Thursday, August 28, 2008

Growing Challenge: Veggie Parade

Just so you know, this isn't one day's haul.

It's two day's hauls. On Saturday, I pulled in a load of tomatoes, beans, basil and tomatillos while friends were over for dinner.

Caitlin shows off four Sungold cherry tomatoes.

We had fresh pesto over linguine with sauteed crookneck squash. Caitlin, being allergic to nuts, had linguine with butter and grated parmesan cheese with fresh tomatoes chopped on top. She liked it so much she had four helpings. Yay!

Emma shows you her flood of tomatoes.

I gave away a bunch of stuff, too.

Persimmon (left), Caspian Pink (right) and Principe Borghese (small) tomatoes.

We chopped some up into a spaghetti sauce Eric made last night. Some were eaten as a caprese salad.

Tomatillos, waiting to become salsa.

The green beans were devoured by one and all. The twins really like green beans.
A veritable sea of tomatoes.

Sometimes I just like looking at them. All of those colors! I was aiming for a rainbow of tomatoes and I think I managed it!
Yellow = Candy's Old Yellow. Purple = Cherokee Purple. Yellow/orange = Pineapple. Small oval red = Principe. Small round red = Stupice. Orange = Persimmon. Pink with green shoulders = Casian Pink. Small orange = Sungold.

Green beans are delectable.
Eat me!

They're not always perfect. I have plenty of cracking going on. Some were hard to get to and rotted on the vine. Some are on the edge of being over ripe. Too many are watery - I'm still fiddling with my watering system.
Big yellow.

But even when watery, they're still yummy. Especially drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
Cherokee Purple and Pineapple.

All of that? That was just Saturday. This is today's haul.

Basket o' goodies.

Except that I forgot to photograph the first basket that I'd brought in. This is the second.

Purple tomatillos and cherry tomatoes.

This was my beast tomato. Twenty one ounces. Hopefully the watering issue is worked out and this will be as yummy as it is pretty.

How shall I eat thee? Let me count the ways!

I loved watching Caitlin's reaction to this pile of cherry tomatoes.
Yellow = Snow White. Red = Gardener's Delight. Orange = Sungold.

Did I mention that I can't get to the tomatoes in the middle of the bed? I'm going to have to do something desperate to get in there.
Crookneck squash.

Hidden on the bottom: zucchini.

Yup. I seem to be in the middle of a tomato glut. Must be time for soup!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eleven Months

Eleven months is a tough time, isn't it? Everyone is waiting for the big one year mark next month. Eleven months gets the shaft in the scheme of things. Well, not this time!

Emma and Logan are now clapping (They started around 10.5 months.). Emma started it and Logan joined her after two days. It's terribly cute: they applaud after nursing. Yay, milk!

"Yay for milk! Good mommy!"

Caitlin likes to play with the twins, although it can be occasionally nerve-wracking for me. When she starts cackling, I'm certain she's up to no good. The twins are crazy about her and terrified by her in turn. It's a rollercoaster.

"What she doin' now?"

"I see you under dere!"

Queen of the Blanket.

The twins like books. Perhaps a little too much.

Emma in the reading corner. Those books never stay on the shelf for more than 10 minutes at a time. Sigh!

Five days ago, when I first started this post, I wrote:
Still no walking going on, much to my continued surprise. I suspect the twins just like to crawl. No teeth, either. (For which I am quite grateful.)
Things sure do change quickly these days! You just have to provide the right motivation.

"Want dat!"

Who knew lens caps were so powerful?! Or maybe it was the deadline - this happened today, while Misty was visiting, so there is a witness!

"Hey Logan, check dis out: I walkin'! Taah-dah!"

Ayup. You read it right: Emma is walking. She took her first three steps while I was camera-less and then refused to walk again for the video camera, but finally deigned to give us a repeat performance once I did have a camera in hand. Logan, of course, is devastated.

"Noooo! Dat's no fair! First she gets da clapping and de teef and now dis?!"

"Hey Logan, I t'ink I see you problem. You gots hamhocks."
Logan: "What?!"

