Archive | November, 2010

paperwork, Paperwork, PAPERWORK!

16 Nov

So here’s the truth- an international marriage= NEVER ENDING PAPERWORK!

It feels like, at all times, there is some form or another to fill out. Sometimes I feel like I’m a professional Form Filler-Outer. 

And just so you don’t think I’m exaggerating, I’m going to list off all the documents I’ve applied for since we got married. All the sub-categories are documents that were needed in addition to the main form.

  1.  My first Temporary Residents permit, which included...
    1. Photos. 
    2. Certified copy of Husband’s ID. 
    3. Certified copy of my passport. 
    4. Certified copy of marriage cert.  
  2. Husband’s visitor visa (so we could married in the US) included…
    1. A criminal background check (#1)
    2. Photos. 
    3. Certified copy of my passport.
    4. Certified copy of his ID.  

  1. Husband’s Greencard, which included…
    1. Round #1 Main form.
    2. Photos. (These, by the way, were a different size requirement than the visa one’s so we couldn’t even use old-ish ones.)
    3. Round #2 Main form. 
    4. A criminal background check from SA (#2,3,4)
    5. A criminal background check from Zimbabwe (mission impossible but somehow accomplished!)
    6. Unabridged birth certificate. 
    7. Up to date… 
      1. Injections 
      2. HIV test
      3. Chest X-rays

(I know 7. isn’t technically paperwork but it was still a mission. All 3 of these are only recognized when administered by 1 of 3 doctors in the whole of SA. ‘Nough said.)

      8. Proof of our marriage, which included any and all…
          1. Emails between us
          2. Emails between any of our 2 families.
          3. Love letters. 
          4. Sms’s. 
          5. Photos. 
          6. Postal mail. 
          7. Marriage cert. 
      9. My American bank statements and proof of all assets.
      10. I’m SURE there’s more to this one but this is what I can  remember off the top of my head.   

   4. My second Temporary Residents permit.
       1. FBI background check
       2. My local police (where I grew up) criminal record.
   5. My work permit.
   6. My new Social Security card.
   7. My new American drivers license.(easier than getting an SA one.)
   8. Certified copies of our marriage certificate (because the SA post lost our original-awesome.)

 Come the beginning of 2011 I will start working on…

   9. My third temporary residents permit. (They’re only good for 2 years and I can’t apply for Permanent residency until we’ve been married 5 years. Sweet.)
  10. Declaring both the girls birth to the US Consulate. 
  11. Registering them as US citizens, which includes…
       1. Seven years of my school transcripts (to prove I grew up in the US)
       2. Their unabridged birth certificates.
       3. Certified copy of my birth certificate. 
       4. Photos’ of them. (special sized ones.)
       5. Certified copy of my passport. 
       6. Certified copy of Husband’s ID. 

Phew… I’m tired and my hands getting a cramp just thinking about all that writing! And please keep in mind that we do not live in a major city so all of these forms either have to be hand delivered to one of the major cities (where the Consulates are, of course) or was organized via telephone or internet… and there’s at least a 6 hour time difference between us and the US. 

It’s true what they say, that’s you’ll do anything for love. Why else would I suffer through so many government offices and forms? It’s just our families reality. Lots of government forms is part of…


Multiples Faux Pas

13 Nov

Having multiples makes you the pide-piper of grannies and all curious people. When I go out in public, if I actually want to get anything done while I’m out, I literally have to put my head down and just walk. And even then, I swear to you, that grannies have some kind of radar for multiples and they flock from all ends of the shops to oodle and aww over my twins! I realize that grannies probably oodle over singleton babies as well but it’s actually ridiculous how much of my time is eaten up with answering peoples millions of questions about my twins. If I had a dime for every time I was asked these three faux pa questions I’d be a rich Momma!: 

1) “Are they twins?” No, I just love dressing my babies, who ‘happen’ to be the same age, just alike. Ok look, I do realize that some woman dress their children in the same outfits regardless of their age/s… but I’d still be rich if I got money every time someone asked me this.
2) “What are they?” (referring to their sex) 
One of these days someone’s going to catch me in a crap mood and I’m going to absolutely go crazy on them when they ask this. See, I make a point of dressing my girls in head to toe pink or purple when I take them out. Because they don’t have hair right now, color is the only non-verbal form of communication that can distinguish their sex. And so, when people come to ooh and aww and while starring at them dressed in pink dresses with pink flower head bands and pink blankets STILL ask me “what are they?” I actually want to scream “ARE YOU SERIOUS? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? IF YOU CAN’T DEDUCTIVELY REASON THAT ONE, YOU DON’T DESERVE TO KNOW THE ANSWER.” 

