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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Book Tour #9: The Jane Austen Book Club

Ok, another stop on the book tour. This is what we call a "pepper" book. Which means it has nothing at all to do with infertility, and it's a nice change of pace. Here are the questions that I choose to answer.

Allegra is described as "liking being an aunt. That it offered all the kid time she needed. Probably. All she wanted mostly." If you don't have your own children, but are an aunt how important is that role to you and, what special rewards does it offer?
I have children, but this question immediately made me think about my sister. She doesn't currently have any kids of her own, but she does have these 2 little twins that she treats like her own. I knew that my sister would love my kids when I had them. That wasn't really a question. But I don't think even I truly understood exactly what they would mean to her. She is over my house more than any other person. She lives one mile down the road, so it's convenient. But take for example today, Eric and I wanted to go see Cloverfield. So did my sister's husband. So Chrissy came over to watch the kids and we all went to the movies. The funniest part about it was when my mom called and said "I would have come and watched them so Chrissy could go to the movies too". But she didn't want to go. She wanted to spend time with my kids. She buys them stuff all the time. She showers them with love. She has worked from home 1 day a week to help us during our day care crisis to take care of them. I feel so blessed knowing that when my kids are with her, they are with someone that loves them just as much as I do. My sister makes the best parent to my kids, and I feel beyond lucky to have her in my life, and theirs.

What are your thoughts on happiness? Do you think that our happiness in life is mostly luck? Do we have some control over how happy we are?
My whole life has been driven by the desire to be happy. I don't think that happiness is luck. I think you make your happiness. I fought so hard for my husband. It's a really long story, but I saw every bit of happiness in front of me, everything I had ever wanted in another person, my best friend in the world. I saw my happily ever after, but it wasn't mine. He was with someone else. Unhappily, and not married. Just dating (I'm not a homewrecker! hehe). So I told him how I felt about him, and left the ball in his court. And he did some soul searching, and he decided that I was his happiness too. It was ugly for a little while on both of our parts, as I had just come out of a long relationship too. But we knew what would make us happy, and what wouldn't and we fought for it. Now as a married couple for 4 years, we work hard at maintaining that happiness. It hasn't really been that hard. He truly is my best friend, and I can't imagine not being happy with him.

Bernadette asks that the club be made up of women only: "The dynamic changes with men. They pontificate rather than communicate. They talk more than their share." What differences did having a man bring to the group? If you have close male friends, how do they differ in relating to your infertility/everyday struggles?
I think men bring a completely different perspective. For the most part, all my close friends in college were men. That was partly due to my major (Computer Science). There weren't a lot of girls to begin with. And it just turned out that the people I had the most in common with were guys. I had girlfriends from home, and I definitely got different perspectives on things from guys versus girls. And a lot less drama with guys. There weren't a lot of males I discussed my infertility with. My husband obviously, and maybe a few couples here and there. But most of my friends were understanding and supportive. I didn't really get a different male perspective.

The author writes in an off-handed way something I imagine would be highly insulting to gay people ..."there would certainly be something challenging in a genetic code that made you gay but left your reproductive urge fully functional." I know gay people who have a strong urge to parent and have gone on to do so with more care than many self-absorbed heterosexuals.
I read this kinda differently than the person who posed this question did. I read it more as a kind of empathy. A gay couple can not make a biological child together, but just because you are gay doesn't mean you don't have the DESIRE to be a parent. And that's a challenging situation. But that's just how I read it. I truly feel that a gay couple can parent just as well as a heterosexual couple. I think homosexual couples should persue fertility treatments, adoption, surragacy, etc. Whatever it takes to complete your family. I feel in no way that your sexual preference is a determining factor in being a parent.

Did you find the allusions to the various Austen books distracting or helpful in understanding the characters in the book? Were there enough similarities to Austin's characters for you to distinguish who was who (i.e. Jocelyn = Emma)?
I did, only because I have never read a Jane Austin book! I must admit that I am interested now, and I will probably get a few of her books. But for me, I must admit that it was distracting, because I had no idea what the characters were talking about.

