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Sunday, December 30, 2007

What would you relive?

Ok, so one of my favorite bloggers Helen (of the famous Helen and the Lemonheads! You've heard of them, right??) talked about this movie that she had seen years ago, and the concept of the movie was that when we die, we get to relive one day, again and again.

So of course it got me thinking, which would I choose?

Would it be my wedding day, where I "officially" started my life with the most amazing man out there? On one hand I thought, what a great day to pick! Every single person in the world that are near and dear to us were a part of that day. (Alright, maybe a few missed it due to being stuck in 2 feet of snow!) But let's be honest, would I really want to relive a day forever without Jake and Hailey in it?

Of course not, so let's move on. That leaves me approximately 9 months of days to choose from.

As amazing as their birth day was, I wouldn't pick that one, because for 12 hours of it, I wasn't allowed to see them. I'm not wasting 12 hours out of the 24 I get to relive sitting in a hospital room watching Maury Povich say "You are NOT the father of her baby!"

So, I almost in full want to eliminate the first 3 months. As special as some of those moments were, I was sleep deprived. And I don't want to spend my eternity in a sleep deprived state, because well, that would just suck. I could barely handle it for 3 months!

So that leaves about 5-6 months of days to choose from. So which one do I choose? I decided to think about what would be my perfect day with them. It would obviously be a weekend, so that both me and Eric would be home with the kids. It would be my morning to sleep in, because again, I'm not so good with the sleep deprivation thing. So I sleep in, and wake up around 9am to find the kids in great spirits, hanging out with Daddy. Then about a half hour after lots of hugs and kisses and tickles from mommy, the kids would go down for a decent nap. Because good naps = happy babies = happy parents!

The rest of the day would be a lot of playing with kids, lots of kisses, lots of giggles, lots of good times. Nothing extravagent, no journeys outside the house, no people visiting. Just me and my family. It would not be a bath night, cause sometimes baths are a pain in the ass. But I would get to feed Hailey, who would slowly eat her bottle until she fell asleep in my arms. And for a few minutes, I would get to cuddle with her. It's something I fully can not do with her when she is awake, because the girl is a sparkplug and is always on the move. The last thing she wants to do during her waking hours is cuddle with me.

So after she finishes her bottle, I lay her on my chest and snuggle with her as she sleeps. She always turns her face towards me when she sleeps on me, so I kiss her lips endlessly. I kiss her soft hair, and her chubby cheeks and her slightly parted lips. I would then bring her upstairs, place her in her crib, and put on her lullaby music. Downstairs, Daddy would be finished feeding Jake, and he would be asleep in Daddy's arms. I would take him from Daddy (hey, it's my day to relive!) and spend some quality cuddle time with my man. I would kiss and squeeze him, rubbing his buddha belly and breathing in his perfect scent (formula and all!) Then I would bring my baby boy up to bed, and place him sleeping in the crib next to his sister. And we wouldn't hear a peep until morning.

And Eric and I would get some much needed alone time, with our two perfect babies asleep in the room down the hall.

Now ya know what the best part about it is? This isn't really a fantasy day. This is a day I have lived many many times in the last 6 months. I didn't realize it as anything super special at the time. It was just another day in our life with twins. But it's beyond special! And I am glad I wrote this post, because it is helping me to see how these typical days in our life become absolutely perfect relivable days when faced with not having them anymore.

So that's my day. A very typical, very normal day in my life with my husband and my twins is the day that I would want to experience for all eternity.

What's your day?


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boy do I love me some Christmas

This post is going to start with a request. The wonderful Jenna, that so many of you know from the blogging community has made a simple request.

The background:
Five for Fighting (the music group) is using their voice in a
wonderfully altruistic way by organizing ,
a project aimed at empowering people through the technology of
videography. Regular people, like you and me are creating videos to
help share their experiences with others. These people are putting themselves out there for the world to see in the hopes that others will learn and appreciate their struggles with autism.

Jenna's friend has a son that was recently diagnosis with Autism. Her friend has created a video that is beautiful and touching. I started crying pretty quickly after it started. But more importantly, if you have 3 minutes: View their video, Ordinary Miracles. Each time their video is viewed (and all the videos for that matter), a donation is made to their charity of choice ~ in this case, Autism Speaks.

It's such a short easy wasy to help a very worthwhile cause. Thanks!

Now, on to Christmas. Fun times over here at the Dunn house. First of all, our cookie baking extravaganza went off swimmingly! We made a ton of good stuff, had fun, and the kids were all good! So yeah for us for continuing the tradition.

Christmas Eve we went down to see Eric's family during the day. We were able to exchange gifts with most of his family and spend some time since we weren't going to see them Christmas Day. Hailey was dressed to the nines but Jake was a bit more casual. He was wearing a onesie given to him by the ever inappropriate Aunt Chrissy! It says "You Should See My Package!" LOVE IT!



We had a nice time visiting with Eric's family and got lots of nice gifts. But the kids didn't nap great during the day, so by the time we left, we really needed to get them home and to bed. We were planning on stopping by my cousins on the way home, but the kids and time did not allow it, so we just headed home. We ended up ordering chinese food, and Eric and I cuddled and watched Scrooge. It's one of our favorite Christmas movies. I love all the music. It was nice to have a lazy night on Christmas Eve. Usually we are so busy so it was nice to be able to just be low key while the babes slept.

Christmas morning started bright and early. The twins woke us up about 630am and we changed them into their ADORABLE christmas pjs, courtesy of Brian and Jess (thanks!). We fed them, and then propped them on the floor to open all their gifts. They could care less about the gifts, mostly they just wanted to eat the paper. All was good until Jake was sitting up and promptly just fell straight back banging his head on the floor. He screamed bloody murder! We have carpet on our hard wood, but it's pretty thin and flimsy. Poor little guy. But he was ok in a few minutes. Here's a pic of them getting ready to open gifts.
Twins on Christmas

And here is a picture of them after they opened all their gifts.
Twins on Christmas

And of course, playing with the wrapping paper!
Twins on Christmas

We had a nice Christmas morning, but holy crap! do we need to get a lot of stuff together to get out of the house for the day. We went to my parents house for Christmas, and at first it was just us, my sis and her husband and my brother. We all opened our gifts. It was beyond overwhelming. I think the first half hour was just me opening gifts for the twins. My sister and bro-in-law and my brother gave us some much needed gift cards for Babies R Us, as well as really cute toys.

My parents, as always, went WAY above and beyond. She bought a ridiculous amount of clothes for the kids, which they REALLY need, and then so many toys! I swear, these kids are not going to want for anything! I am always overwhelmed by their generosity. I think my mom has been waiting so long to be a Grandma just so she can spoil these children rotten. And really, who am I to stop her? We also got a lot of really nice gifts for Eric and myself.

I loved giving lots of gifts to my family. I gave a lot of baby related gifts. I made everyone in my family a calendar of the twins and tried to personalize them to the recipient. I think they came out really nice. Plus I got ornaments made with the kids heads on them. Then I gave my sister an Aunt Brag Book, and put some pics in it for her. My dad really needed a new wallet, so I got him one and loaded it up with wallet size baby pics. He loved it! I was able to take advantage of where I work, and get my mom beautiful earrings and necklace that came in the lovely blue box. Really, who doesn't love getting a gift in the blue box?? I even bought myself a Christmas gift from work. Because I deserve it!

After we opened gifts with my family, my mom's cousin and his wife came over, and their son with his 2 sons. Also our close family friends Deanna, Cherisse and her husband Scott joined us. Then our friends Jan and Joan came for dessert. We had a lovely day, and ate way too much food. My mom is Italian, and cooks like no ones business. We had dips/chips/crackers/cheese etc when we got there. Then we had antipasto/shrimp/mozz and peppers/ etc for the first course. Second course was manicotti, meatballs, sausage and pork. And then the last course was Lamb with tomatos and potatoes with broccoli casserole. I NEVER make it to the last course. I fill up on all the italian food and I'm done. Then we must have had 15 different desserts. I endulged in Creme de Menthe pie, pumpkin cheesecake and a Red Velvet cupcake.

The kids were so good. They didn't get good naps, they slept here and there in Aunt chrissy and Grandma's arms, but that was it. And they remained in such good spirits I was so proud of them! But around 730pm a breakdown started to occur, so we had to leave.

It was really a lovely Christmas. The only downside was this morning, when I realized that we took NO pics of Christmas at the parents. Well, Eric took a couple when we were opening gifts, and he took a lot of video, but I was sad to have not taken many pics of the babies with my family. Oh well, we've got plenty of time in the future for more pics! Here's a couple of cute one!


It was a lovely Christmas. Today is my least favorite day of the year, because it is the furthest one from Christmas. I hope that everyone had a wonderful wonderful holiday. I need a nap now!


Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's a Wonderful Life!

