Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Out of such amazing sorrow, there is love

No parent should see the passing of a child.  It's not fair.  This past weekend we went to the memorial service for our niece (Matt's brother and his amazing wife's daughter), Rhiannon Lynn Taylor.  Rhiannon was born October 27, 2009 and lived for 5 amazing months - she was born with Trisomy 18 so the fact that she lived for 5 months is a true miracle. 

There have been a lot of lessons over these past months.

Rhiannon's lessons: Rhiannon was the epitome of love.  Looking into her eyes, anyone who got to meet her got to look at love.  She was a beautiful angel (her mom called her "my little angel") and you could tell that she adored her parents.

Rhiannon's parent's lessons: I am in awe of Gabe and Amanda. Often times, parents leave children with Trisomy 18 in the hospital as they're too scared to take care of them, or don't know what to do.  That's OK.  What Gabe and Amanda did, I think is inspirational beyond belief - they decided they wanted to make Rhiannon comfortable and give her all the love they could. Their family is beautiful and you could tell (and still can) being with them it's a family of love.  At the memorial service Gabe and Amanda spoke of their sweet baby girl - the 150+ people who were there cried, and then truly celebrated her life. Amanda is the most astonishing mother I have ever met hands down - her patience, adoration, and love are inspirational. Both Amanda and Gabe are "rocks" - together I truly think they can do anything.  Together they gave Rhiannon an amazing life filled with love, their time, and even laughter.

Seeing someone so young pass away of course raises a lot of questions.  What was God thinking?  How is this fair?  Why?...  It is also a reminder. Love your family.

Here is Rhiannon's song (by Fleetwood Mac):
For you, there’ll be no more crying
For you, the sun will be shining
And I feel that when I’m with you
It’s alright, I know it’s right
To you, I’ll give the world
To you, I’ll never be cold
‘Cause I feel that when I’m with you
It’s alright, I know it’s right
And the songbirds are singing
Like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you
Like never before
And I wish you all the love in the world
But most of all, I wish it from myself
And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you
Like never before
Like never before
Like never before

Monday, March 29, 2010

Confessions of a twin mom

This is likely more information than you'll ever want to know, but these are the facts ... the truth, and only the truth.  Being a twin mom is the most amazing, awesome, wonderful thing imaginable.  It also is pretty darn gross - and the weird thing? I don't think "gross" is gross anymore. 

I'll explain ... here are some of the highlights of being a twin mom:
  • When we took the boys for a swim lesson, we tried to blitz and change them next to the pool (the other parents did).  Lisa got Cole swiftly into his waterproof diaper / swim suit and tossed his wet diaper.  I pulled Wilson's diaper off not thinking a thing and looked down to see my hand was full of poop.  Yep, good 'ol #2.  I didn't want to be "that nasty mom" by the pool, so I discretely put it back into the diaper (the boys are on solids - if you're a parent, this is all you need to know), wiped down Wilson, wiped myself, pre-rinsed, and jumped in the pool. 
  • Sometimes I go days without washing my hair - this wouldn't be gross if the boys didn't wipe their spit-up on my face and in my hair.  Who knows, with all these crazy beauty products, maybe someday this'll be one of them.
  • When I'm giving the boys their snack, I sometimes take a few melta-ways (think Cheerios for babies).  I can't help it - they're delicious.
  • The boys LOVE naked time.  When I get home from work I often strip them down and let them lay on the blanket in their room.  A few times the boys have wee'd on the rug - I blotted it up, but between dinner time, bath time, story time, and bed time, I neglected to do a serious rug clean.  Oh well, our building just got sold so maybe we'll be out of here soon anyhow ... so bad.
  • Sometimes, at 5am when the boys are howling from a bad dream, or just want to play early, I bring them into bed.  Matt says (and he's right) I need to let them self-soothe, but I always assure him that they will only learn that with cuddle time.  Makes no sense, I know, but I love early morning baby cuddles.
So that's it (ish).  The truth, the whole truth, the gory twiny truth. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Taylor Twins' first swim class

Today Lisa and I took the boys to their first swim class at Golden Gate Swim and Tennis club - it was SO fun!

