January 30, 2024

Twins at 3 months - a Tuesday update

We have survived to 3 months with twins today.  I know this blog has changed heavily from gender and technology to mom and babies, but so has my life. Someday I will be back in work, thinking about gender and technology again.  

Right now, for possibly the first time, I am home alone with the babies while they are sleeping in their cot.  They started sleeping in their cot a few weeks ago, and almost immediately the "winter nasty" bug ran through the house.  There was *always* someone home.  

Today Lilah is in nursery, Isaac is in school, Andy is in the office, and I am home with the babies.

This morning I achieved another first - I made it out of the house with the babies in the car by myself.  Here's what that looks like:

I went to a mom and baby reformer pilates class.  It was amazing.  I had extra incentive to get out as we had our amazing cleaner here, so when I got back the house was clean too.  

I wonder if maternity leave might have a few glimmers of free time now?  It is so much nicer than the hours of endless pram rocking.  Hello Tuesday at 1pm:

I am still feeling some of the January energy.  I am excited to turn my office into an exercise room / office.  A friend dropped off a turbo trainer which I can set up for 30 minute rides while the babies sleep.  I am excited to get a trial of apple music soon and listen to tunes while I start Couch to 5k pushing babies around.  Although I can't use the running pram yet, they have enough head control for me to feel comfortable run/walking them in the bassinet of the Mountain Buggy.

I need to start making a list of things to do when I find myself with this free time, so I don't just fritter it away.  Todays to-do:
  • Post sold item on vinted ✅ 
  • Write Blog ✅ 
  • Laundry  ✅
  • Pay cleaner
  • Make dinner
  • Take a photo of the babies at 3 months✅

I better think of some more fun for that list!

January 29, 2024

Sunday night ramblings

We survived another weekend. I know that’s not the usual approach to weekends… but unfortunately it’s the current approach  I thought everyone was on the mend from two weeks of disease - lilah was back in nursery on Thursday. Isaac’s runny nose was almost gone. I was sounding less like a 10 pack a day smoker and more like a twenty something after a night out.  Isaac and lilah wanted at home days and mostly played really well together. However… mostly is still some *not* playing well and there were some moment where I wanted to yell “that’s it we are giving all your toys to charity!” I didn’t yell this… I think.

Today (Sunday) Nora woke up sad in the night.  I thought she just had a runny nose but by the morning she had a fever. I guess when you have 6 people in your family fevers circulate for over two weeks? She was the one who so far avoided everything… Audrey has had a runny nose for a few days already. Babies with fevers are very sad. She also was not keen on Calpol (liquid paracetamol) which is insane since it’s basically sugar. Isaac and lilah would cut off their toes if they thought it would get them some calpol.  Nora has also decided she doesn’t like formula, so perhaps she is just a baby who knows what she likes to consume and sees no point in expanding her options.

because she feels so bad, and because I basically don’t/can’t cuddle twins to sleep ever, I am taking pity on her and letting her sleep on me tonight. Which of course means I’m not sleeping tonight. Whenever I try and put her down she wails in sadness. I can also tell the fever isn’t breaking yet. as mean as I am with my cot only baby naps and threats to take toys to the charity shop I still feel sad when a baby is poorly.  Anyways, it’s just gone midnight so I only have 6 hours more of night to wait through, and then 13 hours of day (6am to 7pm is day for me) before she hopefully feels better and everyone can do normal sleeping again.

I have little more to report from the weekend. I took Audrey for a play date with Isaac and lilah and left Nora asleep at home with Andy. Friends came over on Saturday morning. I managed a 20 minute core  video during a baby nap on Saturday. A friend has dropped off a turbo trainer so I can set up my own exercise bike soon. We are now 2 days off 3 months old - the worst of times are almost here! And then… the better of times?

January 27, 2024

39 years ancient today (last week... because these posts take a while to write)

It was my birthday last week! Not a round number but very close.  I spent a bit of my birthday thinking about what next birthday will bring.  After two babies (and associated legit research) I know that age 2 is when women get more substantial hobbies time back. Unfortunately I will not have two year olds next year.  I will have 15 month olds.  But, I also have childcare, so I should hopefully have more Rachel time.