Emma: "Hamhock thighs. Hee hee!"

Hamhock thighs may not be so great for walking, but they're excellent for nibbling.

We figure he'll walk when he's ready to. Perhaps he's saving it up for their first birthday party? Crowd pleasin' first steps. And trust me, there's a crowd a-brewin' for this party!

"I can't walk first? Fine! I take over deh world instead. Now 'scuse me while I praktiss my 'puter hackin' skills. Caitlin, hep me turn dis on!"

I also take back what I'd said about teething going pretty easily the other day. Today was rough: no napping and lots of crying. I think Logan's tummy was upset and Emma may have been in pain from teething because she calmed down after I dosed her with pain killer while he threw up at Caitlin's first soccer practice. Nice intro to soccer, huh? Bleargh!

So yeah, our dance card seems pretty full: signing, teething, and walking. Next thing you know, they'll be talking! Not too soon though, I hope! Not too soon.

"I not make any promises 'bout not talkin'. A girl's gotta do whatta girl's gotta do!"

Don't worry, Logan. You'll always be two minutes older.

The months have flown past. I can hardly believe that in another month they'll be one.

And you know what that means:


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Trouble in School


The school year started off well. She made a new friend, hung out with another girl that I had liked and was no longer in the same class as That Girl. You know, there's always one kid you don't want your kid to hang out with in school. We call ours That Girl.

Then it all came tumbling down.

First she was reading in class when she should have been working on math. Uh...what?! Then, today at recess she was playing with That Girl (Whom we've expressly told her to not play with since she is a Bad Influence.) and they missed the bell to return in to class. Then, allegedly, That Girl grabbed Caitlin by the hand and dragged her off into her classroom (They are in different classes this year, for which I am ever so grateful.), where they both hid under a desk and read books together.


Yes. Behavior most likely expected of kindergarteners, expressed in second graders.


Eventually Caitlin was led back to her own class and then Eric had a discussion with The Teacher after school about said behavior. I learned about it after they came home. Then followed the same discussion about how she needs to make good choices, That Girl is not a good friend to her, etc., blahdeblah etc. Then, I asked the key question: whatever happened to The New Nice Girl?

Oh. Her?

Turns out that TNNG told Caitlin she was mean when she played with That Girl.

Right on,
TNNG! It was the best possible outcome: someone other than us telling Caitlin that the other kids probably think she is a Bad Kid if she continually hangs out with That Girl. So once again, we have forbidden (I know, it's hopeless to do so, but I must try!) her to play with That Girl and have asked her to apologize to TNNG for being mean to her and try to play with her.

Why am I trying so hard? Well...let me tell you a little story about a girl named Grace.

A long time ago (About 29 years ago, if you must know!), I made the mistake of befriending a girl named Grace. My mother didn't interfere, even though she felt that Grace was Bad News, because she wanted me to learn for myself and possibly because she didn't know how bad it could get. Well, it got pretty bad. Apparently I used to be best friends with my older sister Dawn (Happy Birthday, Dawn! See how I worked that in there?) until Grace came along. It was long enough ago that I can't remember what was said or what was done to separate us, but it happened and my childish allegiances switched from my sister to my new "friend" and that was the end of our relationship for decades. Then, I made another best friend we'll call Dierdre (Because that's her name.). Dierdre was funny and nice and my folks approved of her and we had plenty of sleepovers (Funny, now that I think about it, I don't think I ever had a sleepover at Grace's house. Huh.) and hung out together.

This apparently upset Grace because she worked on breaking us up. I was unfamiliar with the practice of lying to your friend to keep them from being friends with others, so when she told me that DeeDee said whatever horrible thing she told me about, I believed her. I broke up with DeeDee. I was complicit in the stupidity - I totally admit it. Did I check in with Dierdre? No. I took Grace's word for it and by doing so, lost my best friend. Then, to make matters worse, at the end of 6th grade Dierdre and her family moved away.

I have never seen her since.

