One Year and Stronger Than Ever

That’s right everyone, my boys are one year old. They are both doing fantastic, growing and developing like champs. Oh and they are really into frosting right now. Not cake. Frosting. 

For those of you curious about what they are doing from a developmental standpoint, here’s where we are.

Giovanni has been pulling himself up for months, using the couch, ottoman, baby gates or nearest person. He recently started taking some chances and letting go for a few seconds and standing. We also practice walking, with him holding our hands, and he loves that. He talks a lot and says things like mama, dada, and nana very clearly. He loves to feed himself using his hands and has gotten quite good at it. He’s a handful and we adore him. 

Dominic has perfected his “leap frog”. This is his current way of getting around, as we are still working on crawling. He has all of the right ideas but apparently bouncing on all fours and then hurling himself forward is far more enjoyable. He can put himself in sitting up position on his own and he does it with ease now, and he sits up very straight and strong. We are trying to get him used to bearing some weight on his legs, and with our help he is able to stand for a good 30 seconds, sometimes even longer. He babbles a ton, and says mama and dada very clearly. We are working with a feeding specialist to learn how to chew, move his tongue laterally, and to strengthen all of the mouth muscles. With that said, puréed foods are still his jam. We do offer small pieces of food and he eats it just fine, but it mostly just gets swallowed. All in all, his PT and OT are very pleased with his progress and we are extremely proud, he’s perfection. 

It’s so hard to believe that they were this small once, but what an amazing year it has been. These boys have taken us on quite the ride, and we’ve loved every minute.

If anyone out there has any questions regarding their development, how my typical baby is helping to teach my DS baby, or how they compare to one another, I’m happy to share what I’ve noticed and learned. I’m not an expert at all, just a mama. Please just ask, I’m happy to share.


For Giovanni

I would like to dedicate a post to Giovanni today. He does not have therapists coming to the house to play with him, and in baby class we discuss Dominic’s progress more than his. Doctors appointments are often more about his brother, or sometimes they are entirely about his brother. He may not notice it now, but in years to come I’m sure he will, and I’m also sure that it will be something we need to handle with care. 

Giovanni and I share a special bond. Everyone says he looks just like me, and Giovanni has nursed since day one, so he and I have  always had that. He is often referred to as a mama’s boy because he likes to be with me and sometimes I’m the only who can bring him comfort and calm. As a newborn, he was fussier than his brother, but he has always been a wonderful baby, so curious and funny. As he has gotten older, he definitely has a mischievous streak and lots of energy. He is a very busy guy and has lots to do — those toys aren’t going to play with themselves. He loves to pull himself up on the baby gates, knock down towers of blocks that we build up for his knocking down pleasure, and he really enjoys pretending to read books. That’s right, he doesn’t like being read to these days because he can hold his own book and read to himself. He makes us laugh and has the sweetest chubby cheeks around. His gummy smile can stop you dead in your tracks. 

Giovanni, if you were to read this one day, here is what I would like for you to know. You are everything to us. You were put here in this world to bring smiles, laughter and joy. You, and you alone, are special. Is it wonderful that you have a twin? Of course! Is it wonderful that you are your brother’s best friend and teacher? Yes! But YOU are enough. I will always cherish my quiet moments alone with you, when I held you close and smelled your head while kissing you. I will always be grateful that I was able to nurse you and know what it felt like to feed you and have that bond. Just because we often have to give a little more time and energy to your brother does not mean that we do not want to spend it with you. Life is never easy and straightforward, and sometimes we will make mistakes, but no matter what, we love you. Our lives are defined by what we do and how we live, so we will always be intentional and loving with our words and actions. Please know that we are doing our best and that we cannot imagine our lives without you. You make life so much better.


When One Is Not Like the Other

As most of you know, one of my twin boys has Down Syndrome and the other does not. One thing I have found is that we have not come across many other families like ours, so I thought it might be helpful to share our experience thus far. 

First, to answer a question I get most often…

No, we did not know Dominic’s diagnosis before birth. 

I think this is a good jumping off point. We did not know that Dominic would have DS but we were aware of the possibility. Because I was pregnant with twins and had undergone IVF, I was immediately referred to a specialist because I was considered high risk. There, it was suggested that I take a chromosomal blood test to check for any abnormalities. Although the test could not tell us a definitive yes or no, it could tell us if there was a greater chance of one or both babies having a chromosomal abnormality. My test revealed that there was a greater chance for one or both of the babies to have DS. At that point, they asked if we wanted to do further testing for a definite answer, and we chose not to put our babies at risk because we knew it didn’t matter to us.

