Sunday, December 13, 2009



Did you notice all of my posts involve things that I already like to do that I involve the girls in? That's how I view parenthood, I'm raising a support crew. But for now, I have to push or pull them everywhere.

Saturday's experiment was cross-country skiing. We have a very nice golf course here in Durango that grooms a cross country course/track once the snow flies. It's a good way to stave off cabin fever during the long winter here; in a good year we can get 3 months of skiing in and I can do a good workout at lunch. So when we were looking at buying a jogging stroller/bike trailer, I wanted to get one that could also serve as a cross country ski sled. This way we can ski at the golf course with the girls and even take them on some mellow backcountry or hut trips. So this fall we bought the ski attachment for the Chariot and turned me into a draft animal.

Here are the photos. The girls seemed to have a great time. It was about 25 degrees and cloudy, but no sign they got cold. I don't know how they could have gotten cold wearing everything they were wearing. Tava actually fell asleep and was sleeping so deeply it scared Sandy; she had to check her to make sure she was really breathing.

"Let's do another lap!!!"

Momma didn't have to pull

Parenthood in Durango.

It's a one-Doug open sleigh.

Sandy took some video that we'll try and get up later.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter girls

Hi, Doug here:

Okay, long time readers will remember this picture from last winter when the girls were like 3 weeks old:

However, now that they're a bit older, we can really enjoy the winter and begin the process of training them for the 2034 and 2038 Winter Olympic Games. They have to get used to being bundled up, of course, so we took them out for a jog in the Chariot last weekend in their fleecy hats and Patagucci jackets. The temp was about 25 degrees and overcast, but they seemed to handle it well:

And then on Tuesday we got about 30 feet of snow in Durango (okay, it was 18 inches) and Sandy and the girls got to enjoy a snow day from work. Sandy bundled them up in their "climbing Mount Everest" outfits (complete with goggles for that harsh glare off the snow) and took them out to hang out in the snow. They were kind of like the kid from A Christmas Story that couldn't put his arms down, but they had a good time sitting and checking it all out:

The plan now is to take them cross country skiing in the jogging stroller this weekend. The ski track has been laid at the golf course and we're jonesing to get out on the snow. Look for a follow-up next week.

Look at them go!

Sandy here:

This morning was so fun with the girls, I had to capture some of it on video. They get so proud of themselves when they accomplish something:

I see even more chasing in my near future.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Inside Outside

Sandy here:

The other day I was home playing with the girls. Most of the time when they actually play "together" it's about stealing toys or parallel play. In this video though they seem to actually be playing with each other.

They're so mobile that sometimes it's about containment. This was Tava's turn in Pack 'n' Play jail.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fast Forward

Sandy here:

I keep intending to write a blog post and upload videos, then a couple days pass, and I realize that what I was going to write no longer applies. Initially, it seemed like someone had hit the "pause" button--our life consisted of feeding babies, changing babies' diapers, swaddling babies, putting babies to sleep, and trying to stop babies' crying. That seemed like it went on forever--we were in a holding pattern. Then one day someone hit the "play" button--maybe right around 3 months. Here we were, merrily going along--recording firsts times two--first smile, first laugh, first rollover, all with plenty of time in between. Then in the last month or so, someone hit the "fast forward" button. Almost every day something new happens. We went from struggling to crawl around Labor Day to zooming around the house, and now both babies are all about the standing up. Analee will use anything to stand up--the couch, exersaucer, crib, sliding glass door, dryer, cabinet. . . Tava had the flu and then a double ear infection (ouch!) so she had a couple weeks where she didn't want to do much of anything but be held. She's making up for lost time though and is not too far behind her sister in her standing prowess. Analee has started "cruising" a bit and I'm sure Tava will soon. They are still an easy audience and think everything we do is hilarious (don't worry, we'll remind them of this when they're 12 and think we're embarrassing and incredibly unfunny). The other big arena where they are turning into little people is with food. We have gone from the strained baby food to self-feeding. In fact, the girls will only tolerate so much food being fed to them before they start to get annoyed and want to feed themselves. They love yogurt, cheese, avocado, carrots, broccoli, chocolate, beer (kidding kidding). But seriously. . . every day I'm not sure what fun and funny thing they are going to do next.

