*Jezenia*

Today, I have so much to be thankful for. This year has been “The year of years” and everything, both good and bad, that has led me to where I am today, I am so grateful and thankful for.

Yesterday morning, as I was getting ready for work at 6am, I heard my phone ding as I was fixing my hair in the bathroom. I was wondering who was texting me so early, so I rushed over to check who it was.

“Ya tu hermana rompió agua. Nos vamos para el hospital!”

Your sisters water broke. Here going to the hospital!!! My mother was sending periodic updates. Every few minutes for the next hour I was getting updates. “Contractions 5 minutes apart” “Contractions 3 minutes apart!” “The baby will be here any minute!” “SHE’S HERE!!!!!” “Ya llegó!”

I asked for pictures but they couldn’t get us any initially because the baby was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. They had to cut the cord before her shoulders were even out! My mom and sister say she was soooo blue. Purple! They called for other doctors and one tended to the baby as one tended to my sister. Ultimately, everything ended up fine! Jezenia (Jess-enya) was born at 7:20am on Wednesday November 26th. Welcome to the world baby girl!

IMG_9533.JPG

IMG_9536.JPG

IMG_9530.JPG

IMG_9525.JPG

IMG_9537.JPG

IMG_9547-0.JPG

IMG_9544-0.JPG

IMG_9545-0.JPG

IMG_9540.JPG

IMG_9541-0.JPG

Advertisements

Baby Dreams

These past 3 weeks I have been both pleased and plagued with baby dreams.  Some are so amazing and I see our cute little chubby boys on my chest as we cuddle and watch some TV, and then others, I am running around in what seems like endless circles, holding the hand of one toddler and screaming my head off looking for the other who is nowhere to be found.  Some mornings, I am so happy, that I wake up feeling amazing the whole day, and other mornings, in such a panic that the rest of my day is spent biting my nails and reliving the dread of the previous nights dream.  I realized that today that some these dreams may be due to the fact that I have more estrogen and progesterone coursing through my body than usual (started taking birth control pills in order to induce lactation WITHOUT the sugar pill which means 37 days of crazy hormones, and with my PCOS, this is all pretty new to me).

One night I had a wonderful dream! I mean, it was so amazing.  We were in the hospital, the boys had just been born, and I was allowed to cut the cord.  Within an hour I was tandem nursing and was producing so much milk that the hospital LC couldn’t believe that I wasn’t the biological mother and that I hadn’t been pregnant before.  They latched right on and ate for a while.  When I looked at them, they smiled at me.  I couldn’t really see what they looked like, but it was more like a feeling.  My babies were content, and they knew they were loved, and I FELT that.  I woke up, and my heart was so full that day, that even a 5:00am traffic jam first thing in the morning, spilling my whole cup of coffee as I got out of the car, and forgetting my lunch couldn’t make that feeling go away.

About 3 days later, I had a horrible dream.  It was kind of in pieces but everything felt incredibly real.  We were on our way home from the hospital.  It was pouring rain.  The streets were getting flooded so I decided to take the back roads (it’s very hilly where we live, so it made sense to me, because there was no where for the water to pool as it would all flow downhill).  In my dream, I was right, but then suddenly it started to snow.  The boys started wailing at the top of their lungs!  Callie couldn’t console them.  She told me to pull over so she could try to nurse them, or rock them a little but, but I didn’t want to because the snow was getting heavier and I just wanted to get home.  I don’t remember much of it, but I do remember not being able to stop that car as it started rolling down the hill.  I pressed the brakes but they wouldn’t catch and I could see a tractor-trailer approaching at the intersection about 100 yards away.  The car was picking up speed, Callie was  yelling “STOP!”, I was yelling “I CAN”T”, tractor-trailer tires screeching, and the inevitable sound of a crash. I distinctly remember our SUV rolling, as if something out of a movie, and then I remember the most piercing green eyes on one of my baby boys and I woke up!  I couldn’t breath! It was all so real!  This dreams were screwing with me big time.

About 2 days later I dreamt that the boys were about 3 and that we were on a Disney cruise.  They were so excited to see the Pirates Show and to have ice cream.  I remember walking on the deck, and I was holding both of their hands.  I let go of one for a second to get my wallet out for my “seacard”, and when I reached down and said, “Take my hand Bubba”, there was no response, no warmth in my hand, no resistance.  “Bubba?  Bubba?!?!”  And I freaked!!! Totally freaked!  I didn’t know whether someone had snatched him, if he had just wandered off when he saw one of the many characters walking on the deck, or if that little thing I saw out of the corner of my eye that looked like it was jumping overboard was my son! I didn’t know what to think!  I ran around the whole deck of the boat, yelling at the top of my lungs. Before I could stop myself (I can do that sometimes in my dreams), I grabbed a life vest and jumped overboard.  Before I hit the water, I woke up drenched in sweat (mainly because Callie was drenched in sweat even with a fan on in 30 degree weather and had her body drapped all over me).  I was pretty shaken up.