That is one of the things I regret the most in all my life. That I let someone else lie to me and separate me from my friend and that I never bothered to check in with said friend. Losing a friendship because you've grown apart is one thing; having your friendship ripped apart by a third party is awful. I stopped being friends with Grace right after that incident - it didn't hurt that we also went to different Junior High Schools (They call them "Middle Schools" out this-a-way.). Then, even though she still lived only two houses down, I never hung out with her again.

Have I told Caitlin this story? You bet! Have I told her what to look for in a good friend? Yes! Have I pointed out the difference between a good and a bad friend? Heck yeah!

Has it made a lick of difference? No. Nope. None.

Bloody hell!

So tell me: have you been in a similar situation with your kid and if so, what have you done about it? What can be done about it? I am certain the answer is what my friend Lee suggested to me: nothing. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't drown the sucker unless you are a crocodile (It was something rather like that, I'm sure.). However, there's the possibility that you can offer me additional words of wisdom and collective experience and either give me more ideas that will may work or will tell me about the gruesome experiences you've had with evil "friends" and make me feel better about my 29 year old mistake.

Unless you're Dierdre P. and you're reading this. In which case (How cool would that be?!): I'm so sorry! Leave a comment!

Monday, August 25, 2008


That was ridiculously childish, wasn't it? Terribly sorry!

Can't help myself, though.

Emma's got toofies coming in!

Apparently she's been working on breaking her first tooth (bottom middle set) in, just prior to turning 11 months. This morning I felt something. We can't get her to open up and show us, but you can feel them. Or it. Hard to tell if it's one or two. This has to be the best part of waiting so long to get your teeth in: you don't go through that awful drooling stage and there hasn't been any screaming associated with cutting these teeth. Hopefully this trend will continue!

Either way, though...


No, you can't actually see them, but they're in there! I tried getting as close as I dared to the bathing "singing" Emma, but she neither held still long enough or stopped splashing long enough. You'll just have to trust me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Contact! Baby Sign Language Rocks!

I talk to my kids all the time. I am communicating. They are trying to communicate, but face it: I'm not always so good at translating their noises clearly.

I fully admit that I understand that baby cries are supposed to mean different things, but frankly all I hear is "AaaaaaahieeeeeeeeeEEEE!" at assorted decibels. Instead, I go through my standard checklist: pain, diaper, hunger or boredom (If you've ever played the Sims, the baby checklist was Feed, Play, Sing. That works, too, except you've gotta get a diaper change in there.). However, as the twins get older, that checklist gets quickly exhausted and the screaming in frustration gets louder and louder.

The first time around, with Caitlin, we tried out baby sign language and found it worked like a charm. We didn't have a huge signing vocabulary, but what we did know and what she learned was awesome for helping her to communicate her needs to us. She was a lot less frustrated in that pre-verbal stage than she would have been otherwise. Now, we're doing it again with the twins.

Today, Emma showed me that it's really (Finally!) working with her after she was done eating lunch in her highchair. She got my attention and started waving both arms in the air and turning her hands. It took me a moment to realize it was her signal for "All done". (See this link for details.)

It was, in a word: awesome.

I've known for some time that they understand me. It's the reverse that is somewhat harder.

Now if only I could get Caitlin to listen to me!

"What's de sign for 'I want a pony'?"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Eating my way through summer

Yogurt. Brownies. Tomatillo salsa. Cherry cobbler. Vanilla ice cream. Peach smoothies. Chocolate ice cream. Caramel sauce.

Now that I have a bit more sleep, my desire to cook and bake has been restored. I've also been looking into fun things like cheese making (Can't find a local source of citric acid, so my mozzarella making is on hold.) and breadmaking (Just picked up a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day from the library. The secret? Moist dough in large batches so that there's always dough ready in the fridge. I must try it!). Oh, I've made bread before, but it's been awhile, so I thought it was time to try something new and this book looks like it might be the start of a beautiful new relationship with bread.

Last night I gave in to a craving: I made caramel sauce to go with some store bought vanilla ice cream. In the jar at the store, it was $8 for the organic sauce. At home the main cost is time.

