Happy 8 Months!!

Dear Phoebe & Xander,

Today is your 8 month birth celebration! How is it that you’re already 8 months old!? It seems nearly impossible to believe, yet here we are celebrating everything about you both!

Since your last letter you both have really tipped the scales…Xander you are a whopping 22.5 lbs and Phoebe you are 16.75lbs. Though this weight isn’t an “official” weight, Nurse Jane was happy to grab quick informal weights during our visit for your flu vaccines. Official weights coming at your 9 month wellness check.

Phoebe – you have so many new skills! You can sit up, army crawl, babble and stand! You absolutely love to move around and cannot stand being still. You are super inquisitive and love to observe everything you see. You study objects before playing and love to analyze everything – it’s super cute. You’re officially a “Daddy’s Girl,” and love to smile for him whenever you see or hear him…It’s truly precious! You are no longer just eating purees of single foods now as you’ve officially graduated to more complex food combinations with spices, vegetables, fruits and meats. It’s been nothing short of amazing to watch you grow and adapt to eating foods. In fact, you just recently started to love yogurt melts, teething wafers and have even managed some cereal-type puffs…but still no teeth…

Xander – since your last letter the strides you have made are just incredible! You are able to roll in every which direction, you officially sleep only in your crib and you’ve started to babble! In fact, you love screeching and exploring your voice – totally adorable. You’ve also tuned into “stranger danger” and really love your Abba and Daddy, but truth-be-told you’re an “Abba’s Boy.” You love to stand up, sit up and explore your surroundings – oh, and take anything and everything and place it in your mouth. Literally. Everything. Oh – and you have two teeth!! Your ability to manage foods with texture has improved leaps and bounds! You love your solids and most especially look adorable opening your mouth…Last thing: you’ve started to officially give yourself your own bottle!

Yeladim, we love you to the moon and beyond! Each day you show us more of your incredible personalities and we just absolutely love it!

Keep growing. Keep learning. Keep exploring. Keep being the incredible little people you are and always be true to yourself.

All our love,

Daddy & Abba

Happy 7 Months!

Dear Phoebe & Xander,

Today marks your 7-month birth anniversary…you’re 7 months old! Holy moly! The time is literally flying since you’ve been born…and boy has this last month brought about so many incredible changes in you both! It’s been an unbelievable experience to watch…let’s see what’s been going on:

Phoebe: you’ve made some absolutely incredible progress – let’s take a look: you can roll front to back and then back to front. You love to roll. You can spin on your belly 3600 in order to search for the perfect toy. You have begun the process of army crawling – and have made it a few inches forward! With more practice you’ll be moving in more new ways! You’ve pretty much mastered sitting up on your own once placed into position – you still haven’t figured out how to get there yourself. You absolutely love using the exersaucer. You love to touch down and do little squats…not to mention play with the mirror. You have discovered that you can giggle and that you’re ticklish. You think your fur-sister Sasha is just the funniest thing ever! And you love when she kisses your little toesies! You’ve officially given up your evening catnap, so we’re now 3 solid naps a day. And lastly, you really love to eat your solids. Your favorites are sweet potato, pumpkin, plums and apples.

Xander: the strides you’ve made have been pretty remarkable this last month! You’ve started to really discover your babble and vowel sounds! You’re finally telling your story! You can roll front to back AND back to front, now, and you no longer cry when you make it to your tummy! You are finally taking to the spoon and exploring solids…your favorites are bananas, apples, oatmeal and plums. You have two teeth that have officially broken through – wow! You have graduated from sleeping in your mamaroo to officially sleeping in your crib…this is such a great accomplishment! We’re so very proud of you for this! You are able to sit up so much better and sometimes unsupported – and you’re doing it so well. You love it when we sing to you – it instantly brings a smile to your face, and you love to chew on your caterpillar toy. You enjoy time in your exersaucer but really long to be able to stand on your own. You love when we hold your arms up and stand…you shake your tushie and smile so much! And…and…you’re giggling! Hooray! Oh, and you painted at daycare! You painted with your hands and a brush!

