Big Decisions, Big Changes

Toward the end of last year we were faced with a big decision to make, one that would impact our family in a huge way. At this point, there is no direction to go but forward, so I feel comfortable sharing about it here. We are moving to California.

My husband was given a relocation request and offered a new territory; however, this offer was all or nothing. If we didn’t choose to move, he would be out of a job, and I’m a full time stay at home, so you could imagine how we felt.

We have lived in Washington for 11 years, we bought our forever home about 3 years ago, assuming that we would take our time renovating and making it into our dream home. We love living here, have made friends that are family, and my dad moved here to be closer to us, so to even consider a move is a gut wrenching decision. Our boys have seen the same doctors since birth and Dominic has seen the same therapists since he was 6 months old, and the thought of having to change things for them literally brought me to tears. We have a community here, one that we love and feel privileged in which to belong.

With all of that said, it’s March and the wheels are turning, this move is happening. I know, how did we get here? How could we leave all of this? I wondered what the answer was, I struggled to understand why this had to be so hard. We weighed the pros and cons, I cried (a lot), I wrote (a lot), I talked to family and friends, we researched, we talked about it (a lot), I cried some more, and then after all of that, we followed our gut. A couple of other job opportunities for my husband have come up, but nothing paid enough. We considered me going back to work and him staying home but I wouldn’t be able to match his pay, we looked into both of us working and putting the boys into daycare, and we even thought about me working part time while my husband was available to watch them, ultimately having little time together or as a family. What it all comes down to is our values and how we want to raise our boys.

As hard as this move already is and will be, as hard as being away from my dad will be, as hard as this whole transition will be, in my heart I know that moving the boys to daycare or having to struggle financially will be harder. My husband and I always wanted me to stay home with the boys and that window of time is closing in faster than I’m ready for, so it’s now or never. If you know about our infertility struggles, you know that it’s unlikely I will get to become a mom again. And before we know it, they will be off to kindergarten and these precious years will be over. We will be on to a new season of life, and I’m sure it will be wonderful, but this is where we are now, and we feel like we have made the best decision for us.

This new territory means a raise for my husband, which will allow us to save some money. And the biggest plus of moving back to southern California is that we will have tremendous support and a wonderful social life. We have family and friends, and the boys will get to spend more time with their cousins. I’m thinking of this as a beautiful adventure. There will be difficult moments, moments when I feel like I’ve made the wrong decision, but I know that we made this decision as a couple and that we support each other 100%. If there is love and respect, it’ll all be okay. Besides, time flies, we will be home before we know it.

xo

Advertisements

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. 

xo

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

fullsizerender-14-copy

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.

christmas-tree-2

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

xo

 

Nearly Three Months In…


Here we are, nearly three months in to being a family of four. We have had a blast and feel so lucky to be parents to these handsome boys.

My thoughts about being a mom to twin boys? I have heard people say things like, “twice blessed”, “twice as much love”, “double the love”, but for us, it’s all we know. Since we struggled for so long, I am just tremendously happy and humbled to be a mom.

Just like with one baby, we have some nights in which sleep is a distant memory. We have days when you look at them and wonder where the time went and how the heck they got so big. Unlike singleton mamas, there are days when I wish I had four arms, so I could snuggle and comfort them both at the same time. That is probably the hardest thing. I’m rarely alone with the boys because I have an amazing support system, but when I am and they are both fussy, it’s hard to know that I can’t make them both feel better. But, this comes with the territory, and it’s just one more thing to figure out and overcome. You just try things and figure out what works. Isn’t that motherhood, in a nutshell?

At this point, I’m easing back into work, struggling to get my body (or something close to it) back, and loving being a mama. Life is settling, getting out is easier, and I care again about things like socializing and washing my hair. It sounds crazy, but I swear to you that I was averaging a shower every other day and washing my hair three times a week. For those that know me, you understand how crazy that is. I normally wash my hair everyday, even though I know it’s not the healthiest for my hair. Anyway, I care again!

Things I am looking forward to, and my mini Summer Bucket List…

Getting out in the sunshine a few times a week! With the babies, the days fly by, and I can’t tell you how many times I have had the best intentions to get out for a walk, only to realize that my day was gone.