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about The Jane Austen Book Club? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Brigade by visiting the master list at Want to come along for the next tour? Sign up begins today for tour #10 (Embryo Culture by Beth Kohl with author participation!) and all are welcome to join along . All you need is a book and blog.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

9 Month Check-up and Friends

So, the twins had their 9 month check up today. Yeah, it's about 3 weeks late. But it was a good appointment.

Jakey Jake has gone from 20.13lbs at 6 months to 24.1 lbs! He's a chubby monkey, and I just love it! He's 30.5 inches long, putting him in the 95% for height and 90% for weight.

Hailey Bird went from 15.3lbs at 6 months to 18.2 lbs! She is my petite little princess. She was 30 inches long, putting her in the 97% for height and 30th for weight. Here's hoping she stays tall and thin!

Otherwise everything was right on schedule. The pedi told us that we can basically let them eat EVERYTHING, with the except of honey, peanut butter, whole milk, shellfish and anything that is a choking hazard (raisins, nuts, etc). Wow! So that opens up a whole world of food to them! Meatballs and pasta, mac and cheese, soups, basically anything as long as it's cut up small and is soft. I can't wait to start experimenting with things! It's going to make for some FUN pics.

And last, but certainly not least, my little girl got 2 shots, in her ears. Yes, we got her ears pierced! Look how cute she looks!

She cried when she got them pierced, but not about the actually piercing. The kid is a total spitfire and wants to be on the move all the time. So she screamed bloody murder when we were just trying to hold her in place. I was trying to hold her arms so the pediatrician could just mark her ears for where they would pierce them. All the doc was doing was making a pen mark on her ear, and you would have thought we were sticking a knife in her eye. It took me, the pedi, and another nurse to hold her down, that is how strong that 18lb kid is! But once it was done, she was all smiles!

Last weekend my friends came over with their babies, and it was so much fun. Nicole, Karen and I all graduated high school together. Nicole's daughter Lilly is 2.5 years old and Karen has b/g twins, Jack and Mia, that are 7 months old. Then my friend Michele that also went to high school with us was there with her son Michael, with the crazy hair. He's made a few appearances on my blog before. We got this great pic of them lined up on the couch. In order, it's Lilly, Michael, Hailey, Jake, Mia and Jack.
Motley Crue

It was a crazy day, with all the babies running around, or crawling and rolling, but it was a lot of fun to just compare notes and discuss the ups and downs of having kids.

Sometimes I feel like a fraud in these situations, wearing the mommy hat amongst a bunch of moms. I know I belong there now, and it's ok that I'm there, but I still don't feel like I fully belong. I can't really explain why that is, and maybe it's because of the whole infertility thing. I think its just that you spend so much time focused on the fact that you want to be a mom, that when you get there, you are used to the struggle, you have a hard time accepting your new place, so to speak.

What I want to say isn't coming out right, so I'm going to stop now.

It's late, and I must sleep now.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Picture Day

So we took the kids to get their pictures taken today. For my shower, we had gotten a gift certificate to Kiddie.Kandids. They are usually located in Babies.R.Us. We were going to wait and get their pictures done when they were a year old, but the gift certificate was actually going to expire. Weird, right? So we realized that it expired next Saturday! So off we all went today.

My kids are TERRIBLE picture takers. Literally you have to do a backflip with a monkey on your head singing about a cow named Wilbur to get these kids to crack half a smile when someone is pointing a camera at them. But put the camera away, and everyone is ALL smiles. It's beyond frustrating. So we didn't really know how the whole thing was going to go today. Actually, that's not true. I knew it wasn't going to go well. I knew they were going to be crab apples and not smile for the camera.

Plus, it was hard to figure out a time to go! They had appts from 1230pm-6pm. We went with 1230pm because they have an 11am bottle, won't have to eat again until 3pm, and hopefully we can get it over with quickly in time for them to come home and take a nap. How foolish of me to think that it would be that easy.