Grandma and Grandpa just came for a visit (again--they were here in September) and the girls love getting bites of Grandpa's banana--pretty impressive that he can wrangle 2 babies, a banana and a spoon (Tava left, Analee right):

Sporting their Brother's Bar t-shirts. Start 'em young!(Analee left, Tava right)

Happy Halloween! With their friend Cypress, the ladybug (this picture was taken right before Analee--on the left--attempted to grab onto one of Cypress's antennae)

There's always lots of rasslin' going on in our house:

Good oral hygiene is very important: (Tava left, Analee right)

Tava says "mmm...avocado"

But would Analee use her powers for good? Or evil?

My new favorite thing they do--both stand up in the crib (Analee left, Tava right)

Will our blog still count as a family-friendly blog now that this picture is posted? (Tava left, Analee right)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Here Piggy Piggy

Sandy here:

So, Doug and I had great plans to update the blog this weekend. The girls have been doing so many fun and new things in such rapid succession, it's been hard to keep up with them! Well, the best laid plans of mice and men. . .

We're pretty sure Doug has the flu. It came on in the middle of the night last night. And not just the seasonal variety, no we're pretty convinced that he has full blown swine flu. So, needless to say, our fun blog will have to wait. Cross fingers that the girls stay well or have a mild bout.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Perfect Fall Day

Sandy here:

Today was one of those crisp clear Colorado days where you know that summer is gone and winter is coming, but for the moment, you're just so happy for it to be fall. We took the girls to a local park and had some good clean twin fun:

If their career as swimmers doesn't pan out, they can always swing for money.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Future Careers

Sandy here:

The girls are in daycare these days, so for 3 days a week someone else gets to watch their antics, and we only get reports. Today I picked them up (Doug does the drop off, I do the pick up) and their caregiver told me that both Tava and Analee learned a new trick--albeit different ones.

Analee has learned how to unscrew the tops of her bottles and pour out her milk (my milk!).

Tava has learned to squeeze the liners of her bottles (we use these kind) and make the milk squirt out of the nipple creating a fountain effect.

Needless to say, the girls came home in their back-up outfits and I was handed a plastic bag full of wet clothes.

I think we have a scientist and an engineer on our hands.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Where Did You Go?

Sandy here:

So, I could give all sorts of excuses about not writing in oh, like, forever, but the biggest one is this--I no longer have stationary babies! You might think the title of this blogpost refers to my lack of blogging, but in actuality it refers to the fact that the girls are no longer where I place them. Gone are the days of cute little chatty houseplants--I now have roamers. They are both crawling (although with different styles)! Video to follow soon (we have filled up the stick that stores our pictures, and getting a new one implies errands, so needless to say that hasn't happened yet), but here are a couple recent pics:

Tava says "Mom, bibs are for babies":

We just woke up from our nap

Look! Babies in the zoo!

Analee, leaving a trail of destruction in her wake:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Power of the Belly

Sandy here:

Our girls are rolling over, and the funny part is that Analee is better at the tummy to back rolling, but guess who LOVES to sleep on her tummy? Yep, Tava. And guess who wakes up freaked out that she somehow ended up on her tummy and completely can't remember how to get off it? Yep, Tava. So right now several times a night I have to go in and roll her back (and usually feed her because she's gotten so upset).

We are all looking forward to her learning how to roll onto her back without thinking about it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Anti-Soother No More

Sandy here:

Those of you who are regular readers of our blog may remember that a while ago Doug posted about his less than soothing ability with the girls at bedtime. Well, recently the shoe was on the other foot (Tava is on the left and Analee is on the right):

I don't really sing the boogaly boo song anymore. . .

