Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Miss Sara no shirt

The kids were quiet just for a short time yesterday afternoon and then decided they didn't want to nap. I heard them giggling and jumping in the bed. Adam started to get fussy so I went to check on them.

What did I find?

Adam with a dirty diaper...and Sara standing in her crib with her shirt off. That girl, I tell you. I have never seen her take her shirt off before but there she was bare chested and waving her shirt in the air all proud of herself!

I need to just start carrying my camera with me everywhere!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chocolate pudding

Yum yum yum yum. That's usually the response but once the camera rolls, they get a little quieter. Shannon taught them how to lick their lips but it does more damage instead of helping clean up. They end up with pudding smeared up to their nose and down to their chin and look like they have big chocolate lips!

I'm not sure what Sara was doing with her tongue. The only thing I can think of is that she was imitating the dog when she incessantly moves her tongue in and out of her mouth. Everything is repeatable these days.

Eating with a spoon

We have been practicing eating with a spoon off and on for about a week now. Yogurt, oatmeal, mashed potatoes. They do pretty well getting the spoon to their mouth. Sometimes loading up is the challenge. Adam seems to be partial to holding the spoon with his left hand. Makes sense because he is a left handed thumb sucker. Sara switches back and forth.

We have also graduated to eating on plates. It's really nice to load up a plate with food for the meal and then all sit together to eat. Shannon and I can actually eat food that is still warm rather than ice cold because you keep pausing to reload a tray with a few bites of food or have to spoon feed.

Adam is getting much better at not cramming way too much in his mouth. Every now and then he has a lapse. I can't remember what he was stuffing in his mouth the other day. His cheeks looked like a chipmunk. I told him he had so much he couldn't even chew. He kept trying. I couldn't help but start to laugh at him, which got him laughing, and then he really couldn't chew it. I ended up with a big ball of something unrecognizable that he spit in my hand. How else are you going to learn unless you have moments like that with supervision? Honestly, though, you know he will do it again - he's a boy!

I know this isn't a very "exciting" video. But since I am also using this blog to record memories of our milestones, you will have to humor me!

Oatmeal is the practicing food of this day. Adam loads too much on the spoon and then half falls off before it hits his mouth. Does he care? Absolutely not. I put it back in the bowl from time to time so he has enough to eat until he's full!

Adam's shoe fettish

Adam loves shoes. Leave them laying nearby and one will be gone before you know it. He's pretty sneaky about it and you never know where he will leave it. The bigger the shoes the better. Anything big is what he likes to carry around.

Yesterday I got shoes on the kids and we were ready to go outside and play for a little while. Adam disappeared into the laundry room. When it's quiet for too long, you start to wonder. No worries - plenty of shoes to keep him busy!

Two little monkeys

Two little monkeys jumping in bed...thankfully we aren't to the point that one falls out yet! This is how they wake up from a nap probably 70% of the time! Their crib converts to a toddler bed when they are ready but we might have to look into getting new mattresses. I should start rotating them when I change the sheets on their crib...

Okay so ignore the pink blankie Adam is holding while sucking his thumb. That's "backup blankie." Sara never latched on to one so when Adam's blue one is in the wash, we resort to the pink. He's really good about getting one last thumb suck and putting them back in bed after nap time, though. I bought him a second blue one at the twin sale so he can now have an "appropriate" backup blankie. It may matter to him when he gets older but right now not so much.


It's so adorable to me that the kids just walk right over and give us spontaneous kisses sometimes. Since I stopped nursing them, we started a new bedtime routine of "kisses all around." Sara, give mama a kiss. Adam, give dada a kiss. Sara, give Adam a kiss. Dada give mama a kiss. Sara, give dada a kiss. Adam, give mama a kiss. *whew* Then we lay them in their crib and see them 13 hours later.

I can't believe they even give each other a kiss. Adam wasn't too interested this day but here's a little video of Sara trying to track him down.

Dancing Queen

Both the kids have been more into music lately, but especially Miss Sara. It started out as just a bounce or maybe a head nod. She's got great rhythm. But it seems ever since we came back from my birthday weekend away, she has really kicked it up a notch! It must have been watching the cloggers spin around--she has added some spin moves of her own!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Solo bath time

Not solo meaning one toddler at a time, but solo meaning giving both kids a bath simultaneously by myself. This is a break down of how our bath time went last night. Let me know if you would be exhausted by the end, too!

