to eat without dozing off. They came home and did great but their prematurity and time in the NICU taught us to deal with parenting in a way we wouldn't have done otherwise. It impacted my ability to breastfeed, it still makes me nervous about eating enough and affects how we look at (and worry about) milestones.


Additionally, I have still not recovered from that fact that my body betrayed me. I truly thought I would be one of those moms who made it to 37 or 38 weeks. I was walking around, working, driving - I had no signs that I would have this happen to me. And worse yet, no one knows what exactly causes preeclampsia - although there are many theories out there. They know the risk factors (multiple pregnancy being one of them) but they can't tell you why it happens. And sadly, this disease causes a lot of premature births, as the only "cure" is delivery. I hope that the research they are doing will help shed some light on this disease but for now, the best medicine is regular prenatal care. You never know when your blood pressure will spike, as mine did, or when protein will show up in your urine, like mine did. That OB visit probably saved my life, and my babies' lives - just one example of how vital prenatal care is.

Please visit the March of Dimes to learn more about the wonderful work they do!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Makes My Monday

Join in Makes My Monday at Twinfatuation!

Well, I had some very good news making my Monday but I can't share it with you because I can't find the cord that connects the camera to my computer. I know, I know. I really should not have a blog as, clearly, technology and I do not mix. But my forgetfulness will only be getting worse :) Thank you for putting up with me.

In other exciting, week-starting news, Collette climbed an entire flight of stairs (I was spotting her after she did the first 3 steps on her own while I was putting Sebastian in his crib - oops!) and she took three baby steps today!! Go Colie!! These are the kinds of things even good parents don't get on film so I don't feel so bad about not having proof. But believe me, it happened and I was as excited as a first time mom should be. Hope that she does a repeat performance for Daddy when he comes back on Thursday.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In Da Klub

A few months back, when it was so hot I couldn't stay inside my house or go outside, I joined a very well air conditioned indoor play space. Another twin momma friend of mine joined, too, and now we kind of make a thing of it, doing a play date there at least once a week. It's been especially great as the kids get bigger and more mobile, need more room to roam.

Over the weekend, the weather was awful and I decided it was time for Daddy to experience a day in the life of a SAHM - so we all went to the Klubhouse. And took some pictures. For your viewing pleasure :)



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Operation Sippy Cup: Complete!

We have said our final good-bye to bottles, nipples and liners in our house. Hurrah!! Sippy cups bring their own set of work (and mess!) but overall, I think this is much easier than bottles. They haven't mastered drinking them fully upright and refuse to drink from them in their high chairs. So, the we still have work to do but we'll get there.

To help them learn to drink sitting up straight, I give them water before and after meals in their special directors chairs that Auntie Kim scored for us. They do pretty well with it when the cup is full (and therefore easier to drink from) but can't empty is sitting that way. As with all things, though, practice makes perfect and they're getting better by the day! Here is Collette, showing off her skills:

Messy, but still...



Friday, November 13, 2009

Because I'm a good wife

That's why I missed yesterday's post. My darling husband needed my computer as he is experiencing technical difficulties with his. Actually, he is still using it now and I have revived my 5 year old computer to bring you this riveting blog post. This computer is slower than molasses on a cold day so I won't be uploading much until I can reclaim my lap top, probably by tomorrow. And because I'm being so selfless, I don't think this should count against my NaBloPoMo record. Oh, what's that? No one cares? Oh, well in that case, forget I even mentioned it.

In other Soto household technology news, I dropped my cell phone in the toilet and, after a grueling surgery and hours of revival attempts, I am sad to say that it has passed on. But it was 3 years old so it lived a long life. Unfortunately, I lost all my pictures which is actually quite a bummer. Next time I will be sure to upload them to my computer and avoid further tragedy. On the bright side, I get to buy a new phone! My grand plan is to wait for all the huge deals they have on Black Friday and get a cool one. Up until now, I have always had a cheap-o one that does the bare minimum. No I-phone or Blackberry, but maybe something with a qwerty board and that takes good pictures.

I'll be back tomorrow with baby pictures, promise!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fav Auntie is Coming!

My sister is mental. She booked a flight from San Diego to Boston for the Thursday before the twins' birthday and is leaving the Sunday after, which is also the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I think she is the only person travelling that weekend and returning before the holiday. Seems silly but, as she put it, the twins' first birthday is far more important. Take that, Pilgrims!

Either way, I am so excited she will be here. Since we will be in El Salvador for Christmas, it was going to be a LONG time before we all saw each other and the babies are growing and changing so fast - I hate for her to miss so much. So, Fav Auntie, let me brief you on where the babies are as of late:

Babbling lots but no real words
Furniture surfing like it's an Olympic sport
No more bottles (more on that later)
Practicing the spoon
Fighting over the walker toy
Still napping twice a day (thank the sweet Lord)
Loving Brown Bear, Brown Bear

That last one she'll especially like because it's actually, Oso Pardo, Oso Pardo and she can show off her impeccable castellano.

Can't wait to see you!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wish List

My family has been asking what the twins would like for their first birthday. I asked Sebastian and Collette - they said, "mamamamama!" Maybe that means they want a new mom? Sorry, babies. Even Santa can't make that happen.

Here is what I think they might like:

Corn popper
Radio Flyer wagon with canopy
Board books (in English or Spanish)
Xylophone
Fake fruit/veggies (to go with the play kitchen we got them)
Sweaters (18m)
Busy Ball Popper
Bee Bop Band Play and Learn Drum
Sensory balls
PJs (18m)
Hooded towels

Additionally, I already got them fake shopping carts, doll strollers and a play kitchen. What else do you all suggest I ask for as a 1st birthday gift? Anything really awesome I'm missing??


(Could I ask for my family to chip in to train and pay a babysitter? That's kind of a gift for them because they would get to hang out with her...right?)

Monday, November 9, 2009

You Can Do Better Than That

C'mon, babies! Sneaking into the cabinet and pulling out the tupperware? So unoriginal.

But still cute :)

(Did I mention that we aren't totally twin-proofed?? Ah, well...)