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!

Not A Creature Was Stirring...

Is it too early for Christmas stuff? I'm trying very very hard to not get into the "Christmas spirit" until December gets here, but it's becoming harder and harder. The Scentsy plug-in 'candle' that my friend Beth gave me as a shower gift doesn't help either. The scent is Cinnamon Cider and it smells exactly like hot cider, which just happens to be one of my favorite winter drinks. Now all we need is snow. And yet. . .I was wearing flip flops and a t-shirt around town today. Let's get with the program, Mother Nature.

It's very quiet in the Labunski household right now. Levi is asleep in his car seat after coming home from Grammy and Grandpa's, while Asher is sound asleep in my moby wrap. Nathan is in bed asleep, and Bandit is in his crate...you guessed it, asleep. I am the only one in this house awake. There's no tv going, no music, just the sound of my baby breathing as he's cuddled against my chest and the clicking of the keyboard. Lovely. Enjoy it while it lasts, right?

Today I accomplished something that I've been aching to do for months now. . .I got us completely unpacked from our months away from home and got the house cleaned. And when I say cleaned, I mean deep cleaned. The only thing left to do is vacuum the carpets and put away a little more laundry. I even swiffer mopped the floors. And let me just say that the only reason I was able to get this all done is because my mom came over to watch the boys all day. She even did laundry and re-organized our pantry, which is something I've been meaning to do for about a year now. My hero! I love how homey a clean house looks and how good it smells! A combo of the swiffer cleaning solution and the Scentsy cidery goodness. Not an obvious choice, but somehow very satisfying.

After slaving away on the house all day, Nathan and I dropped the boys off at the house that my parents are renting to spend an evening with Grammy and Grandpa while we had a date night. First we had dinner at Barley's, where we sat at the bar (our favorite place to sit as we get to catch up with our friends who work there) and were two of the whopping six people there. It was a nice change of pace from the packed and noisy Barley's on a Friday or Saturday night, when you can barely hear yourself think, let alone hear the person next to you. Then we came back to the house, busted open some red wine and white fudge covered Oreos, and watched Get Smart for the second time. Hilarious movie, I recommend it.

The odd thing about date night? I had a great time just being with Nathan, chatting and laughing, snuggling on the couch, without having to worry about whether the boys were waking up to be fed. And yet I really really missed having the boys around. The house just seemed empty without them, like something was missing. And when we picked them up, all I wanted to do was cuddle them in my arms. I guess that's what being a Mommy is all about; enjoying the adult time and yet missing the kiddos like crazy at the same time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

And Now We Know

Just real quick, now that Asher is sleeping again, I thought I'd post a couple of fun photos. Everyone who knows my dad looks at Asher and says, "Wow, he looks like his Grandpa." I definitely see it too. But I was having the hardest time looking at Levi and seeing who he looked like until Nathan's mom showed me a picture of Nathan shortly after he was born, laying in the cradle that Nathan's dad made (which the boys are now using). As a comparison, I have a photo of Levi laying the exact same way in the exact same cradle. Nathan's on the left and Levi's on the right. The only difference I can see is that Levi has my nose.












There are also a bunch of new photos on the boys' 2nd month album, so check them out!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Forcing Myself To Slow Down

Holy moly, life has been a little crazy since the last time I posted. Let's see if I can remember the highlights.

