Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Roadtrip: Thanksgiving Weekend

Like the rest of America this past weekend, Katherine and Caroline hit the road for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Their destination: Los Angeles with Mommy and Daddy to visit David's family.

The trip was approximately 700 miles roundtrip, all in the family car. By far, this was the longest roadtrip for the girls thus far.

A view of the equipment used to cloth, feed, and comfort 14 week-old twins:

A photo of the equipment packed for the roadtrip to Los Angeles. Lewis and Clark packed less gear for their cross-continent expedition!
(click on photo for larger view)

Some creative packing by Daddy, and everything was in the car early Thursday (Nov. 24) morning, and the family was off.

Nov. 24, 2005 (Thursday) - Thanksgiving Day

Many friends have told us that babies actually travel well before six months of age, and they were right!

The girls for the most part fell asleep throughout the six hour car ride to Los Angeles.

We only needed to stop once to change and feed the girls.

Caroline got a little fussy towards the end of the trip, but overall both girls slept almost the entire time.

Thanksgiving was at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

The girls were not so into the food, but enjoyed being fussed over by their older cousin, Lauren:

Katherine on Thanksgiving with Cousin Lauren
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Nov. 25, 2005 (Friday) - Christmas Shopping

The girls were awakened early Friday morning for that time-honored tradition: The day-after-Thanksgiving shopping rush!

It was hard to tell who was more excited about waking up early -- Mommy or the girls.

David took this photo of Terri and the girls outside Target (and "yes" that is fog, not L.A. smog!):

First Shopping Trip with Mommy
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Friday was also David's birthday, so the family celebrated with some pumpkin and apple pie!

The Lim Family celebrate Daddy's birthday
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Nov. 26, 2005 (Saturday) - Date Night!

The girl's got a chance to meet their cousin Ryan for the first time (David's sister's youngest son):

The girls meet cousin Ryan -- seven weeks their senior
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But the big news for Saturday was that Terri and David left the girls with Grandma and Grandpa for the afternoon and went on their first date since the girls were born!

For three hours in the afternoon, Terri and David walked the mall without a stroller, a diaper bag, or ANYTHING. They also caught a movie, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire". David was so excited, he spent $10 on popcorn and soda, and didn't even complain about the price!

For any first time parents reading this -- if a well-meaning family member offers to give you some "down time" -- TAKE IT!

Nov. 27, 2005 (Sunday) - Red Egg & Ginger Party

Katherine and Caroline had their "official" Red Egg & Ginger Party.

Some of you will recall that on their one-month birthday, we had a small Red Egg and Ginger Celebration for the girls at our house (see "Red Egg & Ginger Party", September 4, 2005).

This was the real party -- over 150 family and friends gathered at a Chinese restaurant to eat and celebrate Katherine and Caroline.
The girls slept through most of the party, but everyone had a nice time.

Katherine & Caroline's Red Egg & Ginger Party
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Katherine & Caroline's with Proud Grandparents & Friends
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Katherine & Caroline's with David & Terri's Friends
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Gifts for Katherine & Caroline
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Nov. 27, 2005 (Monday) - Heading Home

On Monday, we headed home. The girls, again, slept through most of the trip, with only a bit of crying in the home stretch.

Here's Caroline, looking forward to heading home:

Caroline in Los Angeles
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Baby Bjorn Haiku

Katherine and Caroline love their Baby Bjorn.

For those non-parent readers, the Baby Bjorn is a pouch-like devise which allows you to carry your baby on your chest, while keeping your arms free to eat cake, work a T.V. remote, or type a blog!

Katherine with Mommy in Baby Bjorn
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When the girls were first born, we had a "knockoff" carrier.

Similar to the Baby Bjorn, but definitely NOT the Baby Bjorn.

The girls hated it.

It had hard plastic clips that the girls would bang their head into, and it wasn't very secure.

So Terri's sister found us a good deal on two Baby Bjorns. We put the girls into them, and have never looked back.

