Dear Dumplings — 10 Weeks: Well, It’s Passover … Sort Of

Mama and Daddy Umami Burger, 2011

Mama and Daddy
Umami Burger, Studio City, 2011

Dear Dumplings,

On Wednesday of this week you were 10 weeks and 3 days old.  Wow.  We are in the home stretch heading into the second trimester where Mama is supposed to start feeling better.  I started this entry on my normal Dear Dumplings day (Wednesday) – but due to a variety of circumstances this week, I am terribly behind on writing to you.

The books say you are now bigger than an olive and have bones and cartilage forming all over your body, including limbs.  There is some other stuff happening with your liver and your kidneys.  Basically, they tell me you’re growing like little weeds.

All this growing you are doing could explain why your Mama ate a double-patty hamburger at Five Guys on Tuesday.  I have no idea why hamburgers are the food of choice this week, but if I keep eating them at the rate I have been lately, I might have to start calling you little patties.  I still love dumplings … just not with chicken right now.  As of today, we are not friends with the chicken, especially breaded chicken.  I am confident that will change.

I started writing to you from Phoenix.  I guess you could call this your first trip to Phoenix, though I will not fault you for not remembering it.  Phoenix is in the state called Arizona.  We have 50 states that make up the United States.  One day y’all will play the license plate game in the back seat of the car and learn them all.  It is almost impossible to find license plates from Alaska and Hawaii – but it can be done.

I can recite all of the states in alphabetical order.  I used to be able to recite all of the presidents in the order they served, but recently when I have tried this party trick, I go awry after Rutherford B. Hayes – then I pick back up strong again once I get to Woodrow Wilson.  Your mother is full of somewhat useless information like this.  I also speak enough German to be dangerous in Germany.

Your Mama was born in Hawaii, and I have the license plate from the car I came home from the hospital in (a baby blue Volkswagen Bug) – this is also the same car I learned how to drive when I was ten.  I was on Mawmaw’s farm in the middle of a field, of course.  You, I’m sorry to say, will not be learning to drive when you are ten.  Unless, of course, we live on a farm with a giant field where you can learn how to drive.

Someone asked me last week if I wanted you to be boys or girls.

Of course I do not care if you are boys or girls.  I have my favorite two girl names and my favorite two boy names all picked out.  Once we know for sure, your Daddy and I will start to narrow it down.  I think names are a very personal thing, so we don’t want to go talking about your names publicly until we look into your eyes and make sure that sort of a name fits the baby starting back at us.

Passover was this week.  Passover is a very important Jewish holiday, and I have to be honest with you – we did not give it our full attention this year.  We had what I like to refer to as the Sonic Seder.  Hopefully my tummy will be back to normal next year, and we can really celebrate.  Passover always proceeds the major Christian holidays Good Friday and Easter.  Today is Good Friday.  Sunday is Easter.  Someday I will explain to you how it all ties together, but in the meantime all you need to know about most holidays is they revolve around history, ritual, tradition and lots of eating.

Today your Mama booked Queen Latifah for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.  I have been booking a speaker for this event since 2003.  Prudential and the National Association for Secondary School Principals join together and elect the top two youth volunteers in each state.  It is one of my favorite clients and many of the kids selected over the years are doing some amazing things.  I am inspired every year by the kids I meet.  I cannot wait until you are old enough to go and maybe even enter!

Mama has been busy planning your arrival.  I keep looking at all of the different things I will need for you and I get a little overwhelmed.  I am excited about decorating your room.  I have many ideas, but I am holding back until I know if you are boys or girls or both.

Just know that even though I was a little late this week posting your letter, I am always thinking about you, talking to you and rubbing my belly.  My prayer is for you to continue to grow into healthy, strong babies.  Even in those moments, in fact, especially in those moments, when I am feeling so sick I can barely move — if I just rub my belly and think about holding you, somehow all of the nausea mishegoss dissipates.  It seems like nothing at all.

Pretty soon I am going to have some baby pictures of Daddy to show you.  Your Grandma Wilcox gave me a bunch of slides to turn into digital pictures.  Did you know your Daddy was born with a full head of strawberry blonde hair?  I never in a million years thought I could give birth to anyone with such a hair color, but apparently I might possibly do so.  Wouldn’t that be cute?  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Oh, and just so you know, your Daddy made this random proclamation that he wanted to play Glenn Miller for seven hours a day for you.  (I have no idea — he is a very old soul.) Don’t get me wrong, Glenn Miller is wonderful — and you’re great-grandfather, my Gran Gran, would only listen to Glenn Miller — but, I compromised and gave him one hour a day.

After all, there has to be some hours left in the day for Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.

Can’t wait to see you with Dr. S next Wednesday!

Love Always,


P.S.  Willie is a master storyteller — A Horse He Called Music, so beautiful.

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Week 10 — Tri-One: Sometimes There’s a Bee in Your Bonnet

Week 10My official ten-week photo was taken on Sunday, March 24th.  We traveled to Phoenix all day Monday and I was unable to post, so here I am — typing from Phoenix.

This past week has been full of ups and downs.  In fact, so many downs, I have been questioning my ability to stay in each moment full of appreciation and gratitude for my little dumplings who are now roughly the size of olives.  The nausea and fatigue were starting to cause a mild depression.  My active, yogi body was deteriorating by the day.  My shoulders were tense.  I was achy all over.  I couldn’t really eat and when I did eat I was convinced I was giving my children diabetes, not nourishing them.

In the brief moments between the nausea, I would look at my pictures of Harper and Harlow and wonder what all my troubles were about.  Then I would see (or think about) a breaded chicken breast or some other generally benign food item (broccoli, cauliflower) and the nausea would return with a vengeance.

On Saturday afternoon, in an effort to combat my moodiness, I got a facial and went to yin yoga with Ellen.  I needed it, and so did the Dumplings.  They needed their Mama to calm down and understand that this road was not paved with sunflowers, bluebonnets and the smell of gardenias.

Despite the fact that I had waited years to feel all of this, it did not mean that feeling all of it was going to be a picnic.  And it isn’t.

In yoga, I feel my legs and hips begin to unwind with each stretch.  I feel the babies stretching – or my uterus stretching – whatever the case may be.  There is an unraveling of all the manic uncertainty locked in my body.  I could feel it begin to dissipate.

By Saturday night I was at a German restaurant with Jonathan for our neighbor’s birthday.  I was not really enjoying the food, but I wasn’t berating myself for not enjoying the food.  This made a huge difference.  I started to let go of the perfect pregnancy diet and the perfect this and the perfect that.  I started to just be in my pregnancy.

At the German restaurant, the Dumplings and I got down five bites of sausage and French fries — followed by a black cherry soda, a root beer and two red velvet cupcakes.  I am not sure why sweetness curbs the nausea, but it really does.  This is why I worry about giving the Dumplings diabetes – but on Saturday night, I finally let it go.  Right now I am doing whatever it takes to get through the day.

Sunday was a day of nesting.  I went to fabric stores.  I looked at patterns.  I started to read the instructions on my new sewing machine.  I even drew sketches of how the house needs to be organized by August.  Whatever little black raincloud had been following me around since Thursday was suddenly gone.  The nausea was coming and going, but my sense of humor about it all was back in tact.

And then I got a bee in my bonnet.

I was talking to my sister-in-law, Debbie, while lounging in the backyard.  It was a beautiful day.  One of those days people who live in California love to brag about as a blizzard hits the east coast.   Suddenly I hear a bee buzzing around my head – this is not uncommon for this time of year – so I swat it away, but it does not leave.  I swat again.  It does not leave.  I swat again and again and again – the buzzing persists; only louder and more agitated.

I start screaming like a freak, Get out of my hair!  Get away from me!  Leave me alone!  … as if, bees speak English.