Both kids into the bathroom and close the door.
Plug the drain and start the water.
Shorts off for Adam.
Shorts off for Sara.
Adam is picking at the toilet paper and unrolling it - remove it from the holder and put it on counter.
Shirt off for Adam.
Close cabinet door.
Shirt off for Sara.
Toilet flush...
Close cabinet drawer.
Dirty close thrown in the hall.
Diaper off for Sara.
Toilet flush...'Adam - stay away from the toilet'
Sara in the tub.
Sara pees in the tub.
Drain water.
Turn water back on.
Close cabinet door.
Diaper off for Adam.
Adam in the tub.
Soap Sara's face, ears, and neck.
Soap Adam's face, ears, and neck.
Soap Sara's torso, back, and arms.
Soap Adam's torso, back, and arms.
Adam smacks Sara on the back to help wash.
Wash from the waist down.
Sara giggles...'Adam, what's that?'
Hair wet.
Adam pees in the tub.
Rinse both hair with fresh water.
Drain water.
Adam out and dried off.
Adam's diaper on.
Sara out and dried off.
Close cabinet door.
Sara's diaper on.
Close cabinet drawer.
Close cabinet drawer.
Close cabinet door.
Toilet flush.
Close cabinet drawer.
Toilet flush.
Toilet flush. 'Adam, stop flushing the toilet.'
Lotion on Adam.
Close cabinet drawer.
Close cabinet drawer.
Toilet flush.
Close cabinet door.
Lotion on Sara.
Pajama bottoms on Sara.
Close cabinet drawer.
Close cabinet door.
Pajama tops on Sara.
Close cabinet drawer.
Toilet flush. 'Sara!'
Pajama bottoms on Adam.
Close cabinet door.
Close cabinet door.
Close cabinet drawer.
Pajama tops on Adam.
Fluff Sara's hair.
Comb Adam's hair.
Close cabinet door.
Qtips for Sara.
Close cabinet drawer.
Qtips for Adam.
Toilet flush.
Everyone out of the bathroom!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

NICU Small Wonders Miracle Walk

A group of graduate NICU parents have worked hard to organize a walk and silent auction to raise funds for the Children's Hospital of Illinois Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This is the 4th year for the walk and we are excited to be participating this year! Shannon and I currently volunteer for the Family Advisory Board of the NICU and we see the walk as another way to give back to an organization that was so valuable in the early stages of our twins' lives. I truly believe the level of care they received, partnered with prayer, made a tremendous difference and we will be forever grateful.

When I transitioned from the infertility doctor to my regular ob, I paused a moment as I heard him tell me in the first 5 minutes that he was classifying me as a high risk pregnancy. I spent my entire pregnancy with that label but had no complications, no morning sickness, no nothing. At my 26 week appointment, he was amazed at how well my body was holding up--no stress, no swelling, no high blood pressure (in fact it was extremely low), no signs of pre-term labor, no dilation, no shortening of my cervix. He was going to make a decision about modified bed rest at my 28 week appointment. Unfortunately, things changed very quickly and I skipped that appointment and talked to him in the delivery room instead.

We spent hours in the NICU, praying for our 2 1/2 pound babies. 44 days for Sara; 61 for Adam. I'm sure many of you reading this joined in praying with us. I know we will never be able to fully express our gratitude for that. It was an experience that changed our lives. Now almost 21 pounds heavier and 18 months older, we still are very aware of the path that has led us to today. We remain grateful and humble.

If you feel passionate about it, we would love your financial partnership--no gift is too small! I have included the website link below. They are having a few issues with the link to donate online so they have asked that anyone wishing to support "Team Project Little Mo" print out the registration form and mark the box that you are a "virtual walker". This means you will be walking in spirit and donating a monetary gift. Virtual walkers are welcome to mail the registration form and method of payment to the address listed on the form. Please note "Team Project Little Mo" on the form. A second option would be that you can drop off your amount to myself or Shannon and we will take it with us the day of the event.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Post office field trip

Yesterday morning I decided the kids were going on a field trip. To the post office. We were doing a large postcard mailing at work and I needed to get stamps. 960 stamps. Since we live in a small town, it seemed like a good opportunity to practice exploring somewhere new. Thankfully there was a parking spot right in front of the door. Thankfully because the kids get so distracted by everything that it took us 5 minutes to walk about 20 feet! The last little push to get them in was hitting the wheel chair door button. Sara noticed it move out of the corner of her eye and made a dash for it. Perfect!