Sometimes I just stare at you. It's amazing. I think I have memorized every single inch of you. I love to look at your toes. I am obsessed with them. I love the soft way your hands feel in mine. I love kissing every last finger and toe. I love the way you search the room for me. The way that no matter who is holding you, you look around for your mommy. I love how you recognize things. Like me, and Daddy. Like your favorite toys. Like your blue monkey. I love playing with your perfect soft hair. I love the way you giggle when I tickle you. I love the way you giggle now, even before I tickle you, but just when I raise my hands like I am about to tickle you. I love the way you smile, and I see so many teeth. You are growing so quickly right before my eyes that is scares me. I could spend hours looking at you. I examine every inch of you. I am so in love with you. I never thought I would love any man as much as I love your daddy. I was wrong. Jake, you have fully stolen my heart. I thought I wouldn't know what to do with a little boy. I figured it out within one minute of your entrance to the world. I love you. That's all you need, and lucky for you, I have an abundance of love to give you. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by my love for you, I feel like I can't breathe. I had no idea, I really didn't. But since you have come into my life, I'm experienced a love that's impossible to put into words.

And you, little girl. You are a spitfire. Have been since the moment you came on the scene. You were the answer to my prayers. A little girl to love. How I dreamed of you for so long. You are beautiful beyond words. Those eyes of yours! They are huge and deep and intelligent. I love to watch you squirm around like a firecracker. Even though I'm dying to just take you in my arms and cuddle you, I love the fact that you won't let me. You can't be held down. You are always on the move, trying to discover everything within (and out of) your reach. You are going to challenge us, and test us, and I think you have so much of me inside of you that sometimes I get scared. But I'm excited. I'm so excited to see this wonderful, intelligent, independent, crazy girl that you will grow into. I am in awe of the strength you show all the time. You hurl yourself around the house, banging into things, and you never cry. You just try to find another way to get to wherever you are trying to go. And you love to dance! At least Daddy and I call it dancing. We hold you up, and you move those feet at top speed in time to whatever Daddy or I sing to you. You love to jump and bounce around. You make me tired just watching you move to much!

Sometimes I just have to stop and write down how I feel about you. Because as time goes on, and you get older, I want to remember how it felt. How every day I woke up and thanked my lucky stars for you both. How no matter how tired I was, or how crappy I felt, I couldn't wait to run into your room, and see your smiling faces so ready to get out of those cribs.

I want you to be the best of friends. Daddy and I put you down for a nap today and within 15 minutes, we heard you giggling. You had never done this before when you were supposed to be napping, so Daddy snuck in to see what was going on. You had both moved to the ends of the crib facing each other. And you were both popping your heads up over the crib bumper and laughing at each other. I almost cried because it made me realize how close I really want you two to be. You guys are so different, and yet I think you will compliment each other in a million ways.

You are the light of my life, the loves of my life and the cutest twins that have ever existed. I don't think I truly realized how much I was meant to be a mom, until you showed up. I don't think I truly realized how much I could love another person until you two showed up. I never ever want to forget how special this time is. Because it is going way too fast. I almost feel like you guys are toddlers, not babies. And I've been HORRIBLE at updating your baby books. So maybe this blog is your new baby book. Because one day I intend to let you read this. And you will know that every second that you existed, from the second you were created, you were loved and wanted.

On a side note, here are some milestones!
Hailey finally broke some teeth. A couple days ago those bottom 2 both broke through together. So current count, Jake: 6 - Hailey: 2 (well, the start of 2, anyway)!

Hailey is going to be moving way too soon! She is starting to push up on all fours and rock back and forth. I really think she is going to be jetting across the floor any day now.

The kids are eating 2 solid meals a day, Stage 2 fruits and veggies and meats. We finally gave them some puffs. Very disturbing. They cough and look like they are going to choke. They do eat them though. And are actually starting to chew them. But they look really disturbed by the whole process. Is it wrong that it makes us laugh?

On a non-baby note, we went out Saturday night to see It's a Wonderful Life, the musical at a local theater. It kinda sucked. I had high hopes. Probably shouldn't have. But it was fun just to get out with my friend Michele and her husband and my sis and bro-in-law.

Christmas shopping is done! Woo hoo! And I even finished with most of my wrapping. So that's a good thing! We went and bought the twins some stuff this weekend at Toys.R.Us. Nothing that exciting, just a few things to have under the tree. Not that they are going to have a clue what is going on on Christmas. But more so Eric and I can have fun stuff to video. We already got a preview of what Christmas morning is going to be like. I was wrapping gifts on the floor while the twins were playing, and Hailey was attacking the wrapping paper. She was eating it, ripping it, rolling around in it. We should have just bought them many rolls of wrapping paper for Christmas. Eric was wondering if it's awful that we were letter her bite it. She didn't swallow it, we took it away for her before that happened, but she was biting on it. That's probably no good, right?

Ok, this is getting way long. But here's the picture we used on their Christmas card. Don't you love it?? They looked so damn cute in their outfits! You can click on the picture for a link to TONS more pictures!
Christmas Twins

Here is a Christmas pic of the twins with Grandma and Opa ... love all these clothes!
Christmas Twins

Oh, and stop by and say Merry Christmas! There is a comments section below, and you can leave a comment even if you don't have an account. So say hi. I like to know if there is anyone out there.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Book Tour #8: A Handmaid's Tale

Alright readers. Time again for the next book in our book tour. This month we read A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Very disturbing book, in my opinion. I think I read this book ages ago, but I didn't remember much about it at all, so I was anxious to read it again. The book takes place in a future society that is no longer the US, its called Gilead. In this new society, woman's place is in the home, literally. They can not hold jobs, positions, or have their own money. Somehow (they claim due to enviroment reasons) a lot of people are barren. Thus, the handmaids exist. These are woman who have been proven to have children, or are young and healthy enough that they should be able to have them. They are given to men called Commanders, whose wives are unable to have children. The handmaids are purely for reproduction. They are supposed to get pregnant, have the baby, give it to the commander and his wife. And move on to a new Commander. Disturbing to say the least. The book is told by Offred, one of the handmaids. Because her Commander is named Fred, her name becomes Offred. It would have changed, had she gone to another Commander. Before Gilead, she was married and had a young daughter. Because it was a second marriage, it was not honored, her daughter was taken away and given to a commander and his wife, and she had no idea where her husband was.

Here are the questions I choose to answer.

The structure of the civilization in the book seemed really eerie to me (and quite difficult to figure out). Even though the copyright in my book was 1985 and set in the 21st century, it seems to reflect some of the fears we have today. I found myself wondering if our country could really be in for a drastic "take-over" as represented in the book. What are your feelings about the society described in the book and do you think it is possible to have something like that happen in our country?
I was trying to figure this out too. Trying to figure out when this was supposed to be. This was such a disturbing book. It made me think about how after 9/11, I was so willing to give up certain freedoms so I could feel safer. It doesn't work that way though, does it? It's that mob mentality. People get so scared, that they become irrational trying to keep themselves safe. Like when the Aunt explains how there are "freedoms to" and "freedoms from". The old society (like our current one) the handmaid's had "freedom to". "Freedom to" work and live and marry and reproduce or not reproduce. The new society (Gilead) no longer offers woman "freedom to", but it does offer them "freedom from". "Freedom from" rape and murder and other unspeakable acts. Yes, of course those things are frightening and you wouldn't wish them on anyone, but at what cost would you go to protect yourself? Would you give up all your "freedom to's"?

Even though the rampant infertility is acknowledged to be largely due to environmental pollution, Gilead refuses to acknowledge the possibility of male infertility; if a Handmaid is unable to conceive with three Commanders, it is assumed that she is at fault and she is reassigned to the Colonies. How did this double standard resonate with you, if at all?

Frustrating. So frustrating. Even in our society I think this exists. Don't you think that most people assume if a couple can't get pregnant there is something wrong with the woman? I'm not sure why that is, but I feel like that is an assumption that is made. Gilead is a misogynistic society, so everything is the woman's fault in some way. They made the women admit that if they were raped, it was their fault. So being that was how the society was, it only made sense that they blamed the woman for the inability to become pregnant, not the man.

