Category Archives: UpWORD (Beauty)

Two Cakes, Two Candles, Two Babies, One Birthday

On July 26, Henry and Arden turned one.

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We had the party on with a brunch on July 19 because we were going to be on the east coast at the wedding of the year on their actual birthday (details on that grand affair to follow).  A huge thank you to my gracious parents for offering their beautiful home as our location!

The theme, as you may be able to ascertain, was Anchors Aweigh!  I chose this for several reasons, the first of which was its gender-neutrality.  Next it said “Adventure!” and lent itself to overtly preppy clothes, of which I’m extremely fond.  Yes, Arden’s shirt has anchors.  Yes, her pink shorts are sailor shorts, not that you can tell in that photo.  And yes, Henry’s romper has embroidered sailboats.  This was half the fun.

This post is going to consist mostly of pictures, rather than weighty insights about them turning one, because I’ve covered that territory.  Besides, who could complain about twinsy pictures?

Sam and I made that Pinterest-inspired and -worthy lifering behind them, which reads “H & A REPH 07 – 26 – 2013.”

Before the earth spins off its axis, I should just say it: yes, I crafted!  I made things!  I shopped!  I loathe all of these things, but as their birthday approached I heard that creepy whisper (lie?) that all mothers hear that says: “If you don’t make things for their birthday with your own hands, what kind of a mother are you?”  I have a strong suspicion that I’ll be deaf to this whisper within three years, but for their first birthday, I went for it.

Further evidence:

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The giant “1” behind my beautiful friend and her son is made up of the 43 weekly pictures I took of the twins to chart their growth through the year.  It’s so fun to look at up close, and I wish I had a better picture of it.  There are only 43 because I started doing it when they were seven weeks old, and I couldn’t include the last two weeks due to their birthday party date.

I also strung up all eleven of their monthly photos, but sadly, I forgot to take a picture of that.  But it’s a craft!

My extremely craft-gifted sister, Sam, made this adorable sign:

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Yes, that’s a mimosa and bloody mary bar.  You didn’t know this major rule of hosting a one-year-old birthday?  You do now.  You’re welcome (your guests will thank me).

I could go on about the enormous printed pictures and handmade themed tablecloths (thanks Mom!), but I think you get the idea.  Let’s move on to the real meaning of the day: the people.

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The twins and their Grandpa and Papa!

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Best friends/family with the birthday boy, who is judging/desiring that Mary.

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We had this gorgeous new mom and our youngest guest, her eight-day-old Gardner!

Also special friends…

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This is a recreation of a ten-year-old photo.  We do unattractive well.

That’s better.

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And another set of twins!

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I could share so many more photos of the dozens of treasured family and friends in attendance, but then this might begin to feel like a roll call.

So let’s cut the cake!

Erin and I made their little three-tier cakes, with alternating chocolate and vanilla cake.  Erin made the whipped cream from scratch to serve as frosting, because this was the babies’ first taste of sugar and I thought heavy, processed icing might make them sick.  Or maybe I thought they’d devour it and then be sick.  Either way.

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We helped them blow out their candles after singing to each of them, and then we let them at it.

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Their reaction can best be described as a mix of nonchalance and confusion.  We expected them to dive headfirst, and instead they were as Arden is above.  “Here, Nonni, if you say it’s so great, you go ahead.”

So the aunties jumped in to give them some backup.

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I have to admit I felt the strangest combination of disappointment and pride.  I really wanted them to go hog wild, but when they didn’t I felt a little like, yesssss, my Seattle hippie mom moves are paying off!  They don’t care about sugar!  Time has proven this not to be true at all (ice cream, I’m looking at you), but I enjoyed the fantasy for that day.

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Non-love for cake aside, we had a wonderful day celebrating a wonderful year.  Mike made a lovely slideshow that made me cry, and we got to stop for a moment and acknowledge the richness that’s been added to our lives in the form of our two most precious people.

We also got to high-five the accomplishment of surviving the first year.  Not insignificant, I must say!

Happy Nana.

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Happy Nonni.

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Happy birthday, Henry and Arden!

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Putting on the Brakes

The babies turned eleven months old today, so in this house we’ve all assumed the brace for impact position.  And by “we all” I mean me.

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I have dreaded their first birthday with such sorrow you’d think it was move-in day at their first day of college.  I have this pit in my stomach about them not being infants any more.  The word “toddler” is so beyond what they are to me.  They are still little squishy piles of smiles and I want them to crawl around with me in a time capsule forever.  Is that asking so much?