We waited in line for the woman in front of us to finish. Of course she commented how cute the kids were.

Then it was our turn and two older ladies came in behind us. Older meaning grandma age. Here is how their conversation went.

"Oh, I wonder if they are twins."
"They kind of look like twins."
"Boy she has her hands full."
"Look at the back of her shirt--it says Peoria Mothers of Twins. They must be twins."

Do they think I can't hear them? Am I supposed to respond or are they just having a conversation among themselves of unanswered questions?!

I finally turned around and confirmed to them that my kids are, indeed, twins and it's really not that hard once you get used to it. I'm not sure they believed me.

We made our purchase and headed back outside to the car. Mr. BusyBody Adam got loaded in the car first and Sara came upon another stranger, which is fine because she is pretty good at staring someone down. She gave her the cold look through her sunglasses. The woman stopped and told her it was time to get in her car. And then remarked that her sunglasses were upside down. Again, am I supposed to respond here or just wait and see how long the woman will stand there expecting that Sara is going to dialogue with her and tell her that she is wrong--there is no upside down to her sunglasses. I jumped in to relieve the pressure Sara may have been feeling.

Maybe we will head back there this afternoon to drop off the completed postcards. I wonder who we will run into today!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The back side of poo

Poo is not always fun to deal with as it is. A lot of times I really don't mind it. But over Labor Day weekend we got hit with a bout of diarrhea that lasted well into a week. No fevers. No crankiness. Just lots and lots of messes. About 7 diapers a day (remember to multiply that by 2), every hour they were awake. I have never soaked so many clothes in my life. And just when I would get them cleaned up, they would wake from a nap and I would have to change the sheets, their shirt, and their shorts. After about 4 days of a boring BRATY diet things finally improved--bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and yogurt. They also didn't like Pedialyte so for those of you in the same boat, I found a home recipe online. Mix 8 oz of juice (white grape or orange) with 1/2 teaspoon honey and a pinch of salt. It helps replace electrolytes they lose and keeps them thirsty so they drink more fluids.

Shannon and I both jumped for joy the first few diapers we changed that were just pee. You would, too, if it had been 5 days since that had happened!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

All Done

It had to come to an end at some point, right? Nursing the kids, I mean. It's interesting to me that when I was pregnant I wasn't even sure I wanted to breastfeed. It's hard to explain but it just didn't feel like me. Well, I guess I was right in a way--it wasn't me...the old me. There have been a couple defining moments in my life in the past few years and one of them was having the kids. I can't begin to explain how they changed me in the blink of an eye.

So when the nurse came in my room at midnight, just after everyone had left for the night, wheeling some kind of machine after her and said "we're going to give this a try", I replied "ok." I will be forever grateful to that night nurse and she probably has no idea how her matter-of-fact response altered the course of my babies' sustenance for 17 1/2 months. When the kids were in the NICU, pumping and taking care of my body became my passionate priority--it was a time when that was the only thing I had control over in their care. A few times when the kids ran out of breast milk at the hospital and they forgot to tell us, we were fortunate enough to live close by and Shannon drove home to get more. I have nothing against moms who choose the formula route because each person has to do what is best for her. But I am happy to say that my kids have never had a bottle of formula in their life.

Some people told me that they wouldn't learn to nurse because they had been bottle fed too long in the hospital. Others said it won't matter because they were so premature and the statistics didn't relate to them. They were right. I remember struggling to get started with Sara when we came home from the hospital. Not only had I never done this before and I didn't know what I was doing, she hadn't done it either and she didn't really seem interested. I'm thankful I reached out to the Breastfeeding Resource Center for assistance. It was quite the experience sitting in an office space bare to the waist with someone I had met 5 minutes earlier--something the "old me" would never have done! But then we celebrated together when my 4 pound, still 5 weeks premature, daughter got the hang of it. She wasn't even supposed to know how to suck yet. I was overcome with emotion.

When I brought Adam home from the hospital 17 days after Sara, they warned me that because he is a boy he may not get it. We may have to just give him bottles of breast milk. Not long after he was home, Adam was curled up in a little ball, snuggled against my chest. I started to feel him squirming and inching his way around against me. I thought he was repositioning to get more comfortable but he was getting closer to the milk. He proved people wrong, too, and figured it out just fine.