In homage to the Baby Bjorn, I present you -- "BABY BJORN HAIKU"


**Haiku: A traditional form of Japanese poetry, a traditional haiku consists of a pattern of approximately 5, 7, and 5 paragraph on separate lines. The haiku does not traditionally rhyme.

Swedish carrier,
Keeps baby secure and safe;
Looking all around.

Snug fitting holder;
Caroline sleeps on my chest;
You are a Godsend!

Fussy Katherine
Wants to watch the world go by;
Safely strapped to Dad.

Baby cries and cries;
Strap on the Baby Bjorn.
Baby falls asleep!

Caroline Sleeping in Baby Bjorn
(click on photo for larger view),

Monday, November 21, 2005

It's All Relative

Being a mother of twin babies is no easy task. People constantly stop me on the streets and comment about how difficult it must be to care for twins.  Common remarks I hear are “double trouble” and “wow, it must be a lot of work.”  

I often reply with a smile and brief comment such as “it’s a double blessing” or “it’s a lot of fun.”

Becoming a parent has been a rite of passage.  Life is no longer just about David and me and what do we want to do for dinner or for fun.  Suddenly, we’re grown ups.  

We have real responsibilities; Katherine and Caroline are counting on us to be mature and make the right decisions.  This is from the woman who still likes to eat cookies and ice cream as an entrĂ©e.  

However, David and I aren’t just parents.  We’re parents of twins.  We have entered a special fraternity of parents of multiples.  It’s a “by invitation only” fraternity.  

Strangers will introduce themselves and tell us that they are twins also.  Instantly, we find that these “strangers” are fellow fraternity members.  We’ll see other parents of twins at the mall or supermarket and give each other a nod and a smile.  How were we so lucky to be extended this invitation?  

David and I recently went to a Halloween party for other parents of multiples.  At these events, our Suburban of strollers (a double tandem Snap N Go) is no longer such an anomaly.  

In fact, we saw a stroller for triplets. “Wow,” we said “three babies!”  So you see, I feel extremely fortunate that David and I aren’t outnumbered.  Compared to parents of triplets or quadruplets we’re actually in a good position.  

Imagine if we had a toddler or other children in addition to our twins!  Some days, I’m just exhausted caring for Katherine and Caroline.  Last Wednesday was one of those days.  I said to David “we just never get a break,” but then I think about single parents, parents whose spouses travel for work or are in the military overseas.  These parents never get a break.  At least we have family close by who help us.  

So, yes, having twins is a lot of work but it’s all relative.  

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Caroline's Calisthenics

Nobody ever told me that when I became a father, I would also become a football coach.

You see, in order to encourage proper development of neck and back muscles, and to improve coordination in general, the experts recommend "tummy time" for babies at least a few minutes every day.

Thus, every day during the week, Terri will have the girls on their stomachs. During the weekend, I try to give their girls their "tummy time" while playing with them.

The first few times I did "tummy time", I carefully placed each girl on their stomach, then sat there passively and watched.

The girls would invariably cry.

Like any first time father, I would break down and pick them up.

As the weeks have gone by, however, and the girls have gotten stronger, "tummy time" has become more fun.

First, I realized that the girls will not break if I flip them over onto their backs (much like flipping a turtle onto it's back).

The girls, in fact, being bigger now, actually enjoy getting flipped over.

Far from crying when they are put on their stomachs, they seem to enjoy the challenge.

They stretch their legs and arms, lift their heads, and grunt continuously.

And far from being the passive observer, I now encourage them in the spirit of football coaches everywhere.

While lying on my stomach myself (so I can look at them in the eye, on their level), I shout encouragement:

"Lift that head!"

"Get that head up 45 degrees! Hold it! Hold it!"

"Way to go [Katherine]/[Caroline]! You're doing great!"

"Who's the Baby?
You're the Baby!"

And today, all my coaching paid off.

Call it the Super Bowl of "tummy time".

Caroline rolled over. From her stomach onto her back.

All by herself.

If someone could have poured Gatorade over me, I couldn't have been prouder.