  • As of the boys' last appointment on Friday, Levi weighs 6 lbs 2 oz and Asher weighs 6 lbs 3 oz. They are continuing to grow like weeks, gaining about one ounce per day, averaging around half a pound each week.
  • As a result of the weight gain, they are looking like real babies to me. Adorable babies. Tug-on-the-heart-strings adorable. Can't kiss and hug them enough adorable.
  • Asher managed to roll over from his back to his tummy while he was laying in their pack n play. And this afternoon, while my parents were watching the boys so Nathan and I could get some sleep, Mom put Levi down on the floor to do tummy time and he rolled over from his tummy to his back again! Something tells me we're going to have to baby proof the house sooner than we thought.
  • On Tuesday morning my high school friend, Arly, delivered her adorable baby boy named Nathan (no, not named after my Nathan, ha ha ha). Congrats Arly and Sam!
  • On Saturday morning, my young life co-leaders Autumn and Aaron had their baby daughter Trinity! Big hugs to you guys and can't wait to meet her!
  • Yesterday was the baby shower that my mom threw for me, which was a lot of fun. The boys were a hit and it was a great mix of ladies to have there. They even suffered through the "guess the baby food by taste" game we made them do, ha ha ha!
  • Today the boys were dedicated at church. It was so cool. Mom and Dad were there with us, and Pastor Lenny had some great things to say. For those who don't know, a dedication is when you public declare that you will raise your child (or children in our case) in a Christian home, to know the love of God. This is in the place of doing an infant baptism, which I personally don't agree with because I think that baptism is a very personal decision that the boys will hopefully make when they can understand the symbolism behind baptism.
  • The boys are starting to stay awake longer and longer around one or two feedings a day. They're still eating every two and a half hours most of the time, although there are times when they go for about four hours, which is wonderful! Now if only they'd sleep more at night. Nathan and I have started splitting the night in half, one of us staying awake with the boys while the other one sleeps. That way at least we each get uninterrupted sleep instead of both of us laying in bed listening to the monitor.
  • My house is a disaster. It's terrifying. Just about the time I had almost everything unpacked from Portland and Boise, we go to Portland for a few days again. Yeesh. And can I just tell you how impossible it is to get caught up when you have twins? Thankfully, my mom is coming over tomorrow to watch the boys so I can get the house in order.
  • Twins require a LOT of laundry. I do laundry every two days or so. Sometimes every day. Oh, and a lot of washing bottles.
  • Haagen-Dazs Peppermint Bark ice cream is to die for! Just sayin'.
I seriously can't express how much I love these boys. Even at 3 am when they're both crying as loudly as possible (and believe me, these kiddos have some lungs!), I look at them and my heart just melts. Especially when they're awake and happy, when I can just sit there and stare into their eyes. I want them to stay this precious size over, when I can easily hold them in my arms, their legs still curled up under them and their tiny bottoms stuck out...maybe that's just a mommy thing but I think it's just the cutest thing ever.

Ok, Asher is crying like mad, gotta go! At least I got a post written!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wowza!

It's definitely been a weekend. And then some. About the middle of last week, Nathan and I decided that it would be possible for us to head to Portland on Friday in order to go to Johnny and Laura's wedding. Johnny has been Nathan's best friend since Johnny was 4 and Nathan was 6. Since meeting both Johnny and Laura, they have become like family to us and the idea of missing their wedding was heart-wrenching. So on Friday we got up early, left the house by 6:30 am, headed to Boise for the boys' 10:00 (Boise time) eye appointment, made it back to Baker in time for my 1:00 follow up appointment with my OB, and were on the road to Portland by 3:oo. After stopping off at Johnny's apartment briefly to introduce him to the boys, we finally made it to Nathan's mom's house by around 10 pm. Needless to say, it was a long day. Thankfully, Jan offered to stay up practically the entire night with the boys, giving Nathan and I the chance to get some much-needed sleep.

As for the twins, they are master travelers; besides when they let us know they were hungry, we hardly heard a peep out of them. And just let me say that Nathan and I have become masters of changing and feeding on the fly. No, not while we're actually driving, but we did make two stops on the way there, one outside of Hermiston and one in Troutdale, where we managed to change both of the boys on my lap and feed them both with minimal opening and closing of doors (it was a bit chilly outside). I will never again underestimate the benefits of a well-stocked diaper bag and I love the fact that the dashboard of our Durango can double as a family-sized dining table, perfect for preparing bottles!

The rest of the weekend was a blur of activities and visits. Johnny and Laura wedding on Saturday was a beautiful Catholic affair spanning an hour and a half, with a very lively reception afterwards. Jan did Grandma duty for us so we didn't have to worry about the boys bawling their heads off in the middle of the wedding, although I did pick the boys up and bring them to the reception for a few minutes to meet Laura and John's parents; unfortunately, they couldn't stay for very long because the DJ was playing the music so incredibly loud. Also on that day, the boys got to meet their great grandparents (Jan's parents) for the first time and see their Grandpa Ger again. After the wedding, Nathan went to bed while Kate and I sat up with the boys and watched Ghost Hunters on hulu.com...pretty good show by the way...and just chatted.

On Sunday the boys' met another set of great grandparents (my dad's parents) and then had a maiden voyage in their stroller when Ger, Nathan and I took them to Costco to get gas ($2.03/gallon!!!), a few zillion baby wipes (ok, 1408 to be exact), and six cans of formula. We managed to squeeze in a quick dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory before the boys started whining for food, which we thought was pretty great timing on their parts...talk about being troopers!

