Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009: Bring It On!

Our life in 2008:















2008 was an amazing year. 100% the craziest year ever, and most of the craziness was wonderful. Quite obviously, the best example of this was the birth of Levi and Asher, who have been the most satisfying and rewarding addition to our lives...EVER! And I am so excited to see what 2009 is going to bring!

I suppose this is the point where I list out my New Year's Resolutions. But somewhere (I forget where, forgive me, it's not even 7 am yet) I read a bunch of people who wrote down what they will NOT do, instead of what they will do. Oh, I think it was in Real Simple magazine. Best magazine ever. I really liked what a lot of the people had to say, so as a change of pace, I'm going to list the things I'm not going to do in 2009.

I will not:
  • Take my life so seriously. That means laughing more, smiling more, and focusing on wanting what I have instead of having what I want.
  • Get frustrated so easily, whether it be with Nathan, work, or the boys.
  • Take any time with Levi and Asher for granted. Every moment is a new discovery and joy.
  • Procrastinate. As much.
  • Allow myself to be as effected by the people around me, especially in a way that makes me into a negative person. A majority of the time, I am a very optimistic person but when I'm around negative people on a regular basis, I let that rub off on me. Not cool.
  • Give myself excuses to not get back into a more healthy life style. This year, before getting pregnant, I managed to lose 11.5 lbs in 5 weeks. There's no reason I can't do it again!
  • Forget to show Nathan how much he means to me. It's been a nutso year and that has often been pushed to the background, which is no good.
  • Forget how amazingly blessed I am.

I really can't even begin to list all the millions of ways that we were blessed in 2008. More than any other time in my life, I was reminded of the depth of peoples' generosity and kindness, which shines so brightly when you're in some of your darkest hours. I will never forget the support of our family, the giving spirit of the people at the Ronald McDonald House, the friendship and skill of the nurses and doctors in the St. Luke's NICU, the giving spirit of the people back home whether it be the donation of leave time hours that made it possible for us to pay our bills and not have to declare bankruptcy (yeah, it would have been that serious otherwise) or the constant prayers offered on our behalf.

Part of me is sad to see 2008 go...as hard as it was at times, it was a wonderful year. But our pastor last Sunday talked about something that really hit home with me (when I could ferret out his point from all his rabbit trails). He said, "Do not look back and dwell on what is past. You may remember it with fondness, but it's gone." Basically, if you are constantly reliving the past in your mind, you can't grow, can't move forward, can't become the person you are meant to be. Live in today. Live in the now. And with these two beautiful babies, I don't have a problem with that.

Things to look forward to in 2009:

  • The boys growing and becoming more and more interactive. Every day is a new discovery and a new joy.
  • Our trip to Portland in March to go see WICKED!!!! Courtesy of my MIL who is also providing babysitting services for the night. Yay for date night!
  • My parents getting back from the boat in June after being gone for 5 months, and watching them enjoy all the changes in the boys.
  • Nathan and my 3 year anniversary.
  • The boys turning one year old!
  • Getting a wood fence put up around our yard so the boys can play out there without the fear of creep-o people coming up to our current cyclone fence to talk to them!
  • Expanding our circle of young parent friends...can you say support network?! Ha ha ha.
  • Continuing to work at Dispatch in a job that I love. Who knew that a spur of the moment job application, brought on because I had quit my previous job and needed ANY job offered to me, would turn into a career I'd want to stay with? It just took me a while to realize that.
  • Seeing how our lives are going to evolve as the boys get older.
  • Being able to take the boys up into the mountains this summer, especially since I didn't get to go into the mountains once last summer...you know, that whole being put on bed rest thing.
  • Finding a really great babysitter. Someone we can completely trust to leave the boys with when Nathan and I just need a few hours of non-baby time. Anyone have any suggestions?
  • Losing weight. I WILL get back into the groove of things and I will be happier with who I am.
  • Being ridiculously happy with my life as it is every day.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Money, And All That Jazz

So, you're telling me that my bachelor degree is actually going to benefit me?

Wait...what?

Let's talk about a couple big blessings real quick. Neither Nathan or I were real keen on the idea of putting Levi and Asher into daycare, especially as infants. And seeing as how I make the majority of our family income and provide the benefits like insurance, me staying home with the boys just wasn't an option. Which left Nathan as the reasonable choice for lowering his work hours and being a stay at home dad. And thankfully, his boss was more than willing to work with him on that so now he stays home with the boys while I go to work to bring home the...err...formula.

The unfortunate part of this story is that staying home required Nathan to cut back on his hours, big time. Then again, he definitely wouldn't have been able to work 40 hours each week AND take care of the boys but it was going to put quite the crunch on our bank accounts. That's where the huge blessings and good timing comes in.

A week after coming back to work at the beginning of this month, I received my Step 3 raise for having been employed at dispatch for two years. Around the same time, our association finalized our negotiations and we all received a 4% raise. Which, needless to say, has somewhat lessened the gap between what our two incomes use to be and what they are now.

And then tonight, while I was at work, one of our officers was talking about what it would take to get her intermediate certification. You see, through Oregon's Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), which runs the academy I went to, each certification (police, fire, telecommunications, emergency medical dispatch, corrections, parole & probation, etc) has three levels of certification: basic, intermediate, and advanced. Oh, and there's manager, director, etc, but we're not going to worry about those right now.

This is where my bachelor degree comes in. As our officer was talking, I realized that I may be getting close to being able to apply for my intermediate certification. I looked it up on DPSST's website and sure enough, the combination of my Basic DPSST Academy Training and my bachelor's degree means that I only have to have two years of experience before I can apply to be an intermediate. Remember how I mentioned earlier that this month I got my two year raise? If I didn't have my bachelor's degree, I'd have to have a combination of several more years of experience and training hours turned into college credits. I knew those four years of college were going to come in handy some day!

Needless to say, I have already filled out the application and have faxed a request to Pacific for an official transcript to send off to DPSST. Which will mean another raise in the near future.

See? Major blessings that all equal us being able to keep the boys out of day care and still in formula and diapers!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Makes Me Want To Tiptoe Through the Tulips?