First of all, we get there at 12:20pm for a 12:30pm appt. They tell us that the 12pm appt hasn't even started yet. That's how behind they are. GREAT! So we hang out and around 1:25pm it was our turn. The kids were dressed super cute. This was the first picture. See how hard it is with these two?
Sad looking twins

The guy took a bunch of them together, and that was the best. Ugh. Then we took a few of them by themselves. Hailey first, cause Jake lost it and started bawling.

Hailey on the verge of losing it

Close on Hailey

Then Hailey started to cry, so we tried to get a picture of Jake by himself. This was the best result. (But how cute are his sneakers? He's like a little man!)

At this point everyone was crying, so we decided to do what any normal person would do when their children are screaming in public, COSTUME CHANGE! Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. Anyway, it did wonders! Jake was as happy as could be once I changed him. I think he wanted out of the whole outfit with pants and socks and sneakers and all that business. Put him in a onesie, and you got a happy camper on your hands! Hailey didn't seem to be as happy for being less dressed. Hey, can't please 'em all right?

So then we got a few really cute pics. Check these guys out! Yes, she is still on the verge of tears, but its just so damn cute.
Double Trouble

And this one makes me laugh cause somehow Jake ended up with CRAZY HAIR! haha. And Hailey is sticking her tongue out. Which she does a lot. That one is going to be a handful. It really shows how much bigger he is than her.
Crazy Hair Jake and Hailey with her tongue out

And we did get a couple cute ones of them by themselves. Jake was being a goof and we did him first. It was funny, because as soon as I picked him up he was smiling up a storm for the photographer. Only when he was seated in front of the camera did the smiles become few and far between. But here's a cute one. Look at those fat things! Love them! And we got Hailey to smile. But only by giving her her favorite bear. Which was supposed to be Jakes (see the football uniform?)



And after it was all over, when we were picking out what we wanted to get, Hailey would not stop laughing! She was just hanging out in her stroller laughing outloud, to no one! No one was even playing with her! She was just playing with her bear and smiling and laughing. The photographer got quite a kick out of how happy they both were once picture time was over!

So there you go. What a day! When all was said and done, we didn't get home until like 3pm, and the kids were about out of their minds. Fun times, I tell ya!

And last but certainly not least, we are very excited that our Giants beat Dallas last week and are still playing football. Needless to say, if anyone asked in Sept which Manning brother would be in the playoffs longer, I don't think anyone would have picked Eli! But Hailey is very excited about the game, and although she will be sleeping when it is on, she still has to show her support.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

To comment or not to comment ...

So, I am an AVID blog reader. Seriously. I read tons of blogs, plus I'm always checking out CycleSista to see who is cycling, and try to offer support. Sometimes I'll just peruse random groups on Mel's blog and read people's blogs. It's super interesting to me. I love to read all the different stories, hear the different perspectives. I find myself nodding in agreement, crying in sympathy, laughing at all the funny anecdotes and celebrating with all the good news.

But here's the issue. A lot of times I want to comment. I want to offer support, or advice, or just a kind word. But I'm SO hesitant. Not always. I mean, if the blog is a mommy blog, especially a twin blog, I'm quick to comment. Even if the blogger is now pregnant, I'll comment. But if not, I hesitate. I second guess it. I worry. I hate the thought of someone having a bad day, getting a comment from me, and then clicking on that little link. And BOOM! The Dunn Family! With two chubby faced kids smiling all over my blog. It's like the worst thing ever for lots of woman to see. I wish I could put a disclaimer in my comment like "Hey, I've got kids. Don't go to my blog if you don't want to see them." But that would be just weird. And if I did that, then I would be mentioning kids, and that might be just as bad.

Like in the Lost and Found, sometimes there are bloggers in need of support. The whole premise of the Lost and Found is to read and support. And yet, I hesitate in supporting. Because I don't want to make it worse. I don't want to comment on a blog when someone just experienced a loss, and have them click my link and see my kids.