We did "the babies in the pool go kick kick kick" (to the tune of Wheels on the Bus), "jumping" in the water, and dunking under the water.  The boys loved swim time ... getting dressed after the pool when it was cold outside was another story entirely...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekend Roundup

It's been quite a weekend!  Friday was a mellow(ish) night at home with the boys. Saturday I had a 30k trail race, then made it home to go walking with the boys and my mom while Matt went climbing off Chrissy Field.

Saturday night my mom and I went to see The Little Mermaid ballet with the San Francisco ballet.  We didn't get home until 11pm and I was BEAT! I didn't love the ballet ... I'm more a fan of the classics, then again I say that with my favorites being the Nutcracker and Tom Sawyer (which I was in as a kid) - not so classic I guess (not the Firebird).  I was expecting the ballet to be reminescent of the movie The Little Mermaid, but instead it was base on the old fairy tail - I didn't understand what was going on until reading the handout at intermission.

Sunday was a rather lazy day in the city.  Bright and early (like 8am) we went to Whole Foods and were headed to check out the JCC swim school until we realized it was too early.  Later in the morning I brought the boys for a long walk playing at Michaelangelo park and then on the swings in Washington Square. After that we hung out in the back yard of our house listening to the parrots of Telegraph Hill and "discovering" grass (the boys were, not us).

In the afternoon wet met up with the Russian Hill parents' group for some home-made treats and trips down the slide (the boys on our laps).  By dinner time we were thoroughly beat, but we still had bath time - today we let the boys take their bath in the "grown up tub" and they love love loved it!  Wilson kept scooting around the tub and Cole kept kicking his legs and splashing his arms.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Race report: Rodeo Beach 30k

Boston is coming up in a few weeks and I have not been training - the twin + full time job + volunteer work juggling act doesn't give tons of time for long runs.  I do try to race once a month, though, and yesterday I was signed up for the Rodeo Beach 20k, but Matt convinced me that in order to really leverage this for training I should do the 30k. Getting to the starting line I still wasn't sure if I wanted to switch up (20k is my longest trail run and even that is really tough) so I decided if they'd let me switch distances (every distance was sold out) I should do it.  Done and done.

When running I always go back to the saying "the mind tires before the body." I firmly believe this (I believe it in all aspects of endurance).  The race was tough - very tough - and at mile 16 my brain kept yelling "stop!" It was just around then that I saw a hare on the trail and decided to push on. The funny thing was I wound up passing the hare (he veered off the trail to eat) ... does that make me a tortoise now? One of the nicest thing about this distance is it put me so high up in the Marin mountains over the water and in the trees - I didn't see houses for miles ... or people for that matter. Instead I saw and heard the waves crashing, enjoyed blue bonnets along the trail, and saw countless lizards and more.

By the end of the race I was hobbling - my body did indeed start to tire. But the finish line and the knowledge that diet coke, gummy bears, and beef jurkey waited there kept me going.  That and knowing the sooner I finished the sooner I'd get home to the boys.

In the end I placed 2nd female and 9th overall (out of 91 people).  After thoroughly sugar and salt loading, stretching, and catching up with GGRC I sat in the car prompting my foot to step on the gas. It took a bit (guess the legs gave out more than I thought) but thinking back to the race I realized that's the first 3hours I've had alone in months.  It was awesome.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chronicles of an urban family

A recent Town and Country has a great article on a mom raising her family in NYC (vs. most of her friends who head to the suburbs when the bump comes).  The article had me nodding almost throughout.  San Francisco doesn't seem like the perfect kid place on the surface, but when you get by the fact that there aren't countless SUV driving soccer moms roaming the city, we've got a lot - and it's not just one big cement playground.

