Life with Twins

Posts tagged ‘family’

Winter Rut

NOW:  I’m really in a bad winter rut.  Not emotionally.  Physically.  And it’s discouraging because I feel like in the last 5 weeks or so, I’ve undone everything I worked for.  Between January 2011 through Mid-December, I was really really good about exercising.  Over the summer I even started running and ran a few 5K’s.  I felt great.  And along with the exercising I was watching what I ate….not obsessively, but just paying attention to my hunger cues and adding more veggies and healthier options.

I knew things would go downhill at the holidays.  With going out shopping came going out to dinner.  We still were sort of trying to find better options but we were still busy enough that we weren’t cooking at home as often and maybe not paying as much attention.  Now, I’m not talking about going to a fast-food place and getting fatty or fried foods!  Even if we ran to Applebee’s we didn’t get a big cheeseburger with fries along with an appetizer or something.  We didn’t pick off of the Weight Watchers menu either, but we tried to get grilled chicken or steak with veggies.   And we almost always cut our meal in half and take half home. 

Things really fell apart the week AFTER Christmas.  I was off and had no intention of getting up at 5:30 in the morning to exercise.  That was my first mistake I guess.  It was more important for me to get that sleep.  Which actually ended up working out ok because with Will being SO sick (broncialitis/pneumonia), he was waking me up VERY often in the night and I felt exhausted anyway.

Ok, so the New Year came and my first day back was January 3rd, but I still felt honestly just exhausted.  I didn’t catch up on sleep at all the week before and I was definitely feeling run down.  So, again, I chose sleep over exercise.  All week.  Again.  I felt refreshed.  And not guilty.  Not good.  Because justifying it can be a big mistake.  I know that from past experiences.

The week of the 9th was better.  We got up Monday, Tuesday, took a break Wednesday, got up Thursday.  Friday…..not so much…..Will had been waking me up like every half-hour during the night and then the dog woke me up once because he threw up.  When my alarm went off, I cried.  Tim said this was an extenuating circumstance and I should get the extra hour of sleep.  So I did.

Starting Sunday, Tim was sick.  Like puking sick.  So…..I was very busy.  I was on my own with the kids and then I also needed to take care of him. He didn’t need much, just an occasional glass of water or some crackers.  I did have to make dinner, which he had been planning on doing, and then he didn’t eat even though he requested Lipton soup.  The kids loved it though!  I wasn’t sure how that would work out…..they’ve had it before but only by taking little sips off of our spoons.  But I gave them more noodles/less broth and they did VERY well!  I was impressed.  So that was good.

Monday I had off, Tim was still sick, I didn’t even consider exercising.  Again, setting a bad precedent for the week.  Tuesday morning, my alarm was all set.  But my resolve wasn’t.  And this is where my problem lies.  I haven’t exercised all week.  Tim had an excuse, he’s still pretty weak.  He finally ate just yesterday.  Here’s my main problem – my motivation seems to be gone.  And it feels like it’s been gone for a while.  I love(d) exercising.  I love feeling great.  I love getting up in the morning and feeling like I accomplished something.  I love when my pants don’t feel tight (which they do right now).  So what is MY PROBLEM!!!!!   I’m so mad at myself, but apparently not mad enough to do something about it.  Even today, I said to myself, meh, it’s already Thursday, why bother getting up to exercise now.  WHAT!?  Ridiculous.  And I know it’s ridiculous.  But I’m still not doing anything about it.

I also have a terrible terrible habit of eating if I can get away with it.  For some reason, when I get home from work and I’m starting to make dinner, I almost always get very shaky.  Like low-blood-sugar or something.  What I should do, is have a nice, high-protein snack as soon as I get home and that will hold me off until dinner.  But I don’t.  I wait until I’m shaky, light-headed, hot/cold, and irritable.  Then I have 3 handfuls of cashews (probably 3 servings right there), a couple pieces of chocolate, and maybe even some tomatoes or something if I’m making salads.  So not only am I ingesting all of these calories after eating good all day, plus I didn’t exercise, plus it’s only like an hour before dinner. 

I just don’t understand how I know it’s bad and wrong  and I feel physically awful especially in the area of pants being tight.  And yet I don’t feel guilty enough to fix it.  Maybe writing down these confessions will help.  Maybe you guys should all comment (yay, please comment!) about how I need to get my lazy self back to exercising and not gorging on cashews every evening before Tim gets home.

Not only that, but I know part of my decrease in motivation comes from the fact that I worked so hard for 11 months and now it’s all undone so what’s even the point?  Why work hard again for another 11 months when I can just buy bigger pants?  Laziness is so much easier. 

