Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Rant: Stop Saying We Can't!!

I suppose I should start this rant by saying that I know that people mean well, and they think they are either being funny, or helpful, or both.  But really, they're just being annoying and unsupportive, really.

About what you ask?  The boat.  And the fact that we'll be living on it with our babies.  And about parenting in general.

I am so sick of hearing about how much stuff we're going to need/have because of the babies.  People I normally love are beginning to really get on my nerves because of their comments about how "it only gets worse" and "this is just the beginning!".  Well, you know what?  We have about 25% of the "stuff" you have normally and we're pretty darned happy.  And also?  Your baby did not need that $300 swing thingy that has an enormous footprint.

No they didn't.

YOU may have enjoyed the way it made your baby quiet and it was probably convenient.  But it wasn't needed.  We'll probably be just fine with our hammock and the natural rocking of the boat.  And you know what?  If we're not, we'll figure out another way.  Because we're good like that.

Also, I know that having twins means our free time will be severely limited, especially at first.  I know this.  You don't have to point it out every time we talk, or every time I mention something on Facebook.  I don't need you to tell me I won't have time to brush my hair or shower because you know what?  I'll make time.  I'm not doing this alone.  My husband is extremely helpful and more than willing to wake up 10 minutes early so that I can bathe before he goes to work.  I'm sorry you didn't have the help that I will have, but stop telling me that I will essentially become a dirty hobo because I won't be able to shower.

Will I be able to take a long, 30 minute luxurious bath?  No.  But we don't have a bath tub anyway, so...I wasn't doing that before.  I probably won't even get to blow dry my hair.  And that's totally cool.  But bathing?  Yes.  I'll do that, and do it often.  So stop telling me I can't.

And while you're at it, stop telling me what an inconvenience having children was.  I'm sorry you feel that way.  I don't appreciate your snide, sarcastic comments about my children who are not even born yet.  You suck.

And to my favorite comment, from someone I know meant no harm, but who really did some harm...we are NOT "too proud" to admit when something isn't working.  We've said all along that if living on a boat ever becomes something that we no longer love, or it's no longer working, we'd move.  BUT IT IS WORKING, AND WORKING WELL.  And there's absolutely ZERO reason why it shouldn't work with two small children.  ZERO.  You are essentially WAITING FOR US TO FAIL and telling us it's okay...and that we shouldn't be too proud to move back onto land when it happens.

That makes me so angry.  So, so angry...

A small home does not make an inappropriate home.  Nor does it make an unlivable home.  We hope it will make a cozy, loving home that's filled with a greater understanding of living with less and of how to get along with the people you love.  But, you know...we'll fail at that, so...I guess we'll just move now before they get here and tell you how right you were.


I know this all sounds a little hormonal.  But truthfully, I've held my tongue for 8 months and I'm getting really, really sick of the negativity.  Thank GOD most of the people in our lives are understanding and open minded.  And thank God for our boat friends, who understand.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go lower my blood pressure.

The Nursery: Part 3

We are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel-with both the nursery and this pregnancy!  Both will be done within two weeks, if not sooner. :)

Last weekend we bought the foam for the crib.  It's a super firm foam which will support the boys very well.  We found a local old-school re-upholstery shop in town which cuts full slabs of foam to any size you want, which is rare.  When we walked in it was like we entered a time warp.  It was great fun to watch this little old man hobbling around the super cramped shop, pulling huge slabs of foam out of the woodwork.  Upon leaving, we both agreed that it's exactly the kind of place we love to support and that we'd be back for sure when it's time to replace the cushions on our own bed.

The foam guy in his cramped little shop, cutting a large piece of foam to our specs.
B1's been working so hard every weekend and after work to put the finishing touches on the construction.  It's turning out to be a little more tedious of a job than we initially thought, mainly because of time, but also because of the shape of the back cabin.  Nothing is square and because we have to think about 20 little fingers getting stuck in crevasses, B1 is being extra careful that everything fits exactly the way it should.  It's been hard for me to sit (literally) and watch him do all of the work.  But I keep reminding myself that I'm actually growing two babies, and that's hard work in itself.  I guess this is a good example of teamwork, right?

Last night B1 was able to cut the foam and install it into the crib.  First he used the insulation as a template to mark where he should cut:

And then, using an electric turkey knife which was bought specifically for this purpose, he made the cuts:

Like butta.

Incidentally, as a chef, I feel the need to tell you that this is the only time an electric knife should ever be used.  :)

Once everything was cut, he put the mattress in the crib and made the bed:

We're starting to try to figure out exactly where we want to put everything.  Placement is very important because its such a small space.  We're being very selective about how we decorate, too, as not to overwhelm the boys with a million different colors and patterns.  The wall below will be painted or covered in a neutral color, probably cream to match the fiberglass walls.  The cushion below was bought at IKEA in the as-is section and will be recovered to match the cover we're making for the seat cushion (which is made out of the same foam as the mattress).