It’s true that every phase of life is just that: a phase, but I’m just so aware that for only one year do I get to be the mama of baby twins, thrust into a life of chaos and beauty I didn’t know possible.   It’s funny how a time limit on any experience can make us sentimentalize it.  I’ve even found myself thinking, “In a month I won’t be pumping for them anymore!” with sadness in my voice.  I do not like pumping.  Breastfeeding is normal to miss, but pumping?  No.

The other day I had a radical thought: I am enjoying myself more as time passes, not less.  As this occurred to me I asked myself why I was clinging to their babyhood so fiercely, and I could only conclude that it’s because I have loved every single one of the last 335 days.  Why would I want to leave such a time?  But now I’m realizing that my love and enjoyment of them is only growing, not diminishing in the least — and if that’s so, I should be dreaming of, not dreading, every day ahead.

We went to the zoo for the first time last weekend, and we were overwhelmed by how fun it was to have them participate in a family activity rather than just be rolled along like potted plants.  They saw the penguins swimming in the water and they laughed and stared.   That little penguin in the top middle of the photo began to — what is the word for what penguins do?  Bark?  Caw?  Scream like a banshee? — and Henry imitated him almost perfectly.  We laughed out of pure disbelief.

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They gazed at the brown bear walking through his artificial river, and we could see their little faces thinking “What the…” at this enormous creature ambling along.

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We only had to feed them once the entire time we were there, and they were awake until just before we left.

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This would never have been possible even four months ago.  It would have been a hassle of feedings and naps and baby boredom.  So this is what other twin moms mean when they say it gets easier, I thought.

For now, I need to focus on the fact that July 27 is going to be the same as July 26.  They are not going to grow two feet, start playing sports and asking for their own cell phones.  And, more importantly, they’re not going anywhere.  I have literally thousands of mornings to wake up to their happy faces.  Year two will be packed with more wonder than I can conceive of right now.  So until their birthday, I am going to revel in who they are precisely today, and give myself room to let a piece of my heart break at saying goodbye to this chapter.

And then, I’m going to celebrate.  And let them eat cake.

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Vastly Improved

After last week’s trial by fire, I thought the kids and I deserved a little field trip.  The Kirkland farmer’s market opened for the season on Wednesday, so we drove over and strolled among the fresh produce and baked goods.

It was a gorgeous, blue bird day, full of sunshine and plenty of shoppers. We walked the stalls, pausing to admire the array of color in the radishes, carrots and peppers. We stopped to talk to our favorite organic lotion shopkeeper who hadn’t seen the babies since close of last season.  He had a new organic baby lotion, which we would’ve purchased had it not been for the stores of similar lotion we have at home.

We walked the pier, basking in the water view, breathing the fresh air, and basically having every opposite sensation to illness one can have.

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Mike called while we were walking the pier, saying he was just getting off the freeway into downtown Kirkland.  I couldn’t believe it; it was only 4PM.  It was like we were getting reimbursed by a cosmic retailer for last week’s trouble.

“Three of you were sick?  Here’s a sunny day.  You, the mama, were sick?  Okay I’ll throw in a market day.  This went on for days?  Fine!  I fold.  Mike will get off early and meet you for a drink.”

I accepted this deal, hands outstretched.  We walked up to the Slip, our favorite outdoor restaurant/bar in Kirkland, and we met the baby daddy and another good friend for a beer.  I nearly had whiplash from the change: here I was, not lying helplessly on the floor, but sitting in the sunshine drinking a beer during happy hour, holding giggling babies — on a Wednesday.  It was some sort of stay-at-home-mom unicorn day.

And now, even more spectacular, I’m looking ahead to a momentous first — our first night away.  On Mother’s Day Mike gave me a card that told me we were staying overnight at a fancy hotel on June 14.  I was so excited, but also nervous to be away from the babies for the first time.  I’m still nervous, anticipating texting my parents every hour to check on them, but I’m also out of my mind excited.  I can sleep in.  I can sleep in.  I can sleep in.  Even if our wine tasting afternoon fails, and dinner isn’t great, even if everything else goes wrong — I can sleep in.  I haven’t slept in in over ten months (and I really wasn’t sleeping in while pregnant, so it’s been over a year, easily).

This is the life of a parent, isn’t it?  Ecstatic at the thought of twenty-four hours of freedom, and desperate at the thought of even one hour away from those scrumptious cheeks, chubby thighs, eager smiles.  I’ve never missed a morning of them waking to greet me.  I thank God I have my trustworthy parents to leave them to.  I know I’m going to relish a day away of doing whatever we please, but just as much I know I’m going to sprint back to their shining eyes and outstretched arms.

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