A pink and blue foot for each of my little ones :)

Leaving a Mark (Part 2)

Shortly before we underwent our IVF, I decided to get a second tattoo. I got my first in 2007 and started to entertain the idea of a second after I ran my first marathon. After infertility became such a huge part of my life, and particularly after the post where I compared it to a marathon, I really wanted to symbolize them somehow.

So in July 2012, I nervously stepped into a local tattoo parlor and got this

finished tattoo

You can read the full story about that here 

Part of the reason I decided on this particular design was that it could work two ways. First, infertility will always be with me, because it and the experience really changed a great deal about the way I look at life. Second, if/when our treatment was successful, I could use it to symbolize things that are most important to me, things that are closest to my heart.

When our cycle was a success, I knew I’d somehow want to add the twins. This past Monday, I finally walked back into the tattoo parlor (though not as nervously this time) and got back into the chair.

A pink and blue foot for each of my little ones :)

A pink and blue foot for each of my little ones :)

A pair of footprints on my foot :)

Hey, Miles - what is this thing?

Life With Twins – 16 months

Things are starting to get fun around here.

Gross Motor

I’ve heard that you see much of yourself in your kids and I’ve really started to see this recently. I wrote a post awhile back about my “secret” triathlon training that I didn’t admit to until a week before the actual race in case I decided I wanted to back out. Even though I knew I wouldn’t, and I knew I’d be able to finish it, I just had to wait until I was 125% ready. Apparently, she is the same way.

Today, at 16 months on the dot, she is standing at the dining room table banging on the little middle section like the two of them like to do, and then suddenly, she let go and walked across the room. It took me about 4 steps to register what was happening and then I’m all “she’s walking, she’s walking she’s walking!” For the next half hour, she got up ON HER OWN, from the floor, refusing all help from us, and walked back and forth from the living room to the dining room. She fell periodically, but literally went from crawling to practically running in a half hour. Meanwhile, Miles continues to walk in circles around her, all like hey I’ve been doing this for weeks, big deal.

And we were literally hours away from dropping $30 on a pair of Stride Rite baby shoes she’d wear for a month before she grew out of them in hope they’d help.

Fine Motor

Both have started to put the pieces back in the Fisher Price puzzle. We’d put the wooden puzzles away because they had become glorified teething toys, and maybe its time to bring them back out. They can both feed themselves with a bowl and spoon now, but still prefer fingers because its much faster. I’ve tried to show them scribbling a few times but they still want to eat the crayons. Miles has become a cup nesting master because he carries them around wherever he goes. Admittedly I haven’t put much thought into what is developmentally appropriate fine motor wise (OT friends don’t yell at me) because I’ve been more focused on trying to get Abby to walk and trying to get these guys to learn some words because we’ve started having TANTRUMS (dun dun dunnnnnnn).

Speech/Language

Both have 5 words, give or take, that they use when they feel like it. Key word here is when they feel like it. Abby has said “hi daddy” a couple of times. I haven’t heard “mama” all month. Comprehension still appears to surpass expression at this point. When Miles heads towards the dog water or bathroom and I tell him to come back or get out of the bathroom, he actually does it. Abby cries. She knows what I mean when I ask if she wants to get out of the bathtub, but still won’t say or imitate out. She will give me her feet to put on her pants when I ask for them, they both know what it means when I say bedtime and eat. We get “done” periodically from both.

We are hitting the age now where I feel like its soon time for some hilariously awkward blog posts are in the works. Take a recent Facebook status, for example:

I asked Miles for a hug and opened my arms. He smiled and ran towards me, stopped, turned to the right and ran to hug his dad ‪#‎rejected‬

Favorites this month

  • Going outside – both, though more Miles. Despite numerous attempts to get at least one of them to try to say “out”, or SOMETHING, I’m just met with whining. One day. I swear, between work and home if I had a dollar for every time I sound like a broken record trying to get a kid to talk, I’d be rich.
  • Nesting cups – Miles. He carries them all over the house. No, he hasn’t said cups. Grrr (Cups! cups! cup! tell me cup!)
  • Brushing teeth – both
  • Pool/water table – both
  • Ball pit – both, but more Miles
  • Waiting until the last possible second to walk, and drive her mama crazy – Abby
  • Shoes – Abby
  • Tantrum throwing – depends on the day

Some of these may be repeats. If you don’t like it, sorry (not really).

  • We take a trip to James Island for an outdoor wedding reception
Selfie!

Selfie!

  • Abby and I do NOT have a case of the Mondays
We have the sillies

We have the sillies

  • We are made in the shade

    Keeping cool in the pool

    Keeping cool in the pool

  • Miles discovers the wonder of the new ball pit
I eat the balls

I eat the balls

  • Miles shows off some shades
One cool dude

One cool dude

  • We practice some yoga
Yoga - mama jungle gym style

Yoga – mama jungle gym style

  • We celebrate Aunt Natalie’s birthday
Happy Birthday Aunt Natalie

Happy Birthday Aunt Natalie

  • And our 4th anniversary
Whooooo loves me?

