Our First Vacation!

Last week, we took our first vacation as a family of four. We originally planned our trip to Oregon just to see my husband’s family, but it turned into a giant mom group get-together. Let me start by saying that if you don’t have a mama tribe, get one. Stat. They take time to cultivate, but they are priceless. Worth their weight in gold. Stay tuned for a post on my amazing moms in the future!

At any rate, traveling with twins sounds terrifying. In actuality, it wasn’t bad at all. My little men are super mellow and they were absolute troopers. We had one miserable day of no-naps, and a couple bad nights of wake-ups, but nothing unmanageable and the benefit of spending all that time with family and friends was 100% worth it. Look for a post on travel tips in the future! (Hint: Snacks. Toys. More Snacks.)

We woke up at 4:00am to make it for our 7:10am flight (Hint: Don’t do this.) The boys were mellow little angels on both legs of the flight, even though they didn’t sleep much. Our plan was to arrive in Portland, grab lunch, play at a park, and then meet up with some mommies for dinner. It went more like this: Try to keep boys from falling asleep in the car, deal with super tired babies throwing food everywhere at lunch, arrive at beautiful park and watch as babies pass out immediately in stroller, awkwardly try to keep friends at park quiet while babies sleep in stroller, accidentally wake up babies in stroller, apologize profusely for your angryangryangry babies glaring at everyone who attempts to communicate with them, then head to dinner.

By the time we arrived at the restaurant, the babies had been awake for 12 hours with less than an hour of nap, but they saw all the other babies and became instantly revitalized. And by revitalized, I mean crazy. Luckily all the kiddos were overstimulated enough to entertain each other and we were able to enjoy the chaos over dinner. If you’re headed to Portland, Hopworks Urban Brewery is THE place to go with kids. They have play tables with toys, organic kids’ food, happy waitstaff, and delicious beer. Ten stars.

The drive to Eugene after the meal was exhausting, and putting them to bed was a nightmare, but it was oh-so-worth it to meet these super special mommies and babies. I only wish we had more time with them! The next morning we had breakfast and got caught up with my father-in-law and his wife. They were absolutely tickled to see how big the boys have gotten. We gave the boys orange slices for the first time and they went to town! Greyson ate the pulp and tossed the rinds on the floor; Sawyer ate the entire thing. Rind and all. I hope it has superspecial nutrients!


We met our friends for a picnic at a park, and I have to say that I wish we could do this every day: Take the kids to Trader Joes, pick out whatever looks yummy, spread out on the grass and just enjoy adult chitchat while the babies run around and mingle.




Highlight of the day: Grown man absconding with Old Navy shopping cart for the purpose of pushing his groceries while the rest of us wrangle babies and diapers and our own groceries with ease. Gotta love it.

After lunch, the boys played in the splash pad and the mud. Well, to clarify, O played in the splashpad; S thought about playing in the splash pad, and G & L cried hysterically every time the splash pad was activated. I did manage to get this gorgeous pics of the three of the little men enjoying the dirtiest playground toy ever:

We were so in love with the park picnic plan that we hit repeat on it for Saturday morning, this time with another out of town buddy joining. Only the luckiest of ladies get to hang out with Batmanx2!

One of the things I love about Oregon is that it is covered with a heavy layer of delicious organic crunch. And clouds. LOTS of clouds. I have to admit that all the greenery is gorgeous and rain is beautiful (but I still don’t want to live there.) When I visit, I often marvel at the what I like to call “Things we don’t have in California.” Being a native Southern Californian, every state is full of its own weird and is so very different from my hometown that it may as well be another country. For example, they’re still Occupying Eugene:


And also, apparently this local gas station is totally on board with my diapering choices:


Our next adventure was Autzen fan day, which I already blogged about here. Driving home, we came across this adorable sign, which I thought was appropriate for our little baby duck fans:

Sunday was just a relaxing day with family. We were treated to Oregon’s specialty – rain rain rain. The upside was this beautiful double rainbow…
…but the downside was babies that were very out of their element. Cold. And CRANKY. We decided to toss them in the car and go for a drive to pick up some famous Voodoo Doughnuts. They miraculously fell asleep, so we stopped by our friends’ house in town. Managed to carry them from the car and put them into a Pack’n’Play and they STAYED ASLEEP. Must have been warm and cozy in that laundry room! This was our Sunday night:



There are no pictures of the mamas because we were curled up on the couch in our jammies bonding <3.