On the day after Christmas, it snowed about a foot or so in 12 hours.

Yesterday...it got up to 42 degrees. It was downright balmy out.

Right now...it is raining and is 36 degrees out.

Needless to say, the snow has mostly melted and it is a slushy mess out there. The scary part is that tonight it's suppose to get back down to the 20's and snow by around 6 pm, which means that this slushy mess is going to freeze and become ice. Yikes. Should make for an interesting work night.

On a non-weather related subject, the boys are just rocking our socks off. Every day they become more and more interactive and are staying awake longer during the day. Except for tonight, they have also been sleeping regularly between around 1 am and 4-5 am. One of their favorite forms of exercise is "tummy to tummy" time. Rather than laying on the floor, they absolutely love to lay tummy to tummy with either Nathan or I while we're sitting on the couch. Once there, they arch their backs to sit straight up, they hold their heads up for minutes at a time, and they push up with their legs to stand (with our help, of course). They're now getting to the point where they can support of of their weight on their legs for about 5 seconds or so before they slowly bend their legs and kneel on our laps. We help keep them balanced by holding them under their armpits, but for my part, I don't help them by supporting their weight.

One of my favorite things that the boys do is when they give me baby kisses. I realize that it's just them looking for something to eat, but when they're hungry and I'm holding them up to my shoulder, a lot of times they will turn their faces towards mine, open their mouths, and start pecking at my cheek. It's too much fun. Oh, and they're also starting to consistently track things with their eyes, such as my hand when I move it in front of them. Their fascination with light continues...they will stare at light for hours.

I know I've talked about how much I love them before, but every day I'm surprised by how much MORE I love them as their interaction grows. They're just becoming so much more fun, rather than simply eating and sleeping like they use to. I can't wait until they really discover each other and start playing together...that's going to be such a blast.

And now, I'm off to upload the TON of photos that are languishing on our point and shoot camera, most of which are of the boys. So go check out the boys' albums! There will be some new ones on their 3rd Month album and a whole new 4th Month album.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

12,000+ Words

You know that old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, since I definitely don't feel like typing that many words myself, I have here a few photos to do the job for me. On Christmas Eve, we left the boys with Grandma Jan and piled into the truck with Kate and Eliot to go cut down a tree on my parent's Pine Creek property.


The four of us with the tree. Eliot brandishing the weapon of choice.



Bandit seeking shelter in the tree on the way back into town.

That night, after attending the Christmas Eve service at the Nazarene church, we all got together at the rental house for an amazing Italian Christmas Eve dinner, which consisted of the Carroll family raviolis with the Cavallo family secret recipe tomato sauce, my mom's specialty cannelloni, and a bunch of other goodies. Yum! After that, we each opened one present (I got flannel pj's from Victoria Secret, soooo comfy) and then Nathan drove me home to collapse . One of my coworkers had come to work sick and managed to give me the cooties, so I was coping with a sore throat, runny nose, and plugged ears. Not cool.
On Christmas Day, we all gathered at our house for breakfast, stockings, and the opening of the gifts that were under our tree since it made absolutely no sense to haul all of those presents over to the rental house that Grandma Jan, Kate, and Eliot were staying in, and then back to our house again. That entire process (breakfast, stockings, presents) lasted from 9 am until around 1 pm.

Grandma Jan with Asher on Christmas morning.


Aunt Kate with Asher on Christmas morning.


Evidently chicks dig Asher. And I have NO idea why all the photos are of Asher and almost none are of Levi. It's not my fault, I'm stealing these photos!

After a short break which included a nap for me, we reconvened at the rental house for the opening of the second batch of presents and Christmas dinner, which all lasted for another 4 hours or so. I'd have to say this was the longest marathon Christmas Day I've ever experienced, but it was a ton of fun.

There weren't many presents that I really wanted this year...hardly any, in fact. It's so hard to think of presents for yourself when you have two babies. I do have to say, though, that the best presents I got were kick butt! One was tickets to see Wicked in Portland in March, along with babysitting services, from Grandma Jan...eeeee! The other, which brought tears to my eyes, was a certificate from my mom for a year's worth of cleaning service every other week. I constantly feel like the only things I do is work, feed babies, and clean the house, so I'm hoping that this will help tame that feeling a little bit. I'm not sure what all this gal does, but even if she only wipes down surfaces and cleans the floor, that's still a big load off of my shoulders!

Asher in the Christmas outfit Grammy Gayle got for the boys. Too adorable!

Levi enjoying a bottle in his Christmas outfit. Finally, a pic of Levi!


Nathan getting Lego's from Kate and Eliot. Gotta love being a little kid at age 28!

Asher checking out the touch alphabet book that Aunt Kate and Uncle Eliot gave the boys.

Pausing my Christmas Eve dinner to give Levi HIS Christmas Eve dinner.

One of my Christmas presents to Nathan was the opportunity to go out and play in the snow with Kate and Eliot on the day after Christmas while I stayed home with the boys. After all, I needed to recoup some more and Nathan needed some time out of the house and away from being a daddy. Not saying he doesn't love his daddy duties, but we all need a break once a while in order to keep being good parents. So Nathan, Kate, and Eliot purchased three sleds and headed up to the Little Alps, which are just below the local ski area and are a popular sledding spot in the area.

The mountains on the way to Anthony Lakes.


Nathan sledding down the hill.

My only regret is that it looks like it was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day and I haven't really gotten to go play in the snow yet this winter (besides the 15 minutes we spent schlepping through the snow to get our tree). It was, however, wonderful to just stay home and relax with my boys and my mom. We watched Mamma Mia, ate Mac & Cheese, and then she watched the boys while I slept so I could stay awake for tonight's graveyard shift.