I had a relatively easy pregnancy and neither babies showed any “soft markers” for DS. Many babies show signs of having DS while in utero, but both babies looked perfect until the last month of my pregnancy. Dominic’s growth had slowed down and there was a definite placental issue, so instead of letting me go to full term, my doctor decided to induce me at 37 weeks. In that last month, as a final attempt for Dominic to gain some weight, I increased my protein and caloric intake. It worked and my boys were born at 37 weeks at 5 lbs 5 oz and 5 lbs 12 oz. 

From birth, we could see that Dominic could have DS but he lacked a lot of the physical traits, so the only way for an accurate diagnosis was to get his umbilical cord blood tested. Shortly after birth we received the confirmed diagnosis. A lot of people share that they felt grief upon learning their new baby has DS. I think that the early on chromosomal test is when I grieved. I took that news very hard because we had worked so hard to get pregnant and I felt like once we actually got pregnant, everything would be perfect. I was worried that we would have anything less. Little did I know, my boys are beyond perfection. I know how that sounds, but it’s true. 

While we were still in the hospital, there was a moment with Dominic that I will always cherish. I took him in my arms and held him close, smelling his head and kissing his face, telling him how I felt about this life we would share together. I told him that people may not see how special and wonderful he is right away. They may make judgements before they get to know him. That things may be harder for him. That we will need to support one another every step of the way. But first and foremost, he is loved and wanted. We could never possibly understand what this love would feel like. To be a new mom and have these two gorgeous babies was nearly too much for my heart–I thought it could burst. 

Twins are a very special and unique thing. My boys have known each other since the very beginning, and to see them smile at each other, you know that their bond is unbreakable. I know that there will be fights and jealousy, but I believe in my heart that they will always support one another. I feel like they were born to be together, to be best friends. To know that Dominic will teach Giovanni to love without bounds and to be inclusive, while Giovanni will teach those around him by his example, is such a gift. I think that they will be each other’s biggest fan and protector.

So, yes, one is not like the other and that’s how we like it in our home. True individuals but cut from the same cloth. 


I’m No Superwoman

Lots of friends and family say thing like “twins, I don’t know how you do it”or “twins, I can’t imagine”. I’ll tell you exactly how I do it, and spoiler alert, I’m not a one woman show. I will say this…I don’t mind patting myself on the back for choosing the best partner imaginable, but other than that, I am just fortunate.

My husband, my rock, scored a job that allows him to work from home. Now, Marv does have to do a little travel and has appointments that take him away from home, but it isn’t often, and when he’s home, he’s amazing. His mama raised him right. Marv does everything for the babies and he even washes my pump parts and all of the baby bottles at the end of the day. He actually has a very sweet bath time ritual for the boys, and I love that he has that time with them. Above all, he is present, and I appreciate having a partner that is cherishing this time as much as I am. 

On a daily basis, my dad is there for us. My dad treats being a grandpa like the best job he has ever had. First and foremost, he moved from California to Washington and bought a house ten minutes away from us. The babies were born in March and he closed on the house in April–he’s been here since day one. He comes over every day during the week around 9:30 and stays until around 5:30. My dad changes diapers, feeds the babies, goes with me to baby class, will stop at the market if we need anything, and he takes the dogs out for potty breaks. We are so lucky to have him here and so involved. 

For those of you keeping score, that’s THREE adults and TWO babies. 

Most of the time there are at least two of us caring for the babies, but there are times when I’m alone. Often, I’m only on my own for a few hours. Mornings are actually kind of amazing and among some of my favorite moments. I love looking at Dominic holding his own bottle and stroking his hair, while gazing down at Giovanni nursing and playing with my necklace. And, to see them sitting side by side in their high chairs, eating like big boys, is so sweet. It can get tricky and sometimes there is more crying when I’m alone, but babies cry and it is okay. I always remind the boys that “mama has two babies” and that I’m doing my best. 

I wonder if I can enjoy moments alone because I know that help is on the way. Sometimes, I call myself a “twin mom poser” because I’m not like other twin moms, toting two car seats into Target or wearing two babies at once. I need to stop that, I’m not being kind to myself. Every mama’s journey is different, and you do your best to give your babies the best life possible. That’s it. You don’t need to be Superwoman.

Life with Two Tiny Humans


The last time I shared a post, the boys were 3 months old, and so much has changed since then as we approach their first birthday. I have missed writing here and sharing about our life, so I have given the blog a new look and will be sharing as much as possible about what’s going on here. I will, of course, be more focused on motherhood, but I will still share about cooking and food, secondhand finds, home renovations and decor, and our adventures. For any of you that are new here, allow me to fill you in a bit.

