Sunday, May 31, 2009

An awesome baby shower

Yesterday marked my final baby shower (side-note, I feel so lucky to have the wonderful friends and family who threw and attended these!) and it was awesome. At 11:30 I made my way over to Nicole's to enjoy great food, fun crafts, generous gifts, and most important - time with good friends.

Nicole was a perfect host - from the food to the decor, everything was magazine perfect:

Craft time was a blast - we worked on mobiles:

My favorite is spending time with good friends:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

31 weeks pregnant with twins and nesting!

I've made it to the 31 week mark - woo hoo! The twins are growing and moving like crazy and every day I feel like I'm in a new body. My belly is now so ginormously round, I feel like I could rival Santa.

Not knowing if I have 4 weeks or 7 weeks to go, I'm not in "nesting" mode trying to get ready for the boys. This entails cleaning, setting up the cribs, and (trying to) get rid of stuff - I love love love my shoes, but I think having over 5 pairs of flip flops, 6 pairs of running shoes, 10 pairs of boots, and 80 heels is a bit excessive.

Per Baby Center, here's what's going on in there...
"This week, your baby measures over 16 inches long. He weighs about 3.3 pounds (try carrying four navel oranges) and is heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He's probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby's kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy."

People watching

Yesterday during my (seemingly-never-ending) blood test, I killed the 3.5 hours of wait time people watching. Doctors offices are always ... interesting ... a little depressing ... and places you kind of want to get in and out of. I think anyhow. The waiting room yesterday was more on the interesting side than anything, though. There were the kids getting their first shots and vaccines (did you know, in San Francisco if you live in a building built before 1940 and have kids, the babies need a blood test at 15mo for lead poisoning), there were people dropping off their "samples" in brown paper bags to nurses who looked less than pleased, there were the other mom's to be, etc.

One family that intrigued me was the fam with twin boys.
The twins:
I caught myself staring at twin 2.5 year old boys running around the waiting room. One would grab a pile of magazines, the other would grab them and put them back. One would jump up and down, the other would rock side to side. One got sleepy and sat down, the other ran a few laps around the room and came to sit with his brother. The most entertaining was when they got ahold of a plastic glove, blew it up like a balloon, and started playing kick ball missing the glove with each kick attempt.

The mother figure:
After staring for an obscene amount of time, I went over to ask who I thought was the mom how old they were. She gave vague answers about age, their doctor, and other fun facts on raising twins. About an hour later (seems they had a lot of testing to do, too) she came over and whispered in my ear "Sorry I'm being so vague, I'm the foster mom. That's (while pointing) their mom."

The mom:
The mom was a young beautiful woman. I didn't hear her say a single word but when she picked up the boys she glowed. She would pick up a boy, put him on her lap, read, and then put him on the floor. On to the next - she'd pick up the brother, put him on her lap, read, and then put him on the floor. After going through this routine twice it seemed she needed a break as she left for about a half an hour.

The helper:
A third woman was there helping rally the boys.

The social worker:
About halfway through the appointment a social worker showed up. I'm not quite sure why she was there - she watched the boys, the mom, and the foster mom for a bit, pulled the foster mom aside to chat, and then said "good job" to all and left.

What a scene.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

GTT test take 2

Today I had to go in for the 3-hour GTT test (a test for gestational diabetes). When I first heard about gestational diabetes I didn't quite "believe" one's body could have such a problem with sugar just because of being pregnant. After my midwife told us the story of delivering a 14.5lb baby to a woman who only gained 12lbs (the baby was so heavy because of the gestational diabetes) I became a believer. The body does whacky things when pregnant.

I landed a "score" of 157 / 200 on my 1-hour GTT test and the cutoff is 139. I have to admit, I think I flooped the test by having a coffee in the morning - oops!