All in all, Christmas break was a lot of fun, despite being sick and it was wonderful to have my parents, Nathan's parents, his sister and her husband all here to celebrate the boys' first Christmas with us. One thing's for sure, Levi and Asher will never be in want of love. One of the best parts of this Christmas was watching my family and Nathan's family blend together and become one big family. We shared stories, recipes, laughter, and the joy of the season. One thing's for sure, we'll have to do it again some day. Only next time, Kate, the boys will be older and I'll be able to help you with the insane planning and execution of the festivities!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Reason For The Season

Here's wishing all of you an absolutely wonderful Christmas, filled with family, laughter, good food, and love! And that, above all, you remember why we even have this wondrous holiday.

As I sat in the Christmas Eve service at our church last night, holding Asher in my arms as he was staring into my eyes, I perhaps came a little closer to understanding what Mary felt when she first held Jesus in her arms. Would I be able to look into Asher's face and know that someday he was going to die for me? If I knew his future, would I be able to stand it? What a sacrifice. I don't know that I'd be able to stand aside and let him walk that road. Mary was a much stronger woman than I am.

And to think that such a sweet, innocent baby would become our Savior. Sometimes it's hard to connect the baby in the manger to the man who laid his life down for us. But just think...today we celebrate the day that marked the beginning of our road to redemption...the Savior has come! Emmanuel! God is with us!

Thank you Lord, and Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Slow Down!

My boys, my sweet little babies, are 3 months old today. This morning, after I got home from work, I walking into their nursery where they were both sleeping peacefully in their crib and just stared at them. As hard as it was, I didn't pick them up, but I couldn't help but marvel at the fact that only three months ago, these two tiny people were inside of me. Nathan and I made them, they are a part of us, and I nurished and grew them in my own body. If that isn't a miracle, I don't know what is.

And as much as I'm looking forward to the time when they can walk, talk, and play with us, they need to STOP GROWING!!! It's already hard enough to know that the end of my nursing days are at hand, because I don't know if I'll be able to pump when I go back onto day shift starting in January, it's simply too busy all day long. That alone makes me want to cry. There's just something so sweet about that time that I get with the boys, something that bottle feeding doesn't even come close to touching. So please, can't we make time stand still, just for a little while longer? Can't I keep the kissable fingers, the tiny size perfect for snuggling in my arms, the sweet cooing noises, the baby smell? Pretty please?

I don't know what it is, but for some reason this weekend has been the hardest time I've had being away from the boys. All I want is to stay home and hold them, and it's killing me that I can't. Thankfully, after tonight's shift I have the next four days off, which I need, an emotional need that I feel so strongly that it has almost become physical. Only 10 1/2 hours until that time begins, and you'd better believe that I'm counting down.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blink...Blink...Nod

It's almost two in the morning and I've had a total of three hours of sleep in the last 24 hours. Needless to say, the remaining five hours of my shift are stretching before me for what seems like eternity. Yaaaaaaawning. Both me and the hours.

Part of the problem with my sleep schedule was that the boys had an appointment at 12:20 for their monthly Synagis shot, which helps protect them from what to us is the common cold or flu, but to them can be deadly. They got weighed and they both now weigh 7 lbs 10 oz!!!! That's 13 oz in 16 days for Levi and 12 oz for Asher. I'm so proud of them!

There is so much I wanted to tell you about the boys and how they're changing, developing, and growing, but I have to admit that I can't remember most of it. Yaaawn. However, I do remember that they are definitely starting to take more notice of the things around them, such as lights and movement. They've both fallen in love with their bouncers, or more specifically, the toy bars on their bouncers. Asher seems to enjoy the green bouncer that has a teething ring, a rattle, and a stuffed turtle hanging from the bar, especially the green turtle...you should see how he eyes that thing, and he has even started reaching out to bat at it. The way that he glares at it makes me think of Stewie from Family Guy..."So Mr. Turtle, we meet again!" Meanwhile, Levi loves laying in the blue bouncer that has a water thingy on the toy bar that makes bubbles and spins little fish. His eyes get huge and he will just lay there for about an hour without making a sound, absolutely mesmerized.

As for the lights, there are a lot of times when I'm feeding them and I see them staring intently at something over my head. When I look in the direction they are looking, it's almost always at some sort of light; the reflections off of the tinsel garlands above the living room windows are of particular interest. Oooh, shiny!

They continue amazes me with how quickly they're developing; already their cries are taking on a more mature (read: loud) quality, and they're getting so strong! Tonight, before I left for work, I was holding Asher on my tummy and chest while he was wide awake, and he kept pushing himself upright with his hands and holding his head up for about 30 seconds at a time. Granted, his head kept bobbing forward or side to side, making him look vaguely like a Rugrats bobble head doll, but it's so cool to see him getting stronger even if I do spend most of the time laughing at him. Is that bad? Is he someday going to go into therapy as a result of some barely remembered infant memory of his mother laughing at his attempts to excel? Let's hope not.

Oh the other hand, Levi continues to be the more laid back of the twins, preferring to snuggle rather than pushing himself like his brother does. He also seems to be developing the beginnings of separation anxiety, so we're being really careful not to let him cry for too long before we comfort him in some way, at least for now. I'm still not worried about Levi's development though, I mean the boy IS rolling over regularly at only 3 weeks old (adjusted age). And I definitely don't mind the snuggling bit! I think Asher and Levi have taught Nathan and I to really live in and enjoy each moment, if for no other reason than it's too overwhelming to think beyond the immediate present.

What I can't handle is the fact that Christmas is in only 5 days! To those of our family members (grandparents, Aunt Diane) who aren't going to be able to join us for Christmas, your gifts will be en route to you as soon as I received them...evidently the Christmas season has our national postal service on overload. Who knew? It has been snowing here pretty consistently for the past few days and the forecast calls for more of the same through the rest of next week, which you gotta love! Here's the kicker...there has been the best snow coming down for the last couple of days. Small flakes, light, dry, and cold, all spelling the perfect snow for skiing. And I have to work tomorrow...tonight...whatever. So no skiing for us. Ah well, I have a feeling that my body is more in the mood for sleep than for shooshing down the mountain side.

Mmmm, sleep. Yaaawn.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I WIN!

I finally got the blog looking how I want it to look. And check it out, the list of blog links makes a really cool formation...I didn't even try to do that!

