Friday, April 30, 2010


Mark begged me to let him take the twins to Google for months. Overprotective mom that I am, I didn't relent until the end of March. But in my defense, this wasn't just me being needlessly cautious - the doctors and nurses at Kaiser also said to wait at least 3 months. Plus, there were those pesky flus going around (seasonal and swine), and my babies were vulnerable preemies.

So we dressed them up in their hoodies, put on socks that look like shoes, and paraded them in (surprisingly we didn't choose the matching Google outfits.). They've rarely left the apartment so it was fun to dress them up to be seen. Mark actually reserved a conference room at Google for the occasion. I told him ahead of time that, since he mostly works with guys, he shouldn't be too offended if they didn't show up or weren't as in love with the twins as he is. To my surprise, many of his co-workers did show up and were really sweet and interested in the twins! Mark's co-worker Megan Q ("MQ") quickly spirited Julia away and took her on a tour of the Google Maps department. Meanwhile I held James, hoping to show off his high wattage smile to everyone, but he was a little too distracted by all the new people and places.

Hey! Remember that movie There Will Be Blood? Here's the movie poster for it. (Talk about a random digression...)

There Will Be Blood

Mark sent out an email "advertising" the twins' visit and made his own version of the movie poster.

There Will Be Twins

In the email, Mark also told his co-workers:

James will be focusing on tool-related issues (mostly spitting up on keyboards) and Julia will continue to concentrate her efforts on export (take that as you will).

I guess this makes sense if you're a computer nerd?

Some more pictures from the day.

Julia before disappearing with MQ

Joakim with Julia.

Our friend Brendan asked if MQ and Joakim were Bizarro Kathy and Mark. (Note: Bizarro Kathy and Mark should not be confused with Wathy and Wark, our um... Latvian cousins.)

Our 2002 holiday card starring Wark and Wathy

Mark shows off James to some Google nerds

Not the whale tub they're used to

The Google sign in the Google Maps department is papered in maps

Mark created the map behind us, found in the lobby of the Google Maps building.

Now take a closer look at the twins' blankets...

Here's Julia's...

And her Google badge!

And James' blanket...

And his Google badge!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So, Who Do They Take After?

Ever since the little ones were born, there's been much talk about who they look like. Let's start with the easy one...

J u l i a

Julia looks like Mark. I was shocked not to have noticed it until she was two weeks old and someone brought it to our attention. Now it seems totally obvious. They have the same nose, ears, and big eyes, plus their facial features are similarly proportioned.

Julia in her first month at her resembling Mark-iest

Mark with a death wish on his first birthday. I like that the cake is decorated with "M.P." Also, I want that apple chair.

I've been told Julia looks a little like me in this photo where she's in mid tumble.

J a m e s

Then there's James. Overall he seems to favor my side of the family. It might not be immediately apparent, but I can see it in our noses (poor guy), deep set eyes, and mouth. He also has my translucent (read: very pale) skin. He has blond hair like Mark's, but it has a slightly reddish cast. (Mine is obviously dyed red now but it had a slight auburn cast as a child.)

James at two months; me at 3 years

James has big hands and feet, a really strong neck (somewhere under all the chins), and seems to have the build (and budding gut) of a Mikulis man.

James kind of looks like both my brother and me. Apparently when we were children my parents would mix us up, so they'd have to embroider our names on all our clothing.

You'll have to take my word for it, but of everyone James most strongly resembles (I think) Uncle Michael (here pictured with a chocolate cigar). Here's James at his resembling Uncle Michael-iest. James also looks like my dad, obviously pre-beard.

Even though James is more Mikulis-y, he still has some Pilloff in him. I definitely see a resemblance to Mark's brother, Daniel. James has Daniel's slightly curly hair and face shape.

James at his resembling Uncle Daniel-iest

Daniel and Mark at Google in New York City. (The Google sign is made of actual Lego.)

Mark (center), a.k.a. Julia clone, being crowded out by his siblings. My mom thinks Julia will look like Mark's sister Rachel, and of course I think James resembles Daniel.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Here We Go a Diaperin'

At first the twins weren't thrilled with diaper changes, but that all changed at about 1 1/2 months. I made up my own song and started singing it to them and smiling while they were being changed. Soon James and Julia loved diaper changes! James has actually been in the room while Julia is being changed and started smiling when he heard the song. (In fact he's still a bigger fan of getting changed than Julia.)

To the tune of the traditional English carol, Here We Come A-Wassailing with only a few lyrics changed:

Here we go a diaperin' upon the changing table
Here we go a diaperin' as far as we are able
Love and joy come to you
And to you a clean diaper too
And God bless you and grant you a diaper free of poo ("Yes you!" or "I love you!" or "Unlike this one!" if diaper is soiled)
And God bless you and grant you a diaper free of poo

I follow this up with the Hokey Pokey while I dress them:

You snap the left leg in
You snap the left leg out
You snap the left leg in and you shake it all about...

One of my favorite pictures of James

This might be the first real photo of Julia smiling. This one from when she was three weeks old doesn't really count.

James pees on us about once a week while getting changed. My mom was worried her laughter after he pees was encouraging him to do it in the future, so now when it happens she gets all serious and tells him, "James, that's not acceptable."

You better use a pee-pee teepee!

Julia occasionally pees on while being changed, too. My mom says she never heard of a girl doing that before (possibly because I had some decorum as a baby), but my friends with little girls say they definitely peed, too. When Julia pees while Mark is changing her he tells her, "Well played, Julia. Well played."

No class, Julia.