This morning, I woke up to such a happy, awesome dream, and that is carrying me through this day (and possibly the miserable snowstorm quickly approaching my area!).  I was in the delivery room.  Callie was laboring beautiful (according to the doula), and she was really holding it together.  She hardly screamed and didn’t curse me out.  The end… LOL! Just kidding!  After a little while (distinctly remember looking at the clock on the wall and it was 3:11am)the doctor announced that Noah was crowning.  I ran over to see and Callie yelled at me to come back and hold her hand because it hurt so bad.  So I did, and next thing I know, she pushes and on her chest they put this massive baby, with a head full of dark brown hair, and eyes as grey as morning fog.  It was incredible! Then another push and another cry at 3:13 and then 2 glorious babies were on Callie’s chest, this picture not as clear from all the tears in my eyes, and I see dark hair again (we have been debating whether we will even have AT LEAST one ginger baby {please Ginger Gods!}) and the most piercing blue eyes I have seen.  And I sang to them, and they knew it was me.  I felt it.  They kicked their little legs, and they just stared at me, wide awake, while I sang to them, as if they were dying to hear it without the muffling of that bubbling they were sitting in for so many months.  When I stopped they cried, when I sang they settled.  It was incredible.  My cat walked into the room (weird, I know!) and she started making this weird meowing sound that ended up being my first alarm.  I shut it off and tried to fall back to sleep and get back to the place I was in my dream as quickly as I could before I lost it, but no such luck.

I always hear about pregnant lady dreams, but never pregnant partner dreams.  I know they happen.  Butchjax confirms that, as her wife has been having these dreams too.  Parenthood is a scary but incredibly rewarding experience.  It’s only natural to have both of those kinds of dreams, I suppose.  I just prefer the ones that don’t involve me feeling like I am the worst parents in the world, or by babies scaring the crap out of me.  I’ll hold on to last nights dream for as long as I can…those eyes (even if that’s not what they really look like) will never leave me…

28 and 29 Weeks

To think that we are just a few short weeks away from the birth of our sons is so exciting and ridiculously nerve wracking at the same time. I think I have acquired even MORE of Callie’s pregnancy symptoms. I am OFFICIALLY in full nesting mode!!! I have cleaned out my storage unit (thanks Marco!) organized the closets, put together the nursery (with loads of help, of course), took out our Christmas decorations to set up tomorrow after church, did about 2 months worth of laundry and am washing all of our bedding this coming week (including all of our comforters), and will be reorganizing all of our kitchen cabinets as well to make room for the loads of baby bottles that we bought today. I have this insatiable urge to get it all done. Oh, and I also want to take a Magic Eraser to all of the white walls in this apartment (they all got a little scuffed up moving crap around).

WEEK 28
•Another scan that went pretty well. The boys are both head down which means that we are still good to go for a natural delivery (so far), and Callie’s cervix is at 1.9cm
•We put together one of the cribs and set up the nursery with help from T, Marco, my mom Wita (pronounced Wee-Tah) and my dad Wito (pronounced Wee-Toe)
•We got hooked up with a free doula thanks to our LC
•We have been making more time alone by putting Mary to bed 30 minutes earlier since we know that’s all going to change very soon

WEEK 29
•We got a washing machine!!! This is exciting stuff because a) the washers in our building cost about $7 per load to wash and dry and b) we want to cloth diaper but it wasn’t economical because of reason A, and c) we’ll have gone from a family of 2 to a family of 5 in one year and will be doing laundry at least 2x’s a week. And did I mention freaking reason A?!
•We bought the boys car seats and put the stroller together
•I started my new job and really, really, really like the new people that I work with, especially my super cool boss
•Had another OB appointment and Callie’s cervix is up to 2.3, which is great!
•Met with our doula and we love her!
•We have our maternity shoot tomorrow with a friend from high school that is an amazing photographer ( Check him out at Jesse Rinka)

The boys have been wiggling around like CRAZY!!! You can see Callie’s whole
belly wave and shake. We’ve seen feet poking out, whole legs move across her whole bump, and little elbows protruding at odd angles. It’s weird, yet strangely awesome. They have been very active lately, especially when Callie drinks juice or eats fruit. They seriously have a sweet tooth. Their development has slowed down a bit with the exception of their lungs, brain, and putting on some fat. They love being read to and they really enjoy having the ABC’s sung to them and another little song where I say good morning to them and call them
both by their names. I’ve been trying my hardest to speak Spanish to them in utero, but it’s still kind of weird. It’ll be easier once they are here. Callie will only speak English and I will only speak Spanish. It’s something that I find really important. We will also be teaching them baby sign language so that they have “words” when they don’t have words. We’re so excited for these little nuggets to be here. Words can’t express the joy in my heart…

IMG_9505-0.JPG

IMG_9520.JPG

Nursery News!