We don't have to drive to "live" - we can walk out the front door and head to the park in Washington Square, Fisherman's Warf, a handful of museums, the aquarium by the Bay, or just walk and look at the sites.  While we don't have a huge front yard, or our own back yard (but we do have a cool shared yard), we have countless parks to explore where they boys can run as far as they want.  San Francisco has fields strewn around the city where on any warm day you'll see families with picnics blankets set up, 20 and 30 somethings sunbathing, and wizened ones reading or playing chess.

Our community is neighbors, friends from parent groups, and even shop keeps - the drycleaners over the hill always give me a discount after asking how the boys are, the market on the corner is filled with smiling people who always wave at the boys and occasionally throw extra fruit into my shopping bag "for the boys," the wine bar down the street always moves the tables for our double stroller to fit and then plays with the boys while we decide what cheeses we want on the cheese plate. Today we were walking the boys during the witching hour (the time between feed #3 and bedtime) and I heard a voice say "so, what'cha got?" Kind of an odd question, but I turned and it was parents our age asking about the boys - "twin boys," I replied.  We wound up talking for about 45-minutes about life, living in SF, working with kids, and the land they recently bought in Nicaragua (they don't want to leave the city either, but they do want a place to escape - living the dream).

Maybe someday we'll head to the burbs.  For now, I think we'll stick with our urban playground.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekend Roundup: And there was sun!

The rain has finally taken a break and the city was filled with sun this weekend.  The weekend seemed to fly by, and daylight savings time didn't help much.

This weekend the boys decided they much preferred being naked ... except now they time their peeing for when the diaper is off and I'm right next to them.
The boys also started playing together more which is amazing to watch.

Saturday I met up with the LUNAChix for a kickoff meeting to plan the season and head off for a quick run.  Then my mom came in for a walk with the boys which was great.

Today we met up with another family from Parents of Multiples for brunch at Park Challet.  The brunch was good and the company was great!  Their boys are about the age of ours (one month younger) and one of them is already crawling - so many adventures to come.  After brunching inside we made our way to the lawn to "hang" with the babies.

After brunch we came home to blitz the house (baby stuff is taking over) and then we made it out for a short walk.  While walking around the park we met some other local parents and all got to talking about how we love living and playing in SF.  Back home for a quick dinner (beets and chicken for the boys, beets and black bean soup for us), some emails for work, another quick blitz on the house, and off to bed!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Book report: Run Like a Mother

One of my blog readers is a runner, a mother, and a published author (which is truly inspiring to me).  She just co-authored Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving--and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity (by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea) and they sent me an early access copy.  I'm HOOKED on this book.  Flipping through the pages I found myself thinking "uh huh," "yep, been there," and "me too," quite a book.

Dimity and Sarah chronicle their journey through momhood, working, and being runners and include anecdotes around everything from how to juggle it all, to the whole skirt thing that's hitting the scene.  I'm particularly digging the book because it's not a novel type where you have to sit and read it front to back (although sequence helps).

Already I've flipped open the book for a little pre-run inspiration taking in whatever is on the page presented me (post flip - you get the picture) before heading out the door.  It's an easy, fun read.  If you're a mom with the juggling act (kids + running +/- work) I highly recommend this.  It's always nice to know we're not alone ... but now I'm feeling a bit humbled that these moms can work + run + get published - stardom.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

LUNA Chix kickoff meeting

I'm thrilled to be on the LUNA Chix Bay Area run team this year - it's a great group of women who like to (you guessed it) run and be healthy.  Here's the marketing blurb from the website for a bit more on the team:
"LUNA Chix Local Teams bring together women interested in learning new sports, staying active and inspiring others to do the same.

"If you’re looking for a group of friendly women, who love to run trails, you’ve found the right place.  We are a group of women from the San Francisco Bay area who want to share our excitement for trail running and encourage women of all running levels to get out and run with us."

Today we met to talk about the year's lineup and we planned out a few races to do together as well as some fun runs we'd like to lead in the community (more to come on that).  The fun runs are open for all and I'd love to see a great group of Bay Area women running with us.

