Friday, December 3, 2010

It Feels Like the End of an Era

I'm having mixed feelings about quitting and I think blogging about it will be therapeutic for me.

There is something so fascinating about naturally providing for my babies. From the womb through 10.5 months with us, my very own body has been providing them with the nutrients they need. I'm seriously fascinated! I'm emotionally connected to my sweet boys. I feel needed. I am their provider.

I highly and passionately recommend nursing to EVERY new mother.


1.  It is a natural way to feed your babies all of the nutrients necessary.

I don't need to share all the research about the benefits of nursing. But it is out there!

2.  It is challenging and rewarding to the max!

Learning to breastfeed was very difficult and overwhelming. I was clueless. The nurse handed one of my brand new babies and told me to try and I failed miserably over and over again. My babies lost weight and when I thought we were getting it, they lost more weight. It was emotionally draining and I was full of fear. I felt like I was their lifeline and I was failing. For at least two months, Nolan and I took two steps forward and one step back. That means, in the long run, things continued to improve despite setbacks here and there. I had a misconception about breastfeeding. I thought you position the baby and everything just happens. Some women make it look easy. It isn't. My milk didn't come in for 6 days when it should take 2-3. I'm sharing that because I feel like I want to shout out, "Don't give up!" That said, there are some women who truly struggle far more than I did and simply cannot breastfeed. If you just can't do it, whether the issue is the milk or the emotions associated with having just had a baby, you should never feel bad for making the decision to stop.

3. Your body burns about 20 calories to make one ounce of milk.

Seriously. At 40 ounces a day, I'm burning 800 calories! What?! And I was definitely making more than that a few months ago! I'm also feeding two, but still! I'm 80 pounds less than I was when I checked in to deliver my babies! My weight is the lowest it has been as an adult. Besides carrying 30 pounds of baby plus carrier in each arm, I don't get much exercise. I feel wonderful (despite recently being told that I look "run down") and I'm incredibly scared of how I will burn those calories when I quit. I'm thinking I won't so I'll have to stop eating chocolate mini donuts so often.

4. It saves you major money!

Okay, before my boys started eating food, I simply could not make enough milk for both of them. They were drinking so much and growing so fast, that I couldn't keep up. Each boy had around 8 ounces of formula each day. We bought the cheapest brand at around $15 per canister. If we were only feeding them formula, we may have chosen a more trusted brand at near $25 per canister. Friends and neighbors have shared that their children would go through one can per week. For us, that would be 2 cans or $50 per week. For 42 weeks now, we would have spent $2100 on formula! I have spent a one-time maximum of $300 on my pump and supplies. That's it!


So I'm about to stop.


Because it was so tough to nurse both babies at once and so time consuming to nurse one after the other, I started pumping very early on. I would pump then turn around and feed the milk to the boys simultaneously, in bottles. I still pump 5 times a day and only nurse once in the morning. At 15 minutes per pumping session, 6 times a day on average over 40 weeks, I've spent a loving, 25,200 minutes with my dear pump. That is 420 hours! I'm over it! My family, pump and I have traveled 7 times together. It is a pain to bring the pump, especially when flying. So, the day before Christmas Eve, we are flying to Kentucky and I will finally be separated from my pump. The weaning process (for me more than the babies) will begin December 18 and I am counting down to that day with excitement for a certain sense of freedom I have missed.

I've been planning this quit date for a few months now. As it approaches, I'm feeling sad. Seriously! SAD! It is weird but I'm going to miss providing for my babies this way. I can't even describe the emotions accurately but it feels like the end of an era. Maybe it symbolizes my babies growing up too fast. Maybe it is the first of many times I will feel like my children need me less. Some may ask why I don't just go on to 12 months. My reasons are selfish but it just feels right.

It is time.

Until we meet again, goodbye dear pump.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

airplane etiquette

Is there such a thing as airplane etiquette?
For some flights, people ooh and aahh over the twins and we give them mini warnings that they may not be so cute after being stuck in a small space with them for 3 hours.  The flight ends, the people say...."oh they weren't too bad" as we exit the plane quickly, with our heads down, avoiding eye contact. The torture is over, we made it.

Yes, we have decided that flying with babies is not fun.  It causes severe anxiety.

Well, On August 15th, we flew back from D.C. It was the 6th time in the air for our 6 month old twins.  It was a plane with two seats on one side and three on the other. The two side has 3 oxygen masks and the three side has 4 oxygen masks. If all the seats are filled, Brad and I cannot sit together, each holding a baby, because there aren't enough oxygen masks. We sat in the same row, in the aisle seats, next to each other.  Brad places the pump bag at his feet (it is smaller so he has more room). I keep the jam packed diaper bag at my feet. We each have a baby and neither of us were getting many smiles. Brad thinks he actually got a dirty look from the lady in front of him. (read on for more about this lady).