This past week and a half has been pretty hectic! I haven’t eve had a chance to update you guys on Callie’s 27th and 28th week of pregnancy.  Week 27 looked a lot like this for Callie, but I think the boys are still have a growth spurt, so lots of eating and lots of resting…

CALLIE ON ONE OF HER MANY "BREAK FOR A FEW MINUTES"

CALLIE ON ONE OF HER MANY “BREAK FOR A FEW MINUTES”

27 weeks sees babies retinas developing.  One fun fact that I found interesting is that babies are able to dream at this point.  But what would they dream about considering that they have no idea what the outside world is like.  They have no point of reference yet or experiences.  It makes me wonder if those reincarnated souls that take up shop in our little babies bodies give them those dreams.  It also makes me wonder if they have nightmares too, and then that makes me sad that I can’t soothe them.  Too much to think about!  Their brains also get those little characteristic wrinkles, and they are getting pretty long and chubby.  We’ve also been able to recognize what their schedules are.  It’s funny because it seems to be that Callie gets more tired when they are most active (she doesn’t even feel them and can sleep right through it!)  At our 27 week scan, everything looked great.  The OB and Perinatologist changed her visits to bi-weekly instead of weekly because they felt that it might just aggravate her thinning cervix and it seems to have been stable the past month, so it wasn’t worth the risk.  Our next appointment is this coming Tuesday which we are excited about.  We haven’t been able to get a good ultrasound the past 2 times we’ve gone because we got stuck with a shitty first time sonographer that still uses notes to figure out how to work the damn machine! We’ll get our favorite lady (which we requested) who gives us 3D u/s even though she isn’t really supposed to… Also, both boys are still head down, where they have been the past few scans, so hopefully, Callie will be able to have a natural vaginal delivery like we hoped for.  We also got a FREE doula who will be meeting with us next Saturday and is also experienced in c-sections, just in case.  So far everything has been great, with the exception of the bed rest, but Callie is a trooper and has been handling it relatively well.  I love that girl!  She’s really sacrificing a lot to have those boys stay nice and cozy for another (hopefully) 8-10 weeks.

CALLIE ON ONE OF HER MANY "BREAKS"

MY WIFE AT 27 WEEKS PREGNANT

This past Thursday was28 weeks.  I will admit I still have not gotten around to drawing the board for many reasons.
1) My parents got Mary and I tickets to see Frozen on Ice which was freaking AWESOME!  I think Mary’s lips are chapped as bad as they are because her mouth was agape through the whole show.  She and my niece sang every single song at the top of their lungs, and then passed out in the car due to a sugar induced coma.  When you are with grandparents, anything (junk food related) goes!
2)We are still sorting and trying (operative word) to get all of these baby shower gifts sorted out.  There are things that we don’t need or have doubles of (bathtub, baby bullet, stroller {my BIL and my parents got us the same $250 stroller so one of those can go towards the car seats!}, and tons of baby clothes {we aren’t too keen on dressing them the same}) we plan on returning and purchasing some of the other things that we need.
3) We are diligently handwriting very personalized “Thank You” cards.  Everyone was so kind, thoughtful, and generous with their gifts and time and energy, that we wanted to take time to individually thank everyone.   There were over 80 people at our shower…it’s taking a while.
4) We have been trying to turn this—->

MADNESS!!

MADNESS!!

into a nursery!

I promise, a week 28 update is coming, but it takes over 30 minutes to create a board (sometimes closer to an hour) and that amount of time has been quite scarce.  My wife is on the couch or in bed most of the time and that leaves me to do everything, so it’s coming, I promise!

Now the real reason for this post, the transformation of the current nursery (see picture above) into a beautiful nautical nursery for our boys.  We had a ton of help! Saturday Marco and T came over to help us assemble the delightful nightmare that is 2 IKEA dressers.  It was wise to start the night before as it took us about 2 and a half hours to complete one dresser, but it was not wise to hammer loudly at 2am.  We have great neighbors though, so it worked out.  They stayed the night, and I made my famous french toast for breakfast.  My parents came over around noonish Saturday and it was on! I had spend most of the week doing load after load after load of baby laundry (tons of donated stuff) so Callie, T, and my mom spent most of the afternoon folding baby clothes, pairing miniscule socks, and shooing the Gracie, the cat off of all the folded clothes.  They organized all of the drawers (by sizes of Newborn, 0-3 months, 3-6, 6-9, and packed away all of the clothes for 9 months-2 years in boxes for storage) and Marco cleared out the closet and organized all of the boxes of diapers that were gifted to us (about 15!)  and all of the miscellaneous baby gifts that really don’t have a place yet on the top shelf.  My dad helped me to create shelves that I otherwise would have paid $78/each! I bought some rope and cleats at the local boating store that was going out of business (70% off! on EVERYTHING!) and paid about $12.38 for a piece of wood that was cut down to size.  A little paint, and VOILA!  $234 worth of shelf for under $34!! My dad did an amazing job hanging everything for us.

Callie’s parents ordered one of the mini cribs (it’s a small space) and the mattress, and my parents ordered the other one for us last night.  The one Callie’s parents ordered has already arrived and I will be picking it up tonight, and the other one arrives on Tuesday.  I’l give you guys a sneak peak of the nursery, but the real pictures will be posted as soon as the cribs arrive and they have been assembled.