I think perhaps he is caught in my hair clip.  I throw it down.  The buzzing gets louder and more agitated.  I keep waiting to feel the sting, but it never comes.  I run in the house, thinking maybe the bee is stuck in my clothes.  I start stripping in the living room.  The buzzing persists.

My hysteria has now reached a point that my sister-in-law thinks Hannibal Lecter is in the house ready to eat me with some fava beans and nice glass of chianti.  I throw the phone down, run around in a circle – I almost run out into the street half-naked, but think better of it.

I run into my bathroom and get a brush.  I madly start brushing my mane of hair – while still screaming at the bee (like a wild woman) to get out of my hair.  Suddenly, with one long stoke of the brush, I hear him fly away.  I look up at the ceiling in my bedroom and there he is buzzing around; completely discombobulated. I slam the door, telling the bee Jonathan will deal with him later.  I honestly believe the bee is much more stressed out than I am, and that is saying something.

I go back to my phone and my sister-in-law is patently waiting for me; grateful it was only a bee.  I am out of breath.

When Jonathan comes home I send him into the room to kill the bee.  He appears to be waiting on the ceiling for his fate.  However, he was so shocked, he just fell onto the paper Jonathan brought to swat him with.  He had expired stuck to the ceiling because some crazy woman (me) had probably caused him to sting her hair, but not her head.

Poor bee.  His last moments of life were spent terrorized in the hair of a crazy pregnant lady.  He definitely should have stayed out of my bonnet.

I went through a momentary panic about having put the dumplings through an unnecessary episode of high anxiety.  Considering all the screaming I did, I’m just glad their ears don’t work all that well yet.

We got into Phoenix on Monday afternoon.  It was the first night of Passover.  My nausea was mild, but there.  The dumplings and I had determined hamburgers with no cheese and no pickles and no tomatoes were good.

None of it was kosher for Passover.

Guess what I am going to bring you for dinner? Jonathan asked.

Just a plain burger, honey.  Don’t get fancy.  Keep it simple.

How about a Sonic burger, tater tots and a cherry limeade?

Are you kidding?

Nope.  I will be there in about ten minutes.

Suddenly, I was ravenous.  The kind of hungry I had not felt in at least two weeks.  My taste buds were salivating.  I would swear to you the dumplings did a flip.  Sonic.  My favorite fast food place ever.

We devoured it.  My stomach had not been this happy in weeks.

This week was full of ups and downs; like life tends to be.  As much as we want to be in the moment and bathe ourselves in gratitude for all of it, sometimes, there is a giant bee in our bonnet.  Eventually, one way or another, the bee leaves and you’re left with a moment of gratitude for his absence.

After weeks of not feeling hunger, you’re grateful to say, I am ravenous!

I had never been so grateful for the existence of Sonic in my life.  For this brief moment, the nausea left, hunger stepped in — ravenous hunger.  I had forgotten what that was like.

My 2013 Passover Seder was not traditional or ordained by anyone but the dumplings.  Right now, what is kosher and not kosher for anything is completely their call.  It was the best meal we had had in what seemed like weeks.

It was so good.  We’re going there again today for lunch.


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Dear Dumplings — 9 weeks: Goodbye, Dr. K

Week 9 Babies

Dear Dumplings,

Today we saw you wiggle around like little babies.  It was so beautiful.  Harlow, I think you were waving at us.  Harper, I think you were asleep, but we heard your little heart beating.  We heard both your little hearts beating.  Dr. K told us that this is about as fast as your heartbeat gets.  From here on out it should get slower.

The books say you are now slightly bigger than a grape and on your way to being the size of an olive.  Your tongue, lips and nose are continuing to develop.  Now your eyes are more distinct, with tiny eyelids to protect them.  I can’t wait to see your eyes. Your teeth are just beginning to form, too!  You most definitely are starting to move your little limbs.  I cried when I saw you waving your little arms and legs around, Harlow.

Today was our last appointment with Dr. K.  It was a day I had been waiting for, of course, but I was still a little sad.  I claim to like change, but really I don’t.  Like most people, I adjust, and suddenly you wake up one day and you have a new normal.  It’s been quite a ride from where we started to hearing heartbeats and watching you wave.  It’s a journey I am elated that I took, and I could not be happier with exactly where it ended up.

I know I can call and email Dr. K, and when I can get to a yoga class again, I am certain I will run into him at some point.  I am most certain we will take you to meet him.  Your Daddy seems to think we might even do this again, considering there are about eight more of you on ice — he thinks the more the merrier.  Of course, he does not have to be pregnant.  I keep smiling at him and telling him, “We’ll see.” 

Our graduation to Dr. S is the true end of this portion of the journey.  I officially graduated from the waiting to be a Mama to Mama.  I no longer need the special doctor, but the doctor all the other Mama’s need.  As part of our goodbye thank you present, Daddy and I had our friend Holly bake some really yummy and pretty cookies.  We ate a whole bag full of them on Monday.  To be honest, I only gave Daddy one bite of one cookie.  Apparently, y’all love cookies.  Maybe your both Always Ready for Dessert just like your Mama?

Baby Cookies

When I returned home today, Boomer was waiting for me.  He was delivered back to me in a sweet little box with his paw print.  It was all I could do to sign for everything before I went into the living room and burst into tears.  Oh, how I miss that little ball of fur and his ever so soothing purr.  It was just two weeks ago today when he got sick.  Your Daddy and I talk about him every day.  Last night Daddy went to an event and there was a cat there rubbing all over him.  Between the cat on the yoga retreat and this one, I think Boomer is sending us little kitty messages.  I don’t feel quite ready.  But, I will.  I think there are a couple of little boy cats named Raylan and Boyd in our future.

Life is so spectacular.  Today I have already experienced joy and sadness and grief — it’s only 2:00 in the afternoon.  It’s one of the things I love about this ride we are all on; together, but separately.  All the unpredictability.  As I like to say, it is some kind of ride.  I can’t wait for you to get here and join us.

Not to give you your first guilt trip or anything, but the two of you are making your Mama pretty sick.  The nausea has been so bad the past few days, I can barely eat anything.  Today I managed to eat both breakfast and lunch without incident.  We are craving chicken pot pie and chicken noodle soup — and of course, chicken n’ dumplings.  But we are craving all of these things without the chicken pieces being too visible.  You’re Mama is fast becoming a vegetarian, except for the occasional piece of bacon on her toast.

This past weekend I bought a shelf for your room and found some pictures for your wall.  Last night our sweet friend, Katherine, gave me her sewing machine.  I cannot wait to start making stuff for you.  This weekend will be my first trip into a fabric store in quite some time.  I think I am going to start with something easy.  I’ll let you know what that is as soon as I find it.

In two weeks we get to meet Dr. S.  She seems really nice.  I can’t wait to see you in two more weeks.  Maybe in a few more weeks after that we’ll know what sex you are.  It will definitely help me with fabric choices.

I love you both to the moon.  All the way past the moon, really.

Love Always,


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Week 9 — Tri-One: I’m Grateful, I’m Really, Really Grateful

This is my officialTerry Wilcox -- Week 9 week nine picture. I’m sure I haven’t fooled you — I really don’t feel well.

The Dumplings are now the size of grapes.  They sure are wreaking a lot of havoc on my system for a couple of grapes.

As the title of this post states, I am grateful.  I really, really am.  I wake up every day full of gratitude for all the blessings in my life.  I give thanks for them not just every day, but every second of every day.  After all I have been through to have the gift of life (x2) growing inside my womb, I can’t possibly have anything to complain about.

Oh, but I do.  I wish I didn’t, but I do.

Food.  I hate all food.  Not just in the morning, but ALL DAY LONG.  Food is my enemy.