(Some of the various outfits I’ve taken my girls out in and been asked this.)

3)”Where they natural or fertility twins?”
I have no idea when a complete strangers fertility became a socially acceptable thing to discuss… oh yah, IT ISN’T! I do not mind answering this question for anyone that is actually my friend or maybe even a stranger who has full conversation with me and politely works it in somehow, like “Where you expecting to have multiples or was it a complete surprise?” At least that a delicate way of asking a sensitive thing. But I find it so rude when people ask this as the second sentence they’ve ever spoken to me before. 

Obviously, if you read my post “The Discovery of Twins” you’ll know that mine where “natural”. But I am firm believer that we multiple moms have to stick together cause we’re in a very special boat of our own and for most woman, if they struggle to conceive it is a very tough thing for them and a sensitive subject. So why ask? Why, potentially, put your finger in someone’s wound? Why can’t we just stop at celebrating the miracle of multiples? Cause whether those babies where conceived through the front door or the window, any woman who carries more than one baby in her stomach at once deserves a medal of honor! The point is not how they were conceived but that they are an absolute miracle and that the woman who carried them and cares of them is hard core.  

 Other faux pas I regularly encounter as things like…

– People assuming that I’m having a difficult time just because I have more than one baby to care for. 
Assuming that they are difficult just because there’s two of them. 
Assuming that I never get sleep. Contrary to popular belief, multiples can be taught to sleep just like a singleton baby. Shocker, I know. 
Assuming that I didn’t breast feed because two is just to many to even attempt such a thing. (Which is ridiculous because I did breast feed them both, so it is very possible. It’s just like BF’ing one- sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but you just have to give it a go.)  
Assuming that they are identical in every way. Sorry to bust another myth but just because my girls shared a womb doesn’t mean they are anything alike. And in fact, they are not in most ways. 

I have relatively come to grips with the fact that for the average person, any type of multiples is a completely fascinating thing. It is seen as this mysterious, breath-taking thing that must be as different as the east is from the west. And to be honest, many times my mothering experiences are VERY different than my friends who have singletons… but many times it’s just the same. My babies still go through growth spurts just like theirs. They still poo crazy amounts of poo everywhere just like one baby would. I worry about them starting to teeth and wonder if they’re developing at a normal rate just like any mother with a singleton. 

It still irritates me sometimes that people can’t reign in their curiosity a bit more or think before they speak but most of the time I have the patience to politely ‘educate’ people about multiples and go around the same old mountain again. 

Anglo African-American?

9 Nov

So here’s what I’m wondering…

I am American.

Husband is South African.
Does that make my children African-Americans? 

Just to be PC I’d probably say Anglo-African-American but I’m pretty sure it does.
We’ll claim it. We are a proud, Anglo African American family.
And that’s… 

The Name Game

8 Nov

A few days ago I was reading an article online about Jamie Oliver and his family. 

He and his wife had their fourth child recently (aww, sweet:). And while I was elated that Jamie and his wife seem to have a good marriage and are loving bringing more and more small people into the world, my warm fuzzy feelings were quickly swept away and replaced with horror, repulsion and sadness as I read what this couple has named his children! Just to throw them out there, we have: 

Poppy Honey
Daisy Boo
Petal Blossom Rainbow 
   and last but not least… 
Buddy Bear Maurice

I mean, come on already! All these names would be really cute nicknames but are not so cute as real names. I could totally follow this trail and carry on talking about other ridiculous names that celebrities have named their children however… I’d rather steer us in another direction. I would like to offer you…


1) Start with a name you like, a name your drawn to.
2) Check out the meaning.
     It’s that age old truth- what you say to someone repeatedly, especially a child, will become their truth. For instance, if a child is always told they are stupid and will amount to nothing, chances are, they won’t do so hot in school or life and will probably end up flipping burgers at Micky D’s forever.  If you choose a name that means “bitterness”, don’t be surprised if you end up with a grumpy,  bitter child on your hands. You might not be directly calling them “bitter” but names have meanings for a reason, yah know.  In some cases, you might find a name you love has multiple meanings. I say, choose the meaning you like best and stick with it. 
3) Say it with your surname. Write what the child’s initials would be.
     You want to make sure it rolls of the tongue nicely with you surname and that the initials don’t spell anything weird or crude. 
*The next 3 fall under the same category…
4) A name must be culturally appropriate.