After we finished the bulk of the room, Callie and I kept heading back into the nursery and just starting at everything.  She would sit in the rocker and clap her hands with tears in her eyes.  For me, it wasn’t so much the actual nursery that was so overwhelming.  It was the amount of time and the amount of love that was in that room, not just from us, but from everyone that helped. When you walk in, you can literally feel our friends and our parents love and dedication to these babies.  Again, I was in awe of the amount of “everything they had” that they put into making that space so special for them.  That is what kept drawing me back.  It was the energy in there.  We took tons of pictures of everyone working hard to ensure that those little boys have the perfect space.  It truly is an amazing feeling.

AN ACCENT WALL IN "ADMIRAL BLUE"

AN ACCENT WALL IN “ADMIRAL BLUE”

PUTTING TOGETHER THE DRESSERS (KITTY PHOTOBOMB)

PUTTING TOGETHER THE DRESSERS (KITTY PHOTOBOMB)

TONS OF LAUNDRY

TONS OF LAUNDRY

SHELVES PAINTED AND DRYING FOR HANING

SHELVES PAINTED AND DRYING FOR HANGING

WITA PUTTING AWAY BABY CLOTHES

WITA PUTTING AWAY BABY CLOTHES

LITTLE BOAT ON A COOL SHELF

LITTLE BOAT ON A COOL SHELF

TALL DRESSER WITH NAME BEARS THAT ACTUALLY BELONG IN THE CRIBS

TALL DRESSER WITH NAME BEARS THAT ACTUALLY BELONG IN THE CRIBS

Our Baby Shower…

But not before Marco and I went on a hiking trip and a quick stop at the Storm King Arts Center and checked out the cool sculpture park.

Saturday started out as a typical hiking day.  Marco stayed the night Friday and we watched Americas Next Top Model (one of my 3 guilty “ratchet” TV pleasures) until about 1am and went to bed.  Woke up at 7:30, made a C.D. for the road (no my 2003 Toyota Corolla does NOT have iPod/iPhone hook up!), and head out to hike Storm King Mountain.  It was a nice short hike with amazing views of the Hudson River.  There is nothing like fall foliage in New York.  Unfortunately, we missed the window for the beautiful tri-colors of green, red, and orange, but what we got was still spectacular!

memountain menadmike mike

After that short, but much needed hike, we shot over to the Arts Center.  I had been there before in the summer, but it’s so interesting to see how much of a difference a season makes.  There were a lot of interesting new pieces that I really liked, and exploring some of the art that I’ve seen before with Marco was great.  We came to an agreement that it would be a great place to have an adventure next summer or fall with my little guys in tow.

bhudda manbell mirror spark supermarco zhang

Marco and I spent the whole day catching up on life and love, and he was explaining to be about a situation that he had with an ex-boyfriend of his regarding some loaned money.  He really had me believing the whole time that they were meeting in Pleasantville (a small town near us, and yes the same Pleasantville from the film) at the Starbucks to do a money exchange.  He was supposed to meet him at 5pm.  Since the stop was on the way home, I offered to stop there before we went home.  He was texting with the “ex-boyfriend” all day, and commented that he was running a bit late so we would go and get a glass of wine at this really awesome wine place.

wine spread

We were there for about 40 minutes when Callie, Mary and Callie’s best friend Jenny walked in.  It was at that moment that we knew, that our baby shower was coming.  The whole day, I had no idea.  We had seen my cousin while doing some shopping a few days before, and he made a comment about seeing us on Sunday, so the whole time, we thought the surprise shower would be Sunday, so they got us pretty good!

We walked into a building next door to a Starbucks and it dawned on me that it was the same place where my sister had her shower.  As the doors opened, we were so surprised and taken aback by the amount of people that were there and the faces that we say yelling, “Surprise!”  It was such an incredible and overwhelming feeling.  Our friends and family worked so hard to put it all together.

They went with a nautical theme, which is the same theme we are going with for the boys nursery.  There were anchors adorned with tulle and sea shells.  Our cake was a beach with a whale in the water colored frosting and 2 little babies with names written on their bums.  There we lobster crates holding the white chocolate covered oreo party favors.  There were trays and trays of food!  Instead of one baby shower chair for the expecting mommy, they had a bench for 2 moms!!  Everything was just beautiful.  We really couldn’t have asked for more…

We got changed (we had given my Nikki our clothes for the shower a week earlier, since we KNEW we were having one, we just didn’t know when), and made our rounds to say hello to all of our amazing family and friends.  Some of our new friends were there (these fantastic ladies that we met at our friends wedding a few weeks ago), some of our oldest friends (one of the only friends that I have kept since 8th grade and Callie’s 2 oldest and dearest friends), Callie’s boat family (they’ve known her family since before she was born and are just as much her “real “family as her real family is), our aunts and uncles and cousins.  So we mingled, we ate some delicious food, did the Cupid Shuffle and the ChaCha Slide (a family party MUST!) and were ushered over to our bench to open the MOUNTAIN of gifts.  It was the Mount Marcy of baby shower gift mountains.  We received so many awesome things like a baby bullet system , a twin carrier, cribs from the in-laws, a twin stroller from my parents, a color video baby monitor from my sister, tons and tons of adorable clothes (most of which had bow ties and mustaches on them and tons of baby sweater vests- they know me tooooooo well), a tub, play mat, towels, wash cloths, loads of diapers and wipes, bottles, sheets, a Boppy, and piggy banks which my aunt promptly passed around and within 5 minutes time they were so full you couldn’t put any more money in them! Levi and Noah both walked away with almost $60 each in their banks, which will go in their bank accounts as soon as they are born.  We also got $300 worth of gift certificates and some stuff was doubled which we can return and pay for our carseats which we will be picking up on Wednesday.  My mom put together a clothes line with about 20 outfits (doubled), socks, hats, shoes, GIANTS GEAR!, and bibs.  It was really cute.