Anyways, this birthday had the following fun:

1 - I got a haircut!  Andy watched the twins.  They mostly slept and were hungry when I got home.  It's not a great haircut, but it's far less hair than I had and if I get the chance to flat iron it ever then it will probably look good.

2 - I bought myself bagels but the kids ate them before I could get downstairs from the babies in the morning.  However I still got to eat some delicious smoked salmon on toast.  

3 - I signed up for a postnatal recovery exercise class online from a physio specializing in diastasis.  On Friday I saw the same physio in person and she ran through some exercises with me and gave me confidence to get back, as well as reminding me that I love moving my body.  I can't wait to get back into a real life class and exercise routine.

4 - Lilah and I went to Marks and Spencers and bought a birthday cake for me.  I chose red velvet.  It was OK but supermarket cake is not as good as other cake (when I'm being a cake snob).  Andy put candles on the cake and the kids sang happy birthday.
5 - While at M&S I got new underwear, because 39 is my year of owning better clothes, and underwear are clothes.  However, I got the wrong cut.  Why do I always get the wrong underwear?  Why don't I write down what cut I like and just reorder those each time?  What is the underwear between granny-pants and tiny pants?

Overall it was a nice enough birthday for having 12 week old twin babies.  I'm excited it's the last birthday I'll have with 12 week old twin babies!  Here is Lilah, getting in on some baby-photo action:

January 24, 2024

New Things - Movies and movement thoughts.

Andy and I recently started watching films during baby bedtime.  We watch them in 20-30 minute chunks while doing baby feeding & settling.  Two nights ago we finished watching Hidden Figures.  

This movie was great!  Both Andy and I really enjoyed it.  It's hard to find another movie to follow it with - any Disney+ recommendations for us?


Last night the babies only fed once in the night!  This is probably because they have colds now... but waking up at 1:30 and realizing it was the first wake up was pretty cool... but waking up at 6:30 and realizing that they were still asleep was amazing! Also, I checked to make sure they were alive.  They were.  Then they were very hungry about 5 minute later.  Still... I would LOVE this to be a trend... two wake-ups a night is a lot of being awake.  Fingers crossed.


Because I actually slept, and my "winter nasty" has settled into a smokers cough and runny nose, I have had a tiny amount of time to thing about the year/goals.  I really REALLY want to incorporate movement into my days now.  I know I'm far away from a running routine or an hours blast on my mountain bike... but I have to figure out a way to start moving.  I need more than the random back jerking twist of putting babies on feeding pillows and more than the awkward core-collapsing bend of setting two babies into a crib.  

I don't yet know how this will happen... but I did have the realization that I should move my exercise clothes out of my room and into my office, since this is the most likely place exercise will happen.  And the  most likely time is when babies are asleep, which means that I can't get my clothes (since babies sleep in my room).  I am hoping I can use some things I already have to make an exercise clothes & gear storage space in the office - if everything is out in an aesthetically pleasing way I know I'm more likely to use it.  Wish me luck!


I managed to order a very random grocery delivery yesterday.  It included a lot of frozen food, because I didn't foresee myself ever cooking again.  We now have fishcakes and frozen chips and grown up fish fingers.  I have two boxes of natures valley granola bars.  The closet I came to ordering a vegetable is a bag of potatoes.   Someday I will love cooking again.  Today is not that day.

January 23, 2024

A Monday/Tuesday update

In addition to the occasional hangover, I had other bad habits in college.  One was my propensity to get ill, take a two hour nap, and declare myself healthy again.  I'm pretty sure my last post was an adult extension of this trend.  Although I no longer have a temperature of 103, I am 100% not healthy again.  Waah.  But of course moms don't have time to be ill… so the 2-5 hour eat play sleep cycle continues for the babies and the babies-kids-babies cycle continues for me.

At this point, I can’t figure out many more things to give up or to lower my standards on. I'm all for simplification, but as an example, here is our current weekly food plan:

No idea which Wednesday that was, or what the freezer meal was supposed to be. 

