Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Nursery Reveal!

Creating a nursery for twins is a unique challenge made even trickier when the babies are opposite sexes.  We waited until we found out the babies were a girl and a boy before designing their nursery, and we quickly nixed the idea of trying to make the room half pink and half blue.  It sounded like some sort of mish-mash nightmare.

After a little time on Pinterest, I decided the best approach would be a really clean, modern nursery, because of the need for two cribs (and double the clothes) and the fact that the room was fairly small.

Here is a picture of the room when it was a rarely used guest bedroom:

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The furniture, thanks to my in-loves, was gorgeous, but oversized for the space, and the color on the walls was a garish Seahawks green.  Incredibly, this room was used as a nursery for twin boys by the previous tenants, which is the only reason we can assume it was painted such a color (the photo doesn’t capture the brightness adequately).

I am not a designer by any means, and am often paralyzed when it comes to decorating, but I put my heart into making a room for the babies that conveys my love for them.  It really was a joy to create.

I enlisted the help of my friend Meredith, who works as an interior designer, to map out a floor plan that would allow for two cribs, one changing table, and a rocking chair.  I sent her the measurements of the room and the furniture we thought we were going to purchase and she created a floor plan to make it fit.

Then we got to work.  When I say we, I mean Mike.

We purchased the paint (no VOC for baby breathing safety) and he painted the entire room white, including the ceiling, because we needed a fresh canvas.  Then he, our dear friend Greg, and my father-in-love taped the walls with precision to ensure our stripes were going to be crisp and perfectly even.  They did a fabulous job.

Our color scheme was yellow, gray and white.  Gender neutral, baby friendly, and just happy.  I wanted a really happy room for the babies, and I think we nailed it.

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We chose simple, modern cribs in a soft gray color to contrast the bright wall and yellow and white chevron rug.  They are from Wal-Mart, if you can believe it, and are highly rated and made from sustainable, non-toxic pine wood.  After hours of searching, they were the best cribs at the best price — and they look exactly how I’d hoped.

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After an extensive search, I found the rocking chair from a company called NurseryWorks, as it was the only rocking chair I could find that wasn’t frumpy, old-fashioned, or incredibly 90’s (think gliders with bad fabric).  I could see using this chair in other areas of our home after we no longer need a nursery (but let’s not get ahead of ourselves as the thought of that makes this pregnant woman want to cry already).

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The curtains were generously handmade by Meredith, who is phenomenally talented at sewing.  She even added a layer of blackout fabric to the curtains so I can get the room as dark as possible for naps.  She brought several gray swatches and we chose a shade that matched the cribs, but had lots of white detail to keep the room from becoming too dark.

The little pouf is from Restoration Hardware Baby and Child and is one of my favorite parts of the room.  It’s both whimsical and highly practical as a footrest while sitting in the rocker.

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My mom gave us these adorable switch plates for the outlets that she found on Etsy; it’s hard to see here, but they have giraffes and elephants on them.

And there’s a Jonathan Adler ceramic giraffe nightlight: to die for.

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We found the changing table on Craigslist, and I’d still like to swap out the knobs on the doors for something a little more substantial.  We’ll see if I get to that in the next couple of days before the babies arrive.  If not, I don’t think they’ll mind.

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I loved organizing the changing table supplies — little bins with diapers lined up, a bin with diaper cream, ointment, etc, and tons of wipes.  The cabinet underneath has all the backup supplies and refills.  It also has a healthy stock of something I’m super excited about: cloth diapers.  YES — I am going to try to cloth diaper the babies.  A fellow twin mom from EMOMs gave me hers which is why I have the confidence to go for it; she did it without a problem, and she saved me about $600 by giving me hers (they’re $25 a piece).  Proof I’m not insane: we are not starting the cloth diapers until after at least a month (Mike maintains he’s not doing it at all, but we’ll see who wins that battle of the wills).

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I love the giraffe changing pad cover.  Giraffes are my animal association, meaning they’re the animal I most resemble.  I also happen to like them more than any other animal, which helps.

Please note the space-age camera mounted to the wall.  This takes baby monitoring to an entirely obsessive level, but it’s a level this new mom needs.  We can watch the babies sleep on our iPad and can move the camera by touching the screen.  It’s super Jetsons, and we owe Rach and Phil for the idea — they’ve been using theirs for over a year with Lillian.

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My sister, Sam, graciously made the framed artwork of animals from an idea she found on Pinterest.  Each animal is made up of the letters that spell its name.  My in-loves gave us the beautiful gray piece of art that uses the alphabet to make a little poem about how much we love the babies.


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You may be wondering where all of their clothes are hiding since we don’t have a dresser.  That was intentional, due to the size of the room.  Instead, I bought a unit with pink and blue drawers to keep inside the closet to organize all of their clothes.  There’s a drawer each for jammies, sleepsacks, socks, hats, onesies, etc., and open cubbies for swaddle blankets and burp cloths.

