How Many 1st’s Can you Pack into a Year?

23 02 2019

Firsts are exciting, scary, frustrating and memorable.

Honestly, I became a little bit obsessed about ‘tracking things’ when the girls were born.  I was tracking everything.  Their sleep, their feeding, their pees/poops.  And then I was tracking my own sleep and my own moods.  And then I was tracking their milestones (smiling, laughing, rolling, WALKING), holidays, new foods that they were eating, and new experiences they were having.

There are A LOT of firsts that happen during that first year and a half.  A lot of living and a lot of becoming something other than a squishy pile of baby.

One of our most notable firsts was our 1st Road Trip.

It’s laughable when I think about how much we managed to pack into our car when we took the girls on their first road trip to Vancouver BC.  Nathan and I had done this drive many many times and we had usually packed the night before or even the morning that we were leaving.  I think I spent 2 weeks making lists and practice packing before we departed on our 3 Hour road trip to take a 3 Day Trip.  And even after we had packed up everything on the list, we added the Baby Bjorn Bouncer Seats, the Rock ‘n Plays and the extra pack ‘n play….just in case.

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It looks like the babies won’t fit in the car!

Brooklyn and Lucy were just over 5 months old and it was time to take them to Vancouver, BC to introduce them to some of the extended family.  We had attended previous cousin’s 100 day celebrations with the traditional Chinese Feast, so I figured this was something we should do as well, and to be honest, I had never hosted a 12 course Chinese meal before and was kind of excited about it.  Luckily, the restaurant is so used to this type of thing, a 12 course lunch meal on a Saturday for 40 people was nothing they couldn’t handle.  I on the other hand, felt like I was planning a wedding – complete with seating charts (and the drama that comes with seating charts), table numbers, guest favors, a guest book, special outfits, etc etc etc.  All while still trying to figure out nursing, nap times, and what it means to travel with twins.

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But look at these cuties!

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They were champs.  I was the stress case.  And if it wasn’t for my sister making a plate for me at every course, I probably wouldn’t have eaten anything.

But, although I don’t really remember eating anything, I will carry these memories with me forever:

The fact that everyone spent so long taking pictures with the twins and holding them that the restaurant told me we had to start lunch or we would run out of time before their next party 🙂

Cousins meeting their new baby cousins.

My dad, holding Lucy while chowing down on the feast with his chopsticks.  Actually, I don’t think I remember any moment of the day that my dad wasn’t holding Lucy.

My Yin Yin (grandma) cooing and singing to Brooklyn.

My friend telling me how great the wine was….and asking what we were going to do with the leftover bottles…

It was a huge blur.  I actually didn’t remember what we had done that weekend other than that lunch, but looking back at the photos I now remember that we had a great visit with my brother and sister, the girls were spoiled with their first hotel suite looking out at the Coal Harbor Marina, we enjoyed a morning Seawall walk with the mountains in the background and we actually just had a lot of great family time.

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Uncle James / Lucy + Auntie Nicki / Brooklyn

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So spoiled!

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Early morning cuddles/snooze

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Vancouver Seawall / Coal Harbor

Since that first trip, we’ve taken the girls back to Vancouver so much that the valet and most of the breakfast staff at the hotel restaurant know the girls – even the coffee shop owners down the street remember us!  We don’t pack quite as much as that first trip, but the girls’ suitcase is still bigger than ours!

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4 Months and Counting

24 07 2017

I need to preface this post by saying that I actually wrote it about 4 months ago.  Life is different ~ absolutely better ~ and it has either gotten easier or I have just adjusted to the new norm of 6am being a sleep in day (but to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I slept until 6am).

 I re-read my post today and it still holds true to exactly what I was feeling back then (not some distorted sleep deprived reality) when I wrote it in the wee hours of the morning many months ago.  

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I think it’s time to take a detour (hopefully brief) from all of the typical travel blog posts and talk about a new adventure that I have been experiencing: motherhood.

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I have to say, the transition from ‘mother-to-be’ to ‘new mom’ has been a rocky one.  Perhaps it is because I loved being pregnant – I was definitely one of the lucky ones – I felt great 90% of the pregnancy, it didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted to, and apparently I ‘glowed’.

To be honest, sometimes I still mourn the loss of that role and sometimes I feel a twinge of jealousy when I see a pregnant woman walking down the street, or when I heard that Beyonce was pregnant with twins!  There is just something magical about the potential of being pregnant.  You read up on all of the crazy things that are happening to and inside of your body, you spend hours looking over baby name lists and you plan and visualize exactly how you want your labour and delivery experience to be.

