Who am I?

I was reading this blog post tonight about being lonely during your mothering years, and recognized myself in every word. It fell right in line with some other thoughts I’d been pondering lately. (I always intend to blog more, and turn many things over in my mind, but rarely get time to sit down and type the posts. It’s like I carry around all these unpublished posts in my head as drafts.)

Anyway, the blog post is titled, “Are you lonely, mama?” My answer is yes. I AM lonely sometimes. My very best friends live far away and are in different stages of their lives. My few GC friends are great, but we are all always so busy. My husband works all.the.time. Most days I go to work (not now, YAY summer!) and then it’s just my boys and I. Diapers and high chairs, laundry and dishes, Bubble Guppies and reading books, reminding them that “hands are not for hitting” and enjoying their hugs and kisses; that is what my life consists of. Yes, sometimes I am lonely. Even if I am in the presence of other adult women, I nearly always have my children, which means they have the majority of my attention at that time.

I was able to go spend a day and half with some good friends a few weeks ago. I desperately missed my boys, as I always do when we’re apart, but I also really enjoyed having some time to myself. When I got home, my husband remarked that I seemed happy. I told him it was just that I finally got a good night’s sleep (that hotel room bed I had all to myself was soft!), because at the time I couldn’t really put my finger on what else it might be.

It was a few days later when I realized what it really was: it was the hours I spent just being me with my friends that rejuvenated me. They reminded me that I have worth and value as an individual, which is something I very rarely feel. I am a wife, a mom, a teacher, a coach; I’m always so busy playing my roles that I realized I no longer know who I am without them. Please do not misunderstand me, I do not want to live a life where I am not those things. It just suddenly struck me that people used to (some still do🙂 ) like to be around me because of who I am as a person. Something about me as an individual made Doug love me enough to marry me. I must have some redeeming qualities beyond being a teacher, a mother, a coach, etc. I mean, these friends of mine seemed to want to spend time with me, too…but what were those qualities?

All of this came to my mind when I decided not to do a gift exchange in one of my online mom groups. (In this particular group, we do a few exchanges throughout the year. Most of them are based on our children. For example, we do a summer outfit exchange. It’s a chance to buy clothes for somebody else’s kids, and get a fun surprise outfit for your own.) The exchange I chose not to sign up for was one for the moms. You simply listed ideas of things you liked on the document so that when somebody got your name, they knew what types of things to get you. I wanted to sign up; I love things like that! I even clicked to edit the document. I typed my name, and then stared at the screen. What do I like? I wondered. It occurred to me that I didn’t know. I like to read, but couldn’t say one particular genre. That was literally the only thing I could come up with that wasn’t related to my children or my job. How can I not know what I like? I thought. This doesn’t make any sense. I have to like something. 

It was then that I realized I don’t really know who I am anymore, all by myself. I AM my roles, and that is all.  I don’t have time to like things just because they make me happy. The closest I get to that is watching Harry Potter or Sherlock as I fall asleep, if my husband isn’t watching something else. I have a favorite color, and favorite food, but that wasn’t really enough to put on the signup for the exchange. (Especially given that my favorite food is the humble potato. What was my exchange buddy supposed to do? Ship me a 5lb bag of potatoes in a teal colored box?)

After much contemplation, I came to the conclusion that I must still possess some of the qualities which made people want to be friends with me. I had to think hard about the roles I keep mentioning. I decided that I consider myself a good teacher because I am kind, a good coach because I am firm but motivating, a good wife and mother because I’m willing to put others’ needs before mine. These are all things that were true of me before I played my current roles. I also concluded that, like this being a season of loneliness for many mothers, it is a season with a lack of time for oneself and individual activities. I will remember what I like, someday.

The deepest revelation all this thinking brought about for me was that we are all playing our roles, all the time. From birth, we are a daughter, sister, friend, athlete, scholar, musician, etc. Our roles define us as human beings, and mine defined me even before this season of my life. So many of our personality characteristics and our likes and dislikes are shaped by our roles. I have not lost myself! I rejoiced. My roles have simply changed. 

So my current roles cause me to feel lonely, sometimes. They don’t leave enough free time in my day to know what types of things I like. They’re still the most fulfilling roles I’ve ever had, especially the role of mother.