Reading for pleasure!  I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t reading about baby development or sleep training.

Cooking a meal once a week! I’ve been doing a lot of sandwiches, pasta, and finishing up our freezer meals. As y’all know, I love to cook and I miss it.

Going to a family friendly outdoor concert! My husband and I are big fans of going to outdoor concerts and we love music. In fact, Saturday mornings are my favorite because we bathe the boys, listen to music and eat breakfast together. We are introducing the boys to our favorites. Anyhow, a family friendly, daytime outdoor concert would be amazing.

Hiking! It’s one of the reasons we love living here, but we haven’t been able to get out lately.

Camping! I know this one is a bit more ambitious, but I really feel like it’s a possibility toward the end of the summer. Let’s talk about that again toward the end of the summer.

Tackle a home renovation project! An extremely cheap home renovation project. Being home just motivates me more, and unfortunately we have no money to put into the house right now. Maybe we will find something we can afford to tackle, and I can share all the details with you.

Writing a post once a week! It would be really lovely to write a little something once a week, to carve out that time for me and you. I’d also love to see how this blog evolves. Like parenting, I’m not making any plans, just trying to go with the flow and listen to my heart.

With that said, it feels great to be back here and to write a little something.

Have a great rest of your week!

xo

 

Take Me Back

IMG_2557.JPG Some days you wake up and know exactly what you want to do. This morning I awoke to the sun shining in all its summer glory, and all I wanted was a frothy latte and an almond croissant covered in powdered sugar. I longed for quality time with quality people, wished that today could be a Sunday, and that perhaps my morning could include a patio and fresh air. Take me back to last summer, to a Sunday morning with my best friend and my Dad. Take me back to a morning with laughs and conversations about travel. Take me back to a morning of leisure and not fussing with my phone, not worrying about the time, and only enjoying the moment. This photo was taken at Honore Bakery in Ballard and it reminds me of how lucky I am to have such incredible people in my life. Isn’t it funny how a simple image with no people in it can evoke such emotion and hold such a memory? xo

Currently.

READING…The Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. This book is full of family stories and recipes. It will tug at your heart strings and make you hungry. I cannot wait to try some of these recipes and visit the author’s restaurant, Delancey.

LISTENING…to the Black Keys, Gotta Get Away and Milky Chance, Stolen Dance. I couldn’t pick just one this go around.

EATING…my veggies! After a long of stretch of not eating very well, I’m back on the veggie train. For this week’s dinners, I’m most excited for my lentil quinoa bowl. I’ll let you know how that recipe goes–I’m winging it as per usual.

IMG_2148

DRINKING…Rose outdoors, every chance I get. I hear pink is the new white, but my girls and I have been loving the pink wine for quite some time now. There is nothing more delicious on a sunny afternoon. For an inexpensive bottle, try La Vielle Ferme Rose, but I also tried and loved our local JM Cellars Mourvedre Rose.

SUCCEEDING…in my post-it project. I know, whaaaa? Check out Why and How to Do a Life Audit here. This is helping me to make small changes for a better everyday, and it’s helping me to prioritize my goals, both big and small.

FAILING…at hanging my outdoor lights. It’s officially FAILED. Summer is basically over and with our random rain storms, it’s not in the cards this year. That’s okay though. We have them and will be ready next summer. Glass half full, right?

IMG_2169

LOVING…all of the renovations at home. With the help of some amazing folks, our home is looking better every day. Check out the laundry room here and the master bathroom here. I’m even planting a shade garden. I got a ton of great plants, including this fern, and they were all gifted by my bestie’s mom. How amazing is that?!

WAITING…to see my family! September is officially the month of family for us. Dad was just here, we’re off to see my mom, step-dad, sis and her bf soon, and then my hubby’s family will be here at the end of the month. SO.MUCH.LOVE.

IMG_2192

WEARING…eye shadow today. My girl brought me the most gorgeous eye shadow palette from her London travels. I rarely wear eye shadow, but these neutrals make it tempting to do everyday.

Happy Hump Day!

xo