So what do you all do? How do you feel on the matter? Helen wrote an amazing post about this that she submitted for the Creme de la Creme. (Great choice by the way!) It's basically about the haves versus the have-nots, even in the infertility world. I think you can basically figure out the basis of it. The haves have kids. The have nots do not. Makes me sad that even as a community there is a virtual line drawn in the sand to still separate us. I'm not saying I don't understand it, but I wish it wasn't that way. But that being said, I know it isn't anything personal. There are many blogs I comment on, and I often wonder if they don't comment back simply because they choose not to read "mommy" blogs. I'm ok with that. I truly am. I understand that sometimes you just aren't in a place to read about babies and the cute things they are doing. I guess I just wish there was a way for me to know if it's ok for me to comment, and still offer support.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Happy New Year, a bit late ...

Hope everyone had a wonderful new year. It's been hectic and I haven't had time to update. Our New Year was uneventful. We just went to my sister's house for a mini-party. Only ended up being a few couples with WAY too much food! It wasn't a late night at all, the ball dropped, we blew into some noisemakers and said good night. We were all tired. My mother in law came up and stayed with the twins, and spent the night and got up with them in the morning. So it was nice for me and Eric to enjoy ourselves knowing that we could sleep in a bit on Tuesday. Here is a few pics.
Chrissy, Joan, and Jan
Chrissy, Mark, and Anthony
The funniest part about those pictures is that my sister is dressed up for the first part of the night, but then switched to sweats halfway through. That's very Chrissy.

We have now started the "it takes a village to raise a child (or two)" month. I don't know if I even mentioned it over the holidays, but my cousin Christina was going to watch the twins 3 days a week this month, while I worked from home two days until they got into day care in February. Well she broke her elbow in two places in late December! Yeah, ouch is right! Oh, and it was her right arm, and she's right handed. Yeah, no good at all! So she can barely take care of her own kids, let alone mine! So operation "it takes a village" was concocted. I'm working from home 2 days a week, Eric is taking off 1 day a week, my sister is working from home (or my house, anyway) 1 day a week, and my mother in law and mom are splitting the other days. It's really amazing how they all were willing and able to step up and help out! Love you all so much, and thank you!

Besides that, it's status quo over here. I think we are all desperately fighting from getting sick. Everyone I know has had some sort of cold, and Eric and I both felt like we were coming down with it. Although it hasn't really hit either of us yet, so we think we might be fighting it. Hailey had a bit of a sniffly nose and cough, but Jake has been ok. Blows my mind that one of them can get sick, and the other won't. Especially considering they spend every minute of their lives together, as well as chew on all the same things.

Looks like I may be traveling into the city 2 days a week for the next few months. We are starting a new project, and we have lots of meetings to get all our requirements gathered. I was in the city yesterday, and it was frightening warm! Um, 65 degrees in NYC in mid-January? Yeah, something is very much not right. Not that I'm complaining. If I need to travel in there, I would rather it be warm than cold!

I can't believe I forgot a most imporant piece of info!! Hailey is CRAWLING! She is all over the place like a lunatic. We went and bought a playard to set up for them. Jake isn't crawling yet, but he's pushing up on all fours, and I don't think he is going to be far behind. Here she is, read to make her move.
Hailey Crawling
At some point Eric is going to figure out how to go from the video camera to the computer and I'll post a video of her crawling.

And we move the kids from the infant tubs to those bathrings. It SUCKS! When we had the infant tubs, we put the tub between the two sinks in our bathroom, and were able to stand up and do everything easily. Now with the kids in the tub, we have broken backs! Ugh! Does anyone have advice on how to make giving the kids baths more comfy?? But look how darn grown up and cute they look?
Twins in the bath

Now for a little fun in the new year
1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?