Friday, July 17, 2009



The other day I found out that my friend LaRae's 8 year old son swims faster than me. By quite a bit. I could work my tail off and still not match his 100 meter time. And the thing is, he wasn't even the fastest 8 year old in his swim meet.

Anybody who knows anything about my triathlon hobby knows that the swim is a big challenge for me. I consider it a successful swim in a tri as long as I don't drown. So far, so good. Now this year I have actually hired a swim coach and she has helped me with my technique over the course of 5 or 6 lessons. The result is that I now have a much prettier, more efficient swim stroke in which to cover the exact same ground in the exact same time. It's too bad there are no style points in triathlon.

In an attempt to avoid having our daughters go through this kind of embarrassment when they are 40, we have started taking them swimming at the ripe age of 5 months. Sandy noticed that our rec center offers a "Mommy and Me" swim class for infants and insisted we sign up for June (of course when you have twins, "Mommy and Me" becomes "Mommy and Daddy and Me and Her"). However, when we showed up, we were bummed to learn that we were the only people signed up (they usually cancel classes if they don't get enough participants, but they told us they must have forgotten to cancel on us). So instead we got a semi-private lesson with the swim instructor which was fine and all, but apparently with big groups they do songs and games and lots of fun stuff that just didn't work with 2 babies. Oh well.

In any event, the girls had a great time and they have been going to the pool 1 or 2 times a week since. They have been dunked in the water, have spit up in the pool and even stick their faces in themselves sometimes. They really like the bubbles and the swirling water in the hot tub (never more than 5 minutes!!!!) and think the pool is awesome across the board. I'm just hoping in 8 years they aren't faster than me.

P.S. When I started this post I thought we had more than 3 pictures of them swimming, but it turns out we don't. As Sandy explained, when there are two of us and two of them, it doesn't leave any hands left over for the camera. You can't just let them float on their own, they haven't gotten that good in the water. We'll get some more soon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sleeping Again, Redux

Sandy here:

Since I posted my last entry about the girls and their crib positions, I have captured a few more pictures. All of these are actual positions I found them in when they woke up in the morning:

But this is my favorite so far (maybe they'll be wrestlers when they grow up):

And finally--a bedtime video. They had been changed into their sleepers, but were still in such a good mood I put them into their crib to play.

Watching them interact like this makes all that extra work worth it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sleeping, Again

Sandy here:

So, we haven't written about sleep in a while. At least in our opinion, sleep became the most important thing to figure out. I mean, you can live for a while without food (besides, isn't that what Wendy's is for?) and showering and reading and socializing, but sleep? For the first few months, Doug and I would obsess about sleep -- ours and the babies. The girls had a few reflux issues and got some bad colds this winter so the jiggly chairs turned out to be at the perfect angle for their little digestive systems and noses. Well, this was all great, but we knew we would need to get them back in the crib. We made the transition almost a month ago (right around the time Tava started doing this) and it's been funny, to say the least. We put them down parallel to each other and parallel to the short sides of the crib (can you tell I'm a math teacher?). Tava is always on the left as you're looking in the crib (Analee's right).

Inevitably, when we go in to get them in the morning, this is what we find:

In fact, some nights Analee has woken up because Tava woke up and started kicking her in the face. Analee deals with this all pretty well though, I think she thinks of it as her "big sister" duty to put up with Tava. For a long time, all Analee would do when we put her to sleep was raise her arms up in a "don't shoot me, I give up" gesture. Now, she's taking cues from her sister:

Some of you might be wondering why we don't just separate them into their own cribs. One night we tried putting them on opposite ends of the crib (since we only have one crib set up right now) and we had potentially the worst night of sleep EVER from Tava -- she was so upset and couldn't get settled. As soon as she fell asleep, she would wake up and be upset again. We speculate that it's because she wasn't touching her sister (and while she's very good at scooching around in a circle, actual forward or backward motion still eludes her), and I just don't have the heart to make her so upset again so soon. Analee is learning the meaning of "sacrifice for the greater good."