Each of you has achieved so many individual accomplishments…it’s unbelievable! But there are also some other mutual noteworthy events that occurred: you are both officially unswaddled for all sleeping! You love your new transitional Love To Dream sleep sack (but Pickle – you gave us a RUN for a money during the transition…girl…). You prefer to just play on the padded mat and no more “tummy time” mat as you both roll too much. And you both are able to sit up in your stroller so no more car seats for them! And you are now the stars of your own blog with Abba called, “Not The Momma!” You love posing for pictures (And Daddy secretly loves to dress you both up!).

Yeladim – you’re growing way too fast and changing way too much; literally, something new every single day. What a gift to watch your growth unfold right in front of our eyes! At times it seems surreal and still somewhat of a dream, but when you whine at 4:15am we know it’s not a dream lol. Albeit you are sleeping somewhat through the night…#almostthere

We love you so much. Keep growing. Keep developing into the amazing humans you’re destined to be!

All Our Love,

Abba and Daddy

The Importance of LGBTQ+ Story Books

As an adult my memory of childhood is pretty good. I remember events so far back it sometimes shocks myself – and with the most vivid of detail. One thing I clearly don’t remember is ever being told a story where anything LGBTQ+ was discussed. I don’t ever remember a story about a boy coming out of the closet, or a family with two moms (or two dads), a character who was transgender. In fact, the first time I read anything about “being gay” was when someone bought me the book called, “The Gay Man’s Health and Wellness Guide” in an effort to help me not contract HIV. Real nice, eh? Not the best read for a 17-year-old coming out of the closet. If literature that included these topics were presented to me would things have been different? You can bet your ass it would!

Early childhood education (ECE) is crucial for children’s development and critical thinking. One aspect of importance is learning about family. After all family is everything, right? There are many types of family compositions: mom/dad, two dads, two moms, single parents, grandparents, adoptive parents, step parents and more I am surely missing. When children are presented with stories that show these families, and theirs, it teaches acceptance, not just tolerance. One thing that binds each of these family units is love – and these children’s stories are about the love of family and of their importance.

Recently, I was tagged in a FaceBook post where 32 (random number) books that feature LGBTQ+ friendly subject matter were listed to be included on Public ECE reading shelves. Of course each educator would have to preview books for age-appropriate content. That goes without saying.

These were books that presented different family composition (i.e. same-sex parents), stories of coming out and most of all that we exist and are a part of everyday life. That’s 32 more books than existed when I was growing up. Oh, and how I longed for a book that showed someone like me.

It was only natural that I engaged the poster and, of course, discussed which of the books I already had in my library. Having these books will be so important for my children. I want them to see their family in a book. There’s something so powerful about that message. And of course they will know other family structures – they will know that their father’s have a mother and father. They will have friends with mothers and fathers, two dads, two moms among many more I’m certain.

However, one comment made mention that they would be upset if these books were read to their kids without them having the opportunity to discuss issues like this at home. They continued to share that they had a right to even have their children sit out from stories such as these, or better yet, just not include books about LGBTQ+ families as they don’t align with their religious beliefs, all while attending a public school. Hold up…Just stop…

While I understand there are families that may not fully understand or accept my family, but that is not my problem. My family is here and my family exists. And there are many, many families just like mine. This is why when children attend a public education system they should be presented with facts, not opinions, and allowed to form their own thoughts as they align, or otherwise, with what they’re taught at home. Books that depict other family units only show that they exist. It’s that simple. It’s actually no different than learning about the many religions of the world, the many cultures of the world and much more. It’s also why there are home, private and religious schools. If a family wants their children taught a certain way then by all means choose the best educational path for them. As a parent I wholeheartedly understand wanting the best for my children.

By not including these books as part of ECE you do a gross disservice to our youth. These books simply allows kids to see their families and for others to see families different from their own. It doesn’t take a parent’s right to instill their own beliefs and morals. It just presents other family structures. And for my part as a parent I am glad that these books exist. It gives me much hope that the world my children will grow into adults may be a bit closer to truly accepting all people.

Happy 6 Months!

Dear Pheobe and Xander,

Today marks your 6 month birth anniversary and our sixth month blessed to be your parents! It’s unreal to think just how fast time has flown. There is saying that states ‘the days are long but the months short.’ It’s so true…so much of the last six months has seemed both fast and slow…but when we see the way you’ve grown, your smiles, the way you have started to giggle and the way you gaze at us it makes it worth every minute.