I’m thankful for this busy, lonely season, because I’m thankful for my children.

“What’s it like?”

People ask me all the time what it is like to have twins, or try to compare it to having children 12-13m apart in age, or say, “I can’t even imagine what it must be like!” etc.

I’ll try to sum it up as briefly as possible and in a way that is easy to imagine, for our current stage. Please just imagine this at any other age (like the infant stage, for example), because having twins is NOT the same as having children close in age.
I can guarantee you there are some things about having twins that are much easier than having kids close in age, but there are also things that are much more difficult. Every stage your child is in, is doubled. There is no kiddo who can hold his own cup/self feed some solids while you nurse the baby. There is nobody who can sit up in a exersaucer or what have you while you hold the baby. They’re both babies who need every need met at the same time. When they’re older – there is no child who understands “no” or that sprinting away in a parking lot isn’t safe, or who can walk beside you in the store while the baby rides in the cart/you wear him. There are TWO children who don’t understand these things.

Want to know the easiest way to see what it feels like to have twins? Do anything child related twice in a row/twice as many times:
Did you just hold your writhing, screaming toddler down long enough to change his diaper? Repeat.
Did you just pull somebody down off the kitchen table or very tippy top of the back of the couch? Repeat x4 at least, because while you were pulling the second one off, the first one started climbing again.
Did you just manage to restrain your bucking toddler in his carseat? Repeat.
Did you just clean up the food somebody threw on the floor/at your face/put in his hair? Repeat.
Did you just finish wiping down the highchair tray after a meal? Repeat.
Is somebody screaming at you for milk/water/food/to be held/because they want that? Double the screaming.
Did you just get done washing/conditioning/combing through your toddler’s hair while they cry? Repeat.
Did your naked baby just run away and try to pee somewhere? Go find and clean two puddles, because they went opposite directions.
Did you just make a purchase for your child? Perhaps a new pair of shoes? Or an expensive item, like a carseat? Buy another.

More importantly:

Did your smart little one just say a new word? Repeat. Smile with pride and excitement.
Did your sweet little one just give you a hug? Repeat. Allow heart to burst with joy.
Did your child just master a new skill/meet a new milestone (crawling/walking/running/throwing/etc.)? Repeat. Get excited. Then cry a bit at how quickly they’re growing up.
Are you cuddling one sleepy little guy? Move him over and add another. Your lap is full, but not as full as your heart.
Did your kiddo scream “Mommy!” and sprint to you when you walked in the room/into daycare/home etc? Repeat. Feel just as much joy at your reunion as your littles do, and smile.
Is your little one dancing and smiling and clapping? Double it. Join in the fun – smiles for everybody!
Did you just watch the excitement and amazement cross your child’s face when they saw something new? Keep watching, there are two little faces filled with joy right now!

Because, you see, the hardest thing and the best thing about having twins are the same thing: every experience is doubled. 

 

Singleton after twins – pregnancy up to 21 weeks

Many people ask me if it’s different carrying a singleton than it was with twins. 

Um, YES! 

Truly, and I know not all singleton pregnancies are easy, but compared to my twin pregnancy, my singleton pregnancy thus far has been a piece of cake. (please don’t let me have just jinxed myself!)

“Morning Sickness”
I was horribly sick (vomiting “morning sickness” that was really all day every day) with B&C for the first 5ish months. At one point, I was kept overnight with an IV of fluids because I hadn’t even kept water down for over 48 hrs. I literally threw up every.single.thing I ate. This time, I had about 2.5-3 weeks where I was sick at least once a day, sometimes twice. After that it went down to a few times a week. Now, I’ve maybe been sick once in the past two weeks. 

Exhaustion
I’m tired, of course, because being pregnant does that to you. Your body is taking lots of energy to grow that little one. I’m not nearly as tired as I was when pregnant with the twins, though I think much of that may also be that I’m not as sick so my body actually has some fuel to run on. 