From morning until night I am nauseous. My once eclectic palate now resembles that of a six year old.  I only seem to enjoy food that is white, and I barely “enjoy” that.  I just tolerate it long enough to get it down.

Macaroni and cheese.  Spaghetti and meat sauce.  Chicken pot pie.  Most soups.  Bacon and toast.  Ginger cat cookies from Trader Joe’s.  Jolly Ranchers.  Jello pudding.

The bacon and toast baffles even me.  If I get within three feet of fish or a piece of chicken I feel as though I might lose my lunch.  Steak is not very high on my list either, but ground beef and bacon seem to be making the cut.

I hate water.  It makes me more nauseous.  I drink milk, herbal tea and Gatorade.  Obviously, not at the same time.

Fruit and protein shakes are sustaining me.  And you heard it here first — Thank God for my sweet, patient husband.  The Dumplings and I would starve without him.

I have not been blogging at any sort of regular pace recently, but I did write posts about baby names.  Here are my top ten girl names and my top ten boy names posts.  We have not really started talking about names since we have no idea what we are having, but being a girl, I have been thinking about baby names since I was eight.

Given that food was the last thing on my mind all weekend, I happily joined Jonathan in cleaning out the garage.  Exciting, I know — but this tedious chore actually led me to rediscover some artwork created my my dear friend, Christopher.  More than a decade ago we were working on a children’s project that never went anywhere, but I was left with this fabulous artwork.  I am going to frame it in some really creative way (I have yet to figure out), and put it on the walls in the Dumpling’s room.



Paige the Skunk

Paige the Skunk

Mr. Pugsy

Mr. Pugsy


Marcella the Cat

Newton the Alligator

Newton the Alligator

I love how colorful it is, and that it will blend nicely with the eclectic mix of art and furnishings for the room.  But the main thing I love about it is that it is original artwork by one of my dearest friends from college.  I love the fact that when the Dumplings get old enough to ask about the pictures; I can tell them all about their Uncle Chris who lives in New York.  I might even put a picture of us from college in the room just to scare my children.

Look, Dumplings, a picture of Mommy the clown.  

It was the 80’s, I hope they will forgive me.


Another bonus is I co-created all of these character, so I may be the only one who really knows their stories.  The Dumpling’s walls will come to life with original stories about the adventures of The Globespinners — all living in their Mama’s mind.

In addition to finding artwork in our garage, I found the first piece of furniture for the Dumpling’s room.  I will confess, I thought I was buying a shelf for my bathroom, but when I got it home, the shelves were really too small for what I needed in the bathroom. I threw the towels aside and started putting some of my childhood memorabilia on the shelves.  It’s a great color (which I will confess is the main reason I bought it) and fits in well with the eclectic mix of past and present I want to bring to their little room.

Dumpling Room Shelf


 Shelf toys

Another wonderful thing that happened over the past several days, was I found a designer for this blog.  I am so excited.  Her name is Heather Sanders, she is from Texas.  I have been following her for a few years now, and I think her designs are creative and unique.  I feel really blessed she decided to help me with my blog because she is headed into semi-retirement for web design.  Her true passion is writing and blogging about homeschooling and she does this a few times a week at The Pioneer Woman and on her own website,  It will be several months before the changes take place, but I am thrilled  to finally begin working on them.

A lot is going on in my body and in my mind with each passing week of this pregnancy.  I am excited and scared and worried and joyful and full of wonderment about what the future holds for us and the Dumplings.  I am devouring books to the tune of two per week.  My husband keeps asking if the pregnancy books are actually different.  The truth?

No, they really aren’t.

As I read parenting articles and other blogs across the internet, I think a lot about my childhood and the things I loved about it.  I loved playing and learning to negotiate and figure things out on my own. I lived on this block full of kids all basically within 2-4 years of my age.  Parents on our block rarely, if ever, interfered in our playing unless we were trying to drown each other in the pool.  We played outside until we were forced to come home.

When I look around neighborhoods now I don’t see this and it makes me sad.  I remember the hours I spent exploring my neighborhood parks and just hanging out with friends. Eventually, yes, we walked to an arcade — Time Tunnel — where I spent every quarter my mother had trying to beat high scores on Pac Man.  I’m not sure that was good for us, but at least we walked there or rode our bikes.  Even when we got Atari at home, my mother practically kicked us out of the house after thirty minutes unless it was cold or raining.

I was never over-scheduled until I started CATS and I chose to be over-scheduled.  I see kids now and they have one day off per week when they are in elementary school.  I often wonder, when do they play and imagine and dream?  Exploring my neighborhood and Mawmaw’s farm — roaming around alone or with friends, that’s when I was dreaming and figuring things out no one can teach you at the dinner table or in a classroom.  I hope there is some way for us to give that kind of free play to the Dumplings.

I keep wondering where that kind of life exists?  I get worried, maybe it doesn’t anymore.

Kid’s lives today seem so intense; especially here in Los Angeles.  Life is intense enough as an adult; I hope I can shield the Dumplings from some of this — though the writing may just be on the wall in our society.  I guess I’ll figure it out as I travel the road like any parent does.

One of my favorite songs lately is Rodney Atkins, I’ve Been Watching You.  I love it, and it is so true.  I remember watching my Mom and my Dad do things and trying to copy them.

Parents are our first idols — here’s to hoping Jonathan and I can be ones worth idolizing.

Don’t think for one second I am not going to use the first five years of their life to influence their musical tastes for the rest of their lives.  My Mom was pretty good at this for me, so apparently, I am still watching her.

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Top Ten Baby Boy Names

Roy Merrill Baby Pic

Unfortunately, I do not have a scanned baby picture of Jonathan at my house, but eventually I will change this picture to be one of him.  I need to steal some photo albums from his Mom and start scanning.  In the meantime, enjoy this adorable picture of my Daddy, Roy.

I’ll be honest, baby boy names are a lot harder for me.  When I started the process of picking my favorite boy names, I wrote down all the boy names in my family and Jonathan’s family that I knew.  Jonathan does not like boy names that are cute.  I don’t either, so we’re in agreement there.  I always picture the name on a man first, and if I laugh, I know it is a bad name.  Except for #9 — I am, for some strange reason, unable to see the humor … clearly blinded by my current obsession with the man in the white Stetson.  This will fade with the season finale in a few weeks.  Jonathan is grateful.

1.   James — This is my father-in-law’s name and my father-in-law’s grandfather’s name.  His father’s name was Clarence.  Clarence went by the nickname Bunt, probably because Clarence is well … Clarence.  I always think of a little boy with asthma or really thick glasses when I hear the name Clarence.  It’s not a strong name, but a sweet one.

2.  Roy — It’s my Daddy’s name, so of course I love it.  Jonathan likes it to, as one of his dearest friends is also named Roy.  Memom and Gran Gran named my father after a fella named Roy Tarwater.  He was a guy who loaned them some money for something, and they felt so indebted to him, they named their first born son after him.  Gran Gran’s name was David, but there are so many David’s in my family I would not go near the name —  even though I love it.

3.  Mark — Jonathan’s brother’s name was Mark.  He passed away almost a year ago which is one reason this name is making my list.  The other reason is I just like the name Mark.  It’s a good name.  I know and have known a lot of wonderful people named Mark in my life.

4.  Jack — Jack is just a good, solid name.  And cool.  I’ve always thought Jack was cool.  The name Jack means God is gracious.  He is gracious, and so would be Jack, should we have one.

5.  George — Jonathan’s grandfather was George.  It’s hard for me to see a baby named George, but I can see a man named George.  I am always a sucker for family names and names that have an origin beyond the baby book or some random television show character.

6.  Jonathan — Of course I love this name.  I am not sure Jonathan is one for having a mini-J running around the house, so it will probably not make his cut, but I still love it.