Pheobe – your official nickname is Pickle. Nearly everyone now calls you this! You have started to respond to your name (Phoebe) and you are just a content and happy baby (except when you’re over-tired, but we’ll omit that part from the letter). You love to play on the mat, roll over, be on your tummy and so much more. But perhaps one of your most favorite things is trying new foods. You get so excited to try “nom noms” and literally jump out of the seat with your mouth wide open! You recently started to have a truly audible giggle and it just melts our hearts…You sleep through the night now, which Abba and Daddy thank you for, but when you wake up at 5am you love to snuggle with Abba on the couch – truly precious moments. However, you have recently made a habit of refusing to nap during the day and letting out huge screams just as we lay you down for bed…sleep regression? Who knows? But we hope this phase is short-lived. 😛

Xander – your official nickname is Bubba. It just seems to fit! You have also started to respond to your name which is just so cool. You are the fussier of the babies when compared to your sister, but we try hard not to compare. You’re generally a very smiley baby, but just like to move at your own pace. You have finally grown to enjoy your tummy time and can really lift and move your super big head! We know it’s hard work – keep it up! You are not so keen on taking food from a spoon, which is fine. You will let us know when you’re ready – but the other day you did enjoy some bananas which made you crack a huge smile! Your favorite thing is to stand up – whenever you’re fussing it’s the first thing we do – and you start to smile like such a big boy! You are also sleeping through the night (when you’re not battling a cold or coxsackie virus) and both Abba and Daddy thank you for that! Now please just coordinate with your sister and both sleep through the same nights??

Yeladim – you both have accomplished so much since you’ve been born! It’s amazing to reflect and witness how you both have changed and continue to grow and change. Abba and Daddy love you both more than you know and now on to the next 6 months which will bring us to your 1 year birth celebration! And yes – we’ve already agreed on a theme 🙂

All our Love,

Daddy and Abba

Happy 5 Months!

Dear Phoebe & Xander,

Tomorrow is your 5 month birth celebration! Daddy and Abba can hardly believe that time has gone by this quickly…so much has happened since your birth and you both have conquered so much. When we reminisce, which we often do, it’s inspiring, really. Fighters since birth!

Phoebe: You have finally made it over the 12 lbs mark, and we speculate you’re likely near 13…you’ve taken a keen interest in reaching across your body in an attempt to roll over. Keep it up, girl, you’re almost there! You absolutely love to play on the gym with your “friends,” animals that light up and sing to you. You squeal and wriggle with excitement each time they sing. It’s entirely too adorable. You also love to tell stories to Abba and Daddy, and we love to hear your explore your voice! It’s just too stinking cute! Oh, and you’ve begun to shuffle on the floor, you’ve eaten multigrain cereal and peaches, begun the teething process and love to practice sitting up. Oh, and how can we forget that you’re a total Daddy’s girl and that you love when he walks you by the frog statue…Pickle, you brighten our days so much! Your smile, your voice and your desire to seek our attention is simply amazing!

Xander: You have nearly skipped 6 month clothes and are now filling 9th month out nicely…you are likely somewhere between 16 – 18 lbs…and boy do Abba and Daddy feel it – boy you is getting heavy! You love to be on your tummy, but most especially propped on the boppy pillow or one of our legs. You are fascinated with standing up and being on your legs! You think it’s just the funniest thing ever! You are just starting to show signs of rolling from your back to your tummy and enjoy reaching for toys and bringing them to your mouth. Which brings me to the next thing: you’re desire to help assist in your bottle feeding. Dude. We love you. And we know you want to help. But you’re not ready. You just push it out of your mouth. Remember, we got you, boo, and will always give you your bottle. We promise :-* You loved your peaches and cereal, love your singing time with Daddy and Abba and you are a total Abba’s boy…it’s stinking adorable. Bubba – you are a beam of light that just ignites the room! Keep smiling. Keep growing! It’s just amazing to watch!