Towards the end of the event, we cut the adorable cake and as if it was cute enough, it tasted AMAZING!!! Dominican cake with a guava filling!  I’m not even a cake person, but that night, I woke up at 3am and devoured about half of the half of cake that we had.  Everyone keeps telling us how delicious it was even 2 days later.  After we cut the cake, it was close to 9pm and almost time for everyone to leave.  Before people started heading out, we wanted to make sure that we were able to thank everyone for all of their hard work putting out shower together and for all their love, support, and generosity.  I kind of got a little emotional.  We always knew that we were loved, but to know that all that love will transfer over to our boys was overwhelming and incredible.  At 9pm, the dj cut the music off, we cleaned up the place, split the gifts into 4 different cars and head back to our apartment.  Our friends helped us bring all of the babies things in, and Callie and I sat up all night reading every single card and writing down who gave us what (our friend had written a list, but we wanted to be a little more specific).  All in all, it was a beautiful night that Callie and I will remember for the rest of our lives.  All the love that we felt in that room was at some points overwhelming.  I watched Callie’s gorgeous face the whole night.  I don’t think I’ve seen her smile like that since our first sonogram.  It was awesome.

DSC_0331 DSC_0340 DSC_0349 DSC_0362 DSC_0378 DSC_0410 DSC_0419 DSC_0237 DSC_0244 DSC_0247 DSC_0250 DSC_0255 DSC_0257 DSC_0323 DSC_0304 DSC_0299 DSC_0297 DSC_0293 DSC_0291 DSC_0290 DSC_0288 DSC_0258

 

DSC_0446

New Position

2014 has really turned out to be an amazing year for me.  I got engaged, we got our domestic partnership, Callie got my insurance benefits which led to full coverage for IVF, we became foster parents, we got pregnant with TWINS, we moved into a bigger and better apartment, and we got married!  I may have been ridiculously stressed but more so than ever, ridiculously blessed.  This has been the best year of my life, hands down.  The only thing that I have been struggling with are the hours at my job,and how a swing shift has turned me into a narcoleptic crank pot who will simultaneously fall asleep on the train while cursing out the lady next to me for reading her bible quietly out loud.  I’m a church goer, but the Jesus whispering was just too much that day on my 3  hours of sleep in 3 days!

My schedule is the relief shift, or the relief shit as I like to call it.  Basically, what happens is that I work other people’s days off.  I work for the NY commuter rail (I literally work on the railroad), and it’s a job that needs to be covered 24 hours a day.  Just because the trains don’t run for passengers 24hrs a day doesn’t mean they don’t run all day and night.  There are employee trains and freight trains, deadhead trains and garbage trains.  I announce every train, at every station, every day (with the exception of Fridays and Saturdays which are my days off).  Sundays I work at Grand Central from 7am-3pm, but because there are no trains that will get me there on time, I have to take the train out at 5:30am and sit in the office for about an hour waiting for my shift to start.  Mondays and Tuesdays I work 5:30am to 1:30 pm which is great! I love being able to get out early, especially in the winter when the days are shorter, so I’m still able to leave and enjoy a few hours of marvelous sunshine. Wednesdays and Thursdays though, I work the overnight shift from 9pm-5am.  This is where the schedule gets a little crazy.  I get home from work around 5:30am.  It takes me about 15 minutes or so to fall asleep.  Then I have to get up at 7am to get Mary ready for school.  I don’t get back to bed until about 8:15am, once I’ve gotten her dressed, fed, and dropped off at school.  I sleep until about 11 (if I can even fall back asleep!) and then get up to clean, cook, do laundry and whatever other chores I had to put off during the week.  On a normal week, between Wednesday and Friday, on average, I would get approximately 7-8 hours of sleep on 3 days.  Normally, it was less than that.