After a long struggle with infertility, the combination of an amazing doctor and his team of nurses along with tremendous support from family and friends, we hit the baby jackpot and became pregnant with twins. Our boys are the greatest gift imaginable and our lives are forever changed. Giovanni is spunky and curious, while Dominic is sweet and soulful, and their love for each other is clear. Dominic was born with Down Syndrome, so not only are we new to parenthood and twin life, but we are also a part of this wonderful Down Syndrome community.

Back when I was writing more regularly, we were in the first home we purchased, enjoying Taco Tuesdays, I worked full time, and my adventures involved lattes and concerts. Nowadays, we are in our forever home, and as a full time stay at home mom, I cook more often than Tuesdays and it’s not usually tacos, and our adventures are leisurely walks and sometimes include farm animals. Life has evolved into something new and it’s pretty amazing.


I do hope that you’re along for this new ride with me and my tribe.



Life in Photos: Summer Smiles


Generally speaking, I’m a pretty happy person, but here are some of the things that are making me smile lately. For instance, I feel so lucky to live here in the PNW and have views like this.


Being silly. I was so excited to use my “cheese or die” tote (gifted by my girl, Keely), so I asked my hubs to snap a pic. Just to clarify, Keely and I feel very strongly about cheese, and yes, she has one too.


My garden continues to provide delicious produce and  endless elation.


Some friends of ours had visited Flatstick Pub for a round of mini golf and sang its praises. On a whim, we checked it out on Friday night and loved it.  I mean…mini golf with a local brew in hand = amazing!


And, this guy. I have no shame. I take a ridiculous number of photos of my pups and don’t care who knows it.

Happy weekend!




Life in Photos // 4th Fun


We spent the 4th with dear friends and had a great day, filled with food, floating and fireworks.

First and most important, let’s talk s’mores. Our friend, Mel, is a bit of an evil genius when it comes to the culinary arts. She specializes in delicious food that is rarely good for you…case in point, s’mores for the 4th. She knew that we could do better than the traditional s’more. Sure, some people use peanut butter cups instead of regular milk chocolate squares, and we have heard of cookies instead of graham crackers, but aren’t the best things in life homemade? Yes!


Sooo, we crafted homemade marshmallows, peanut butter and coconut flavored. Mel found the recipe here, but as usual, we made some adjustments to the recipe we found. (For the coconut marshmallows, we replaced 1 tsp vanilla with 3/4 tsp natural coconut extract + 1/4 tsp artificial coconut extract and replaced peanut butter powder with 4-6 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut.)


Mel made homemade grahams, coconut and chocolate flavored. Mel found the recipe here (and photo is courtesy of Mel.)

Mel bought Theo Chocolate bars in assorted flavors like dark chocolate coconut, milk chocolate chili, and the list goes on. Side note: Theo chocolate not only tastes amazing but they are fair trade and organic.

And then, for the real kicker, Mel made caramel sheets. Those caramel sheets really sent it over the top and made these s’mores into an experience. Sorry for the bad pic, but I was more focused on devouring this ridiculous treat. You are looking at the chocolate grahams, peanut butter mallow, dark chocolate coconut bar square, and a sheet of caramel. It was insanely rich and I could only eat half, but as my bestie would say, “go big or go home!”.


Luckily, the s’mores came at the very end of the night because I spent the first half of the day in a swimsuit. We began our day by floating the Skykomish River for a few hours. We tie all of our rafts and tubes together and let the current take us for a calm, relaxing float. We have mastered the float so that we have a cooler full of beverages, snacks and we even have music. It’s a great time and it’s a true sign that summer is here.

Group Floating

Patriotic Floating Cooler

Lastly, here are some of my favorite shots of the fireworks. This first one includes my–impossible to see– red, white and blue Jell-o shot and fireworks. The rest of the fireworks shots are courtesy of my hubby, Marv.





I hope that you all had a safe and fun holiday. Happy Monday and welcome back to the grind. Although we have a full week ahead of us, let’s make it a good one. It’s summer!



Life in Photos: Baseball & Backyard Fun

This last week was great. We went to two baseball games, and got back into backyard living again. Spring is the best.


A selfie of me and the hubs at opening day for the Mariner’s.


This was taken at the Friday night game. I could not believe what a gorgeous evening it was.