Oh, and update:

It's now 1.9 degrees........

.....................

....... -8.3 degrees with windchill.

Awesome!

Ok, I Don't Want To Cry Quite As Badly

Evidently changing the template didn't lose all of my stuff from the side bar, but I AM having to go back and change all of my fonts and colors again. Grr. All I really want to do is learn how to make a really cute header and add better fonts. Is that too much to ask?

Oh, and it's only 5.9 degrees out right now. Crazy.

You've Got To Be Freaking KIDDING ME!

So I got the urge to play with the layout of our blog. And like an IDIOT I followed some directions that said to change the template to Minima. Here's the problem...if you change your template, it gets rid of EVERYTHING you added to the side bar! Pictures, links, everything!!!! That means that I no longer have the web addresses to all of my friends' blogs.

Shoot me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Levi's Photo Shoot

I feel a little handicapped when taking nice photos of the boys because it's been so long since I've used our Nikon D70, which has the option to adjust all the settings manually but I simply don't remember how to do that. Sounds like I need a refresher course from my professional husband, doesn't it? The thing that bums me out is that I got some really cute photos with the D70 in terms of capturing Levi in cute poses, but they turned out yellow. Sad. I busted out the filters in Photoshop, but they still aren't great. When I switched over to the point and shoot, it worked a little better, but the quality wasn't as good.

Anyway, after feeding the boys, Asher absolutely crashed while Levi was wide awake, so I decided to take advantage of the situation and take some better photos than the little spur of the moment snapshots that we've been doing. So here they are.





For some reason, Levi really really liked having his right hand up by his head. Carly, where are you to take super cute photos of my boys, cause I just don't have the same touch you do!

As always, there are a few more photos in the boys' online album.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm BAAAAAAACK

Ok, this whole staying up all night every night thing means that I have a lot of time on my hands to think. And writing on the blog is about as close as I get to an adult conversation while Nathan and the rest of the world is asleep! So bear with me. For those of you bored enough to read my 2-4 posts per night, I'm glad I could help!

I've realized something about myself...I'm slightly addicted to changing my hair. Whether that be a haircut or a change in color, there's just something satisfying about a great change to my hair that just puts a spring in my step. So here's a heads up for some of you...I'm a brunette again! I was a brunette for about five years while in college and after college, and then I went back to blond because some people (mostly my mom and Nathan) told me that they liked me better as a blond.

By the way, on a different by related note, why do I always think that blond should be spelled blonde? It just looks strange to me without the 'e'.

Anyway, the last time I was really happy with the way that my hair looked was when I was a brunette. And I figured that since I traded my getting-slimmer-and-trimmer body for a "just had twins and a c-section" (not a good combo) body, there should be something about myself that I actually like when I look in the mirror. So back to brunette it is! And please, no "hair color du jour" jokes.

Here's a picture of the new locks...I was bored while waiting for the boys to wake up to be fed. Hmm, now there's a phrase you don't hear often from a mom of twin infants.


Dang, that looks like an actor's headshot...with the exception of the bath tiles in the background of course. Ha ha ha!

Oh yeah, I have bangs now too. And they actually don't make me look like a 12 year old. Happy day!

It's A Compulsion, I Swear

We have a very strangely shaped living room. Most living rooms are square, but ours is like a larger square tacked onto a smaller square, so it makes a strange 'L' shape. Except the bottom part of the 'L' is very short. This makes it INCREDIBLY hard to arrange our furniture in such a way that takes the best advantage of the space, and forces me to rearrange our furniture fairly frequently in search of the perfect arrangement. The addition of baby swings, bouncers, and a cradle doesn't make the process any easier.

Tonight, I realized that we weren't using the glider and ottoman that my parents got us as a nursing chair at all, simply because we do all of our feeding out in the living room where there's more space and a tv...feeding gets kind of, well, boring when it takes almost an hour to feed each kiddo. So on a whim I moved the chair and ottoman into the living room, which required me to move the old love seat...which then snowballed into me moving every piece of furniture in the entire room except for the desk. But I have to admit, I really like how it's set up now! Pictures to follow!

The TV in the corner small corner, the fire place, and then the couch.


The couch and the chair/ottoman set, with Levi in his carseat between them...he wouldn't go to sleep any other way!


The other side of the room, the top of the 'L', with the old love seat, tree, desk, and book shelf.

Both of the boys have been doing better with going to sleep in their crib, especially at night. Tonight, Asher went over 7 hours between two feedings and I actually had to wake him up in order to feed him because I was worried that 7 hours was too long at this age. Who knows. Unfortunately, every once in a while one of the boys will refuse to sleep in their crib. Tonight was one of those nights for Levi, where he would sleep for 20 minutes then cry until I would hold him or put a binkie in his mouth, then he'd sleep for another 20 minutes, wake up, etc etc. So I finally broke down and put the little squirt in his carseat and he fell right asleep. Yeesh.

At some point I'll take a picture of how the boys end up positioned in their crib. We always start out with them laying side by side, laying across the short width of the crib, so their feet are pointing towards you when you're standing next to the crib. By the time they wake up for their next feeding, they've almost always squirmed around so they are sleeping at a diagonal across the crib, usually at the same angle. It's pretty entertaining.

And here's another video. Just in case you ever wondered what it's like to have two infants crying at the top of their lungs at you at the same time, here's just a little taste...don't worry, this is while we were getting their bottles ready and I picked them up to comfort them immediately after taking the video so they were only crying for about 30 seconds!

video

And that's not even as bad as it can get...Levi wasn't even truly crying and that's Asher's quiet cry. You should hear his screaming cry, it pierces the ear from across the house. It cracks me up how the boys paw the air when they're hungry or wide awake...it makes me wonder what's going through those little heads of theirs.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

And A Video

Yes yes, I know, three posts in one night. But I just have to share, because keeping this kind of cuteness to yourself is...well...it should be against the law.


video


The boys make this certain noise that just makes me melt every time. I think I'll probably cry when I realized that it's gone and never coming back...which would be why I am doing my best to capture it on video. This is a pretty good example of it, but not the best. It's the two little noises that Asher makes at the very beginning, especially the second one...and no, the dog barking at the end doesn't count.