And just to prove it was no fluke, I had her do it three more times. And I took pictures:

Play-By-Play of Caroline's SportsCenter Moment
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I also got a post-roll interview from the victorious Baby. Take a listen below. I think you'll agree she's quite modest (it sounds like she's crying, but she's actually babbling):

this is an audio post - click to play

If my alma mater, the UCLA Bruins, puts in half the effort Caroline put in tonight in two weeks against arch-rival USC, we've got a shot to beat those Trojans!! Go Bruins!

U --- C --- L --- A ---- UCLA, Beat 'SC!
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Saturday, November 19, 2005


Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,
Dreaming o'er the joys of night;
Sleep, sleep, in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.

- William Blake

Katherine & Caroline at Week 14
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Overheard in the Lim household this morning at 6:00 A.M.:

David: Did you wake up to feed the kids last night?

Terri: No. Did you?

David: No.


[Sound of David and Terri jumping out of bed]

[Terri and David peering into the crib]

[Girls are sleeping peacefully]

Terri: I guess they slept throught the night.


Four magic words parents long to hear from the first week of birth:


Last night was the first night in 15 weeks we've slept six hours straight.


Daddy Catching A Nap With The Girls
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Friday, November 18, 2005

Social Butterflies

This weekend is a rare non-busy weekend for the girls.

The last three weekends have taken the girls to a wedding, a bar-b-que, dinner at their Aunt Cindy's, a Red Egg and Ginger Party, and a baby shower for my friends, Lance and Candise.

Katherine & Caroline Socializing at Lance & Candise's Baby Shower
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Next weekend, of course, is Thanksgiving, with numerous family gatherings and many, many dinners.

So this weekend, Terri and I are looking forward spending some quiet time at home with the girls.

Mommy & Katherine Out on the Town!
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That's not to say, however, that the girls don't like going out -- quite the opposite. They are social butterflies, even at 15 weeks!

Katherine, in particular, loves to be out and about. She will stay awake and look around quietly, taking everything in.

Caroline is also quiet when she's out socially, but she tends to be a bit more shy, and will often close her eyes, or look away when things get too "busy" for her. If she really gets freaked out, she will often just fall asleep!

Daddy, Caroline, and a Beer.
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Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Horror, The Horror . . .

I've taken the latest step in my evolution as a parent.

Last night, I didn't get very much sleep -- which in itself is nothing new.

It's the reason WHY I didn't sleep well.

You see, I've entered a strange, wonderful, and horrific world known to all parents.

A world filled with Muppets, Wiggles, Barney, and Sesame Street, to name a few.

A world where your babies respond well to one CD from one of the above groups.

And so to keep them happy, you play that CD because it makes them laugh.

Because, when all else fails, it stops the crying, and gives you precious minutes of peace and quiet.

Music Calms the Sleeping Babies
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You play that CD.


And over.

And over again.

And then the songs get burned into your head.


And over.

And over again.


It's 6:00 a.m. in the morning, and I swear I haven't been able to get one song out of my head since midnight!

They say misery loves company, so sing with me now . . .

Click here:

Oh, I've got five people in my family.
And there's not one of them I'd swap.
There is a sister, and two brothers,
And a Mother, and a Pop (that's me).
Oh, five is such a pretty number!
I'm awfully glad that I've . . .
Five people in my family
One, two, three, four, five.
One . . .
Two . . .
Three . . .
Four . . .


Daddy's Got Muppets On the Brain

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Politics and Baby Talk

Tonight is election night in California.

I want my girls to be well-versed in current events and relevant social issues, so from time to time, I'll talk to them about various issues.

Here's a real discussion I had with Katherine the other night (and if you think I'm joking, you're not a parent!):

Daddy: "Katherine, what do you think of the new Supreme Court Nominee, Samuel Alito?"

Katherine: [Blank stare]

Katherine Listening to Daddy's Political Rantings

Daddy: "Some say that he's a conservative ideologue, while others say he'll follow the precedent set by past Court cases. What are your thoughts?"

