Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Visit from "Aunt Nancy" and "Uncle Tom"

This was a special weekend for the Wonder Twins, as they had out-of-town company travel to see them! Nancy Randall, who has been one of my best friends since fifth grade and singlehandedly helped plan my wedding, and her boyfriend, Tom, drove in Saturday from Winston-Salem to visit.

Nancy had not seen me since my birthday in April, so I was anticipating a big reaction from her to my constantly growing baby bump. When I met them at my house, the first thing she said was, "You don't look pregnant!" I looked at her like she'd somehow morphed into Michael Jackson. "What?" I said and promptly turned to the side to showcase the Wonder Twins in their full glory. "Oh!" exclaimed Nancy. "I can tell from the side, but you really can't tell from the front!" Hilarious. She is right. The girls are almost like a little basketball in my belly. They don't stick out on the sides, just the front! Geof likes to pretend to "palm" them.

Nancy and Tom came bearing gifts, which is always fun! They brought me a beautiful blue and grey floral maternity t-shirt, which I promptly put on and flaunted for them to see. They also brought some "Belly Bars" for the twins. I had seen them in the stores, but I had never tried them. They're almost like a Clif Bar (for all you runners out there) and chock full of folic acid, protein and other good baby-building ingredients. I plan to snack on them at work this week! Yummy!

After being showered with gifts, we were showered with food at Taverna Agora, our favorite Greek restaurant in Raleigh. The food is fantastic, but my only dilemma is I can't eat feta. (Mommies-to-be are supposed to avoid soft cheeses.) Thankfully, there are many other tasty treats on the menu, and none of us had a problem picking an entree. Somehow, after stuffing ourselves with perfectly prepared seafood, veggies and pasta, we still found room to share a five-layer chocolate mousse cake. It was divine. Thanks to stretchy waistbands on pants for pregos, I was able to get out of my chair and pose for pictures without popping!

Following dinner, we went to Downtown Alive, a free concert series on Saturdays in Moore Square. We thought we were going to see Cracker perform, but by the time we waddled our way to the venue, a band called the Tubes was playing. The guitar player looked like Bill Clinton and the music was not good, so we promptly left, holding our full bellies as we walked!

Apparently, this was the weekend of gluttony, because we continued the eating extravaganza Sunday morning at the Farmer's Market Restaurant. We feasted on homemade biscuits, eggs, pancakes and pretty much everything else that was on the menu in some form or fashion! Delicious! You can see how fat and happy we look in the photos below!

We rounded out the afternoon with a movie ("Away We Go") and a pedicure session. Nancy offered to pamper my peds after reading a previous blog posting about how difficult bending over to paint my own tooties was getting. She did a fabulous job. My toes are an eye-popping coral shade, which is the perfect compliment to summertime and flip flops! Love it!

The Wonder Twins loved spending time with "Aunt Nancy" and "Uncle Tom," and look forward to their next visit to the Triangle! Hooray for road trips!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A "Home Run" of a Family Outing

Last night, Geof and I took the Wonder Twins to their first baseball game! The Carolina Mudcats (the mascot is some time of weird southern fish) played the Suns from Jacksonville, Florida at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, which is only about 15 minutes from our house.

We almost didn't make the game for two reasons. First, Geof was wrestling in our newly organized garage with a bike hanger that just wouldn't drill into the wall properly. After about an hour of waging war on the $5 piece of metal, Geof finally prevailed. But, by then, it was already 7 p.m. The game started at 7:15 p.m.

The second reason why we almost bailed on the game? Rain. Dark clouds. Wind. We just knew as soon as we got out to the ballpark and bought our tickets the sky would open up, and we would get soaked! However, the "isolated showers" also helped cool off the mid-90 degree temperatures of the afternoon, and we considered that enough of a plus to take the rain-related risk and go to the game.

We scored great seats in the nosebleed section under a small overhang (in case it rained) right behind home plate. We could see everything really well. After devouring hotdogs and french fries, we settled in to watch the AA teams play ball. The pitcher for the Mudcats, a Cincinnati Reds farm team, was quite talented, easily impressing Geof with his 97 mph fast ball.