Our final day in Oregon we spent with my husband's family, and the boys enjoyed their first taste of fresh blackberry cobbler prepared by my husband's stepmother. You tell me if you think they liked it or not…


It was an absolute treat to be able to spend time with family and good friends. It may sound silly but traveling with the boys really solidified for me that we are our own family unit now. Crazy that it has taken a whole year to adjust but it’s a wonderful feeling to think “Hey, this is what families do!” rather than “WHO GAVE US TWO BABIES?!” We are already looking forward to our next big adventure!

Sunday Reflections

Today’s Sunday reflection is 100% devoted to the upcoming season – I used to call it “fall,” but apparently that was just crazy talk. No, the season from September to January can be summed up with another F word:


The fam is currently on vacation in Oregon (more on that when we return home) and we happened to be in Eugene for Fan Day at Autzen Stadium. My husband has never gone to church, but his relationship with the Oregon Ducks football program is as close as it gets to spiritual. After a nice long car nap (is there any other kind while traveling?!) we arrived at his place of worship with the littles and their buddies.

We could have been an ad for Beco baby carriers – the Butterfly IIs have been our best baby purchase to date. The boys are definitely pushing their limit size-wise, though, so we are in the market for something more toddler-appropriate. My friend Carrie is demonstrating what happens when you’re in Oregon but your carrier’s in Idaho! Don’t leave home without one.


Almost immediately after entering Autzen, we were approached by a news crew who wanted predictions for the upcoming season, so we happily obliged.


The boys weren’t fully sold on the Autzen experience – they jammed out to the fight song and happily chewed on water cups, but never strayed far from Mom and Dad.



The menfolk really enjoyed checking out all the players and coaches, the music was great, and the cheerleaders were on fire. All in all it was a unique adventure – and a great way to start the indoctrination process for little Duck fans.


Meet Sawyer


My youngest child was born at 9:54pm on July 20, 2012, weighing 6 pounds even. This was pretty impressive as my Baby B had velamentous cord insertion. There’s very little information about this on the internet and most of it is terrifying. It basically means the cord was inserted at the top of the placenta instead of in the middle, which can restrict blood flow. It can be a cause of intrauterine growth restriction. Sawyer didn’t let this get in his way, though! Sure, 6 pounds isn’t going to break any records but at his 12 month checkup he was hanging out firmly in the 70th percentile for weight. He lost a bit of weight initially but quickly made up for it. This kid is ALWAYS hungry. I called him “Baby Bird” because he made cute little chirpy noises and puckered his mouth when he wanted to eat.

He was crazy active in utero, so I was surprised when he appeared calm early on. Once he started babbling, though, his personality really started shine. This kid would literally talk himself to sleep. He still does! I’ll be sitting in my room and hear an entire 20 minute conversation with himself before he settles in the for night. Around six months, Sawyer was frequently what some would call “fussy.” I called it “frustrated.” He REALLY wanted to do things, but couldn’t quite manage. He would get up all fours to crawl and then cry. He’d try to stand up and then cry. Even now, he tries to run when he’s just barely master walking. It goes like this – runrunrunthrowhandsinairfallonfaceCRY. Repeat. He gets upset quickly but also calms down quickly. We’ve had two bloody lips in the past two weeks and he was barely bothered. Five minutes later, back up again. My husband has taken to calling him the Kamikaze kid. He truly has no fear.

