Last First Times Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch Changes

“Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.”

The late, great, David Bowie had it right.

I started writing this post 1 month ago and a lot has happened:

…Despite my best effort to squeeze his cute little thighs into the same Sesame Street patterned diaper forever, Cam officially moved into size 1 diapers a couple of weeks ago.  I cried.

In theory these types of milestones are to be celebrated.  My (once preemie) babies are growing fast, healthy, and strong.  However, I can’t help the automatic loop of “Landslide” that plays in my head every time I fold up a Newborn onsie and put it in the donate pile for the last time.

When Charlie was a baby I would pat myself on the back each time we hit a milestone because I had miraculously made it through another day with my firstborn.  I would think to myself “maybe one kid is enough, how do people survive with two?!”

Looking back on the early days with Gus I can hardly remember what he looked like as a newborn.  I spent so much time helping Charlie, then a toddler, through the transition that I barely remember relishing in the newborn stage at all.  I also set out on a new career path at the end of my maternity leave with Gus so the excitement of a new venture put a haze over the fleeting seconds I had with my tiny man.  Gus grew like one of those plastic pills you put in water that morph in to a sponge dinosaur.  Overnight he went from 7lbs, 10 oz to small man.

With the twins I find myself holding on to each tiny change the way a little kid holds on to the leg of her parent as they leave for a business trip.

NOOOOOO, why are you already in 3 month pj’s?! You’re barely 2 1/2 months old!!! (Cam smiles and coo’s back) Aww wait, you couldn’t do that yesterday!  You are so cute!!! Wait, you’re already engaging with me?! NOOOOO!

“Turn and face the strange”.

Embracing the changes and living in the moment is the only way to live but it’s also much easier said than done.

This week we are moving out of our house that we have lived in for the past 3 1/2 years.  I LOVE this house.  It has been the absolute perfect house for our family.  3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, perfect amount of living/entertaining space, cozy, tons of character, great neighbors, Swimming pools and walking trails, PERFECT!  Then, two months ago we grew by two more family members.  Just like that I found myself relating less to the couples of “Fixer Upper” and more to the couples on “Tiny Homes.”

I realize that many people have lived in much smaller setups and have lived to tell about it, but my flash forwards to 6 people all over 6 feet tall sharing one (very small) full bathroom began to haunt me in the night…

Since I wrote this we moved to a new house, I went back to work, the older boys finished 1st grade and preschool, he twins turned 4 months old, and I turned 31. Time is flying faster than I can process it.  I am starting to understand why other twin moms say that “the first year is a blur”.

I am excited to get back into the habit of writing on a regular basis again. I figure that in a couple of years we should unpack our last moving box. Until then I will work on getting a grasp on my rituals again and enjoying every moment with my quickly growing babes. My thought is that if I remember to check in with myself and chip away at simple personal goals, then I will not lose myself in the vortex. By simple I mean elementary- in fact, I can only muster up 4 goals for this week.  10 years ago I would have had 10 goals for each day.

Goals for this week:

  1. Work out 3 days for 20 minutes- I am setting my work out goals low because it has been A WHILE and I feel that if I make my goals attainable I will have a better chance of success.
  2. Write 2 blog entries.
  3. Unpack 3 boxes- It took me until today to find my home computer charger in a random box.  It was packed with a bottle of multipurpose cleaner, my son’s microscope and last year’s taxes. Naturally.
  4. Wake up at 7am sharp every day (including the weekends)- I want to conquer my morning ritual this year. Getting my internal clock set now that the babies are sleeping through the night will be crucial.

Wish me luck!






Ode To Minnesota

When Chris and I found out we were pregnant with our first son Charles, we decided the responsible thing to do was move.  Afterall, I could not fathom pushing a stroller on the subway and our Williamsburg, Brooklyn apartment was not rent controlled so affording to live in our hip neighborhood was a fleeting reality.  I clearly remember staring at the cemetery off the BQE as we drove away in our Uhaul with my two Chihuahuas on my lap and tears streaming down my face.  I left my friends, my job, my dreams, my community and as far as I knew my 22-year-old identity behind me and I was en route to the ONE place I said I would NEVER live- Minnesota.