Whooooo loves me?

  • Daddy gets the twins dressed one morning…
Creating a complex

Creating a complex

  • We break out the new swing set
Hey, Miles - what is this thing?

Hey, Miles – what is this thing?

  • Miles tries to figure out how to watch Pocoyo without leaving the ball pit
I see better this way

I see better this way

  • We are silly
Upside down!

Upside down!

  • We do a DIY project
splish splash - oh wait, wrong kind of splash :)

splish splash – oh wait, wrong kind of splash :)

  • Of course, the ever famous birthday pic attempt
Birthday picture fail

Birthday picture fail

  • Finally, a well placed cup
Good thing for the censor cup

Some splashing and a censor cup

A couple videos – no super funny ones this time

  • Pools make Abby clap
  • Miles tries to nest cups
  • Giggles

The Target Vortex

Two days ago, I ran a couple of errands before work.

First, I ran into Bed, Bath and Beyond to get my sister part of her birthday present. I did so without a hitch. Next, I wanted to get a birthday and anniversary card, so I did the most logical thing I could think to do, which was walk down the plaza to Target.

This is where things began to go awry.

I walk into Target and am immediately drawn to the elusive Dollar Spot, because out of the corner of my eye I can see Halloween things. I love Halloween and so Halloween things excite me. The Dollar Spot has also helped my planner decorating habit so I often go there to see if I can find stickers, pens, washi tape etc. I pick up a magnetic To Do list and some hand sanitizer (because you know, its a dollar). From The Dollar Spot I force myself to walk by the clothes only to find myself drawn towards the shoes. Heat and humidity still runs rampant here and so any sign of fall now makes me happy. Boots, flats, sneakers; I nearly had to force myself to leave.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the athletic department is right by the shoes. I again force myself to walk by the athletic department and somehow end up in the baby clothes.

Uh oh.

Hey! A set of winter pajamas on sale!! Abby needs these! Oh! And a bathing suit for next year! She needs this too! Oh, and while I’m here, lets try a couple new straw cups! I am rocking this!

From there I head to the makeup department to check out the gel nail starter kit my sister has been eyeing, though I decide to pass it up in favor of the one she says is cheaper at Sally’s Beauty Supply. I check out and force myself to leave some Halloween stickers on my way out and pride myself that I only spent $20!

I walk to the car, open the door, turn on the car, and then I realize…..

I forgot the cards.

Curse you, Target.

 

(Share your Target Vortex story…you know you have one)

Online Degree

Periodically I like to participate in the Finish This posts. I missed the one over Labor Day that talked about jobs, namely what is your current job and your dream job? I’m very fortunate to enjoy my job, but if I ever were to consider a career change, would probably look for something along the lines of Physical Therapy/Sports Medicine or nursing.

I have no plans to change jobs anytime soon, if ever, but considering I’m having difficulty finding even a weeks’ time to attend a Lactation Counselor class, I can’t imagine the schedule shift that would be required if I decided to change careers altogether. More and more online programs for various degrees are popping up as technology changes and improves.

In addition to doctors, nurses, technicians, and other skilled hands-on caretakers, hospitals and clinics also need to hire more people who can process data and keep track of statistics related to this profession. If you are drawn to patient care, yet lack the talent to provide medical services firsthand, you can join the informatics aspects of this profession. You can also offer your potential employer exceptional skills and knowledge when you pursue an advanced education like a health informatics online degree.
Some traditional brick and mortar schools do not yet offer this program, which is why it can definitely benefit you to check out your online options for this plan of study. Virtual programs will offer you the accredited and quality courses that you need to get the knowledge for this field. Your instructors most likely will be experienced workers themselves and have extensive health informatics knowledge to bring to your virtual classroom.

In addition to getting an accredited education, you also may prefer the flexibility that comes with this type of learning. Going to a regular brick and mortar school demands that you change your work schedule, cut back on your hours, or even quit your job altogether in order to attend classes on campus. If you love your job or need to work to support your family, you may be unable to accommodate these demands. Rather than forgo this opportunity, you can get the flexibility you need to be successful when you enroll online. You can schedule your classes to match your availability right now and avoid having to take time away from your job and your earnings.

If you are a working parent or a student who has limited means, you can also rest assured that you can use the same financial resources as traditional on-campus students. You can fill out an online financial aid application and indicate that you want your approved funds to go to your virtual college to pay for your tuition. Any money that you have left over after your tuition is paid can be used to buy your books and study materials. This financial resource lets you have the same advantage that should come with pursuing a higher education. You avoid having to drain your savings or having to borrow money from friends and loved ones to pay for your education and materials.

I’m generally more traditional when it comes to schooling, but couldn’t help but think I might be drawn to online degrees if it were an option with small children and a current job.