We were suppose to head home early Monday morning, but it was a long night with the boys. I was up with them until 6:30 am when I finally handed off baby watch duty to Nathan. He told me he'd wake me up in a couple of hourse, and then promptly fell asleep on the couch with one of the boys on his chest. Adorable, but I didn't wake up until 11:30. And let me tell you, getting yourself, your husband, and twins all packed up is not a quick process! Add in a couple of feedings, feeding myself and Nathan, and Nathan getting two hours of work done for the newspaper and we didn't leave Jan's until about 4:00 pm. So much for leaving around 7 am! As we were stuck in traffic on Sunset Highway, surrounded by pea soup fog, we remembered that a normally 5 hour drive has now been translated into a 6-7 hour drive thanks to having two infants along for the ride. Figure in the nasty traffic between Hillsboro and Troutdale, and we were looking at not getting home until around midnight. No dice. We called up Nathan's dad and ended up spending the night at his place.

Which actually turned out to be a ton of fun. Some family friends came over to meet the boys, who graced us with a four hour period of being awake and not fussy. Oh, and we had a major event! While enjoying some tummy time, Levi rolled over, from his tummy to his back!!! Usually this doesn't happen until around 3 months...keep in mind that the boys are still 8 days away from their due date and you don't start looking for milestones to happen in preemies until after their due date has arrived. That's called their "adjusted age", which technically means that the boys are -8 days old. I think we can safely say that our boys are over-achievers! We, of course, made a huge deal over this and watched with bated breath for him to do it again but evidently he tuckered himself out during the first go-around.

Anyway, we finally got on the road to come home at around 9:30 am on Tuesday and got home at about 3:30, having only stopped once outside of Hermiston to feed and change the boys. It seems like they have started staying awake more during the day and sleeping more at night...except for tonight, simply because they slept so much in their carseats yesterday. Guh. Today we have another doctor's appointment and I'm hoping to hear that they've both reached 6 lbs. On Thursday they'll be 39 weeks, with only one week left until they're "full term".

In other news, I got a call from my boss yesterday letting me know that I am almost out of leave time hours. I was really hoping that I'd have enough to stay home until just after Christmas, but evidently that isn't the case. So I will be heading back to work on December 1st and (thankfully) starting out on graveyard shift. This way I'll be able to get my toes wet again before diving head first into day shift after having been gone for 4 months straight (shudder). I'm hoping that the gal who has been covering for me will still be willing to cover Christmas Eve; I have Christmas Day off, and it would be great to have both days off since it's the boys' first Christmas and we have about 10 family members coming into Baker from around the state to spend the holiday with us and the boys. As bummed out as I am that I don't get another month to just stay home and hang out with Levi and Asher, I am excited to go back to work.

And now I have a boy crying for me to feed him. Night!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why Pay The Big Bucks?

When you can make the same thing yourself for a fraction of the price?

We have a small problem in that our boys won't be able to fit into their baby carriers until they are 8 lbs. Which will probably be another 5 weeks awake or so. The solution? My mother in law saw a woman in the grocery store who was carrying her baby in a pretty fancy looking wrap. When she asked the woman what it was, the lady said it was a Moby Wrap (see below). After looking it up, I was pretty impressed...until I saw the price. Anywhere from $40 for the base model to $70 for the fanciest one!!! I don't think so! But the more I looked at the pictures, the more I realized that it was just a really long piece of fabric. That's it. One long piece of fabric.

The Moby Wrap

I looked up "make your own moby wrap" online and sure enough, the directions said to buy 5 yards worth of fabric, cut it in half length-wise, and use. Hemming optional. Seeing as how I was on bedrest, my mom went out and got the fabric for me. Tonight I remembered that I had it so I cut off the salvage, cut it in half, and I now have Levi cozily curled up in it, snuggled up against my chest. And boy oh boy is he a happy camper! You can even carry both twins at the same time in this thing, at least for a little bit! I haven't tried out that particular trick yet, but I'm sure I will soon!

Here's to refusing to pay retail price!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dr's Appointment

The boys had another appointment with their doctor today. This week, Levi is 5 lbs 8 oz and Asher is 5 lbs 6.5 oz, which means they've both gained about 6 oz in 6 days. Sweet! We've started using newborn size diapers now, because the preemie ones just don't fit as well anymore. Atta kids! They're suppose to remain on their 22 calorie formula for another two weeks, until they reach their due date, which will also be about the same time that the poor little guys get circumcised. Ouch. Good thing they won't remember any of it!