We tried to explain to the Wonder Twins where they were and what was going on, but we think they mainly preferred dancing to the songs played between innings such as the "YMCA" and "Thriller." They also liked swaying to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Thankfully, they are not yet interested in cute ball players.

Interestingly, I was not the only pregnant lady there. A woman sitting a few rows down from us was obviously much further along than I, because she was huge and her belly button (Geof calls it the "timer") had totally popped out! We got a good laugh out of her, when a foul ball came soaring over our section, and she ran like lightning up the stairs to an overhang and covered her head. I guess it was her method of baby safety!

Her husband was sporting a UNC-colored hat that said "#1 Dad." Upon seeing it, I immediately asked Geof (even though I already knew what he'd say) if the Wonder Twins got him a "#1 Dad" hat, would he wear it. He, as I expected, said "no." I guess the girls will have to get him the "#1 Dad" coffee mug next year for Father's Day. That would probably be a home run. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Wonder Twins Get a Shout Out! Holla!

On Thursday, I attended the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce's 61st annual luncheon and meeting in Wake Forest. I was there for work reasons - to listen as the department's new Transportation Secretary, Gene Conti, gave the keynote address. I had prepared his remarks, as well as a 23-page briefing memo chock full of information on any possible topic he could get asked about during the Q&A session following his speech.

Before I explain what the Secretary said, allow me to set the scene for you. The luncheon, of course, took place over the lunch hour. However, the event was not held in the comfort of an air-conditioned restaurant. It was held in a tent outside. There were only two fans. It was 90 degrees and sunny outside, and everyone was sweating.

I had scripted a joke for the Secretary to deliver at the beginning of his remarks about the heat that day. But, before he ever got to the joke, he went off the talking points I had provided him and started introducing the NCDOT staff members in attendance. Much to my surprise, he started with me!

He explained that I work in the Communications Office and went on to say I'm helping expand the NCDOT family by having twins in the next few months. I suppose I should've stood up and waved, but I was still in shock at the very unexpected introduction. In response to the baby news, a collection "awww" came from the crowd, and I was showered with "congratulations" from everyone around me.

I consider it the Wonder Twins' first official shout out! Perhaps, it reaped benefits for the Secretary, as well. No one asked him any "hard ball" questions during the Q&A period. I think in a small way the twins helped with that. I mean, really, who's going to get nasty with a man who's traveling with a pregnant lady. No one!

I appreciated the Secretary's kind acknowledgement. I only wish I would've gotten it on video, so I could post it to the blog for posterity! Think he'd be willing to do a second take? At least this time, we could stick to buildings with AC!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bump-ing to the Beat

Most days on the 25-minute drive between home and work, I listen to NPR. It's the easiest way for me to get updated information on the latest happenings in the world around me. But, some days, I just don't feel like tuning in. When the sleepiness sets in or a good mood strikes, I need music, not talking, to keep me moving. That's when I plug in my iPod and begin teaching "music education."

You see, Geof and I both LOVE music and want the Wonder Twins to dig it, too. So, we are making an effort to teach them in utero about rhythm and sound.

Here are two examples:

On my drive from work today, I shuffled through the hundreds of songs on my iPod, looking for something new. Before pressing "play" on an old Indigo Girls' album, I announced, "Okay, girls, this is the Indigo Girls. They sing and play all kinds of guitars. One day, we will teach you to sing and play guitars, too, but for now, just play air guitar with Mommy." I proceeded to play "Tried to Be True" and sing out loud (much to the hilarity of the drivers around me, I'm sure), while patting and strumming my baby bump.

On my drive to work today, the Wonder Twins and I swayed along to Joshua Radin's newest record, "Simple Times." In between songs, I interjected, "You are listening to Joshua Radin. He's a really cute singer/songwriter who can play guitar. You'll meet plenty of guys like him in college. Don't accept their offers to 'give you guitar lessons.'" When the next track started up, so did the rhythmic belly patting.