There have been times that this journey has seemed long. I have had moments, especially early on, that I wanted to quit. Going through growth spurts with them and not being able to keep up was hard. Just when I would be ready to throw in the towel, I would convince myself to sleep on it and decide for sure the next day. Somehow the next day was easier.

It takes a lot of commitment. When the kids were on lock down for the winter, they had no bottles, and then decided in the spring they wouldn't take a bottle anymore. It was all me. It's hard to plan your life around being available every few hours to provide nourishment for two growing bodies. I was thankful when we hit the year milestone and I could introduce cow's milk for the mid-day meals. An unexpected freedom of not being so restricted with my time table. If I was running a little late getting home from work, it was okay. No phone calls asking me to hurry because the kids were hungry.

Then we cut out breakfast and were down to just dessert before bedtime. With my weekend away to Women of Faith approaching, I needed to set a date. Next Friday is the semi-annual Peoria Mothers of Twins group garage sale so I won't be home to put the kids to bed. I wanted time for the kids to get used to a new routine before then so that evening would go well for Shannon. Thursday, September 9 is what I chose as our final night. It was on my mind quite a bit. Breastfeeding went from something I wasn't sure I wanted to do to something I would miss and wasn't sure I would get to experience again. Ever. Not being able to get pregnant for so long made me feel like as a woman, my body was a failure and unequipped to do something so basically natural. Nursing gave me back my dignity in a way and renewed my confidence.

The last time was a little hard. I held Sara and remembered back to our experience at the BRC when she figured it out the first time. When I laid her in bed and told her "ni-night baby girl" she had no idea that would be the last time we shared that together. In our normal routine, Adam went second, and impatiently waited for me to get everything out of the way. How appropriate that when he was full, he looked at me and put his hands together to form the sign language motion for "all done." He just didn't realize how right he was.

How has it been going? Two nights now we have established our new routine. No crying. No fussing. Hugs and kisses all around as a family and we have laid them in their crib, not hearing a peep until at least 12 hours later. What a gift.

To my two beautiful babies - thanks for sharing the experience with me. I am hopeful that the nutrition I provided made a difference in your life from 2 1/2 pounds to 23. You are truly a light of joy that permeates my soul.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First...fair, ice cream cone, sandbox fun

Wisconsin visits usually give the kids a chance to try some new things and last weekend was no exception.

They had their first visit to the Elkhorn Fair. We bundled up in jeans, which I was thankful I found a pair that fit in both length and waist since it isn't technically jean weather yet! Also needed their jackets, hood, and a blanket! Once the wind died down it was fine but it sure was shocking to get out of the car!

Adam had a grilled cheese sandwich. Sara wasn't interested - way too many things and people to see! We saw the display of baby chicks hatching.

Then we were off to see the pigs, cows, and my personal favorite - the bunnies! I wish I had a photo to share of the bunny with the longest ears I have ever seen in my life. They hung down and touched the floor of the cage and then folded over another inch or two. He would shake his head and an ear would flop over to the other side and he would wiggle his head around trying to get it back to where it was supposed to be.

I think the kids were a little intrigued to see live animals. Sara had quite the reaction when a big cow mooed when we walked by.

Of course they thoroughly enjoyed sharing their first cinnamon roll with us - yums all around!

The clogging show was fun but a tad long as they were way past nap time. Sorry to the nice grandma in front of us who Adam kept smacking and pulling her hair! Cousin Clara was also quite upset when Adam stole her animal crackers and then picked up her sippie cup and took a big swig. I guess she isn't used to sharing that much!

Next on the list of firsts for the weekend is first ice cream cone. Now they have already had ice cream by itself; come on, how could they not with our family? Robyn had these teeny tiny miniature ice cream cones. Adam tore right into it, eating the ice cream on top and discovering right away that you could also eat the holder. Sara on the other hand--remember she's the savorer. Is that a word? She licked at the ice cream. Looked at it. Poked her finger in it. Nibbled at the cone. And waited so long that the ice cream left in the cone made it soggy and it fell apart, which upset her.

The last first--playing in the sandbox. We definitely need to get one of these!

We can't leave out Sara's fun on the slide. Good thing we have a big yard - room for lots of toys next year!

Birthday for the Mama

Last weekend we headed to Wisconsin for my birthday. I used to always go Labor Day weekend and it was tradition we went to the Elkhorn Fair. Being married, some of those traditions changed. Emily mentioned a few months ago that we hadn't done the fair for my birthday in a long time. She was right. My mom came to Peoria so we could avoid boarding fees for Ivy and she worked on staining the kids rocking chairs.