Every once in a while, I do get that fleeting thought in the back of my mind…..maybe if I tried even harder it wouldn’t take 11 months?  Maybe.  This is now.

THEN: Did I mention the breast-feeding?  No?  I’ve got to work it in someplace.  So, I had planned on breastfeeding the twins.  Can’t do that when they’re on feeding tubes in the NICU.  No, not so much.  But that’s ok.  I can just pump and they can put whatever I get into their feeding tubes.  Although getting less than an ounce after almost a half-hour of pumping is rather discouraging.  Especially when there’s two mouths to feed.  Luckily for me, I was able to stay in the hospital those few extra days.  The lactation nurses came to see me whenever I needed.  I just had to get used to the idea of 2-3 women playing with my boobs every time I needed a little assistance.  I felt it was worth it.  And I suppose an ounce is really not that bad when your kids are only eating a couple ounces at a time anyway.  But it was always on my mind that obviously, eventually, soon, they would need to eat more.  In the meantime they were being supplemented with formula.  I was told multiple times not to feel guilty and that every little teensy tiny bit helped.  And that pumping was bound to get you less milk anyway.  And that having a C-section was bound to get you less.  And that having a delivery at 31 weeks was bound to get you less because your body wasn’t supposed to be ready to give milk for another 7-9 weeks.  And all of these things made sense logically so it’s good that I’m normally a very logical person.

 But I still felt guilty.  And I still felt like since I was just sitting in my hospital room anyway maybe I should just leave the pump attached all day long or something.

 They also said don’t worry about getting up in the night; I needed my rest.  Screw that, my babies needed to eat!  They weren’t sleeping through the night without having to eat, so I couldn’t sleep through the night without making them some food.  They were eating every two hours.  I was pumping every two hours.  Sometimes by the time I got it all set up, pumped for a half-hour or so, and then cleaned up the machine so it would be ready for next time I felt that it probably would be easier just to leave everything attached all day.  Like a cow.  It was not easy.  Emotionally or physically.  I felt drained.  I felt like a failure.  I knew that eventually I would make more but it was hard to convince myself of that when all I had were mere drops to feed my children.  Like really, drops, like when they would pour it from the tube I pumped it into to and try to get it into the feeding tube, there probably was nothing left because it all just got stuck on the side of the container.  I was told to take a picture of them and look at it while I was pumping to stir up some emotion.  That actually did help a lot, especially when I was first home.  They told me to massage my breasts a little before pumping.  That helped too.  A little.  My determination got me through I think.  It is not easy to breastfeed, pump, whatever – I tell everyone that.  But in my opinion, it’s worth it for the vitamins and antibodies that I believe I was providing to my babies.  And since this experience, I have had A LOT of new-mom friends come to me for advice.  I’m no lactation consultant (those people crazy (in a good way)), but I do think that if you can do it, (because not everyone can), you should do it.  Or at least try for a little while because every little teensy tiny bit helps.  That was then.

Crazy Planning a.k.a. 180 days til Disney!

NOW:  We are in the midst of planning our trip.  This is probably the most-planned trip we’ve done….although not by much to be honest!

We are DVC members so we are staying in a suite, using our “points”.  For more information on how DVC works, leave me a comment or send me an email!  It’s the most awesome thing we’ve ever done…..and it’s not just for traveling to Disney places either.

Anyway.  Our “home resort” is Animal Kingdom Lodge so we can book a vacation there up to 11 months in advance.  So we called back in August and booked.  But we didn’t really want to stay there.  We love it there, don’t get me wrong, and we have stayed there before and it’s beautiful and wonderful!

But for the purposes of this trip, we really wanted to stay at the “new” Bay Lake Towers.  It’s a new DVC resort that’s connected by a walking bridge to the Contemporary Resort.  So, it’s EXTREMELY close to Magic Kingdom.  We usually spend the majority of our trip in MK anyway and with the twins we figured that would definitely be the case this time more than ever.  Plus, the Contemporary is on the Monorail so it’s convenient to get to some other resorts where we wanted to go for dinner (Polynesian and Grand Floridian) as well as easy to get to EPCOT.

We can’t book at different DVC resorts until 7 months in advance.  But we didn’t want to end up with NOTHING, so we booked at AK Lodge just to be safe because we had the 11 month advantage there.

In December, I was able to call and transfer our reservation to Bay Lake~YAY!  It was kind of a pain because you can only move 7 days at a time, and then our other 3 days I had to call the next day and the next day and the next day.  During work.  Oh well.  It was nerve-wracking but I got the job done.