For all that the Handmaids are supposed to be serving the society's greater good and should be honored for that, they are looked down upon by just about everyone. Wives resent that the Handmaids do what they cannot, Marthas resent the time spent caring for them, Econowives resent them for the ease of existence they feel the Handmaids must enjoy. And the reverse is true as well, Handmaids resent the other women for having little freedoms they do not enjoy, whether it's control over a household, the ability to hold a knife and make radish roses, or to simply not be a possession without a name. Does this mutual resentment exist in the world of infertility? Do "fertiles" resent "infertiles" and vice versa? If so, in what way?
I think so. I'm not sure if fertiles resent infertiles, but I would be lying if I said I didn't resent it to some extent when people get pregnant on a whim. I don't blame them, I realize that fertiles don't get pregnant to spite me, but it certainly doesn't make it any easier. I guess I resent the ease that it takes for some people to have a family, versus how hard it is for some other people. And I resent the insensitivity. I feel like sometimes fertile people will wear like a badge of honor the fact that they fell on top of each other and got pregnant. Now, I don't think fertiles shouldn't be able to talk about how easy it was for them, but I guess it's one of those "consider your audience" type of things. If you are talking to a friend who is dealing with infertility, or miscarried recently maybe you could leave how the fact of how "easy" it was for you. Now to be fair, not everyone shares there story of infertility, so fertiles don't realize they should be sensitive. But going through infertility has stopped me from asking people "When are you going to have kids?" cause for a lot of people it's not a matter of just saying "Now" and getting knocked up. Now as far as fertiles resenting infertiles, I have seen comments on blogs about how fertiles love and appreciate their kids just as much as us infertiles do. This was due to a post about how much the woman appreciated her new baby, maybe more than a fertile would, because of how tough the journey to get to parenthood was. And the fertile commenter was pissed. So maybe fertiles resent the fact that we infertiles feel like we love our kids more, because we had to fight so damn hard to have them. That's just a guess though, cause I've never lived in the "fertile" camp.

The Handmaid's Tale is set against the backdrop of a dystopian society wherein religion and feminism has combined to lay down a strict set of roles for women. In what ways are your reproductive choices shaped by religion and/or feminism? In what way do you think religion and/or feminism shapes the way society views infertility? Is it plausible to you that religion and feminism could ever produce the type of society described in The Handmaid's Tale? Why/why not?
Oh, here is a question that could lead to some harsh commenters. But I still choose to answer it. First of all, I was raised Roman Catholic. I am certainly not practicing. According to

Reproductive Technologies in Disagreement with Catholic Teachings:
-- Obtaining a semen sample by means of masturbation
-- Artificial insemination using sperm from a donor (AID) or even the husband (AIH) if obtained by masturbation
-- In-vitro fertilization (IVF), zygote intra-fallopian transfer (ZIFT), and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), ovum donation, "surrogate" uterus

So see, I'm a bad Catholic. I had issue when it came time to baptize. My mother really wanted me to baptize the twins. My husband and I could care less. It's not like we are going to raise these kids in the church. Hell, the church doesn't even think they should exist! I had a really hard time paying money to a church to have a baptism for two kids that God doesn't even think should be alive. I think that organized religion was created out of fear and the need to create guidelines to control society. So yes, I can see how religion could lead to a ridiculously scary society like the one in the book.

I have often wondered what happened to Offred after the events in the book. There was speculation in the lecture notes, but if you were to add to that speculation---what happened to her after she was taken away? Did she work with the underground? Was she pregnant? Did she try to find out what happened to Luke and her daughter? What would you want for her to accomplish (if anything)?
Oh, I'm a sap. I knew it wouldn't be in the book, but in my mind I wanted a nice happy ending all tied up with a bow. I wanted to believe that Offred got away. That she did work underground. More than anything I wanted to believe that she was reunited with her love and her child. And I really wanted to believe that she lived to see this misogynistic and repressive society collapse.

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about The Handmaid's Tale? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Tour by visiting the master list at The next book for book tour #9 is a non-Infertility book (otherwise known as a pepper book by the Barren Bitches) The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. The next 7 book tours (including The Jane Austen Book Club) all have author participation, so you'll be able to interact online with the authors, and ask questions about their books. All are welcome to join along. All you need is a book and blog.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Traditions

I'm going to have so many christmas related posts, because of just love this time of year. Even two years ago, when I knew that IVF was right around the corner, and we couldn't afford it, and I was dealing with the emotions of that, I still loved this time of year. For me, it represents hope, a time when ANYTHING is possible. I don't know what it is either. I'm so not religious. I don't take any of the religious aspects of Christmas into play. For me it's about family, buying gifts and bringing a smile to someone's face. It's about appreciating all the good in the past year, as the year comes to an end. It's about eating and socializing, and just waking up and smiling a little more, cause it's just that time of the year. Eric and I have always been christmas lunatics. Even in college.

I remember our first Christmas together. Well, not together as in dating, together as in knowing each other. We were 18 and 19, and it was freshman year, 1992, Trenton State College. Me and my roomate Aimee decorated our room like crazy people with Christmas lights everywhere and snowflakes hanging from our ceiling and Christmas music playing 24X7. And we all went to the movies to see A Muppet Christmas Carol. And me and Aimee dressed in red and white and attached bells to our shoes. No, that's not a joke. We really did that. And we sang Christmas carols in Eric and Chris's dorm room. And it was so fun. Everything about it. I still remember what I got Eric, James Taylor's Greatest Hits CD. He loved it. Still does.

Every year since 1992 we have celebrated Christmas in some way together. In the beginning it was always with all of our friends. Sometimes with the people we were dating at the time. We started a tradition our junior year in college of baking Christmas cookies together. I lived off campus in an apartment with Eric and his roomate when he was on campus, Chris. These two guys were my best friends all through college. Still are. 8-). And that first year, Chris's girlfriend Megan and Bill and Eric, our other friends cooked with us too. Senior year, I missed the cookie baking. But once we left college, the tradition continued. After a while it was just me and Eric and Chris, and whoever we were with at the time. Megan was always there, because she and Chris stayed together and are currently married. So she's been a fixture. Eric brought his girlfriend, I brought my boyfriend, every once in a while Bill and Eric were there. But always me and Chris and Eric and Megan. And that's how it continues. For a while it was just the four of us. Then 5, once Chris and Megan had our beautiful god daughter Ali. This year it's been crazy, and we go from 5 to 8! We had Jake and Hailey, and they had a little boy Kai born a few weeks after the twins. It's a tradition I love so much. We play Christmas music too loud, sing along, and bake WAY too many cookies. Sometimes we watch a movie, sometimes we don't. We just celebrate the season together, and reminisce about the past 15 years that we've kept this tradition alive.

Our friendship with Chris and Megan is so special. Eric and Chris randomly were paired together as roomates in college, and it was SO perfect, and they ended up being just the best of friends. We met Megan freshman year as well, as she was Chris's high school sweetheart. And although she didn't go to college with us, sometimes I forget that and think she did. Because she was always there. 8-). We have all been through so much together. Eric and I were both in their wedding. I was a groomswoman. That was very cool. Chris and Megan were the first people I told when I realized that I had fallen in love with Eric. They were our biggest supporters in us finding our way back to each other. We went on vacation with them to Ireland, and it was just the funnest trip EVER. The four of us traveling through Ireland was just crazy and nutty and truly a trip I will NEVER forget. Chris was our best man when we got married, and Megan was one of our bridesmaids. Eric and I are Ali's godparents. And although due to location, we don't see each other nearly as much as we should, this time of year makes me think about them so much. Cookie Day is Dec 22nd. I can't wait. I know you guys read this, and I just wanted to let you know how super important you are to me and Eric. We love you. Can't wait for Cookie Day!

Ok, enough of the sap. Eric is off this month, taking advantage of the Family Leave Act to chill with the kids. I'm still on my part time schedule, so Wednesday we were both home together. We took the kids to the mall to see Santa. They did very well. They didn't smile for the pics, but no crying, so that's something right?? So I will leave with you some pictures. Happy Holidays everyone!
Santa and the Twins




Wednesday, December 5, 2007

How do I love you? Let me count the ways ...

Happy Anniversary my love! 4 years ago, we were married. By far and away it was the best day of my life. I didn't necessarily realize it at the time, given that it was like a blizzard in New Jersey and I was basically cursing at everyone because I was so stressed out about the weather. I got ready at my parents house, as I watched the snow coming down in the background. It was like a movie, it looked so beautiful outside. But then the snow just wouldn't stop. And the limo didn't show up to pick up the girls. And the Rolls Royce basically slid down my street to pick up me and my dad. And I had to wear my brothers dirty black snow boats with my wedding dress. And I had to leave with my dad, and leave all my bridesmaids and my mom behind so I could get to the church on time. And my mom had to ask a neighbor, who she had NEVER spoken to, to drive half my bridesmaids to the church. And the Rolls Royce driver had to use a NAPKIN to clean the windsheild during the ride, because the defrost didn't work.

And when I finally made it to the church, I got in a fight with the limo driver who never showed up. And there was no one in the church. Out of the 150 guests we invited, there were like 20 people at the church.

But you were there. And both of our families made it to the church finally. And from that point on, it was my fairy tale. I wanted to sprint down that aisle to get to you, but I figured I might as well milk that walk down the aisle, because it was the only time I would ever take that walk. And once I saw you standing there looking at me, all the rest of the stupid craziness went away. You are my best friend, my biggest supporter, my strength, my conscience, my soul mate. You accept all my many flaws, and make me feel like the most beautiful, the most loved, the most important person on a daily basis.