They also continue to sleep hard all day and stay awake all night. Last night was our first night by ourselves, because my mom went back home yesterday. It didn't go too badly...I was up with them until about 3:30 when Nathan woke up, stayed awake until about 4:00 to help Nathan feed them, and then went to bed until 8:00 while Nathan stayed up with them. We're both averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night and have become really good at taking naps during the day. I do have to say that we're each getting better at taking care of them both at night without needing to wake the other person up to help...unless, of course, they are both screaming their heads off. But that doesn't happen too often.

Oh, and miracle of miracles, we managed to get out of the house on time for the boys' appointment this morning. Granted, the appointment was at 11:20 and I woke up at 8:00 to start getting myself and the boys ready. But still, we got out of the house on time! Also under the "minor miracles" category is the fact that I managed to get our kitchen, dining room, and most of our living room cleaned today! Our house has been a disaster zone ever since we started remodeling, which wasn't helped by the fact that I lived in Portland for a month and a half, brought all my stuff home but was unable to unpack because I was still on bedrest, and then we were gone for another month and a half. That makes for a lot of stuff to unpack.

On the vehicle front, our Durango is now 100% complete and ready to rock and roll. Part of the deal we made with the dealership was that they would remove the oh-so-classy barbed wire decal stripe, install my fancy stereo with iPod hook-up that I got for my birthday, and change out the transmission and brake fluid. We had to take it back to the dealership twice to get that all done, but they finally finished it yesterday. And then today Nathan took it to Les Schwabb to get the studded tires and wheels for it. The longer we have the Durango, the more we love it. It's a pretty sweet rig and fits us perfectly! As for the truck, it is going into Lew Schwabb tomorrow to get the breaks checked out...there has been a consistant squeaking noise coming from the front driver's side break that is gradually getting worse. Probably not a good thing.

Ok, this post has officially taken well over two and a half hours to complete, so I'm going to call it good. Night!

Oh, but first....cuteness!

Levi


Asher


Levi on the left, Asher on the right.

Ok, seriously, no offense to anyone else or their children, but we literally have the most adorable babies ever.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We Have Poop!

So remember how Asher hadn't pooped in about 6 days and it was really wearing on our parental nerves? Well, let's just say that isn't a problem anymore! Day before yesterday he had one little poop, which made us happy but I knew that couldn't be everything that the little guy had stored in there. Sure enough, last night Nathan was holding Asher when he felt some wetness on Asher's side. When he turned him over, there was a huge brown spot on his outfit.

When Nathan opened up Asher's clothes, there was poop EVERYWHERE! Up his side, up his back, and all the way down his leg to his toes. Not even kidding. The poor guy's diaper was full, and then some. But hey, he had to have felt better! Needless to say, Asher got a bath after I thoroughly wiped him down with baby wipes and Nathan rinsed off his outfit in the bathtub. And yet, for all that, I never thought I'd be so happy to see poop.

In other news, my mom went back home today after staying with us for almost a week. Man oh man was she a God-send; cooking, doing dishes, doing laundry, helping with some unpacking, helping feed and change the boys, etc etc etc. I can only imagine how much the poor woman is looking forward to a night of sleep unbroken by newborns crying. So now we're home alone, just the four of us (five if you count Bandit) for the first time ever. No nurses, no Grammy, just us. So far it hasn't been too painful, but we also haven't gone through a night without help yet. Should be interesting!

Tonight is Homebrew Club, the beer homebrewing club that Nathan and I are members of. This will be the first time I've been there in months so I'm really excited about going. Evidently the guys are getting together at one house for the actual homebrew meeting, while all the gals are getting together at another house for "girl's night". Me thinks I should pack a bottle of wine!