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Garden

Sandy here:

So, despite what we post, our life is not all about babies--there's at least 10% dedicated to other pursuits. As some of you might know, I'm a big fan of gardening. For several years my efforts at gardening have been thwarted, but last summer I was determined to start the great "Yard Beautification Project of 2008." The house we bought has a pretty decent size backyard, but it has suffered through years of neglect. The previous owners were very nice, but quite elderly, and the only gardening they would do consisted of having their children mow the weeds and dirt--oh, and collect tires. Every time I looked out into our backyard, I gave a sigh. Last summer, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Nevermind the fact that I was healing from the Great Femur Break of 2008 and had just found out about the Twin Experiment--the garden must be done!

Sandy's Garden

Now, on to the other 70% of our yard. . .

Monday, June 22, 2009

Our Little Lady

Sandy here:

I can't seem to help myself--almost every day I find myself taking video after video. This latest one was taken a few days ago, and I like that it showcases Tava's incredibly ladylike behavior:

This is how she's going to get all the guys. I know it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Growing Up

Sandy here:

I discovered the Movie Maker program on my computer and have been having lots of fun with it. It helps that the girls are getting to the age where they are doing "fun" things.

Behold, Analee:

This is really the first big milestone where there's no doubt about the exact time it happened. Smiling? Maybe it's just gas until suddenly you realize it's not, although you can't really pinpoint an exact time they realized smiling was fun. Laughing? Slightly easier, but some of those first laughs were very subtle. But this! No doubt at all!

Tava is not rolling over yet, at least not on a flat surface, but she has decided that the jiggly chair makes a perfect platform for attempting to roll over:

As a result of Tava's antics, they are transitioning to the crib (for a while they weren't sleeping in the crib due to reflux issues and incredibly stuffy noses--they can't blow their noses when their arms are swaddled!).

And finally, proof positive that Doug really is the funny one:

Is there anything better than baby laughter?

Monday, June 15, 2009

May Slideshow


We haven't done a slideshow in some time, so we are due. (Warning, baby cliches coming in 3 .... 2 .... 1....)

We continue to take way too many pictures to post and the girls continue to get cuter and cuter every day and do new things. May marked the beginning of lots of laughing for one thing, and then at the end of the month they started to reach for stuff, something that is both exciting and concerning. They have developed very good head control and can sit very well with assistance, but they aren't quite able to sit on their own yet. They seem to be a bit away from rolling over, but tummy time is less aggravating to them (quick update--since we wrote this post, Analee has rolled from tummy to back!). And they really recognize us now. Finally, they seem to have recently started to really notice Miliya and like to watch her when she's near. She of course wants to lick them and is very interested, but I foresee the day coming soon when they start chasing after her and she wants a little privacy.

Anyway, here is the slideshow from May:

Tava and Analee April and May 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Anti-Soother


There is a new development in our home that is extremely frustrating to me. Let me begin by explaining one thing that is different about having twins: feedings and bedtime are much more complicated and it really helps to have two players. I didn't realize this was different until we were talking to some friends that have a similarly aged baby. I asked the father if he participated in most feedings and he said, "no, it's not really a two person job." And I think he's right, when you have one baby the second person is kind of superfluous. But with twins, it's not. In fact, feeding two babies is pretty hard if you're by yourself because you need to burp both at the same time or feed one while burping the other or some combination of these activities. It's quite a juggling trick. Putting them down to bed is even harder when you throw in soothing and swaddling; it really is a two person job.

Now Sandy of course is by herself during the day and she has to feed the girls three times and also handle naps all by herself. It's really very impressive how well she does it, you'd think she had four hands or something. Nonetheless, she really appreciates having a second set of hands (mine) to help with the first and last feedings of the day, especially at bedtime. Unfortunately, for some reason we do not understand, lately I seem to have become the ...