What you don’t realize and what you can’t understand when you’re pregnant for the first time, even when people tell it to you, is that you have very little control over how your baby comes into this world.  Right up until two days before my babies were born, I knew that I was going to have December babies, we would call our doula over to the house when I went into labour, of course it would be during the evening/night and then we would make our way to the hospital…and then the rest of what would happen was always kind of blurry, I just knew what kind of beginning I wanted to have, with little thought to the end I guess.

Since crossing that invisible line of ‘mother-to-be’ to ‘new mom’ I have realized that that is the key to my emotional turmoil.  I am a very good student, and I studied up on everything I could get my hands on about twin pregnancies and then, when the babies finally did make their appearance (in November!) and opposite in almost every way that I had imagined, all of my studying and everything that I had learned had no use anymore.  All of a sudden I was in a new school, with a different set of rules, and I was behind.

As I walked slowly through the waiting room at my OB’s office six days after having my twin girls, I felt like my world had shifted.  The last time I walked through the front door of that waiting room, seven days prior, I never left, and instead was wheeled out the back entrance to the hospital.  I looked around the room at all of the other woman in various stages of pregnancy, and I just thought…’you don’t even know!’  And I know that that’s not fair to say since not all of these women were going through their first pregnancy, but I truly felt like I was in that room, no longer a naïve ‘mother-to-be’ but someone who knew something that you can’t know until you know – and it had changed me forever.

All of a sudden I have these two new little bosses in town.

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And they are in control of my life like no parent, teacher or employer ever has been.  They control when I sleep, when I eat, and even when I go to the bathroom.  They often make me question the last time I brushed my teeth or washed my hair….and laundry….if it wasn’t pooped on, it probably isn’t getting done.  Perhaps the most maddening part of this new super-controlled lifestyle, is that there is no rhyme or reason, no set schedule that you can wrap your head around and make sense of.  You just have to simply get used to eating cold food, drinking cold tea, taking 15 minute cat naps and holding it.  And some days you just lower your expectations and don’t even try to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom…and on those days, well….inevitably emotional breakdowns take place.

I would like to say, ‘it gets better every day’, but sometimes it doesn’t.  I think I could possibly say, ‘it gets better every week’, because sometimes it did, but I can definitely say that ‘it gets better every month’.  Those first few weeks were full of tears and a lot of confusion.  I literally cried over ‘spilled milk’.  Our ‘solid as a rock’ relationship took on some blows.  I felt desperate to make sense of these two new babies in our lives and try not to question their presence and long for life (and the freedom) pre-babies.  So I spent a lot of time reading articles/blogs and buying things on amazon that I thought would help some aspect of our new way of life: swaddle pods with velcro, a second rock n’ play, a second bjorn bouncer, a bottle washing brush, clothes that the babies would actually fit, more clothes because we already outgrew the other ones, and the list continues.  I read an article that said you should disconnect your credit card from your amazon account when you have a baby….I can see their point.

I walked into our two month pediatrician appointment asking about sleep training schedules and I think I surprised our doctor when I told her I had just read a sleep training book for twins.  When I think about how busy my days are now, at almost 4 months post-baby, I don’t know when I found the time to read a book.  But, then I realized, it was because I wasn’t sleeping.  You can get a lot of things done when you’re not sleeping.  Until you can’t get anything done because you’re not sleeping.  Now I am getting ready for bed at 7:30pm.

During my pregnancy and during the first few weeks/months as a new mom, what I have wanted more than anything in this world….was for someone to give me a definitive answer.  Just tell me what to do, and I will do it!  Breastfeeding.  Pumping.  Formula supplementing.  Sleep training.  Dealing with crying babies.  What I now realize, is that when it comes to pregnancy, labour and delivery, breastfeeding, babies in general, is that the most common answer you will hear is, ‘it depends’.  And what am I supposed to do with that??!

We have made it to four months with twin girls.  Sometimes I still cry when I look at their faces (out of love now, and not sleep deprivation…ok sometimes sleep deprivation).  I often want (and sometimes give in) to turn on the light at night and watch them sleep.  They watch me from across the room with their big eyes.  They give me wide mouth Buddha baby grins.  They light up and sing along to the ABC song.  I could watch Nathan playing with them forever.  And I can’t believe how they have their grandparents and aunts and uncles (and the rest of the family) wrapped around their little fingers.

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Needless to say, my life is forever changed.