Before Mary came into our lives, I LOVED this schedule! I’m one of those people that really values their alone time.  I like to read and listen to music (loudly!) uninterrupted.  I like to go hiking and spend time fishing on my own.  It’s a way for me to maintain my sanity and do the things that I love that perhaps Callie isn’t to crazy about doing.  It also gave me enough time to get things done around the house, pamper Callie with surprises and “our time”, make special dinners, and still have all of Saturday to spend our whole day together with family and friends.  Since Mary, it has been difficult to do any of those things.  It’s a different kind of life.  Not bad, just different.

scarecrow-meme-hay-its-in-my-jeans

With that said, I work a union job, where we have a bidding and bumping system.  Bidding:  Every week a “bid sheet” goes out. This is a list of all available jobs.  You get two bids per year to bid for whatever jobs you want.  If you get it, that counts as a bid.  There are P.E.P. (partially excepted positions) available, but rarely. I’ll explain that later.
Bumping:  At some point, you will get bumped out of a position by someone who has more seniority than you.  This has a sort of ripple effect.  The less “time” you have, the more likely you are to get bumped, and getting bumped means possibly being an “extra”.  I’ll explain that too.P.E.P: These jobs are exempt from the “bumping” part.  You can hold these positions indefinitely, unless you break some rule, or have a poor work ethic.  These usually pay really well (anywhere from $30-50/hour), are reserved for people with more time (usually with 10+ years on the railroad), and usually have weekends off, which are PRIME in my field.
Extra:  A position that has no set schedule, but is guaranteed 40 hours/week.  You can basically be given a schedule at the beginning of the work week (Tuesday) and it can be a completely different schedule by Thursday.  You have NO LIFE as an extra.

I started as an Extra as a new hire in July of 2013.  My shifts were constantly changed, I was on call all of the time, and it was really causing some issues in my relationship.  I watched the bid sheet every Wednesday like a hawk!  By March, I interviewed for a P.E.P position and in 2 weeks I officially had a P.E.P. job.  I was one of the few people to ever have one with such little time under my belt.  My pay was increased significantly, but the sacrifice was the Relief shift, which of course (see above) was horrible.  Since I began this job, I have had my eyes open for another P.E.P.  One with better hours and perhaps better pay.  It took 8 long months before one opened up.

I bid for it, sent in my resume, and got called for an interview.  I had my interview last Friday.   The two interviewers really made me feel comfortable which made it easy to answer the questions and not stumble nervously on my words.  It wasn’t even 10 minutes into my train ride after the interview when I got a phone call.  They really liked me and wanted to know if I was still around to meet with their Supervisor.  Since I was already on the train, they asked if I could come back on Monday after my shift.  I agreed and shot over there Monday after work.  I met with the supervisor of the HR department for about 10 minutes.  We talked about a ton of random stuff, but mainly parenthood and the twins I have on the way.  She was so excited about that.  We shook hands and I was on my way.  About 1 hour later, I got a phone call to see if I wanted to accept the position, which I of course said “ABSOLUTELY” to.  In my new position, I will be the one creating the weekly “Bid Sheet”.  I will be communicating with all of the departments, all of the supervisors, all of the higher ups.  My new position is “P.E.P. Assignment Clerk”.  I will be meeting with any displaced employees and helping them to retain new jobs.  I will be in charge of knowing all of our union rules, basically 5,000+ employees and their seniority date, what EVERY job is and it’s job description.  I will be meeting a lot of people, dealing with a lot of personalities, and more than likely, loving every second of it.  I get a pay raise, smaller office staff (vacation days for the year are picked on seniority so finding some {good} days after 33 people go before you is difficult) and the best part: Monday-Friday 8:30-5! SWEET!!!!!!!!!

Starting 11/19/14, I will have my own cubicle (where I can put up pictures of my beautiful family), and I will be able to have a normal life with a normal sleep pattern and normal days off.  I will be making enough money that Callie being a stay at home mom is actually an option now.  I can hike on Saturdays and take my family to church on Sundays (which we miss terribly).  Saturday children’s carnivals, and Sunday dinners with our parents.  Saturday game nights with friends, and Sunday walks in the park.  It looks like 2014 is going to end as amazingly as it started.  Life couldn’t get any better…

26 Weeks

I wish it would just slow down.  I hope that time doesn’t got his quickly when the boys are born.  It makes me sad to feel that this is all going to be over soon.  I love seeing Callie pregnant.  I love the great mood and the positive attitude she has had.  I especially love coming home to my wife (hehe wife!) every day now that she’s on bed rest, because our opposing work shifts only allow for us to spend time together on Friday evenings and Saturdays.  It’s been so great to catch up on our TV shows and cuddle on the couch or in bed (kid free!) all day on Wednesdays and Thursdays when I have my overnights.  It’s amazing to watch her body change every week to accommodate our growing babies.

This week Levi and Noah are about the length of zucchini.  They should be weighing in at just over a pound half, but they are weighing in at (Levi) 2.2lbs and (Noah) 2.0.  The doctor says that’s great!  They continue to develop their lungs by breathing in amniotic fluid and then exhaling it.  They keep stretching their bodies out and pushing all over Callie’s belly.  I’m almost certain that they (because they are exhibitionists!) are sticking their little butts out for Mamá to rub.  Of course, I appease them!  Their fingernails have grown all the way in and will probably be really jagged when they are born.  Grimy and jagged nails are one of our pet peeves with kids! They might also open their eyes this week or next and begin batting their eyelashes (hopefully they’ll be long and I’ll be really envious!).  This week, their brain-wave activity is also the highest it has been throughout their development.  They are really starting to make sense of the warm pool that they are encased in, and all of the sounds around them.  Their sensitivity to light is also at its most sensitive since they have been able to sense it.