Then, you can make Dining Reservations 180 days in advance.  You used to have to call day after day after day, but now they let you make your first 10 days of reservations all at once starting 180 days from the day you check in.  So that was good news.  This is an advantage of staying at a Disney Resort.  Also, they have a new online reservation process that starts at 6 am.

So I had called and they calculated 180 days for me and I could go online or call January 11th.  Tim and I skipped exercising and set the alarm so that we could go online starting right at 6 AM.  Well.  The first reservation we got just fine.  The rest?  Nope.  Wouldn’t recognize our Resort Reservation number.  I had to rush to get ready for work so that I could call the reservation phone number at 7.  I wanted to be all ready in case I got stuck on the phone for a while.

Good thing.  I was mostly ready by 7, and called.  I was on hold for a short amount of time, but then the time it took to make all of our reservations, give her all my information, and get all of the confirmation numbers took almost a half-hour!  By then, the twins were up and calling for me, my dad was showing up, my hair still wasn’t done, my coffee wasn’t poured.  These kinds of little things stress me out a little.  And I was already worked up because I was stressed I wouldn’t be able to get a reservation at the places we wanted.  I don’t know why; we’ve NEVER had an issue.

Plus, I still had to call Victoria and Alberts.  But there’s is a separate line and it didn’t open until 9 AM.  And I still had to stress that I wouldn’t get THAT reservation!

You all may be thinking we are crazy.  And we are.  But, it’s who we are and it helps us keep our sanity.  In some ways.  Once, we planned a trip a mere 2 months ahead of time.  Boy, that was stressful to the millionth degree!

I get all the reservations, complete with confirmation numbers and I double-check them all online.  My dad helps me get the twins ready so that I can do my hair.  Plus, I had to go to the bathroom……why is it that nature calls at the MOST inconvenient times?

At 9 I called V&A…..the most faniciest restaurant in WDW.  At first I couldn’t get through so I left a message, but kept calling and calling anyway.  See, we really wanted to sit at the Chef’s Table.  And there’s only one seating for the table a night.  And we really wanted it on that certain night because all the other dining reservations were already in place and I didn’t really want to have to change everything around again.  But, I got through, and got what we wanted.  YAY!!!

Plane tickets are bought, room (2-bedroom suite for us, kids, and my dad) is reserved, dining reservations are made.  Now, the packing lists will begin!  You think I’m kidding?

Wanna know where we’re eating?

Chef Mickeys – Contemporary resort – buffet dinner with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto!

Tuttoo Italia – Italy pavillion in EPCOT

California Grill – very top floor of Contemporary resort

Mama Melrose – Hollywood Studios – Italian food

The Wave – Contemporary resort

Crystal Palace   – in Magic Kingdom – lunch buffet with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet!

Victoria and Alberts – fancy schmancy!

Ohana – in the Polynesian resort – they serve food off of GIANT skewers

Chefs de France – France pavillion in EPCOT – best escargot I’ve ever had!

 Chef mickeys breakfast – Again.  This time for breakfast

Raglan Road – Irish-style pub in Downtown Disney

Le Cellier – Canada pavillion in EPCOT.  Home of yummy Beer-Cheese Soup

Tony’s Town Square – Magic Kingdom – Italian

OK…….so maybe it’s less of the Type A personality…..and more just super-duper excited!!!!!  Either way……it’s planned!  All we do now is wait.  And save money.  And pack (No, not yet.)

Speaking of beer-cheese soup – check out my husband’s venture into the Blog World!  The first recipe he’s going to blog about is the very one from the Canadian Pavillion in EPCOT – yummy beer-cheese soup!  This is now.

THEN: I prepared myself to go home on Thursday morning.  The first thing I wanted to do was take a shower.  I hadn’t had one since the previous Thursday.  I had asked…..but before the delivery none of the nurses were “sure” if I was allowed to take a shower or not.  After the delivery it wasn’t an option at first because of the surgery.  I had gotten permission to take one Thursday before I left.  First I had to walk all around the floor of the hospital trying to find the darn place.  I either hadn’t gotten good directions or I wasn’t really listening.  I finally got to the room, set my things down and turned the water on.  As difficult as it was to manuver myself; it was probably the best shower I’d ever had in my life.  I felt a million times better and cleaner and happier and even a little less sore.  By the time I was done and back in my room though, I was exhausted!  Luckily I had about an hour before my discharge time when my parents would come get me.

They forgot to order me breakfast.  I thought it would be in my room when I got back, but no such luck.  I called a nurse and she wasn’t sure what happened but arranged to get some food up to me as soon as possible.  I was starving!  It wasn’t exactly what I would have wanted, but it was fine.  The hospital food wasn’t as bad as sitcoms would have had me believe.  I watched some TV and I was ready to go.  I was nervous though and anxious.  First thing I wanted to do when my parents showed up was go down to the NICU.  I would have gone earlier but I really really needed that shower and my late breakfast.