Size
Honestly, my stomach looks about the same as it did with the boys at this point. I “popped” far earlier, too. The best way I’ve had that explained to me is this: “Your uterus is like a balloon. The first time you blow up a balloon, it is hard to do. It takes a lot more effort and expands much more slowly. The second time, it’s much easier.” Also, I was relatively thin before I had the boys. This time, I have a lovely extra layer of fat and skin on top of my bump, which adds to its size😉

How it Feels
A million times more comfortable!🙂 I was actually just reminiscing on being about this far along with the boys. When some family asked how I was feeling and I told them I was starting to feel uncomfortable, they laughed at me. In retrospect, I really was starting to feel uncomfortable! From 16ish weeks on, my belly just felt so TIGHT and FULL all the time. This time, I actually got a little nervous because I didn’t seem to feel the baby as much, even though I knew logically that made sense. My OB said, “Well, of course! Last time you felt double the movement and each kid had half the space to move in.” I figure this little one must just be swimming laps in there🙂

The Great (internal) VBAC Debate

Before I can really talk about my struggle to decide whether or not to push for a VBAC, I have to back up and talk about Brendan and Cason’s birth, and why I ended up with a cesarean section in the first place.

I ended up having a c-section with Brendan and Cason, despite my best efforts and over 50 hours of labor. Both boys were head down, but I never dilated past a six. There were many things that upset me and that I regret about my labor and delivery, but I am so thankful that the end result was two healthy babies.

With B & C, I went to the hospital shortly after my water broke, even though I had intended to stay home for awhile first. This was because 1) my husband was pretty jumpy and wanted to head straight there and 2) when my water broke it was tinged pink with blood. That can be normal, but it also can be a sign of other problems, so when I called my doctor he said I should go ahead and come in.

My labor was going fine and I was making slow progress. The nurses kept insisting I start pitocin because I wasn’t dilating very quickly, but I kept telling them no.  They said that hospital policy meant that if I wasn’t ready to push/almost there in 24 hours, I’d be given a c-section because of risk of infection. I DID NOT want to have a c-section, so I finally caved and agreed to the pitocin. I still wasn’t making much progress, so they kept turning it up. Finally, they had it on full-blast and that made my contractions much, much worse. (Many things I’ve read said that pitocin contractions feel worse/different because they are unnatural. I believe that, but really have no idea because I never got to go deep into labor with natural contractions.) I asked them to turn it off, but nobody would. Because of that, I finally agreed to an epidural.

Up to that point, I had refused an epidural because of everything I had read about being restricted to the bed slowing down labor (gravity can’t help as much). I requested a “walking epidural” which is a smaller amount of the drug so that you can still walk/move but the pain isn’t as strong. I was told that wasn’t an option at our hospital, so I agreed to the standard epidural.

After that, labor was much easier, because I wasn’t in pain, but I also wasn’t making progress any faster. In fact, I was progressing even more slowly. Roughly 36 hours or so in (I’m ball parking that; I don’t remember exactly), I begged them to turn off my epidural and let me move around. I just knew that if I could change positions I would make more progress. Finally, one nurse, my favorite nurse there (who also happens to be married to my 3rd cousin,) said she would talk to the doctors for me. She came back and told me they had agreed to turn it off, but wanted the pitocin to remain on. I agreed, but only made it about 4 hours without the epidural. The first couple of hours were great, because the numbness had not worn all the way off yet, but I could change positions. I made another little bit of progress then. After the numbness wore completely off, I could not relax because the pitocin was still on as high as it could go, and I quit progressing. I got back on the epidural.

This entire time, the boys’ heartrates were being monitored, because I had been in labor for quite awhile and they wanted to make sure things were fine with both of them. (This is what upsets me the most. Obviously I had been allowed to labor longer than 24 hours without a cesarean section. I wish that the nurses had known my doctor would allow me to do that, because then they wouldn’t have pushed me onto the pitocin, and consequently the epidural, which, I believe, pretty much stopped my progress.) My doctor was going to let me continue to labor, but it had been 50 hours and I was just then at a six. If the boys’ heartrates had dropped, I would have been rushed in for an emergency c-section. At that point, I felt selfish continuing to labor, because it was like I was waiting for something to go wrong and then who knows what the lasting effects would have been on one or both of the boys. I was also concerned about the length of time I had all of those drugs in my body, the pitocin and the epidural. I finally requested a c-section, and my doctor said he thought that was probably the best choice at that point.

Brendan and Cason were born at 8:56 and 8:57 pm on December 18, 2012. They were both doing great and needed no NICU time, which is wonderful for twins. I absolutely hated my recovery, though I’m not sure how much of that was due to caring for two newborns. I have nothing else to compare it to.