We take off, fussy babies in our laps.  We get them both to fall asleep and my heart rate finally begins to slow down. Once we reach our flying altitude and the seatbelt sign has been turned off, the young man boy directly in front of Brad, decides to recline. I always feel for Brad when this happens.

Let me get on my soap box for a moment now. I RARELY recline. If I do, there is no one behind me, or there is a small child behind me. I have plenty of leg room on planes but still don't want the person in front of me to recline so I try to be considerate in that way.  

Brad has Nolan resting upright on his chest, similar to the way I'm holding Carter.  That's great, but you can only be still in one position for so long. Brad starts adjusting, stirring, shifting. He somehow places a curled up, sleeping Nolan on his legs, with his head by his knees. But with every slight movement, his head gets closer and closer to bumping into the tray table on the seatback.

I step out of my seat and tap on the sweet boy's shoulder.

Pause

I may not have done what I'm about to do had this boy not been so overly kind just moments before. He spoke to Brad and I both on separate occasions, saying how adorable Carter was. I think this kid was 12? 13? 

The boy pauses the comedy show he is watching on his macbook and looks at me. I say in my kindest voice, "I'm so sorry to bother you but is it possible that you could put your seat up for a just a little while? We really want our babies to stay asleep so they don't disturb the passengers but my husband doesn't have enough room to hold the baby comfortably." (as if there is a way to comfortably hold a baby on a plane for 3 hours). He nods his head and puts his seat up.  I do my best to express how thankful we are.

Yes, I really did ask someone to put their seatback up. You'd be surprise how much weaker my filter is now that I have children.

Brad was happy to have the seat up but wishes I didn't feel the need to say something to make that happen. The remainder of the flight goes like this:  boy keeps trying to sneakily turn his head to look back at us. Boy and mom (also watching a movie on her macbook) keep leaning in to chat then glance back at us.  I'm just really sensing some hostility. 

Once, the boy gets up to be excused and when he comes back, I say, "that was really kind of you, we appreciate it."  He says, "it's just that I've had a really long day." Okay. Why don't you watch more of that comedy show to wind down....when the comedy is probably at the expense of people much less fortunate than you, who have probably had a much longer day. No I didn't say that! Just thought it.

We land, lights come on, mom is really giving me the vibe that she is not happy about the situation. I'm feeling confrontational. I make eye contact with the boy and say, "that was very nice, good things like that always come full circle." He just looked away and started whispering with his mom. I really don't care at this point but feel sorry for the poor child. I secretly promise my boys to be a much better mom than that and to teach them to be kind and considerate.  It isn't until baggage claim that my suspicions are confirmed. We happened to be waiting for our bags nearby this family. I seriously overheard words that were something along the lines of, "we paid for those seats.....blah blah blah."

Don't worry, there was no real confrontation from the mom.  But she was clearly irritated with us. Some people reading this may be on her side, feeling like when you pay for a reclining seat, you should get to recline. But I strongly feel that you should recline with care. ALWAYS. Not just because I'm now holding a baby. I have always felt that way. Does leaning your seat back 3 inches really make you any more comfortable?  Brad and I were feeling shocked and sad for that mean family, while feeling motivated to set a much better example for our own children.

I wish the boy strength to stand up to his mom and tell her that it is okay to be kind and not feel so entitled.

But occasionally I wonder a bit....was that rude of me to ask him to put his seat up? I may have been too shy if it were an adult.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

lots of catching up to do!

Lots of new pictures are up on our website. the link is to the right of the page.

My brother married Molly in Tulsa, July 10! Amazing time...and our first experience with a sitter. It was a little weak though because we brought the boys to the wedding then took them to our hotel room around 10pm and put them to bed. The sitter just sat there while they slept! It was also great for the boys to see their cousin, Ronan!

















The rest of July was travel free, finally!  We had some free time but it went so fast! We practiced sitting up, lots!





























and we finally attended a Richardson Community Band outdoor concert. The boys loved it!
















The boys had their 6 month appointment. Nolan was measured a half an inch taller than Carter! Crazy! carter is 18 lbs and Nolan is 15 lbs. (He needs to work on keeping his food down!) Carter had his second ear infection but we caught it and treated it before it he went crazy. They are now eating lots of baby food!  They love it!  I pureed lots of fruits and veggies this summer and I hope I can keep it up now that I'm back to work.