After arriving at the blood center at 7am, here was the flow:
  • 7:30am (it took the office a while to find the paperwork ... the paperwork I handed them at 7am) blood test
  • 7:45am drink 100mg of glucose water - in the 1-hour GTT test you drink 50mg and it tastes like Orengina - the 100mg variety tastes like pasta syrup straight from the bottle
  • 8:45am blood test
  • 9:45am blood test
  • 10:45am blood test
As soon as my last blood draw was finished, I quickly made my way to Peet's for a coffee and juice - very needed! I get my results Friday - fingers crossed.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Photos - going back in time

My photos are up from the Lululemon shoot! We shot these when I was 6-months pregnant in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. The shoot was a blast - the photographer was awesome, the community manager (who is, in one word, rad) was there, and passers by kept stopping yelling "go mama!" and other words of encouragement.

You can view all the pics on my profile page on

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Surprise work lunch

What a great end to the week - series of baby celebrations! On Friday V and I were walking to Whole Paycheck (Whole Foods) for lunch. On the way there, V crossed the street to check out a new Indian restaurant. Indian food is one of my favs, but on Friday it was not at all - Thursday for dinner we had Indian and I got SO sick I vowed never to eat it again. The scene played out as follows:
V: "I just need to grab a menu"
Me: "I'll wait out here - I can never eat Indian again. Just looking at it I want to throw up in my mouth a little."
V: "Just come for one sec"
Me: "No, really, you don't understand, I can't even walk in the door"
V: "Change of plans - we're eating here!"
Me: "Are you kidding me? Do you want me to die?"
V: (now looking stuck) "No, Amber, really, you have to eat here"
Me: "Huh" (not the brightest at this point)
V: "Reservation for 6"

My co-workers surprised me with a celebration baby lunch! Apparently I'm not good at setting surprises around (they had to reschedule 3 times because I kept having to go to doctor's appointments) nor am I a good recipient (without knowing it I slammed to restaurant choice).

Lunch wound up being terrific and the surprises continued when we got back to the office and V made me head to a conference room where the whole office was waiting with home-made blue cupcakes.

What a fantastic day!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

30 weeks pregnant with twins - belly pic!

I'm now 30-weeks pregnant (woo hoo) and counting down the weeks until we get to meet our boys. I'll be honest - I'm both excited and scared to death.This pic is not from tonight so it's not exactly 30-weeks, but it's from the shoot we did Saturday, so close enough! The shoot was with an awesome photography team called Real Exposure (the photogs also happen to be a rad couple and new parents).

Per Baby Centre, here's what's going on this week:
Your baby's lungs and digestive tract are almost fully developed. While your baby may soon slow up growing in length, (he measures about 15.7 inches/ 40 centimetres from crown to toe by now), he will continue to gain weight until he's born.

This week your baby continues to open and shut his eyes. He can probably see what's going on in utero, distinguish light from dark and even track a light source. If you shine a light on your stomach, your baby may move his head to follow the light or even reach out to touch the moving glow. Some researchers think baring your stomach to light stimulates visual development. But don't expect 20/20 vision when your baby is born -- newborns can see a distance of only about 8 to 12 inches/ 20 to 30 centimetres. (Children with normal vision don't reach 20/20 vision until about age 7 to 9.) To complete the picture, your baby now has eyebrows and eyelashes.

To eat: Baked Egg "Cupcakes"

My co-worker shared this recipe, and I love it! This is a fast, easy, and healthy way to make breakfast for a few days (or mid-morning snacks).


  • 9 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 C spinach
  • 4 slices prociutto
  • 1/4 C parmasan cheese
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
To make:
  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Mix all ingredients except olive oil in a bowl
  • Oil a cupcake pan (12-cupcake sections)
  • Pour mix into the 12 sections
  • Put pan into oven and cook for 30-minutes
  • Let cool
  • Enjoy!
Why they're good:
Eggs have tons of nutrients - top of my list right now is DHA (gotta make those boys smart!)
Procuitto has protein and a lot of sodium which is helpful for long runs (or spin classes in my case)
Spinach has a ton of iron and calcium - great for growing bones
Parmesan is packed with calcium

I'm going to guess these tasty eggcakes pack ~100-150 cal each, little fat, and negligible carbs (from the veg) making them a perfect snack food (on top of breakfast).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oh Baby! Weekend round-up - a babylicious time

(My boys love hanging out with Wonder already - every time we going walking or I get to hold him they both stick their heads out (turning my belly into an alien-esque ball))

This weekend was one of baby prep, baby pics, and baby ed. Friday night Matt went to kick up his heels at the Avett Brothers (awesome band if you've never heard of them) and after a quick workout I started organizing the boys' room. We finally bought a dresser so I have a place to stash the 100+ onsies we've accumulated already (these boys will be well dressed!)

