What’s Your Name?

You gotta know your name, so we have been practicing with the twins.

Miles caught on first, and responded with the cute playful nick name Bryan uses: Mi Mi’s (pronounced my my’s). We thought it was so cute that we asked him constantly so we could hear him say his name. Eventually, Abby caught on too. Except since Miles’ name was the only one heard, she too thought the answer to “what is your name?” was “Mi mi’s”.

Well there’s one “complication” with twins that you don’t necessarily think about.

Our solution to the problem was to re-direct. So when we asked Abby what her name is and she responded with Miles’ name, we’d consistently say one of two things:

1) “No (nicely, of course), ABBY!”

2) “What? Abby!”

Then she’d repeat “AAAABBYYY” and we figured we were on our way.

Turns out, she took us literally.

(Translation: Mi Mi’s. No. What? Abby!)

Well, crap.

Moms Run 5k

I think Mother’s Day will always be a little bittersweet. As excited as I am to now be able to celebrate it, I also think back to how much I dreaded it before our successful IVF cycle. Yes, it was a day to celebrate my own mom. Still, it and the several weeks before were a constant reminder that not only was I not yet a mother, but that there was no guarantee I’d ever be.

Anyone who has ever read this blog knows how important running is to me. It has helped me through stress and infertility. It has helped me stay healthy. I hoped to be able to share it with my future kids, and looked forward to the day when we could all run together.

The Mom’s Run takes place on Mothers Day weekend, and funds go to help Charleston Postpartum Depression Support. Although most 5k’s allow strollers, all (that I know of) require you to start in the back of the pack. This run not only allows strollers up front, but has awards specifically for those with strollers.

Ready to run

Ready to run

The race started at Blackbaud Stadium and ran through a few nice local neighborhoods.  Abby exclaimed “weeee!” I stayed with another girl pushing a stroller through most of it, though she was ahead of me more than I was ahead of her. I finished literally steps behind her, and thought that I had possibly even finished 3rd (stroller, that is). It was a nice course, with water every mile or so. There was an incline and headwind at the end, so that sucked, but otherwise I had no complaints :)

Bryan took a video:

Afterwards they had a “family fun day” with vendors and music.

We hung out for awhile. I put Abby in jump castle but she just sat there. She did enjoy some dancing:

Eventually I found the results and found that I had, literally, JUST missed third place. The girl who was two steps ahead of me took it. I was bummed because I would have really liked to add a Moms Run medal to my collection. Unfortunately for me, they don’t distinguish between single and double strollers so even though I was the first double through, I still missed it. I blame the extra 25 lbs I was pushing. :) Overall though, I was happy with my 25:05 finish time, or 8:05/mile, especially considering I was pushing 55 lbs. (The girl who won ran in 20 minutes and some change – with a stroller).

Look forward to next year.

We are Two

So much can change in just a few years.

Three years ago we into our third year of infertility. It isn’t that I wasn’t enjoying my life, but something was missing, and infertility meant that I could never be sure I’d get the chance to fill the space.

Two years ago, after our successful IVF cycle and a somewhat high anxiety pregnancy (not because of complications as much as worry), two healthy babies joined our family.

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Last year, we celebrated their first birthday, having survived twin infancy intact!

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Today is the twins’ second birthday. I chuckled at people that said time goes by so fast, but it does. Holy cow it does. And how different they are from just a year ago. How much they are like little people.

I took the day off and we spent it together. First, they had a doctors appointment and that part was not so fun, but after that we went to Chick Fil A for lunch and played in the play area. After nap we took a walk in the wagon and swam in the little pool in the backyard. We had cake. We watched Pocoyo. We hung out with family. We laughed and ate and I took lots pictures. We did all the little things I daydreamed about three years ago. I’m not one to write a really long, sentimental post, but I will say this.

I am grateful.

So much.

Happy Birthday, Miles and Abby.

Home Renovations

We purchased our home in 2010 as a short sale – it was a deal we couldn’t pass up. Even though it was a newer home, the fact that it was a short sale meant that not everything was as nice as you’d expect a newer home to look. The floors, though hardwood, were scratched up and had water damage. The downstairs toilet leaked. The upstairs toilet leaked. Nail polish splatter littered the carpet in one of the upstairs rooms. The drywall in the garage sported a huge hole.

Since we moved, we (really I should say Bryan) have slowly started adding some small improvements.

We replaced the hardwood floor in the downstairs bathroom with tile.