August 1, I hosted some good Delta Gamma friends for a baby play date!  We had my boys, Clara and George (the Hadjioannou twins), Alice McIlvain, and Avery Adami! Their ages ranged from 6 months to just over 1 year! I can't believe we didn't get a group shot of all the kiddos! Here are Alice, Carter and George.

















August 11, we flew with the boys to D.C. We had a wonderful visit with Brad's high school friends and their children, Taylor, Matt and Molly!

















August 13, Brad and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary! We spent the weekend in Annapolis, MD, staying on Krissi (Brad's sister) and Eric's sailboat. They made the perfect little bunk for the boys to sleep and it was such a relaxing time! (minus the insane amount of spit up from the boys on Sunday). Krissi thinks I had a bit too much of that yummy salsa!




We returned home Sunday night and quickly prepared for my first day back at work and the boys' first day of daycare. Brad dropped them off Monday morning and was in such a tizzy that he forgot to say goodbye to the boys! I tried to let myself be distracted all day at work, but couldn't stop thinking about them!  Sure enough, they hardly took naps but otherwise did great. Days 2 and 3 were steadily better. They will adjust soon enough! I can hardly describe the anticipation I feel driving to pick them up and sheer joy I feel when I first hold them! I ADORE my babies!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

videos

We left our camera cord at the hotel in Tulsa so I can't upload any pictures until we get a new one.  Instead, here are some fun video clips! Since we got a new computer, the video clip button has magically appeared on blogger. That tells you how weak our old computer was!


Begging the boys to interact with each other on 2/10/10, when they were only 7 days old!


video


The boys actually interacting on 7/16/10 when they are over 5 months old!


video


Nolan, having an amazing time jumping.


video


Carter, putting himself to sleep, jumping.
video

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

mother of the year


First, some cuteness, but stay tuned for four short stories below:

One morning, Carter jumped so much that he passed out!















We were so excited to help the boys find their feet but Nolan is now obsessed with his.














Brad's mom visited!  So glad she could spend some QT with the boys!


She helped us serve the first bit of rice cereal!















We had some Fourth of July dress up time. (My mom took no shame in printing this on the front page of my hometown newspaper!)

And lots of swimming:















Four Short Stories:

1.  I typically do my fingernails and toenails myself unless I'm headed to a wedding. Well, today I just came home from a mani and pedi since my bro is getting married in Tulsa this weekend. But lately, I guess I haven't quite had the time to maintain and Brad totally just told me that I should keep getting manicures and pedicures. Awesome.


2.  We have settled into a laundry routine. One load a day. Whites, then colors, then whites, then colors...etc. It isn't all baby clothes. It is mostly my clothes and Brad's clothes that have been spit up on several times and burp cloths that have attempted to catch spit up and failed and cleaned up the mess instead.

3.  I think it may be official: I overreact to medical concerns.  In the last several weeks of pictures, I seriously have been concerned about Nolan's eyes. To me, they look like one turns in some.  After reading too much online and freaking out, I made an appointment with the pediatrician for the next day. I even brought the laptop with a folder specifically filled with pictures where his eyes look off. The doctor was so nice in not making me feel like a crazy lady. She said my concerns were very valid but that Nolan just has a wider nasal bridge that covers some of the eye white, making the eye appear to be positioned a little differently. Whew!

You know, at one point, several months ago, I even thought Nolan may have had ringworm on his scalp.  Crazy, I know.  He didn't. But isn't my concern justified by the fact that my dog had recently had ringworm and Nolan lost all hair on top and his scalp was peeling? Needless to say, the hair on top of his head is now plentiful.















Looking back, I was paranoid about a lot of things. Lots with Nolan, maybe because he was baby B and had some issues in the womb early on. But there have been some Carter concerns along the way, too.  I'll just have to work on that: relax and cautiously trust that my babies really are healthy as can be!

Now, here is behavior that is the complete opposite of that of a worrier!

