Dear Dumplings — 18 Weeks: Remember, We Can Do This

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Louise LaRue Wines (aka “Mawmaw) and Lucille Laverne Wines
Fraternal Twins born May 18, 1925 in Joy, Texas.

Dear Dumplings:

Today you have been doing back handsprings in my belly … at least that is what it feels like.  I posted my weekly pregnancy pic yesterday.  I am really starting to look and feel extremely pregnant.  We are not quite half way there, but we will hit that mile stone while in Chicago at our annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference on June 2nd.  Your Mama produces and edits educational oncology videos as one of her many jobs.

Your Daddy and I will both be there.  He didn’t want us to travel alone.  Isn’t that sweet?  You do have the best Daddy ever.

Every day I keep looking down at my belly wondering if it can really stretch far enough to hold 14+ pounds of babies?  If what you’ve managed to do so far is any indication of your stretching abilities, I am really in for it.

Your Daddy and I have a friend named Jeff and he has a twin brother.  When they were born one brother weighed 8.75 lbs. and the other weighed 9 lbs.  At the time they were the biggest twins born in California and they were delivered naturally.

I hope to deliver naturally if you can get your heads going in the right direction at the right time.

I’m begging you, please don’t get quite that big.

I do hope y’all are getting enough to eat.  I am sincerely trying, but I don’t feel as though I am succeeding as well as I should be.  I did manage to get butternut squash soup and one fish taco down today after yoga.  You were very hungry.

Every time I get my stomach full (which does not take long) within less than two hours I am dry heaving and nauseous.  NOW I know this means I need to put in some more food immediately.

If I wait, the situation gets really ugly.

That’s probably not anything you or anyone else wants to read, but it’s the unfortunate truth.

Enough about food.

Every week when I start your letter I have mulled it over long enough to have some idea of what I am going to write, but not completely.  Sometimes I find inspiration as I go though my day.  This morning I came upon this quote as I was scrolling though my morning news feed, newspapers and blogs:

“To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.”
― Confucius

I hope you learn this and I hope you learn it early.  I can’t tell you how much easier life is when you are able to let go. It’s hard sometimes, because people do hurt us (intentionally and unintentionally). Eventually we have to make a decision as to whether we want to move past it and stay connected or completely let them go.

It’s one of two choices, really.  Anything in between the two and you are remembering it and remembering it and remembering it … avoid reliving the mess and try to let go at all costs if you can. Some situations are tougher than others, and I’ll confess — I am still a learner and not the master.

Just remember, reliving is a life-waster and you can get stuck there.

Though I’m admittedly not a master, I’m not a grudge holder.  Your Mama is the sort of person that wants everyone to get along.  I want the big family and friend Kumbaya circle.  I hate friction.  I hate tension.  Holding a grudge is like holding a noose around your own neck.  What I’ve learned over the years is not everyone wants to be in my Kumbaya circle; not everyone can let it go.  I don’t force it anymore.

As parents, we never really know what kind of a personality our kids are going to have.  I think some of it is preordained before you even get here — a little genetics and a lot of divine intervention.  But a bigger chunk is molded by experiences and circumstances of life.  I am so curious about my two little Dumplings.

I say it every day — I can’t wait to meet you.

One of the projects I am working on for you now — besides your baby blankets — is family picture books.  I found these cardboard books that allow me to create the book.  I am making picture books of all the members of your family.  One set for each of you.  The pictures will be all your grandparents, cousins, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles — all the people I think you need to know and remember.

There is one very special woman I want you to remember today.  As I continue to grow my little Dumplings, I think of her almost every day.  To me she was Mamaw Wines — but she was born Lottie Selma Holland in 1893.  She is your great-great-grandmother.

Mamaw and Grandpa Wines

Frank Wines (aka Grandpa) — a fraternal twin
Lottie Selma Wines (aka Mawmaw Wines) — producer of TWO sets of fraternal twins

Why am I singling her out?

She had TWO sets of twins delivered at home, naturally in the 1920’s.  Of course, the only place to deliver a baby in the 1920’s was at home naturally.

When I think about her, I know we can do this — not at home, of course.

I keep wondering if I inherited my good uterus from her?

Mamaw Wines had a set of boy-girl twins named Minnie Bell and John in 1921.  In 1923 she had a single little girl named Ida Katherine.  In 1925 she had another set of twins — this time girl-girl —  Lucille Laverne and your great-grandmother, Louise LaRue (she will be known to you as Mawmaw).

For the record, Mamaw Wines was not the only twin breeder in your family.  Mamaw Wines married your great-great-grandfather, Frank Wines.  I don’t remember him, but everyone called him Grandpa.  His mother (your great-great-great grandmother) also had fraternal twin boys and he was one of them!

So you see, when people look at me funny for even dreaming that I might be able to have a natural birth for the two of you, I just think about the cloth I’m cut from and try to focus on what’s possible.  Creating you to grow inside of your Mama was a miracle, but it was not at all natural.  I guess I’m hoping the ending can be as natural as possible.  Obviously, I am not so married to this idea that I am willing to sacrifice our health, but it would be nice to have a couple of baby Dumplings heads moving in the downward direction as we get closer to the finish line.

