Meet a How Do You Do It? author

Carrie

Carrie, mother to 18 month old twin boys, has presently traded a lab coat for mom jeans to be a SAHM. As a research scientist, Carrie was used to problem solving and troubleshooting small tasks while keeping big picture goals in sight. As a mom, she has found her job to be quite similar. While repeating the mantras “don’t sweat the small stuff” and “this too shall pass”, Carrie and her husband managed to survive the first year as twin parents. As this second year progresses, Carrie is enjoying the small freedoms and enjoyable moments that come with toddlerhood. Carrie and her family (including dogs and cats) live in the Bay Area and enjoy good weather, good produce and good times. Carrie enjoys documenting life as a twin mom with the hopes that her stories and insights will make other peoples journey just a touch easier.

Foodie Friday: When I Dip You Dip We Dip

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Categories Ask the Moms, Feeding, Foodie Fridays, Parenting, Toddlers2 Comments

As lunch time approached today, I was not sure to serve my boys. They have been going through a horrible food throwing phase. Lately, soon after I place a meal on their trays they throw it on the floor. First one sends food flying, then the other, sort of like they are tossing horseshoes and trying to get as close to the stake as possible but in the case the stake is my floor and “close” just means all over. The previous night’s dinner was pleasant (meaning that ate more than they threw) so I wanted to maintain our good momentum.  I made hamburgers in half dollar size patties and BBQed them, added some cheese and gave them to the boys to dip in smashed avocados and ketchup. They seemed to really like them so I was encouraged into thinking maybe hunger strike #172 was over ! Unfortunately I did not have any leftovers to give them so I was back to square one. Here is what I did have access to:

-cooked chicken breast
-quinoa
-basmati rice

I really wanted to make something that they boys could dip because they seemed to enjoy that the previous day. As of now, neither will eat day old chicken so just grabbing some chicken for their plates was out of the question. I decided to make some chicken patties (akin to some of the things I have read about on weelicious). I combined some shredded chicken, quinoa, rice, cheese, basil and pepper together in a bowl. I beat an egg and slowly added it to the mixture until it looked wet. Then I added a little flour to bind everything together. I lightly fried them in olive oil until the outsides were crisp but not hard. Then I finished them off in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. When whole thing took about 20 minutes to put together, longer than I usually like to spend cooking for lunch, but the end product was worth it.

DSC_8026patties cooking after being flipped once

I served the patties, broken in half, with some tomato sauce, avocado, and orange slices. I also made a second dippin’ sauce of smashed avocado and yogurt (unshown).

DSC_8027

The verdict?

They liked them! They ate a decent amount of the patties and used them as scoops for the dipping sauces.  B1 liked it enough to show it to me while he was chewing (ignore messy table and ugly wall paper)!

DSC_8037

After a fair amount of eating, B2 motioned to the cheese on the counter and indicated he wanted some. I threw some shredded cheese into his bowl. Then he said cheese! First time for that, so exciting!

After a bit more eating, they started to play with their food. B2 spotted some bananas (located on the messy table) and asked for one. I split the banana between the two boys. B1 took a few bites but B2 had tricked me and it turned out he just wanted to play with the peel*. When he started to eat the peel; I called lunch over!  All in all, I would consider that meal a success.  One point for me!

Do you ever make patties out of leftovers in your fridge?  What dipping sauces do you like to use?

*tip:  I end up with a lot of half eaten bananas in my house.  To reduce waste, I started freezing the uneaten parts.  I use the frozen chunks for smoothies or banana soft serve.

Carrie, mother to 18 month old twin boys, has presently traded a lab coat for mom jeans to be a SAHM. As a research scientist, Carrie was used to problem solving and troubleshooting small tasks while keeping big picture goals in sight.  As a mom, she has found her job to be quite similar.  While repeating the mantras “don’t sweat the small stuff” and “this too shall pass”, Carrie and her husband managed to survive the first year as twin parents.  As this second year progresses, Carrie is enjoying the small freedoms and enjoyable moments that come with toddlerhood.  Carrie and her family (including dogs and cats) live in the Bay Area and enjoy good weather, good produce and good times.  Carrie enjoys documenting life as a twin mom with the hopes that her stories and insights will make other peoples journey just a touch easier.