People are always telling me that Sawyer resembles me more than he resembles my husband. It’s true, but only because of his facial expressions. He is a talented mimic and sometimes it’s like looking in a mirror. He’s quick to grab a camera out of your hand for a selfie, and he has perfected my cheeseball smile. It’s infinitely more adorable on him, by the way. In addition to mimicking faces, he seems to have inherited his uncle’s talent for mimicking voices and sounds. His first word was actually “woof!” – he was imitating our always-barky dogs. He can put his finger to his lips and SHHHHHH! you in his best teacher voice, and he will happily alert you that he has thrown his sippy cup by announcing “uh uh UH OH!”

Sawyer isn’t much of a snuggler, but when he is in the mood, it’s urgent. He will stand in his crib and YELLLLL until someone comes and cuddles him, then happily drift off into la-la land. Dad still puts him down for naps sometimes simply by holding him on his chest. It’s hard work leaping tall buildings in a single bound; sometimes you have to relax. These days you’ll usually find him standing up on some piece of furniture, bouncing and bobbing his head to the music.


Meet Greyson


My firstborn–formerly known as Baby A–entered the world on July 20, 2012, at 9:54pm. He weighed 6 pounds, 2 oz, and he gave Mom her first heart attack when he stopped breathing shortly after we settled into the hospital room. Turns out he’s a “breath holder” – it’s a very scientific term for “babies who hold their breath for no apparent reason other than to scare the living sh*t out of their parents.” The good (?) news is that if they hold their breath long enough, they just pass out and start breathing again. So that’s cool.

During my pregnancy, Baby A was my mellow man. He moved, but not often. I was certain he would be serious and big brotherly. After he arrived, however, the hospital nurse disagreed. This may or may not have been due to the fact that he screamed bloody murder all.the.time. In fact, I affectionately called him my “bloody murder baby” for at least two months. The nurse was convinced this kid was going to give me hell. He hated diaper changes. In fact, it seemed like he kind of hated everything. As a teacher, I’m very cautious about negative labels and so I described him as having “strong preferences.” Greyson PREFERS to turn his head to the left, even though I’ve turned it to the right a million times and shoved a pillow there. He prefers for the car to go over 50 mph. He prefers his bottle to be very warm, but he would REALLY prefer to nurse instead. He prefers to hold his own spoon. He prefers NOT to wear shoes. Or hats. Or diapers. Or anything.

Some would call him difficult, but in all honestly he isn’t difficult at all. The kid just knows what he likes. Once he learned how to communicate his preferences, everyone was much happier. It was pretty hilarious when he learned how to communicate that he hated his diaper by taking it off (he still doesn’t undo snaps, thankGOODNESS) and crawling away. As soon as he learned how to point, our lives got 100% easier. You always know what Greyson wants. I love that in a kid! When he wants to nurse, he will crawl over to the nursing pillow, point to it and then point at me. If that doesn’t work, he’ll crawl into my lap and point at my chest and laugh.

He is also so very cautious. Greyson will not do anything until he is really, really good at it. He never commando crawled, or rocked back and forth, or crawled backward. One day he just crawled. It was the same with walking – he started standing first and then took tiny little steps. First one, then another, then a third. He always stopped before he fell down. It’s not that he isn’t adventurous – he loves new things! He just prefers to explore them on his own terms. You’re most likely to find him sitting in his Mickey chair, putting things together or trying to take them apart. This month, he’s working on using a fork. I have never seen such determination! When he was first crawling, my mom nicknamed him Ferdinand because he would crawl around with a link in his mouth that made him look like a baby bull. Ferdinand is a good nickname for him, though, because he is built like a tank with the gentlest of hearts.

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Sunday Reflections

I love the chance to look back and reflect on each week. I typically take an inordinate amount of pictures, Instagram them, dump them on my hard drive, and move on. Going back through them once a week makes me realize how much we actually do! And it helps me to see the changes, the beginnings, the endings, the milestones – the little things that are big things, and vice versa. I’ve also noticed that I take a lot of pictures of the mundane, everyday things – but when we do big and exciting things, I’m too caught up having fun to snap pictures! I think I kind of like this.

