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: http://www.sangres.com/colorado/saguache/villagrove.htm. 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!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Running and Stuff


The moment I've been waiting for ever since we found out about the Twinkies; I finally got to break out the Chariot and go for a run.

It works very well for the most part, and the girls seem to like it. Only two trips so far, but both resulted in a good workout, sleeping babies and Mom got a much needed break.

So needless to say, my training opportunities this year have suffered due to a lack of sleep and a lack of time. Sandy originally gave me a hall pass to try and do a Half-Ironman triathlon in Boulder this summer (same one I did two years ago) and I have been giving it a valiant try, but last week it became apparent that it probably wasn't going to happen. I just can't get out consistently to ride or swim, at least not at the levels I was hoping for (or need to do for a Half-Iron). So my goals have been tempered somewhat; I am still going to do an Olympic distance tri in Boulder with Derek in July (the Boulder Peak), but that's about it. Should still be fun, and my training volume can be about half.

As for the year so far, I have been able to run a bit, but not consistently. I did a 5K in town in February and ran a 22:03; I was pretty happy with that. Then I did the local sprint tri and discovered that it really does help to actually train on the bike before doing the bike. That was pretty much a disaster. Then I paced Scott in the Cherry Creek Sneak (5 miles) to a 44:12 finish. I followed that up with a local "10K" trail run on Mother's Day. I did that one 2 years ago and was just hoping to beat my previous time of 51:14. I wore Sandy's GPS watch and by the time I hit the 4 mile mark I was pretty pissed off because I was way behind my goal time; I was at 43 or 44 minutes or something and wasn't sure I would come in in under an hour. I started to come up with all kinds of excuses for why I had fallen so far off my form from 2007 when I realized that the course was just about to rejoin the road and there was actually only about .25 mile to the finish ... at 4.75 miles. Turns out the course is actually about 5.1 miles, not 6.1 and I beat my 2007 time by 16 seconds (50:58). Now here's the thing, I know it's a trail run and the distances are not going to be exact, but come on. If its a 5.1 mile course, call it a 5 mile run, not a 10K. Finally, I did the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day and surprised myself with a 44:58. This was just 6 seconds slower than my PR for that race which I apparently set in 1998. Oddly enough, I have zero memory of that day. Anyway, not bad for a 40 year old, I just wish I had known I was so close; I might have been able to find another 6 seconds somewhere. The highlight of the Bolder Boulder, however, was Derek running it in his Santa suit.

Now I'm trying to decide if I am capable of running a Half Marathon in 2 weeks with the jogging stroller. Thoughts?