Just know, however you end up getting here — it will be by far the best day of our lives so far.  That much I know for sure.



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Week 18 — Tri-Two: Where Is My Community?

photoWow, look how big that woman who looks like me has gotten!?!  The belly has definitely popped out this week and it’s pushing up on me.

Jonathan just looks at me and says, “That’s amazing.  Beautiful.”

I look at me and start singing, We’ve Only Just Begun … and silently worry about how I am going to have room to eat as they really start to grow.  Right now they are just a couple of pears.

Pears I can handle.  It’s the basketballs I am worried about.

It’s taken me awhile to write this week because my mind has been swirling and my heart has been simultaneously heavy and full.

Heavy from all of the devastation in Oklahoma and full from all the uplifting stories I am reading about the Helpers.  When I read all of the stories showcasing the goodness in people it does lift my spirits.

Always look for The Helpers.  They are there.  And this week, I have seen lots of them.

Watching the stories coming out of Oklahoma has really made me think about community and how important it is to have it.  I’m also questioning its presence in my life.  It’s one of the things I have never really found to my satisfaction in Los Angeles.  I’m not blaming Los Angeles — it could very well be me.  It could be the places we are living or where we are in our lives.  I have no idea.  Everyone keeps telling me we’ll have an instant community when we have kids.

But is that what I should be waiting for?  The community that comes with having children.  Is that my community or is that just a bunch of people talking about potty-training at the same time?  I’ll be honest — I know me — potty training is going to be an interesting topic of conversation for about five minutes before you lose me.

I’m a tough nut to crack in the community department because I am an introvert who happens to be very social — which makes absolutely no sense, I know.  I love to get to really know people.  Acquaintances that do not move beyond the initial meeting bore me.  I love small gatherings.  I hate large, loud gatherings.  I love drinking bottles of wine (not right now, of course) and talking until all hours of the night about all sorts of things.  I hate idle chit chat and would almost rather sit in complete silence than have to endure a forced conversation about absolutely nothing. I love going out to places that feel like home.  I hate going to clubs unless Carly Ritter is singing — and then I will endure a stamp on my hand and stay up past midnight just to hear her sing Princess Of This Prairie and The Ever Loving Kind.

We have lots of friends.  We have lots activities.  And I would say I have definitely developed a yoga community which is why it is so important for me to go all the time.  But the neighborhood community I knew as a child is absent from my life.

I keep wondering if that is gone because of the ways we communicate now?  Our communities can expand so far outside of our neighborhoods and onto our Facebook pages … which a part of me loves.  I don’t want that to ever go away.  I am connected to so many people across my life because of our virtual connections, but sometimes I miss more of the face to face community.  I’ll confess, I like looking into people’s eyes.

We know one of our neighbors. When I was a kid I knew most of the block.  I always wonder what would happen here if an earthquake erupted right though Woodland Hills, California.  I like to think we would seamlessly come together like the people of Oklahoma, but only knowing the neighbors across the street … I’m pretty sure they would ALL rise to the occasion, but not knowing any of them … I really have no idea.  I hope I can be one of the Helpers should a Helper be needed.

Today the Dumplings and I went to yoga.  I started going to my prenatal yoga class a bit reluctantly, but being in there with all of that pregnant baby energy is nice.  I’ll confess, I love it.  By the end of every class the Dumplings are definitely awake.  It’s not like I can feel them kick or anything, but I can tell when they are awake and moving about because of the pressure they cause.

It’s been a rough week as the allergies outside are causing my asthma to act up.  I hate using my inhaler, but I guess it’s important for me to keep breathing.

Saturday I went shopping at Whole Foods and made some Green Soup.  I wrote about my diet woes, but I did not take a picture.  I did not post an official recipe because I think the greens in your green soup should be personal preference.  I have determined that Green Soup is not quite as bad as wheat grass juice, but it is far from something I would recommend you serve for dinner.  However, it is packed full of nutrients, which I need.  I have managed to enjoy a bowl every day with my other healthy foods.

Food is still basically uninteresting, but music is very interesting.  I highly recommend Darius Rucker’s new album, True Believers — I love Wagon Wheel, of course, but Take Me Home and Shine are becoming fast favorites.  The new Steve Martin & Edie Brickell album, Love Has Come To You is also wonderful.  I love bluegrass.

I’ll confess, learning to play the banjo is on my bucket list.  Yes, my current bucket list.

Of course, I should probably learn how to swaddle a baby first.

Can we go to the Kenny Chesney concert in Anaheim for my birthday on July 27th?

You want to go to a concert in a baseball stadium 28 weeks pregnant?  Seriously?

What’s a matter, you don’t like Kenny Chesney?  

Jonathan laughed at me.  He does have a point, but I was not going to give into his assessment of my concert going limitations.

The Dumplings would love to hear Kenny live.  They told me.

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Oh, Oklahoma.