We've been running low on toilet roll for a while and yesterday I panicked and ordered a delivery from an eco friendly toilet roll company.  I'm sure the 48 rolls arriving soon will have somewhere to go?  And 14 boxes of tissues, because yesterday Rachel was pretty sure we would all have colds forever.

It's bothered me for a while that I can't figure out a time to change our bedsheets… ever. The bottom sheet was semi possible, but the duvet cover was a pipe dream. I now understand the benefit of a top sheet. I kept thinking I should be able to find one hour to vacuum and change sheets in my house. But then I realized if somebody said “hey Rachel for £15 You can go take an hour to do whatever you want” in no world would I change bedsheets or vacuum.  I asked our cleaner if she could come an additional hour on her off weeks to vacuum and change sheets.   Perhaps I should ask her to sign a NDA before she sees how bad our bed is. [Edit to add: I made this joke to her and then I felt really gross because it's not funny and also I'm not sure following up with "Oh don't worry I just mean the sheets are covered in baby sick and wee!" would have made it any better than any other thing.  

Other things to make my life easier - I eat most of my calories before noon.  This is no intermittent fasting, this is because the babies only reliable nap is in the morning.  Yesterday I had lasagna at 10am and a tuna sandwich at 11.   Sometimes I get more food later. 

I did not eat during morning nap today and instead at 12 devoured a tuna sandwich, another tuna sandwich, a bowl of soup, crackers and cheese, and a quarter of a chocolate bar.  

This post took 2 days to write.  Happy Monday Tuesday everyone!

January 20, 2024

The other side of sickness

When I was younger and dumber and drank more I sometime suffered a traditional post-drinking ailment... a hangover. Andy and I joked that the best part of hangover was when it finally disappeared, and suddenly you felt like you could do anything.

I think illness is the mom-of-4 and nearing 40 version of this.  On Sunday Isaac wasn't well, and he was off school on Monday.  On Wednesday night both Lilah and I came down with fevers.  Lilah laid on the sofa all day on Thursday... I still had two other babies to look after.  Andy took a day of holiday to look after everyone.  I don't think it was his most memorable holiday.

I can't remember how we used to classify illnesses.  I feel that having a fever is the dividing line between a cold and... not a cold?  I asked Andy what a disease with a fever, hacking cough, runny nose and sore throat is.  He said it's called a "winter nasty".  So it appears we have all survived a winter nasty.

Thankfully after two nights of high temperatures both Lilah and I are on the mend today.  I was too ill to do a grocery order so we have a house full of food but no bread or bagels. The kids have mostly eaten pasta since Monday, and we have been defrosting freezer meals for ourselves.

Very soon I can look back on this week and think "I"m glad we're not in that week anymore". 

We are 10 days away from 3 months of baby twins.  3 months is the time Andy expects us to feel the worst.  I am not wishing time away, but I am excited to be on the other side of this fourth trimester.

In other news - twins have now moved out of their bedside cot and we have moved their crib into our bedroom.  This is no longer our view:

January 17, 2024

Things that are good.

I don’t really like the title “what’s saving my life” even though I love those posts. So here are things that are good for me now:

Legends & Lattes. This is a book about an orc who opens a coffee shop. I am not far into it but I am so here for this genre of cosy fiction

Oat Milk Hot Chocolate. I find myself walking babies around in prams a lot these days. I also find myself very tired from very little sleep (last night = 5 hours over 4 distinct sleeps). I also don’t want to drink more than one coffee a day because even though there’s no evidence moderate coffee consumption keeps babies awake, I don’t want to risk it. Hence I pass by coffee shops often and purchase oat milk hot chocolates and figure the sugar will help.  

Nice hand soap! In a recent email newsletter Laura Vanderkam talked about hand washing and argued that if you don’t like washing hands (which I don’t!) try to make it nicer by using nicer soap and hand lotion. I bought nice hand soap, I use warm water, and now I make a point to smell my new lovely soap every time I wash hands. I love a nice smell so this has definitely improved my hand washing experience. 

Disney+ I know this was all the rate in the pandemic but omg does Disney plus have a lot! Andy and I got bored of superstore as our baby feeding and bedtime show so we decided to watch films in 30 minute chunks. We started with my childhood favourite “Spy Hard”.  I loved leslie Neilson films as a tween and some of the humour in this film is timeless. Some is definitely not. It also remind me how insanely male driven films of the 80s were. I’m glad female representation has increased, even if we still have a long way to go.