I think the twins like "music education," because I often feel little sensations of pressure in different parts of my tummy while we bop along to the beat. Nothing painful at all. Just the hint of movement. And, that makes me think they've already got the rhythm stuff down. Now, they're just practicing their dance steps.

Don't be surprised if they come out of the womb doing the moonwalk. It's Geof signature move! Like father, like daughters... :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day to Geof!

Today is a special day at the Demi-Levine house! It's Geof's first Father's Day! Yay! The Wonder Twins wanted to let their Daddy know that they love him very much, so they asked me (we communicate telepathically) to help.

First, we went to Target to find the perfect card, but we ran into a little bit of trouble, because a.) There are no cards that read "To Dad from the Wonder Twins" and b.) The cards that were left were really lame. They decided to abandon the card aisle and seek a more creative solution. They opted to make their own card, so I bought them a 68-cent piece of poster board and home we went to begin brainstorming!

Now, as you know, the girls bones are currently a fraction of the size of a Crayola marker and not exactly sturdy yet. Doing their own coloring, cutting and pasting was out of the question, but that did not hinder them! Oh no. They simply told me what to write, and I did the drawing and designing for them.

Their idea was pretty cute. On the front of the card, they wanted to pose the question: "What's better than winning an Emmy?" (In case you didn't know, Geof's won two Emmys for his photojournalistic work in television news, as well as a slew of other prestigious awards.) On the inside, they answered it: "Coming home to FOUR ladies who love you bunches!" (Their grammar isn't totally perfect yet, but we're working on it. :) ) The "four" includes Stella, our black and white house cat. The twins, Stella and I all added our own special messages and then signed the card.

As you can imagine, Geof loved his homemade card and gave the babies multiple kisses on my tummy to let them know how thoughtful it was.

The card, of course, came with presents. The Wonder Twins plan to be very athletic, so they thought Daddy needed new collapsable chairs to take to their future sporting events. They picked out two nice ones to replace the rusting metal beach chairs we've had since we lived in North Carolina the first time. Yikes! Geof is looking forward to using them as he cheers the girls on from the sidelines. As you can see from the photo below, Stella likes them, too!

Target actually carries little kid versions of those same chairs in pink, and it was all I could do not to buy them. Considering the twins are still in the womb, they couldn't exactly use them for awhile, but they were so cute! I could just see us all lined up like stair steps - Geof, me and the twins. Awww... Kodak moment in my head! But, alas, I refrained and vowed to save the money for more important purchases like two cribs!

The point of today is not gifts or cards. The point is to tell Geof how much we appreciate all he does for us each and every day! He knows I tire easily, so he does the laundry and puts it away, vacuums the house, and cooks dinner on the nights he's not working and cleans up without me even asking!! This, after working a 12-hour day with no lunch break! The twins and I couldn't ask for a better husband/Daddy to care for us. He is absolutely amazing, and we don't know what we'd do without him! Love you, Daddy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wonder Twin Power, Activate! Form of... GIRLS!

Yes, that's right! Geof and I found out this afternoon that we're having twin GIRLS! We are SOOO excited! According to the doctor, their measurements are excellent, and they are progressing well. We could not ask for better news!

As you can imagine, the Wonder Twins' photographer father was fully equipped with his camera and Blackberry during the ultrasound appointment at Rex Hospital. Geof snapped the shot below right after the technician squirted the jelly stuff on my belly and started to slide the palm-held probe around.