I forced myself to be patient and finally it was 11:00.  My dad came up to get me and my mom was waiting down in the NICU already.  I didn’t have to take a wheelchair out because I wasn’t leaving the hospital yet.

I walked (shuffled) down to the NICU.  I went to see my beautiful babies.  I suddenly really wanted my parents gone, but of course I didn’t want to upset or offend them by asking them to leave.  I went to Will first.  He reflexively grabbed my finger with his hand as all babies will do.  He sighed in his sleep and listened to me talking to him about what had happened that morning.  He still had his CPAP machine on and because of the mask, he couldn’t open his eyes very well.  I didn’t even know what color they were.  I listened to the steady beep of the machines and listened to the nurse update me on his status.

I walked over to Ariel after tearing myself away from my son.

“Do you want to hold her?”  Shock.  “yes” I breathed, so quietly because I wasn’t sure I had heard the nurse correctly.  But I had.  She carefully set me up in a comfy rocking chair right next to Ariel’s heated bed.  First, she had to clip Ariel’s feeding tube to my shirt because it was time for her to “eat”.  She maneuvered the cords and wires so that they didn’t get pulled out while she was in my arms.  Then, she handed me my daughter.  I couldn’t breathe.  I was afraid to breathe.  She was finally feeling like mine.  I could actually hold her.  She had to be VERY VERY VERY wrapped up in blankets because she was no longer on her heated pad, which was helping her regulate her temperature.  But I could see her hand.  Her hand couldn’t be covered because of the IV needle in it.  So I stroked her hand.  And her head, which had to have a hat on it.  Again, to help keep her warm.

It was surreal.  The nurse had to help put her back right after she was done “eating” because the very act of digestion was making her very tired which meant her body was maintaining it’s own temperature even less.  She needed to get back to her heat.  And sleep.

The best thing for them was sleep.  Their fragile little bodies used up too much energy doing anything else.  The nurse told me not to be surprised tomorrow if I came in and was told Ariel had lost a little weight…..just from me holding her.  When they slept, they grew.  So sleep was the best thing for them.  And frequent family visits of course.  Talking to them.  Letting them know they were loved.

I felt so guilty after holding Ariel.  Because I couldn’t hold Will.  It’s not like it was my fault or my choice.  I guess I just felt bad for him.  And a little for myself too.  But I was also on cloud 9 after finally getting to hold Ariel.  Like she was real.  Like she was really mine.  Like she was a real baby.  It’s a little dramatic, but true.  And it made me feel a hell of a lot better about going home later that morning.  That was then.

William

Ariel

Just a “then”

Because my last post was just a “now”.

THEN:  This is a love story about the bathroom.  And, I’m convinced there’s no such thing as TMI on a blog……

After having a C-section, you’re in lot of pain.  And they give you a lot of painkillers.  With strict instructions to let the nurses know and remind them when you need more, before the REAL pain gets you.  It’s easier to prevent pain than make it go away.

And their best piece of advice (seriously) is to get up and start moving/walking as soon as you can. 

And the next piece of advice is be really scared about how much pain you will feel when you go to the bathroom.  Especially the first bowel movement.  Which may or may not occur before you leave the hospital.

Well.  Even peeing was a process for the first two days (after the cathedar was removed).  It was a project to get myself  TO the bathroom…..which was literally two feet from my bed.  It was a project to pull up my hospital gown and pull down my “fake” underwear (which I was wearing because there was so much bleeding).  It was painful to “go”.  And it was impossible to wipe.  Or change my pad because I had bled through it.

So, guess who got to help?  My husband.  Thank goodness I’m not really a shy person to begin with because I would have been mortified with this process.   It was somewhat embarrassing to ask your husband to wipe you because you literally could not bend down.  Especially with all the blood.  (did the mention the bleeding that occurs?)

Never.  In a million years.  Will I EVER be able to thank him/repay him enough.  Maybe someday when he’s like senile and 120 years old and I’m wiping his ass.  Maybe then. 

I think that was one of the times that I was most in love with him.  Sounds ridiculous, but I cannot imagine asking someone else or letting someone else help me the way he did.  Did he really want to do it?  I’m sure not.  But he did.  Because he loves me.  And I was never more sure of his love than those two days.

Especially when the bowel movement occured before I left the hospital.

Still……..better than labor.  Not that I would know, but I’ve always been more terrified of labor.  Or labor going wrong and then ending up with a C-Section anyway.  So, I’ll take the blood, pain, and Tim having to help me in the bathroom like a child.  🙂

That was then.