Sorry I haven't uploaded more recent pictures, having twins leaves just enough room between feedings to maybe do a little bit of house work to keep up with the daily wear and tear on the house and that's about it. But I promise I'll do it as soon as possible!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Some Things I've Learned Tonight

  • The boys love to sleep in their carseats. Say what you will about it, when you have two babies crying at the top of their lungs despite being full, you do whatever it takes to get them happy and asleep.
  • You can't use Playtex VentAir nipples on other bottles because VentAir nipples don't let air in around the nipple and other bottles don't let air in from the bottom of the bottle like VentAir bottles do. Making it very difficult for the kiddos to get milk out of the bottle.
  • Playtex DropIns rock. Period. All you have to wash afterwards is the nipple and the ring that attaches the nipple to the bottle. Which is a big deal at 4 am.
  • The boys almost require sucking on their binkie in order to fall into a deep sleep at night. Which is why the carseats rock...it's so much easier to keep their binkies in using their carseat buntings than it is to use their swaddle blankets when they are on their backs in the crib.
  • It's a VERY good thing I'm a night owl.
  • Breastfeeding is for bonding, bottle feeding is to make sure your kiddo is getting enough darn milk. And each of those things provide their own sort of mental/emotional comfort to the parent. Neither is wrong, just different ways of accomplishing the same goal.
  • There's only so long you can run on adrenalin before you just plain hit the wall. Nathan hit that wall at about 2:30 this morning after being up for 23 hours straight.
  • Carseat buntings are the bestest. Even when it's super cold outside, you don't have to bundle your baby into a ton of clothes to keep them warn in their carseat. If you are going to have a baby in winter, get one! Btw, I didn't really learn this tonight, but I thought I'd add it to the list anyway. This is the one we have, and we love it. It's the JJ Cole Bundle Me and we found it at Babies R Us (imagine that).

  • Despite having two babies crying at me at the same time in the middle of the night, I'm still able to keep a relatively cool head and just get things done...even if that means waking poor Nathan out of a deep sleep to hold a bottle for a few minutes while I feed the other one.
  • Having the boys on the same feeding schedule is great, because it means that we don't have at least one baby eating at all times. But at the same time, it makes things interesting when feeding time does roll around, because you have TWO hungry mouths demanding to be fed simultaneously...as in, 10 minutes ago lady!
  • Now that the boys are fed and asleep in their car seats, I can go to sleep!

Ooph.

It's 3 am. I've been up for an hour because both of the boys have run Nathan ragged in the 4 hours since I went to bed. We've been doing shifts because the boys have decided that it's a ton of fun to sleep really hard all day (pause to insert binkie into Levi's mouth) and then stay awake ALL night. They will fall asleep if you are holding them, but the moment you lay them down, they wake up and start crying again. Yeesh. And there's TWO of them! I'm sorry to all of my friends out there who have or are having one baby, but if you think one is hard, you should try TWO!

I'm trying out a new theory though...the boys really don't mind going for car rides and usually sleep the entire time. So I'm assuming that means that they don't mind their carseats. And I've heard that some babies will only sleep at night in their carseats. So as I'm typing this, the boys are lounging in their seats, binkies in mouth, and not crying even though I'm not holding them. For now. Sweet. They may not be asleep, but I'm not having to constantly juggle holding them in order to keep them from screeching. I just have to reach over and help them put a binkie back in their mouths every once in a while. Ohhh....shh, I think Levi is falling asleep.

The only major frustration (besides the sleepless nights) is that Asher hasn't had a poop since we left the NICU. The doctor told us that's pretty normal in babies receiving supplemental formula, and he can't be too stopped up because he's farting like crazy (sorry Asher, please don't hate me) but it's stressful!!! I've even tried the rectal thermometer, with no luck. Levi, on the other hand, is a pooping machine! But if Asher still hasn't pooped by Monday, we're suppose to take him in to the doctor. Side note, I think the car seat theory is working! Now I can finally take a potty break!

Ok, potty break completed without any screaming from the munchkins. High five to me.

The other major development is our vehicle issue. And it was a pretty big issue. When Nathan and his dad picked up the boys' carseats, Nathan tested one out in the back seat of the car first, to make sure that it fit. Not sure exactly what all this entailed, but he insisted that they would fit just fine and allow him enough room to drive. Fast forward to the day that we are taking the boys home. I'm putting the carseats into the car and realizing that I need to move the front seats up A TON in order for them to fit right. As in, the driver's seat has to be a click forward of where it's comfortable for me...and I'm short! Essentially, there was no way Nathan was going to be driving with the boys in the car, and even on the passenger side, his knees were up against the dash. Evidently they designed carseats with the idea that people have ONE baby that they can put in the center of the back seat!

We were able to fit the seats in the back of the truck, behind the passenger seat and in the center. But that still pushed the passenger seat up so far that my nose was about a foot and a half away from the dash. Not safe! (Btw, both of the boys are fast asleep!) It was at that point that we realized that we needed a bigger rig! For those of you not up on your redneck lingo, a "rig" is a vehicle that is larger than an SUV but unable to fit into the truck category. After some research, we came to the conclusion that a Dodge Durango was about the only thing in our price range that had a big enough back seat for the boys. Not to mention some ridiculously awesome cargo space!