Our wedding day was so wonderful. After the church, and with so few people there, I was sure that there would be no one at the reception. What a joy to show up and find almost all of our guests there! People really traveled so far and through really treacherous weather to be a part of the most special day of our lives.

I don't know what I did in this life to deserve you, but I'm so glad I did it. I am at a loss to find the words to express my love for you. Although a few do come to mind. Or, at least the words to our wedding song do.

The Luckiest
I don't get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls
Brought me here

And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it everyday
And I know

That I am, I am, I am
The luckiest

What if I'd been born fifty years before you
In a house on a street where you lived?
Maybe I'd be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?

And in a white sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize
And I know

That I am, I am, I am
The luckiest

I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you

Next door there's an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep
And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away

I'm sorry, I know that's a strange way to tell you that I know we belong
That I know

That I am, I am, I am
The luckiest

-Ben Folds-

Although I didn't think I could love you more than I did that day, I was wrong. Every day with you has been amazing. I've just come to love you more. And now, seeing you as a father, has just been amazing. I always knew I got the best guy out there, but I had no idea how great until we had our children. You have been 100% a part of this entire journey. From giving me all my shots, to holding my hand during my entire crazy pregnancy, to diaper changes, midnight feedings (and 2am, 4am, etc), baths, spit ups, just everything. I can't count the number of times you have told me to go out for the day and enjoy myself and you stayed with the kids by yourself. And your comment was always "They are my children too. I want to be fully able to take care of them." You were never the type of husband to stand by the side and let me take care of everything. You never expected me to do more than you. You WANTED to be involved in every single step. I don't think I ever felt that our partnership was stronger than I do now. You are amazing in more ways than I can count, remember, or type. So to finish this, Thank you for never stopping loving me after all those years of friendship. Thank you for telling me you loved me in a castle in Ireland. Thank you so much for proposing to me on a rainy night sitting on the edge of Lake George. Thank you for marrying me in a blizzard in New Jersey. Thank you for honeymooning with me in beautiful Hawaii. Thank you for building a life with me in our wonderful home. Thank you for sharing this amazing journey with me. Thank you for giving me your heart, your soul, your life. Today and always. I love you.

Me and my love

One Loving Couple

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

I love the holidays. Christmas starts in our house the minute Thanksgiving ends. We always go down to a christmas tree farm and cut our tree down the day after Thanksgiving. Screw going shopping on Black Friday, that's tree trimming day in our house. And it's all done! It's so fun! We fully decorated, wreaths are on the doors, stockings are hanging on the mantle, Eric has constructed his wonderful Christmas Village that is growing bigger every year. We even did most of the lights outside the house. And we would have done them all, except that when we plugged them in to test them, half of all the strands were out. Really, how annoying are Christmas lights? I need to know what happens when we store them in the box from this Jan 2nd to day after Thanksgiving. Because they ALWAYS work when we put them away, and without fail, shits all screwed up the next year when we take them out. Ugh. But besides that, Christmas is full force on in our house, and I love it!

The kids love to stare at the Christmas tree. My parents babysat for the kids on Tuesday, because Eric and I both had to work, but my cousin and her whole family was sick so she couldn't take the kids. And my mom said that Hailey was like a rolling lunatic, and rolled under the tree, and then just layed there staring up at it. Makes me laugh. Oh, and Jake fell off the bed today! It happened so damn quick! He was in the middle of the bed, with a toy, so I thought he would be ok! And I just finished changing the sheets, so I was sitting on the floor at the end of the bed to tuck the sheets in under the mattress. I was tucking, and all of a sudden I looked up, and he was like a top rolling without a pause and off the bed he went! Thank goodness I was right there, so I was able to break his fall with my arms, but he started to cry because I think he got startled. Ugh. These kids are tough. Eric is going to have quite a fun time spending December home with them!

Thanksgiving was fun. We spent it with Eric's family. It was nice to be with all his family and eat like little piggies! I do love me some pumpkin pie!

The yuck news is that I got sick on Sunday night. Just a cold, but ugh, it's so hard to be sick and still be a mom. I wish there was a way to press the pause button for a few days when I get sick. I just so badly wanted to sleep late and overdose on Nyquil and just not have to worry about anything. I'm lucky to have a great hubby that really did take on a lot of the burden, but it's still hard. And I HAD to go to work. Monday I had a meeting all day long and Tuesday I had to go into NY for 2 meetings. Ugh, and I felt SO crappy Tuesday. And it took FOREVER to get there. I purposefully drove to a train station that went direct into NY, cause the closest one to my house you have to transfer in Newark. So that sucked, because there were all accidents, and it took me like 45 minutes just to DRIVE to the train station. So I take the train into NY. Then I decided to grab a cab because I felt so crappy and just didn't feel like taking the subway. It took so long to get to my work. Usually its like a 15 minutes cab ride. It was like 45 minutes that morning. I forgot that it's now the holiday season, so people are all in and shopping and siteseeing, and I'm like "Get outta my way! I have to work!". So I think door to door it took me 3 hours to get in. Then I decided to take the subway when I left work, because I figured it might be hard to get a cab on 5th Ave. The subway is so gross. Now the subway cars themselves, just getting down there. There's just this smell as soon as you go down into the subway stations that I just try not to breath and fly my way through. Ah, the fun of NYC during the holiday season. Hopefully I won't have to go in to many more times before Christmas.

Don't get me wrong! I love being close to the city and going in and taking advantage of all there is there. But not when it's for work. I like going in and walking around and taking my time. But when I need to go to work, I just want to get there, do what I gotta do, and get out.

Only 2 more weeks of this part time schedule, and then I'm full time back to work. Wow, how the time flies! Not that i'm not REALLY ready for that full pay check again.

What else? Me and Eric and going out to dinner Saturday night to celebrate our anniversary. My parents are babysitting which is nice. Our actual anniversary is Dec 5th. We will be married for 4 years! In some ways it seems like years ago, and in some ways like a lifetime! I'm sure I'll write a special anniversary post on that day.

And of course, pictures! Here are some from Thanksgiving weekend.

Hailey and Mommy
Jake and Daddy


Wednesday, November 21, 2007


So much to be thankful for. Where do I begin? I guess I'll start at the beginning. I am thankful for the love of my life, Eric. I feel like everything really fell into place in my life when we found each other. Granted, we found each other at 18 and 19 years old, dated for 2 months and decided we would be better as friends. Well, maybe I decided that and broke his heart. But he was a WAY better person than me, and stayed my friend. And ended up being my best friend all through college. And he was my best friend through my many dysfunctional relationships. And he was the person I turned to when the worst things in my life happened to me. And one day I just started to look at him with completely different eyes. And I realized that I had fallen in love with my best friend. It was all complicated and messy, considering he was in a relationship with someone else, and had been for 5 years. But somehow we sorted through all the bullshit, and realized that at the end of the day, it was always supposed to be him and me. So finally at 27 and 28, we found our way back to each other. And he loved me at my ugliest (or what I consider my ugliest.) At 360lbs, he supported me when I decided to have gastric bypass surgery. And the best part about it was that he didn't really want me to have it, because he was afraid something would happen. He always said "You are beautiful, you don't need to do this." And that made me love him more. But I still went through with the surgery. And he held my hand through it all. And he took care of me. And after losing 180lbs, his love was just as strong as it was when I was so much heavier. He always supports me, loves me, takes care of me and makes me laugh on a daily basis. Eric, you are my everything and the light of my life. Nothing means anything without you by my side. There certainly are no words for me to express how thankful I am for you.

Finally in Dec 2003, on a snowy (read: BLIZZARD) winter night, we got married in what was the happiest day of my life! I couldn't imagine being happier. And we enjoyed the first year of marriage. But then we decided to start trying to start our family. And we all know how that story ended. After a tough road, we have (no offense to anyone else) the most beautiful babies in the world. I didn't think I would be able to love anything or anyone as much as I love Eric, but that was just silly of me. I can't even explain what it felt like to see and meet my kids for the first time. It's a moment I will never ever forget. I am beyond thankful for those two perfect little angels. They have fully made my life complete, and I really feel like the luckiest person in the whole world. I have been blessed with so much love in my family that sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure this isn't some sort of dream, because it truly feels like it is.

I am focusing on my immediate family in this post, but there are so many other things and people I am thankful for. My parents, my sister (who is my best friend), my brother, my in-laws, my job, my home, my health, my family's health. Gosh, the list goes on and on.

I can remember so vividly exactly one year ago. We had just found out that we were having a boy and a girl. It was still such an intangible thing. I couldn't wrap my brain around the fact that we were going to have two babies! Now on this Thanksgiving, I'm so glad they are here, and healthy and happy and thriving.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to you all! May you take a moment to appreciate all the amazing blessings that are in your life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

We have come to a decision...