Sooo, all of that to get to my current state of indecision.

It is standard policy at my hospital to do a repeat c-section, because of the risk of uterine rupture. No, they cannot force me to have a c-section, but they can make it difficult not to. I was told that they will keep the team needed to do an emergency c-section at the hospital the entire time I’m in labor, which costs $300+ per hour. While I am glad they would  be there if necessary (in the rare case of a uterine rupture, the baby suffers extreme brain damage or death if not out within 15-18 minutes), I’m not sure insurance will cover that cost. I could drive to another town with a different hospital, but out here that means that hospital would be smaller and less likely to be able to handle an emergency.

Here’s the thing: the chance of your uterus rupturing while attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is roughly .5% to 1%, provided you have none of the factors that increase your risk. Less than a percent.
Those are some good odds. If it were just my health at stake, I would say, “Yep! VBAC no doubt. Here we go!”
But it’s not just my health. In fact, a uterine rupture could cause major health issues for me, too, but the real risk is for the baby. If I’m in that half a percent, it’s going to feel like 100% if my baby dies, or has horrible, irreversible brain damage. I can only imagine the crushing guilt if either of those things occurs.

When I look at it that way, even considering attempting a VBAC feels selfish. With a c-section, the biggest risks are for me, not the baby; the major surgery is done on me, the recovery is my issue, the baby is fine. If you are a mom, you know that you would do literally anything you can to protect your child.

Please know that this isn’t something I’m considering lightly. I’ve researched and read everything I can find, from blog posts to medical studies. The worst case scenario, the level-headed view from a practicing midwife, and a compilation of multiple medical studies, plus my doctor’s personal stories/experience and many other articles have all been taken into consideration.

The facts and statistics I’ll quote are from the last link above (the compilation of multiple medical studies, which also cites all of the original studies), in case you are interested in their origin.

You see, the risk of uterine rupture is increased by several factors, none of which apply to me.

  • I have had a single previous caesarean section, not multiple ones.
  • My caesarean section was a low transverse one (most common in the US today), meaning that my scar is of the type least likely to rupture.
  • If I (and I will) go into labor on my own, with no induction and have no augmentation of labor (aka pitocin), I would have a .44% chance of uterine rupture.
  • Some studies have shown that a VBAC attempt occurring less than 24 months after the cesarean can increase the risk of rupture. Further investigation shows, though, that “an interdelivery interval shorter than 18 months but not between 18-24 months should be considered as a risk factor for uterine rupture.” This birth will occur approximately 22 months after my cesarean, so should not increase my risk of uterine rupture.
  • My youth is on my side. “The rate of uterine rupture in women older than 30 years (1.4%) versus younger women (0.5%) differed significantly,” and I will be 24 when this baby is born.
  • This is a singleton pregnancy. Multiples can increase the risk of rupture, but I just have one baby in there this time.

There are other things that can increase the risk that I will take into consideration at the end of the pregnancy. For example, a baby larger than 8.8 pounds can increase the risk of rupture. Also, if, in an ultrasound performed within the last week before delivery, the uterine wall measures less than 2mm, the risk of uterine rupture is significantly increased. If either of these things holds true for me, I will likely opt for the repeat c-section.

That means, as things stand now, my personal risk is around .5%. I have about a 1/2 percent chance that my uterus will rupture and I will need an emergency c-section to save my child. That means I have a 99.5% chance of getting to deliver him/her naturally, which is something I desperately want. I want that experience, I want the chance for my body to do what it was created to do as opposed to another major abdominal surgery, I want the recovery time of a vaginal birth so that I can more easily care for my boys and the new baby, I want the minimal risks that come with vaginal birth as opposed to the multiple risks that come with a c-section, and I want the opportunity to have any future children (should we decide to do so) naturally. Of course, there is always the chance that, even without pitocin and an epidural, my body won’t dilate, and I will end up with a c-section again anyway.

I am also concerned about not going in to the hospital immediately upon going into labor. My original plan for trying to have a VBAC was to stay home as long as possible, until I felt I was getting close to delivery. Upon learning that the best indicator that the uterus has ruptured is a drop in fetal heartrate, and that many women don’t otherwise know it has occurred, and knowing the very short window of time in which the baby would need to be surgically removed to be alive, I’m no longer sure of this part. Uterine rupture can occur at any time during labor, and I would never be able to forgive myself if I was home laboring because of what I want and my baby died.