Don’t worry, I didn’t spend the whole night staring at the view. We LOVE food. My hubby had his hands full with “dirty tots” and fried cheese curds in this photo. The dirty tots have cheese, pork belly and pickled peppers. The fried cheese curds have pickled peppers and honey drizzled over the top. Best part of these delicious eats? This is all local stuff; ie Beecher’s cheese, Carlton Farms pork belly, Bay Valley pickled peppers, and Ballard Bee Co. honey. You can find this at Swingin’ Wings in “The Pen”.


That Friday night game was all about Felix Hernandez and he did not disappoint. We left with a W aaaaaand a new t-shirt. Look at all that gold for King Felix!


One of my most favorite things about better weather is basking in the sunshine while enjoying a good read.


Another favorite pastime in warmer weather…entertaining friends at home. I had my best girls over to discuss backyard ideas and there was a whole lot of wine, cheese and laughter.


It’s all about keeping it simple when it comes to spending quality time with friends. We opted to keep our girly drinks like rose, champagne and Perrier on ice right there at the table with us.

That’s our spring so far. I hope that the spring weather has come your way and that you are enjoying it. We still have some rain to get through before our forecast is all sunshine, so until then, I’m making the most of each sunny day.


Life in Photos: Red & White

This was a short but lovely weekend, and although I had to work on Saturday (boooo), I found some time for binge-watching New Girl on Netflix while eating ice cream, –fear not, there are no photos of that– getting excited over some flowers blooming in my backyard, a fun Friday evening with friends and homemade pizza, thrift shopping, and a little cooking while listening to music.

20140324-100821.jpgHow cute are these little white flowers and my garden owl?

20140324-100829.jpgMy girl, Angie, sure can make a pizza. Yum!

20140324-100745.jpgLoving these new flats, but also excited to wear the cute spring jacket I found. I’m sure it will make an appearance this week.

20140324-100810.jpgWith the sun shining on Sunday, I opted to make a crockpot dinner so I could get out and enjoy it. This recipe required very little prep and it was delicious, details to follow this week. In other news, I found a great playlist on Songza called Minstream Indie. I knew about 80% of the songs and loved them all but still found new music that I liked a lot. If you haven’t tried Songza, I totally recommend it.

Happy Monday!








Life In Photos: St. Paddy’s Day Dash


Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I just have to share some photos from yesterday. This year is our 7th year of running the St. Paddy’s Day Dash in Seattle, supporting the Detlef Schrempf Foundation. Detlef Schrempf Foundation supports many Northwest children’s charities. When you register for the run, you have the opportunity to donate additional funds to organizations such as  Camp Fire USA Puget Sound Council, Seattle Children’s Autism Center, Inspire Youth Project, and the Healing Center. Learn more here. Aside from our money going to a good cause, we have a core group of friends that run this with us every year, and it is one of my favorite traditions. After the 6k our dear friend, –an avid non-runner– Mel, hosts a party for us and she continues to outdo herself every year. She opens her home to us, so we can change and get into some warm clothes –it’s Seattle, obviously it rains on us– and then she feeds us delicious food. Does it get any better?

20140317-143524.jpgHere’s the group, pre-race.

20140317-143603.jpgBoys will be boys…monkeying around while waiting to cross the street.

20140317-135334.jpgThe ladies, showing off our tutus. I will put together a tutorial early this week on how to make the tutus. They are so easy!

20140317-143622.jpgMel putting the finishing touches on the Baileys & Coffee shots. Also pictured, chocolate chip scones. I know, wow.

20140317-143532.jpgChampagne & pineapple juice, accessorized with shamrock ribbons and straws. Adorable aaaand tasty.

20140317-135141.jpgMini Chicken & Waffles. Hold on to your hats…this is the first of the mini breakfast foods that Mel served. Genius idea!

20140317-135237.jpgMini Coconut Shrimp & Waffles. Ridiculously good.

20140317-135221.jpgI’m not sure what Mel called these, but they were essentially Mini Omelets, with cheese and veggies. Also pictured in back, dried nectarines with blue cheese and nuts.

20140317-135230.jpgMini Quiche with Chicken Sausage.

20140317-135243.jpgA dasher brought Mini Cinnamon Rolls. Yum.

20140317-135304.jpgAnother friend brought these Pistachio Pudding Cups, always a hit in our group.

20140317-135211.jpgAnd, I was boring. I brought some of the mimosa fixin’s but also these little fruit skewers, with honeydew, kiwi, and green grapes.

20140317-143637.jpgThe genius behind mini breakfast foods, Mel.

Do you have any St. Patrick’s Day traditions?