This week started out with a trip to Buy Buy Baby to stock up on travel gear for our upcoming trip to Oregon.
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Mid-week, we spent a little time at Sea World exploring the Sesame Street Bay of Play. Sea World passes were far and away our best investment. We got a Fun Card for Mom, and a Silver Pass for Dad. The Silver pass gives us free parking, and you can pay it in monthly installments. I consider it a gym membership for the kiddos – we rarely do anything except let them get all their wiggles out in the Tide Pool play area for little ones. On Thursday, we took the boys to a casual swim lesson – five twin families getting together in the evening at a friend’s pool. SO much fun! The boys are water babies like their parents and happily splash-splash-splashed.

Friday we celebrated a birthday at the new Karl Strauss tasting room. I was a little hesitant about babies at a brewery, but they had an absolute blast.
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Mom and Dad had a tiny bit of fun as well.
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It was great enjoying evenings with my hubby – he works from 2:30pm to 11:00pm, so I’m usually on my own with the babies five nights a week. He got a day shift this week, so I had him for three nights in a row – it was like vacation! Sadly Saturday he went back to his usual schedule. I’m lucky that Grandma and Grandpa usually have us all over for dinner, but since they are enjoying their vacation, dinner was all on me. It’s amazing that a task that seemed SO daunting six months ago (feed myself and two dogs and two kids all at once? HOW?!) has become so simple. Dinner time is still a huge mess, but at least it makes everyone happy.
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I took the boys to Target this morning –another task that appeared insurmountable at first, but is now no big deal. It gave my husband a little break before work, and now they’re peacefully asleep.
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Friday Favorites: Getting to know me.

I’ve been inspired by a fellow blogger to start a Friday Favorites post. I have a lot of favorite things; so many, in fact, that one might just call them “things.” In the interest of space and my dear reader’s attention span, I’ll randomly pick five to focus on today. Without further adieu, a look into my “things.”

1. Website:

When I was in college, a classmate mocked me for reading People magazine. How, she asked, could I possibly care about what celebrities did with their time? How could that be worth spending money? I explained to her my secret: It’s not about the celebrities. I’m nosy. Ridiculously nosy. I just want to know about people. What they eat, where they shop, what they say, how they spend their time. I told her that if they made a version of People magazine about my next-door neighbor, I’d still read it. AND THEN THEY DID. It’s called Facebook. It might be the greatest invention ever. Now I can spend all of my free time being incredibly nosy, and it’s not weird! Life-changing. Rest assured, if I am your friend on Facebook, I read everything of yours that shows up in my News Feed. I’ve definitely looked through your profile photos at least once, and I might have even bookmarked your wedding album. Too far? I hope not.

2. TV Show
Grey’s Anatomy

I’ve mentioned it before, but this is MY SHOW. TV was an easy category to narrow down, because I don’t watch much TV. Not in a sanctimonious way; I have plenty of other things about which to be sanctimonious (such as my impeccable sentence structure, but I digress). I grew up with two brothers and a mom who worked nights. That meant I was outvoted three-to-one on every television decision ever. As much as I enjoy watching baseball, football, and professional wrestling…. well, I have better things to do with my time. When I finally moved into my own place, I got a job working nights. This was back in the Dark Ages, and while TiVo had been invented, it certainly wasn’t standard for college kids. Speaking of college, I had to move back in with my parents to afford it, and continue working nights. By the time I left my waitressing career to moonlight as a teacher, I had missed nearly a decade of cultural references. I got anxiety thinking about trying to catch up, so I just didn’t. It’s liberating. When people allude to anything television related, I just say “I don’t watch TV.” Now, this isn’t entirely true, and every once in a while something will strike my fancy. I watched a lot of Friends. I had a brief love affair with Glee. I dabbled in SYTYCD. But my one true love is Grey’s Anatomy. I can’t tell you what drew me to it – likely Patrick Dempsey’s swooshy hair, or Meredith Grey’s penchant for walking directly into the path of death and despair with no regard for common sense. In any case, I’ve watched every episode at least once, most of them twice. Even during the Denny days. Now THAT is dedication.