Today I was going to post my weekly pregnancy picture, but after listening to the news coming out of Oklahoma all day,  I just couldn’t do it.  After hearing all the devastation that was happening in Oklahoma, I finally let myself watch and take it in.  Within minutes I was crying.  I tend to wear the tragedy of others personally, especially if I watch the news too much.  Being pregnant, I have tried to limit my tragedy intake because I can easily become a news junkie.

Oklahoma is a place I have been driving through my whole life to get to Arkansas, but honestly it would not matter if it was the neighbor of Texas or the neighbor of Holland.  It would not matter if I had ever been there, though we will always hold those places with meaning to us a bit closer because we can visualize them, they are a part of us somehow.

Human beings are suffering tonight and we should all try to lift them in our own hearts and through our prayers.  Holding good thoughts and praying for people is not simply a religious act, it’s an act of humanity.  Yes, it feels helpless to be sitting far away safe from harm, but I believe that old cliche thoughts and prayers — holding them in our hearts is our collective way of helping.  It’s the only ongoing way we can really help across the miles.  We can’t solve all the problems of the world, but collectively, we can come together to lift people up in spirit — even from hundreds or thousands of miles away.

It’s not that difficult to imagine what you would be feeling if you were driving towards a school where your child was covered in rubble, not knowing if you would be driving them home with you.  I saw some mothers who were elated and grateful they found their child in one piece, and some not so lucky.  There really are no words when parents bury children, no matter what the circumstances.

As I scanned the internet for news, I saw a few hateful things about how Oklahoma deserved this because of they are conservatives and other completely inane things.  No worse than those claiming gay marriage is the cause of a tragedy.  All stupid.  People trying to be funny.  It’s not funny.  This sort of hate always makes me sad because when you hear political drivel from either side during a tragedy, you realize how disconnected some people have become from their empathy.  From their humanity.  I could care less if I do not agree with a single thing you stand for … I certainly don’t want you, your child, or your mother or any member of your family to be found lifeless under a pile of rubble.

How can political dogma possibly be the first thing people think about?  I will never understand it.

I’m glad The Dumplings are tucked away safe and sound in their Mama tonight.  They should know they are part Okie though.  After all, their Grandpa Jim was born in Lamar, Oklahoma.  They’re not Okies from Muskogee, but rather Okies from Lamar?  There is a reason that song was never written … it’s not very catchy.

Just remember, lift up your fellow humans up tonight in prayers, good thoughts and loving kindness.  Someday you might find yourself surrounded by a pile of rubble or worse, and you would want people to do the same for you across the miles.

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My Pregnancy Diet — The Green Soup

I started the Terrilox page on Facebook, so I could do some posts like this one that will most likely bore many of my friends to death.  I am doing it because these are the types of posts I find myself reading on the blogs of other pregnant women.  I know pregnant women are the only women who will find it remotely interesting, but I think it’s important to share, even though I know no two pregnancies are alike.  I’ll try to keep it somewhat interesting.

When I got pregnant I never in a million years thought my ability to eat was going to change so drastically.  So drastically, in fact, that my preference is not to eat.  I assumed I would have some nausea, possibly some vomiting — but I had no idea that 18 weeks into my pregnancy getting enough food down would still be my biggest challenge.

All signs point to the fact that I am doing okay.  The Dumpling boys are healthy.  I’m going to yoga and exercising.  But the enjoyment of any food, even my favorite foods, still eludes me.  I take Zofran, which allows me to get food down, but it is certainly no miracle drug for me.

I keep going back to the conversation we had with Dr. D where he said the most important nutritional year of your child’s life is this one.  He also said conception, pregnancy and breast feeding are an 18-24 month marathon on a woman’s body, depending on if and how long you plan to breast feed.

I woke up this morning with an empty stomach, feeling nauseous.  The crackers no longer work.  In fact, if I ever see another saltine it will be too soon.  I have found that organic milk with a splash or two of organic chocolate milk can keep things under control until I get my bearings in the morning.

I know what you’re thinking.  Chocolate milk?

A nutritionist I know who works to help create better meals in the public schools here in Los Angeles told me that chocolate milk is the least of our worries in the war on childhood obesity.  There is nutrition in chocolate milk, giving me an extra protein boost from the chocolate.  I’m sure Dr. D would turn up his nose because he told me to eat no sugar — but since Dr. S tells me to eat whatever I can get down — I still feel like I am playing by the rules.

Despite the fact that I am analyzing my nutrition at the moment, I am not a paranoid pregnant woman.  After all, I went upside down in yoga last week.  Considering the journey I took to get here, I’m pretty mellow about the whole thing.

After I drank my milk concoction, I decided to go to the grocery store.  I have not done any shopping in weeks because the grocery store makes me dry heave, but today — like a Olympian preparing for a marathon — I went to Whole Foods.

I came out with all sorts of healthy things I think I can eat — yogurt, cantaloupe, nectarines, eggs, blueberries and all the ingredients to make a soup.  I had to open a protein bar in the store and eat it in order to finish my shopping.  I suppose this action is preparing me for toddlers.

Yet, Jonathan already does this with Hot Tamales in Target.