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Things People Say About Twins

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Categories Attitude, Birth Order, Family5 Comments

A lot of twin moms complain that they can’t go anywhere without people saying something about their babies, turning fast errands into long outings. While true, I made a conscious decision not to let the attention bother me. I figured that seeing twin babies is always a special sight and people want to share in that specialness by talking to you. Plus, I figure when my boys are 6 or 7 and running around the store terrorizing people, I am not going to get the adoring looks and happy smiles I get now so I better enjoy the attention while it lasts. . .

The compliments and smiles have been endless. I appreciate that others think my kids are as cute as I do! People generally rush to open doors for me and make my life easier at the checkout counter. The politeness has been so profound that during the few times I am out without the boys, I feel the difference in the way people treat me. It is nice to know that people think two babies is as special as I think it is.

There are so many funny things that people have said to me over this last year. I love when I see a grandmother clearly in the US helping her daughter or daughter-in-law care for a new baby. The grandmother always stops and asks “are they twins?”.  I say “yes”, and they say “where’s your mom”.   Hummm, dare I tell here my mom lives 3000 miles away and works full time! I say “she does not live here”.   Them: “Do you have any help?”.   Me “no”.   Them: “[disappointing sounding] ohhh, you should get some help” and I swear they almost look like they want to jump ship and come home with me.

Often people will look at the boys and ask which is older. It is such a funny question to us twin moms who pay no attention to this when rearing our children but to a lot of cultures, age rank matters and they genuinely want to know who is the oldest son. They often think my bigger guy is older and when I tell them that his brother is technically the “older” one, they often say “but he is so much smaller!!” as if I am defying physics. I nod and say “I know, that’s just the way it is sometimes”. This question does not bother me though, in fact, we often make big brother/little brother jokes at home. We are a family that jokes a lot and I suspect once they are older, the boys will find great humor in claiming to be older or younger while accepting the reality of them being the same age.

Once a woman pointed to my larger twin and said “He has such a big belly.[pause] He looks just like you”. Hummmm, not sure what to make of that.

People have pointed to one son (without seeing the other) and said, “Gosh, he is your twin.” I say “no, he is his twin” and point to his brother. I’m the only one who laughed.

Once a woman stopped me a said, “my husband says that twins are not double the work, it’s squared”. I laughed and agreed. When I relayed the exchange to my mathematician husband, he complained that the math did not make sense, but I still think the sentiment is true!

Sometimes people ask me, while looking at my boys, if I have boy/girl twins. I have never had the courage to ask which one they think is the girl. This will always make me wonder. . .

I love when young guys comment on the twins because 9 times out of 10, it turns out they are a twin too! Young males rarely tell you that your kids are very cute, but if they do, it is likely because they have an experience to share.

Moms of twins often say hi- confessing they too are part of the twin club. The first thing they say after seeing the boys are less than a year old is that it gets easier. I always appreciate their honesty and their acknowledgement that the first year is really hard. And they are right! As we progress through this second year, it does get a lot easier.

The other day the four of us were at Costco. We left the store and while walking to the car, and my husband and I noticed that we were not charged for a couple of items. We walked back to the store to pay for these things and the guy at the customer service counter said that he was surprised they missed these items because the checkout people are usually pretty good and the people at the door hardly ever miss anything. My husband pointed to the boys and said “we have twins, people often get distracted and miss things with us”. It really could not be more true. Whether we are walking around the store with the boys in the front of the over-sized carts at Costco, pushing them in their tandem stroller, or wearing them in matching Bjorns, they are unbearably cute and I love that they bring a smile to so many people’s faces!

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Family Planning with Twins

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Categories Ask the Moms, Birth Stories, Family, Mommy Issues, Parenting Twins, Perspective, Pregnancy9 Comments

Having twins rocked my world, I’m not going to lie. I never considered twins a possibility when I thought about starting a family and even skipped all the sections on twins in my prenatal books until I found out it was happening to me. Only weeks after my husband and I deciding we were going to start a family, I became pregnant. 10 weeks after that, we found out it was twins. I was shocked, surprised, scared, and any number of S words you can use to describe ones emotions. I kept telling myself that since these twins were natural, I was going to be spared from the laundry list of twin pregnancy risks you are told about. “It was meant to be” was my mantra for 38 weeks and I whole-heartily believe it.