4.  One day, I was in a hurry to get out the door, as usual, since it always takes a lot longer than I expect and I have limited time to get out and back in time for the next feeding. Both babies were fussy. Nolan was hanging out while I changed and prepared Carter.  I set Carter in his carseat on the floor while I grabbed Nolan to get him ready to go. I thought about strapping Carter in but that would take too long so I gave him a toy instead thinking that should occupy him and he wouldn't try arching his back and sliding out of the seat. Nolan and I walked out back to let Mallie out. She has to be escorted passed the pool, to the grass or she won't go do her business. On the way, I felt something warm on my arm. I looked down to discover poop. Nolan poop. His is special because he doesn't go very often but when he does, it is extreme. (I know, I know, we are in for a real surprise when they start eating real food!) Anyway, I changed my hold so I had both his ankles in one hand (the poopie hand) and his neck and back in the other. "I am NOT getting this on my clothes!" I thought. We headed back inside, walked passed Carter having a grand ole time with his toy so Nolan and I had some quality clean-up time. After maybe one or two minutes, I heard a thud and completely freaked out! I threw Nolan in the crib (okay I didn't throw him and at least I didn't leave him on the changing table) and ran down the hallway to find Carter on his belly, on the hardwood floor, smiling at me while playing with his crinkle book.














It seems I had forgotten that Carter is more interested in rolling over than he is in arching his back to squirm out of things. I think the boy rolled over while inching his way down the carseat. I don't think his landing was the "thud" sound, either. I think he made a smooth transition to the floor and was there for a bit with his arm hanging on the carseat and when his hand let go, the carseat rocked back and hit the wall behind it, causing said "thud." At least that's what I tell myself. Why else would he not have cried?

Wait, there's more.

I picked Carter up and loved on him some, mostly to help decrease my heart rate. I put him in the carseat and buckled him up.  Then I went to the boys' room to get Nolan out of the crib and I notice his lovely face! It seriously had poop on it! This is ridiculous! The icing on the cake! Or should I say, the poop on the face!  I cleaned his face and buckled him into his carseat.  By this point, I was laughing and the boys were smiling at me with pity. Poor crazy lady.  Moving on, I let mallie in, grabbed the diaper bag and both carseats and headed out the door with a glistening face. (And we were probably just making our almost daily trip to walmart).

I'll be waiting for my "Mother of the Year" certificate in the mail.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

babies are funny

4 month check up, 6/11/10:


Carter weighed 15.5 lbs (55th percentile). Nolan weighed 12.5 lbs (20th percentile).


Both boys are approximately the same height (50th percentile).


Both of their heads are about the same size (15th percentile).


We are planning to start rice cereal around the 5 month mark (that's very soon!).  We'll be starting homemade baby food just before the 6 month mark.


First colds. Check.  First ear infections. Check. Those gave us 8 days and nights of wondering who took our babies and when they would be back. But they came back, better than ever.

I'm absolutely loving being home with the boys. I feel like I'm finally, really getting to know them.  And I feel very lucky to get to be home with them during the summers.

Babies are funny.

It is called the "sea of orange" and it is a very peaceful place.

It is not my fault. Mom had mexican food.

Wherever, whenever. Just let me sleep. Who knows what is all over this boy's shirt.  Wait, I do know. It is lots of spit up and drool!

Really, mom?  But we actually do like the hats, Pammy. Thanks!

Oh my gosh I love other babies. They are so cool, you just don't even understand. But let's play "What's in the background." Why is everyone wearing plaid shorts?

Okay, it's your turn now. Let me carry you like this. It's really comfortable.

Werd. Starting the trend. You know it.

Whoa.

Mom, in Texas in the summer, it doesn't matter how early you get up to go for a walk, it is still too hot. Please stop. That is not a problem at all, kiddos!


Where did my dining room table go? Oh, it has been eaten by two giant green highchairs.

This man has wanted a new grill for at least 6 years. Happy Father's Day.  Dad loved walking out back to find this lovely surprise only moments after he got back from hitting some golf balls!

Yeah, yeah, yeah so you can roll on your tummy and lift your head and chest. It is kind of getting on my nerves because you practically always roll into my personal space.  I can roll onto my tummy, too. I just don't particularly enjoy it.

I'm sorry, let's hug and make up.


Ever ask yourself, "Why does Carter have the same face in every picture?" He wants you to know that he smiles a lot, too. Mom and Dad just aren't very good at catching it on camera. But here's one.


















Don't forget to check out more pictures by clicking on the link at the top right of the page!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kentucky

I am so happy we could bring the boys to Kentucky! This did make for two weekends in a row of flying. After they did such a great job for the Nashville flight, we were a little too confident this time. Carter screamed his head off for 10 long minutes. I practically cried, too, but people were forgiving. After I apologized several times, they said things like, "Don't worry about it.  It is only annoying when it is toddlers who are just misbehaving!" or "Hey, ten minutes of a 2 hour flight is better than I expected."  I just wanted to get out of there ASAP.