I am trying to follow the Dr. Brewer Pregnancy Diet which is completely focused on protein.  I’ve been getting protein, but I am no where near where I need to be as the Dumplings get bigger.

One of the things I can consistently get down is soup.  All kinds of soup.  No salad.  No chicken.  No steak.  No fish.  But soup, I can do.  And I learned a few nights ago that I can do chicken in a pot pie, so chicken n’ dumplings will be back on the menu soon.  But today I decided to make a green soup.  I bought some kale, spinach, sweet potato, onions, thyme, sage, vegetable broth, fresh garlic and went to work.  I used this Basic Green Soup recipe as my starting point, and then did my own thing by adding the kale instead of chard and a sweet potato instead of the rice.

It’s cooking now.  I’ll have to let you know how it tastes upon completion, but so far so good.  If it is good, I’ll take a picture and add the recipe later.

It smells great.   I’m looking forward to getting some greens in my body since salads are currently OFF the menu.

And people say I can’t cook?

Of course, this morning I typed this into my Google search bar:  how to boil an egg

At my age, this is something I should probably keep to myself …

For some reason, every time I boil eggs I have to look it up.  I forget how long to boil and how long to let them simmer in the boiled water.  For the record, you bring them to a boil from cold water, turn the fire down to low for one minute and then take them off the heat and cover them for 12 minutes.  Stick them in the ice bath.

For what it’s worth from a woman who had to consult Google — they were prefect and easy to peel.

I had boiled eggs for breakfast with grapefruit.  Trust me, this is progress.

My body is rejecting grains for some reason.  I can eat so little bread.  Sugar is the same way.  I can eat a small piece of my favorite red velvet cake, but even that is not exactly the same.  My “indulgences” are blood orange Italian soda and blood orange sorbet.  I will confess to a Dr. Pepper in a moment of desperation, but even that was not the same.

My body, not my brian, is the captain of this ship, but I am trying to give her a few more choices to work with as we navigate the remaining 21-22 weeks of this pregnancy.

This week my goal is to cook something I can eat every day and try to wean myself off of the bean and cheese burrito diet.  I always imagined that being pregnant would be like someone turning you loose in a chocolate factory.  Everything you love is supposed to taste AMAZING.  People tell me stories of having to eat birthday cakes and double cheeseburgers and all sort of things that seem insane to me in my current state.

I guess on some level I should be thankful for that.  I don’t want to gain more weight than I need to gain for The Dumplings.

Thankfully, despite my occasional binges at Taco Bell and Sonic, I never have been a junk food junkie — but this song has always made me laugh.



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Dear Dumplings — 17 Weeks: HEADSTANDS in yoga!!!!!

Harper (left) -- Harlow (right) These are not their names -- just nicknames. ;-)

Harper (left) — Harlow (right)
These are not their names — just nicknames. ;-)

Dear Dumplings,

Week 17.  We saw you in Dr. D’s office on Tuesday and he said you looked perfect.  I still think you look like aliens, but cute aliens!  Very cute aliens.  Harlow, I think you have your Daddy’s nose. Harper, you look like you’re covering your ears.

Perhaps I have been singing a little too much Kacey Musgraves this week?

This past Sunday was my first Mother’s Day.  I had a really great day, thanks to the two of you, my family and friends.  I did think about all the years it took me to get to a happy Mother’s Day.  But, because I have cried in the shower on Mother’s Day several times, I silently prayed there were other Mamas out there longing for their Dumpling(s) who would get good news soon.  I’m grateful I didn’t give up or quit because we had to go in new directions.  Instead I bloomed where I was planted.

When I look at you, even with those little cute alien heads, my eyes well up with happy tears and I thank the Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings for helping me have healthy baby boys.

I did win the Dumpling lottery.  It’s too bad I can’t actually feed you any chicken n’ dumplings, since I think chicken is poison the moment.

This week I went to yoga with Chaz and did a headstand.  Chaz took my picture while I was upside down and put it on Facebook.  I was completely in control the entire time, in fact, I think you liked it.  At least Harper did, it gave him a chance to be on top for a change.

Well … Not realizing Dr. K was friends with Chaz on Facebook, I got in a little trouble.  After sending him your new “school picture,” he wrote back …

Truth be told I had a little internal freakout when I saw on Facebook that you were doing HEADSTANDS in yoga!!!!!  Although you looked very comfortable and completely in control. The Jewish mother in me came out and I almost commented.  With that being said, I am sure it is fine and I can’t think of  a medical reason not to do it (aside from falling), but please be careful and use a spotter.  I will just worry silently in the corner : )

As hard as Dr. K worked to help you get here, I certainly wouldn’t want him worrying in the corner.  I assured him that most of our upside down time was much more mellow, and it is.  Plus as soon as Grandpa Jim and Grandma Susan get the pool ready, we’ll be swimming more.  Dr. D says this is very good for us, and considering your Daddy claims he is allergic to air conditioning (it’s all in his mind), we’re going to need to go somewhere to stay cool.