Lots of Little Things…..

NOW:

Thoughts on the New Year: Am I making New Year’s Resolutions?  No.  Am I using the New Year as a fresh start on some goals I have already set?  Yes.  Namely; more blogging, blogging with Tim (more on that later!), more weight-loss, more running (Buffalo half-marathon, here I come!).  Kinda mostly stuff for myself I’m realizing as I re-read this.  Oh well, it’s not like I can do more mommying.

Thoughts on poop: Anyone know how to get my son from digging in his diaper and smearing it on every available surface in his room after he wakes up from nap?  We don’t even realize he’s awake until it’s too late – he’s stealthy quiet.  Just so you know – backward pajamas, onsies, backward onesies, layering of shorts+onesie+pajamas —–none of these ideas work.  My father is seriously considering duct tape (not on his skin of course – just taping his shirt to his pants and then cutting him apart every time). 

Thoughts on blogging with Tim: I want him to cook more!  And more variety!  So after finding and reading The Mike/Mitch Project (look on my blogroll), I’ve inspired him to do something similar….although not quite so involved.  He chose a cookbook and plans on making 2-3 recipes from it per week and then blogging about it.  As soon as we have it set up, I’ll post a link; hopefully you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy eating it!

Thoughts on my Christmas break: Everyone asks “how was your Christmas?  Did the twins have so much fun?”  Complicated answer. Christmas was….interesting.  Will was sick, starting Thursday night with a fever, got better Friday, was just laying around on Saturday but perked up a little bit at great-grandmas.  Then, for part of the night just laid on me until I convinced Tim we should leave a little early.  Sunday morning he woke up at 6, I laid in bed with him for another 1 or so, and could tell his breathing was “off”, he was pretty whiny upon waking, but again better once we started opening gifts, was ok opening gifts at Mema’s, so at this point, although I was considering taking him to Immediate Care, we decided he was ok enough to continue.  By the time my sister could come to mom’s after work it was 8:30.  He was fine again opening gifts for about a half-hour, then passed out on the floor, burning up again.  Monday morning at the doctor’s he was tested for his blood oxygen level, which was borderline-sending-him-to-the-hospital-level.  They gave him two nebulizer treatments, a perscription for antibiotics and steroids and told me that if he wasn’t breathing better after his fever went down we’d have to go to the ER.  (insert me feeling like worst mom ever because I didn’t bring him in until now).  He was also sent home with his own personal nebulizer and we were supposed to continue treatment.  As of Tuesday morning he was breathing much better when we returned to the doctor for follow-up.  I still had to do a few treatments and obviously the perscriptions for the next 5 days.  So, what did he have?  Well, who knows!  Maybe the start of asthma.  Maybe broncilitis.  Maybe pneumonia.  Maybe a combo of the three.  Oh, plus an ear infection.  So he was SO SUPER FUN (sarcasm) for the next 5 days.  Worst.  “Vacation”.  Ever.  did I mention that Thursday (the 22nd) night through Friday (the 30th), he was waking me up literally every 15-20 minutes ALL NIGHT LONG?  Forgot that part.  Ariel got a bad cold as of Friday the 30th, (luckily it wasn’t broncilitis/pneumonia) and by the time they are both feeling better, I go back to work.  🙂

I’m regaining my sanity slowly, thanks for asking.  Catching up on sleep is another story.

This is now.

I’ll add a “THEN” next time.  But it’s taken me 4 days to write this post as it is so I’d just like to publish it and move on!

I have a Confession…..

NOW: I love Christmas.  There, I said it.

Prior to Thanksgiving I was pretending to be one of those people that dislikes the Christmas decorations being up in the stores already.

So, when Thanksgiving was over, I could finally give in to my true nature.  Phew, what a relief.

Then, I started reading/hearing all kinds of people complaining about Christmas in general…..especially in regards to Santa Claus.  So, I’ve been debating about this post for a while, but I suppose it’s my right to give the other side of the debate.  I don’t think anyone is “wrong” in their beliefs, just like to give my opinion too!

I love Santa.  I believe in Santa.  I truly do, at 30 years old.  Does Santa magically drop presents down the chimney for Tim and I?  No, not technically.  But I believe in him as the spirit of Christmas.  The idea that my twins will wake up on Sunday morning and be in awe of the fact that not only are there presents under the tree……but the milk, cookies, and carrots are mysteriously gone.