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The hanging storage on top keeps their day-to-day outfits, since I think it’s impractical to fold or hang tiny baby clothes when I’ll be doing laundry so frequently.  This way I can just tuck them into their cubbies (based on size of clothes) and grab what I need.

The two bins on the shelf hold all of their carriers (Mobys, Ergos, Baby Bjorns) and the Boppy is stored up there as well.

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The other side of the closet has their hamper and a few hanging outfits, as well as hanging storage for clothes that are six months and beyond.  Up top, it also has the enormous My Breast Friend for Twins.

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Confession: I often sit in the rocking chair and picture what it will be like when the babies are in their cribs, or in my arms.  It’s such a delightful room, so full of the hope and anticipation of babies on the way.

Now there’s only two things the room is missing:  the babies!

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Not Your Mother’s Maternity Muumuu

Maternity clothes have progressed mightily in the last thirty years, and those currently pregnant among us are deeply grateful.  Gone are the days of large floral smocks disguising not just a bump but one’s entire body.  No more are women roaming their homes in oversize overalls.

Instead, figure-hugging clothes are the norm, and bump-accentuation is the standard.  This comes with the added bonus of allowing pregnant women to look approximately thirty pounds lighter.

Once pregnant, I knew right away what I wanted my maternity clothes to look like, and more importantly, what I didn’t want them to look like.  I didn’t want my style to change along with my body.  If I didn’t wear ruffles and bows before, I was not going to wear them now just because I became a party of three.

With that in mind, I hit the stores.

“Stores” is a loose term here, because there really aren’t any.  Online shopping is an absolute must for maternity wear, and that’s because very few stores exist for preggos, and those that do have a tiny section in the back corner that make you feel like you’re shopping for illicit sex toys rather than garments for your widening girth.

My mom and I went downtown to scope the scene around my 14th week of pregnancy, before I really needed any maternity clothes.  We wanted to get ahead of the game so when it came time I wouldn’t be frantically shopping in an ill-fitting shirt.   Our first stop, naturally, was A Pea in the Pod.

This was an excellent first choice because of the service and selection.  The saleswoman congratulated me and started showing me great starter pieces.  We got shirts that are absolutely fantastic because of the fabric — the stretchiest I have ever encountered, and also the longest.  The magic of these shirts is that they spring back into their original shape, which looks like a non-maternity shirt, perfect for post-pregnancy wear.  They’re more expensive than other options ($45), but look infinitely better and will last far longer.

They had perfect preggo leggings, similar to the shirts in that they could be worn postpartum.  Just fold the elastic panel down around your hips and you’re good to go.  Again, slightly more expensive ($45) than getting your leggings elsewhere, but fantastic quality.

Easily the best part about A Pea in the Pod was the changing room.  Each room came with two or three prosthetic baby bumps labeled by month, so you could try clothes on and see how you would look when further along in your pregnancy.

This was a good time.

I strapped on the nine-month bump because, as the saleswoman reminded me, “That’s only like 7 months for you,” pulled on my new clothes and popped out of that room nearly giving my mother a heart attack.

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I can’t even look, it’s too real, too fast.  Oh my gosh, I have to take a photo,” she kept saying.

Just for kicks, let’s compare that picture of the fake 9 month bump with my actual 7 month bump, to see if the saleslady was correct:

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Here I am at 28 weeks (7 months) in the same shirt:

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Apparently she knew what she was talking about.

The strange thing about A Pea in the Pod is that they combined forces with Destination Maternity.  Destination Maternity is like Old Navy to Banana Republic — same owner, entirely different approach.  We went to the Destination Maternity portion of the store because we love a good deal, but we were quickly confronted not with good deals, but really lousy clothes.  All of the fabrics were rough and cheap, and the cuts of the clothes were not flattering.  Instead of form-fitted, they were boxy.  It was as if they had taken all their regular clothes, made them four sizes larger, and relabeled them as maternity wear.

Even though we didn’t go cheap, we weren’t about to shell out $200 for maternity jeans either.  To be fair, I am usually willing to shell out about that much for jeans, but that’s because I’ll wear them for years.  I’m not going to spend that on jeans that I will wear for 5 months, and maybe not even that because June and July are not pleasant jean-wearing months.  So we skipped on A Pea in the Pod jeans and headed to the Gap.

This is where we encountered the maternity shame.  We asked the clerk where the maternity section was and she pointed us to the top floor, behind the children’s clothes.  She wasn’t kidding — the preggo-wear was tucked in a back corner, with about four racks of clothing and a wall of jeans.  Luckily, the jeans were fantastic.  They fit like a dream and were $60, marked down to $35.  I will say the prosthetic baby bumps in the Gap dressing room were a joke compared to the ones at A Pea in the Pod — they were like stuffing a pillow under your shirt, but at least they tried.  I got a pair of skinnies (ironic, no?) and a bootleg cut.  I grabbed a couple of tops and practically danced out of the store with maternity-wear glee.