Latest Photos

Just thought I'd share a few photos from the last couple of days. There's more in the boys' album.

Sacked out in the cradle together, Asher on the left, Levi on the right.


Asher found his thumb all by himself!


Levi holding his first candy cane when we decorated the tree.
No, he didn't get to eat any of it.


Bandit posing...maybe we should have show him as a show dog. Nah.


Levi helping Daddy put on the tree topper. Not sure if he's smiling or crying. I'm going to go with crying.


It was a headless Christmas. First my Precious Moments ornament...


...then the reindeer from Nathan's ornament. Their necks are even RED. Disturbing. Oh, and Santa's missing from inside the house. Hmm.


The boys last ate over 5 hours ago, and I can hear one of them squeaking over the baby monitor like he can't quite decide if he wants to sleep longer or wake up and scream. Thank the Lord for more time between feedings...the whole feed for an hour then have an hour before feeding again thing was really getting old.

Fun Family Outing

Yesterday was such a relaxing, fun day. I don't have to work this weekend, so it was nice to be able to come home from work yesterday morning, hang out in bed with my boys, and not feel pressured to fall asleep right away in order to get enough sleep for work that night. Instead, I stayed up until almost 9 am (I get off work at 7 am) and just enjoyed Nathan, Levi, and Asher's company. Then I got to sleep until 3:30, let Nathan take a nap, and after feeding the boys, we bundled them up for a trip to Barley's for dinner.

You see, we totally understand that this is the time to take the boys out and about, while they are still confined to the carseats and incapable of speech/shrieking. Or running through the restaurant. Or throwing food. Or crying because they're bored on account of their food taking longer than 5 minutes to arrive. Oh yes, we are definitely making sure to enjoy this time. Plus all the gals at Barley's love the chance to see the boys.

After dinner, we thought we'd go check our friend's new place. Mary, who use to work at Barley's and also happens to have twins (a boy and a girl, 6 years old), just opened an art gallery and wine tasting place on the corner of Washington and 1st in the old Pythian Castle. We've really wanted to go see it and support her, but honestly haven't had an evening free to do so until last night. Unfortunately, minors aren't allowed on the premesis after 5 pm, and we would hate to get her in trouble with the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission). So either we'll have to go over there before 5 pm, or wait until we're comfortable leaving the boys with someone besides family for a couple of hours. Is it just me, or is that a big, scary step?

Anyway, as an alternative, we stopped off at the coffee shop to get peppermint hot chocolates and then drove around town looking at Christmas lights. (Gas is so cheap, why not?!) Oh! Did I mention that it snowed pretty much all day yesterday? So all the lights looked absolutely awesome! We even found a house that has those fancy lights that turn on and off in time to music...a little ridiculous, but entertaining none-the-less. Sorry if any of you have those! Since we were already out and about, we figured we might as well stop at dispatch and visit some of my co-workers who haven't seen the boys in a while.

After visiting for a while, the boys started doing their pre-hunger-shriek whimpering, so we headed home, but by the time we got home they were sleeping soundly again and we managed to get an hour nap in before they started crying in ernest! A couple of bottles, some homemade nachos, and a few episodes of The Office later, we managed to get the boys to go down in their crib, Nathan fell asleep...and here I am, wide awake, once again a victim of the "graveyard shift insomnia". But all in all, it was a great day, and I'm totally excited to have another day to just hang out with my family again today. And who knows, maybe we'll even be able to make it to Vespers (our annual Christmas music program that our high school puts on...it's awesome!) on Sunday.

In baby news, the boys are FINALLY starting to sleep more regularly through the night. Nathan actually managed to get a few hours of sleep between feedings while I was at work on Wednesday and Thursday, and it looks like more of the same for tonight! (insert happy dance here) Nathan is getting to know the boys better and better, including the best ways to get them to settle down and go to sleep...which makes me feel like I'm missing out, but also makes me thankful for having such an amazing partner in this. He did say, though, that they regularly scream for an hour or so after I leave for work. And this afternoon, Asher wouldn't be comforted by anyone but me. Maybe it's just because I have the milk, but it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Last night at Barley's, we also discussed the fact that the boys have forced us to really live in the moment, because if we think about the future, even just an hour in the future to their next feeding, it is so completely overwhelming. But if we just live for the current moment...well, I personally have never enjoyed life quite as much as I do right now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

She's Making A List And Checking It Twice

....or three, or four, or ten times. Because she's just THAT OCD.

No kidding, folks. I have a list of all the presents Nathan is receiving and who is getting them for him. I have a list of his stocking stuffers, and checkmarks next to the ones I already have purchased. I have a list of all the gifts I have for each family member, including notations for which ones are gifts and which are stocking stuffers. I have a list of things that I still need to purchase, which gifts still need wrapped, and which need mailed off.

Ridiculous, I know.

Then again, when you have twin infants, organization is a must.

Speaking of twin infants, the boys are just getting cuter every day. I love coming home in the morning and walking into our bedroom to find all three of my boys cuddled up on the bed together. It would be four boys except we don't let the dog up on the bed...and believe me, that's not for a lack of puppy dog eyes or attempting to sneak his way up there. Anyway, back to the boys...have any of you parents experienced coming home from a long day (or night) at work and just not being able to get enough of your baby? I mean, I can't seem to hold them close enough or shower enough kisses on them.

Both of them are getting stronger and stronger, and are holding their heads up a lot when we hold them upright, especially Asher. He seems to be a lot more gung-ho about pushing himself, whether it be holding his head up, doing baby push-ups, or rolling over. Levi's just more laid back about things like that, but I'm sure he'll more than make up for it.

Last week, we finally managed to get our house decorated (after some major cleaning on my part) and then decorated our tree as a family! It was a lot of fun, and the boys were even relatively calm. After enjoying a mug of hot chocolate (with a little peppermint schnapps for flavor, yummm) and filling the tree with lights, ornaments, and candy canes, the four of us curled up in bed to watch A Christmas Story, which I had never seen before. Which evidently makes me un-American. Ah well. Yeah, the movie was good, but the best part was just hanging out with my family.