I think part of the reason I am so paranoid is because of my miscarriages. Yes, they were early, but the fear of something going wrong with your pregnancy never leaves you after something goes wrong once. A half of a percent looks small on paper, but if it happens to me, that’s it. Who cares what the odds were; I’ve either maimed or killed my child because of my selfish wants.

On the flip side, the risks to the mother are higher with a c-section. They are performed so often today that most people consider them routine and not a big deal, but things can and do happen. What if I opt for the repeat c-section and something terrible happens to me, and I leave my husband a widower with three young children?

There is no easy answer here, and what I plan to do still changes from moment to moment. Ask me tomorrow, and I may tell you something different, but, right this minute, I intend to go into spontaneous labor and try for a VBAC. I’ll be reading up on techniques to help with dilation (again. I did before Brendan and Cason, but who knows what else I might find) and I hope that if I remain somewhat active until the end of the pregnancy, as opposed to being on bedrest like with the twins, that my body will be in better condition to deliver naturally.

It probably goes without saying, but I am praying about this, of course, and will continue to do so. Your prayers for a healthy pregnancy and safe VBAC are greatly appreciated!

Asked and Answered: the questions people keep asking about baby number 3

I keep getting the same questions (pretty common, I’m sure) about baby number 3, so I thought I’d answer some of them here🙂

Was this baby planned?
Well, aren’t you just a nosy nelly! Yes and no. We decided not to try, but not to try to prevent. Later that same month I told Doug I thought maybe I’d rather wait a few more months, but it was too late. Obviously this is a great time to have a kid, or God wouldn’t have set it up for us this way. :) 

Are you sure it’s just one?
Yes. We’ve been to the doctor and seen our single, precious little one. One baby, one heartbeat.

Do you want it to be a girl/were you trying for a girl?
Well, considering there is literally no way to control which gender your baby will be during conception, no we weren’t “trying for a girl.” We just want a healthy baby. Would it be fun to have a daughter? Yes. Would it be fun to have another little boy? Yes. Either way we will be thrilled to have another little one join our family!

Are you done now (after this one)?
We don’t know yet. We will probably not try to have any more biological children, but who knows. We believe in re-evaluating this decision periodically. We do want our children to be pretty close in age, hence the decision to have a third now. Especially if we don’t have any more, we didn’t want our third to feel disconnected from Brendan and Cason, who will always have a special bond with each other. 

I said biological because I have always wanted to adopt a child. Neither Doug or I will ever make a large salary in our chosen fields, so we probably cannot have an extremely large family. If we adopt a child some day, that would give us four children. 
Of course all of this could change at any time, depending on our life situation etc. 

Will I continue working after the baby comes?
I will have to. Yes, after the cost of daycare my salary won’t be much, but the benefits of my job (like our insurance) we could not otherwise afford. I will, of course, take a maternity leave. 

Are you sure you’re ready?
Ha! No, but I don’t think we ever would be. We’ll have three under two for a few months, and then three under three for a year, true. I think it will be a wild ride, but fun! We are so very excited for this baby to get here in October!

 

Christmas

I keep calling this the boys’ first Christmas. It’s not; this was their first Christmas:

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All I really remember, though, is nursing them, wearing this ankle length, fluffy, pink robe, barely being able to walk because my legs were still so swollen from my labor & c-section experience, and trying to stay awake long enough to open some gifts with my family during a brief nap we got the boys to take (they were being held). Oh, and taking a family picture in which I looked so disgusting, but was SO HAPPY to have a little family of my own. 

All of that to tell you that this year has been so much fun! The boys are old enough they enjoyed seeing some Christmas lights, they had fun with their felt Christmas tree (thanks for the inspiration, Pinterest!)

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they wore these super cute outfits to Christmas Eve Mass

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and Christmas morning was fun, too! They loved their new presents. 

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First look at their presentsImage

Opening some presents and, of course, trying to eat the paperImage

Sitting in their new chairs with their new “laptops” 

Now we’re in TX visiting Doug’s family and they’re having fun here, too!