Yeladim – as we celebrate today we also reflect on just how far you’ve come since your birth. You are each nailing your chronological milestones and saying to your prematurity: “Who’s premature!? Not us!” And while each of you develop differently and have different strengths, it’s just inspiring to watch it all unfold in front of our eyes. Each day you seem to learn something new – and sometimes just from the morning to the night! Like if we blink at the wrong time we’ll miss something special. It’s true what everyone’s said: time flies. And even though we’ve only been home a short few months since your release from the NICU it’s just flown on by…

Keep growing. Keep exploring. Keep learning. Keep being the amazing little people you are growing in to be…

All our love,

Daddy and Abba

Happy 4 Months!

Dear Phoebe and Xander,

Um…do you know what today is?! It’s your four month birth celebration! Wow! A third of the way through your first year already – my how time flies…

It was just last week Daddy and Abba were holding you saying to one another, “when and how in the heck did you get so big!” Xander, you smiled at us, and Pickle, you just gave us your RBF. It was rather adorable. But seriously: you’re both huge! Abba was even compelled to write an interim letter just about your weights! Keep growing and getting stronger and stronger.

Yeladim: you both enjoy your play mat. You smile, squirm, march your legs and even coo and squee at all the surrounding toys. Phoebala: just last night you almost turned yourself from your back to your belly reaching for your links! Almost there!  You both are slowly discovering your voices and each other are so stinking adorable. Xanatoot: you are so close to giggling…any day now we feel!

You both are enjoying your smiles. Phoebe you are still reserved with yours, which is fine, but you do love to smile when you wake up…oh, and when you sneezed and peed on Abba you thought that was the funniest ever!

You have also started daycare and are currently battling your first sniffles. You’re handling it like champs. You both especially love to go into the shower and steam. You love the warm water running down your keppies (that’s Yiddish for heads).  You smile and just absolutely love it!

Literally you both bring us so much joy! And we appreciate that you’re sleeping more than six hours a night…some nights even 9 hours! We’re so lucky to be celebrating our first Father’s Day as your parents. We truly are so lucky. We love you. Keep smiling. Keep exploring.  Keep being the true miracles you are to us!

All our love,

Abba and Daddy

Happy 3 Months!!

Dear Phoebe and Xander,

Oh, my! Where has time gone!? Today, May 17th is your 3 month birth celebration!! Holy moly! Happy 3 months, yeladim! To celebrate we’ve made a list of accomplishments you’ve each achieved since your birth. It’s quite impressive:

1. You were born 7 weeks early
2. Your organ systems were asked to perform before they were ready – and they did
3. You’ve learned how to regulated your body temperature
4. You’ve learned how to breathe on your own
5. You’ve learned how to take a bottle, and have graduated from disposable to 4 fl oz and now big boy and big girl 8 fl oz bottles
6. You’ve graduated from preemie to level 1 nipples
7. You’ve learned to poop regularly (well, Xander, sometimes you like to hold it for an extra large treat for Abba and Daddy)
8. You’ve gone from preemie diapers to newborn and then to level 1 diapers
9. You’ve learned to use different cries to let us know what you want and need
10. You’ve learned how to get our attention, even when you don’t really need it
11. You’ve learned each of our voices
12. You’ve learned to roll from your belly to your back
13. You’ve learned to smile
14. You’ve learned to lift your head up and move left and right – you both enjoy tummy time
15. You’ve taken part in your first primary election (ok, you tagged along with Abba, and we all voted which matters)
16. You’ve taken many walks outside
17. You’ve each doubled your birth weight
18. You’ve each grown hair – Phoebe, we swear your hair doubles overnight, every night
19. You’ve graduated from preemie, to newborn to now 0 – 3 month clothes (Xander, you’re the one in 3 month. Phoebe, you’re still in newborn)
20. You’ve learned how to steal our hearts even when we’re both severely sleep deprived

Above all, you’ve done SO much in your short 3 months in this world. And we love you more than you’ll ever know. Keep growing. Keep smiling. Keep getting stronger and bigger and until our next letter at 4 months.

All our Love,

Daddy and Abba

Happy 2 Months!

Dear Phoebe & Xander,

Wow has time flown! You are now 2 months old! That also means you are technically “1 weeks corrected age…” It amazes us each day that you are still here. Truly. Our family is complete – even when you are both wailing as though we’ve never fed you in your life…

Daddy has officially gone back to work, which is sad for Abba. He misses him. And it’s also sad for Daddy as he misses you both throughout the day. Don’t worry, Abba sends him pictures and gives regular updates so that he knows how you’re behaving!