Katherine: [Waves her arms in the air, hitting herself in the eye]

Daddy: "There are those who say the Constitution is a 'living, breathing document' to be interpreted in the context of relevant social issues of our time. Others argue a 'strict interpretation' to the Constitution, reading only what the Founding Fathers would have placed into the document. What do you think?"

Katherine: [Sneezes in my face]

Daddy: "I agree. I'd support any candidate who can provide you a cleaner, drier diaper."

Katherine: [Spits up and smiles]

I guess I shouldn't send the check off to Harvard just yet!

Caroline is a big supporter of the "full bottle" platform.

Click on any photo for a larger view.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Traveling Circus

This past weekend was our first big test in taking the girls out for extended periods of time over the course of an entire weekend.

Terri's sister Cindy got married on Saturday, so the girls were invited to every event -- lots of parties, lots of family, lots of time away from home.

At twelve weeks old, were the girls ready for this?

More importantly, after twelve weeks of parenting, were WE ready for this?

The Traveling Circus Comes to Cindy and Eric's Wedding!


The weekend starts early Friday afternoon.

First, a bath for each girl. Then, getting ready to take them out to the wedding rehearsal and wedding rehearsal dinner.

We pack the following for the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner:
  • Double stroller
  • Two car seats
  • Backpack containing:
    • Ten diapers (five "newborn" Pampers for Caroline, five "onesie" Huggies for Katherine)
    • Changing pad
    • Wet wipes
    • Change of clothing for each child
    • Pajamas for each child
    • Three burp cloths
    • Two extra receiving blankets
    • Three 4 oz. "Dr. Brown" bottles
    • Formula to make three 3 oz. feedings
    • Two bottles of Crystal Geyser water to make formula
    • Camera (to record every precious moment)
    • Two plastic ziplock bags to store dirty diapers in.
I feel like I'm packing for a small army!

In addition to getting the kids ready, we get ourselves ready -- this is different then our previous outings to the mall or the local family restaurant.

This was a wedding, which means dressing nice, and looking nice!

This Ain't No Trip to the Mall -- You Gotta Look Good!

Just before we leave the house, Terri breastfeeds each girl. We are trying to time the feedings to minimize having to feed in awkward places or at awkward times -- i.e., the middle of the rehearsal.

We get to the church on time, no problem.

Terri is in the wedding party, so she goes off to take part in the rehearsal. I walk the girls around and around and around the church chapel to keep them entertained. They nap for the most part throughout the rehearsal.

The girls behave wonderfully. No crying, no fussing. No need to feed them in the church. All is well.

We head to the restaurant for the rehearsal dinner -- Cafe de la Paz in Berkeley.

Cafe de la Paz: A Nice Restaurant, But Definitely Not "Baby Friendly"

Our first encounter with a "fancy" restaurant with babies.

Surprise! The place is not very "baby friendly."

We end up carrying the stroller up about 12 stairs to get to the banquet room where the rehearsal dinner is being held.

No changing station in the bathrooms or anywhere else. We use a cushioned sofa couch (very trendy) to change the girls.

No place for Terri to breastfeed in public, so she holes up in the darkest corner she can find and disappears under a blanket.

The girls are great. No fussing, no crying. Katherine loves the whole affair and constantly is looking around, her eyes wide with all the new things to see and hear. Caroline is more subdued, but also stays quiet.

This dinner is a preview of the rest of the weekend. Well-meaning friends and family who all want to come up and touch the babies' hands, face, feet.

As a first-time Dad, I have to suppress the urge to bark out, "Have you washed your hands?" to each person who grabs the girls by their hand, or (gasp!) puts their finger on their face.

First-Time Dad Relaxing With Caroline -- Did you Wash Your Hands?!?

Still, we get home without the kids having contracted the plague.

At bedtime, the evening catches up with little Caroline. The whole evening of stimulation is too much for Caroline. She goes into "panic" mode just before bed time, screaming and crying and unable to feed.

Maybe she doesn't know how to process all that she's seen and done today.