My very long time friend, Julia was married. Such a fun and unique wedding. I was so happy and honored to be a part of it!

The boys FINALLY got to meet all their Paris Girl aunts (Paris, Kentucky is my hometown).  These 8 girls have been a big part of my life for the majority of my life!

Carter and Nolan got to meet some of their Greats. So special!

Great Granny

Great Grandmommy 

Great Granddaddy.

Great Grandma, you're next!

I'm not going to lie, I loved showing them off!  They got to meet lots of my cousins, aunts, uncles and family friends.

It was a great trip overall but things took a turn for the worse Tuesday night, 6/8.  First of all, we found a spider floating in an almost finished bottle. No idea which baby was drinking from that bottle, or how the spider got in the bottle. Totally freaked us out.  Then Carter decided to scream every 45 minutes, practically ALL NIGHT LONG.  We weren't sure if it was part of the cold we noticed him getting the day before or if it was the spider. I found myself wandering through Super Walmart at 3am looking for baby pain reliever and baby gas relief.  That's all we can give babies this age.  Needless to say, the boys got to stay in their PJs for a long time the next morning. Carter was very congested so we decided to let the spider incident go and call it a cold. We somehow packed up, made it on the flight and made it home safely, Wednesday.  The flight was surprisingly WONDERFUL.  Both babies were good. I think they were just so tired.  The flight attendant even blocked the seats next to us, so we got to bring the car seats on the plane and didn't have to hold the boys the whole time!  Wednesday and Thursday night were better, but only a little better. Carter was still in rough shape. Somehow, Nolan was seeming to bypass the cold. Or maybe he just suffered in silence. Friday was our Pediatrician appointment. Colds and ear infections were diagnosed. Bring on the medicine because this needed to get better quickly!  And it did. Eight nights of this craziness and we were finally back in business; back to our sweet babies sleeping 10+ hours at night.  I missed them so much.  Oh, in case you were worried, we asked the doctor about the spider. So embarrassing! She said that the venom must enter the blood for there to be any issue. There would have to be a bite. She said it is unrelated to what the boys had been experiencing. Whew!

Though our trips were wonderful, after 3 weekends out of town, we are excited to spend some time at home.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nashville

Carter and Nolan flew with us to Nashville for Memorial Day Weekend.  Brad and I were so nervous but the boys did great! Just a little fussy when boarding but that's it! On the way there, we traded seats and got a 3 seater row to ourselves! People were so nice. I felt like we got royal treatment, the opposite of what I expected. The pilot came over to meet our twins while we were waiting to board. He had twin boys, too! Then he told us that he would help us get whatever we needed....just ask!  Then as we were boarding, a guy walked by and said that he had a twin brother and that twins were so awesome! Loved it!  On the way back though, we sat across the aisle from each other. Did you know that we can't sit together in the 3 seater side if there is another adult. That would be 5 bodies and there are only 4 oxygen masks there!

We finally got to meet my new nephew, Ronan!  He is amazing and was born just two weeks after Carter and Nolan.  I love how we were already forcing them to be friends. =) 
 Ginger and Aaron are great parents! We had some fun times with the family, including swimming in the community pool that just opened after the horrible flood!

 Here's Jessie, Mom and Ginger with the baby boys!

You should have seen us taking walks together. Three dogs, Three babies, and anywhere from to 5 to 7 adults! It was our very own parade.
So glad we could make the trip!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Austin

FYI, check out the new, permanent link to our photo album website, at the right of the page.

My college friend, Carolyn, was married a few weekends ago, in Austin. It was the boys first trip out of town! The hotel set up two pack n play cribs in the room. They even had pillows and mini hotel sheets on them. The top sheet was even folded down. So cute! Carter and Nolan slept just fine in the hotel so that was a relief!

I have to say that I cannot find any of the pics I took from this trip! I'm so upset! There were seriously some great ones! Makes me feel ill!  I just know I downloaded them but can't find them on my computer now. And they are no longer on my camera.  So frustrating! So I stole a few from some friends on facebook.

Two of my college friends just had baby boys. Ryder (between the twins) was born in December and Tristan (far left) was born in February.  It was so fun to have all our boys together!

We brought so much stuff, our hotel room looked like a nursery!  Jessie was wonderful! She watched 3 babies while we enjoyed ourselves at the wedding.  Here she has them all calm for a few moments. There were a few times she was pretty stressed with all the crying! It was a good thing that  Tristan's grandmother stopped in to help some!

The wedding was beautiful! Carolyn was a gorgeous bride!
Maybe my pics will appear soon!