Pregnancy was not what I would call easy, but looking back, it was not terrible either (likely because I do not know any different). I had morning (noon and night) sickness for 18 weeks, I had weeeeeeks of feeling really great, and then I had 3 weeks of bed rest to keep my little guys cooking away as long as possible. Because both babies were breech, I ended up having a c-section at 38 weeks despite my being a student of the Bradley method. My c-section experience was not textbook, I am sad to say, and I ended up hemorrhaging after delivery. Although it was scary at the time, I recovered quite well and have been assured that it was a flukish thing that can happen when you have twins and is not likely to happen if there are future pregnancies.

Now that my guys are 15 months old, my husband and I are starting to reflect on whether or not we should increase the size of our family. I never thought I would be asking myself this question after only one pregnancy. Because I waited until after I finished my PhD and post doc to get pregnant, I figured I would pop out two kids, one right after the other, to make up for not getting pregnant in my 20’s. (Turns out- this is what happened but instead of 1.5 years between kids, there is 1.5 minutes, ha!). I pictured myself having two kids but I thought I would have to have two pregnancies to get them. Now that I have twins, I am wondering if we should roll the dice again and try for more children. I know it is commonplace to be pregnant while you are raising a toddler but, in truth, it scares me. I am (worrying) wondering how you effectively parent twin toddlers while creating the life of a third? How do you start the clock again on sickness, tiredness and breastfeeding baby(ies?) right when your toddlers are bursting with energy? How do you change your parenting techniques to raise a singleton when you are so used to parenting twins?

Deciding whether or not to have children is a very personal decision and I am not asking to have that debate. I am, however, trying to explore the worries that come with being twin parents who are thinking about adding other children to the family. How do you do it?

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Alone Time

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Categories Balance, Development, Difference, Family, Toddlers7 Comments

Based on the title of this post, you may think I am going to write about the importance of having some quality Mom time to recharge ones batteries and help us to face our daily challenges. While I could not be more pro “Mom time”, my title actually refers to alone time that your twins get with each parent and the reasons we have decided to set up some one on one play dates during the weekends.

For the first year of my boys’ lives, I vacillated between treating them as a team and treating them as individuals. The literature I read about ‘how to survive the first year with twins’ told me to put the twins on the same schedule as early as possible. I did not adhere to this in the early days (though looking back, I probably should have!). Instead, I let the boys feed in succession and not in tandem and let them sleep and wake as they wanted. This worked for me in the beginning so I just went with it, but around 4 months, they seemed to naturally demonstrate a more predicable nap and night-time sleep schedule. Once this pattern emerged, it was easy to sync them up and I have kept them [mostly] on the same schedule every since.

Now safely across the one-year mark with many milestones behind us (e.g. rolling, walking, talking) it is easy to see how different these little people are and how they have already- and will continue to- develop at different rates. For example, one of my boys is very strong and tough and he likes to muscle his way through obstacles. He is also a huge ham and likes to talk to all the strangers we see. My other boy is much more analytical and he attacks most problems logically by looking at the scenario from all angles. He is outgoing, but tends to say hi and bye just a fraction of a second too late; once people have walked away, resulting in his brother getting more attention. After a couple of weeks of seeing this and noticing difference at home (one guy likes to sing and dance while the other is likes to read and climb on things, etc.) it occurred to me that it is time for my husband and I to start spending alone time with each boy to allow them to express their personalities’ and maybe test out some new skills they have been working on. This may seem like a no brainer, but until this point, it never really occurred to me to split the boys up and spend time with just one son instead of both of them. I have taken both kids on every errand I have ever run. During the day, we move as a pack from one room to the other, playing and padding our way around the house. I feel very confident that I am able to balance the attention I give to each boy but I now I am acutely aware that they may benefit from some undivided attention. Perhaps this will help them to master some new skills or to allow them to fool around as only an only child can.