That explains why I've just spent a couple of hours turning semi-crushed peaches (The boxes fell over. An actual "windfall". Har! Har! I'll be here all week!) into a peach crisp and several cups of frozen peaches for use in shakes and smoothies.

Mmmm! Peach crisp!

Anyone have any good recipes for tomatillos? I'm all ears!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First Day of 2nd Grade

It's that time of year again! Time to send my kid back to school.

Anxious. Shy. Curious.

And with a bag full to overflowing with supplies.

You know, there's nothing quite like waiting until the day before school starts to purchase all of the supplies! There were lines, sure, but nothing really terrible. The sales were pretty good at the place we went - 1 cent for bottles of white school glue; 20 cents for a box of crayons. We'll see how long they last this year. Last year there was some sort of Crayon Crime Ring going down in her classroom. My daughter and some other kids lost a remarkable number of markers and crayons. I started thinking about RFID chips and sting operations until I thought about just what the repercussions would be if I discovered the crayon cache.

There I'd be with a bucket full of cracked, snapped, stubby, melted or mangled crayons. Huh. Not particularly useful. So we just sucked it up and bought another set when asked to.

Sigh! My life as a nascent crime fighter nipped in the bud!

Arriving at school with style.

For awhile there this morning, it looked as if I was going to miss out on the drop off. I was tired and the twins weren't awake yet. I wasn't willing to wake them up to walk up to the school because of the potential for screaming, but they woke up just in time. So the whole family - all five of us - trooped up to the school and looked around for her new class.

Caitlin came all over shy and wouldn't say hello to anyone she knew from last year. I wasn't sure if we were going to have to scrape her off one of our legs or not, but eventually she was ready to go in when her class started moving.

I hope she's going to have a good year. I hope she'll make some good friends. I hope she behaves well. I really hope her teacher likes her since I've heard her new teacher is supposed to be faaaabulous. Award winning, even! I have high hopes this year.

Caitlin: Second Grader

You know what? I think she'll be fine!

How is it that she's old enough to be in second grade, anyway?!

My favorite items on the list this year were the deck of cards and the optional dice. My first response was how many and what type? What sort of damage are they expected to roll in second grade, anyway? Would 20 sided dice be OK? Are they going to be playing poker in there? Craps?

Yeah, yeah. You say they're for math. Suuuuure they are!

Hey, do you remember going school shopping as a kid? What was your favorite purchase? I always liked the smell of the Mead composition notebooks and newly sharpened pencils.

Ooh! and the smell of freshly made mimeographs. (Yeah - I'm practically carbon dating myself aren't I?) Does anyone remember those? In the days before copy machines (Why when I was your age...!) you had that thing with the big roller that ca-chunk-chunk-chunked out copies. Maybe it was all the fumes making me woozy, but I remember the slightly damp paper and the blue ink and I kinda liked it!

If you've got school age kids, how's your first day of school going? Or if you're in school, of course - I won't discriminate!

Monday, August 18, 2008

My own brand of stupid

You'd think I'd learn!


Visit from Girlfriend + Yummy flavored black tea for 3 days in a row = Caffeinated breastmilk.

Caffeine + Twins = No naps.

No naps + Hyper Twins = Cranky babies.

Visit from GF + Staying up waaaaay late = No sleep.

No sleep + Cranky babies = Cranky sleepy Hatchet lusting after caffeinated teas.

You see my problem?

The twins have no caffeine tolerance. That's the problem!

Whaaaat? Don't look at me like thaaat! [Shifty eyes.]

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Don't Forget the Brownies!

She'd come all this way. Alone. I couldn't possibly let her leave without baking for her at least once!

I don't count waffles with mixed berry compote and whipped cream in my baking. That's "just" breakfast. Bwahahahahaaaaa!

Val is about to leave us all alone again, after we spent the last several nights staying up waaaay too late talkin' smack and bein' silly; went gaming with the gang (Three of my tallest girlfriends in the room together at the same time - intimidating!); watched Batman Begins and then went out to see The Dark Knight; grabbed some tea at my favorite tea shop; strolled through my insane garden; cooked up zucchini, crookneck squash, green beans and finally...finally!...a caprese salad.
Caprese salad at last! Caspian Pink and Persimmon tomatoes with fresh basil (All three straight from my garden.), buffalo milk mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

We even went out to the farm and did a modicum of work after the rain stopped. Lots and lots of rain.