Phoebe – you’ve begun to fill out all of your preemie clothing, and even fit into some newborn-sized outfits! Totally cool! What’s not totally cool? How you’ve learned to cluster-feed. At 1am and 4am. But we got you! You’ve also filled yourself into a newborn-sized diaper and that’s pretty cool! You still have issues with suck/swallow and breath coordination, but going back to a preemie nipple has truly helped you. You’re taking more and more successful bottles (defined as how much she keeps down and no spit up!) and you’re filling out so nicely!

Xander – you’ve blown out of newborn-sized diapers and officially rocking a size 1. You also fit into 0 – 3 month clothing! You love to hold your poop for one or two a day – daddy and abba sure love to clean that mess up! And holy smokes you’re drinking 4oz bottles at a time, now! You’re such a big boy. You have also developed an unusual habit: crying in your sleep. And not little cries. Wailing as though you’ll never see milk again! They’re not quite night-terrors as you’re too young, but it is common among preemies. Never forget that Daddy and Abba are always right there for you. We’re never too far away!

Yeladim – we love you so much. These last two months have been emotionally, physically and mentally challenging, but it’s also the most rewarding job that there ever was. It’s an amazing paradox. We can’t imagine what our lives were like before you both were here…Until your third month birth celebration.

All our love,

Daddy and Abba

So we need two of everything!? Think again…

A friend of mine recently found out she was pregnant with a little boy. She posted up on facebook the question every new parents is burning to ask and seek answers: what do we need?

As a parent of twins this was a loaded question since most folks anecdotally assume that you need “two of everything.” I did my best to break down our experience: what is worth it, not worth it and what we’d do all over again if we could. Whether the advice is taken what I do know is that as parents of twins efficiency becomes the key. Many tasks have to be completed in duplicate. So the question for us becomes, “What makes this task a little easier?” And as parents of 6 month of boy/girl twins you can imagine I have a lot to say.

Pre-advice: parents like myself give advice freely. Take it with a grain of salt. Ultimately you are the new parents and will learn your child and what works. There is no set way of doing things. There are few things you will do that are wrong, I am sure. Actually, there is a lot you will do wrong. And it’s fine. There is no manual. No book. You both will learn and laugh from your mistakes. But ultimately your instincts will always guide you, even when you feel they are failing or non-existent. I promise. Try to enjoy every moment – even the ones you want to pass. You will soon see that each of those moments matter and have great meaning. I swear. In fact, I promise.