We did test drive a Town & Country mini van, despite all of my protests that I would never be a mini van mom. It was great, space wise, and it handled really well but the fact that almost every single mini van is only two wheel drive was a deal-breaker. I really did give it some serious thought, as I've heard that most parents of twins end up in mini vans. If we still lived on the west side of the state, sure, it would have worked great. But not in a place where we regularly have several feet of snow on the ground each winter (not to mention the slightly hair-raising drive up to the ski resort) and where we regularly venture up into the mountains in the summer and fall.

We then found a 2005 Durango with 50,000 miles for sale here in Baker. And even better, the dealership was willing to buy our Forester, give us the Durango in exchange, (pause to insert Levi's binkie, Asher is fast asleep without his) AND give us money on top of that because the Forester was worth more than the Durango. Now the boys fit perfectly behind the passenger seat and in the center, there's enough room for someone to sit with them in the backseat behind the driver, and it still feels roomy. Oh, did I mention that it's red? I was honestly really upset about the idea of having to get rid of our Subaru because I've never NOT had a Subaru, but we both love the Durango...I never thought such a large rig would handle so smoothly. I think it's perfect for what we need. Here's a few pictures of it:






Mmm, pretty red. You can't really see it in the picture, but it has this ridiculous barbed wire decal stripe around it. Thankfully the dealership said they can take that off at the same time they replace some of the fluids and switch out the radio for us. So it has to go back to the dealership on Monday, sad day. And we have to use some of the money we got for the Forester to buy studded tires and rims for it. But all in all, I think we got a good deal and we're going to be a lot happier and more comfortable now. I just hope this is the last vehicle we have to purchase for a few years! At least we went down in price, right?

Oh, have I mentioned that the boys are still asleep?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

There Really Is No Place Like Home!

This is going to be a relatively short post because it has been a super long day. Last night the boys got weighed at around 1 am and had both gained about 50 grams! So we basically knew that we were going to be heading home today. At that point, we handed the boys over to the nurse so we could get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep...the better for not driving off the road, you know. The alarm went off at 7 am and we were off!

After getting showers and packing up our things in the NICU room, we checked on the boys. At around 9 am, we finally got the green light to take them home! Four hours of packing our things into cars and going over discharge stuff later, we loaded the boys in the car and headed for home.

I can't even tell you how good it feels to be home. It's so much more relaxed. I love being able to pick up the boys and just walk through the house with them, without having them connected to anything by their leads. I was able to sit at the dining room table and eat while nursing Asher at the same time! Oh, and can I tell you how much easier it is to change a baby's diaper when they don't have a ton of wires coming off of them?! The boys got their first bath at home tonight and have settled into their room. Bandit is amazing with them, very gentle and calm. All in all, life is great.

And now I'm going to throw a couple of captions on these pictures and then go check on which ever boy I hear squeaking over the baby monitor.

Ahh, home.


Levi arriving home.


Asher arriving home.


Levi in one of the swings. Sorry about the blur, he was in motion.


Asher in the other swing.


Bandit getting acquainted with Asher.


Asher's first bath at home.


Asher's first bath at home.


Levi's first bath at home.


The boys in their own crib.


Sound asleep, snuggling as always.


Home sweet home.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Glimmer Is Getting...Bigger?

First off, let me just preface this by saying that I've had approximately 7 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours. If that. We've done rooming in with the boys for the last two nights and, well, we created two night owls. Guess that serves us right for being night owls ourselves. But until 6 am?!

Both nights it seemed like just when we got one baby fed and asleep, the other one was awake and hungry. Either that, or we'd feed one and half an hour he would decide he was hungry again! The first night it was Levi who was the problem child, and then last night it was Asher; and both nights they didn't both fall into deep, lasting sleep until about 6 am. So we are exhausted. This morning we both fell asleep on the bed while the nurse was in the room doing her morning assessment on the boys. I vaguely remember Nathan telling her to shake him if she needed anything. But it was worth it, because last night they both gained around 15-16 grams.