What is your opinion on online degrees?

Setting Things Straight (an Invisalign “Review”)

My junior year of high school, my parents announced to me that I was getting braces.

I was less than pleased.

In their defense, I’m  sure they didn’t really announce it like it was some grand event, and they were unable to afford it any earlier. Still, I fought it (are you ready for this?) tooth and nail, and with the help of our then exchange student, I “won”. Kinda. I mean, I escaped the confines of metal tooth jail made prettier with hot pink rubber bands and in exchange I got to keep my crooked teeth. The dentist promised they’d be off by senior pictures, but I’d heard that story before, and at the time the thought of senior pictures with metal mouth was simply too much to bear.

Oh the days where that kind of nonsense was a game changer.

Anyway, given the fact that my teeth weren’t really THAT bad (I had a gap between my front teeth, a slight overbite from a few *cough* seven *cough* years of thumb sucking and some crowded bottom teeth, I wasn’t really that bothered.

At an overdue (oops) teeth cleaning last year, in a passing comment, the dentist told me I’d make a good candidate for Invisalign. I asked for a quote for fun and didn’t give it much thought. A couple of days later, though, I realized that I might really like to do it. Nothing like someone telling you you’re a good candidate to really bring that gap in my teeth to the forefront of my mind. Bryan supported it and with the help of Care Credit we were able to finance it for a year interest free. They threw in whitening for free as a bonus.

You can see the gap in the picture below

Hi! I'm a gap in your teeth

Hi! I’m a gap in your teeth

The initial appointment was interesting. They took impressions of my teeth to send off to the company who would then make and send back the recommended number of trays. The whole process, for me, would take about 5 months. It took about 6 weeks for the trays to come in and I went in for a second appointment. I had 10 trays total that I would change out every 2 weeks. I was to wear them all day except when eating or drinking anything other than water. That second appointment was even more interesting because they computerized images of my teeth that showed each step from start to finish. Looking at it on the screen, my teeth seemed more crooked than I realized. I wish I had taken a picture. I did take a picture of my actual teeth, though they look a little freaky.

"Before" - in quotes because its actually one week in, but you can see the fangs

“Before” – in quotes because its actually one week in, but you can see the fangs

Before bottom

Before bottom

Usually, they allow you to try the trays for two weeks so you can use the whitening before they add the “buttons”, but since I was breastfeeding at the time and unable to use the whitening yet, they threw them on that day. The “buttons” (or fangs, as I call them) are glued on certain teeth to help keep the trays in place. They are triangular and sorta resemble fangs (hence the nickname).

The dentist showed me how to put them in and take them out, gave me 2 sets of trays and sent me home. The first couple of days were a little painful, not only because my teeth were being squeezed but also because the inside of my mouth had not adjusted to the plastic, and it rubbed the insides of my mouth raw. I took a couple Advil to take the edge off, and wondered what I was getting into if every tray switch resulted in this. Fortunately, that first set was the worst by far. Each subsequent tray did feel tight at first but my teeth/mouth easily adjusted and it felt normal after a couple of hours. I returned to the office every 4 weeks for the first 4 trays, and after that every 6 weeks. Each appointment took only a couple of minutes because I was really only there for them to check and make sure they were working and give me the next set. I felt like I could really see a difference even early on, and that was really cool.

6 weeks in

6 weeks in

Today, I am DONE and go back in to have my buttons removed and get impressions for the retainer I will have to wear every night while I sleep.

Stay tuned for a final appointment update, my overall likes/dislikes, and the long awaited (at least for me) AFTER picture. :)

Yoga - mama jungle gym style

30 Day Challenge – Running Style

Admit it.

You’ve completed tried at least one of those 30 day challenges.

The ab challenge. (yup)

The squat challenge (kinda)

The plank challenge (kinda)

The arm challenge (nope – I get enough arm challenge carrying twin toddlers thank you)

I follow quite a few fitness and running fanatics on twitter, one of which is Kinetic Revolution. He offers a free 30 day challenge that he claims will change your running. Run Faster. Run Stronger. Or so he says.

Historically, I am not very flexible. Yoga has helped this some, but even my once a week practices start out pretty awkwardly. I’m stretching almost every day, but I’m told by my chiropractor at every visit that I’m still too tight (ugh). Since I’m really focused on trying to keep running without injuring myself again, I thought I’d give this a try.

The first week focuses on Basic Mobility and Balance training. From what I can tell, its based on a series of stretches (hip flexor, hamstring, abductor) and balances (single leg with eyes closed) with a few tweaks.

If you’re interested in joining me, you can sign up here. (you get a daily email with the exercises.) Or you can follow along while I do this (and blog about it to keep myself consistent and honest) and see if it works for me.

What’s your go to running stretch/exercise?

Also, I know I’ve been pretty fitness heavy lately – fear not, more twins posts coming soon.