Uh, had a baby. Actually, 2.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I kept my last year's resolution. Although it wasn't really in my control. Last year all I wanted to do was make sure that I could carry my babies as long as possible so they could arrive happy and healthy. Succeeded!

As for 2008, my resolution is (like always) to lose weight. I joined weight watchers last Thursday, so tomorrow is my first weigh in. I will keep you updated on my weight loss.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Seems like everyone I know! I did. 8-) My friends Michele, Tara, Joann, my cousin Julie, my cousin Kristen, friends from college Megan, Kim and Jen. I'm sure I'm forgetting people. Sorry! It just seems like everyone I knew was pregnant this year!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thank God, no.

5. What countries did you visit?

None. Does the obscure land of MommyOfTwins count?

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?

Money!!! Well, I will actually probably lack that more in 2008, thank you very much daycare. I would like more sleep. I didn't get much of that last year.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 5th, 2007. The day the most beautiful twins in the world were born.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Hailey and Jake. I am so proud of how I did with the kids. Learning how to take care of them, getting them on a schedule, getting them to sleep through the night in 3.5 months. They are growing and thriving, and Eric and I have learned how to handle twins, and still smile and have fun every day!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Eating. After the twins were born, we fell into such an unhealthy eating pattern. Dinner was always McDonalds or pizza or chinese or something equally unhealthy. I definitely gained weight after the kids were born.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?


11. What was the best thing you bought?

Gosh, for me, or for the kids? For me, it would have to be the post-baby massage and haircut. Made me feel SO good!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

First off, my husband. For being the best father to his kids. For being so fully involved in the lives of his kids. For being a totally hands on Dad, and for letting me go out and get "me time" probably more often than I deserve. My sister, for being the most amazing Aunt these twins could ask for. Sometimes I wonder if she loves them more than me. 8-) I am beyond lucky to have her for all the support she shows me daily. And my parents, for well, being my parents. I have sung their praises many times here, and I'm sure I will continue to in the future.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, etc ...

14. Where did most of your money go?

Formula, Diapers, Mortgage.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Going away for the weekend with my husband in Sept. It was so nice to get a few nights away, and reconnect without the kids.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?

Geez, it's so awful, but Rehab. I don't even know if that song came out this year, but it was a song that Jake seemed to love, so I always used to play it in the Ipod when I was changing them. He seemed to like the part when I said "No, No, No!". Made him smile every time.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier than any year I've ever had.
b) thinner or fatter? 
Well, last year at this time I was pregnant, so thinner.
c) richer or poorer?
 Poorer. Twins are a financial drain. 8-)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Sleep. There certainly wasn't enough of that this year.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?


20. How did you spend Christmas?

See this post.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?

Yes, with a handsome little man and a beautiful little lady.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Jeez, I have to limit it to one? That's not possible. Anything reality. The Office. Extras. 30 Rock.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate? Such a strong word. No, I can't think of anyone I hate now.

24. What was the best book you read?

I haven't read a lot of books. But I enjoyed re-reading the Handmaid's Tale.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

KT Tunstall. But that may not have been this year.

26. What did you want and get?

Is this getting repetitive? Two beautiful healthy babies.

27. What did you want and not get?

To win the lottery.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

That's tough. We didn't see that many, but I really enjoy Knocked Up, SuperBad and Juno.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 33. I don't think we did anything, cause I think I was on modified bed rest.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I can't think of anything. Maybe winning the lottery?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

The "Christine Triolo Special" aka Sweats.

32. What kept you sane?

TV, junk food, my husband. Not necessarily in that order.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Hmm, I don't know. I don't really have celebrity crushes.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Seperation between church and state. Abortion, Gay Rights, Taxes, free speech, etc...

35. Who did you miss?

I miss my kids and husband when I'm not with them. I miss the people I don't have as much time to see now that we have kids.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Honestly, I don't know if I met anyone new in 2007 in real life. But I have met many wonderful online blogging buddies.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.
Nothing is more important than family.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Rest your head close to my heart, never to part, baby of mine"