Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Crazy Idea

It all started at the end of last year, when Ben and I met with Zosia's kindergarten teacher.  All year we had this little pesky voice in the back of our minds that was saying we should homeschool Zosia.  And yet it seemed like sort of a crazy thing to do, you know?  And so we were going into school to have some sense talked into us by the person who knows Zosia "the student" best.  

As we settled into the meeting and started chatting, it was actually Zosia's teacher who brought up homeschooling.  And rather than give us a pep talk about keeping her in school, she talked about how wonderful it would be for Zosia to have the individualized attention, the ability to go ahead at her own pace, and how easy it is these days to find a homeschooling community.  Honestly, we were a little stunned, and went home re-evaluating our plans for the coming year.

Then enter the twins.  When we found out we were having not one, but two babies, we backed off of our plans.  After all, I had always imagined homeschooling as the opportunity to go out and take full advantage of the resources all over the city: the zoo, the museums, the Kennedy center.  That wouldn't be possible with newborns, let alone with a very pregnant body.  

But it was Zosia who continued to press us on the topic.  She loved school, don't get me wrong.  And we live in one of the very best school districts in the country.  Kindergarten was a great experience, and Zosia made many good friends.  But Zosia missed seeing her family.  She wanted more time to do free writing, to read.  She is an incredibly self-motivated learner, this one, and a very fluid reader.  And all through the first year, she was utterly exhausted at the end of the day.  We loved the idea of giving her opportunities to learn and play without the exhaustion.

So after much lobbying on the part of Zosia, and much careful consideration on our part, we're embarking on something that feels just a little bit crazy!  We will be homeschooling our first grader this coming year, really thinking of it as "just one year."  It will be a very home based homeschool, and that is fine with both us and her.  That means for Hugo, I will probably be organizing a few montessori-style activities to keep him occupied for an hour or two while I do some schoolwork with Zosia.  Lily will be in preschool a few mornings a week, which will help with the plan.  All of the grandparents are very excited to help (all four of them have experience as educators), and we have friends and family members experienced in this homeschooling thing, whose advice we will absolutely draw from.  When the twins come, we will take time off, and she will continue to do her own thing at her own pace, and probably be a huge help with the babies.  We don't know exactly what things will look like, but we will figure it out together, and we are very much looking forward to that.  I'll keep you posted, and share what this homeschooling thing looks like as we figure it out.

In the mean time, do any of you have experience or advice?  Or great montessori ideas for 2-year olds?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

This little girl of mine loves to be dressed beautifully.  I have overheard her picking her clothing out in the morning.  She opened her drawer and said, "Now where is the most beautiful dress?" and proceeded to find it and put it on.  Every single day goes like this.  As a girly-girl myself, it brings me such joy!  The fancier the better, which is such fun after a first child (not to name any names) who would literally wear the same comfortable pants and t-shirt every day if she could.

The tomatoes are out of control.  We eat them every night for dinner, and they are absolutely perfect with just a dash of salt.  I will never grow tired of fresh ripe tomatoes.

It was just the slightest bit drizzly yesterday, and I decided the weather didn't merit raincoats.  Hugo disagreed, and decided to make do with his own makeshift head covering.  Every time we stepped outside, even if only to walk between the house and the car, he got geared up.

Now that I am doing my best to sort of relax and stay off of my feet during the in-betweens, I have picked up my knitting needles.  Well, sort of.  I took all of the kids to the yarn store to pick out some yarn.  The goal is something special for each kiddo before the babies arrive.  I'm realizing that knitting for five is a big obligation!  Upon arriving home, I realized that my box of knitting needles was mysteriously missing.  Four days of looking later, I found them in the shed (the shed?) only to discover that I was missing the proper size needle, which I know as a matter of fact I have somewhere, as I am not doing any new patterns.  Hrmph.  Little by little, I'm moving in the right direction.

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter today.  You should go check out their cute babies!

round button chicken

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

And Without Further Ado...

we are having identical girls!!

From the very beginning of this pregnancy I have had a SUPER strong feeling that this baby was a girl, and an earlier ultrasound gave us reason to suspect that these two might be girls, so finding out that we're having two girls was just as we had hoped and imagined.  But the identical part?  We had an ultrasound specifically to confirm that the babies were di/di (meaning each had their own placenta) which means that almost always, the babies are fraternal.

But at the end of our ultrasound, the sonographer just casually asked, "And who told you these babies are di/di?"  What followed were phone calls to the radiology center that performed our other ultrasound, a consultation with the head radiologist, and the revelation that our babies are in fact sharing a placenta, evidence that they are definitely identical. Woo hoo! These girls seem to get a hoot out of these little surprises they keep giving us.  

We told our families this weekend with strawberry cake, and we all feel just as happy as baby Grace looks in that last picture.   There is something so magical about identical babies!  I seriously have no idea how we will keep track of them, and Ben is already sure that at some point we will mistakenly switch them (hey, if it happens an even number of times, we're good as new).   The girls claim this is "just as we hoped," since now each of them can have a matching baby (how to explain that newborn twins aren't exactly like new babydolls from the store?  no clue).  And Hugo is beaming from the knowledge that he will continue to be the one special boy.  Which he does so well, but also means he sometimes tries to rough house with my leg out of lack of boys to play with.  This kid needs a nice male cousin to wrestle with (hint hint, sister who makes very cute babies).

So, did anyone guess right?

Monday, August 26, 2013

20 Weeks Pregnant with Twins, or Top Ten Things about Being Pregnant with Twins

This has been a great week for me because I have figured out a couple of things about this twin pregnancy thing: 1) I must eat a lot of protein in order to feel energetic 2) I must eat something, no matter how puny, every. single. hour. in order to feel energetic and 3) I must take prenatal vitamins including iron in order to feel energetic.  After a few very slow, very lethargic weeks, it has been a complete breakthrough to feel some energy again!  It has been wonderful.  So, on this monumental round number of 20 weeks, I thought I would share some things that are pretty great about being pregnant with twins.  Without any ado.....