I’m sure next Christmas will be even more exciting, because they’ll “get it” more. 

 

 

One Year > One Month [a humorous look back at the first year of life with twins]

Dear new Mothers of Multiples (twins, specifically), 

It gets so much easier, I promise! One year is so much better than one month, or two months, or really almost any month before it!

It is hard, of course, in different ways. Twin Toddler Tornados can destroy just about anything, including your patience, some days.
Chasing them away from things they can’t have is a never-ending battle.
The screaming, the fighting over toys, the hair-pulling, the pushing down, the sitting/standing/walking on each other – these things happen, it is true. They’re the same age and don’t understand when you tell them to “be nice” or “give your brother a turn.”
Feeding times are frequently fiascos. They eat much more now, but they throw just as much on the floor. You think they’re through eating or that they don’t like that food, but the second you get one out of his high chair and turn to get his brother, the one now on the floor starts eating all the food he just threw there. It is now magically delicious.
Baths are always a fun time; you could about shampoo your own hair as wet as you get! Then there is the after bath diapering rush. You MUST get both babies’ butts oiled up and diapered before one or both of them pees somewhere – just hope it’s not somewhere with carpet (or on their books…hypothetically, of course, as this has never happened to me…). As you’re diapering one, his brother will either be A) destroying something, B) pulling on his penis, C) pulling on the penis of the baby you’re trying to diaper, D) ripping the hair out of the back of your head, E) (if you choose to put him up on the changing table) slamming the drawers open and closed into your shins, or F) at least two of the above. 
All diaper changes are actually just like the previously described scenario with the single exception of no pee on the books, er, floor. 
They come running right when you try to open the oven; they open every cupboard and unload every.single.thing that isn’t locked up; they climb on every possible surface, including their brother; they throw remarkably well, but don’t understand that they shouldn’t throw hard plastic things; they unroll toilet paper; they’re obsessed with the trash; they don’t want to take naps so they just play together instead; the list goes on. 

In fact, sometimes they even get me to reminisce fondly about the days when they couldn’t roll over, let alone run – the days when all it took was a swaddle and full belly to get them to take a nap. 
That lasts about fifteen seconds, because then I remember:

For the first (almost) month, I nursed them both literally around the clock. They took 15 to 20 minute breaks, and not always at the same time. I can’t even count the number of times my mom or my husband fed me because both of my hands were occupied. The only time I left the recliner in their room was to use the bathroom, and they screamed the whole time. I probably only showered three times that whole month, but I’m not really sure. It’s all very hazy and I think I may have been drowning. Or dying. A few times I really thought I might die. I rocked and nursed and bled (oh, nobody told you that you bleed enough that you could save a few hundred dying people if you donated an amount equal to that you throw away? nobody told me there’d be that much either – heads up, there is). 
Then, low and behold, I found out that because of the way my breasts are constructed (eek, TMI) and the way the boys’ mouths were constructed, all they could manage to do was get a “slow leak,” to quote the lactation consultant. That’s why they nursed all the time. I pumped, gave them a bottle, and they slept for two hours. TWO HOURS. My life was changed!

For the next month and half-ish, I was a pumping, bottle-feeding, bottle-washing fool, but life was easier. My children slept for two to three hours at a time – this was just enough time to put them down, use the bathroom, pump, eat, and clean something/rest for 20-30 minutes before they woke again. At night we practiced “one up-both up” which allowed me to only get up a few times a night. The only reason they woke at night back then was to eat. Alas, caring for twinfants and trying to fit in the minimum eight pumping sessions a day didn’t always work out. Plus, as they grew, they required more than my meager supply. Even though my pee reeked of maple syrup (thanks, Fenugreek), I couldn’t produce enough for my boys, so we supplemented with formula. 
Then I had to go back to work – my plan times were not at all conducive to a pumping schedule, so I weaned myself off the pump and we switched to all formula. I felt guilty, I agonized, I worried about the cost of the formula, but, in the end, it was so much better for our family. I’m thankful that we live in a modern society where formula is an option. (Check out this blog post if you’re totally against formula feeding, or if you’re for it, or if you just want to laugh). Formula feeding allowed me to sleep slightly more often. 