Apparently she brought Kansas weather with her when she came. Two and a half straight days of rain. Temperatures that went from 90 degrees on Monday all the way down to the 60s. Incredible!

Obviously, there had to be brownies in there somewhere!
All we were missing was some vanilla ice cream. We made do with whipped cream instead.

It's always hard to say goodbye, so I'm trying not to. Brownies are my last ditch effort to convince her to stay. For that matter, the entire week was one long food-laced bribe: "Move baaaaack to Colorado!"

You know she wants to.
Doesn't look like she wants to return to Kansas to me!

There are brownies, after all.

And me!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Singapore Scene

Sorry to be so light on the writing this week. My friend Val is in town! And you know how that goes: friends before writing! So here's a little something to keep you busy.

Yeah, why didn't I think about posting these sooner? Val. It's all her fault!

June 11, 2000.

I flew First Class to Singapore.

I had one of those seats that reclines flat into a bed. Now THAT'S First Class. I flew for about twenty hours and misplaced Saturday somewhere. I left on Friday, arrived in Singapore on Sunday. Where did it go? One day, not long from now, I will experience the longest June 15th of my life...but that will be another story.

Singapore is one huge city. And I don't mean that Singapore is the city in the country I'm in; I mean that Singapore is the name of the country and the city - that's all there is. It's a teeny tiny island off the tip of Malaysia and it's all one big city. Single family homes are an extreme luxury here - maybe 10% of the population own private houses. Most people live in high rises - they're everywhere.

This is the safest city/country that I've ever been in. They are very proud of that fact and after having been to Brazil and Argentina, I think they *should* be proud - even their taxi drivers boast about it! There are warnings posted in different places that tell you the fines for this and the fines for that (on the subway: No eating or drinking - $1000 fine). There are even t-shirts that joke about it: "Singapore is a FINE country!" No molesting - $5000. No gum chewing - $100. No jaywalking - $500.

So I've had to restrain myself. : >

Actually, I very carefully cleared my bags out of gum.

Oh - and drug trafficking? DEATH. No repeat offenders.

Everyone speaks English. Well, okay, everyone that I've dealt with speaks English! The country is made up of several different groups so most signs are in 4 languages - Mandarin, Tamil, Malay and English. English is the common language that the gov't is pushing. It's not a very Asian-seeming place since all the street signs are in English, the buildings are all skyscrapers and because of the capitalism extravaganza going on. Big business is everywhere and many things are super hi-tech. I'm staying at a 4 star hotel (it's GOOD to be the traveling queen!) and you can't SPIT ($500 fine) without hitting a shopping mall. I'm stunned. Singaporeans shop like mad and they're currently having the great Singapore Sale, so it's turned up a notch. Everyone looks out for the bigger better deal. Newer. Faster. Better. Flashy. Stylish. Shop shop shop. Buy buy buy. They are marketing's wet dream. When we drove around - to lunch, dinner, sightseeing, whatever, I noticed that the people I was with tch-ed at old things. New things are highly prized. It's a brave new world...

I've eaten strange food: Century eggs - duck eggs buried in mud for a month or longer, in clay pots stuck in the ground and soaked in vinegar. One of the guys here told me it was soaked in horse urine. You want me to eat what?! He was kidding, of course. It wasn't bad at all, I liked it. But it sure did look weird! Fried Durian rolls - the worst smelling fruit I've ever experienced in my LIFE. The raw fruit smells like the worst god-awful sweaty socks you've ever smelled. And it's considered a delicacy! OK - who the hell was the first guy to say to himself, "Hey what do you suppose THAT tastes like?"? And you KNOW it was a guy...