Since weekend time is precious (filled with errands to run, family time to be had, and parks to be played at) my husband and I set a loose plan of trying to alternate weekends of alone time with each boy. For example, I will play with A and he will play with B for 30 minutes or an hour on one weekend and then the next weekend we will switch. I am excited to try this and see if I notice any difference in my interaction with the boys when I am alone with them versus when the twins are together. I am also kind of excited to think of some fun activities to do on our special “dates”.

I have no doubt that my boys love having a brother. They have played and interacted from day one and I know they will always feel the specialness of having a built in playmate and best friend. On the other hand, I am excited to give them some time to explore their parents and their world, uninterrupted by their sibling’s needs or distracted by the other’s skills. This may reveal some new aspects of their personalities that have yet to be discovered.

Have you implemented alone time with your twins? What made you start and how do you do it?

 

~~

Mother of one year old twin boys, Carrie is excited to share some of her experiences, opinions, knowledge and laughs after having survived her first year of twindom.   By writing for HDYDI, Carrie hopes to share her early mistakes and gain insight from other moms about the challenges that lie ahead.

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Running on Empty

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Categories Balance, Family, Mommy Issues5 Comments

I have always tried to be a regular exerciser. This was easier during some periods in my life,  largely due to great running partners (e.g. friends, husband, pups) and more difficult at other times (e.g. when writing my dissertation).  The last two years; however, I went from being a bike commuting/recreational runner/weekend hiker- all around fit person- to someone who does not even think about scheudling exercise into her day.  Now though, as my boys’ first birthday approaches, I find myself thinking, “Who is this person and how to I get back to the ‘real’ me?”.

I knew I was pregnant pretty early on, mostly because I felt terrible right away. I tried to kept walking and swimming for as long as I could manage but I was thwarted by the 110 degree Arizona summer heat and general discomfort.  At week 34, I was prescribed bedrest to prevent pre-term labor, making exercise a distant thought and a luxury that I was not allowed to do.

After the boys were born….. forgetaboutit. It was two solid months before I left the house for something other than a doctors appointment. It was three months before I was able to get out for social/exercise interactions like walks with friends.  At month 4, my husband and I packed up our twins and drove across country to visit grandparents and great grandparents (read: I sat in a car, on and off ,for 4 weeks not exercising and not really moving much at all).  After our adventure, we packed up and moved to California and I was faced with unpacking a house and settling into a new life on top of caring for twins.

It has been a long time since consistent exercise was a part of my daily schedule.  Lately though, it has been something I have been trying to add back into my life, partly  to make sure I am healthy, partly so I can go back to feeling my best, and mostly to show my boys how important it is to be active and healthy.

While running recently (using the BOB Dualle to push my new running partners), I have started to realize how much my attitude about running  has changed.  In the past, there were times when I would consider runs of less than an hour not worth it. It would be hard to get me to consider my workout sufficient if I had not done cardio and abs and stretched and if I had lifted weights at least twice that week. In the past, I have been fastidious about how many minutes, miles, laps, rpm I did and would keep track of these things for fun. Now, my focus is completely different. My new goal is just to get out of the stinking house. I consider my run a complete sucess if I have left the house with two babies, a pair of shoes, and my house key. Additionally, (likely becuase I am so out of shape), I stop and smell the roses way more than I used to. There are a couple of scenic trails around my neighborhood, and sometime I even bring my camera and run WITH the camera and the two babies. When I see something interesting, I take a picture and I point it out to the boys.

Instead of listening to tunes, I sing to the boys, breathless and in short sentences but all in an effort to keep them happy and to keep us out there. If we are having a bad day, I don’t berate myself. I just dust off my dirty exercising cloths, re-wear my sports bra, and figure we can try again tomorrow.

Perhaps in the not too distant future I will start running for time again, heck maybe I will just start running for time alone. But for now, I am running to get back to feeling like my old self, to get the boys some fresh air, and to see what is going on outside our front door.

Are you trying to find the balance between taking care of yourself and taking care of your family?  How do you do it?

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