7.  William — This is my uncle’s middle name.  I didn’t pick it for that reason, but it’s a bonus.  I just like the name.  I always have.  Will is a good, solid name.

8.  Bogart — Ok, here is where I get a little weird.  But honestly, who was cooler than Bogie?  Forget the name Humphrey, he went by Bogie.  Anyone name Bogart would be called Bogie and they could get away with saying things like, “If I thought you could swim back I’d dump you overboard.”  (To Have and Have Not)  Of course, the definition of bogie is “cigarette” … not exactly something I want to tell my child.

9.  Raylan — This is my random television show character name.  We all have one.  You won’t believe how many little boys I know named Sawyer … It will never make the cut, but I would be lying if I did not put it in my top ten.  Even I can succumb to pop culture.  Ah, Raylan.  Raylan Wilcox.  Never.  Our next cat might be Raylan, though.

10.  Hunter — I think Hunter Wilcox is a good combo and it is most definitely a man’s name.  The drawback is he could not be called Hunt.  I don’t like the shortened version of this name.

Other Contenders:











— Full confession — I am drawn to the W names because they all sound good with the last name Wilcox.  Sort of rolls off your tongue.

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Top Ten Baby Girl Names

This picture is inserted purely for your viewing pleasure.

This picture is inserted purely for your viewing pleasure.

I have no reason to be posting baby names yet.  I have no idea if I have girls or boys growing in there.  Major polling says I have one of each.  My nausea says … I have no idea what my nausea says.

Today is just a fun post.  My head is a spinnin’ from all of the things I am digesting about redesigning and growing the readership of this blog.  I’ve taken copious notes and done an exorbitant amount of reading, in between editing palliative care videos and trying to get some food in my system.

I really needed to stop and write.  So here I am at baby names.  I have been reading lists online and in books.  Can you believe someone actually wrote Lil Bow Wow in a book as a potential baby name?  What!?!

I think baby names should be classic and timeless.  Not things like Apple.  I have noticed that naming your child after fruit, even the most popular one, has never taken off.  However, the book I am reading suggests the coolest “fruit name” for your baby is Plum.  Uh. No.  I briefly contemplated Clementine, given that historically it is a name and a fruit.  In fact, I would bet the name came before the fruit given that I do not remember eating said fruit until I was an adult.  I am not curious enough to Google it right now.

1.  Harper — I’ll be honest I do love one of my Dumpling nicknames as a real name.  I’ve always thought Harper Lee had a cool name and To Kill a Mockingbird will always be one of my favorite books.  Jonathan likes this name, it could be a contender in the fall.

2.  Ruby — Jonathan is not a huge fan of this name, but I love it.  Ironically, it was my grandfather’s name.  I never met him and he never publicly went by Ruby (for obvious reasons), but I think it is a great name for a little girl.

3.  Audrey — This is my mother-in-law’s middle name, which I did not know when I first selected this as one of my favorite names years ago.  Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have a daughter named Audrey.  Not that it is influencing the names of my children, but I found that out as a side note.  Again, Jonathan is not a fan.  I thought Audrey Kay Wilcox would be a beautiful name after both of our mothers, but alas, I do not think I will win this one.

4. Claire — This is my step-mother’s middle name.  She is not a fan of her middle name.  Is anyone?  My Mawmaw’s middle name was LaRue … Seriously.  I think Claire is a beautiful name.  I thought about Clarice, but every time I hear the name Clarice I think of liver, fava beans and Chianti — oh, and cannibalism.   I have no idea where Jonathan falls on this name, we are not discussing anything seriously until we know what they are.  Given that he is a Libra, I do not make him contemplate anything in advance unless he offers the information willingly.

5. Carolina — Yes, Carolina, as in the Carolinas.  Not Caroline.  I think it is southern and sophisticated.  Caroline is beautiful, but Carolina just has that something extra that I love. I think of James Taylor — yes, I’m going to Carolina in my mind.

6. Juliet — Yes, that Juliet.  Romeo and Juliet.  I love Shakespeare.  I’ve always loved this name.  Classic.  Timeless.  Beautiful.  I also love Portia from Merchant of Venice, but it does not fall into classic, timeless and beautiful.  It falls into the category of my mother is a Shakespeare geek and wanted to be clever with my name.  However, it seems to work fine for Portia de Rossi.

7.  Meryl — When I was a kid I watched the biography of Beryl Markham starring Stefanie Powers.  I thought I would have a daughter named Beryl (after all, at the time I was planning on having eight children so there was room for error), but as I’ve grown older my love for the name Beryl has faded and has been replaced my Meryl.  I originally thought Merrill (my maiden name) but it’s too manly looking as a woman’s name.  But Meryl is feminine looking, however, I am not sure if anyone but Meryl Streep can be named Meryl.  It’s not quite as bad as naming your kid Oprah, but it’s close.  This probably will not make the cut.

8.  Lily — This was my great-grandmother’s name.  I’ve always thought it was timeless and beautiful.  I love lilies, but gardenias are my favorite flowers.  Gardenia is not my favorite name.

9.  Tess — This is sort of a shortened version of Teressa, but not.  I’ve always loved this name since I saw Tess Harper in Tender Mercies.

10. Isabella — I love the name Bella.  So beautiful.  Isabella is classic.  Timeless.  Probably one of my most favorite on the list.

Other Contenders:


Cecilia (yes, I love that song)









Enjoy a little JT — from a LONG time ago.

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Dear Dumplings — 8 weeks: For the Love Of Pets

Dear Dumplings,

This week, I do not get to see you.  I am not worried about that, as I have no reason to think you are not growing like little weeds in there given the fact that my pants are starting to feel way too tight around the middle.  It is fun to take a peek at you and hear those little heartbeats.  We will see you next Wednesday and then two weeks after that we will have our first appointment with the doctor who will deliver you.  She seems very nice and she is the one who recommended Dr. K to us, so for that we will always be grateful.

I have to admit, I am going to have a hard time leaving Dr. K as I feel like he has been with us so long, but unfortunately he does not deliver babies.  We’ll definitely take you to meet him, especially since he is in the same building as our new doctor.  Plus, we might run into him at yoga.  You never know.

Last week I decided to call you Harper and Harlow, which everyone seems to love.  I wish I could feel you so I could tell you apart, but being as small as you are, I can’t feel much except stretching.  When we were doing yoga last weekend in Ojai, I felt you stretching a lot.  I took it easy, but it was nice to be back on my mat for three days in a row.

Today you are eight weeks and three days old.  Depending on what I am reading you are slightly bigger than a jellybean or a raspberry.  I am more of a raspberry fan myself.  I never did take to jellybeans, though I do love Swedish fish and Hot Tamales.  Both of those things are candy, and have no relation to fish or tamales. The two of you actually seem to like Swedish Fish quite a lot.  And Jello pudding cups.  Lots of Jello pudding cups this week.

I have this iPad App called Sprout and it shows me pictures of what you look like each week and tells me what is going on inside my belly.  Your noses and upper lips are growing more prominent and your little arms and legs are further emerging, but they still sort of look like little paddles.  The very important event of closing your neural tube has also occurred, at least we pray it has.

This week your Mama and Daddy had a big blow.  Last Thursday, the day after we saw your little heartbeats for the second time, we had to put down our fur baby, Boomer.  He was with your Mama for almost eighteen years.  I am sorry you will not get to meet him, as he was quite a character — but you will definitely know who he was and what he looks like, as he will have a permanent home on my desk.  We’re already talking about getting a new fur baby before you arrive in the fall.  We will definitely get a cat.  Daddy is trying to talk me into a puppy, too, but I think we should hold off on the puppy until after you arrive and we move into our new home.  But if the right puppy comes along, I suppose your Mama can be persuaded.  I’m a sucker like that.