Let's see, anything else of note? Not really, I guess. Life is going to be full throttle after this weekend, with non-stop work days, appointments, Christmas get-togethers, and/or family visits, so we're going to be heaving a huge sigh of relief once we get to the new year. But hey, almost all of it is going to be fun, right? Except maybe those doctor appointments.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What Is Christmas With No Snow

(I seem to be referencing White Christmas a lot lately.)

Ok, now I don't feel like such a fraud for having snowflakes on the background of our blog.

You see, up until today, I have seriously lacked anything resembling Christmas spirit. Despite it being blasted cold here, it hasn't snowed at all! And having grown up with tons of snow every winter, it's just strange to be into December without having seen any snow on the ground. Until today!

This afternoon, Nathan woke me up at around 2:30 to go get our Christmas tree. We always go up to my parents' property on Pine Creek and cut our own tree, something we've been doing ever since we moved there when I was 5, so we loaded up the boys, the dog, and the camera, and headed towards the mountains. When we got there, we immediately set up the camera and got our family photo, which is something I've been bugging Nathan about ever since we got home from Boise. No, you can't see it yet, it's a surprise...or something like that. After that, we tramped around the woods for a little bit until we found our tree, put the boys back in the car to warm up, and I gathered up some boughs for swags and whatnot while Nathan cut down the tree. Don't worry, the car was only a few feet away.

Right as we were putting the boys in the car, it finally STARTED TO SNOW!!! I was just tickled that it snowed on the day that we got our Christmas tree. We got out from under the snow fall as we started heading back into the valley, but I was still absolutely giddy...enough so that I found the local radio station that is playing non-stop Christmas music (107.9 FM) and stopped at the coffee shop on the way home for peppermint hot cocoa for me and a vanilla latte for Nathan. Mmmm. So now we have a tree sitting in our garage and I'm hoping that I can get the house cleaned tomorrow while Nathan's at work for the afternoon so that I can decorate the house and we can put up the tree sooner than later.

Oh, and remember how I said that it wasn't snowing the valley? Well, I opened the front door to go to work this evening and was greeted by a blanket of snow over everything, with flakes still coming down fast! Who knows, Kate, you might actually get to make that snowman after all! Now it's time to make myself some tea and curl up in my work chair to watch some Extreme Makeover: Home Edition between phone calls.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What Time Is It?

I've decided that having a baby makes all sense of time become completely relative. Have to wake up at 4 am for your "baby watch shift"? That's ok, you got 5 or 6 hours of sleep before that. Not getting to go to sleep until around 5 am? Oh well, you get to sleep until mid afternoon. There really is no such thing as a routine bed time or wake-up time anymore. It does, however, make it incredibly difficult to get things done around the house, though.

Not only that, but it doesn't feel like I've gotten to just hang out with my husband in ages...ok, I take that back...since our date night just before Thanksgiving. Either one of us is awake taking care of the boys while the other one get some sleep, or I'm at work. I know it will get better though, it's only a matter of time. That time just feels kind of far off, especially when the boys are in the habit of having at least one of them awake all night long. I swear they plan it; "Ok Levi, you take the first shift and stay awake until the next feeding, and then you can sleep while I stay awake and cry." Ah, the joys of twins. But things like this make it so worth it:


Levi giving me a big smile.


Or this:

Asher blissfully sleep on the couch.


Yesterday was a doozie of a day, let me tell you. We left Baker by 7 am in order to get to Boise for the boys' eye appointment at 10:15...which it turns out was actually suppose to take place TODAY. My heart absolutely sank when the receptionist started looking highly confused and said, "Umm, I don't think you have an appointment today." I literally almost started crying. So we went back to the car, proceeded to spend the next hour feeding the boys, grabbed lunch for ourselves at Red Robin, made a quick stop at Babies R Us for a couple of necessities that you simply can't find in Baker, and then headed to Fruitland (right on the Oregon/Idaho border between Boise and Baker) for Nathan's dermatologist appointment, where (we hope) he can find out what he really is or is not allergic to.

For those of you not in the know, every couple of years or so Nathan gets a very severe reaction to...something, which causes hives, itching, and pretty severe swelling of his face. Which he then has to go on a round of steriods for. Not fun.

Anyway, we get to the dermatologist's office at 2:30 and I elect to stay in the car with the boys so I can get a little bit more shut eye (I've been awake since 1 am, by the way). Fourty-five minutes later, Nathan calls me to tell me that he's still in the waiting room but he should be going in soon. Yikes! By the time he gets out of his appointment half an hour later, I'm in the middle of nursing Asher and Levi has begun his pre-hunger-screaming cries. You see, the boys have two different stages of hunger crying; first is the minor crying, where they let out a couple of cries, fall back asleep, and then wake up ten minutes later to do it all again. After approximately half an hour of this (an hour if you're lucky), they will suddenly wake up fully and start screaming their heads off.

So we spent another hour and a half sitting the car in the doctor's parking lot, feeding the boys, drove a couple of blocks to the lab where Nathan got six vials worth of blood taken for tests, stopped off at WalMart for smaller and cheaper bibs than you can find at Babies R Us (the boys have begun spitting up with a vengence, especially Levi), and then finally headed back to Baker. Thirteen hours after we had left for the day, we finally got home.

Oh, did I mention that we have to go back to Caldwell on Monday for the boys' rescheduled eye appointment, plus Nathan has to go back to Fruitland on the 15th, 18th, and 23rd for various allergy testing appointments? But hey, that means we will get all of these appointments done before the end of the year, meaning that we won't have to pay anything for them because we've already met our deductable and out-of-pocket limit through our insurance for the year...imagine that! Ha ha ha.

Thank the Lord for good benefits!