We are going with Kiddie.Academy. We really liked the place. Eric and I went to see them last Wednesday, and we got the full tour. The teachers were just so great and friendly and all the kids looked happy and like they were having fun. Eric's sister advised him to really look at the kids and the teachers faces. See if they look like they like their job and are having fun. And we just got such a good vibe from the place. Every room they showed us, all the kids were so smiley. They would all wave at the babies and yell hello to them. I also liked the fact that they have baby-cams. So I can log on from work, and watch them all day. Yeah, I know, not very conducive to being a good employee, but it will be nice to get my fix if I really miss them. Although it would kinda suck if I watched them, and they started crying or freaking out. Cause then I would want to run and get them. So maybe it's not so good to have the baby-cam. hehe.

But WOW is day care expensive. I mean like expensive like do we need to sell our house? Yeah maybe. We'll see how things go. It's crazy. I have no idea how anyone does it. I mean, even if you don't have twins, most people space their kids 2-3 years apart, so at some point they are in day care together. How the heck does anyone afford it?? All I know is, when they finally go to school, it's going to be like we hit the lottery! Kiddie.Academy doesn't have an 2 openings until February. So my cousin is still going to watch the kids for 3 days a week during January, and my amazing bosses have agreed to let me work from home 2 days a week until they start day care. It's so great that they are letting me do that. Especially since my boss knows that it's going to be hard for me to really "work" during the day with twinfants at home. Although they are getting older and spend more time playing in their exersaucer and jumperoo and what not, so I will be able to get some stuff done.

I'm just glad that they are all signed up and our spots are locked in and a decision has been made. I hate worrying and having things hanging over my head. Especially this time of year. I'm so excited for the holidays. I've just barely started my christmas shopping. We aren't going crazy this year for the kids. That's what the grandparents are for. hehe. I went to Toys.R.Us with my mom, and she bought all this stuff for the twins it made me laugh. The best was when she wanted to buy Hailey a double stroller for her dolls. It looked just like the stroller the twins go in, the Graco Duoglider. In fact, I think it was made by Graco. I was like "uh, mom? Yeah, it says for ages 3+. And um, Hailey can't walk". She's getting a bit ahead of herself.

So much to be thankful for this year. But that's another post in and of itself.

I don't think I have any new pics to put up. Wait, I have a few I took of Jake in the bath. I gave him a mohawk with the shampoo. He's like my own little Maddox.
Jake and his mohawk


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Taking Care of Business

So much to talk about ... so little time. First, and foremost, thank you SO MUCH to Jenna. She bestowed on me the Blogger Flame of Fortitude. In her own words:

"You are receiving this honor because you have embodied perseverance in the face of difficulty and shared the journey of your experiences with others proving that a single voice can both be a light of support and a source or humor for those in the midst of their struggle. You are acknowledged here today for allowing others to share in your personal story and providing camaraderie through the power of your words."

Thank you Jenna, this means so much to me. I started my blog as a way to keep my family and friends updated on the twins. Lots of pics and fun and yeah. But as I slowly stumbled across more of the IF community, I realized that I wanted this to be more than that. Even though I'm not currently going through the process of trying to conceive, I still remember all the fears and worries, the emotions and stress, the highs and lows. It's something that will forever be with me. So many IFers (me included) thought a lot of the sting would go away once I had my babies. I was wrong. It's part of me, good or bad. It's a journey I went through that led me to the place in my life where I am. A journey that brought me to my beautiful babies, which of course was the end result I wanted. But also a journey to me. A journey that brought me even closer to my husband that I thought possible. A journey that made it painfully clear to me just how much I wanted to be a mother, regardless of how we got there. A journey that made me realize that IF affects millions of women. And it's still a taboo conversation. Which it shouldn't be. And I guess I just wanted to become a part of this amazing community that is creating a family for all of those woman who need a little love and support and friendship on the way to creating their own families. And any support and help I can give in the process is the little I can give back, for all the luck I feel I have received. And who knows, maybe one day we will decide it's time to try again, to add to our family, and it's so good to know their are so many women out there who can hold your hand through the good and bad of it. So who do I pass this flame on to? Every single person in my blog roll. Everyone single lurker. Everyone who has had to deal with any extra help in order to create the family they want. You all deserve this.

What else? Nothing much going on with the daycare front yet. We are actually going to see a Kiddie.Academy today. We checked this place out back when I was like 20 weeks pregnant, which was almost a year ago. So we need to get updated prices and just have more questions to ask now that the babies are actually here. The only caveat about this place is that they don't have 2 spots open until February. Kinder.Care had 2 spots open in January. So we'll have to see how it works out. At the end of the day, I'm going to put the kids in the place I like best. Have I mentioned how amazingly wonderful my bosses are? I mentioned to my boss about how we might need to find somewhere for the kids for the month of January, and she totally said they would work with me, let me telecommute a day or two, to help out. It's really wonderful to be a parent at the company I work for. My bosses are both woman, both have kids and just really understand what it's like. So I'll update more on that as we make a decision.

I bought shirts for the kids. Her's says Little Miss Trouble. His says Mr Silly. It fits there personalities perfectly. Check 'em out. The pics are links to tons more pics in shutterfly.

Oh, and one week and 2 days from today, we will be going to get our Christmas Tree! I can't wait! We are like lunatics about the holidays! I'm not even remotely religious, but I love the whole feel of this time of year. Fun and giving, spending time with family, eating (yum!). The kids already each have like 4 holiday outfits to wear. So be prepared for a million holiday pictures.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

12.5 Fighting Back

12.5% of the population is experiencing infertiliy and recurrent pregnancy loss. Yes, that statistic is correct. 7.3 million people in our country alone. Here is my story for Mel's Blogtavism.

Eric and I weren't even ttc a year when I told him I wanted to get checked out. The results were less than desirable. One blocked tube, bad morphology and not great FSH. According to our RE, we COULD get pregnant naturally, but it could take between 5-10 years. Yeah, not so great considering I was already 32. And really, who wants to wait that long?

We checked all of our insurance options. As both me and my husband work, we checked all of our plans. None of them covered fertility treatment. We decided to stay with my insurance, as all the testing and diagnosis was covered, and the RE we wanted to go to was in network.

Once we decide we were going with IVF/ICSI, we were also lucky enough to find out that all meds were covered. But it still left us with a approx $12,500 for a cycle. We opted for a shared risk plan. $22,00 upfront, and for that price you get 3 fresh/3 frozen cycles. If at the end we didn't have a take home baby, we would get 75% of our money back. Our story has a happy ending. A beautiful set of twins that has completed our family.

I live in NJ. New Jersey has an act called the Family Building Act. Here is what it says: The Family Building Act requires insurance policies that cover more than 50 people and provide pregnancy-related benefits to cover the cost of the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. The law defines infertility as the disease or condition that results in the inability to get pregnant after two years of unprotected sex (female partner under the age of 35) or one year of unprotected sex (female partner over the age of 35) or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. This act covers IUI, IVF, ZIFT, GIFT, ICSI, surgeries and all diagnosis.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Ah, but there is always a catch. Companies DO NOT need to follow the state mandates if they are a self-insured company. A self-insured plan is one that is not backed by an insurance policy. The employer instead funds and administers its benefit plan (i. e. , pays claims covered by the benefit plan from its own money). It may outsource the administration of the plan to a third-party administer (like United Healthcare or Cigna), but this administrator does not provide the employer with any financial backing or assume any financial risk associated with the claims. Self-insured companies tend to be large, financially-sound companies. Small employers tend to not have the financial ability to self-insure, so they purchase insurance and rely on the insurance company to pay claims per the terms of the insurance policy. As a result, when state mandates are passed, they impact mostly small employers.

So, there is always a loophole. I work for a big financially sound company that decided not to offer fertility benefits. So just because I live in a state that has mandates, they still didn't help us.

I am lucky enough to have wonderful parents that paid for us to do the shared risk plan. It was money they took out of their retirement fund to help make our family possible. Without them, we would have taken out loans, probably would have sold our house, and put ourselves in financial debt to have our family.

Our family is most probably complete now. I can't imagine finding that money again to try and increase our family. It's sad to me that money is going to dictate the size of the family we will have, but I'm so thankful for the beautiful kids I do have. Honestly, I don't know if we would even try again, but it would be nice to have the option, and not have it dictated by how much money we have.

I hate that insurance pays for treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction. Because I didn't do anything to myself to create my medical problems. Yet people can CHOOSE to take drugs or drink, and they don't have to pay to fix a problem they caused themselves. I just hope that the more people that bring this issue to the forefront and talk about it, the more changes are made and people get all the help they need to create the family they want.