Wireless ear buds. I love these. I thought they were a gimmick but they are definitely not and I love listening to podcasts while endlessly patting babies to sleep. 

In life  updates, the babies are now sleeping in a crib in our room as they outgrew the bedside cot. We try for at least one nap a day in the crib. They went from waking twice a night to 3 times a night which I am not keen on. Isaac has a virus and was off school with a fever and I definitely have a cold. I will add combining paracetamol and ibproufin to this list of good things as I will need it for today. And probably hot chocolate too.

January 12, 2024

4 on a Friday (with some probably not well written contentious topics)

Books I am having trouble finding a new audio book.  I got Heartburn by Nora Ephron, narrated by Meryl Streep, and I loved listening to Streep again but am not in the headspace for clever humor.  In fact, I didn't realize it was supposed to be funny until I read a blurb on it.  I think it *is* funny, I am just too tired for clever humor.  So I returned that and made it to the front of the queue for Build the Life you Want by Arthur Brooks and Oprah Winfrey... and it's too smart for me.  I'm too tired to be smart.  I waited sooo long for this book though, and every time I listen I realize I've zoned out.

I think I need to listen to some sort of soft fiction, like Emily Henry.   Or maybe Fantasy or Science Fiction?  I am 29th in line for Fourth Wing with a 14 week wait.  I'm currently reading The Cheat Sheet which I'm enjoying, but reading slowly as I am defaulting to my phone too much for night feeds.  

Phone Use.  Iphone are so good for escaping.  I am definitely using it to escape, because lots of my life is mentally dull (rocking a pram, bouncing a baby in a wrap) or uncomfortable (baby crying, night feeds where I wish I was asleep) right now.  I would love to embrace all the intentionality I see around at the moment... but I'm so tired.  I am looking forward to a time when my headspace is less tired, and I need to make sure that the phone is not keeping me in the tired headspace longer than needed.

Weight loss.  There's some really interesting blogging on weight and weight goals going around the internets right now.  Elisabeth's post here is so honest and interesting.  I definitely lean towards intuitive eating, although right now I am eating everything and anything. I’m also breastfeeding twins.  

If you want to lose weight quickly I recommend getting pregnant then having the baby, as evidence by this graph here:

Ask me how I lost 19 pounds on the 30th of October!  I don't normally weight myself, but I am eating SO MUCH cake and chocolate right now and things that are not great for me that I'm interested in when I stop losing pregnancy weight and when I need to be a bit more intuitive about things (ie taking 2 minutes to ask whether I really need chocolate or whether I need a deep breath more).  I also liked Andrea Dekkers post on baby weight loss. When I'm ready, and I have time to cook and prepare, I will eat more vegetables... because I like vegetables.  Right now I don't have time and that's OK.

Outside This week I went for two long walks in the woods and I am so so happy I did.  One of the (many) tricky parts of twins is I can't just stick them in a carrier and go for a walk.  Thankfully I've had friends who like walking visit two days this week and each of us carried a baby into the woods.  Prams/Strollers are fine, but I love the feeling of walking on uneaven surfaces without pushing a heavy twin pram around.  And while they do make twin carriers, I do not want to stop through the woods with 22 pounds of baby strapped to me.  I didn't want to stop through the woods with 22 pounds of baby inside me.

January 11, 2024

Twins at 10 weeks

When I used to do a lot of cycling there was a common saying "it doesn't get any easier, you just get faster".  I never felt like I was becoming a better cyclist because every ride was hard, but in retrospect I was doing some decent cycling.

I think twin babies might be similar.  Every day is very hard still.  Christmas was hard.  I am pretty sure they cried for the first 8 weeks straight.  However, the other day I made dinner while Andy was in work AND picked up Isaac from school.  Making dinner was impossible before 8 weeks.  Now, it's possible.  

Dinner was chicken burgers (made with frozen chicken patties, yum!) and chips (from a packet of frozen chips) and broccoli (fresh! chopped! Put in oven at the same time as everything else!).