  1. Getting organized before baby gets here is not worth it. You’ll soon realize everything isn’t where you actually want it. Resist finding “final” places, accept that you’ll want to reorganize once baby is here.
  2. Do not, I repeat, do not open, wash, fold and store everything folks give you. Do not. Again, you’ll regret opening the 5 Moby wraps if you wind up not using them, $50 each, and you can’t even exchange for full retail.
  3. Get stuff to become organized. Wicker baskets. Folding boxes (fabric ones that accent the room). Whatever. Have them ready. All sizes. This was a lifesaver for us living in a small space with twins.
  4. Tissues. For you. Not baby. You’re going to cry (if you’re like me) when nothing seems to work. It’s ok. You’ll be fine. The moment will pass. And even if baby is crying they will stop sometime soon. At least they are breathing. I know it may seem harsh, but as parents of twins meltdowns happen (sometimes more frequently than we want to admit – we don’t post those pictures to social media!). And sometimes they just need to cry it out. It sucks. And you feel helpless. But the moment will pass and all will be good, calm and filled with smiles and coos!
  5. Diapers. Everyone will have an opinion. Ultimately it’ll be what you want. We started with pamper’s swaddlers as that’s what our hospital used. Our twins lived there for 25 days so we wanted to keep things consistent with what they were used to. I suggest starting a stockpile. You wont likely need as many “newborn” size as you think. But definitely have a box or two of size one and twos. You’ll thank me when you don’t have to run out and get them when baby boy blows out a diaper for the 3rd time that day.
  6. Bottles. We’re huge fans of Dr Browns. All the way. The money is worth it. But some babies are picky when it comes to the nipple. So great advice that was given to us (but we failed to follow) was buy one or two different varieties to see which works best for baby. If you do the Dr Browns do their Options line all the way!! Don’t get as many small bottles as you think. You’ll be moving on to the larger bottles for much longer. Oh, and soap – we love babyganics dish soap. But then again, with twins we often place our bottles in the dishwasher (Dr Browns has an AWESOME dishwasher “accessory” that holds all the parts. SOOO worth it). And, that brings me to bottle sterilizer and warmer. Bottle warmer: NOT needed. Ever. Bottle sterilizer – if you have a dishwasher built within the last 6 -10 years it may have a steam feature. That’s your sterilizer. And, if you really want to sterilize your pieces often (which I highly recommend) Medala makes SUPER CONVENIENT microwaveable bags that you add a few ounces of water to. Three minutes later and poof! Sterilized pieces! Seriously they are amazing.
  7. Swing. MamaRoo. Rock n’ Play. Likely your baby will love movement of sorts. See if you can get one, not all, for your place. Our kids LOVE the mamaroo and use it frequently (don’t worry, they love their tummy time and back time). We find that the mamaroo is an ergonomic solution to the swing with it’s multiple patterns of movement. But alas, some babies are not fans.
  8. Sleepsacks: YES! We love our halo sleep sacks. They are easy and safe to use. Have a few on hand. 5 – 6 this way if baby spits up on one you got another. And one can be in the laundry and another in the diaper bag for traveling nap time. I swear you’ll thank me later for this one. Now, there are other swaddle solutions – they are all pretty good. Halo is just our preference. And, once baby is able to roll over no more swaddling – ok? And don’t do what we did which was wait to the last minute to break them of the swaddle habit. We’re suffering the consequences now, but nonetheless managing.
  9. Diapering – we are fans of Bordeaux’s Butt Paste. We’ve tried desitin, triple paste and sensicare. None of them worked as well as Butt Paste on our kids tushies. But again, each baby is different. So get a small sample size of each to find out which is best. Don’t invest until you know it’ll work. That brings me to aquafor – it’s FABULOUS for bad diaper rashes. Literally it’s amazing. Oh, and if baby dribbles a ton and gets a formula/milk rash on their neck wash with warm soapy water, dry completely and apply aquaphor. But seriously – only apply to dry skin.
  10. Diaper bags – find one that works. LOL Be sure it has a place for extra bottles and all the stuff you’ll want to carry with you. We love our “diaper dude” which is a knapsack style bag and we have a more traditional black bag, too. We use the diaper dude for extra clothing, toys, burp rags. And the other only for diapering and medical supplies. That’s just us – again. #twins.
  11. Medical shit you need: infant Tylenol (do not use until your pediatrician approves), pedialyte (hopefully you never use it), children’s bendryl, nail cutting solution and soffffft emery board for filing infant nails before they harden and grown a bit. Oh, and those bulb syringes from the hospital. Ask for a few to take home…they are seriously the best!
  12. Burp rags – seriously have 40 – 50. Have them in all rooms. Both of our kids have baby reflux. They spit. Everywhere. Anywhere. And knowing a burp cloth is stashed somewhere? #SpitUpSecurityBlanket You’ll thank me later. I promise. #BabiesSpit
  13. Bath Time – save your money and don’t get a tub. Get the blooming flower that goes in your sink. Save your back. Save your knees. Or, better yet, do what we do – taken them in the shower with us one at a time. They love the running water and as infants hated the bath so much!
  14. Bouncy chairs saves live. We have a cheap one that vibrates. Seriously though, they save lives.
  15. Play Gym for tummy time – any one really. They all do the same thing.
  16. Bobby Pillow – get extra covers and a liner for over the actual pillow. Again, #babiesspit. They are amazing for feeding when they are small (breastfeeding or bottle feeding) and will become an instrumental part of tummy time and supervised playtime. Seriously, though, have I said they’re awesome?
  17. Pacifiers – everyone will have a thought on them. We didn’t have a choice but to use them as they are instrumental in teaching a baby how to “suck” when they are born as prematurely as our twins. Not all pacis are created the same and not all babies take a paci. One thing I will say is that those clips and cute stuffed animals that come with some of them? I’d personally avoid them. The occupational therapist that worked with us in the NICU brought up some very valid points – they are choking and strangulation hazards, especially when we may have our heads turned the other way. I am not one that “freaks about everything,” but this one got to me. So it’s just a plain ole paci and nothing more in this household.
  18. Change table/pad. Definitely get a pad that is waterproof, has lips/edge to prevent rolling, and multiple covers. You are having a boy. Prepare yourself now to be baptized many times. Many. Times. And whatever you do – do not buy a peepee teepee for baby boys. They just shoot right off their penises when they pee. Dumbest invention ever. Clearly it was designed by a man that was never a father/parent.
  19. Stroller. Get one that fits your lifestyle. If you are going to walk a ton then get something like the citymini. They are great. Have infant car seat adapters for most major brands. And, they grow with your child.
  20. Car seats. We love our graco snugride 40. It fits babies as little as 4lbs (thank heaves as our baby girl was barely 4 lbs when she was released from the hospital!) and has great adapters for strollers. And, the click connect bases are SUPER EASY to install. Definitely have an extra base for other vehicles.