  • In generalplease try to remember that you will not be sitting by your child’s side to rescue and defend them for the rest of their life as people of all ages, cultures and literacy levels read out there name, try to spell it  and along the way may potentially butcher it.

  1. If your surname is particularly ethnic sounding, don’t be cruel and give the child a first name that is incredibly ethnic sounding of a different ethnicity.  I, for one, would not want to be known as Takako Hajeeb Papdopoulos.
  2.  Consider nicknames. 

     Some names are great full names but might have terrible nicknames for whatever family or cultural reason. For instance, when trying to find names for our babies, I suggested the name Ariel. My husband immediately veto’d this because her nickname would obviously be ‘Ari’ and ‘Ari’ is a family word for butt. No dice. 

    Another example would be this; I really like the name Macy for a little girl. In America, it would have been fine but in South Africa ‘macy’ means girl in one of the local languages and can sound trashy if said in the wrong way. Make sense?

  3. Don’t do go to crazy with the spelling! At the moment, the trend in our generation is to spell a name in whatever way floats your boat. However, it is ESSENTIAL that a name is easy to say and easily pronounced when being read at a first glance. If you choose to spell your child’s name very unusually it will most probably be said and spelled a thousand different ways throughout their life leaving them frustrated and forever politely correcting people while inwardly cursing you.  I wanted to spell our daughter Blake’s name: Blaike but we ended up going with the more known spelling of: ‘Blake so that she hopefully wouldn’t have to deal with this her whole life. (*Good call Husband:)

5) Try to picture them introducing themselves as adults using this name. Some names are super cute for children but don’t ‘grow up’ with the child. Some names just sound like a child’s name. I wouldn’t easily feel confident and assured doing business with a 30 year old man named Buddy Bear Maurice! Plus, it’s a proven fact that a name plays a roll in people first impression of you and people with certain names are more likely to be hired when interviewing for a job than others. 

6) Decide what you can live with. For instance, when choosing a unisex name you must come to terms with the fact that people will not immediately be sure what sex your child is. I  love my girls being “girlie girls” and will regularly take them out in head to toe pink and with big flower head bands. But still, when people hear the name “Blake” they ask if she’s a boy. I love that name enough that I’m willing to forge ahead and gently remind people that it is, in fact, a unisex name. Plus, it suits her. So I live with it.  

7)Above all else, consider you child. 

After umming and awwing and going through the process I just described, just before I delivered our twins, Husband and I decided on the names Keena Zoey and Blake Adelaide.

Keena means bold and courageous & Zoey means life giving. 

Blake means bright and transparent and Adelaide- noble. 

Their initials are don’t spell anything weird and their names are easy to say, read, pronounce and spell. We’re not perfect at this process and you might not even like the names we choose in the end but, at least now you know…


The Discovery of Twins

6 Nov

It seems only reasonable that my first blog be the story of how I found out I was pregnant, and pregnant with twins. And so the story goes…

Husband and I have been married almost 4 years now. Right after we got married I had an IUD/Mirena put in because I was terrible at taking my birth control pills! (The IUD worked out much better for me as it’s “no mess, no fuss”.) Anyways, at the beginning of 2009, two years after we’d tied the knot, we spoke and decided to have my IUD taken out at the end of that year. We both needed the time to make sure that it was definitely what we wanted. So I booked an appointment for the end of October 2009… and so the year went on like any other. Every so often we’d check in with each other and ask something like “You still feeling good about ‘trying’ at the end of the year?” And 90% of the time the others response was something like “Yep. Lovin’ the idea more and more”. 

So, as planned, at the end of October 2009 I had my IUD/Mirena removed. Husband and I were of the same understanding that we were not going to go to any great lengths to make a baby just yet. We were just going carry on like normal and if we had no bun in my oven in a years time, we’d start clocking and charting, etc etc. 