The main colors will be green, white and blue, with pops of other colors that can be found in the jungle.  I can't wait until construction is done so we can get it completely decorated and ready for Jack and Bobby!

Thanks for following along with our progress!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Preparing For Their Arrival: Organizing the "Stuff"

Before you say, "It only gets worse!" or, "You're going to need more of XYZ!", please hold your comments, and read a little something I once wrote about why we want to raise our sons on a boat:

"...It requires us to think a lot about what we bring into our home, to shop for groceries more often, and to try to live a little more simply than we did when we had a huge two story apartment.

And we're OK with that.  In fact, we're more than OK with that-it's actually one of the philosophies behind why we want to continue living aboard and why we want to raise our twin sons on a boat.  We want them to appreciate the value of community, neighbors and friendship.  We want them to appreciate that you can, in fact, live with less, even though society tells us we need more, more more!
It's true that we have a lot more "stuff" now that the babies exist-it's two extra humans living in a small space.  But it's also true that we still have a lot less than the average family expecting twins, and we're pretty sure we'll survive.  We don't have a traditional crib, but what we will have is a kick ass custom cabin built by their daddy with a lot of love.  And they won't have a large playroom to run around in, but they'll have the entire ocean to explore, including islands to conquer (complete with pirate gear!), beaches to comb and interesting people to meet.  And in the summer, they'll know what it feels like to have the wind in their hair (oh, how we hope they have hair!) and they'll be surrounded by the splendor of the sunlight dancing like diamonds on the water.

They won't have the latest and the greatest .  But what they will have will be divine...

PSA, onto the post. :)

Over the last couple of weekends we've really been trying to get everything ready for Jack and Bobby's arrival.  That means that everything we received from our multiple baby showers that once lived in storage, now lives at home.  And that means that we've been organizing like mad!

Here's what our car looked like when we left the storage unit:

Everything's boxed up in bulky packaging, crammed into bags or boxes.  I knew that once we got home and opened everything up, we'd be able to get a handle on it.

First things first, the car seats!  Those two boxes alone took up most of the back seat and LOADS of room in storage.  So, we installed them!

Somehow, even though I have this huge belly, we've felt them kick, seen their little hearts beating and have them named...THIS made it all seem very real.  We're actually going to have babies!  (It's even still currently hard to imagine, being that neither of us have ever had babies of our own.)

Once those two big boxes were broken down and thrown away, we were left with two carts of stuff that we brought back to the boat.  Most of which ended up in these two cabinets.  Yes really:

There are additional diapers stored under the crib/bed (and more will be opened and put in that bin above-I just didn't want to open too many in case the boys don't fit into these, or don't react well to this brand), a bag of toys that have a home on a shelf across the way (space is already set aside for that, I just have trouble making it over there, physically, right now due to my huge belly), and burp clothes and swaddlers that will also get a home on that shelf in a bin (so I can easily grab them when feeding).  But we managed to get everything in that big, crammed car, onto our 36 foot sailboat without making our space unlivable.

We kind of rock.
Stay tuned for more nursery pictures, coming soon!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Nursery Update: Part 2

B1's been working very hard these last couple of weeks (in between work and the holidays!) getting the nursery ready for Jack and Bobby.  It's definitely tedious work, mainly because nothing is square!  In fact, one of the walls is completely curved, making it especially difficult to get the measurements just right.  But he did it, and it looks amazing.

When we last left you, the cabin looked like this:

B1 had just finished insulating the storage area, and building the platform where the boys will actually sleep.  To the left, you can see the curved wall I spoke of earlier.

Take a look at all of the progress he's made over the last week:
Insulation was measured and cut for the curved wall, and the back and side walls were created.  In addition, you can see the template for the piece which will hold the gate in place, once the boys are older.  (The pink wedge on the left.)
All three walls in place!  Look at that curved wall!
 Early last year I bought a bunch of marine grade vinyl to line our bedroom walls.  However, I miscalculated when measuring, and didn't buy enough, so it just sat in our storage unit waiting for a purpose.  Enter the babies!  B1 expertly (seriously-he did such an amazing job-no bubbles, ripples, creases-nothing!) covered the walls with said vinyl to create a softer space, and to give their "room" some much needed color.  Take a look:

Amazing, right?
We're really excited about how it's coming out.  We purchased some vinyl decals for decoration, in addition to some very cute fabric which will eventually cover the custom mattress that'll sit upon that wooden platform.  It won't be a traditional nursery for sure, but it'll be theirs, and we hope they'll love it.