This photo shows me smiling widely as I gaze upon our squirming little ladies! They are so amazing! I can't believe how much they've grown since our last ultrasound! (Shortly after Geof took the picture below, I realized he might continuing snapping away through the entire appointment and miss the phenomenal images on the screen. So, I quietly whispered, "You're missing it." With an "Oh!" he immediately put away the camera and left the photography to the almighty ultrasound machine. I guess you could call it an occupational hazard. :) )
This ultrasound picture shows both babies. Twin B is on top; Twin A is on the bottom. Their heads are at opposite ends. The technician said there was a good amount of "fluid" in their little sacks, so we assume they're not too cramped in there just yet.
Meet Twin A! She is our tiny introvert. At every ultrasound we've ever had, she's always shied away from the camera. Last time, we got a great picture of her back! This time, however, she allowed us to capture a nice profile shot! She does not move around quite as much as her sister. She prefers to stay tucked up in a ball and practice yoga in utero. Her heart rate registers 150 beats per minute. Very healthy!
Meet Twin B! She is our tiny extrovert. She LOVES getting her picture taken (sound like anyone you know?) and is always happy to mug for the camera! Today, she was dancing and twisting and wiggling around. In fact, she was so squirmy that the technician had a hard time getting her heart beat to register. When she finally did, it measured 160 bpm. She is certainly going to be the party animal. Even the technician said, "She'll be the one that says to her sister, 'It's okay do that. Mom and Dad won't care. We'll clean it up, and they'll never know.'" Great.
As if in response to that comment, Twin A wanted to let us know everything would be okay, so she flashed us the "peace sign," which you can see in the photo below. Apparently, she's already channeling her family tree. I'll never forget the first time I met Geof's mom, Linda. As we drove up to the restaurant, she was standing by the door and flashed me a peace sign. Not knowing how to appropriately respond, I waved. Geof said, "She was a hippie," as if to explain the display. I like to think that even though Linda is in heaven, she's sending us a small "sign" to let us know she's watching over the Wonder Twins.
Geof and I decided to celebrate today's big news by going to Babies R' Us on a nursery planning adventure. We're thinking about using chocolate and varied shades of pink on the nursery walls and in the bedding. Geof found a great bed set with butterflies on it. So cute! Never thought he'd be excited about butterflies and pink, did you?

I'm not a huge fan of yellow and green. So, I didn't go baby clothes shopping before we found out the sexes. (I've REALLY been looking forward to baby clothes shopping!) So, tonight, we went. We found the perfect outfits, which I'm holding in the picture below. The purple and white onesy says "My twin did it!" The hot pink one says "Save the drama for your mama!" Hilarious. We bought two of the purple ones. Although we don't plan to dress the girls alike, we couldn't resist getting a "twin set" for them!
I found another outfit I think is perfect for Father's Day! Awwww....
In summary, today was a wonderful day! We were definitely surprised by the news that the Wonder Twins are girls, but that seems to be the theme of this pregnancy. First, we were surprised to learn we were having twins, and after assuming for months that one of the babies would surely be a boy, mother nature proved us wrong! The great part is all these surprises are incredible surprises!

Granted, Geof is understandably nervous about being totally outnumbered in the house. Even Stella the Cat is female! But, he's definitely up for the estrogen challenge! I promised to teach him how to do pigtails and ponytails like a champion stylist and tie hair bows with the best of them. I have a feeling the babies are going to be "Daddy's girls" no matter how lopsided their hairdos may be. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Y" not work out?

I'll be honest. Before this week, it had been a while since I had exercised with any type of regularity. For the first few months, I was just too tired before or after work to hit the YMCA in downtown Raleigh where Geof and I are members. Then came vacation. Then catch up after vacation. Then... Well, you get the picture.

No more excuses. Fitness is too importance to make one of those "if I have time" type of things. I'm now back on track... er... the treadmill, ready to give my muscles a work out! Don't worry. I know my limitations and would never do anything to risk the health of the Wonder Twins. The doctor says I can do low-impact cardio, and that's what I stick to. I regularly check my heart rate to make sure it's not inching above 140 beats per minute, and if I feel like I might get winded, I slow waaaay down immediately.

I kick started my exercise regiment yesterday with a 30-minute stint on the elliptical machine, an old gym friend. However, instead of putting the setting at Cross Country 3 and burning through 400 calories in half an hour like I used to, I pushed the button for the basic level and slowly shaved off 200 calories.

Today, I walked 1.1 miles at a slight incline on the treadmill in 25 minutes. It's a far cry from the 5K I used to complete in that same time period, but hey, I'm carrying a lot of extra weight with two babies! :) I followed up my walk with a series of arm exercises using five-pound free weights.

