An Infestation of Adorable

Casa Schmidt is being invaded! Thankfully it’s the cutest infestation that’s ever occurred. Baby things are slowly taking over: there’s a pack ‘n play box under the piano; a boppy blocking the bookshelf; two highchairs and two car seats stacked in our family room. And the NTB forget it, I won’t open the door for fear of tripping over the baskets of blankets, clothing and toys waiting to be organized.

Sometimes they arrive at a trickle: a box waiting on the porch when I get home from a puggle walk or a gift bag from a friend when we meet for lunch. Other times it’s a deluge, like this weekend when I went to MA for my first shower. A car packed to the brim with boxes and bags and a long drive home full of “Bruschi, that rattle is NOT for you. Leave it!

As the piles of baby stuff and my twin belly grow, the growth takes on new meaning: this is real. Soon the Schmidtlets will be sitting in those seats, wearing those clothes.

It occurs to me, this whole process of being spoiled rotten/stuff accumulation is a lot like planning a new book and getting to know the characters and the world.

Sometimes facts come slowly – they pop up by surprise – but instead of a FedEx man at the door, it’s a moment of Wow, my heroine’s hair is curly or my hero used to be studly jock, but he’s not anymore. I add these to my character profiles where facts accumulate in piles, while I try to figure out if they’re significant – and, yes, curly hair IS important in my WIP – or even if they’re true.

Knowledge also comes in a flash flood; I’ll wake up with a scene fully formed in my mind, or come back from a swim with a major plot point resolved.

In both instances, I’m forever changing my mind. Bumpo seat? Baby pod? Neither? I read reviews, ask advice from mothers and add and remove these items from my registry. With writing, there’s the same vacillation. The include and delete. Rewrites. The long e-mails to CP’s and bracketed comments of [cut this? Or amp up? Ahhh! Decide later!]

But neither process is overnight – and they aren’t to be rushed. I want those Schmidtlets to stay just where they are for a few months yet. They’re not ready and I’m not ready for them either. (Um, cribs… we need to get those).

My WIP’s not ready either. We’re still getting to know each other. The better I understand my characters, the more realistic they’ll be on paper. Real people are many-faceted, and the most realistic and resonant characters I’ve read have been equally complicated.

Getting to know them isn’t logical, sequential or predictable either. Just like with the baby presents, I can make a list of the things I need, or in writing’s case, need to know (appearance, history, motivations, desires), but it’s often the unexpected facts and gifts that are the most meaningful.

So my world is being invaded with swaddling blankets and itsy-bitsy onesies. With personality quirks and characters’ favorite expressions. My house is full and my mind is busy. I’m making sure my laptop isn’t buried beneath bassinets or baby slings and trying not to confuse plot post-its with thank you notes.

I know life’s about to get crazier, but when I look around at the Infestation of Adorable or stop and reflect upon my WIP, all I can do is smile and whisper a thank you that I’m blessed with such rewarding chaos.

This IS A Post About Italy

I leave for the airport in 9 hours for the Goldblatt Agency retreat. I still haven’t packed – this surprises no one – and I still haven’t blogged about the Italian adventures that took place between my last two airport experiences.

Some of you have been demanding photographic evidence of the trip – and pictures of the Twin Belly. I can satisfy both requests simultaneously – and quickly – and then go pack!

Sorrento – and a Twin Belly! That’s because after 48 hours after WE got to Sorrento, our luggage finally caught up with us. I’ve never been so happy to change clothing.

Capri – The island is gorgeous. And hilly. LOOK how hilly. I was a brave little trouper and made it DOWN the hills, but we need a taxi to cart the Twin Belly back up.

Naples – There are castles in Naples. CASTLES.

Castles make me curtsey.
And, no worries, St. Matt came, too!

Packing. Now. Really.

This is NOT a Post About Italy

So, I tell you we’re having some babies, I accept all of your congratulations, and then I disappear again. Bad Tiffany!

I was actually unplugged and off-grid for a ten days, enjoying a “babymoon” in Italy with St. Matt. And believe it or not, I didn’t go through Petunia-withdrawal or whine about missing my laptop – not even once. *pats self on the back*

And while there are plenty of Italia stories to tell – look! I even included a teaser picture – today all I can think about is names.

Baby names.

When I’m writing a story I go crazy picking the perfect names for my characters – they have to match temperament, appearance, background, etc. But luckily, I know the character before I know the name and if I need to change it halfway through the book, that’s what the “Find and Replace” command is for.

Not so much for the Schmidtlets in my belly.

And right off the bat, there was going to be none of this “Baby A” and “Baby B” business that the doctors insist on using. We weren’t even in our car, and I certainly hadn’t recovered from the news it was twins, when I was already paling and saying: “Now we need twice as many names.”

But, seeing as we had a good four months before we’d find out gender, interim names were a must. St. Matt suggested Alpha and Beta

What can I say? He’s an engineer.

I countered with Alcott and Bronte and was resoundingly shot down. Why? Because, as St. Matt so wisely realized, “You’re going to get attached and want to actually name them that.”

He was right. Later that night I woke him up: “Alcott’s kinda cute, isn’t it? For a girl? We could call her Ally for short.”

So you can see why NON-NAME interim names became essential.

After a week of what-about-this? and what-about-that? We settled on two: Acorn, and Bean Sprout. (See how they’re still A and B words… St. Matt is SUCH an engineer).

But now there comes a bigger problem. REAL names…

I have post-its of possibilities everywhere. I’ve just about worn out Baby Name Voyager. In Italy – look, another teaser picture – I stopped St. Matt at every playbill and construction sign so I could read the names of contractors and actors.

He’s learning not to get too attached to any name, because as soon as we find something we both agree on, I change my mind.

I’m learning not to wake him up in the middle of the night when I come up with potentials – because the interrupted-REM answer is always, “No.”

The fact that we’ve got roughly five more months to find the perfect combinations of first and middle names has not prevented me from lying awake and whispering ideas at the ceiling. Or turning to the bookshelf beside my bed and scanning for ideas.

… you know, now that I think about it, Bronte’s kinda cute, too.

An Explanation and An Announcement

It’s been a heckofa long time since I blogged. Normally I don’t make excuses for blog lapses; you just can assume I’ve been: A) busy B) lazy C) uninspired or D) held hostage by a band of wild sixth graders who insist I grade their personal narratives thisveryminute.

This time my blog-absence was absurdly long. But I have a good reason.
very good reasons:

Baby A
Baby B

St. Matt and I are expecting our first children — twins — early next winter.

Go ahead and jump up and down in glee for me — the doctor says *I’m* to refrain from impish dancing. Do you know how hard it is to refrain from impish dancing and other hijinks when you’re this elated? WICKED HARD!

And while the Schmidtlets (lettes?) will be the very best things to happen to us, they are also terrible nausea-monsters. I’ve spent most of the past 3 months in varying shades of green.

Luckily green is my second-favorite color.

Even more lucky is the fact that The Queasy is finally, finally starting to pass.

Until it’s completely gone, however, I’ll keep rocking my sea-sickness bracelets and wearing a pea-soup completion with a smile. They’re the latest trends, you know.