Skinny maternity jeans from the Gap at 21 weeks:

21 Weeks bare

The rest of the purchasing I did online, since there weren’t many other stores to choose from.  I ordered several more tops and dresses from A Pea in the Pod and Gap, most of which worked, some of which I had to return.  The real dark horse in this story?  Old Navy maternity.  Total shocker.  My sister sent me a link to their website one day because they had a screaming 40% off sale, so I thought I had nothing to lose.  I ordered a bunch of items that seemed foolproof and was astonished at not having to return a single item.  Each one fit perfectly and was flattering…and inexpensive.

Exhibit of Old Navy attire:

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Maxi dress:

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Maxi dress:

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Knee-length eyelet dress (with my mamas at a shower — note their expert twin grandma-to-be attire of blue and pink, which was totally unintentional):

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Maxi skirt and tank:

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The main piece I would recommend as an absolute must-have for any pregnant woman: Old Navy’s maternity tank top.  Absolutely perfect: softest, longest, stretchiest, totally wearable post-pregnancy.  And at $12, you can buy one of every color.  I wear them under everything, and all summer I’ve been pairing them with skirts, jeans, leggings, as pj’s — they are my go-to.

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Some pieces end up having to switch gears partway through pregnancy.  Take my striped dress from A Pea in the Pod.  It started as a dress which I wore at Annie’s wedding rehearsal at 17 weeks pregnant:

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And four weeks later I wore it as a tunic with leggings at our gender reveal party, because wearing it as a dress at that point would have given people a view privy only to my OB:

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Now that I’m 36 weeks along, my options are more limited.  Regular pregnancy clothes really aren’t made for twin pregnancies, so I’m walking into my closet each morning choosing between forgiving maternity dresses and leggings with tank tops.  Those are pretty much the options these days.  No more jeans.  No more body-hugging pieces.

And that’s OK, my friends, because the countdown to the birth is on, and soon the only thing I’ll be wearing is a hospital gown.

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Move that Bump

Exercising while pregnant is a little precarious.  The main recommended forms are walking, swimming and yoga.  This is perfectly reasonable, but I ignored it entirely my first and most of my second trimester.

I am a runner, so I ran until about week 12, when the thought of doing so made me feel like I was taking some sort of unnecessary risk, since all the books on multiples suggested not jostling your babies for the sake of exercise.  I also did barre until about six months in, because it was wonderfully strengthening and I could adjust my moves to accommodate my situation.  I eventually dropped this because my heart would race through moves that normally were easy for me, and because the instructor always spent the last twenty minutes of class having us do floor exercises on our bellies, while I passed the time doing free weights or stretching.

I went swimming once, but the stares were really more than I wanted to deal with.  Plus we had an alarming encounter with a precocious five-year-old that pretty much scared me out of the water forever.

Mike and I had just entered the pool and were swimming over to an uncrowded area when a little girl swam up and said, “HI!”  We greeted her nicely, and then she said, “Are you married?”  We said yes, and then she looked at me, looked at him, and as if she were asking about lunch, said “Then why aren’t you in bed?”

Blink.  Blink, blink.

We were so shocked we didn’t know what to say, so we just said, “Because it’s not nighttime — we’re swimming!”  She wasn’t buying it, so she looked for further evidence.  “Where are your rings?”  she asked again, with a giant grin on her face.  We dutifully showed her our left hands, like nervous travelers going through customs.

Then she dove for my belly.  She noticed the bump and before I knew it she was practically crawling me like a monkey up a tree.  She put her hands right on my belly and started asking about the baby, and we told her there were two and she just kept touching me all over.  Her father swam up by this time, but just sort of chuckled at his silly daughter.  I kept trying to subtly dodge her under the water, taking a step back and then swatting her away in a manner that could be mistaken for swirling the water around.  It didn’t really work, so I decided to be nice to her until Mike could break conversation with the dad to notice my rescue-me stares.

With swimming effectively ruled out, I tried prenatal yoga.  This was a nice experience, being with sixteen or so other pregnant women, but it was just…hard.  I’ve done yoga for several years and going through familiar moves was so taxing it didn’t seem enjoyable.  The weight gain, plus the bump, plus the change in mobility all added up to me wishing class would be over already.  There were some fantastic moves that stretched in just the right way, and some great moments of stillness where we could focus on our babies, but other than that I wanted to leave.  No namaste.