Saturday we had a photo shoot - I figure if we're only going to be pregnant once we should capture the moment (and you've seen the extent of our photo journalistic skills - lacking). The shoot was awesome! I'll post photos soon.

Sunday Leanne and I set off for a morning GGRC walk (although I think we were the only GGRCers there as a) it was roasting hot, b) it was Bay to Breakers, and c) it's trail race season so weekends are often filled with trails). I'm loving our Sunday walks because I get some baby training with Wonder and good girl time with Leanne. Sunday evening Matt and I went to Peter and Jill's for "baby training" where they taught us swaddling, bathing, feeding, and Matt "got" to change his first diaper. Their baby is a little angel so he's setting a high bar!

All in all, a great weekend! I'm ready for another ;o)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Take it and Run Thursday: Gearing up for Summer

This week's theme is ... Gearing Up For Summer. With the really warm summer temperatures around the corner, it is time to dust off our warm weather gear, tips and know how in order to transition and run well into summer. Share your best tips for how you transition from cooler to warmer temperatures as well as stay cool during those hot weather runs.

Summer to me means awesome trail races, fun runs at the beach and in the mountains (Mt. Tam being a personal fav), and incorporating ladders and stairs into runs (I guess this goes hand in hand with some of the trail races). On the downside it means dehydration risk, poison oak (I seem to get it every Summer - typically on Angel Island), and weird runner's sunburns making cap sleeve dresses on Monday at the office impossible.

Summer Running
Summer Running by Marathon Mom featuring Nike Shoes

My tips for Summer running?
  • Coconut Water - the BEST sports drink hands down
  • Cool clothes - I'm a fan of Under Armour shorts and Lululemon tanks
  • Good running socks - Nike makes some great cool socks
  • Water water water! (I hate the belts, though - they make me have to go to the bathroom way too often)
  • Garmin - gotta track those runs!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

29 weeks pregnant with twins - belly pics

I've made it to 29-weeks - woohoo! Another 6-10 to go. This week the tiredness kicked back in in full force with one new (un)pleasantry - being winded, I am constantly trying to catch my breath from just sitting still.

Goodbye 2nd trimester, hello 3rd!

Had to get the cheesy shot - check out how veiny the hands are! Blood is a'flowin.

I don't know how much bigger this can get!

(Side-note: thank goodness for Lululemon clothes! I am living in my workout tunics and Grove pants.)

Per Baby Center, here's what's going on in there (BTW, I used to love butternut squash - this just ruined it for me for the next few months):

How baby's growing:

Your baby now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds (like a butternut squash) and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. His muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his head is growing bigger to make room for his developing brain. To meet his increasing nutritional demands, you'll need plenty of protein, vitamins C, folic acid, and iron. And because his bones are soaking up lots of calcium, be sure to drink your milk (or find another good source of calcium, such as cheese, yogurt, or enriched orange juice). This trimester, about 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in your baby's hardening skeleton each day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Money Saver Monday: FSAs for childcare AND paying "over the table"

After the cribs, carseats, clothes, diapers, and hospital bills come the real expenses of parenthood - and these add up! I'm taking 6-weeks off of work and then working from home for 6-months which means we need childcare for the boys. We looked at local daycares (both daycare centers and family daycare) and were blown away by the pricetag (varying from $1,000-$1,900 per child). In-home care (nannys) are running between $14 and $20 in the city now - sometimes more for nannys with lots of twin experience. Luckily, we found an awesome girl to help us 10 hours a week starting at $14/hour.