The truth is I have seen other pregnant women in headstands and handstands and all kinds of stands in yoga, but I don’t think any of them were 43 years old carrying two Dumplings.  I don’t feel 43 years old, so there’s no need to act like it or anything.

What does “acting 43” even mean?  Your Mama has no idea.

Age is and always will be a state of mind, except for ovaries.  Ovaries age.  But in my case, who needs em’?

Another really cool thing that happened this week is Raylan came home.  Raylan is our first family pet.  He’s a cute kitty named after our favorite TV character on Justified … a show you will probably never watch, but you’ll know the lead character is named Raylan.  His name means The Protector.  When you look at him, I’m pretty sure he is not going to protect us from much (perhaps a bug), but he sure is cute.  I hope you’re not allergic.

If you are … well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

In the meantime, thank you for giving me some nausea relief.  I promise not to turn you upside down too much, at least not while being photographed.

I also promise to stop singing so much Kacey Musgraves.  You might get worried you’ll be born in a trailer park, which I assure you, is not the case.

Maybe Emmy Lou Harris next week?



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Week 17 — Tri-Two: Happy Mother’s Day, Your Uterus Is Perfect

Week 17Your uterus is perfect.  Your cervix is great.  I think you can carry these babies to 39 nine weeks if you keep doing what you’re doing.  The way they’re growing you could have 14 pounds of baby in there!  Strong! – Dr. D beamed. 

I nearly fell off the cold examination room table.  14 pounds of babies!?!

I have a momentary flashback in my mind …

I know women who would kill for this uterus.  You have a text book uterus, Dr. K said.

My doctors said these things with the same enthusiasm geeks use when quoting Star Wars — When I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master or I find your lack of faith disturbing.  I guess you could call these doctors uterus geeks, but perhaps that’s too cheesy.  How about uterus enthusiasts?

I didn’t want to tell Dr. D that my uterus had been praised before by doctors who speak female anatomy as a second language.  So Jonathan said, She’s heard that before.

It’s amazing how comfortable my husband is talking about my uterus with his own sense of pride.  When your reproductive anatomy has been scrutinized as long as mine has, the mystery of it all starts to wear off.

If my uterus had a head all this praise might go to it.  Considering my poor ovaries were in there drying up, it was nice to have some organ in my reproductive anatomy exceeding expectations.

But 14 pounds of babies!?!

It is now my 17th week and I am starting to pop up and out all over.  Today was my second screening with Dr. D,  the peri­na­tol­o­gist.  I made the mistake of saying my goal was to keep the Dumplings in there until at least 37 weeks (September 28th).

At least 39 weeks.  You want nothing less.  Your uterus and your height can handle it. 

Again with my uterus.

So my new goal is to keep them cooking in there until October 12th.  And despite all of this chatter I hear about possible bed rest in my third trimester — he does not think I will need any of it.  Just keep swimming and doing yoga. 

These are orders I can handle.

I left the appointment today feeling relieved.  Despite all of the nausea and dry heaving and lack of appetite — somehow by force feeding myself without much enjoyment, I was doing something right.  My Dumplings were thriving despite the fact I was sustaining myself on bean and cheese burritos.  My husband hovering over me with protein smoothies and turkey sandwiches had a lot to do with it as well.  I was gaining weight right on schedule.

Mother’s Day was such a blessing this year.  My step-mom, Sandy, delivered our new kitty, Raylan, to us.  He is so young and full of life.  It’s been so long since we’ve had a cat that could run and jump and play.  His boisterous nature is going to take some getting used to after taking care of our little geriatric friend, Boomer, for so long.  Everything is new to him.  The bug. The paper.  The straw.  Your feet.  Just being here is exciting.

Here he is in all of his glory.  He spends a lot of time on his back.  I need to get him a white cowboy hat.

Raylan and his Toys

For the first Mother’s Day since 2009, I woke up without feeling a deep emptiness.  I did not take an extra long shower so I could cry it all out.  I did not avoid my friends with kids.  I did not feel sorry for myself on this day.  I felt joy.  I also felt no nausea, which must have been a collective gift from The Dumplings.

Of course, the following morning I was greeted with dry heaves.  One day off was better than no days off.

I took my step-mom to Jerry’s Deli where I was able to eat egg salad.  In the evening I went to my in-laws.  They made grass-fed beef meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes, peas, cauliflower soup and salad.  I ate a little bit of all of it, but not too much because someone is pushing against my stomach … Harlow!

And last but not least — as someone who is always ready for dessert — the evening was topped off with homemade red velvet cake.  My favorite.  The Dumplings loved it.

It was a great first Mother’s Day.  Next year will be even better … probably a lot messier.

Tonight, after missing two other yoga classes during the day, I finally made it to Chaz’s class.  I had an amazing practice.  I don’t know exactly what happened, but the fatigue has begun to dissipate despite this belly protruding in front of me.  I’ve been taking prenatal yoga this past week and it has helped with my yoga confidence as my belly begins to pop out.

It helped so much, I decided to do this:

17 Weeks Pregnant

17 Weeks Pregnant

As I was driving home today from the doctor, Kacey Musgraves came on the radio singing Follow Your Arrow.  I just really love this song.  I need to add a What’s On My iPod section to this blog.  This is most definitely on my iPod.  Enjoy!