I've learned the true meaning of certain words: Humidity. Enervating. Tropical. Oppressing heat. Sweat slicked. Sticky. I now understand my mother's need to braid my hair up repeatedly during the summer time: "Young Hatchet come here!" Braid braid braid. "I'm hot just looking at you! How can you stand to run around in this heat?" I can't understand how people can stand to TOUCH another person in this weather! There's no such thing as a cooling breeze - unless you're generating it by sitting in a moving vehicle or are close by a fan. The weather is either hot and humid or raining and REALLY humid. At night, the temperature only drops a degree or two, yet people wander around OUTSIDE in jeans and long sleeved shirts - with SWEATERS! OK, I know they won't always be outside (everything is air-conditioned - to DEATH) but the people wandering around the botanical gardens? Suddenly I'm glad to see gift shops inside parks and zoos...Sure! I'd be GLAD to wander around inside your lovely air-conditioned building and look at your overpriced t-shirts! I sweat while walking. I sweat while standing still. I sweat while THINKING about walking.

I get hit on by random men. Conversation starts: "Do you know where the orchid garden is?" He had just walked past the sign post...but I didn't know that until I passed it moments later. "Do you have a boyfriend?" That's pretty direct! "Yes, I'm married." Thank you, Eric! My orchid seeking friend quickly departs.

I see beautiful clothes I can't possibly fit and exotically beautiful women who I can't photograph. I'm alone, so I can't pull the patented "pose and switch" maneuver (Stand here and act like I'm going to take your picture, so I can photograph that girl!). Huge, dark, liquid eyes. Traditional Indian clothing. Non-traditional clothing. Almond shaped eyes and perfectly straight black hair. I start wishing for a "blind" of some sort to hide behind. An air-conditioned blind...

My air-conditioned bed calls to me...

Hatchet - She Who Travels A Lot

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dusk on the deck

The twins are sleeping. The kitchen has been cleaned...well enough. Eric is off fixing something.

And I?

I am sitting on the back deck, still as a statue, laying in wait for hummingbirds. I have a feeder in my hand and a saucer of sugar water on the table in front of me. I am utterly still.

A dozen Nighthawks flit through the air high above me, intent on snatching insects out of the air. They swoop and glide, instantly changing direction in pursuit of prey. I track their movements mostly with my eyes. I don't want to move my head too much and scare of my prey.

Just a few minutes ago, I walked out onto the deck with this plan in mind. I stopped within five feet of the feeder when I saw there was a hummer on it sipping delicately. I watched and waited. Suddenly, a second hummingbird flew up and started to check me out.


It got really close to my face. So close, in fact, that I became a little worried about my eyes. It hovered there and watched me. When I blinked, it reversed away from me by a few more inches. When I stopped blinking, it came in even closer. The sound of its wings was very loud that close to my face.

Goosebumps popped up all over my arms and legs.

My little friend then started moving sideways, going towards the back of my head and getting even closer to my ear. I was squinting at this point, the buzzing sound is sort of tickly and freaky, but I was still trying not to move anything and frighten off the hummer. Next thing I knew, the first hummer (Remember him? The one on the feeder.) suddenly realized there was another male horning in on his territory (Apparently I'm included.) and came zipping over.

Right at my face!

I could hear them arguing by my ear and felt the vibrating burr of two sets of wings. My goosebumps got goosebumps.

The two took off, straight up. The one that was intently watching me was chased off. My hummingbird stationed himself in my tree, resting for a moment, but ever vigilant.

That's when I grabbed the feeder and sat down to wait.

Unfortunately for me, I think he was on to me and my plan. He fed from the flowers right next to me and even looked around for the feeder, but didn't come any closer. Phooey!

Have I mentioned how much I love summer?! Woo!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Breastfeeding Twins?!

"Are you still breastfeeding?"

Every woman who breastfeeds her children will, without fail, at some point be asked that very pointed question.

"Are you still breastfeeding?"

It almost doesn't matter how long you've been nursing for: someone is going to ask. At three months? Six months? A year? Doesn't matter. Someone will ask you.