So, how to save when money is flying out the window on an hourly basis? Introducing: Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). I'm sure people also pay "under the table" to negate taxes, but we don't want to gamble with this option - heck, I might run for Pres one day! Or maybe not.

Paying "over the table" - taxes:
Technically, you need to report and pay social security and Medicare taxes for any "household" employee who you're paying more than $1,700/year and must pay 15.3% of cash wages - the employee typically pays 7.65% and you pay 7.65%. Steps to pay are:
  1. Get an employer identification number (EIN)
  2. Withold social security, Medicare, and federal income taxes
  3. Send Copy A of form W-2 to the Social Security Administration (SSA)
  4. File Schedule H (form 1040) with annual returns
  5. File FUTA taxes on form 940
Here's the math:
  • $14 x 10 = $140 per week
  • $140 x 46 weeks = $6,440 per year
Nannys share of taxes
  • Social security: $6,440 x 6.2% = $399.28
  • Medicare tax: $6,440 x 1.45% = $93.38
Our share of taxes
  • Social security: $6,440 x 6.2% = $399.28
  • Medicare tax: $6,440 x 1.45% = $93.38
  • FUTA tax: $6,440 x 6.0% = $386.40
Amount reportes on W-2 and W-3 (NOTE: we're likely going to cover the taxes and not make nanny withold them, so we'll need to double the payments listed below for social security and medicare)
  • Wages and tips:$6,440
  • Social security: $399.28
  • Medicare: $93.38
  • FUTA: $386.40 (remains the same - no doubling because nanny doesn't pay this, too)
Since we're paying all the tax, our total tax paments for nanny for the year will be $1,171.72. We don't want to get hit come April, 2010, so I'm going to pay $55.79 to the federal government per pay period (every other week) to cover the total.

Flexible Spending Account (FSAs):
My employer is rad in that they offer an FSA through our insurance. This means I can pay the nanny up to $5,000/year with pre-tax dollars. In order to do this I need to:
  1. Claim $5,000/year FSA daycare during open enrollment
  2. Pay $208.00/month into the FSA
  3. Pay the nanny her regular salary (with built in taxes)
  4. Submit expense checks to HR every 30-days for the amount paid nanny
Here's a handy calculator for figuring out how much to withold for FSA/year.

Well, my head is spinning with numbers! Off to decorate the boys' room - much more fun than taxes. :o)

p.s. Rye - I don't know how you do this all day! You amaze me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weekend Roundup: Monterey

This weekend Matt and I got out of dodge and escaped to the beach! Matt's work bought him a gift card to the Intercontinental Monterey for passing all his architecture exams (that's right! Matt's licensed!) which was posh and wonderful. We drove up the 1 the entire way enjoying the lighthouses and small roadside farms.

Sealions on the beach:


Angelic Matt:

Friday, May 8, 2009

28 weeks (7 months) pregnant with twins and counting!

I've made it to the 7-month mark and I now officially rival my Bosu ball.

WHOA belly! I did not know human skin could stretch that much. And guess what - more to go!

According to Baby Centre, here's what's going on in there:
"At 28 weeks your twins will have grown to about 15 inches/ 38cm from top to toe (10 inches/ 25.5 centimetres from crown to rump) and will weigh nearly 2 lb /875g each.

Their eyes open and close, they sleep and wake at regular intervals and they may suck a finger or thumb.

Your twins' brain growth is very rapid this month. The characteristic grooves on the brain's surface start to appear and more brain tissue develops. Nearly all fetuses react to sound by the end of the seventh month.

At about this time, your twins can open their eyes and turn their heads in utero if they notice a continuous, bright light shining from the outside. Their fat layers are forming. In boys, testicles descend from near the kidneys through the groin en route to the scrotum. In girls, the clitoris is relatively prominent because it's not yet covered by the still-small labia. These will grow to cover it in the last few weeks before birth.

Their skeletons are hardening even more. While your twins may soon slow down growing in length, they will continue to gain weight until they are born.