My birthday is in mid-November and, as usual, I had planned a fun-filled theme party. This birthday was a bit more significant than usual though as I was also expecting (or hopefully not in this case) ‘Aunt Flo’ to visit around that time. Despite the fact that we’d said we’d keep it chilled and be all ‘normal’ about things, as my birthday crept up, I couldn’t help but keep a close eye on the situation. And that is why I distinctly remember Aunt Flow arriving the night of my birthday party. Even though it a little premature, I was slightly bummed. The excitement of making a little person of our very own had me giddy! So I had to remind myself that on average, it take 6-12 months to fall pregnant and that it would all happen in due time. And so, I took a deep breath, relaxed and put it out of my mind.  

I was free-lancing as a photographer at the time so I was heading into the busiest time of year (December-April)- wedding season. (*Remember that I live in the southern hemisphere and our seasons are opposite of the north.) In fact, I had a number of weddings back to back, including a huge family wedding in another city. During this family wedding was the same time I was expecting ‘Auntie’ to come visit again. When the time came to travel off to the wedding, I packed my bags with all the necessary paraphernalia to accommodate. But as each day of family and wedding festivities rolled out, there was still no visit from Flow! I didn’t want to steal any thunder or sound a false alarm so… I just smiled to myself, bigger and bigger each day, and waited patiently. (Ok, I did secretly tell Husband’s cousin out of excitement but she kept her lips sealed very well.) 

After a jam-packed week of family and celebrations and a long 9-hour drive, we arrived home. Within two hours of arriving home Husband had to leave for his brothers bachelors party so I IMMEDIATELY dashed off to the pharmacy. Along the way I patted myself on the back for being patient as long as I had BUT NOW I HAD TO KNOW! About 20 minutes and two tests later, I was walking around my house telling our dogs “Mommy’s pregnant! Mommy’s pregnant!” (Don’t judge me. I was home by myself and couldn’t tell anyone before I told Husband so the only trusted souls I could tell were my dogs.)

Later on that night, Husband found out he would forever more also be called Dad and was ecstatic. In the following days we had a blood test done to “officially” confirm (my blood count was completely normal by the way), booked an appointment to see my baby doc and told the families, who were over the moon! 

A few weeks go by, and it is finally time for the ever-awaited first scan- yippee! I was suuuper excited to see the baby and hear a heart beat. So we meet with Doc and spend the first 20 minutes chatting about this and that concerning my pregnancy. Finally he says, and I will forever remember this as clear as the day it happened: 
Doc: “Ok, well let’s take a look shall we? Just to make sure the baby is healthy and rule out twins.” 
Me: “But why would you say that? We have no history of twins in either of our families and my blood count was normal.” 
Doc: “Ok, but we still just want to have a look.”
So I hop on his exam table and on goes the exam gel & scanner. At this point I can’t see the scan screen but just as soon as he’d put the scanner on my stomach I hear: 
Doc: “Hmm, speaking of twins, that’s exactly what it looks like.”


Everything else that happened after that point is a blur… except I distinctly remember lying there on the exam table laughing hysterically, a good kind of hysterical, for 2-3 minutes with my eyes as wide as saucers. 

I can honestly say I’ve NEVER been more shocked in my life. A two for one deal- who would have ever thought? Certainly not I. I was never one of those women who dreamt about having twins. But after my shock wore off, I was ridiculously excited! Although, for at least the next 2 months, as I told people I was expecting twins, in the back of my head I regularly wondered “is this real? Or have I made this whole thing up? Are there really two babies in there?” Thirty-seven weeks, 6 kg’s of baby, two massively swollen legs and a C-section later I was most certainly convinced it was real. At the end of July 2010 we welcomed our little girls- Keena Zoey & Blake Adelaide, into the world and our family. Many twins are prem and small but, oh no, not our girls. Keena was a healthy 3.1 kg’s & Blake 2.9.

Like I said, 6 kg’s of baby in total!

When it comes to Husband and I we don’t really do anything by the book. Got married quickly. First pregnancy twins… who knows what’s next? Unexpected seems to be the theme of our life thus far. 

And that folks…