I have been thinking a lot about pets this week.  I am curious what kind of pet each of you will want as your own.  If I am lucky it will be pets we like too.  Fish.  Dogs.  Cats.  Birds.  I had some birds for a brief period of time, Lisa and Marvin.  I never would let their eggs hatch so they could have babies.  I was always wandering in there and breaking them.  There are some things you are not quite ready to wait for at six years old, and apparently giving the bird time to grow in the egg was one of them for me. Your Daddy grew up with birds and your Grandma Wilcox always had birds as well.  Right now she and Grandpa Wilcox have a parakeet named Puck and a Miniature Schnauzer named Sir Duff.  And I won’t even go into the number of cats living with your Grandpa Roy and Grandma Sandy.  Hopefully you’re not allergic.

For the record, you will never have a snake.  Ever.  Your Daddy cannot even watch shows about snakes, and I don’t much care for them either.

When I was little I was bitten by a dog on my left arm while visiting Mawmaw’s farm.  I had to get 32 stitches.  I was afraid of most dogs for a very long time after that incident.  My Daddy’s boss bought me a little puppy to help me get over my fears.  The little innocent puppy “bites” sent me into crying fits of terror.  We had to send the puppy to a better home with a less neurotic kid.  I got a gray and white kitten and named her Buffy.  Buffy slept with me every night I was home from the day I got her until I left for college.  Buffy would get under the covers right next to me and suck on my nightgown.  I think perhaps she was weaned too early from her mama cat, or she was just a strange cat.  We had another cat, Mr. Beasley, but he unfortunately wandered out in front of a car when I was in 11th Grade.  Mr. Beasley was sweet, but never the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Looking back, I know Buffy felt deserted when I went off to college.  She was loyal and I was young.

Learning to love and care for a pet is an important part of growing up.  Taking care of something that needs you in order to survive is no small lesson. It’s an introduction to taking care of kids, I think.  Of course, you have the safety net of your Daddy and me picking up the slack when you forget your pet parenting duties.  The litter box was always in my bathroom, but my Mom can verify that I was most definitely not the one keeping it clean on a regular basis.  Of course, your Grandma Kay is a neat freak and hardly gave me a chance to clean anything. I can only hope you hang around her enough to pick that up, among other things.  I lived with her and I unfortunately, did not.  I am getting better, though.  Since finding out there were two of you in there, my inner neat freak is emerging.  But not too neat.  I’m ready for a house full of kids, family, dogs, cats and possibly even birds.  Oh, and a fish tank.  I’m almost positive there is a fish tank in my future.

When things are too neat, it makes me nervous. I feel like I’m in a museum and not a life.  Life is not that neat.

Today your Mama talked to a literary agent in New York about publishing 60+ Days On the Mat.  It was an interesting conversation.  He is going to read it and see if he wants to work with me on getting published.  That would be pretty cool, huh?  Your Mama may be an author yet.  Lots of work before me on this front, but the story of your creation is one worth telling.

I read this week that I do not have to play Mozart for you in order to make you smarter.  Apparently, Turnpike Troubadours and Sarah Jarosz are just fine.  Thank goodness, because they have been on a loop at my desk.  Once those ears start hearing things, look out — your Mama is going to sing.  It might eventually embarrass you, but for now, you’re protected.

I will try to keep my embarrassing traits to a minimum, but it would be impossible for me to refrain entirely.  I’m too weird.



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Week 8 — Tri-One: Mourning With Gratitude

Terry Merrill Wilcox Week 8Here it is.  The official 8 week picture.  I am not eating too much more than I was before I became pregnant, but I feel as if I am doubling in size every hour.  My whole body feels heavier.  The nausea is subsiding, but it is still difficult to eat very much at one time.

All things considered, this has been one hell of a week.  When you know you have an enormous amount to be grateful for and joyous about — it feels strange to be in a place of such immense grief.

Going from the joy of seeing my little dumplings on Wednesday to putting down my first baby (and quite honestly, my longest relationship to date) on Thursday — it was a lot to handle emotionally.  (FYI – Jonathan has almost eight more years to go before he surpasses Boomer as my longest relationship.)

I spent the past few days at a yoga retreat in Ojai, California at a beautiful place called Casa Barranca.  Wow.  It was breathtaking.

Jonathan dropped me off at around 3:00 on Friday.  The first person we met was the house cat, Morocco — though we called him Rocco for short.  He greeted both Jonathan and me at the front door.  In some ways it felt like he was waiting for us; as if he knew these people needed to hug a cat today.  He was so strong and young.  It has been years since I was around a young cat for any length of time.

Within minutes of Jonathan leaving, Rocco had followed me up to my room and onto my bed.

Boy was he a great distraction for my broken heart that night.  After yoga and dinner we were sitting around the fire and back he came.  Crashing right next to me on the bench.  That night he came into our room and ended up camping out on my bed right between my legs.  I knew at that point Boomer must have sent him and said to him, “Get between her legs.  It irritates her, but she won’t move because she wants to keep you happy.” Boomer was speaking from experience and he was right.  I didn’t move because I didn’t want him to leave me.  I liked the heaviness next to my legs.  I have no idea when he finally left, but I fell fast asleep with him draped over my legs and it was so comforting.  So calming.

By Saturday, I was so busy I barely saw Rocco.  I had placed a picture of Boomer with his prayer on the altar in the yoga studio.  Somehow having him in the room with me was comforting.  As I moved through the yoga poses and the breathing exercises; I was simultaneously filled with joy and sadness.  I hated letting my first baby go.  It hurt like hell.  Each time I remembered Boomer was gone from this earth I felt the sting behind my eyes and the tears so desperately wanting to escape.  Death is so cruel but so much a part of life.

As the day wore on, I had some time to reflect on Boomer alone and how the relationship had evolved and what it had taught me.

Young women who need an animal (like I always have) tend to get cats because they are easy.  When they’re young they are easy.  You get a water fountain, a big food container you can be gone overnight or for the weekend, no problem.  Cats are low maintenance.  I have always had one.  The only time I have not lived with a cat or cats was my first three semesters of college and the first few months I lived in New York.  Otherwise, I always had a cat in tow.

For many years Boomer was low maintenance, but I would say for the past ten years I have thought I was going to lose him on more than one occasion.

Loving Boomer taught me a lot about life and love, and it is only after the almost 18 years of persevering through life with me that I can finally see it.

He taught me what it means to love, honor and cherish someone until the end of their days.  He taught me what it means to care for someone when they can no longer care for themselves in the ways they once did.  He taught me patience.  He taught me gentleness.  As his hind legs grew weaker, he taught me how to be okay if he got in the general vicinity of his litter box.   He taught me that if someone is important to you, then they are important to you no matter what difficulties they may be having.  He taught that sacrificing for the people we love isn’t really a sacrifice, it’s a gift.  He taught me how to love unconditionally.  He taught me what was important in life, and generally you don’t have to look very far to find it.  And most importantly, he taught me how to look into someone’s eyes and let go when I so desperately wanted to hang on tighter.

These are pretty amazing lessons for an old cat, huh?

We will have other animals (in fact, we are already in discussions because the house feels empty), but I know I will never have quite the relationship I had with Boomer.  With the Dumplings coming and life changing so rapidly, that sort of bond will be almost impossible to develop. We’ll have family pets, and we’ll love them until the end of their days — but no one can ever replace Boomer.

Jonathan and I doted on Boomer day and night.  He was one lucky cat, and we felt blessed every day to have him.  In some ways, we always felt like he was doing us a favor by hanging around as long as he did.  We needed him to care for as we fought through all the struggles of our own.  He gave us a purpose.  Someone to focus on and care for outside of ourselves.

No one who ever met Boomer forgot him.  We most certainly will never forget him.  His stoic, old cat wisdom and that amazingly expressive face.

Oh, how we loved that face.