We put in new floors downstairs

We put a big patio in the backyard (that’s now overtaken with toddler toys), and put up backsplash in the kitchen

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The garage still has the hole.

One day, I’d love to make our currently useless front living room into an office, and replace our master bath shower and tub. We (by we I mean Bryan) did most of the work ourselves, with the exception of the patio (which, ironically, needs fixing because we did NOT find a good contractor for that one).

New or old house, renovations can be a pain, but are often really worth the expense.

*Due to the technology that is available today, many older homes are unable to provide many aspects of efficient living. From the power outlets to inefficient insulation methods, these older homes can cost a great deal of money just in living expenses such as energy costs. However, proper renovations can bring that old house into the 21st century. Not only will this improve the overall efficiency of the home, but it can also improve it’s resale value later on.

What Goes Into Renovating a Home?

Renovating an older home requires more than just tearing down a few walls and making some cosmetic changes. New power lines may have to be run while replacing the old breaker box with a more efficient and safer model. Insulation may have to be replaced as well. This doesn’t include repairs or replacing support beams within the walls, floors and ceilings. Energy efficient windows may need a new wall design which could also affect the outside paneling or siding.

Increasing the Home’s Curb Appeal

Remodeling and room additions can enhance an older home’s curb appeal by making it look and feel newer. People are less likely to buy a home with substandard power outlets and inefficient insulation in today’s market. The more energy conscious a home is, the more likely it is to sell. This doesn’t include how potential buyers can view the property from the outside. Give the home a proverbial face-lift with a proper renovation, and provide the aging structure with a new purpose for providing a family with energy efficiency and comfort.

What’s the first thing on your list for a home renovation/fix?

*This is a sponsored post

I Love Me

Abigail is obsessed with herself. Well, with her reflection.

Leave it to her – she can find her reflection in almost anything, and as soon as she does, its party time. She jumps, she claps, she smiles and squeals. She constantly runs into the kitchen and pulls the towel off the oven so she can see herself.

During a (not so) rare moment where she was in front of a mirror, I shot this little gem (and yes I accidentally spelled mirror wrong):

So what do you all think? Theatre? Dance? I’m telling you, the girl is gonna perform.

And I really want to get her a shirt that says “I Love ME” In fact, while I’m dressing her, she often says “so pretty” (or, so weeee). Though that may actually be my fault she does that…..

Sangaree Sombrero 5k

Races are fewer and farther between around here when the weather starts to get warmer, but if you look you can usually still find a good 5k to run. I had hoped to run one in April but opted out after I just couldn’t get the tightness out of my back. My running buddy that I met at Dicks Sporting Goods (not kidding) was also running this one, so what better than a race and an excuse to get together?

This, like my last 5k, was its first year. It was held at a local Middle School and funds from the race were used toward a digital road sign. It was small, but well put together. The race began at the school and from there basically did a 1.5 mile out and back. Water was offered around the halfway point and bananas at the end. Awards were given for male and female overall and then 10 year age groups.

After 3 weeks of track speed work and as part of my Plexus Trial, I was aiming to PR. I REALLY hoped to see a finish time in the 22’s.  Unfortunately, my sinuses hated me that morning, and I spent part of the run trying not to spit on people (gross, yes).

I started out at the front of the pack and passed a couple people, but could never quite catch the only girl ahead of me. I ended up placing 5th overall, 2nd female and 1st in my age group though, so I wasn’t complaining. And I did manage to PR with a finish time of 23:16. Lynnsey took home 3rd :).

Overall I felt that, for a first year, the Turtle put together a better race and better prizes (I’m never a fan of 10 year age groups). It was money being raised for the school though, and given the option I’d run it again.

One day I will see that 22 minute finish time again!

Oops, I Did it Again

Sometime near the end of my training for the Myrtle Beach Marathon, Bryan requested that I not run another for awhile. I told him no problem. Training is long and tiring, and the 3 years between my 2nd and 3rd seemed adequate enough to me.

A few weeks ago I had a text conversation with a friend I don’t speak to very often. We were really close friends from elementary school until I moved to SC in 2004. Since my parents (and my ex’s) both still lived in Ohio we got to see each other at least twice a year when we’d make the trip up to visit. My last trip to Ohio was over 2 years ago when I was 18 weeks pregnant with the twins, and I haven’t seen her since then. She is a big (and very talented) runner and during our text conversation mentioned she had planned to sign up for the Disney Marathon.