You can find our shiney new Twitter feed (set up by yours truly) online here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

His hair will fly away

There is a dad at our daycare who we see at almost every drop off and pickup.  His son is two so it's a nice look into the future.  Today I was walking home from daycare with this dad as he carried his son on his shoulders (the son now is "too old for a stroller" but after two-blocks he is too tired to walk) and I pointed out the boys "rad" hat.
Me: "Our boys have the same hats - I love those but they won't stay on."
Dad: "We've never had problems ... maybe having hair helps"
Me: "Yeah, that and the boys not trying to put everything in their mouths - hats, socks, and feet are all foot food."
Dad: "Hah - yeah."

Dad: "Well when it's windy the hat flies off."
Me: "Now I feel better (they don't stay on all the time)."
Dad: "Then again, when it's windy Ronan (son) thinks his hair is going to fly off, too"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The thing with helmets

Some of you may have seen pics with Cole in a helmet.  No, despite what I told people, Cole is not and was not doing skateboard training to compete in the Olympics (not yet anyhow).  He had flat head syndrome - or plagiocephaly (although FH is easier - I had to toggle back and forth between my other computer screen to make sure I spelled that right!)  FH is more common with babies now with the whole back to sleep campaign - babies are on their backs more and may tend to turn their head in one direction more than the others - that combined with the soft growing noggin and one can get FH.  My understanding is this is actually more likely with twins - because they were so crammed "in there" for so long, they have a tendency to keep their heads turned in one direction merely because in the womb they couldn't turn it.

Anyhow, we discovered Cole had FH at around 4mo old.  We tried almost everything to help him shake it:
  • Propping him up on towels to sleep at an angle (he kicked the towels off)
  • Propping up his crib mattress (he slid to the bottom)
  • Going to an osteopath to work on relaxing his neck muscles so he could turn his head easier (not sure what this did - felt good at the time, but we couldn't afford to go back)
  • Propping him up on wedge pillows (this would have been perfect had we started them sooner)
My friend turned me on to a cranial cup that she used from a clinic called NOPCO in Boston.  There is great research on the cup and they are actually now in the process of getting it patented so they can sell it nationally.  Unfortunately for us, right now they only let children get the cup if they can get to the NOPCO clinic for measurements and check ins so they can alter the cup as the babies head grows.  I tried everything to get our hands on one of these - I even found the doctor who created the cups contact information online and reached out - he said "of course I can have one!" and introduced me to the head of the clinic that day.  The head of the clinic also happens to head up marketing for the clininc so the "of course" turned into "I need to check with the lawyer" and then to " ."  Bummer.

Finally, we sucked it up and took Cole to a neuro sergion who said "yep, his head is flatter on one side."  Well, yes, we could see that.  A referral later and a lot of talking to insurance, and we were on our way to a helmet.

First up - measurements.

Two weeks later, Cole had a shiny blue helmet - rad!

Over the course of 2-months Cole wore his helmet when possible (he got sick during this time so he couldn't wear it (he had a fever and keeping heat in is not smart)).  The most painful parts were not being able to kiss his little head.  Strangers also were less than discrete with utterings like, "What's wrong with him?!" or "Bah - is that child protection now - helmets?" (to this one I wanted to ask if the guys face was population control, but I refrained - I'm nice).

Cole's head morphed from a 22mm difference to 5mm (8mm is normal) and we are all happy happy happy!  No more helmet - not until football season anyhow.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: baby food!

Our boys started eating solids about a month ago. After trying a bite of baby food from an "organic" jar and then reading the ingredients on some baby foods, I decided to make the boys' food.  There are some that we buy to have on stock, like Ella's Kitchen Baby Food but we don't want to give packaged anything all the time.

Here are the first foods we introduced:

  • Sweet potato
  • Avocado (Wilson hated this, Cole loved it)
  • Pear (big mistake - now both boys just want fruits and sweets)
  • Mango
Now we're on to:
  • Brocoli
  • Lentils
  • Squash
  • Chicken and pork
  • And more!  
It's fun thinking of what to give the boys and even more fun seeing them taste things for the first time.