3. Author

Asking me to choose a favorite author is like asking a drug addict to choose his favorite dealer – it’s whoever is filling the need at the time, you know? To that end, I will offer a few authors I’ve loved at different times in my life. In middle school, I was obsessed with other people’s pain and suffering, and so I really enjoyed Doris Lund, who penned Eric. If I was a middle schooler now, I would turn to Jodi Picoult (and I often do). My Sister’s Keeper is a must read. Piers Anthony helped me branch out into the world of fantasy and sort-of-science-fiction; a good starting point is A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth, Book 1). Proceed with caution; some of his books are not approved for all audiences, if you catch my drift. In high school, I wanted to be new and different and so I decided that instead of the complete works of Harry Potter I would delve into the complete works of Vladimir Nabokov. Lolita changes how you look at relationships, as do all of Nabokov’s works. These days I am far less academic, and the real world takes so much out of me that I like to retreat into the simple. My go-tos are Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Maeve Binchy, Marian Keyes, Elin Hilderbrand – books you get at Target, read once, and pass on. I’ve made peace with this.

4. Movie

Before you judge me — okay, fine, AS you’re judging me — I’d like you to imagine the following. You are a thirteen year old girl who is obsessed with United States History. You’ve just learned about industrialization. You are flipping through channels and you happen upon a Disney musical, featuring an almost entirely male cast. It stars a young Christian Bale. He is SINGING. He is DANCING. He is CHANGING THE FUTURE FOR CHILD LABORERS. I mean, what more could you truly want from a film? In this context, surely you will understand why I had to save up my babysitting money to special order the VHS from my local Blockbuster, and then watch it over and over and over again. REWINDING IT EACH TIME. That was dedication. Sure, there are better movies. But no movie brings me back into my childhood with a more delightful soundtrack.

5. Food

I am Italian. I cannot choose a favorite food. I can, however, choose a favorite food experience, and that is a no-brainer. On our honeymoon, my husband and I were lucky enough to stay with relatives in Treppo Carnico, a small mountain town in the province of Udine. My grandmother’s cousin owns and operates a twelve-room hotel, Albergo Cristofolini, that is known far and wide for its flawless cuisine. This is the home of the original locavores; clean eating before Tosca Rena made it big. It’s a Michael Pollan dream world. All of the ingredients come from the town; you can wave hello to the cow whose milk is in your cappuccino. The meat is superb. The cheese is other worldly. Each and every dish is an entire experience, accompanied by homemade mountain wine and followed up with grappa. So much grappa. This food changes lives. Don’t believe me? It’s the reason this is one of the last pictures taken of my husband and I as a couple instead of a family foursome. There’s a reason our boys have Italian middle names. Life. Changing. Food. (And wine.)


Since I’ve openly admitted to being nosy, tell me about some of your favorite things!

*Disclosure: This post contains links that generate revenue as a part of the Amazon Associates program.

The 2nd Trimester

I wanted to follow up my first trimester post with one for the second trimester. The problem is, I can’t actually remember anything about my second trimester except for the anatomy scan. When you are pregnant with one baby, this is referred to as the “golden” or the “honeymoon” period – the morning sickness is over, and you’re not uncomfortable yet. SO. NOT. TRUE. I experienced a two-day reprieve between morning sickness and vomit-inducing reflex. I outgrew all my clothes and all my maternity clothes. My days were a blur of vomit, ice cream, and Shonda Rhimes dramas. Usually in that order. In any case, I figured I would bust out my trusty pregnancy journal to help me write this post. I have included the journal in its entirety here for you to review. Don’t worry; you can get through it all and still have time to catch up on your Netflix queue.

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Unfortunately, my journaling was subpar. My photo-journaling, however, was clutch. Please enjoy the series of pictures that document my second trimester. If this were a gallery exhibit, it would be entitled, “How I learned to stop worrying and love the belly.”