Do you want a dog?

Sure, I said, but if you want a puppy or kitten it must be picked out now.  I cannot have two infants, a puppy and a kitten at the same time.  We need the summer to train them.

What about a puppy and a kitten?  They can grow up together.

I laugh.

He is a really optimistic guy.  Puppy.  Kittens.  Having twins.  Buying a new house, most likely in another state … my new life will be chaos.

Boomer will always be in my heart and on my desktop, but a part of me is looking forward to all the young energy that is about to enter my life.  Grateful to Boomer.  Grateful to the Dumplings.  Grateful to the new fur babies we have not even met yet — but one will go by the name of Igor.

In 2004, on an elevator in Vienna, we met a dog named Igor.  Jonathan and I both fell in love with him.  We decided that cold, December day that Igor would be the first pet we ever bring home together.  Our first pet.  Igor.  And it will be so.  It will be so very soon.

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Goodbye, Boomer. We Love You.

Boomer Wilcox The Number One May 15, 1995 - March 7, 2013

Boomer Wilcox
The Number One
May 15, 1995 – March 7, 2013

Boomer’s Prayer

May 15, 1995 – March 7, 2012


Dear Boomer,

We love you.  You have been with me since I was 26 years old — my entire adult life.  You’ve been with your Daddy since you hopped up on to his desk and into his heart when we moved into his condo in 2005.  I honestly don’t have the words right now for how much your absence in my daily life seems almost impossible to imagine.  17 years and 10 months since you stole my heart and on this day, my heart is breaking.  Your Daddy’s heart is breaking.

Thank you for letting me be your Mommy, and accepting Jonathan as your Daddy.  Oh, boy did you wiggle into his heart.  He never knew a cat such as you and I know he never will again.  No one who ever met you knew a cat such as you.  There will only ever be one Boomer.  Our Boomer.  You were and always will be the number one.

Thank you for giving me this day to say goodbye to you at home.  Just the two of us, and eventually Daddy.  Not everyone gets that.   Your nudges told me everything.  Also thank you for not going 10 months ago when you fell so ill at the same time Mark passed away.  You blessed us with ten more months.  Each day a gift.

Thank you for letting me be the one to care for you — for giving me almost 18 years and your Daddy eight.  Thank you for always bouncing back from your seventeen lives because I think you knew Mommy was incapable of walking the road of life without you there when I came home.  Thank you for seeing me through countless broken hearts and broken dreams and all of the broken times in my life.  For all the times when I would hold you, as my tears dripped all over your fur.

You can recall one of those times most recently, two nights before my pregnancy test for the twins.  You were better than any therapy.  You never seemed to mind serving in the role of companion and therapist.  Your love was always unconditional and always right there on the surface.  I was never seeking it.  It was just there waiting for me.

Thank you for also being there during all the amazing times in my life.  Meeting your Daddy.  Marrying your Daddy.  Finally pregnant with twins with your Daddy.

Waking up to you was one of the highlights of every day for both of us.  Breakfast.  Lunch.  Dinner.  Snacks.  Making the coffee with Daddy.  Whether the day was wonderful, average or downright awful — seeing you, listening to your purr, having you snuggle in close, these were always the gifts.  I am glad we knew what gifts they were.  In the words of your Daddy, every day with Boomer is a gift.  It was.  It really was.

Thank you for staying around until you knew I was pregnant.  I have cried to you over countless pregnancy tests and bad ovary scans and a million other things on my road to motherhood.  I wish you were going to be here to meet the twins.  But somehow, I think you’ll be there looking out for us.  Maybe on some level, you are letting us go into this next phase of our life.

Thank you for giving me a sign when it was time to let you go.  Thank you for helping me do this and for the look in your eyes that is keeping me strong right now and telling me in their old wisdom that this is the right thing to do.

I hear about a special bridge, the rainbow bridge.  May your spirit leave your body today and the journey to where animal spirits thrive be swift and your arrival happy and joyous, and Wizard will be waiting to greet you and rest close to you once again.  Keep an eye out for the cats of my childhood, Buffy and Mr. Beasley.

Love Always,

Mommy & Daddy


Dear God,

Today I let go of my Boomer who has brought so much joy, unconditional love, affection and loyalty into my life.   I am grateful for your creation of your precious animals that serve to remind us of the compassion and simplicity of love and kindness that all human beings need to learn to live by.

Thank you for not taking him last May at the same time Jonathan’s brother Mark passed away.  It would have been too much for us.  Also, thank you for letting him get me through a positive pregnancy test.  We needed him through both of these things more than you will ever know.  Or, you probably do.

Thank you for the gift of my Boomer, and the gift and ability to be able to let him go in a peaceful way.    Bless the medical hands of Peter that will send him to you with a tender touch, with love and compassion, freeing him from pain and suffering.

Assign him to a place of honor, for he has been a faithful companion and has always done his best to please me.  And please Dear Lord, open your gates to come escort my beloved Boomer across the Rainbow Bridge.

Grant me the strength not to dwell on my loss and help me recall the sweet details of his life and all the love he has shown me.  Let him remember me as well and feel secure that he will always live in my heart.  And when it’s my time to pass over into paradise, please allow him to accompany those who will bring me home.

Thank you, God, for the gift of his presence in my life and for the time we’ve had together.  Help me replace tears with happy memories and all the laughter and good times shared.

Thank you for letting me care for one of your creatures that I could love and sustain him for a measure of time – almost 18 years.

May we continue to care for all your creatures and for every living thing.  Just as I protected the blessed life of my Boomer, and my Wizard, may his and their memories bless my life with love and caring forever.

And thank you, God, for lending me your beautiful creature and for granting me the strength to give him back to you now.


*** Thank you to my friend, Selma, for sending me this prayer and allowing me to personalize it for Boomer.

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Dear Boomer, Please Come Home


Dear Booomer,

No, I am not writing this letter because you are gone.  I want to start there so as not to alarm anyone.

I am writing this letter because you are still here and I have to do something to calm myself while I wait to bring you home.  I cannot look back to any moment in my adult life and not see you.  Always present.  Always greeting me with a purr and more love than any one person deserves.  Always there looking at me like I was the most fantastic human to ever be born on this earth.

Today you are in critical care, however, in my humble opinion you are on an upswing.  No one knows you like I do (or like your Daddy does) — but most especially like I do.  People have been trying to bury you since you had your first unexplained neurological episode at eight years old.  You will be 18 years old on May 15th.  Somehow you always manage to baffle the “experts” — just yesterday the doctor that took your x-ray last May (the one we did not like at all!) was shocked to see you waiting in the lobby … still alive.

The last time they gave you moments to live was last May with this doctor.  You have always proved them wrong.  I keep praying you can prove them wrong one more time.

Every phone call I have had for the past twelve hours, they have talked to me with these sad voices; preparing me for the worst.  I’m used to it where you are concerned.  You have taught me a lot about faith and that mustard seed.  Somehow, you always seem to have enough for both of us.

I’ll be beside myself with grief and you’ll be like, “Hey, Mom I’m just going to walk around the room using the wall to hold me up for a bit, but I’ll get the hang of this again.”  Somehow, you always do.  I am not looking forward to the day when you don’t.

Last night I gave you some medicine the doctor thought might help your hip and back pain.  Within an hour you were losing your mind.  Literally.  Noises I have never heard you make.  I walked into that hospital and threw that medicine at the first person I saw and said, “What is this shit!?!”  It was not one of my better moments.

You had some seizures and some valium and some seizures and some valium throughout the night.  The doctor tried to tell me this morning before I saw you at 9:15 that you had had a light seizure at 9:00.  Apparently she thinks a leg tremor is a seizure.  I call that Boomer’s standard kitty dream.  You have been shaking your hind legs longer than I can remember.  If that’s a seizure … you’re definitely on the upswing.