This week, at our OB and Perinatologist appointments, we were told told that Callie’s cervix got back up to 2.1 from a 1.94 so that’s great.  We were also told that the boys have quite a bit of hair, Noah more than Levi.  Callie also passed her 3 hour glucose test (phew!) but that she is sort of borderline so she has to monitor her intake of carbohydrates and sugars.  Unfortunately, it was Halloween Friday and Mary brought home enough candy to satisfy (10 times over!) Callie’s insatiable urge for sweets these past 3 weeks.  And by insatiable I mean, piece of pie, 10 minutes later sherbert, 30 minutes later candy, 20 minutes later more pie, 1 hour later looking for something sweet again.  Marco brought a pie, Crack Pie to be exact, for the wedding and it was AMAZING! Callie has been talking about it ever since.  No seriously, EVERYONE and their mother needs to have this pie.  If you have a Momofuku near you, make it your business to get a slice.  It’s pricey ($45/pie) but soooooooo worth it!  All of that said, everything looks  and seems to be going well. Our weekly appointments continue with the OB and bi-weekly with our Perinatologist.  I’m starting to get a little worried that we haven’t even painted the nursery yet, but I enlisted Marco for a hike and help with cleaning and organizing our storage unit and getting some stuff done in the nursery this Saturday.  Even on bed rest and with everything going on, Callie is still encouraging me to take some time to myself since I’ve been doing everything basically on my own for over 3 weeks now, so I’ll be able to really enjoy the autumn foliage this Saturday hiking Storm King Mountain and revisit the sculpture park at Storm King Arts Center down the road.

MY WIFE AT 26 WEEKS PREGNANT WITH OUT TWIN BOYS

MY WIFE AT 26 WEEKS PREGNANT WITH OUT TWIN BOYS

*BREASTFEEDING WITHOUT BIRTHING UPDATE*

I have been trying to induce lactation pretty much since we found out that Callie was pregnant.  I have done manual expression and used a breast pump 6-10 times a day (depending on my work schedule) for about 15-20 minutes each time.  I wasn’t having any success with the exception of 1 little drop, so I contacted a lactation consultant who put me on Domperidone.  After the second day on Dom, I had a few drops of clear liquid the next 2 days of pumping.  After those first few days, there was nothing else.  Not a single drop, but I never gave up.  I called the consultant to ask her if birth control was the way to go (I think my PCOS is preventing me from having the appropriate levels of estrogen and progesterone to really get the milk making ball rolling), but she said it can take more than the 1-2 weeks that everyone says it takes from Dom to work.  So a month and a half of taking Dom 4x’s a day later, and still nothing.  I decided to make an appointment for both Callie and I, so Friday morning we went there to discus with her our next options.  She checked to make sure that I wasn’t producing anything (which I’m not), and decided that since we still have time it would be best for me to stop pumping (thank the lawd!), take Birth Control to stop my period, trick my body into thinking I am pregnant by not taking the sugar pill and going right into the next cycle, and continue with the same dosage of Dom for the next 2 months.  Then I’ll stop the pill, keep taking the Dom, and start pumping with a vengeance like before.  HOPEFULLY, that will work.  If not, then there really isn’t anything else I can do besides get a feeding tube and supplement with Callie’s breast milk or formula.  I hear that once babies latch on, there seems to be an increase in milk production from non-birthing moms, and then I can start taking herbs again that will help with that as well.  So I’m still on this journey of trying to be the best Mamá for my boys.

WOULN'T BE SO BAD TO NURSE WITH A NURSING SYSTEM, WOULD IT?

WOULDN’T BE SO BAD TO NURSE WITH A NURSING SYSTEM, WOULD IT?

Marrying My Best Girl

I spend most of my Friday night getting our apartment ready to host about 15 guests for our wedding.  I think  it was more to calm my nerves and keep busy.  I couldn’t eat, I barely slept, I made sure that our rings fit, and I looked at myself in the mirror every time I went to the bathroom, and practiced saying “I do”.  After taking Mary trick or treating in our apartment complex, I set up some minimal decorations as per Callie’s request because she didn’t want to make “a big deal” about it, especially because it was taking place in our living room and not at some big fancy hall like we had always dreamed of (it’ll happen eventually).  I organized, moved furniture, moved the zoo into the nursery, and hoped that I hadn’t forgotten anything important.  I kept telling Callie, “In just 19, 16, 12, hours, you’ll be my wife!!”  The smiles that followed that will be engrained in my mind forever.  My friend Nikki spent the night for an impromptu bachelorette party that consisted of watching Bridesmaids and drinking non-alcoholic wine (for Callie) and shots of Fireball (for us!)  We  stayed up later than we probably should have, but it was fine since I couldn’t really sleep anyway.

Saturday morning, the BIG DAY, my alarm goes off at 8:03 ( always set to some random time…OCD thing).  I wipe the kitchen counters down one more time.  I make sure that there isn’t any hair on the floor of my very white (and usually immaculate) bathroom.  I take our clothes out.  I iron Callie and Mary’s dresses.  I Iron my clothes and Nikki’s son’s (basically my nephew) clothes.  My sister got to  us at around 10:30am to style Callie’s hair.  I brushed my teeth and found my something old, new, borrowed, blue.  I had to make some rice so I put the pot on for Nikki to watch while she made her baked ziti, cut some fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and put them con crackers with a little basil leaf, and I jumped in the shower.