That's right, if you have a perfectly happy baby at bedtime, just give her to me and I will manage to make her cry in no time, by doing nothing more than just holding and trying to burp her or soothe her to sleep. It works every time. Quiet baby, falling asleep, give to Dad, crying starts. Give her back to Sandy, and voila ... no more crying. And we can't figure out why, because I do everything just like Sandy does (minus the boob part). It's not like I'm poking them or bending their elbows the wrong way or anything; I just seem to exude an anti-soothe vibe. Here is a visual demonstration:

Daddy is going to soothe you:

No, Mommy is going to soothe you:

Now I joke about this, but it actually is extremely frustrating right now because I feel like I don't really help with bedtime. Right now I'm kind of a placeholder. Sandy gives me Tava while she swaddles and soothes Analee. I walk Tava around and try to keep her from completely melting down until Analee is down, and then I hand her off to Sandy to finish up. It's pretty pathetic.

But they do laugh more with me. I guess it works like this:

Mom = Nourishment + Comfort + Safety.

Dad = Comic relief.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Memorial Day Trip


On the heels of our successful first road trip to Denver in April, we took another trip to Denver over Memorial Day weekend. Usually we stay in Durango over Memorial Day weekend; for several years it was because Sandy's school had their graduation that weekend and I would ride the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. However, this year my friend Diana was getting married on Saturday of Mem. Day weekend, so we thought that would make it a good time to introduce the girls to the pleasures of a 6.5 hour drive through the Colorado mountains. This was all before we had to make the unscheduled trip in April.

Now last time we made the drive in one day, leaving Durango at around 1:00 with the plan to stop for a nursing/diaper stop in Villa Grove, CO, the closest thing to halfway on this drive. As a point of reference, the metropolis of Villa Grove is about 100 yards long and has a population of maybe 50 people. There is a family style restaurant, a bed and breakfast and the Villa Grove Trade and coffee shop. Here is a website that gives you some perspective on Villa Grove: The pictures in the website are pretty much all of the town, other than some random houses and trailers. Villa Grove is small and isolated, even by Colorado standards. But the Villa Grove Trade is an awesome little general store/cafe (the "Trade") with an attached coffee shop and three room motel (in the pictures, it's the "Inn at Villa Grove"). Well on the first trip we arrived in Villa Grove at about 4:30 only to discover that the Trade was closed. However, there was someone standing in the door of the attached coffee shop talking on her phone, so we kind of assumed the coffee shop must be open and so we just went barging in with our car seats and babies. Well it turns out the someone was "Jessie" and she and her Mom and Dad own and run the Trade and the coffee shop and the "Inn" and it also turns out the coffee shop was closed too (they close at 4:00 in the winter), but Jessie was great and she let us hang out on the couch and feed and change the babies anyway while she closed down. Her Mom, Amber came over after a little bit and we all chatted about babies and stuff and had a good time. They were so gracious that we have vowed to always stop there in the future whenever they are open. It is a great little place and they have started to recognize us as well (who are we kidding--they recognize the babies).

Anyway, for this trip we decided to make it a two day trip, with an overnight at the Villa Grove Inn. This turned out to be something of a headache when you factor in getting in late, feeding babies and trying to get them down in a strange place, then doing a morning feeding and then getting food for ourselves. It was not an efficient operation for the most part. And of course, as soon as she got done with her evening meal at the motel, Tava decided to have a meltdown. I am very self-conscious about the babies crying and bothering other people, so I got really stressed seeing how we were in a small motel with people on each side of us at 11:00 p.m. I ended up taking her out to the car to cry and, after 15 minutes, found myself driving up a very dark highway towards Salida in my pajamas at 11:30 in an attempt to calm her down. I was looking forward to explaining this one to the state patrol officer if I got pulled over. The next morning we discovered that we were sharing the motel with a big group of kids from Colgate College who were on a trip for a geology class. It was funny seeing a bunch of New York kids trying to get a grip on a place like Villa Grove; they were concerned by the fact that the nearest liquor store was 25 miles away in Saguache and that it didn't really keep regular hours.