I know it’s a lie.  But I suppose I lie to my kids all the time.  Not big lies.  But……when there’s blackberries going bad in the fridge and there’s new bananas on the counter and they ask for bananas and I tell them they’re not ready to eat yet so they’ll just have to make do with blackberries.  Could they eat the bananas, yes.  But I want them to eat the blackberries first.  But they won’t go along with that line of thinking.  So, I tell them the bananas aren’t ready yet and they suddenly become perfectly happy with blackberries.  Just an example.  But I digress.

I try to explain as much to my kids as possible.  Even if anyone else would think they’re too young to understand.  And I tell the truth; I don’t blow them off with a simple answer.  It gives me credibility for when I do stretch the truth.  Plus, I’m a firm believer in asking questions in order to learn.  Even when I have a group of 22 children in front of me all day….each with their own set of questions.  That’s my job; to answer them.

Back to Santa.  Early in November, Will and Ariel saw a commercial featuring the man in the red suit and inquired about it.  I, being the over-explainer, immediately went into a detailed description of Santa, with his sleigh, reindeer, and sack of toys coming down chimneys on Christmas Eve.  I was excited.  Even back in November.  As a result, we they have been talking about Santa for almost two months now.  Not incessently.  But occasionally.  And more so now that the big night is almost here.

<It’s hard to put joy into words.  I think it’s much easier to express negative emotions, so this post might get rambly.  I apologize in advance.>

Santa is magic.  End of story.  Obviously I’m excited because this is the first year where the twins really get what’s going on for Christmas.  If nothing else, they know what presents are for and they are looking forward to recieving some, I’m sure.  But they are also excited about the tree, the ornaments, the decorating, the driving around looking at Christmas lights, the snow (what snow?), the shopping (yay, my kids like to shop!) the making cookies, the holiday movies.  I could go on and on.  

They are just full to the brim of excitement and positive emotion.  Same way my 2nd graders at school feel.  And I like to think that it’s coming partially from me.  They are excited because I am excited.  And I allow myself and them to give in to the excitement.  I don’t pretend Christmas isn’t coming, I embrace it.  And every year I get the same question from my 7-year-olds at school…..is there a Santa Claus?  They are at the brink of not believing.  Others have told them it isn’t true.  But they trust their teacher.  Maybe more than they trust their parents.  Because their parents might tell them the truth if they ask.  Plus, when they’re being egged on by 20 other kids, this seems like the perfect time to inquire.  School is for learning, right? 

And I don’t lie.  I tell them yes.  There is a Santa and I believe in him.  Let me make this clear; I am not lying.  And that’s part of the magic.  They know I’m not lying.  And so do my twins.

When I was little Santa filled my living room with presents.  And my sister and I always made sure to say “Thank you Santa, wherever you are!” while we looked up at the ceiling (because North is up), after we were done opening our gifts.  We were grateful.  Were we grateful to the wrong person?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Because even though it was technically my parents’ money, and technically my parents (mom) who went out and did the shopping, and technically my parents (mom) who stayed up late into the night wrapping……it was Santa who brought those gifts.  And my parents heard the thank you and took it as their own.

I don’t even remember finding out that mom and dad were buying the gifts all along.  I guess it wasn’t that big of a deal.  I vaguely remember mom telling me not to tell Melissa, 5 years younger than me, and still going strong in her Santa-belief.  I think I kind of felt like I was just in on a secret, not a lie.  How fun it was to keep this secret going year after year…..until eventually most of  the presents were just labeled “from mom and dad”.  But never all.  There were always a couple from Santa.  Even though we “didn’t believe” anymore.  And the pile?  Didn’t get any smaller.  Don’t get me wrong.  My parents were not rich.  My dad worked two jobs so that my mom could stay home with us, and then later when my mom developed back problems and “couldn’t” work (that’s another post for another day).  They were probably living paycheck to paycheck.  But I never would have known it come Christmas morning.  Was I spoiled, yes.  But was I taught how to be rich in Christmas Spirit and thankfulness, yes.

I guess I’m lucky too because there are a lot of factors that don’t make me see “playing Santa” as a chore.  I love shopping, and shopping for the perfect gifts that I know will make my kids’ eyes light up is so rewarding.  It’s not work.  And I loved wrapping this year.  I picked out two different sets of paper and made sure Will and Ariel each had the same amount and wrapped and wrapped.  And the “leftover” gifts that didn’t have a “match”?  They are from mommy and daddy.  And in a third type of wrapping paper.  It was like a puzzle!  Making sure that they each had the same amount of gifts wrapped up.  (That reminds me, I have to figure out somethings to unwrap and rewrap so they each have a gift for each other). 