And follow your arrow wherever it points …

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Bloom Where You’re Planted

Blooming Where Planted - 1975 Yes, I was the only one who brought the doll they were supposed to be dancing with.  I did not seem to care.

Blooming Where Planted – 1975
Yes, I was the only one who brought the doll they were supposed to be dancing with. I did not seem to care.

I love the phrase Bloom Where You’re Planted.  Last week, as I was taking my daily scroll through my Facebook news feed I came across this phrase.  One of my friends was congratulating her daughter on blooming where she was planted, after having to move from a town she loved right before starting middle school last year.  The picture showed a smiling young lady winning an award at her new school.  Not only had she bloomed where she was planted, she was thriving.

When I saw that picture of my friend’s daughter, I thought about all of the times I had bloomed where I was planted.  I did not go to the same school two years in a row until I reached 4th Grade.  I was constantly making new friends and trying to fit in, but in the end, I always found new friends.  Usually lots of them.  I find my ability to do this fascinating, considering I am an introvert by nature.  Sometimes it took quite a bit of watering to get me to sprout, but eventually, the fear dissipated and I came out the other side of it smiling.  Always smiling.  I was born to bloom, regardless of the chaos happening around me.  Even as I struggled with infertility for years, I was always cognizant of the fact that I had my life and my health.  I had choices, the desire to succeed and ways to bloom despite the hand I was currently holding.

I’m a big fan of folding and getting some new cards.

Some of us are born with the will to thrive despite what life throws us, and some of us … come from a completely different sort of cloth.

Some people never bloom anywhere — they always have an excuse for why their life generally sucks.  They are always the victim in the story, and the story never freaking ends.  Considering how many cancer patients I know who bloom where they are planted, someone complaining about their stubbed-toe life can be mildly irritating, to say the least.

I call these people a human succubus, which makes my husband laugh.  Technically, a succubus is a female demon who enters dreams and seduces men … but I have taken the liberty to expand the definition:  A human succubus just sucks the life out of you every time you’re around them.

They seem to be drawn to me.

I’m not talking about good friends going through a rough patch who need to bend your ear for support and help.  I’m talking about people who reside permanently in Rough Patch … often of their own making.  They never come up for air.  They don’t notice when you’re with them that you never speak.  You don’t speak because they don’t let you.  They don’t ask anything about your life.  They’re not interested.  They’re not curious.  By the time your time with them is over, you feel like you should be charging them for the therapy session they just sucked out of you without warning.  (I will neither confirm nor deny that I have had such a lunch recently … )

Why I am contemplating this on a random Monday evening in May?

I have this unwavering attachment to finding our forever home and raising all of our children in it.  I don’t want them to have to continually plant and bloom.  I am sure, being children of bloomers, they will be able to handle it; but knowing how unsettling it can be — I don’t want them to plant and bloom and plant and bloom anymore than they have to.

But as my husband always says … We have to make the right move. 

And sometimes the right move is more than one move.  That’s just part of life.  Especially in today’s world where people do not stay at the same job forever.  Hence that wonderful cliche … home is where the heart is.  

Tell that to a kid leaving all of their friends behind and see how far it gets you.  Cliches are good for greeting cards and wall hangings, but often get lost in translation when it comes to applying them to life.

Moving is less daunting for me because I have done it so many times throughout my life.  I have lived in every time zone in North America.  My husband was born in Los Angeles and has never lived anywhere else except Sacramento.  Always in California.  One time zone.  The thought of uprooting and planting and blooming is a much larger undertaking for him than it is for me.  I have no doubt he will bloom when he chooses to plant, because that’s the kind of guy he is … he makes friends wherever he goes.

He’s always weighing all the options, while I have a moving truck ordered.  We make a great pair.  He keeps me from carting us off to the wrong pasture and I remind him daily we need to find a pasture.

Today begins the 17th week of my pregnancy.  I am thinking ahead to the coming weeks and how I am going to theme the blog for this new life unfolding before me.  The masthead of the blog has been redesigned, and you can see it on the Terrilox Facebook Page.  I’m really happy with it and can’t wait for the full design.  Ultimately, I have decided not to over-think or over-structure the blog (which is my over-thinking and over-structuring nature) and just write every day.  The best way for something to unfold organically and grow — which I learned from completing 60+ Days On the Mat — is to just do it.

I’ve never had a baby before, much less twins.  I’ve certainly never raised boys.  I’ve never worked from home with babies.

I’ve never done anything I am doing right now.

So the truth is, there is going to be a host of things to write about.  Some days will be more interesting to you than others, but I hope along the way this little blog will continue to grow and you’ll keep stopping by when you can.  I have lots of dreams for it, but right now I just have to keep planting and blooming.  We all do.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking the weekly pregnancy picture and writing about the first Mother’s Day I haven’t spent crying quietly in a long time … and our new kitty, Raylan.  He’s no Boomer, but he’s pretty cute.