For those of you worried about how they'll sleep in a "V" shaped crib-don't worry.  Their Mommy and Daddy sleep in a "V" shaped bed and do just fine.  It'll be all they know, and to them, it'll be normal.  B1 did so much (so much) research about standard crib size, height, depth, mattress firmness, and so on, that we're not worried about their comfort or safety in the first couple of years.  Once they start growing, that's another story.  But isn't that true of all babies in all homes?  :)

Here's a preview of what's coming next-the mattress. And my favorite part-decorating!

Jungle themed sheets-to-be.
Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Nursery: Before & During, Part 1

This weekend B1 began the tedious (but satisfying) work of cleaning, insulating and building the nursery in the aft cabin.  This previously neglected space was essentially used as our attic.  We stored anything and everything in here, including, at one point, our refrigerator.  It also doubled as our closet/dresser, as we kept all of our clothing (in plastic bins) in this space.  We plan on continuing to store our clothes in this manner, behind a false wall that B1 is building.

Here are a few before and "during" pictures:

The empty storage area, all cleaned up and ready for insulation.

Ta daaa!  Fully insulated storage space to help retain the heat in the winter and to keep it out in the summer.  There will be a wall up here to hide the storage bins.

Testing out the wood in the space soon to be a custom crib for two.  You can just see the storage area from the picture above on the right hand side of this picture, behind the wood panel.
B1 building the framing for the wall.
Framing for the "crib".

A little more insulation (replaced the mirrored door with insulation (pink), a mock up of the shelf and the custom cut crib platform.  There will eventually be three walls around this, and a gate in the front when they are older.

It's sturdy!
There's plenty more to do!  B1 will be working hard over the next couple of weeks to get everything ready for the boys' anticipated arrival.  I'll post more pictures as we progress.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Still Pregnant :)

I hit 31 weeks on Wednesday and have defied the odds so far.  At 28 weeks, when they told me about my cervix, they were convinced I'd go into labor by 30 weeks.  At 30 weeks when my FFN test came back positive, they were convinced I'd have the babies by 31 weeks.  And here I am now at 31w3d and I'm still pregnant.  Our short term goal right now is to make it to 32 weeks, and our long term goal is 34 weeks.  I'd really love it if they were born on 12/30, if they have to be born this year.  That way they'd have their own day, instead of having to share it with a holiday.

But 34 weeks is our goal...not that we have any control of it at all but it makes us (me) feel better having one.

On Wednesday we met with a NICU doctor and toured the floor.  It made us feel so much better.  The doctor pretty much told us that at 31 weeks, he has no major concerns about our babies.  So if they are born now or next week, they'll need a little help breathing and eating, but that their chances of having long term health issues are almost completely gone (due to premature labor-genetics is more of a factor at this point).  If they are born after 32 weeks, that goes down even further, and they'll probably just need a little help breathing, but we'll most likely be able to feed them on our own.  I could even try to get them to latch on so I can breastfeed, which is the ultimate goal.

HUGE relief.  I can stop worrying so much about our boys making an early appearance.  Hopefully that'll help my blood pressure a bit (it's been high for a few weeks now-go figure!).

Another wonderful thing that we learned is that we can absolutely still hold them and cuddle them and do skin to skin with them, even at 31 weeks, hooked up to wires.  I was so sad and worried that we wouldn't be able to hold our babies for over a month.  But in fact, we can!  And they encourage it, actually. 

Also, (yes there's more-it was a very positive visit!) we can have our families visit the babies!  We're limiting the visitors to immediate family one, because it is an ICU floor and we want to be cautious.  And we are asking our families to get both a flu shot and a Tdap shot, if they haven't already gotten one (recommendation by the NICU doctor).

So, to summarize, I'm still pregnant, but if they come early now, we're less scared.  And that's a good thing.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Good News, Bad News, Good News

This year B1 and I had some professional pictures taken for this year's Christmas cards.  Mainly because it will be the only time when I'll have a big pregnant belly, and I'm not planning on "maternity photos" like so many people get today.  And all of the photos from our showers weren't Christmas card worthy, in my mind.  And there was a Groupon, so we got them done for $20.  Here are a few from the session.  They are blurry because they are screen shots, but you get the idea.

The Christmas lights on my belly were my idea. :)

This is my favorite of the session, though I must have been making a weird face, because they cropped it out.  Which is sad.  But I do still love this picture.  B1 kisses my belly daily and it's adorable to have it captured in a picture.