Don't expect me to turn into a toned, svelte body builder over the term of the pregnancy. I like having a neck. I'm doing this for the babies and for myself. I want to stay in relatively good shape while I continue to build up the baby weight, and I want to give the Wonder Twins a healthy start to their young lives.

Oh, and watching people's reactions at the gym to my baby bump in spandex is pretty awesome, too.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Sign Off

For those of you who don't know, I work in the Communications Office at the N.C. Department of Transportation during the week, but on the weekends, I head to job #2. I work as a sales associate at Raleigh Running Outfitters, a speciality running store owned, operated and "run" by runners. I help everyone from elite four-minute milers to "Couch to 5K" couples find the right shoes and apparel to meet their running needs.

(Check out to see Geof and me sporting our RRO shirts at the Race for the Cure. We're about 25 seconds into the video.)

For more than a year, I've spent nearly every Saturday and Sunday at the store. With the Wonder Twins on the way, that's all changing. Today was my last Sunday at RRO. I will still continue to work on Saturdays, until I'm just too big to bend over and check to see if a customer has enough room in the toe box of his or her shoes.

I originally started working at the store for three key reasons. First, we were paying a mortgage on our house in Tucson (which we were anxiously trying to sell) and rent on our apartment in Raleigh (which we couldn't wait to ditch once we found a new house). No fun in a no-good economy. Second, I was new to town, and Geof worked weekends at WRAL. I needed a way to meet people. Nice people who shared my interests. Third, running gear can be expensive, and getting discounts is awesome!

What started out as a weekend job has turned into a fun way to spend time with friends, talk about running and help others make running their passion, as well. The gang at RRO has been incredibly supportive of me, Geof and the babies. We very much appreciate their flexibility and hilarious parental advice! We look forward to taking the twins to the store for their first pairs of trainers!

Now that I'll be free on Sundays, I plan to tackle all the projects that must get done around the house before the babies are born, because I know I won't come close to crossing them off my "To Do" list after Nov. 22! So, if you call on Sundays and I don't answer, just know I'm not dodging your call. I'm simply belly deep in a filing cabinet in the garage or hanging a long-awaited set of frames above the bed. I promise I'll call you back!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wonder Twins Clench First P.R.!

The Wonder Twins participated in their very first road race today! They "walked" a 5K (3.1 miles) with Geof and me early this morning at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in downtown Raleigh.

They did a great job dealing with the hilly course and warm, humid weather. No cramps or complaints from our two fleet-feeted babies! They finished in 1:18 (one hour, 18 minutes) - a personal record! They would've crossed the finish line a lot sooner if 1.) we hadn't started at the back of the pack, 2.) I hadn't had to wait in line for the Port-O-Potty at mile two and 3.) I had actually walked fast. Regardless, they still beat a lot of other people... and babies. No wonder we call them the Wonder Twins!!

Throughout the race, they definitely had their grandmothers in mind. Grandma Lynn and Grandma La La are breast cancer survivors of more than 20 years each. Geof and I wore pink pieces of paper with their names on them pinned to our backs to honor their courageous and successful battles against the terrible disease.

Normally, this is an event that I would run, not walk. But, the doctors say running (and any other type of high-impact cardio) is a no-no. Because twins are considered a high-risk pregnancy, I must stick to low-impact exercise. So, I walked. Safety first!

Geof ran for both of us. He took part in the competitive 5K and finished in about 24 minutes! The twins and I stood at the finish line and cheered for him as he crossed. Yay for Daddy!

Although we somehow managed to lose the camera inside the house this morning before we left for the race, we did snap a few pictures with Geof's Blackberry during the race. Check us out!

More than 20,000 people attended the Race for the Cure today, making it won of the 25 largest Komen races in the country! We are so proud to help this amazing organization that does so much to help educate women and men about breast cancer. However, we look forward to the day when we no longer have to "race for the cure," because we've found the cure.