Now if you'll excuse me, one of the boys is starting to do the first stage of hungry crying so I'd better start getting a bottle or two ready.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pop Quiz

It's around midnight, your twin boys are sitting in their swings, screaming their heads off to be fed ("Like, ten minutes ago lady!!!), and your partner in all things baby is sawing logs in your cozy warm bed. What do you do?

The answer?


Hey, a mom of twins has gotta do what a mom of twins has gotta do. I usually try to feed them one at a time for that individual bonding time while the other makes do with a binkie for a few minutes. But when neither will be placated by said binkie for more than about 30 seconds, drastic measures are in order.

Many thanks to Asher for holding Levi's bottle for me while I took this photo.

Let's just say...the day that they learn to hold their own bottle will be a glorious day!

And yet, how much do I love them at this size? So torn.

Now if only we could figure out how to get them to sleep during the night and stay awake all day instead of the vice versa, which is their M.O. right now. I go back to work tomorrow... tonight?...Monday at 7 pm, and poor Nathan is going to have to take care of them all night, as well as during part of the day while I'm sleeping in preparation for going back to work again that night. So it would be great if the boys would consistently sleep between feedings so Nathan could catch a few winks as well.

Here's a photo of the boys that I caught on my cell phone. Our Mac desktop has the ability to sync with our cell phones via blue tooth, which rocks, so I copied the photos from my cell onto our computer. It amazed me how different the boys look in this photo.


Thanksgiving was actually relatively uneventful. My parents and grandparents (on my dad's side) were here and had rented a house about six blocks from our place for the week. It was wonderful, because it meant that our house could be our sanctuary of sorts, a place where we could just get away and have some peace and quiet. Which becomes quite the commodity when you have twins, let me tell you.

Speaking of which, Asher is STILL awake, kind of. He was in his swing and would make me think he had fallen asleep but then would cry. And then fake sleep again. And then cry. So out of the swing and the awesome swaddle wrap that Hannah got for the boys, and into the moby wrap with him!

Speaking of the awesome swaddle wrap, you gotta see this thing. It uses Velcro to hold it all together...a baby straight jacket, if you will. An infant mummy. It's great and actually keeps those pesky little arms under control and from undoing the entire swaddle. Which keeps baby happy. Most of the time. Unless said baby is only happy when he's being held. (sigh) Only 3 1/2 hours until I get to sleep. Anyway, here's a photo of Asher in his straight jacket...ahem...swaddle.



And despite being in the moby wrap, snuggled up against Mommy, Asher is still...



...wide awake.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ok, Seriously?!

Is this honestly what society has come to? This, ladies and gentlemen, is why you stay in your house with the doors barred on the day after Thanksgiving. One of our friends, Aaron, posted the link to this story on his blog and I just couldn't believe it. Nothing in those stores is worth the insanity, let alone a person's life. Sad. Black Friday, indeed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep

(10 points to the person who can name the movie that comes from. An additional 5 points for the name of the actor who sings it.)

It's hard to believe this adventure started 8 months and 3 days ago that we found out that we would be adding to the family. And that only 36 days later, we were staring at an ultrasound screen and trying to wrap our minds around the idea of raising not just one baby, but two. Since then, we've been through a home remodel, almost two months worth of bed rest, hundreds of appointments (ok, maybe not hundreds, but it sure felt like it!), hundreds of miles driven by Nathan (yes, hundreds this time), my first ride in an ambulance as an actual patient, an emergency flight to Boise, the delivery of our two beautiful sons, a month and a half of living in Boise while our boys were being cared for in the NICU, and then the joy of finally bringing them home.

I don't think I've ever had a year in which my many blessings have been so apparent. I am sitting here thinking about the infinite number of things I have to be thankful for, as Levi finishes his bottle (triumph!) and Asher lets me know that it's now his turn (it never ends) and I find it fitting that today, Thanksgiving, is our sons' due date. They are now full-term babies. I wish I could express exactly what that means to me, but I simply can't; some emotions are completely beyond my ability to put into words, leaving me wishing I had my friend Crystal's eloquence. But I don't, so I will do my best to remember a few of the amazing things God has given us this year.

I am thankful for...

The doctors who knew their craft well enough to keep Levi and Asher inside of me for another seven weeks, giving them a stronger and healthier start. Without them, the boys may have arrived before 24 weeks and, as it took me a while to realize, probably wouldn't have survived. And if they had survived, it would have been with incredibly severe complications. After all, I was having contractions at 22 weeks.

For the nurses, both in the maternity ward and the NICU, who cared so diligently for my family. I was already a strong believer that a good nurse is worth her weight in gold and this experience only proved that further. I will never forget the nurses in the NICU who went beyond simply doing their job and gave both the boys and Nathan and I the support and encouragement we so desperately needed, even when it was something as simple as noticing two baby hats made to look like candy corn and bringing them to the boys' room because they "just had to have them." Without that little extra effort on their parts, our time in the hospital would have been infinitely more difficult.

For the Ronald McDonald house. I don't know if everyone realizes it, but without the Ronald House to stay in, we would have been broke. Beyond broke. We would have been either staying in a hotel in Boise, or we would have been driving between Baker and Boise several times a week. And the second option would have killed us, because it would have meant being away from the boys a lot of the time. So if you ever go through the McDonald's drive-thru and they ask if you'd like to donate a dollar to the Ronald McDonald house, please say yes. They make it possible for families to stay together during some of the hardest times of their lives.

For our house. Its ours and we love it. Yes, there are some things that need fixed, some faulty wiring that makes us shudder and the roof needs a couple of shingles repaired. But it's home, and so much more than just a roof over our heads. And can I just tell you how much I love how it looks after the remodel? Which leads me to...

Marla. Without her, none of this would be possible. We wouldn't have the house, so we would be in a rental, still shelling out hundreds of dollars each month for something we don't own. Or we would be paying a huge mortgage towards a house we really couldn't afford. And everything trickles down from there; the cars, our ability to afford to have kids, the chance to fix up the house like we wanted to, Nathan being able to have a job that uses his talents, and the list goes on. But gosh I miss her. I would give all of that (except the boys) back if it meant she could be here. I would give just about anything to be able to see her hold the boys just once. Did you know that she was a twin? She would have loved that we have twins. I'm sure she is keeping an eye on us, but it's just not the same, you know? I love you Mar.