Monday, November 5, 2007

7 months! ** Updated

Can you believe the twins are 7 months today? Yeah, me neither. They are so damn cute, and getting so big! Hailey is rolling all over the place, I really think she is going to crawl any day now. She pushes herself up so high, and flails around like a lunatic. I just feel like once she starts to move, she's going to be speeding around like lightening. Jake is rolling all over too. He's a big chub.

Funny story, Eric and I were in the mall the other day pushing the kids in the double stroller. We were in the elevator, and another woman was in there with her child in a stroller. She looked at the kids and said "What's the age difference between your kids?". Yes, Jake is such a fatty that the woman didn't think they were twins! He is just so much bigger than her! We couldn't stop laughing about it.

Eric and I are starting the process of looking for daycare. My cousin Christina has been amazing to take care of my kids for me, thus far. But it's become a bit much for her. She has her three kids to take care of, and I think that it is important that she gets to actually take some of her down time for herself, and she gave it up to take care of my kids. And for that I will be forever grateful. And with her being so busy taking care of my kids, her kids aren't getting the attention they deserve. So I think this is best for everyone. Eric and I found a place we liked before they were born and Christina offered to watch them for us. It's a Kiddie Academy, which is a chain. But I really liked it. We are waiting to hear from them about availability. Christina is going to keep the kids for the next month, and then Eric is taking a month off and utilizing his Family Leave. So we need to find a place for them to start Jan 3rd. We are also going to check out a KinderCare close by that is getting great reviews from other parents. One thing that is cool aobut Kiddie Academy (Kindercare may have this too, I don't know yet.) is that there is a web-cam where I can go and watch the kids at any time. Yeah, I will be getting NOTHING done at work if I do that!

I know I've mentioned my sister Chrissy here a billion times. She is CONSTANTLY buying things for the twins and just is in love and enamored by them, and it's just the sweetest thing ever. I feel so lucky that my kids have this crazy Aunt who can't get enough of them and love them as if they were her own children. My sister only lives 1 mile away from me, and she literally drives past my house to get to her house after work. Needless to say, almost every single day she stops in on the way home from work to get some lovin' from Boots (Hailey) and McButters (Jake). The nickname Boots came from my mom, and I don't even really know why. She just started calling her Boots and Bootsy. Now of course, there are like 20 derivatives of it. I call her Lady Boots. It's very funny. McButters started as Butterball, morphed into Butters and then became McButters, because Chrissy is a fan of Grey's Anatomy. She just bought him a onesie that says "Who needs McDreamy when you can have McButters!" How cute is that? And she got one for Hailey that says "If you think I'm cute, you should see my Aunt Chrissy". Good stuff.

I guess that's about it for my update. Tomorrow I have to go to physical therapy in the morning, she is still kicking my ass. And then I'm in NY for work. I don't mind going into NY for the day. My boss is cool and let's me go in just for my meeting from 1-2pm. So I just drive in. Takes about an hour, but at least I can go off times and not have to deal with traffic. I don't mind going into the city when the weather is nice, but now that it's getting cold, I'm getting cranky. I don't do well if I'm outside in the cold. I mostly just want to sleep.

OH MY GOD! I forgot the most important part of my update! BON JOVI! Me and my sis and my friends Jen and Michele went to see the Bon Jovi concert last night is lovely Newark. I am such a Jovi girl! Bon Jovi "Slippery When Wet" was actually the first concert I ever went to when I was in 8th grade. The show was super fun, and he played a lot of old stuff, from Runaway to Living on a Prayer and Wanted Dead or Alive. We were loving it. But I drank, a lot! We got a car service to bring us home, and I was definitely drunk. I stumbled in the house around 1230am and grabbed a cold slice of pizza, shoved it down my throat, and went to bed. Yeah, I'm classy like that. Then around 3am, I woke up to pee, and decided to sleep in the spare room so that the kids wouldn't wake me up. I woke up around 750am just in time to give the kids kisses goodbye as Eric took them to Christina's. I was so tired and hungover and just wanted to sleep all day. But I had to go to work. First thing I did when I got to work? Went to the cafeteria and got a taylor ham, egg and cheese sandwich.

If that last paragraph doesn't prove that I am the ultimate jersey girl, than I don't know what will.

** UPDATE **

We took some really cute pics of the kids this morning, so I wanted to add them to this post. It's not really THAT cold in Jersey this morning, but these hats were just too cute for me to not put them on the twins.
Sweet Hailey
Smiley Jake

Also, this weekend was our nephew Brandon's birthday party! He turned 5! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go since I was going to the concert, but Eric took the kids and they behaved very well! Everyone was impressed that he took them to the party my himself. haha ... It was at a bowling alley, and Eric commented that you don't realize how many ceiling fans and strobe lights are in a bowling alley until you bring babies there. They couldn't take their eyes off them, and pretty much ignored everyone else.
Brandon's Birthday


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to you all! It's been fun over here at the Dunn house. First of all, we went to a Halloween party at my cousins on Saturday night. I was Raggedy Ann, Eric was the Hamburglar, Jake was a cute monkey and Hailey was a cute Koala.

First of all, none of the kids at the party knew what Eric was. When we got to my cousins, the triplets ran up to the car to greet us, and were like "Uncle Eric, what are you?" and he was like "I'm the Hamburglar from MCDonalds." They still had no idea what the Hamburglar was! What the hell! What are they teaching kids nowadays? Damn McDonalds and their stupid Monopoly game! Why don't have they the glasses with Grimace and the Fry Guys on them! ugh ... how will our youth learn anything important in this life?

The kids did not love their costumes. Jake did better in his than she did. But to be fair, Hailey's costume was much heavier and hotter. So we got a few cute pics, but then we had to rip them off them before Hailey burst a lung from crying. Here are some cute pics from the party.
Jake the MonkeyHailey the Koala

Then today I took the kids to my work (today was one of my days off) to visit everyone there, before going to Grandma's work and showing them off some more. It really was a long day for them. Thank god they napped in the car. Tonight we didn't do anything exciting with them. Unless you consider bath night exciting. Aunt Chrissy came over to visit though, and helped us get some more cute pics. God, I love these kids! Hailey's got this nervous smile that cracks me up.


Wonder Twin Powers Activate! Shape of .... the cutest twins EVER! I love these onesies. And I promised them to Erin and I am going to send them to her after she has her twins. Here they are on my little bundles of cuteness in the meantime! I just love this picture of Jake, he was CRACKING UP when I was bouncy the Eeyore stuffed animal on his belly. He's such a goof!
Wonder Twins
Happy Jake

Besides all this unbelievable cuteness, things have been pretty great over here. Work is good, I love being back there. It's so nice to have that time for myself again. And I literally RUN home to see those kids when the day is over. Physical therapy is KICKING my ass! She keeps doing these major deep tissue massages and literally I think I am going to cry when she is doing it. But I guess that's what happens when your son is a big fat lump! He's breaking my back, literally. Oh well, if that's my biggest complaint, I'll take it.

The babies are really moving around like lunatics. Hailey has been rolling all over the place for the last few months. We can't put her anywhere unsupervised except the floor, and even then she tries to roll away. But we could always count of Jakey to be a lump. Not only wasn't he rolling, but he was barely even trying, and din't seem to care. He was very happy on his back. And then one day it all changed. He was trying to roll over onto his belly, and managed to figure it out in like 2 days. Then suddenly he was rolling front to back. Ugh. So now we really need to watch these kids. No more putting them on the bed and leaving the room for a minute. I guess is it preparing us for mobile twins. But I don't know if anything can really prepare us for that.

Any of the pics in this post are links to a TON more cute pictures over in Shutterfly. Go check 'em out. I must say, the embryologists picked the cutest sperm and the cutest eggs, cause these babies are the cutest little people ever.

Erica and Eric (by the way, I always end my posts this way, and it's stupid, cause I always write them and Eric NEVER does. He told me he was going to write a post sometime soon, something about what a terrific wife and mother I am. We'll see if that happens ... 8-))

Friday, October 26, 2007

Barren Bitches Book Brigade #7: Happiness Sold Separately

So, here is my first turn on the Barren Bitches Book Tour. This month we read Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston. The basic rules of the tour are read the book, submit a question, get the entire list of questions that everyone submitted, answer a couple of them in a post, thus starting a discussion about the book. All books have some sort of theme related to infertility/adoption/child bearing etc.