We landed in Coon Rapids at my sister-in-law’s house because we had not yet figured out where we were going to live and she graciously insisted we would stay with her- a MN virtue I would come to recognize in others as well. I felt like Dorthy as I looked down at my two small dogs “Well Peanut and Brutus, we’re not in Brooklyn anymore.”  My understanding of what MN consisted of was loosely based off of a Coen Brothers film and the song “Proud to be an American.”  I was overwhelmed by the pick up trucks, Calvin and Hobbe’s bumper stickers, 1980’s ramblers, “family dining restaurants”, and mini malls that seemed to pass us on every corner.  I refused to see anything positive about our new “home”.

With all changes in life, we have two choices- we can kick, scream, fight and feel bad for ourselves until our faces turn blue with the hope that playing the victim will bring us some sort of self indulgent justice; Or, we can listen to what God is trying to tell us and open our minds and hearts to how he is working in our lives in ways we could have never orchestrated on our own.  I was in the former state.

Year after year I planned on how long I would tolerate living in MN and when we would make our move out to CA like any normal NYC transplant- In my mind, MN was a brief stop on my ultimate trek West.  Meanwhile I failed to realize that I was planting my roots deep as MN was enriching my life with all of it’s gifts and supporting me in ways no other  place  could have.  Cultural diversity, a vibrant music and theater scene, a booming restaurant scene, state of the art hospitals and progressive maternity care, highest rated school systems, environmentally sound EVERYTHING from locally sourced farmer’s markets and park systems to transportation and recycling programs, Northern excursions to Lake Superior and some of the most beautiful scenery around.  In fact what I came to realize was that if it weren’t for the winter, MN might be the most coveted place to live in the US.

What has been most life changing is the strong sense of community in MN.  When I first moved here I felt like an outsider as most of the people I met were from here and in some cases seemingly clicque-ish.  What I have learned is that most people don’t leave MN or if they do, they come back to “settle down” or give back to the community that they are so closely connected to in some way.  Our friends here (including co-workers, customers, and neighborhood acquaintances) have become our family.

When I learned that I was pregnant with twins, my boss sat me down.

“Now I realize that because you are having twins that you are most likely considering moving to North Carolina to be closer to your Mom.  I don’t blame you. BUT I AM going to try my hardest to convince you to stay.”

The truth was that I had already considered that scenario a million times over and although I miss my parents and family on the East Coast on a daily basis, leaving MN would mean leaving my other family.  The family of friends and community here in MN that has found us over the past 8 years.  The family that has nurtured and allowed me to flourish through some of the hardest transitions of my life. The family that escorted me into becoming an adult who values things now that my 22-year-old self didn’t even know existed.

Yesterday I was watching CNN as it covered the death of Prince.  Prince was born in, raised, and never left Minnesota.  He possessed that insistent graciousness to all who knew him, including his community here in Minneapolis.  In the 1999 interview with Larry King, Larry questioned Prince in his decision to stay in Minnesota to do his work and create his music (instead of putting down roots in LA or NYC).  Prince simply replied

“oh yeah, Minneapolis has always been the bomb.”

It is no surprise that people flooded the streets last night in front of First Ave for an all night sing along/dance party in his honor.  Minnesotans are proud to stick together. They support their communities in ways that most major US cities do not.

As I pack up our house to move (yes we are moving with newborn twins and yes we are insane) to our forth location in MN since we arrived 8 years ago I feel very excited and blessed that our network in the Twin Cities area will continue to grow. I expect we’ll feast with our new neighbors on some tater tot hot dish and Surly Beer while playing “corn hole” by the lake- we have over 10,000 to choose from don’t ch’ya know.