Sometimes the subtext is awe: "Wow! You're still nursing your babies! That's great!" Most times, however, the questioner asks in a most impatient manner. As if there's a deadline to meet and you're missing it. "What are you doing still nursing those babies?"

In my case, the fact that I decided to nurse the twins in the very first place was a big surprise. My doctor (For whom I have the greatest respect.) made it very clear that by nursing the twins full time, I'd be off in some exotic land where few women in our area had ever tread. Then again, I was apparently setting records for birth weights and length of gestation, so perhaps she wasn't too surprised with my decision to breastfeed.

Nursing hasn't always been Easy Street, either (See my rant from the first month if you don't believe me.). Don't get me wrong: once you're in the groove, nursing is easy. It's finding your groove and staying in it that are the hard parts.

When I started out, I wanted to tandem nurse the twins, get them on a schedule and possibly get a little more sleep. Well, it turned out that the twins had a touch of reflux and were tiny geysers of vomit on a very regular basis until they were about four months old. Thus, instead of tandem nursing, I was serially nursing twins to avoid at least some of the puke headed my way.

I've been bitten, pinched, pulled, vomited on, gotten plugged ducts, swollen and inflamed breasts from missing nursing sessions, Emma developed thrush, and Logan developed a preference for one side over the other.

Even with all of that, nursing has still been one of the best things I have done for the twins and for myself. Also? I produced a helluva lotta milk.

Now that we are tandem nursing, I get a bit more sleep at night. The weight loss aspect has been fabulous (I gained 65 lb for the pregnancy and by 7 months postpartum, it was gone. No exercise, just nursing and normal life with twins. I imagine that if you exercised, the weight would whip off even faster. I'm just lazy.). The twins are very snuggly when cuddled up and nursing together. Sometimes they reach over and pat the other twin. Of course, they also sometimes poke and pinch the other twin or attempt to steal the opposite breast, but life is tough around here.

Emma nurses more than Logan does, so when he finishes first, he sits up and smiles at me and we get a little extra bonding in: nose kisses, baby hugs, giggles. When he tires of me, I let him slide off my lap and crawl around the room. Emma and I then snuggle up together. She will finish off Logan's breast (Because there's always more milk in there.) and then crawl all over me like a puppy. She also engages in Nurse-robatics: standing up while nursing, twisting around, getting into Down Dog position, attempting to climb over my shoulder all while still engaged in lip-lock. Ouch! She also pats my tummy, plays with my hair and checks my teeth.

You know, just to make sure they're still in there.

I respond by nibbling on her fingers and chewing on her neck, so I think we're even.

Here are some of my hard-earned twin feeding tips:

5 Tips for Successfully Breastfeeding Twins
  1. Get a good book. I highly recommend Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More! Read it. Ideally before the twins arrive.
  2. Be prepared to supplement with formula. The biggest secret to nursing twins is to keep in mind that you may not have milk enough for two on the day they're born. It took me a few weeks of pumping and supplementing with formula until my production increased enough to feed both of them fully. Be prepared to supplement and don't beat yourself up over the fact that this, too, is another area where having twins is decidedly different from having a singleton.
  3. Herbal supplements are your friend! Herbal supplements like Alfalfa, Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek will help increase your milk production significantly. Trust me! Or if you don't trust me, read up about it at
  4. Eat well. When breastfeeding twins, you'll burn up about 1000 extra calories a day. You need to eat well to support your body's ability to do that. Now is not the time to go on a diet to lose the pregnancy weight gain. It will come off. Be patient!
  5. Drink water. A lot of water. I'm not kidding. Why aren't you drinking some water? Go get some!

Now when someone asks, "So are you still breastfeeding those twins?"

We'll answer, "Hell yeah!"

-- Cross posted at
API Speaks for World Breastfeeding Week. BTW, they're having a giveaway over at API in celebration of WBW. Go there and leave a comment to enter the contest to win a copy of LLL’s seminal book on breastfeeding: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Down on the Farm

When I was a child, I hated weeding. Hated it.

It seemed to go on forever and was the most tedious and boring job possible.

As an adult, I find that I actually kind of like weeding. I might even love it!