Anyway, the book was about a husband and wife, Elinor and Ted, who are dealing with infertility. It's put a strain on their marriage, and right at the beginning of the book, Elinor overhears her husband on the phone, and realizes that he is having an affair with his younger, healthier personal trainer from the gym. The story evolves as Elinor confronts Ted and leaves him, he breaks it off with the trainer, Gina, and attempts to reconcile with his wife. They both deal with the obstacles of trying to work out their relationship, while Ted still sees Gina, and finds out she has a son Toby that he didn't know about from a previous relationship. To add insult to injury, Ted falls in love with Toby and they form a relationship. Elinor spontaneously without treatment ends up pregnant with her husband's child, which causes them to try and save their marriage. Unfortunately, she loses the baby. The ending is left somewhat ambiguous, but I think it's obvious that Elinor and Ted are through, and he is going to go back to Gina. Now to the questions:

Elinor seemed to turn all of her books on the subject of infertility backwards on the bookshelves, where Roger found them while cleaning. Why do you think she did so? In what ways do you think people who are struggling with infertility help in keeping infertility such a "taboo" topic? Do you see infertility ever becoming a more accepted or understood topic?
Well, this question kinda touched close to home, because I was very secretive about going through our infertility treatments. Why? I'm not really sure. On one hand I think it was the embarrassment of feeling like I was failing at something that so easily comes to other people. But I think it also had to do with the fact that if I tell 50 people that we are going through treatment, then it's 50 people that I have to call and tell that it didn't work. I mean, when "regular" people get pregnant, they don't call their friends and have to say "Hey, got my period, didn't work this month". Then don't have all their hopes and fears pinned on one months worth of medication and medical procedures. And it's bad enough to have to deal with the reality of a failed cycle, but then to have to tell everyone and their mom about it? I think it's just too much. So I'm not sure if it's a taboo subject, or just a really personal and private one.

I also think that a lot of people feel it's their right to give you their opinion or point of view on medical fertility treatment. Seriously, if someone told you they were trying to get pregnant by having sex with their husband or wife, would anyone ever say "Really? Cause you guys are kinda stupid and irresponsible, maybe you shouldn't have kids right now." Of course not! But tell someone you are going trying to get pregnant medically, and they will come out with all types of opinions. Like religious ones about how it's unnatural and the church does not support fertility treatments. Or my favorite "How can you do that? You don't feel bad about all your babies that you didn't transfer and just died?". People don't say to fertile couples "Oh, you didn't try to get pregnant this month? Well that's just half a baby you killed! What a wasted egg!" Oh well, I could go on about this for hours ... Next question ...

The book explores different kinds of love. It seems that their battle with fertility (and really Elinor's battle with herself) has changed the type of love Ted feels for his wife. Has your journey with infertility and/or loss changed the love between you and your spouse?
I think that any issue in a marriage can go one of two ways. Either bring the couple closer, or push them further apart. Elinor turned inside with her pain, and instead of leaning on her husband, she withdrew from him. It was really hard for me to understand this part of the book, because it was just so far from my own experience. If I didn't have my husband to lean on, I never would have made it through the process. He is my best friend, my sounding board, my strength. He took care of me in my darkest and saddest moments, and I like to think that I did the same for him. I can easily see that if your marriage isn't in a good or strong place, how an issue like infertility can tear you apart. First of all, it completely taints the physical aspect of your relationship. Sex becomes about trying to get pregnant, and the more you fail at it, the less you want to try. So your sex life suffers. And I think the feelings of guilt are really hard to deal with. The person who has the issue, be it male or female factor, feels like they did something wrong to have made them infertile. And then they wonder if their spouse resents the fact that there is something wrong with them. I think it's such an emotional thing, it's really easy to just want to hide inside yourself. And when you do that, you pull away from the other person. I feel lucky that we were only on the IVF roller coaster for a relatively short ride. But I know that if I had to take that ride again, I have an amazing partner who would support me the whole ride.

The end of the book was left open to the reader. Do you think that Elinor and Ted stayed together, or that they really finally separate? Did she pursue adoption on her own, or did they do another round of IVF with PGD? Do you think she ended up happy, or did she continue to struggle?
I think that Elinor and Ted split at the end. When all was said and done, to me it seemed like their marraige was over. I think he went back to try and make it work because she got pregnant. I think Ted fell in love with Gina. And I think Elinor decided that the most important thing to her was to be a mom, and that had nothing to do with Ted. I like to think that she was going to pursue adoption on her own.

I liked this book, but I did have a hard time sympathizing with all the characters, and I think the author wanted us to. She tried to show Elinors feelings, but also her flaws. At first I disliked Ted, but then she showed how he was driven to a point where he didn't think he was in a marriage anymore. Gina, at first, was just the other woman, but then you see into her life, and how she felt and what she was dealing with. And lastly, there was Gina's son Toby who got stuck in the middle, who loved Ted and wanted him to be a part of his life, which killed Elinor. Knowing that the one thing she couldn't give Ted, his mistress could. All that aside, I never sympathized with Gina. I just couldn't. I just feel like at the end of the day, a married man is off limits. You just don't go there. And same with Ted. Work on your marriage, or end your marriage, but don't cheat. I don't know, it was just hard for me to be ok with anything they did. The saddest thing for me was that in the end, it seemed like infertility drove them apart. Infertility is something that no one asks for, and it saddened me that the book made it seem like their marriage was good and solid until they started dealing with their infertility. I hope this doesn't happen to a lot of people. Infertility is hard enough to deal with. I hate to think that it can get so bad, it can ruin a whole marriage. I guess mostly I can just be thankful for the husband I have. Because for me it was the total opposite. I would have been disasterous WITHOUT my husband. He's my lifesaver. And that ends my first book tour.

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about Happiness Sold Separately? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Tour by visiting the master list at Want to come along for the next tour? Sign up begins today for tour #8 (The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood) and all are welcome to join along . All you need is a book and blog.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

First Toothy!

Ok, so it's been a while. Got a lot to catch you all up on. First of all, the kids had their 6 month checkup with the pediatrician. Jake is a fatty fatterson! He weighed in at 20lbs 13oz (90th percentile) and length was 28 3/4 (97th percentile). My little peanut girl Hailey was 15lbs 3oz (20th percentile) and 26 1/2 in length (75th percentile). Everything else looked good. They got their shots, but no after effects. They cried when they got them, but were pretty much back to normal by the time we left the doctor.

Otherwise we added an extra meal now, so they are getting solids 2X a day now. We do fruits and cereal in the morning, and veggies and cereal in the evening. Hailey is rolling all over the place like a lunatic. Anytime you put her down, she immediately rolls to her belly to hang out. So gone are the days of putting her on the changing table and running to get something in the closet. She'll flip off in a second! She's now rolling over and sleeping on her belly too. I don't love that, but the doc said once they can roll over themselves its fine if they sleep that way.

Jake is a slug. He doesn't roll at all. He doesn't even try all that hard to. I just think he is very content hanging out on his back. We are working on having them sit up, and they both are getting better at it.

So I came home from work on Tuesday, I was in the city for the day, so Eric had picked the kids up. When I walked in he looked at me and said "Our little boy is growing up! He is getting his first tooth!" At the time, you could see that the gum split and there was a little white showing. It's come in a little more since, and you can feel this sharp thing sticking out. I'm very excited for my little man. Nothing going on in Hailey's mouth yet. She's chewing on everything and drooling a ton, but no sign of teeth yet.

Hmmm, what else? I hurt my back really bad last week, and went to my doc and she wants me to do physical therapy 3 times a week to strengthen my back since I have to carry the twins all the time. I was like, WHAT!!!! when the hell am I going to find 3 days a week to do physical therapy! We'll see how that goes!

Here's a cute pic I took of the twins in adorable outfits that Aunt Christina bought for them.
All the babies

Last weekend we had a bunch of Eric's friends from high school over, which was lots of fun. His friend Brian and his wife have twins that are exactly 6 months older than Jake and Hailey, also a boy and a girl. It was fun to watch them and see where are kids are going to be in another 6 months, but also scary! Because they were moving all around. Ugh! And his other friend Bill and his wife were there with their daughter Hannah, who is 15 months. It was fun to get all the kids together. Here's a cute pic of them all. In order it's Jake, Brian, Olivia, Hannah and Hailey.
All the babies

Friday night I went to a digital scrapbooking party at my cousin Kristen's. It was the coolest thing ever, and I'm so excited to get started. I was big into scrapbooking before the twins, and made really cool ones for my wedding and honeymoon. But it was a lot of work and time. The digital ones will be so much easier to do in my spare time. I'll definitely post cool pages as I make them.

We went to Great Adventure with my brother this weekend and had my mom and Eric's mom babysit for the day. It was a lot of fun and I love roller coasters, but it was insanely crowded to the point where I just wanted to start knocking people out! That's when I knew it was time to leave.

And we went to the park today because it was such a beautiful day. We got some really cute pics of the babies. Here is a shot I was dying to take of the twins. I have seen a lot of other twin moms with this pic, and I just think it's so cute. Needless to say, I almost waited too long, because fatty Jake almost didn't leave room in the seat for Hailey!
Jake and Hailey

Alright, that's enough catch up for now. Next week I'll have lots of great Halloween shots from the Halloween party we are going to with the kids on Saturday.