There's another picture that's zoomed out so you can see our faces and bodies too, but I like this close up.  We chose "twins" because our other option was "babys" and we didn't want to tell the nice girl that she spelled "babies" incorrectly.  Twins works well though. :)

I'm in love with them.  We have an 8X10, two 5x7's and hysterically, gift tags, with the first picture on them.  And those gift tags are huge.  I can't wait to give people gifts with them. 

And here's another update.  My babies are trying to be born early.  At my last appointment, my cervix was measured at 1.7 when it should be 3.0 or greater.  This means my body is starting to prepare for labor.  I haven't been having any contractions, so that's good, but the 1.7 is concerning.  To help support my cervix, they inserted a pessary, and it's helped with the pressure a little bit.  In addition, I'm showing slight signs of preeclampsia, which is actually more urgent than the cervix issue.  That said, my blood and urine work came back OK over the weekend, so I'm still skirting along in the "safe" zone right now.

I'll be monitored weekly from now on.  Yay for being high risk.

At first I was really freaking out.  I am still very worried and want to keep these babies cooking for as long as possible-but at least for another 2 weeks when I hit 30 weeks.  That's another major milestone for them, and their chances of survival without long-term health issues because greater.  If this had happened 2 weeks prior, the doctors would be telling me that the babies have a less than 50% chance of survival.  So we're in as good a place as we can be right now and we're hoping I continue to carry these twins for a bit longer.

There are a lot of stories out there that have given me hope over the weekend.  Most of what I've read shows that women who had a shortened cervix, once ID'd, have gone on for weeks, if not months and delivered health babies.  Others who couldn't continue to carry at 28 weeks have shared that their babies were born and lived in the NICU for a while (usually 10-12 weeks) and then went on to be healthy after that.  So I'm hopeful, but nervous.

I'll be checked again on Wednesday to see if I've progressed at all....cross your fingers/pray/send good vibes that I haven't.

More good news: Baby Jack weighs about 3.2 pounds and Baby Bobby weights about 2.11 pounds.  These are both a little heavier than average.  So if they are born now, they'll have that going for them.

Also, their heartbeats are both very strong.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The last two weeks have been very exciting for us. We had our baby showers! The first took place in CT, where my immediate family is from. Having a shower in CT also allowed many of my extended family members-including my Nana-to participate without having to drive 4.5 hours to Boston. It was a lovely, sunny day with lots of love and laughter. The theme was two peas in a pod, which was secretly what I wanted it to be! Take a look at some of the fun we had that day...

Of note in the pictures above:
1. The beautiful card my sister made me with a mama elephant and two twin babies.  If you didn't know this already, I adore elephants and have collected them my whole life.  Adorbs.

2.  The cake.  Need I say more?

3.  The picture of my Nana and I.  It's become one of my favorites of all time already.

4.  The cupcakes at the bottom of the page, made by my niece Rye Bread, who is now 12.  (I KNOW!)  If you don't know this, she's the one I've been making all of the cakes for since she was born.  So it was totally awesome that she made these for us.  They say "Jack and Robert", which will be our boys' names.

5.  The "two peas in a pod" made from a blanket and lots of diapers!

Our second shower, our MA shower, took place yesterday here in Boston at a local yacht club.  It was thrown by my MIL and had a Mickey/nautical theme, since we got engaged at Disney and live on a boat.  While this day was not very sunny, the room was still filled with lots of love and laughter.  And really, who needs the sun when you have that to warm your heart?

Of note in the pictures above:

1.  The picture at the top left, of B1 and I with his Grampie, who's just an awesome guy.  This picture was taken for Jack's baby book, because Jack will have Grampie's middle name.  In each of the boys' baby books, I'm putting pictures of the men they are named after, with little stories or notes about why we chose to honor them.  Sadly, my Papa, Jack, is no longer with us, so I won't be able to put a current picture in there.

2.  The Jack and Richard "Crew Since 2015" onsies, which doubled as a guest book.

3.  The cake.  Again, need I say more?

4.  The picture of our Dads in the lower right hand side.  Robert will be named after them...Robert is on the left, aka, Papa, and Grampie is on the right.

5.  The "ship cake" made out of onsies.  So cute.

White we didn't receive a few key items we registered for, we did get many wonderful (and cute!) presents that make us breath a little easier now.  Unfortunately we have to return a few gifts which are too far away from what we registered for (I never understand why people don't buy from just causes more work for the person receiving the gift) or that just won't work with our current living situation.  But we did get a few gift cards which will make our shopping easier, thank God.  Now that the showers are over, I'm feeling less stressed out (party planning control freak over here!  Yes, I admit it.) and am looking forward to organizing it all in the next month or so, once the nursery is ready.

Yes.  We'll have a nursery.  Yes, on the boat. :) I'll be sure to share the before, during and after pictures as B1 converts the back cabin into a baby wonderland.