This left walking.  Ever since I stopped running, I took up walking, interspersed with the other exercises I’ve described.  I would walk about 2.5 miles several times a week, and this soon became my favorite thing.  Now that I’m 35 weeks along I can only do one mile, but it’s still the most wonderful twenty minutes (yes, it takes me twenty minutes).  Walking works all of my joints in the right way, makes my muscles feel great, and gets my heart pumping.  It’s also the best time to talk to God about all that I’m feeling about the babies and life, and it gets me outside.  Walking = winning.

When I first started I’d go down to the waterfront near our home, but this involved a 300-foot descent and ascent back up.  This was part of its appeal initially, but about four weeks ago I had to give it up because it was too much.  That and there are no sidewalks, and cars sometimes whiz around the corners with abandon.  I used to be able to move out of the way but my zigging and zagging abilities are no longer to be trusted.  My brain says “Car coming, move over!” and my body is like, “I’m going to need you to fill out several forms, have them notarized and then get back to you after two weeks of processing.”

The thing about walking is that it is done in public.  Normally this is not an issue, but when one is pregnant, it is.  For whatever reason, walking around pregnant invites all kinds of commentary from all kinds of people.

One day I was nearing the end of my walk and I was passing an intersection, which required walking past the row of cars waiting at the red light.  Without warning, a man rolled down the passenger-side window of his car, leaned over, and yelled “YOU’RE PREGNANT!”  right at me.  I was so alarmed I didn’t know what to do, besides jump back and keep walking, rather quickly, away from him.  Really?  You had to roll down your window and scream at me?  Really?

Another day when I was still doing the hill near my house, a car filled with teenage girls flew by me from behind and one girl leaned out her window and yelled “HEY PREGGERS!”  It scared me to death because they came up so fast, she was so loud, and it was so unexpected.  I think my expression surprised her as much as she surprised me, because she ducked back in the car when she saw my face.  I was absolutely astonished that a woman would do this — my only thought was a tiny prayer that she would one day be with child herself, walking on a road, and she would have a heart-stopping flashback to this moment and be filled with shame.  I didn’t wish her ill, because I knew she didn’t understand what an insensitive idiot she’d been, but I had the hope that one day she would.

A far more positive encounter was with a man who asked me  how far along I was, and then told me about an anti-bullying program he leads at local elementary schools involving infants.  It’s based on teaching children the concept of empathy toward babies, in the hope that they will translate that to other people.  Apparently it’s quite successful, but I wasn’t sure.  When I told him it was twins, he shouted and started bowing down to me, which was awkward, but funny.  He begged me to bring the twins to his classroom in the fall, and I took his card and told him I’d think about it.  It never occurred to me that me and the little twinnies could start our philanthropic endeavors so early.

My favorite encounter has to be with a neighbor from a few streets over.  He and his gaggle of family are that house in the neighborhood that always has music on outside, has nine cars strewn throughout the property, and is always tinkering on something in the front yard so they can watch the world go by.  It’s all very trashy, but they’ve won me over through the months.

This neighbor, let’s call him Ed, shall we?  The first time Ed saw me he was sitting on his front lawn in a chair doing nothing but staring at the road.  I didn’t even see him because I was power walking by, but he definitely saw me.

“That’s a pretty fast walk for a…” he started to say, but sort of stumbled over what to call me.

“Haha, yep!” I replied, not knowing how else to respond.

“Maybe if you’d walked that fast before you wouldn’t be in your condition!” he said, cackling with laughter.

I was so shocked that he had brought sex into our non-existent conversation that my brain temporarily shut off.  I smiled and kept walking.

“Well, it’s not like it’s twins or something,” he added, for no apparent reason.  I couldn’t believe he’d said that, just out of the blue, so I turned and said, “YES IT IS!” with a giant smile on my face.

“WHAT?!” he said.  “OH MY G-I was kidding!  Um, well, oh, uh, GOOD LUCK!” he exclaimed, and suddenly he was waving his arms in the air with genuine enthusiasm, but I barely saw because I was blazing by.

You may be wondering at this point why I continue to walk.  That’s a fair question that I don’t really have an answer to.

Over the next months, I continued to pass this house and every time he’d be outside, and every time Ed would have something to say.

“That’s a better pace!  Don’t go too fast!”  Apparently I have slowed considerably.

“Rain or shine, good for you!”  As I waddled past in a raincoat that no longer closed.

“There she goes!”  An obvious observation if ever there was one.

Most recently, we just wave at each other.  It’s kind of fun to think of the day I will walk past his house with a double stroller.

~~~~~~~

Here we are at 35 weeks.

Things to note:  1.  I have preggo face finally!  2.  LOOK at my ANKLES (if they can still be called that, I think we’re in cankle territory)  3.  My pregnancy tank top no longer covers the bottom of my bump.  4.  This was taken on the hottest day of the year so far, it was a high of 91 — ideal for any person carrying two other people, you can imagine.

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