Sure, I ate dinner with a baby strapped to me asleep (because this is the only way I can figure out how to eat dinner without babies crying).  And I managed to clean up after dinner while Andy put the big two to bed (with a baby strapped to him) and then we spent 90 minutes feeding and putting the babies to bed.  And then I tried to go to bed (because it's 8pm and I fall asleep at 8).

Unfortunately even when going faster on a bike one is not immune to punctures or getting lost.  And when getting faster with babies it sometimes goes the same way.  They had their first set of vaccinations on Tuesday and last night was the worst night of sleep since the darkest night. 

I won't bore with the details, but I only managed 90 minutes as my longest stretch of sleep.  I did have 4 hours total, split over 4 different sleeps. 

I am tired.

A baby is now awake from nap.

This post was supposed to have something positive at the end.  It's sunny and we have a lot of cake in the house now. And, it's 9:20am, so I have less than 12 hours to bedtime! 

Also Andy got me this advent calendar for Christmas. It’s a countdown to the worst time, which we both remember as 12 weeks. At 12 weeks the babies are not the worst, they are usually getting better, but the cumulative effect of 12 weeks of baby is the worst. 

I’m enjoying one peanut butter cup a day untill then!

January 9, 2024

2023 - Money bits!

Kyria did a great rundown of her yearly spending and it inspired me to look at our yearly totals.

Every year we set a budget per catagory, based on the previous year.  The total budget is less than our take home, and we don't track our incomings because as long as we spend roughly according to budget we know e will be fine.

Every friday I look through our credit card statement and add every item to an excel spreadsheet.  I kow there are easier and quicker ways to do this, but I realized I get a sort of "second pleasure" from tracking in this way.  I get to enjoy my coffee, then I get to remember enjoying that coffee on Friday when I £3.50 to the spreadsheet.

We record our spending  in a number of categories, but I had never thought to expand this out for a whole year.  It was interesting figuring out what we spend in an entire year - it's a big number!  Also, we don't include nursery fees or retirement savings here... for no real reason.  We probably should.  However, here is the breakdown of our spending in 2023:

Bills includes our mortgage (but not nursery fees?) so that is the single largest category.  I might think of including "Nursery" in Bills and moving Mortgage into house this year.  I have set up an automatic additional payment for the mortgage, and both the standard payment and the additional payment amount to 60% of the bills figure.  

Grocery we received a lot of groceries as gifts this year so this number is lower than it should be.  We eat a lot of food, we cook most of our meals at home.  We feed a lot of people and like having guests over.  This category does not include alcohol, which usually has its own small budget but didn’t this year since I wasn’t drinking.

Kids - This category is somewhat hard to define since it includes things we have to buy for the kids (school uniform), and activities we do with the kids (gymnastics) but not always clothes for the kids.  Or what about when we go swimming as a family?  I wouldn't go swimming without the kids, so does this fall into kid budget?  This category was higher this year after having to buy some pieces for the twins.  Also, I put my pregnancy physio under hobbies, but maybe that should be a kid expense?  The system is not perfect

Hobbies - Andy and I both have a hobby budget.  Mine usually goes to gym classes, haircuts, and massages etc.  Andy spends money on bikes and beer and clocks (he is a hobbiest clock person now).  He gets slightly more than me because his hobbies are more expensive than mine.

House - this is for all home projects.  It's a hard budget for me to set as we need to think through any work we want done in the year.  This year we had a shed built on the back of the garage, and we had a fence put up around the driveway.  We also bought some larger furniture for the house, and of course did our mini kitchen renovation

Transport - We saved some money here when Andy stopped commuting to Bristol and when I started maternity leave.  Previously we were spending £60 a week on trains.  This covers trains, petrol, and repairs to commuting bikes.

Clothes - We should probably spend a bit more here.  A lot of what we wear has holes.  This should cover kid clothes too, although we have been super lucky to mostly get hand-me-downs for Lilah recently.  And we wait for Grandma to visit to buy Isaac clothes.  That's what grandmas do right?