It's the one time I can be all by myself, focused on a task and in my own head. There are no babies around, generally no children (It's so boring to watch.) and unless you're doing it with a friend, it's completely quiet.

Except for that pair of Red-tailed hawks circling overhead, crying out to one another. Except for the golden dragonfly flitting by, chased by another dressed in scarlet. Except for the birdsong filling the air. Except for the distant hum of the bees in their skeps.

Golden dragonfly.

Ladybugs abound, in search of their next meal. Spiders skitter away from my gloved hands as I rip, rip, rip at the weeds. Grasshoppers bound from plant to plant, moving away from me. Earwigs dash about, frantic to escape the light. Toads shuffle and thump out of sight.

Slowly, oh so slowly, the tomato plants that have been lost in this sea of purslane, lambsquarters, pigweed, foxtail grass and bindweed are uncovered. Discovered. Recovered.

I try not to let the sheer amount of work in front of me faze me. Instead, sitting, kneeling, squatting on the ground I pull and toss, pull and toss. My focus is entirely on the patch in front of me. I am completely grounded in the here and now. This tomato plant. This handful of weeds.

Pull and toss. Pull and toss.

The sun beats down on my back, but not unbearably so. The soil is moist and cool under my knees. The plants are green and burdened with fruit in various stages of ripening.

Pull and toss. Pull and toss.

Piles of weeds lay behind and beneath me. I am making headway, even if I can't stop to look at it now. I am making a difference: one handful of weeds at a time.

Updated to add dragonfly photo. Also, this post is about way more than weeding. Apply liberally to all facets of your life.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hummingbirds: Minimum Two

One to drink the flower nectar and one to chase it off.

Enjoying the 'Heather Queen' agastache that overwintered in a pot on the deck last year.

Here's one (the same one?) enjoying the Texas Hummingbird Sage in a pot on the deck.

Here's one at the bird bath, behind a tomato plant.

OK, that's not a hummingbird! That's a finch! He was cute, though.

I still haven't tried getting outside really early and laying in wait with a saucer of sugar water in my hand. I really need to try that. These birds really aren't afraid of me eating them. I move way too slow!

Of course, if I do that, who will take the pictures?!

Heeeere birdie, birdie, birdie!

Ahhh! Hummingbirds! My summer is complete!

I've admitted to my wildlife obsession. What's yours?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Getting Away From It All

OK, really? We took almost all of it with us. If by "it" you're referring to three children, one large stroller, 2 bags of food, a camera, books, snacks, sippy cups, whining and the car.

What we escaped was the heat. If only for a few hours.

On the very last day of July, during our incredible heat wave, I was sick of being cooped up inside our house because it was too hot to walk anywhere or play outside. Instead, we drove off to Rocky Mountain National Park. I think the wild look in my eyes was all it really took to convince Eric that we needed to get out of the house and hit the road.
Ahhh! Nature!

It was much cooler up there. And quieter. I relaxed into the sounds of bird song and running water. And the peeping of Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels. (Thanks for pointing that out, Sierra! My mistake!)
Critter on deck!

After the long drive, we were all glad to get out of the car and check out our surroundings. No one was as happy as the twins. They got a little crazy. We helped, of course.

We walked Emma and Logan towards one another across a boardwalk and they squealed and squealed with laughter. Then, after sitting them down next to one another, Emma tried to ambush Logan and knock him clean over. They both thought that was hysterical.
Emma: "Imma get you!"
Logan: "Nooo! Aieee!"

I took the opportunity to shoot a few family shots. With rabbit ears, of course.
Note how they're all going in different directions. That takes skill, people!.

I even got to be in a few pictures!
Me and my babies.

Caitlin gives the twins a squeeze.

Logan: "I gonna eet you! Nom!"
Caitlin: "Aieee!"

All said and done, I think it was a great day even if it started out hot and whiny - it ended cool and happy. And there were plenty of snuggles to be found.
Snuggle Bunny.

Where do you go when you want to escape it all and Hawaii is just out of the question? Got any other good day trip ideas to share?
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