We did make it to Denver eventually and, in keeping with the times, Analee refused to take her afternoon nap. That evening (Friday) we went to a BBQ hosted by the wedding couple and this time it was Analee's turn to meltdown, which was a serious drag as it kept us from really being able to socialize much. On Saturday morning I went up to Boulder to ride the bike course for the Boulder Peak Triathlon with Derek. That evening we went to the wedding while Sandy's parents and Scott and Molly babysat. This was the first time Sandy had ever been away for bedtime, but she probably only called home about 5 or 6 times over the 5 hours we were gone. Being the crazy partyers we are, we stayed at the wedding until about 10:00 or so before heading home.

Sunday I spent most of the day hanging out with my Mom and then on Sunday afternoon Scott and Molly hosted a very cool BBQ that allowed us to see a bunch of Denver folks. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate and the party mostly took place indoors, but the girls did well and got held a lot. The next day I got up early and ran the Bolder Boulder (see below), and then on the way out of town, we stopped in for brunch with our friends John and Diane. They have twin boys, aged 13, so it was fun to see them interact with the girls.

Anyway, it was good trip, and the girls are great roadtrippers. Here are some photos:

Hanging with Grandma and Grandpa Gilpin.

Aunt Molly and Cousin Audrey.

Uncle Scott

Nate and Di's wedding.

Derek and Jen

Twins holding Twins

Diane with Tava

My Mom with Analee

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

This Post

Is brought to you by Analee and the letter "O":

For her next trick, she will sing the entire alphabet...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Milk Wars

Doug - Point

The photo above is a look at the breast milk stockpile that Sandy has insisted we build up in case of some kind of national emergency or something. I think Sandy is worried that all of a sudden we will discover we actually have triplets and will start running a deficit. Please understand that, at current manufacturing capacity, there is no danger of running a deficit anytime soon. In short, Sandy is, shall we say, very productive. Usually she feeds both babies five or six times a day (it's an impressive operation) and then she also usually pumps an additional 10 to 15 ounces in the morning. This all gets frozen. Now on occasion we may go through 6 to 8 ounces of our stock every three days or so for whatever reason (i.e. late night feedings where I don't want to wake her), but never can I think of a time when we have actually used 15 ounces of pumped milk in a day. And of course on the occasions we have to bottle feed, Sandy's boobs don't know it, so they keep producing. And, you guessed it, she has to just pump an extra time, usually another 10 ounces.

So do the math, and you will see what is happening. In short, very soon now we will have to either give up on having any frozen food in the house or we'll need to get a commercial freezer for the garage. We have milk dating back to early April. I have tried to get her to just get rid of some of it, but you would think I asked her to just get rid of one of the babies. It's truly bizarre, this whole breast feeding thing.

Sandy - Counterpoint

Okay, first off, let me correct something--I am not insisting that we build up this stockpile, it just happens. I have to take care of business from a comfort standpoint, and the result is the lovely picture above. And yes, the entire top of the freezer is now devoted to "my stash." While things are good right now, I do have those thoughts of "What if it all stops? And Doug THREW AWAY the yummy goodness the girls could be eating?!?" Now, I realize this argument has overtones of "There's starving people in Africa, so eat your green beans," but it just seems wrong to get rid of something that for some women is very hard to make.

In addition, I have not been secret about the fact that I would like to have a whole separate freezer (we had one growing up--maybe it's a Gilpin thing, I'm not sure). Not only would it be good for all this milk, but once we buy our quarter grass-fed cow from James Ranch (or some other local ranch) we will have a good place to store him (or her I suppose). Building up this milk supply might help tip things in my favor--I see a scouting trip to Home Depot in our near future.

But the biggest reason I don't want to get rid of the milk is that I'm in training for the Milk Olympics and I'm going to win!