Above all baby needs love. More than half the crap available is gimmicky and designed to elicit the response of, “Oh my! How can I live without that?!” When in reality most of that stuff causes more wasted time. We stick to basics and what allows us to survive. To all those preparing to welcome a new baby into their household: buckle up! Life is about to get much more interesting and exciting!

Your Past is Your Present – an origins story and beyond

It’s been an incredible journey arriving to this place we called parenthood. After almost 13 years of being together and nearly 2 years legally married we finally welcomed our twins into the world. We went through a process called gestational surrogacy, and via this process we were blessed with the most incredible twins: Phoebe Lily and Xander (Alexander) Isiah. They were born 7 weeks premature and spent several weeks in the NICU in Fort Worth, Texas, where our surrogate lived. We chronicled our time with daily letters to our children. Day and night we were there – sometimes 14 hours. It was in these moments we knew as a couple that we were meant to be parents and that our children were strong fighters. And as they should be – they carry their ancestors with them not only in their blood but in their names.

You see, in the Jewish tradition we name our children after relatives no longer with us. We honor their memory by passing on either their name as is, or a letter as their namesake. This was a very important tradition for us as without our past we would not be in this present.

Our son, Alexander Isiah was named after my husband’s amazing Grandma, Arlene. She passed away thanksgiving day two years ago. Even given her generation she was accepting and loving, having raised a gay daughter, and also unconditionally loved my husband and me when I joined the family. She was a strong woman and a woman of dignity and pride. His middle name is for my maternal grandfather, Irving, who was a refugee of World War 2 and escaped to Sweden. He grew up in southern Sweden, taught himself 5 languages fluently, played the guitar and was a prolific writer and artist. Sadly, he passed away two days after our legal marriage. Its these two amazing people that our son will carry with him throughout his life.

Our daughter, Phoebe Lily, was named for my Great Aunt Perla. She was murdered by a suicide bomber while celebrating Passover in Netanya, Israel. She was a strong woman and family matriarch. She was my grandfather’s sister and she went on to have two beautiful children who in turn had 5 children between them. Those five children now have 6 children between them – she would be so proud of her family. Her middle name, Lily, is named after my grandmother Luba (Irving’s wife), who herself was a survivor of the holocaust. She witnessed atrocities no person should bare. She lived through one of the darkest periods of human history and despite it all found love, married, immigrated to America and bore a daughter, my mother.

Our children wouldn’t be here without this history. Without this undying love. Without this mix of rich, diverse backgrounds. They will grow up learning that we are stronger together, family matters and accepting our differences are where it’s at. I’m confident, that as gay fathers that we can imbue this to our children. I am confident that with their names and the lessons we’ll teach them throughout their life that this next generation will be better! And while our children are only six months old, they are our world. They bring us joy. They bring us happiness. They show us the pureness of emotion and that there should always be hope for tomorrow.

In parenting and bringing up our children we want them to be able to affect tomorrow’s future. We want them to know their past is rich, diverse and that many people had to work hard so that they could be here. We want to keep hope alive and keep moving forward towards a tomorrow where we are all accepted; where differences are cherished and not just tolerated. A future where when we see families of varying constructs, people of different races, those with disabilities and we don’t prejudge or discredit someone’s experience simply because it wasn’t your own. I am confident that with our village our children can do this and help make tomorrow that much brighter.