Friday, June 12, 2009

School Shopping

If there is one bit of advice experienced mothers continually share with me, it's find a daycare facility for your babies as soon as you find out you're pregnant. We're slightly behind that curve, being that the Wonder Twins are almost 17 weeks old, but we're working hard to play catch up. We want to make sure that when my 12 weeks of maternity leave are over, we have a great, safe place for the twins to stay while Geof and I are at work.

That's why Geof picked me up from work today, and we spent my lunch break at Children's Discovery Center in Raleigh on a tour. Here's a photo of the facility below.

We decided to tour it for several key reasons. First, it came highly recommended by three of Geof's colleagues from WRAL. One of them is the station's no-nonsense troubleshooter reporter. If she thinks the center is good enough for her kids, I'm certain it's good enough for our kids. Second, the facility offers an a la carte plan. That means we can drop the Wonder Twins off for a few hours on the days when I work days and Geof works nights, and leave them for the full day when Geof and I both work days. Most centers do not offer that kind of flexibility. It will end up saving us a lot of money. Third, it is located on Avent Ferry Road in Raleigh, which is not far from WRAL and NCDOT.

The center was very nice and clean. We popped into the rooms with the young babies and middle babies, and all the kids in those rooms (including a set of twins) seemed to be happy. The teachers are background checked to ensure safety, and they do not care for more than four kids at a time.

Based on the success of the tour, we went ahead and signed up to bring the babies there in February when we presume my maternity leave will be up. There is no waiting list that far out right now, so we're guaranteed two spots!

However, I've been told by many a mom that it's important to have a fall-back plan just in case something happens at the preferred center. We'll continue to tour other places as the weeks progress to make sure we've got multiple options for our multiple babies!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quad Screen Success

I usually try to sprinkle my posts with humor, but for this post, I'll treat a serious matter with a serious tone.

I went to the OBGYN's office last week to have a very important blood test done. It's called a quad screen, and it looked for signs that the Wonder Twins could have chromosomal defects. These include Down Syndrome and Trisomy 18, life-altering conditions that are not necessarily genetic.

The test was voluntary. We didn't have to do it, and to be honest, I didn't really want to. I explained to my doctor that I would love the babies regardless of any biological challenges they might face in life and just wanted to enjoy the beauty of holding the twins in my tummy. She told me the majority of parents find the test results relieving and encouraged me to discuss it with Geof.

I did. He felt strongly that I should have the test done, so if there were problems, we could start planning ahead on how to deal with them. His logic made sense, but it didn't make me any less scared.

I had a single vial of blood drawn last Thursday. I was told the results would not come in for about a week. That meant waiting. For a whole week. I hate waiting.

Luckily, the news came much sooner. On Tuesday, we got word the test results were "negative." I immediately asked what that meant. "It means everything is fine," said the woman from the doctor's office. "Across the board? For every test?" I said. "Yes," she confirmed. Elation! Relief!

I know there are other health hurdles the twins may face in the months ahead. I'm worried about those, too, and regularly pray for the babies' health and strength. But, at least for now, we know they are continuing to develop well, and we are incredibly thankful for that.

I Love Kleenex with Vicks

It's been far too long since I last posted an update to this blog! The cranky culprits keeping me from adding new material? Sinus pain, a runny nose and exhaustion. Ugh!

The start of a new month brought a host of new symptoms to my pregnancy experience. First came the sneezing, which was closely followed by razor blade-like sinus pain in my "T" zone. Then came the unstoppable nose blowing and congestion. Yep. I should've invested in Kleenex infused with Vicks, because I went through many boxes of them before relief finally came this Monday.

The pregnancy books warn that mucus may increase when you're with child(ren) in order to trap more germs from getting into mommy's system. If that's true, then the Wonder Twins are going to be germ free for the rest of the lives.

Thankfully, I am now feeling much better. I'm trying hard to get lots of sleep to ward off the exhaustion that I think caused all the nasal nonsense in the first place. I never thought going to be bed at 9 p.m. would be so possible! Ahhhh. Thank you, Vicks!