I have always said I would not perform heroics on you at this age.  Both your Daddy and I believe every day with Boomer is a gift.  A true gift.  You have outlived every Persian I have ever known.  You have this attitude that has always been of the mind set that you will go when you’re good and ready.  I don’t think it’s going to be in a critical care box with an IV in your arm far away from your Mommy.  I just don’t.

You were born at my Dad and Sandy’s house in Denver.  We lived in New York, Texas, back to New York and finally California — we have driven across country spending the night in Lead Hill, Arkansas — Kulpmont, Pennsylvania — Chicago  — Some random hotel in Nebraska.

My favorite stop with you and Wizard was our four hours in Arne’s Royal Blue Hawaiian Motel outside of Las Vegas.  In fact, it was in Barstow, where the world’s largest thermometer is located.  I had to stay in a motel, so I picked this one.  It had a bed you could put a coin in.  Creepy.  I left you and Wizard in there long enough to get some food at the local A&W Root Beer.  I came back and both of you were asleep on the coin operated bed.  We left and kept driving to Los Angeles.

All the times you scared your Daddy and me.  One night Daddy thought an owl had come and taken you off the balcony.  I am not sure where he dreamed that up, but it was a real fear.  He really thought you were somewhere in an owl nest being served as the morning breakfast.  Thank goodness he was wrong.  You were just fast asleep in his jeans cabinet.  I think he wanted to shake you when he found you.

Or the time we thought you got out and you were just sitting in the soup pot in the cabinet.  Or all the times you jumped up while I was cooking and singed your tail.  The time you got on the stove and just stuck your face in a pot of spaghetti sauce.  Or all the times you dragged the bread off the counter and ripped it open for a snack across the kitchen floor.

I have screamed and cried and lamented thinking about losing you for at least 10 lives already.  Some of them imagined (like the owl) and some of them real — like all the times you had seizures or something that took you down for a couple of days.

I don’t know what the next twelve hours will bring, Boomie.  I hope we can bring you home and be with you a little while longer.  I am trying to stay strong not only for you, but for the Dumplings.  I can’t fall apart right now.

When I saw you at 9:15, you looked at me with those big eyes.  Everyone in that room knew you knew who I was.  You immediately responded to my voice.  You nudged me.  They said you had not been that alert all morning.  We both know it’s because you don’t like any of those people at that hospital.  Those are not your people.  Daddy and I are your people and you want to be home with us.  Wizard was The People’s Cat — you, Boomer, are my cat.  You always have been.

If you can just hang in there with the people you don’t really like as they try to make you stronger — Daddy and I will come and get you this afternoon.  We’ll bring you home to have a turkey snack and tonight or tomorrow night maybe you can help Daddy make the coffee.  You can purr on my belly to the Dumplings and hopefully, we can have just a little more time.

I know you won’t live forever.  Every day with you is truly a gift.

Every day we have with everyone we love is a gift, Boomie.  We just never know what each day is going to bring or how it will end.  This is life.  It can be simultaneously full of gratitude and grief.

As I type this I am simultaneously full of joy and fear.  Joy for all you have given me for almost eighteen years — and fear that it will end someday soon.  Of course, ends are always too soon.

But I am somewhat optimistic we can bring you home.  I saw that “Get me the f@!k out of here, Mommy!” look in your eyes this morning.  You want to come home.  If you’ll keep getting pissed off enough to get better and come home, we’ll come pick you up later — okay, Buddy?



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Dear Dumplings: 7 weeks, 3 days

Dumplings Harper and Harlow Week 7

Dear Dumplings,

Here we are at week 7.  I can hardly believe it.  Every time I leave the doctor’s office with cute little pictures of you, I have to pinch myself.  It does not matter that any sort of normal eating pattern eludes me.  Though I must tell you, this morning you wanted bacon and toast.  I indulged you.  Someone has to eat bacon.  It might as well be the three of us.

This week the pictures are not as clear as last week, but the baby to the left of the picture is measuring slightly bigger than the baby on the right.  Until you actually have names, I’m going to call you Harper and Harlow.  Harper is on the left and Harlow is on the right.  These will not be your names, as those will be a complete surprise — probably even to us.  I know you are only slightly bigger than a blueberry, but I do not want to call you by letters of the alphabet — and even though I’ve given you some temporary names, these are still the Dear Dumplings letters.

Last night at dinner, your Daddy suggested we call you McMillan and Wife, but I thought whichever one of you ended up being Wife (especially if you turned out to be a boy) might be mercilessly teased if anyone ever found out that was your nickname in the womb. Most women I know do not want to be referred to as Wife — even if they are one.  Your Daddy is silly.  He also suggested Quinn and Martin.  To that, our friend Carmen suggested Stephen and Cannell.  The duo naming game could go on all day.  For instance, Raylan & Boyd (Justified), Cagney & Lacey, Willie & Waylon, Cash & Carter (my personal favorite)  … and just for your father, Luke & Leah.  Though where Star Wars is concerned, I think we both prefer Han Solo & Chewy.  Of course, I prefer those names for dogs.

Because this is your Mama’s blog, you will have the gender neutral, completely cool names — Harper and Harlow.  This week your hands and feet are emerging from your developing arms and legs.  You apparently still have a small tail as well, but that should be gone soon enough, I’m told.  Harper, today you are slightly bigger than Harlow, but only slightly.  Your heartbeat is 153bpm and you are 12.6mm.  Harlow, your heartbeat is 150bpm and you are 11.2mm.  I am told these sizes don’t have any bearing on how tall you will be.   Your Daddy made a joke about starting to draw lines on the kitchen wall for height now.  I told you he is silly.  Perhaps we’ll start that when you get to be a full inch tall?

As I lie in bed praying for the queasiness to let up long enough for me to nourish you, I hope I am giving you enough.  We have only been to yoga one time this week, though I have done some poses at home.  The exhaustion is intense.  I miss yoga.  I always feel better when I am doing it regularly.  I know it is good for all of us, so hopefully we’ll get back on some sort of schedule soon enough.  For now, Dr. K says if I feel like being a couch potato, it’s okay.  We are going on a yoga retreat this weekend with Chaz.  We might be lying in the back of the room on a mat, but we’ll be there.  The cuisine is vegan.  I probably won’t sneak in any bacon, but I’ll bring extra snacks and milk.

I will be bringing Jolly Ranchers and not Preggie Pops.  Preggie Pops cost $5.95 for 21 pieces.  Jolly Ranchers are … a lot less and provide the same relief.  There.  Your first lesson in frugality.

I picked out your baby bed this week (DaVinci Jinny Lind).  I’m not using this bedding, but this is the crib.  I have not decided if I should get it in white or black?  I like the old-fashioned simplicity of it, and it converts into a toddler bed.  We’re going with an eclectic mix of decor for your nursery, so this bed is perfect.  From all the reading I have done, it appears the two of you can share a crib with a divider in it until you are 5 or 6 months old.  I think this has something to do with already having slept together in my uterus for 37+ weeks.  (You better stay in there 37 weeks, I don’t want you hanging out in the NICU if we can help it!)  Since your room in this house is so small, I am going to take advantage of this twin love.  I suppose if you start punching each other, I’ll get the second crib sooner.

Jenny Lind Baby Bed

What I learned this week about being your Mama is even when you are only seven weeks old I am constantly worried about you.  Everyone tells me there is no safer place for you, but I keep second guessing if I am making it safe enough?  I read about all of the nutrients I am supposed to eat, the water I am supposed to drink, the walking I should be doing and I think, “God, am I already raising couch potatoes that will only eat bacon, chicken pot pie and ginger cat cookies from Trader Joe’s with a Vernor’s ginger ale chaser?”  I suppose I should cut us some slack, you’re growing something like one million neurons per minute … each.