I forgot about it after that.

Tuesday I had a cancelation at work and was browsing Instagram. I came across a picture that someone had posted, waiting for registration for the Disney Marathon Weekend to open. Registration started at noon. I had a kid scheduled at noon. At 11:55, he canceled.

Suddenly, my fingers, with apparent minds of their own, were clicking the “register” button, waiting in line for my turn, filling in my personal and credit card information. They were texting my friend to make sure she was in fact registering. It isn’t until January so I won’t start training until September/October, but the deed has been done and plans are in the works.

Somehow, magically, I have signed up for Marathon #4 in Disney!

What was I thinking?

Plexus Trial: Weeks 3-4

if you missed my intro post (explaining why I decided to try this), you can find it here.

If you missed Weeks 1-2, you can find it here.

So these couple of weeks were…..interesting.

First, I spent most of week 3 on my cycle, which increased my sweet tooth, even on the Plexus. Then, in a way that I can only describe as a combination of weather and breathing torture, it did this ridiculous sprinkling rain thing here (with some real rain) for 5 days straight, meaning the humidity was ridiculous. After that finally ended, my sinuses went completely out of whack for 3-4 days, which I had attributed to catching the twins’ head cold they had the week before, but may actually have been a form of detox. When I told my friend about my symptoms she explained that yes, it could be a cold, but she experienced something similar herself. She called it a ‘die-off’ or Herxheimer Reaction. In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense.

With that said, here we go:

Sugar Cravings

While on my period, even Plexus can’t completely kill my sweet tooth, so for that week I definitely ate more sweets than I did in weeks 1-2. However, it was still half (or perhaps less) what I would normally consume during that time of the month so I consider it a win. Afterwards it leveled back off. Again, I still eat sweets, I’m just finding I don’t crave them like I used to and generally eat much less. Yesterday I had a cupcake and a mini bag of leftover mini eggs (totaling 12-15 I’d say), and that’s what I would now consider a high junk day. It is nice that I can eat a cupcake and not eyeball a second one – one is enough.

Allergies/Asthma

As I mentioned above, a combination of weather and either detox or cold made my allergies and asthma kinda suck these last couple weeks. I had been doing well not needing my albuterol before workouts but did need it more frequently. When my Flonase ran out I tried stopping altogether but that proved to be a premature move because it made my asthma worse. I should note, though that I used it for 2-3 more days and have subsequently forgotten it the last two nights without much issue. I’m still taking my daily Allegra and Singulair. Whether due to a cold or detox my sinuses in general were a mess for a few days which always makes my asthma worse. Even with all of that, typically one puff of the albuterol was enough, and I’ve still been able to avoid the daily inhaler. Today finally my sinuses are feeling like they are less nuts.

Fitness

I am definitely seeing some fitness benefits. For the last two weeks I’ve participated in some track speed work. I’ve always done mine on the treadmill so I used a recommended pace calculator to find what my pace should be for the workout that was planned last Wednesday. The workout was 2×200 with 1 minute rest between, 8×400 with 2 minutes rest between and then 2×200 again with 1 minute rest between. The fastest 400 my most recent 5k time said was 1:39-1:44. My 400 times were between 1:28-1:32.

The following week the workout was a ladder. 400, 600, 800, 1200, 800, 600, 400 (with 1 min 30 seconds rest). It was also 81 degrees and sunny this week, something that typically slows me way down.

Recommended speed times/my times:

400: 1:39-1:44/1:30/1:32

600: 2:32-2:40/2:29/2:32

800: 3:27-3:36/3:27/3:37

1200: 5:19-5:39/5:37

So my second 800 and 1200 were slightly slower or within the recommendation but the rest were faster or right at the cusp. Considering the heat, I’ll take it.

I had hoped to run a 5k yesterday but stayed out too late Friday night, still felt off sinus wise and my back had felt tight all week so the goal is to run one next weekend.

Sleep

About the same

Energy

I feel like I’m recovering from hard workouts faster and they aren’t knocking me down as much as before. Granted, I’ve been doing more bike and short speed sessions lately and what I’m used to as far as “hard” workouts are long distance runs.

Other

Bryan said he has seen a change in me physically. Overall, and particularly during my cycle, I’ve noticed a huge decrease in bloating.

Bring on the next two weeks.

Another Marathon, Metaphorically (NIAW 2015)

It’s National Infertility Awareness Week, and I’ve been slacking on posts this year.