Months 3-5ish got easier almost daily. Both babies could hold their heads up well, could roll over, were happy to play on the floor sometimes, etc. 
Months 6 & 7 were so easy. They couldn’t yet crawl, but they could sit up. That meant that when I needed to go add to their bottles, for example, I could sit them both down on the floor quickly and come right back. That might not sound like a big deal, but it was monumental to me. No longer did I have to find a soft surface (our living room floor is laminate) to put both babies down on to go refill one bottle, come back and put one baby back in the rock’n’play and prop his bottle, and get re-situated with the other baby. Nope – just pop them both on the floor, go fill the bottle, and come back! There was even a brief period of time in there where I could leave the one in the rock’n’play without fear he’d somehow fall out on his head! 

Since then things have just gotten easier and easier. They could crawl, then walk, now almost run toward you when you want them to. Taking them both somewhere? No problem! Stand one up in the van while you buckle the other, then take him around to his side. They can both sit up in restaurant high chairs and eat most of what you eat (thanks, baby led weaning!). They both sit up in the bath in their little chairs (those help contain them, though they don’t always work…). They can hold their own sippy cups. They entertain themselves for 20-30 minutes sometimes, playing with their toys and books. They are SO MUCH FUN! They laugh and give hugs and kisses, clap their hands, wave, and screech in excitement. Again, this list could go on for days, but, to sum it up, LIFE IS SO MUCH EASIER!

I wouldn’t trade a minute of my time with my boys, but I am truly thankful they’re now one year olds, not one month olds. Image

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{Birthday Party}

Brendan and Cason turned one (what?! HOW are they already that old?!) on December 18th, but we had their party the Saturday before that. (and I’m just now blogging about it? yeah, yeah, I know…)

The theme was Winter ONEderland, and the (minimal) decor was “wintery.” We also served chili and potato soup + a hot chocolate bar and their cupcakes (made by my awesome mom!) to go with the winter theme. I made a gazillion…er, 60ish…snowflake shaped sugar cookies and decorated them. Then I bagged them in sets of two and attached card-stock that read, “No Two Are Alike” and gave them out as favors.

The room we were in at the YMCA echoes quite a lot, and it was loud, and there were lots of people. Cason was fine with it all, but Brendan cried a lot and spent most of the party with me. They got SO MANY things – to be completely honest, it’s a bit overwhelming. All told, it was a fun day and I just loved celebrating my babies being one!

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*Adorable, awesome personalized shirts made by http://www.etsy.com/shop/mrsmeshugga – thank you!

Full Hands, Full Heart, Full Life

It’s been ages since I blogged! Every day is busy – full of love and laughter and just LIFE.

The boys can walk now – Cason walks everywhere and Brendan takes 6 or 7 steps before falling down. They’ve got their two bottom and two top teeth (well, Brendan almost has both top ones). Unloading cupboards, playing with their toys, reading books, closing doors – these two are always busy! They laugh all the time, and are good at different things already. Cason can throw a ball remarkably well for an almost-one-year-old boy, and Brendan mimics sounds really well. Sometimes he’ll repeat “Hi!” or “Moo” or “Neigh” or “Quack quack” (we talk a lot about what animals say). Brendan gives great kisses and Cason makes a hilarious “I’m being silly” face where he sticks his neck forward and grins. They love to read books, listen to music and watch Baby Signing Time and Bubble Guppies.

I spend any time not with the boys teaching or coaching – my days are very full and I love it:

I wipe noses and bottoms; take toy pigs out of baking pans; read books to my biological children and my school-children; spray out and wash diapers; teach back-tuck pyramids; fold clothes; cook and bake; try to impress upon my students the importance of being kind, respectful, and hardworking; mix bottles; choreograph competition routines; trip over toys; play catch; drag two little people away from toilets; re-fill drawers and cabinets that have been unloaded; do my best to encourage 64 students, 16 cheerleaders, and 2 precious little boys to be the best people they can be; compose blog posts in my head that I never have time to sit down and type; kiss boo-boos; convince parents I’m not out to get their child, just trying to make him work to his potential; I smile at my darling husband as he washes the dishes; I laugh; I pray; I eat way too much; I give hugs and kisses; I enjoy every.single.day.

I am so blessed and so thankful for this life!

Here are some pictures we took over Thanksgiving break at Mom and Dad’s. What fun it was to spend time all together! ImageImage

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