We left Friday afternoon after snack and the kids slept in the car the whole way to arrive just in time for dinner at my aunt Robyn's. Pork sandwich from the pig roast and fresh sweet corn - yum!

My first birthday present of the weekend? A mini cherry pie from the Lake Geneva Pie Company where Robyn works. I had trouble getting the kids to settle down for sleep that night. By the time they were quiet, I snuck upstairs in the dark to have a little piece by myself.

Present #2 - homemade birthday cards from Jordyn and Robyn the next morning when I got up. Jordyn spent the night and woke up early to work on her card project.

#3 - We did a live feed phone chat with Peyton and Morgan after breakfast. They were kind enough to sing me a lovely rendition of Happy Birthday all by themselves. I thought the song started to seem more lengthy than usual. That's when I realized it was caught in an endless loop..."Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you (giggle), happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you (giggle)." Emily finally had to cut them off for fear her battery would wear down!

#4 - We swung by WalMart on the way to the fair to get some cash back for spending money. Shannon came out with a 6 pack of Snickers - my favorite!

#5 & 6 - I was going to the fair with the intent of buying a chocolate eclair. They are THE best around. But then I came to the cinnamon roll stand before the eclair booth. You don't count calories on your birthday, right?

#7 - A happy birthday text message from my brother. Didn't see that one coming!

#8 - After dinner, Emily, Jay, Jordyn, Peyton, and Morgan came back over. I didn't really have time to process that as I was trying to get pajamas ready for bedtime. Then I turn around and Robyn is coming upstairs with a cake that she had hidden downstairs. It was also from the Pie Company. You've never had birthday cake until you've had one of John's!

#9 - On Monday I went to work for a little while and Shannon surprised me by having my bird feeder hung. Exactly what I asked for - thanks! He got a neat hook that suspends it from our new deck and has another arm that I can hang my hummingbird feeder on it, as well.

#10 - A birthday card from my mom with some mad money to spend on tile for my kitchen backsplash. I was thinking that would be a very nice addition to the kitchen.

#11 - A birthday card from Shannon's parents with some mad money to put toward some winter boots that don't have a hole in them. And a new canister set for flour, sugar, etc that Shannon almost forget he had hidden in the garage!

What a nice birthday for this mama that's getting a little older. I just thought we were going to the fair. It was nice to have some other little unexpected surprises sprinkled in!

Another haircut for my boy

I love haircut day. I have for years. When I was working, I would bound out the door at the end of the day like it was Christmas in a candy store, all giddy - I'm off to get a haircut! You have to realize that it's probably because I am terrible about scheduling that next appointment. So by the time I get around to it, my hair is beyond manageable. This last time I looked like that sheepdog in the Wile E Coyote cartoon.

But what I have discovered lately is that haircut day is even more fun when Adam gets a haircut! It was getting so shaggy, all one length, hanging below his eye brows. And he had this wing on the side that I couldn't do anything with - it would just stick out. Annoying.

So the family packed up and went to see Jenny. Adam sat still for 90% of the time. Of course what she had to cut last was his neckline and he was tired of sitting by then. This time took longer because she put some layers in rather than just cutting a little length here and there.

Then the kids played with her little dog and went outside with Shannon while I got my cut.

He looked like such a big boy I had to try to get a picture. Do you have any idea how long you have to chase a 17 month old around the house to get a decent shot of a new haircut? Especially when he knows you are chasing him and he is supposed to hold still - all I got were shots of him giggling and looking away! Just when I had given up, I got this keeper the next day in his high chair. So that's the trick - buckle him in!

Sara's goose egg

Adam had his first face plant to the floor resulting in a fat lip so it only seems fitting that Sara would fall and get an injury, as well. It's interesting to me how many things they trip on. I guess it makes sense if you watch them walk and realize they don't really see what is on the floor in front of them. I'm surprised they haven't had more tumbles than this.

Sara was playing in the living room last week and tripped on a toy and took a header into the fireplace hearth. That was a little hard to see happen. It swelled up into a big ol' goose egg on her forehead right away and turned purple. I tried to ice it but she wasn't really interested. A few minutes of snuggling and she was ready to get down and play again. That's my girl! It's been a week and the bruise is at the lovely yellow stage now.