I’d be lying if I said a successful cycle didn’t lessen the sting of infertility, but even though I hardly write about it anymore (mostly because I am just not sure how at this point in my life) doesn’t mean that it isn’t still part of me. Yes, I write probably too many posts now about parenting, twins and toddlers because that is where I am right now and that was what this blog was meant to be about. Still, I can’t let the week go by without addressing it somehow.

I’m essentially re-blogging a post I wrote 3 years ago – an analogy that, as a runner, helped me explain infertility to those who might not understand. Running has been and is such a big part in my life that I find the analogy still fits.

I’ve finished two marathons.

It still feels weird to say that out loud. That, twice, I’ve trained, run 26.2 miles, and crossed the finish line. A feat I once related only to “crazy people” (well, that’s still appropriate) and people who run way too much (oddly now also appropriate).

When I started this blog, it began as a week by week training log for my second marathon, as I was preparing to do it mostly alone. A journey to the finish line. It also began as a place to log my fertility journey, as I was starting to feel more and more alone. Another journey to the finish line.

Infertility is a marathon.

At the start of the race, the excitement is palpable. We have all trained for this. We got up at the chirp of the alarm (and in my case, after several smacks of the snooze button) and regardless of the weather, regardless of mood, regardless of (most) illness, we ran. We ran 12, 16, 20 miles on a Saturday for no reason other than this day, this opportunity to run this race, cross this finish line, accept this medal, and feel this incredible accomplishment.  We skipped movies and drinks and went to bed early. Months of runs, hundreds of miles. We are ready.

Adrenaline begins pumping right from the beginning, the first few miles a breeze. A thousand or more people in your exact situation are running with you, some a bit faster, some a bit slower, but it doesn’t matter. You’re all in this together. Even if you lose the people you started with, there are still plenty around to match pace with, plenty of energy left to get yourself there.

Discomfort begins to set in as the miles add up. The number of people begin to thin. You begin to realize just how far 26 miles is. You start to wonder what you got yourself into, and start the ipod search for your most motivating songs on your playlist. If you didn’t know you could run 20+ miles already, you might consider dropping out. But ultimately the vision of the finish line, the medal, the feeling of victory keep you going. Somehow, something pops up at just the right time that keeps you from declaring defeat – a random cheer from a stranger, a particular song, knowing who is waiting for you at the finish line.

Pain sets in around mile 20. The end feels so close yet so far away. Your body starts to scream at you. The group of a thousand you started with has dwindled down to 3 or 4. The slight envy you once felt for the faster runners has turned into full out jealousy. You know you’ve trained harder than most of them. Seriously? How are you all finishing before me? You begin to feel every step, every pound of the pavement. Any change in terrain is physically difficult to recover from. Curse words are becoming more regular.  None of the three hundred Ipod songs are gonna do it, and even taking in half a Gu (an energy gel for distance runners) every mile doesn’t seem to be doing a darn thing. You hurt, you’re tired. You’ve gotta be the only one hurting this much. The finish line, though only a few miles away, feels like it’s never going to appear. The warnings that the true test is after mile 20 suddenly make sense.

Somehow, though, through combination of a force of will, stubbornness, training, and the few out of the group that stuck with you, you cross mile 26. And suddenly, though there are only a few runners left in the immediate vicinity, the crowd gets larger. You suddenly forget how sore you are because you can SEE the finish line. Somehow, you muster the energy to finish strong,  because suddenly you hear your cheering section, the crowd clapping, the announcer calling your name.  Somehow, you finished, and you feel incredible.

Also, you still hurt.  But despite it, you kept running.

When I first stepped foot onto the pavement my first run, (which was like, halfway around the block before I couldn’t breathe anymore) – I never imagined myself running a marathon. In fact, even after my first half marathon several years later I thought to myself “who wants to essentially do this twice? No thank you!”

When I first imagined myself with a family, in my house with my white picket fence (though I’d really prefer a privacy fence at this point in my life), I never imagined it would be a problem. I didn’t even know what infertility was.

I’m still waiting to cross the finish line.

In retrospect, I survived marathon training one run at a time, one week at a time, one long run at a time. I survived the race, particularly at the end, one mile at a time. It still hurt, in fact, it hurt quite a bit. At the end my calves were so sore I literally hobbled to the car.

But I’d do it all over again. I’ll remember that day and who was with me for the rest of my life. All of the pain and exhaustion was absolutely, positively 100% worth it.