For the phenomenal support and generosity we've receiving from the people around us. Enough donated leave time hours to allow me to take four months off of work while still getting paid. The home-cooked meals delivered to our door by the Women's Ministry at our church. The clothes, toys, diapers, wipes, etc, that have been given as gifts. The prayers lifted up for us and the boys. Again, the list goes on and on, and I just know I've missed a ton of things but I do need to get a shower eventually, before the boys decide they want to eat again!

Speaking of...I'm thankful for the power of prayer. We were on the prayer list for three churches that I know of, and possibly more. And I have no doubt in my mind that those prayers were heard, answered, and took shape in the form of Levi and Asher having absolutely no complications despite being born almost 10 weeks (two and a half months) early, as well as in our ability to cope with all that has happened in the past 8 months without going insane. Because we sure as heck couldn't have done that on our own.

For our family and close friends (who might as well be family), who have given us unending mental, emotional, and physical support. Love. Prayer. Emails and phone calls of encouragement. Outfitting the boys with cribs, strollers, car seats, clothes, diapers, formula, etc. Being amazing grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, great-aunts and uncles. Being willing to jump in and help with the care of the boys when Nathan and I are just about to drop. We love you guys and couldn't ask for better.

For learning to do many things with only one hand...and even some with no hands. The large can of formula we've gone through in two weeks because it means the boys are getting bigger and stronger. The insane amount of diapers and wipes we use up because it means their bodies are functioning the way they're suppose to. For spit up, laundry, bottles to wash, poopy diapers, bath time, date nights when family is in town to watch the boys, our dog who is trying to figure out what in the world happened to his life, and sleep when we can get it. For Nathan's job that allows him to work from home and Lindy's job that is still waiting for her even after being gone for four months. For great insurance. For our health and the ability to make ends meet.

For Nathan, who is a better Daddy to my sons than I ever could have hoped or asked for. Every day, as my husband, he is teaching me to be a better person and a better parent, not to mention how to laugh at myself more, and I can't imagine having another person by my side through this adventure called life. He's my live-in chef, carpenter, comedian, mechanic, handy-man, fount of random facts, photographer, and supporter. We're learning this whole parenting thing together and I am so thankful that it is only bringing us closer rather than putting a strain on things. I try to tell him as often as possible just how amazing of a dad he is, but I don't know if he understands just how much he, in his fatherhood, takes my breath away. It helps me appreciate him even more as my husband and partner in crime. I love you, babe, you're incredible. Thank you for being...you.

And finally, for Levi and Asher. I knew becoming a parent would be amazing, but what I didn't know is that it would change my very soul. Who knew that I could be in the midst of two infants screaming to be fed at 3 in the morning, and still be able to love them beyond words or imagination, not to mention keep my sanity? I'm so thankful for the times when they fall asleep on my shoulder with their mouths wide open, even when it's in the middle of a bottle I'm trying to get them to finish, to be able to hold them, touch them, kiss them...I just can't get enough. I'm thankful for every little grunt, groan, snort, cry, twitch, and stretch that means they are developing and growing. While I am absolutely enamored with how tiny and delicious they are now, the idea of watching them grow into toddlers, little boys, teenagers, and men is just so exciting...I just hope it doesn't happen too fast. The day when they stop cuddling with me is going to come too soon as it is. I never knew I could actually ache to hold them, even with them laying right next to me. They're perfect and I only hope that I can be as good of a parent to them as they deserve.

Today is Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean that this is the only day we should be giving thanks. I try, every day, to remember how much I have to be thankful for. Because we have been blessed so much, in ways we never could have imagined. So...thank You.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sometimes 1 am Isn't So Bad

Tonight I went to bed at around 8 pm and then Nathan woke me up at 1 am to watch the boys so he could sleep before going to work this morning. As I was getting out of bed, all I could think about was how much I wasn't looking forward to the next seven hours before my mom gets here to give me a couple more hours of sleep. But then I walked into the boys' room, where I was greeted by bright eyed, happy babies. They were both laying in their crib, wide awake, waving their arms and making little grunting noises. Talk about stealing your heart. I just had to video it, sorry about the horrible lighting but we only have a lamp on across the (admittedly very small) room. Be sure to have your sound on so you can hear the adorable noises they're making!


video


After just standing by their crib for a while and watching the antics, I realized that now would be a great time for tummy time, since they were both so amazingly awake and active. So I laid one of the quilts that my mom and I made on the living room floor, put the boys down, and let them go at it. Almost as soon as I rolled Asher onto his tummy, he decided he liked his back better and so did something about it.


video


And just in case you think it was a fluke, just a few minutes later...


video


Sometimes you just have to get ticked off to work up the energy to roll over! I love Levi's face in this video, like he was cheering Asher on right along with me. Now Asher is fast asleep on the quilt on the floor (rolling over is exhausting stuff, man!) while Levi is still wide awake in the moby wrap. Both of the boys were making the most adorable noises; just before I picked him up, Levi was sounding very much like a cat meowing. Pretty entertaining if you ask me. So maybe getting woken up at 1 am wasn't so bad, if it meant that I got to hang out with these boys while they were being this incredible.

Aside from being more and more active while they're awake, the boys are also starting to go longer between feedings, sometimes up to about five hours! We were finding that if we fed them as soon as they woke up and starting fussing a little bit the first time, they were only finishing about an ounce of their bottle, when they should be eating around three ounces each time. We finally realized that if we just let them fuss for a little bit (usually only lasted about a minute) they'd go back to sleep for another hour or two, and then when they woke up they'd eat the full bottle. Yay! Thank Heaven for more than just half an hour of down time between feedings!

PS. I created another album for the boys' 3rd month.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gotta Love It



I absolutely love this photo of Nathan's dad, Ger, with the boys. His face just says it all. This is the first time he ever held the boys, let alone both of them at the same time, and it so cool to see how excited he is. It just gives me warm fuzzies inside to see it!