A pint and a half/around a litre of amniotic fluid now surrounds each of your twins, but that volume decreases as they gets bigger and have less room in your uterus."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Scenes from a locker room: the tell

In movies and on TV you always hear about people having a "tell." In life I think people have a "tell" too - this "tell" evolves as we age.

In the locker room at the Golden Gate Swim and Tennis Club today, this "tell" played out:
Little girl walked in and went straight for the showers > shortly thereafter, the mom came in telling the girl to hurry up and that it was dinner time (it was 6:45pm) > little girl feigns defness > mom says again, louder, to hurry up > little girl emerges from the shower thumb in mouth saying she's "just not ready" > mom asks what's up - why the thumb > little girl pauses ... thinking of a why ... and replies "because you're being mean!"

The "tell"? The thumb, of course, which is the physical "tell" of the culmination of activities. The "tell" meaning? I'm assuming tired and hungry.

People in the workplace have "tells" too:
  • Some people get loud to make a point (I think it's because they're insecure and trying to prove they're in charge)
  • Some people (women) get girly and act dumb (I think it's to try to get their way when they aren't really sure of themselves)
  • Some people give answers and opinions on things they don't know about (I think it's a tell of being "green")
People in "grown-up" life have "tells" too:
  • When I get nervous or uncomfortable, I have to pee (then again, at 7month pregnant I have to pee all the time)
  • Some people tell jokes when they don't know how to appease a situation (these same people often tell jokes instead of shedding tears, too)
  • Some people go silent when confronted with conflict (I think they're unsure of what to do next - silence is actually a smart move, wait for the other parties' "tell")

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Making the boys smarter in the womb: classical music and good food

OK, so this is where I come clean - I'm an utter and total dork and I'll try just about anything that people tell me will help make myself better/smarter/faster/etc. This practice is magnified in pregnancy as I want the boys to be born healthy/smart/happy ... OK, and fast two - we have runners in the oven.

For those of you who can't tell from my artistic Blackberry shot, the boys are listening to classical music courtesy of Pandora. The funny thing is as soon as I put the headphones on my belly the boys started going nuts moving around!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tasty (Taco) Tuesday! Cinco de Mayo

We decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year in all it's greasy glory! After (an awesome) spin class, I met Matt at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place on Broadway for some takeout. We wound up with two super tacos, beans and rice, and chips, non-alcoholic Beck's (they don't make non-alc Corona) - delicious!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gym Daze, Bump Craze

The Lululemon fun runs have wrapped, so today it was my first Monday sans-club. (Side note - ironically enough, this is the first Monday since September that it rained between 6 and 8pm (the times of club)). Off to the gym I went for elliptical and then a quick swim.

I think at the gym people are constantly comparing themselves to fitness goers around them.

On the elliptical:
Me: watching the BBC and reading The Economist (there was no trash TV and I packed The Economist thinking it was Women's Health and Fitness)
Guy next to me: watching MTV and reading People

Fast forward 5min - guy next to me glanced at my entertainment materials and quickly changed channels and closed his mag - hah!

On to swimming:
Emerging from the pool I ran into a group of two other pregnant women. Eyes quickly went from contact and knowing nod to the belly comparison. At this very moment "Baby A" poked his head and bum out the left side of my belly and "Baby B" stuck a foot and elbow out (they thought it was yoga day). Funny.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Weekend roundup: Baby Shower!

This weekend I enjoyed my very first ever baby shower - it was the first for the twins, and the first I've ever been to. Emily is the party planner extraordinaire and she threw an awesome party. The theme was disco - it takes 2 to make a thing go right (get it - love it!) I tried to pull the "I was born in the '70s" card to give the theme a double dose but I was born in the tail end of '79 so it didn't really fly.

Emily and I in our '70s best:

Cutest decor - onsies and Peepee Teepees (heard of them? I hadn't. Aparently with boys they're a must):

Yummy fondu! Rye and Jill found time to talk between bites (I didn't):

Ended the day with a great cake - had it and ate it, too!