One day at a time, one mile at a time, I await the day I can say that again.

This post was created as part of The Analogy Project, started in order to help others better understand the infertility experience.

In the Mind of Miles

I’m awake.

Mom isn’t here, but that’s cool because there is that other kid over there who somehow ends up next to me, like, all the time. She’s my buddy and I like her, so I guess I don’t mind. Plus this bed really functions well as a trampoline. Jump jump jump jump BOOM!

Oh hey! Mom’s here!

It is at this point that I realize I’ve dropped my pacifier. “Uh oh” I say, pointing at it, hoping that this time she will let me keep it instead of putting it back into that stupid brown thing.

No dice.

Mom brings the brown thing over. Then, she does the craziest thing. She HANDS ME THE PACIFIER, and then expects ME to put it in the brown thing. My moment of hope is dashed. But she always looks happy when I do it, so I do it anyway.

Pick me up now, I think.

She goes over to the other kid. At least she makes her put her pacifier back too, because it would be really mean if she got one and I didn’t. But she’s taking too long, and I.want.picked.up.now.

“WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!” I cry, because this really isn’t fair. I want to be picked up, and I wanted it done like, 5 minutes ago. She finally puts the other kid down and comes over to me, and to my horror, puts me down to change my diaper. You’re kidding me, right? I don’t want my diaper changed, I want you to hold me. I WANT YOU TO HOLD ME RIGHT NOW. “WAAAAAAAAH!!!!” I could say “up”, because I know it and use it frequently, but I think I’ll just scream instead.

Mom sighs. Wow, that was quick.

She carries me towards the stairs, but bypasses the light switch. Seriously mom? How have you already forgotten that I MUST turn the light switch on and off over and over again before we can even leave this room? I grunt at her. She MUST know this means that I want the light switch. She says “on” or “help” or some other English word she wants me to use, but come on? I just want the light switch.

Stairs! I want to climb down the stairs! I want you to help me climb down the stairs! Stop chasing that other kid! “down!” I say, trying to prove I DO use SOME English words, “down, down down!”. We get to the bottom and mom – how naive of her, thinks I don’t want to be held again.

Wrong.

“WAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!” “up!” she says. “Do you want up?” I do, but crying is easier. Can’t you see my holding up my arms? Geez woman!

Oh hey! Breakfast! “more, more more” I say, clearly indicating its my milk I want. She gets me blueberries. “More, more more!” I try again, hoping she was listening this time, but she’s cooking eggs. “hot!” I say, excited, but I still want my milk. Fine, I’ll give her one more chance. “More, more more!” I say, and she finally figures it out. I eat the eggs but what I really want is that circle cereal, and now I am done. “All done!”, I exclaim, and wait .2 seconds. She is not here. Why is she not here? “All done!” I say again, and wait longer this time – .5 seconds. This is crap. I start swiping food off my tray. I mean, geez, I told her I was done.

“Ah”, I say, eyeing her coffee. She gives me a sip. See? When you do what I want when I want it, I don’t cry.

Toys! Blocks! Puzzle! Cars! I throw it all! WAIT! THAT OTHER KID IS PLAYING WITH A CAR AND NOW I WANT IT! Now she has a book and I want that!

I’m bored now, so I whine. Mom turns on this weird show, with a colorful worm at the beginning. She says things to me like “horse”, and “blue” and “moo” and I’m like, whatever. I’m bored again. I wiggle. She repositions me. I wiggle and whine. She sighs. “Down?” she asks, and puts me down. NO I DIDN’T WANT DOWN!!!! “WAAAAAAAH!!!!!” She sighs and picks me up, but that not what I wanted either, so I wiggle. And whine, for effect. She sighs. She does that a lot. I dunno why – maybe she should get tested. She takes me outside. Outside! I like outside, in fact its one of my favorite places but I don’t want it now and I have no idea why. Instead of saying “no” I throw a tantrum, because I’m really tired of her not anticipating my every need all day today. Plus my mouth hurts.  And I’m tired because I have a cold, but instead of saying “night night” I keep crying because crying is more fun and I want to see if I can make mom sigh a few more times before nap.

She sighs.

I win.*

Toddlers – 1 Mom – 0

*Brought to you by toddlers cutting molars. And yes, we still have pacifiers at nap and bed. Don’t judge. Unless you want to come care for two teething two year olds. No? That’s what I thought.

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