We've had some bad poopy diaper incidents. While I was changing a three week old James, he decided to poop right then and fecal shrapnel ended up three feet away. Another time at Newborn Club, while in a lucite bassinet, my mom was changing James and held his naked legs in the air while we had a nurse come over to tell us whether the contents of his diaper were diarrhea (answer: no). All of a sudden James let loose a poop salvo that hit the bassinet like gunfire, entertaining/horrifying the other newborn parents. I was walking by at the time and actually ducked. I was saved by an inch of lucite. My mom's white fleece jacket was not so lucky.

Don't keep my naked butt and legs in the air too long!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Rest of the First Month

Mark's mom (a.k.a. Bubby, a.k.a. Mrs. Mark) stayed with us the following two weeks over her holiday break, and Mark's brother Daniel came to visit for a few days, too. Mark's mom was pretty hardcore - she required only 3-4 hours of sleep, so Mark and I were able to catch up on our zzzzzz's.

Bubby meets James

Bubby meets Julia

Julia cracks up

Mark can feed two people at once - as long as one of them is Mark

Not only did she bring a suitcase of cookies, she made elaborate meals every night, and she cleaned and cleaned. She even attacked the "murder tub." (So we have a bathtub that's so dirty it looks like we murdered someone in there... who doesn't?)

Our tub?

What else happened this month? The twins had their first baths in their whale tub. Mark started looking up burping videos on You Tube, and his proficiency at burping prompted us to call him The Burp Whisperer. We celebrated Christmas Eve at Lila and Brendan's place - our first time leaving the twins to go out. All month I kept waking up thinking I was holding a baby or that a baby was in the blankets next to me. (I still do this. Is this normal?)

Julia after her first bath

Mommy bathes James in the whale tub

Then my parents returned and joined us, along with my brother Michael, on Mark's mom's last day with us and we all celebrated Christmas together on New Year's Day.

This won't be the last time James has two women fawning over him

Uncle Michael holds James for the first time

Mark opens a Hanukkah present. "Can I return it? I already have a baby girl in this size."

These new self-adhesive babies are the greatest

"I have Julia and you don't!"

James is fascinated by Grandpa. The Bigfoot shirt probably adds to the mystery.

My dad welcomed Mark's mom to the family by doing one of his notoriously nutty wrapping jobs on her gift (wrapped 16 times with decoy empty containers, and treasure hunt-like clues to help her find her real gift).

These were left over from a gift from my dad in 2008.


12/07/09 (birth)
James - 5 lbs., 9 oz.
Julia - 4 lbs., 9 oz.

1/07/10 (1 month)
James - 7 lbs., 2.9 oz.
Julia 6 lbs., 4.4 oz.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The First Weeks

My mom (a.k.a. Grandma, a.k.a. Mrs. Kathy) stayed with us for a week immediately after getting home from the hospital. My dad (a.k.a. Grandpa, a.k.a. Mr. Kathy) stayed in town for a few extra days too, but he stayed at his new home away from home, the Milpitas Days Inn. (Note to anyone thinking of becoming pregnant: Never have a baby while living in an apartment. You end up with the crib and play areas in the living room, and if you're lucky, room for only one grandparent to stay with you.) Over time we developed shifts - Mark having the easy shift (but then again he goes to work) until 2 - 2:30 a.m., me with the 2 - 2:30 a.m. until 5 - 5:30 a.m. middle shift, and my mom having the hard shift (since babies start to wake up for good) of 5 - 5:30 a.m. and after.

Happy grandparents

"Alright, the yellow pacifier is the divider. You stay on your side, I'll stay on my side."

Grandma made an awesome gift basket

Julia likes to grip

James lost just over 10% of his birth weight his first week so we took the twins to Kaiser's Newborn Club at least once a week. (This is laughable now since James is our multiple-chinned chunky monkey.) The Newborn Club is basically a collection of nurses and lactation consultants that weigh babies, observe breastfeeding, and determine a good feeding schedule. Their help was invaluable, especially with our premature babies.

According to James Lipton, the appropriate term of venery is "an armload of babies"

Mark feeding James

Julia shows off her kung-fu grip

Julia strikes a pose-- watch for her in America's Next Top Model Cycle 33

Because of her immature stomach, Julia had a lot of spit up issues. They weren't helped by her penchant for going bonkers at feeding time, gobbling down her bottles, and frantically crying when we'd stop to burp her. (A few weeks later we discovered we were actually overfeeding her so things improved somewhat after that.) She was also sad a lot of the time. (Mark called Julia "Sad Face." I used to tell Julia how I couldn't wait until she grew through this and was a happy baby... like she is now!) Often the only thing that would stop her from crying was being held, sometimes for hours. My mom often napped with her on the couch, and would prop her arm such that Julia was firmly between her and the sofa back so Julia would be secure when my mom fell asleep (I'd also keep an eye on them) and she quickly became Julia's favorite sleeping buddy.

Kathy with Julia

Doggy tries to blend in with the babies

James as Rodin's "The Thinker"

Baby stare down

My mom noticed the first week home that James appeared to be fascinated by the three framed artworks over our sofa, probably because babies like contrast and the frames are black against white. Mark didn't believe her because he didn't think babies could see that far. He also claimed that babies don't learn anything for the first three months, and essentially said that talking to them was pointless. (Mark determined all of this because of his extensive background in pediatrics.) Then at Newborn Club, one of the nurses was impressed at how James was so interested in looking at everything around him, and said his curiousness was like a baby older than his age. And so begins the pattern of Mark being told about something impressive that James can do but not believing it (or pretending not to believe it) until there is outside confirmation.

Julia's first visit to the pediatrician

Mark imitates Julia's "champion" pose. (You can see the framed artwork James likes so much in the background.)

"Come closer, Daddy. Yes, just like that..."

"Right cross to the face! Sucker..."