I guess it just boils down to this; I have fond memories of Christmas and of Santa.  I want my children to have fond memories of Christmas and Santa.  I want them to share in the Christmas Spirit and be merry and cheerful.  Everything Tim and I do with them is an experience that will shape their whole world as they grow up and I guess I just want them to have this wonderful, joyful Christmas/Santa experience.  Even if it is a lot of work.  And technically a lie.

I’m lucky too, in that I have the means to be able to do all of this work to build up the lie.  It’s worth it to me.  Because I love Christmas.   And because I believe in Santa Claus.

Happy Holidays Everyone!  Enjoy your time with yourself, your friends, your family, your joy. 

And your presents…..I know I’m looking forward to opening up my one-piece footie Cookie Monster pajamas from Tim!  (They just better be waiting under the tree and not being saved for my upcoming Birthday!)  This is now.

THEN: (A short one): The twins were born on a Sunday.  I was allowed to stay at the hospital until Thursday morning.  You might think that’s strange….whoever wants to stay in the hospital, right?  But I was glad because that was where my babies were. 

On Wednesday night, before Tim left to go home, I was sobbing.  I thought my heart would break.  He even climbed into the tiny hospital bed and held me.  I had been holding in all of my negative emotions for almost a week….even before they were born.  But now, on the eve of my homecoming, I broke down.

I didn’t want to go home the next morning.  I couldn’t leave them.  It was “bad enough” that they were being taken care of by “other people” but now I got to go home and they didn’t.  It wasn’t fair.  All of my other fears came out….basically…..what if they never came home?  I cried and cried and cried.  And he held me.  And he cried a little too.

A nurse came in.  I stopped right away.  I couldn’t be weak in front of her, she’d think something was wrong.  I told her I was just afraid to leave the twins.  But, she was trained to deal with crying, new moms.  She was afraid it was something worse; I could see it in her eyes.  She left and I knew that she would be sending people to check on me up until I left the next morning.  And maybe even watch me when I came back to visit the twins.  It might be post-partum depression.

I got angry.  Did I not have the right to get a little sad?  After all we had been through?  I was keeping it together and upbeat for a long time!  Didn’t I have the right to cry a little when I didn’t know what I was facing and how long I would have to face it and didn’t know what was going to become of my babies, but just knowing I wasn’t able to be in the same building with them 24/7 anymore?  I just wanted to cry a little.  I just wanted to be held by my husband who was the only one who even came close to understanding.  Was that so wrong?  That was then.

To Milestone or Not to Milestone? That is the Question

NOW:  I feel that every little thing the twins do are milestones.  Little things, that they can do now, but they couldn’t do yesterday or the day before.  Or even events, like this particular Christmas, is a milestone.  It’s not their first obviously, but it’s the first where they kinda really know what’s going on.  Every day is different than the day before and I try to listen and watch and appreciate every little thing they learn and do. 

BUT.  There are some big milestones.  Developmental milestones, rite-of-passage type milestones.  Like the Potty for example.  Big change, right?  I got “yelled at” more than once for starting that one too early.  I get chastised for trying to make them grow up too quickly.  I don’t want them to grow up any faster than they have to, believe me.  It’s a Catch-22…..I know this time is going by so fast and I certainly don’t want it to be faster, but at the same time it’s SO exciting to see what they’ll do next.

Anyway, I do have a point here.  My point is: BIG-KID BEDS!!  DUN DUN DUN!!!!!!!!!

I am having a mild internal struggle right now.  I’ve talked about it with multiple people and most of them, including Tim, agree that once a child is climbing out (especially those as smart as my twins), they need to be a big kid bed. 

I am agreeing with this and pushing it forward for several reasons:

I am terrified that now that Ariel knows she can get out, she will.  She might be too scared to do it for several days….weeks…..months……but why wait until she does it again and gets seriously hurt this time?  Right?

We were going to change them into beds in February anyway.  I have a week off for mid-winter break and we figured that was a good time….they’d be 2 and a half.  So now we’re just moving it up a couple of months.  I have a week off for Christmas, so that will work out well too.

We bought guardrails so they won’t fall out, so that will help with the transition. 

Now…….there are a few people who are against this whole plan.  And who question a lot of my decisions as a parent.  And who accuse me of making the twins grow up too fast.  And whose job it is to question my decisions because they care.  (right?)

Let me just say; yes, we were going to change them over in February, and yes, it’s only a couple months early…..but are we thrilled about it?  No.  We didn’t really want this thrust upon us at this time.  But again, the getting-out of the crib factor weighs in heavily.

Three guesses who is against this plan and vocalizes the concern.  My mom and dad.  More mom, but that’s because dad is not as vocal about his opinion.