Erica and Eric

Friday, October 5, 2007

Dear Babies

Dear Jake and Hailey,

Today you are 6 months old. I can't believe it's been that long already. One year ago I was pregnant with you, and anxiously waiting for the first trimester to end. I would dream about being able to meet you and see you and hold you.

And now you've been with us for 6 months. The first few months were a blur, at best. I was overtired, overwhelmed and scared that I wasn't going to be a good mom. But you taught me how to understand you, how to feed you, burp you, love you.

I must admit at the beginning to wishing the time away. I wanted to see your next stages. All you did was sleep and eat. I wanted to fast forward to when I could really play with you. And then some time went by, and you both were smiling and showing your little personalities. Jake, you are such a happy baby, the littlest things bring the brightest smile to you face. Hailey, you are a little tougher. I really need to work to get you to smile. If you could talk, I think you would say something along the lines of "All those stupid sounds and faces you make might work in making Jake laugh, but you are going to have to work harder for me."

But you both are amazingly good babies. You sleep good, and you eat good and you don't cause too much trouble. And as the time passes on, me and Daddy see more of ourselves in you. Jake, you seem to have Daddy's easy going personality. Hailey, I think you are going to be really independent like I am.

I always knew how much I would love you when you arrived, but I don't think I was prepared for how much you would impacted my life. Everyday, you make everything I do worthwhile. I watch you, and realize that the time is going to fly. Before I know it, it will be your first birthday, then you'll be starting school, etc. I want to try and cherish every single moment of your lives. I don't want to wish it away. I want to cherish the moments I can rock you in my arms, because soon enough you won't sit still for me to do that.

6 months is a short time in the whole scheme of all the time we will have together, but this last 6 months of my life have been the best I've ever experienced. I am thankful every day that I have you in my life, and I love you so very much. You are the angels of my life. If this first 6 months is any indication, it's just going to get more and more fun.

Jake, you are happy and cheerful all the time. You do like to have attention, and make little noises like a vulture if we don't pay enough attention to you. But you are easy going, and can usually be calmed quickly. You loved to be tickled and you love to look at your momma when someone else is holding you. Melts my heart everytime. You are my little man and I love to grab and kiss your chubby legs and feet. You have a adorable hearty belly laugh, and it makes me laugh every time you do. And for some reason you can't tear your eyes away from the tv when the Mets are on.

Hailey, you are definitely my little diva. Although at first it was tough to get you to smile, you now smile all the time when you see me or Daddy. You love when people stick their tongue out at you, or blow raspberries. Do that, and you'll laugh every time. You are independent and will do whatever you want. No matter how many times mommy tries to roll you onto your back, you roll right back over onto your stomach, and then cry until I flip you back over, to start the cycle again. You are beautiful and perfect and I could stare into those gorgeous big eyes for hours.

Happy 6 month birthday! I love you both more than it's possible to put into words. I can't wait to watch you grow up into the beautiful, amazing and talented young man and woman that I know you will become. But I plan to take it one day at a time, and enjoy every minute of it.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Our Weekend Away

So me and Eric went away for the weekend. It was WONDERFUL! Did I mention that we didn't take the kids with us? Eric's cousin was getting married in VA, right outside of DC, so we decided to go to the wedding and make a long weekend of it. We left Friday night after we put the kids to bed, around 730pm, and didn't come home until Monday afternoon, around 2pm.

The kids stayed home at our house and my parents and my sister and her husband took turns coming over and taking care of the kids and staying with them. It was really great for us, because then we didn't need to pack up all their crap and cart it to someone else's house. It was so nice of my family to do this for us, and give us this time to just do some grownup stuff. Eric's mom and sister and her husband went to the wedding as well, so it was nice to have some adult time with them.

So here is the run down of our weekend. It was about a 3.5 hr ride from NJ. We got to the hotel at like 11pm and basically just watched some tv and went to sleep. The next morning we went out to breakfast to this kick ass pancake house that we proceeded to eat at every single morning of our trip. The wedding was very nice, and that was saturday afternoon into the evening.

Sunday morning we did more breakfast (yum!) and then went to see 2 movies. We LOVE to go to the movies, and obviously the twins have kinda screwed up our going to the movies every weekend thing. So we went to see Eastern Promises (very good) and Across the Universe (also very good). That night we went out to dinner and had some drinks and came back and stayed up late and slept late on monday and it was all fun and wonderful.

I missed the kids a lot, but I really really didn't want to come home early! haha ... I think Eric missed them more than I did. He was all like "Hey, I miss the kids!" and I was like "Hey, get me another beer!" ... ahh, sweet freedom.

Here's some pics from the wedding. Me and my wonderful husband
Me and My Love

Eric's sister Lori and her husband Drew
Lori and Drew

My husband being silly
Eric, Erica, and Drew

Eric with his mom and sis
Eric, Mom, and Lori

And the happy couple, Nick and Erin
Nick and Erin

And sorry, no baby pics! That's what happens when a bad mom goes away for a weekend of debauchery! No baby lovin'!

But don't worry, they will be back soon!

Erica and Eric

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Work and Child Care and Playing Dress Up, oh my!

Well, I went back to work on Monday Sept 17th. I haven't had much time to write about it before. So here goes. I cried my eyes out the weekend before I had to go back. I was a wreck. I told Eric that we needed to just sell our house immediately and live in a one bedroom apartment so that I didn't have to work and I could just stay home with my kids. My wonderful husband took my breakdown in stride and totally supported me and just said "Ok, we can sell the house, but it's Friday. We probably won't be able to get this done by the time you need to go to work on Monday."

So that Monday I went to work and ya know what, holy crap was it the easiest day I've had in 5 months! I just was able to sit at my desk, listen to my ipod, get some breakfast, run some errands at lunch, and all of it by myself! Now, I couldn't wait to leave work that day to go get them, but I really did appreciate the time that I spent there. And I realized that it was all ok. I was actually going to enjoy being at work. And I'm lucky that for the next few months, it's only parttime. I work Mon, Tues and Thurs and I'm off Wed and Friday. It's great. So now that I knew I was going to be ok, how were the kids going to be??

So my cousin Christina is taking the twins in for me and watching them. Christina has 4 1/2 year old triplets (that actually share a birthday with my twins!). Her kids go to school 3 mornings a week, and she decided to be my daycare. Which is a wonderful feeling for me, because I love knowing that my family is watching my kids. But I was also worried that maybe her kids wouldn't love this whole arrangement. I didn't know if they would be annoyed by the presence of these new babies. Ya know, the babies need to eat on a schedule and nap, and what if the kids wanted to go somewhere and the twins needed to eat, and I don't know. I was just worried they would resent them. Well, I couldn't have been more off base. First of all, the triplets LOVE the twins. Everyday when my husband drops the kids off, the triplets run out and want to help carry things in. They get so excited to see them, and actually want to come visit the twins on the days that I have them because they miss them! One of the trips, Vinny is IN LOVE with Hailey. When I went to pick up the kids on Tuesday, he was crying, because appartently he is the ONLY one allowed to feed Hailey, or rock Hailey or play with Hailey. And I guess one of his siblings made the monumental error of trying to play with Hailey. hehe.

It's SO reassuring and wonderful how much they enjoy the twins and look forward to playing with them. The other day the twins were doing tummy time, so all the kids had to get on their tummy's and lay on the floor! So while I was off today, I got a call from Christina that Vinny NEEDED to come over and see Hailey, so they all came over to visit. I just feel so happy about the fact that they are giving my kids so much love and taking such good care of them. It's something that I can't even put into words. Here's some pics of the kids with the kids. First Vinny with Hailey, then Joey with Jake, and then Gianna with her mom, because she doesn't get a lot of baby time, because her brother's hog them!

Vinny and HaileyJoey and Jake

Christina and Gianna

Oh, so remember that cute outfit I bought for Hailey and mentioned in my last post? Well here it is on her! It's an easy way to compliment myself! haha ... In case you can't read it, it says "Don't ya wish your Mommy was hot like mine?" and on the butt it says "Don't Ya?" ... LOVE IT!

HaileyButt Shot

We went to a birthday party this weekend for our friends 2 year old daughter which was a bunch of fun. Then Sunday me and my mom and sister went into NYC to see a play for my sister's birthday. We saw Spring Awakenings and I thought it was good. Really good music. My wonderful DH was on baby duty all day and he had fun running around with them. I love how capable and hands on he is.

Ok, I guess that's my update. I am going to leave you with 2 more pics of the kids. I did a little fashion show with them today, and I just can't get over how grownup they look in these outfits. Grandma bought them these little outfits. Eric says that Hailey looks like a French Baker. I think Jake looks like a thug! Funny right?


Erica and Eric