Maybe it's a delayed reaction to all the new stimulus.

Or maybe she's just gassy!

Some extra walking, soothing, and singing by all parties in our household, and Caroline calms down and is off to sleep.

Day one of the weekend is complete, but we're just getting started.


The second day starts early.

Terri is up at 6:00 a.m., and needs to be 20 miles away by 8:00 a.m. to have her makeup and hair done with the rest of the brides maids.

Terri feeds the girls at 7:00 a.m. just before she leaves. David's Dad drives her to her hair appointment at the wedding hotel.

At 10:30 a.m., David gets dressed into his suit, then proceeds to get the girls ready. Each girl is fed, burped, then changed into their "wedding" dresses -- little pink outfits picked out by Terri the night before.

The wedding is at 1:00 p.m., with a reception at 6:00 p.m. Instead of coming home after the wedding, the girls are going to hang out at the wedding hotel, closer to the reception.

Thus, the following is packed for the girls, and double checked by David just before 11:30 a.m.:
    • Ten diapers (five "newborn" Pampers for Caroline, five "onesie" Huggies for Katherine)
    • Changing pad
    • Wet wipes
    • Change of clothing for each child
    • Pajamas for each child
    • Three burp cloths
    • Two extra receiving blankets
    • Three 4 oz. "Dr. Brown" bottles
    • Formula to make three 3 oz. feedings
    • Two bottles of Crystal Geyser water to make formula
    • Camera (to record every precious moment)
    • Two plastic ziplock bags to store dirty diapers in.
  • A shopping bag filled with: ten extra diapers each for Katherine and Caroline, extra formula, extra bottles of water to make formula.
  • BabyBjorn to carry babies in.

We head out with the girls at 11:30 a.m., and arrive at the church by 12:00 p.m.

Get the girls inside the church (which, by the way, is also not "baby friendly" -- the stroller must be lifted by hand up a set of 20 stairs), and settled in.

Katherine and Caroline are doing fine. A small crowd of family and friends come to say hello, but most are busy finding their seats or getting ready for the ceremony.

However, once the ceremony starts, and the organ music starts to play . . .


Loud crying.

Caroline and Katherine In the Church -- BEFORE the Organ Starts to Play

First Caroline.

Then Katherine.

I pick up Caroline. My Mom takes Katherine.

I head outside with Caroline.

I try to come back in after 10 minutes. Caroline starts to cry again.

. . .

I'm told the ceremony was lovely!


We spend the late afternoon in the bridal suite letting the kids rest in the traveling playpen.

I learn that the Kolcraft "travelin'" playpen is poorly named. There's nothing much "travelin'" about the damn thing.

First off, it weights at least 50 pounds, and is huge. By the time I lug it from my car, up to the hotel room, and wrestle the thing together, I'm sweating all in my suit. Whoever designed this playpen could have put wheels on it!

However, the kids get some needed down time. They rest (and we rest with them) for about 2 hours.

At 6:00 pm, it's off to the reception.

The girls love it! Katherine can't stop looking around. Caroline is more subdued, but she's not crying at all.

The dinner is a traditional Chinese wedding banquet -- a nine-course meal.

I make it to about the third course.

By that time, the band has arrived, set up, and is starting to play.


As a first-time parent, I start to worry: How loud is too loud for 12 month old babies?

When we go outside to change and feed the babies after the third course, I get my answer.

My ears are ringing from the music. And if my ears are ringing, what does that mean for newborns?

Terri and I make a quick decision. Terri can't leave -- it's her sister's wedding, and she's in the bridal party.

I go. I take the girls back to the hotel room, where we hang out and wait for the reception to end.

The hotel room is not bad. I've eaten three courses, so I'm not hungry. The girls actually fall asleep after a little bit of fussiness.

By the time Terri calls me and we pack up to head home, everyone has had a pretty good time.

More importantly, we've survived our first FULL WEEKEND outing.

It felt like a traveling circus. But it was fun to experience it as a family.

In the end -- it's all about the family, isn't it?

Click on any photo for a larger view.