In the meantime, I hope you continue to bloom wherever you are currently planted.  I most definitely am … wait until you see the belly this week!


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Dear Dumplings — Week 16: Boys Will Be Boys


Dear Dumplings:

Well, it’s official.  You are baby boy dumplings!  I guess you both knew that already.  I actually had a feeling you were going to be two boys.  I don’t know why.  Call it a mother’s intuition.

Your Daddy is excited you are both healthy and active.  Boy are you active.  He seems to think he is better with girls names than boys names, so he is slightly bummed there will be no girl to select this go round.  Plus, whenever you have a child of the same sex — you are, of course, excited — but at the same time you know at some point in your life this child will claim to hate you, if only for a moment.  Girls go through it with Moms — just ask your Grandma Kay about when I was 16.  Boys go through it with Dads.  After the phase is over, as the kid, you eventually give in to the fact that you are just like your same sex parent in more ways than you will ever care to admit … until you’re over 40.  Then you embrace it.  Or you start drinking more.

I can’t promise you won’t go through a phase where I embarrass the living daylights out of you.  It runs in my family.  If I start buying strange hats, just call me Louise.  If I start randomly dancing around the living room, just call me Kay.

As long and as hard as we had to work to get to me being 16 weeks and 3 days pregnant — you could be a couple of baby kangaroos and we’d be ready with two swaddling blankets the minute you popped out.  I’m glad you’re not kangaroos, since that would be strange, but you get the idea.  I’m so happy you’re healthy and kicking and making me nauseous every single day.

Every. Single. Day.

Your Daddy reminded me that we have a few more kiddos on ice with Dr. K (eight to be exact), so perhaps you have a little sister in there somewhere.  Or not.  I’ll be honest, if I don’t get to the glowing honeymoon phase of this pregnancy, I might never want to do this again.  Everyone tells me I’ll forget all of it the minute I hold both of you.  I hold on to that thought while chewing every miserable bite of food.

Some people seem worried that I won’t know what to do with boys, being an only girl child.  I’m here to tell you not to worry.  I’ve never been that girly.  I’ve gone three days without a shower in the wilderness.

I may not know how to keep score with the card and a pencil at the baseball game (yet).  I’ll admit I am easily bored watching sports for hours on end, but I do love football and the Dallas Cowboys.  I know what a flea flicker is.  I know all about the Final Four.  The four major tennis tournaments.  The Stanley Cup.  The Indy 500.  The Kentucky Derby.  The Preakness.  The Belmont Stakes … I’ve been to Belmont many, many times.  I’ve been to the Rose Bowl … twice.  The picture at the top of this post is your Grandpa Roy and me at the 2011 Rose Bowl.  TCU beat the Wisconsin Badgers 21 to 19.

Now I will admit, you’ll have a lot more fun watching any sporting event with your Daddy, because he knows everything.  He should have been a sportscaster.  He’s full of random sports trivia and his enthusiasm is infectious.

Now, let me tell you where I come in.

Skiing?  I know how to snow ski. I have been an intermediate skier since I was about 11 years old, and I have no desire to get any better than that because I hate to go fast.  It’s the control freak in me.  I’ll make sure you learn how to ski, while your Daddy is sitting at the bottom of the hill cheering us on.  (He has bad knees.)

Snowboarding?  You’re on your own.

Camping?  Your Mama knows how to pitch a tent.  I know how to make all kinds of meals in foil over a campfire or on a charcoal grill.  Stick with me and we’ll camp in the great outdoors.  Your Daddy will take you to Camp Hyatt.

Fishing?  Your Mama knows how to bait a hook and throw a line.  I’m not afraid of worms or grasshoppers.  Consider me your fishing coach.  Daddy will probably join us here, since he did fish with his Aunt Sharie … though I’m not sure about how he’ll do with the grasshoppers.

Video Games?  I used to work for a video game network called G4.  I can still play a pretty mean game of Pac Man, but 1982 is about as far as I go.  Unless you count Zuma Blitz on Facebook.  Your Daddy plays backgammon against the computer.  Exciting, I know.

You don’t need video games any way.  We’re going camping.

Yoga?  Yes.  All good little boys do yoga.  It’s an excellent way to meet girls.

I’ll admit, I am excited to have a couple of Mama’s boys.  If you love me like your Daddy loves your Grandma Wilcox, I’ll be one lucky Mama.

I already feel like I won the lottery.

And in the end, if you are interested in none of these things … well, you’ll just have to teach us all about it.  We love you already; whatever your passions turn out to be.  Provided they’re legal and not weird.

You’re obviously going to be hanging out together non-stop for the next couple of decades.  I never had any siblings, so I think you’re pretty lucky to have each other right from the start.  I hope you become best friends and you always stick together.  Support each other.  Love each other.  Be there for each other.

I know you’re only slightly bigger than a Haas Avocado — but can you promise me that?



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Week 16 – Tri-Two: Interested. Always Stay Interested.

Week 16At the moment I feel like a complete failure as a mother.  Last week I did not write a Week 15 Dear Dumplings letter and there is really no way to go back and write one, since I will soon be writing the Week 16 letter after our appointment tomorrow. I could rush one out today, but …

Will it scar them if Week 15 is missing?