I know I will never stop worrying, not in two weeks, two years or twenty years (most especially twenty years!).  My needs are secondary, but I am going to try to water my garden enough to maintain a sense of fun.  I know enough at this point in my life to know if I let my garden get too weeded, we’ll all be in the weeds.

When I married your Daddy, our needs merged; our gardens merged so to speak.  There is a lot of give and take involved in this — just like you will have when learning to share toys.  Your Daddy and I had to learn to share toys and decorate rooms, and somehow try to live with that awful black leather chair.  Actually, I am the only one who had to learn to live with the awful black leather chair.  He thinks it is fabulous.  He just had to learn to like pillows — something he still does not understand.  And funky lamps.  We have still not fully mastered the shared art of cooking dinner because he is the pickiest eater on the planet.  Harper and Harlow, if one or both of you develop this very unfortunate characteristic … oh, just help me.  Just help me already.

I dream of children who eat avocados and goat cheese and eggs.

If you are not those children, I’ll survive.  You just might have to learn to cook for yourself sooner.  A varied palate would be nice.  I’d like to cook something besides broccolini pasta, vegetable soup and tacos.  Of course, when I was a little kid I pronounced that my favorite things were tacos and Gomer Pyle.  I grew out of it, though.  Your father never did overcome his hatred of the egg.  I’m not sure what eggs ever did to him, but the way he reacts to the smell of them, it was something pretty serious.

I suppose in many ways we don’t change all that much.  Today two of my favorite things are chicken n’ dumplings and Raylan Givens.



Note to Readers:  I have had people ask me if there is any way to be notified of new posts if you are not on Facebook?  For those of you not on Facebook or not on Facebook very often, you can enter your email there at the right of this blog and it will notify you via email whenever a new post goes up.  If you get tired of me, it lets you undo that choice at any time. ;-)  Cheers.


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Tri-One: A Moment Of Fear

Terry Pregnancy Week 7
Wow.  What a difference a week makes.  This is my official seven week photo.  I feel completely different from week six.  I am exhausted.  The sort of exhausted you feel after you’ve done something amazing, like climbed Mount Everest.  Except, I haven’t climbed anything.  But I am doing something miraculous — every second of every day — I  am growing two babies.  I try to remember that as I feel guilty for missing yoga and lying in bed as my body, after 60+ Days On the Mat, feels as if it is turning to mush.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had all of these grand ideas that I might write three or four times a week and go to yoga three or four times a week and suddenly, last Thursday, it all came to a grinding halt.  I left Ellen’s yoga class barely able to keep my eyes open.  Hunger alluded me.  Boomer and I took to the bed.  I ate ginger cat cookies from Trader Joe’s with a Vernor’s ginger ale chaser.  The nausea was never-ending.  My morning sickness was all day long sickness.

On Thursday night I drove around aimlessly in search of something that sounded good. My dreams of the perfect uber-healthy pregnancy diet came crashing down around me as I realized the only thing I could stomach was waffle fries from Chick-Fil-A.  What!?!  I know.  It was all I could get down.  I even bought a chicken sandwich, two bites were all I could do.

By Friday night the only thing I could mutter was, chicken pot pie.  I really wanted dumplings, but I was too nauseous to cook, so pot pie was the next best thing.  There were no other options on my menu.  I had to have homey-starchy-creamy-chickeny dish. Full of calories.  I texted Jonathan at the gym — Please get me a chicken pot pie.  My loving husband drove to Northridge and picked it up for me at Marie Callender’s.  I ate the entire chicken pot pie.  A large one.  I devoured it as if I had never seen food.  If I were a dog I would have licked it, but held back.

Within minutes of finishing this glorious meal, the nausea was back with a vengeance.

By Saturday, I had discovered Preggie Pops, which appear to be very expensive sour sucking candy.  I had a smoothie.  I went to the mall.  Something happened while I was at the mall.  That moment I swore I would never have after all I have been through to feel all of these glorious pregnancy symptoms.

I went into Gap Maternity and determined within minutes, despite the snugness around my middle, I was not quite there yet.  Right outside the store there was a merry-go-round and a big play area for kids.  As I walked through I smiled at all of the cute little children.  Screaming.  At the top of their lungs.  Over and over again.  Screaming.  For no apparent reason.  I sat there watching them play; waiting for Jonathan.  I finally heard one scream too many, and while sipping my uber-healthy papaya-kale smoothie I became paralyzed with fear.  Time stopped.  I watched all the screaming little children in slow motion and thought, “Oh, God, what have I done?”  My adult life as I have known it was coming to an end at a rapid pace.  The days when I could pack up and go anywhere would soon be over.  The peace and quiet would be gone.  I was having two.  Two.  Two at the same time!?!

As these thoughts are swarming my brain, I stare at the germ-infested play area and imagine myself walking around bathing everything in hand sanitizer from now until the end of time. After seeing one too many snotty nosed kids wipe their runny nose on the play rocks; I started calling the play area, Germ Kingdom.  Laughing to myself, I turn my head to the right and I see them.  The twins.  The most adorable boy-girl twins holding hands as they stepped down into the play area.    The little boy looks at his sister as she clings to him; she clearly did not want to climb.  His mother encouraged him to do it anyway.  “Let go of Sissy’s hand,” she said.  He looked at her with a very stern face and said, “No Mommy!  Not without Sissy!”  Instead they sat on a smaller rock together and ate goldfish.  Their little orange-dusted hands covered in all kinds of germs.  My heart began to melt, despite the nausea and the fact that I am feeling fluffy and exhausted.  I thought to myself, maybe our twins will be the quiet ones sitting on the germ-y rock sharing goldfish?

Over the weekend I read this blog written by a mother with twins.  It was all very insightful, but one of the things that struck me the most was how connected her twins were — even in their cribs.  When one of her twins (Tuck) had to leave the room to get a breathing treatment at night, her other twin (Finn) would cry and cry.  He wanted to know where his brother was.  It took them awhile to figure it out, but when they realized it, Finn’s crying fits stopped.  He needed to know where his brother was.  It was that simple.

I thought about Mawmaw and her twin sister, my great-aunt Lucille.  They were very close growing up.  Dressed alike.  Worked at the same place.  They did everything together, but then they grew-up.  Life happened.  I wonder if they always felt connected despite distance, or does it fade?  I hope our twins are close.  I never had that experience, and honestly I know lots of people who have brothers and sisters who are not that close to them, but the ones that are close — I think it is a pretty special relationship.

If you have brothers and sisters, you’ll always have an experience of knowing people who knew you before you were fully formed.  They knew you while you were a kid trying to figure yourself out.  If they were younger than you, maybe they worshipped you, if they were older, maybe they wanted to kill you.  Either way, they knew you.  You have an experience with siblings (for better or for worse) that you can never have with anyone else.  I never had that and I always wanted it, so I hope they’re close.  Always close.

After eating very little throughout the day, I suddenly got hit with an overwhelming desire to eat the rest of my enchiladas from dinner last night.  When the hunger hits, I feel almost inhuman.  I cannot shovel it in fast enough.  I am shoveling right now between sentences.  I am wishing they were Uncle Julio’s or Joe T. Garcia’s — but grateful to have any enchilada at all.

The dumplings are growing and despite my momentary bout of fear — while surrounded by screaming children in a mall — I love every second of all that I am experiencing.  I just hope that the nausea stops long enough for me to get the house ready for the dumplings.  For someone who once professed to be a news and political junkie, I am currently oblivious.  I have no idea about sequesters or budgets or who is doing what to whom.  And you know what?  I don’t care.  I really just don’t care.  They’ll have to figure it all out without any anxiety about the state of the world from me.  I’m way too busy looking at baby beds.  And car seats.  And fabric.  Lots of fabric.


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