At around 11:30 our guests started arriving, putting their homemade dishes in our kitchen for the potluck lunch, and getting really excited about our vows.  I put my socks and slacks on, taking deep breaths, I button my shirt slowly and fidgeted with my tie (I must have tied it like 10 times before it was “perfect” and I don’t even believe in perfect!), I buttoned up my vest, tied my new shoes, and walked outside to let the judge into my garage spot (parking by us is a nightmare!) .  We walked upstairs, and I got everyone to find a seat.  I stood there with the judge waiting for Callie to enter the living room.  Callie walked into the living room down our long hallway and at the very moment, I couldn’t believe that after all that time of talking about our little shotgun wedding, it as actually happening.  I had seen Callie in her dress, but I hadn’t seen her done up with hair and make-up in her dress.  My head was reeling!  In about 5 minutes I was going to be married.  I was going to have this amazing woman as  my wife.  My heart couldn’t contain itself.  My eyes filled with tears (didn’t spill any though!) and I held Callie’s hands as the judge welcomed everyone and introduced herself.

She asked if anyone objected (NOPE!), she asked if we wanted to marry each other (YUP!) and then we exchanged rings making promises to be there for each other as spouses, not only when we wanted to but more so when we didn’t.  We were told to never forget our commitment and to love and honor each other every day for the rest of our lives.  And we will.  I just know it!  Something about the way that Callie looked at me during those 5 minutes, I knew that I was making the best choice of my life. That having her as my wife, and her choosing me to be the other mother to our children are the two most important and life changing decisions I could have made.  For the rest of my life I will be reminded of that in the smiling faces of my kids, or the tears of my wife when we see them off to college, or the first time we meet our grandchildren.  I will know that I made the best choice by choosing her.

We took a ton of pictures, had lots of delicious food, and celebrated with some music and some reminiscing.  It was nice to have such a small intimate affair.  We were able to talk to everyone, to listen, to share hugs and know that we will remember everything that happened, even to the smallest minute detail, like how Gracie (our kitty) walked across us and the judge when she asked if there was anyone who objected (really Gracie! You little hater! I know you love mommy but DANG!).  I’ll remember all of the kin words that were said about our love and the tears shed by friends and family. It was an amazing day that I will never forget.  I keep looking down at my ring and saying, “Did his really happen?!?!”  It really did.  Today, I woke up the same person that I went to bed as on Friday night, but somehow, everything is different.  The only thing that comes to mind is our favorite song, as song that us of our relationship, of our story, of our love…

Want To by Sugarland

I packed a cooler and a change of clothes
Let’s jump in, see how far it goes
You got my heart in your daddy’s boat
We’ve got all night to make it float

We could sit on the shore
We could just be friends
Or we could jump in

The whole world could change in a minute
Just one kiss could stop it spinning
We could think it through
But I don’t want to, if you don’t want to

We could keep things just the same
Leave here the way we came
with nothing to lose
But I don’t want to, if you don’t want to

I got your ring around my neck
and a couple of nights I don’t regret
You’ve got a dream of a degree and a shirt that smells like me

Yeah we both got dreams
we could chase alone
or we could make our own

The whole world could change in a minute
Just one kiss could stop it spinning
We could think it through
But I don’t want to if you don’t want to
We could keep things just the same
Leave here the way we came
with nothing to lose
But I don’t want to if you don’t want to

Never waste another day wonderin’ what you threw away
Holding me, holding you
I don’t want to, if you don’t want to

We could keep things just the same
Leave here the way we came with nothing to lose
But I don’t want to, if you don’t want to

But I want to
But I want you

WAITING FOR THE JUDGE

WAITING FOR THE JUDGE

WAITING FOR MY BEST GIRL

WAITING FOR MY BEST GIRL

WITH THE JUDGE

WITH THE JUDGE

WHEN I SAID "I DO" AFTER ALL THAT PRACTICE IT STILL DIDN'T SOUND PERFECT!

WHEN I SAID “I DO” AFTER ALL THAT PRACTICE IT STILL DIDN’T SOUND PERFECT!

I LOVE THAT GIRL!

I LOVE THAT GIRL!

MY FAVORITE PICTURE OF THE DAY

MY FAVORITE PICTURE OF THE DAY

wed11

wed12

MY RINGS

MY RINGS

WITH MY SIBLINGS

WITH MY SIBLINGS

WITH OUR CLOSEST FRIENDS

WITH OUR CLOSEST FRIENDS

HAD TO GET IN A FREE FEEL! FIGURED I WOULDN'T GET YELLED AT ON OUR WEDDING DAY...LOL

HAD TO GET IN A FREE FEEL! FIGURED I WOULDN’T GET YELLED AT ON OUR WEDDING DAY…LOL

TEMPORARY MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE

TEMPORARY MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE

wed8

BED REST NEVER LOOKED THIS GOOD!

BED REST NEVER LOOKED THIS GOOD!