In lieu of beating myself up, I have decided to let it go and somehow find a way to forgive myself for this not-massive shortcoming.  After all, I think these soon to be bundles of joy are slowly trying to kill me.  (Enter, first guilt trip.)  It was by far the worst week for nausea, lack of appetite, fatigue … and other things I will not mention because no one wants to read about them.  However, there was this woman who opened up a salad on the plane that sent me running to the back of the plane in search of, well, a barf bag.

When is my second trimester honeymoon going to begin?  I ask this question daily.  I am convinced it is a fiction.

Tomorrow we will see the Dumplings again at the doctor’s office for our 16 week check-up.  Since I traveled back and forth to Washington D.C. this week, I am slightly anxious to hear their little heartbeats and see them kicking around in their little sacs.  I can feel them off and on writhing around; causing pressure on my tummy.  I’ll feel less anxious when I see them.  It has been three weeks, which seems like forever.

This week they have reached the size of an avocado. I keep wondering if they are the small scrawny avocados or the nice plump large avocados?  None of the books are revealing what sort of avocado I should be thinking about.

I flew this week to Washington D.C. for an event I have worked on every year since 2002 called The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.  This is the only client I book celebrities for anymore.  I do it because I love the event and everything it represents.  If you have kids in grades 5-12, you should definitely read more about it.  They can be in private, public or home school.

For more information on what it’s all about, you can visit their website:

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards


Always stay interested. 

Kevin Spacey said a lot of things in his poignant speech to the young winners of the 2013 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.  They were hanging on his every word.  I could see the connection in their faces.

Whenever I read anything, watch anything, eat anything, buy anything, or basically DO ANYTHING — I am thinking about the Dumplings.  Listening to the speakers on Sunday night at the awards ceremony —  Academy Award winning actor, Kevin Spacey and Olympic Gold medalist, Allyson Felix — was no different.

Kevin Spacey said so many things these philanthropic kids could relate to, and even adults thinking about being kids could relate to.  His stories were touching and relevant to the evening and all these kids had accomplished.  One of the stories he told was about a game he had played with several actors at John Huston’s home when he was a young actor.  The game involved stating the word most important to you.  People said things like Family, Friends, Health –— all the usual suspects.  When it came time for John Huston to say his word, he said,

Interested.  Always stay interested.

This immediately resonated with me.  Looking back on my life thus far, I can honestly say that the worst times in my life were the moments where my interest faded.  I lost the passion.  I lost the drive.  I was wandering aimlessly in search of interest.  Something to focus me again.

When I was younger I sauntered down many paths of alleged interest that were really more of a self-manipulation; a longing.  I was seeking some sort of acceptance or recognition.  My desire to belong to something was far greater than my interest in it.

I believe we are all searching, and many people are lucky enough to find what they’re looking for more quickly than others.    Some of us (like me) discover interests in so many things there never seems to be enough rocks to look under or enough time to explore them all.  There are not enough hours in the day to read about all the things I want to know.

Some people call it ADD.  I call it, over-interested.

The one good thing about being an older parent is by this point in life your interests are yours.  Your passions are yours. You’re not trying to win anyone over or gain some sort of acceptance you think you need.  Somehow, by this point, life is just going, and even when it appears you might be going off a cliff, deep down you know … you’re not.

I’m not sure if this comes with a strengthening of faith or age.  I like to think it’s a little of both.

We all have dreams as children.  We all have dreams for our children.  Will they love this or will they love that?  Will our little Dumplings be as passionate about baseball, hockey, tennis, USC football and politics like their Daddy?  Will they love yoga, Shakespeare, historical fiction, Tennessee Williams, show tunes and Willie Nelson like their Mama?

It’s honestly anyone’s guess.  I do know that whatever their interests are — be they fleeting or for a lifetime — they will become my interests as well; if only for moral support.  Kevin Spacey was more than clear about the adults in his life helping him believe his interests, and ultimately his passion to be an actor, was possible.

One hope among the many, many hopes we have for our children — is that they remain interested.  They remain curious.  I believe interest and curiosity helps you find your passions.  Without it, you can find yourself in a rut.  Sometimes these ruts can last a lifetime.  We’ve all seen someone in a lifetime rut, starved for interest —  and it’s scary.

Luckily, if these Dumplings are anything like either one of their parents, this won’t be a problem.

I hope I have enough intuition as their Mama to know when they are actually interested and when they are pretending to be to please someone else; possibly even their parents.

Always be curious and interested.

Thanks, Kevin Spacey, for touching the heart and mind of even this 43-year old broad on Sunday night.  You were great.

Dear Dumplings,

Sorry I missed your official Week 15 letter.  Please know it was not because I lacked interest.  You can ask your Daddy — right now you are my only interest.  Sometimes I think he is a little jealous, but then he comes over and rubs my tummy with a great big smile on his face and I know he isn’t.  He’s just as excited for you to get here as I am.  We can’t wait to see you tomorrow.  It’s been three weeks!



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