Which brings me to my frustration! All day yesterday we were being told by nurses, nurse practitioners, and doctors that the boys would most likely be going home today. They did the car seat study and by the time they got done with it (2 hours later) there weren't any doctors around to tell us the results so we still have no idea how they did. We're assuming they passed, because we haven't been told that they failed...no news is good news, right? So I spent about five hours last night driving around town looking for boxes to pack our stuff at the Ronald house into and then actually packing that stuff, feeling pretty certain that we'd be heading home today, as everyone had been predicting.

Well at around 9:00 this morning, after only about an hour of sleep, I let our nurse know that I was up in case a doctor wanted to talk to us about going home. On my way back to the room, I ran into one of the Patient Care Coordinators, who told me we'd be staying another night because Levi didn't gain weight night before last and they want to see good weight gain for two nights in a row before sending them home.

Here's my question...they knew yesterday that Levi didn't gain weight, which would put the kibosh on their "two days of gaining weight" from the get go, automatically making it so we had to stay for another night. So...why was everyone telling us it was even a possibility? Anyway, that's my frustration, I've got it out, I may ask someone why in the world that happened, but now I'm going to try to focus on the fact that the boys are most likely going home tomorrow! Because let me tell you what, these boys are piggy!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Can See It!

The light at the end of the tunnel! The finish line! The prize!

THE ROAD HOME!!!

Not sure if I've told you this, but the main problem the boys have been having is with finishing a bottle. They had done it a couple of times, but never with any consistency. We had them on some fancy bottle that the hospital gave us which is about as close as you can get to breast feeding with a bottle, which was fine while the boys were still learning to nurse, but its flow was so incredibly slow that the boys had to work really hard to get milk out of it and they got tired before even getting half way through. And this one little thing was keeping us from feeling like home was even a possibility in the near future.

Well last night's nurse asked us if we wanted to switch to a slow flow bottle nipple, which lets the milk out a little faster than the other one we were using. As soon as we switched to that, we saw the difference; both Asher and Levi finished a full bottle in about 2o minutes!!! Yay! So in the last 24 hours, Asher only had to get 20 ml total fed to him through his tube, while Levi only had to have 10 ml...their current full feed is 43 ml!

And then this morning, when I got to the boys' room for their 9 am feeding, their nurse greeted me with more awesome new: both of the boys get to have their feeding tubes removed this morning. AND...

AND...

They get to room in with us as soon as the right room is ready and as soon as we want them!!!!!

If things go well and they still gain weight, they will room in with us for two or three nights and then we should get to take them HOME! Not only that, but they are now feeding by demand, which means that we don't have to force them to finish their feeds, we can let them stop when they are satisfied/asleep, and we can let them sleep up to 4 hours before waking them up to eat if they don't wake up on their own!

In case you didn't do the math...we could be home by Tuesday or Wednesday!!!!!

We're taking the boys' car seats over to their room as soon as I get done posting/emailing this, so they can do their Car Seat Challenge whenever the doctors and nurses want them to. Just a couple more hurdles to go, and those hurdles seem to be coming faster and faster! Keep us in your prayers that the boys continue to gain weight and do well on the car seat challenge, so we don't have to stick around even longer. A month and a half is long enough!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Outfits!

These outfits don't in any way compare to Stella's Costume, but they really don't make costumes for preemies, ha ha ha! But first, a picture of the boys in their first matching outfits!



Asher's Halloween outfit, with the shirt Auntie Kate gave him. It says "I Love My Mummy".

Asher's Halloween bib from Katie and Gloria.


Levi's Halloween shirt from Auntie Kate. It says "Little Monster".

Levi in his Halloween bib.

The boys in their hooded pumpkin blankets from Eliot's parents.

And because it's cute, Asher using his binkie as a pillow...this is a regular occurrence.

There are more photos on the boys' 2nd month album, some of which are ridiculously adorable but I didn't have the time or energy to put them all on here.

I'm finally feeling almost 100% up to par, so I'm heading out in a few minutes to nurse the boys. Nathan was a rock star last night and went to all but two of their feedings between 10 am yesterday and 7 am today. Not to mention that he did the 4:00 am feeding yesterday. Evidently the Patient Care Coordinator who let him stay in the NICU room another night told him that the only way he could stay there was if he went to every feeding through the night, regardless of the fact that he was doing it alone. I guess she kind of acted like it was poor planning on our part for me to get sick...my bad. Ah well, at least Nathan had a place to stay, otherwise he would have been getting a hotel room just in case I really had the flu and not food poisoning.

Yay for getting to see the boys! I haven't seen them for 26 hours now...that's the longest I've been away from them!