Dining Out - this is for meals out with more than 1 member of our family.  If I go out with friends that's a Rachel Hobby, but if I go out with Andy (or Isaac or Lilah) it's a dining out budget.  Andy and I went to some nice meals together last year.  We probably won't be doing out much this year, but even a trip to a cafe with all the kids adds up!  Also, I wonder if I go for a coffee with twins in tow whether that counts as Dining Out or Rachel Hobbies...?

Gifts - until last year this was part of the "misc" budget, but I decided to seperate it out this year to see what we actually spend in a year. We don't buy much for the kids, so lots of this is for friends and family - sending flowers or thank you gifts to people.  I didn't use to do much gift spending but as we've earned more I've decided it's nice to send people thank you treats when they've done something very helpful/kind.

Misc - everything else.  Why is this category so high still?  It's weird to me that 3% of our spending is non quantifiable.

Do you keep a yearly budget?  What categories do you keep?

January 6, 2024

A book post - 2023 reading year.

I am loving all the 2023 reading recaps.  2023 was a great reading year for me, mostly because of the pregnancy insomnia/pain which kept me up at night for weeks before having the twins.  However, in that time I read a lot!  The year finished at 60 books total, 25 audio books and 35 kindle/real books.  I got the kindle at the start of June and absolutely love it - I haven't bought a book but primarily use the Libby app for all my kindle and audiobooks.

I do a 1-3 star rating system and on review I have a lot of one star reads this year, but I would actually up some to 2 or no stars in retrospect.  Some books I love when I read but forget quickly, and some books I love the memory of reading more.  Looking through my notes, this is my highlight reel:

Fiction (book/kindle)

  • Babel: An Arcane History by R.F Kuang
  • Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan 
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Non-Fiction (Book/Kindle)

  • This is Not a Book about Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan

Fiction (Audio)

  • Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
  • Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Non Fiction (Audio)

  • A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost
  • Stolen Focus by Johan Hari

I read a lot of good books this year but these are some of the highlights for me.  Especially Babel - that might be my favorite and I feel odd sticking it in the same category as Nora Goes Off Script (which was also good, but not the same good).  

I started listening to fiction on Audio Book and some is SOOO Good.  I realized I have to chose the right fiction.  I love Meryl Streep's narration of Tom Lake and probably wouldn't have finished Tom Lake if I was reading it myself.  Daisy Jones was my first ensemble cast read book and I really enjoyed it as well.

Another honorable mention is the American Royals series.  I found this through The SHU box and they are just such fun reads.  Sadly I have finished the series this year! I think I need to incorporate more fun YA books into my reading life in 2024.

This year I discovered "Women's lit" and I am really enjoying that as well - Emily Henry, Nora Goes Off Script, Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan, Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld.

I've loved reading everyones roundup reading post for 2023 too and have already added some exciting books to my library holds from Birchie, Kyria, and of course Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Looking forward to more great reads in 2024 - what was your favourite book this year?  Do you have an Audio/Physical/Ebook preference?

January 4, 2024

Thursday thoughts

I feel like someone always needs their nails clipped here. Toes, fingers, babies scratching me, Isaac having dirty nails… and then I realised it’s because we have 80 nails to clip now in this house… excluding adult nails. That is a lot of nails.

We eat eggs often. Two eggs a person is my usual serving. Right now that’s 8 eggs but when these twins are older we will be eating a dozen eggs every time we want scrambled eggs. 

Babies slept pretty terrible last night.  Suddenly, going to sleep is their problem. It used to be staying asleep that was the problem. Either way there is little sleep.

I had all 4 kids by myself yesterday for 2 hours  and it did not go well for anyone.  I know kids forget their and my bad behaviour quickly but I do not forget either quickly and I didn’t need more things to keep me up at night replaying and wondering what I could have done better.

School starts next Monday here. This break has been too long. The next break is February and Isaac will definitely be going to a holiday club for some of the days.

As long as I can get a 4 hour stretch of sleep every night i feel approximately fine. But I don’t really have much in reserve from my few 4 hour nights to deal with the sub 4 hour nights. 

Today I got rid of a shirt that never looked great on me but which worked for the awkward phase of middle/early pregnancy.  I also got rid of a nursing top which had a large hole in the armpit. How long has the hole been there? No idea. Yay decluttering!