10.  You immediately skip over that awkward "Is she pregnant, or not?" stage and bound right into fully pregnant mode, which is so much more fun.

9.  You get to join the sisterhood of mothers of multiples, which is a powerful bond!  As soon as you mention you're pregnant with twins, mothers of multiples start to offer you their baby gear, their help, and their advice.  You are officially in the club.

8.  For the first, and possibly last, time in your adult life, you have the license to eat pretty much as much as you are capable of (especially early on), as early maternal weight gain is an important factor in the growth and birth weight of twins.

7.  People immediately offer you a seat, pretty much anytime, anywhere.  Twins are the magic ticket.

6.  You have a really great reason to take a nap every day.  And you won't feel lazy.

5.  You get to feel the babies move earlier, and all the while imagine them having a wonderful time playing around in-utero.

4.  You get to enjoy not only an enhanced baby bump, but other enhanced features aswell (ahem... women who have experienced pregnancy, you know what I mean).

3.  People are so generous when they realize you are pregnant with twins.  We have enjoyed the generosity of friends, neighbors, and definitely family members.  It is a gift to be the recipient of such generosity, with the hope that we will be able to repay it in the future.

2.  You get to enjoy the health benefits of having twins, including a longer life!

1.  You get two babies out of this whole thing!  Yes, your body is doing a lot of work, but being pregnant with twins is nowhere near twice as hard, and you end up with two new little members of your family.  This is totally the bargain of a lifetime.

And we have some exciting news to share with you later this week.  Our twenty week ultrasound gave us a little surprise!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

And Now We Are Six

photos by Zosia

Our Zosia turned *six* this week.  And maybe it's because we adore this girl at every single stage, but she makes six look pretty wonderful.  She is so sweet, mature and caring, and everything seems to go more smoothly when she is around.  Because she marches to the beat of her own drummer, she decided she wanted to meet up at the nature center with a few friends for her birthday and learn about frogs (does anyone remember when she turned four and wanted a dinosaur themed birthday?).  So the nature center it was, followed by some stomping in the creek.

Her one request for her birthday was to have her own real camera, not a toy camera, and she has been meticulously documenting life with it ever since (this must come with the territory of having a mom who keeps a blog).  At the end of her birthday, she enthusiastically asked, "Mom, can I put these on the internet?" to which I asked "How on earth does she know about the existence of the internet?"  But here we are, and here are her pictures.  A birthday through the eyes of Zosia, filled with the things she loves.  We are so looking forward to this next year together.  Happy birthday, darling!

Monday, August 19, 2013

19 Weeks Pregnant with Twins, or, One Hat, Four Ways

I think it's safe to say that quite likely, I am over half way through this pregnancy.  I think we will be quite pleasantly surprised if these babies make it to 38 weeks, let alone 40.  It sounds like 36 is considered to be pretty good.  So, here's to half of a pregnancy completed!  Way to go, babies.  Keep on growing.

Tomorrow morning we will find out a little more about the babies, and get to see their wiggly little bodies on the ultrasound screen, which is always a treat.  I still get a kick out of the idea that there are two little babies inside of me.  And speaking of kicks, I have been feeling quite distinct movement, almost entirely on one side of my pelvis or the other.  Which makes sense, since these babies are lying side by side.  The funny thing is that one babies movements don't seem to really impact the activity level of the other.  Can you imagine being pressed up against a wiggly person just your size and sleeping through it?  Talk about sound sleepers!  I suppose this is why many twin parents swear by putting the babies to sleep in the same crib for the first several months, because, I mean, these kiddos are used to it.

I have been trying to figure out logistics for when the babies arrive, which I imagine is better done now than when I am so abundantly pregnant that it is impossible.  Zosia's bedtime prayer each night is something to the effect of, "and I pray that mommy and daddy will know how to take care of twin babies."  Amen to that!  Where will everyone sleep (feeling quite thankful that we have four bedrooms which will accommodate everyone comfortably)?  Where are the newborn clothes, and do we have enough for two?  And, this might seem totally crazy since it is August,but I have actually been brainstorming Christmas presents with the knowledge that with early December babies I will want to have that all lined up in advance.  Besides, it's always fun to daydream about Christmas in the middle of summer.

Fingers crossed that next week I will have some more exciting details available (gender reveal, anyone?)!  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Few with the Family

We are newly home from the beach and just starting to look through pictures from the week. Ben and I were entertained for the majority of the trip home with songs from the backseat composed by Lily and Zosia all about family.  "Cousins are family!  When you live far away, you plan a special day to see your family!  Families love each other!" went the ballad.  The girls kept asking us why we were giggling and we had to keep making up new excuses.  It was just so cute, we couldn't help ourselves!  But seriously, we adore our family, and it was such a treat to see all of them for the week.

It is such a gift to have all of these different ages of people bound together through a family, learning from one another, and supporting each other.  My sister and brothers in laws are always gracefully showing us the way through the next stage of life, whether that's parenting teenagers, finding purpose as a parent of older children, or healthful living.  Our eldest nieces and nephew are young adults and older teenagers now, and it is such a treat to see them become beautiful and intelligent individuals.  And Ben's parents truly are the experienced, wise heads of the family.  We love hearing stories from them, watching them grandparent our children, and see them explore the new terrain of retirement.

There's something so deep and meaningful about being a part of an intimate community of people with such diverse experiences, ability levels, and perspectives.  I'm so grateful to be a part of such a vibrant and loving family, where I can both learn from the experiences of others and help love and influence the littlest members.