Now, when you grow up with a set of people who help influence your every decision in life and then the time comes where you break out on your own and have your own opinions and decisions about marriage, houses, kids…..it’s hard!  I haven’t lived at home in 8 years.  And I am comfortable in my own opinions, especially because I do have a husband that I can bounce my ideas off, and who is a little more level-headed than me about big decisions like this so I know, deep down, that if he agrees with me it’s the right decision and we need to do what our gut tells us.  But it’s still hard not to take my parents’ opinions into consideration in my own mind.  And then I start to doubt myself.  And then I start to question if I am making them grow up too fast because I certainly don’t want that.

Phew.  That’s a lot of rambling.  And a lot I have to remember when the twins are grown up and I’m trying to give my opinions.

Bottom line is; our decision has been made.  And it’s what’s best for us.  And I’ve consulted multiple co-workers, friends, the internet, and other family members and it’s not like changing them into beds at this point is completely crazy.  They are over 2 and if we are concerned about them getting out, we need to do this. 

The twins even agree with us.  🙂  I’ve brought it up a couple of times since we made this decision.  I like to get them used to the idea of big changes before they happen.  I wouldn’t want to just spring this on them.  And that’s worked so far; we haven’t had any major drama when it comes to change in the past.

One night, we were in my bed because we always hide under the covers before we brush their teeth and put them in their cribs.  I asked them if they wanted a big-kid bed like mommy and daddy’s bed.  They were a little hesitant, but said yes.

Yesterday, we were playing and I brought it up again.  I asked if they wanted big-kid beds.  This time, it was a resounding YES!  NOW!  I said, you’ll have to say bye bye to the crib and get a big-kid bed in your own room……

Ariel said, “yes, mommy.  Big kid bed NOW.  BYE BYE CRIB NOW!  Need big kid bed in room.  2 blankets.  Bring all the guys and music?” (She’s referencing the 8 stuffed animals in her crib, plus her musical seahorse). 

I tell her, yes, of course you can have blankets and the guys and the music. 

She’s reassured.  “Ok Mommy.  Now!  Bye bye crib!”  (she waves to the ceiling).

I am laughing so hard, but I manage to tell her that she at least has to wait until we buy it.  🙂  So, that’s good.  For now they’re happy about it at least. 

I’ve also convinced Tim that we should let them pick out their own sheets.  We’re just going to use the fitted sheet for now I think, and then their loose blankets from their crib.  They move around a lot right now while they sleep, and I think having to try and make them face in just one direction with a tucked-in sheet and blanket wouldn’t really work. 

I found this suggestion on the internet about letting them pick out the sheets and I think that would be nice.  I want to get them each 3 sets because even now sometimes their diapers leak, or Will takes his diaper right off.  And when we start nighttime potty training we will definitely be changing sheets often.  Originally we were thinking just get 6 unisex ones, because we change Will’s sheets more often, but I like the idea of letting them pick.  I said, even if we use all of Will’s sheets up before I do laundry I’ll just stick some of Ariel’s on, who really cares?  She might not pick “girlie” ones anyway.  (Her favorite color seems to be blue right now….followed by green).

So we’re going to scope out the mattress situation tonight by ourselves.  We have convertible cribs but we need bedrails and mattresses.  Then tomorrow we will probably go sheet-shopping with the twins. 

I think my uncertainty…..brought to light by my parents……all comes down to that Catch-22.  I am SO excited to move them into new beds and take them shopping to buy new sheets and have Tim switch them over just after Christmas.  It’s so exciting to think about how much they’ve grown and changed in such a short amount of time.

But…….I am so saddened by the fact that my little, once literally teeny-tiny, babies are growing up.  I feel like crying, but I don’t know if they are tears of joy or sadness.  That’s the definition of Bittersweet I guess.  And the definition of Mommyhood/Childhood.  This is now.

THEN:  Things are kind of blurry when it comes to the time spent in the NICU.  The first few days, while I was in the hospital, I went downstairs as much as possible.  Actually, even the very first day, after I was “done” visiting (physically, not emotionally) we went back up to my room.  Our friends, Leslie and Brian were there.  So…back down to the NICU.  YAY!  I even walked.  Behind the wheelchair.  At 1 mile/hour. 

I just felt like I couldn’t get enough of them.  But I knew they needed their rest and so did I.  After Brian and Leslie left, Sarah showed up.  With Dinner!  From Chef’s!  Good thing too, because in the process of changing over my room the hospital staff forgot about my dinner.  I didn’t even mind that my spaghetti parm was kinda cold.  It was the best dinner ever.  My sister-in-law is so thoughtful.  🙂

And then of course Sarah wanted to visit the twins.  So, down we went again.  Each  time we would check and see what had happened in the last couple hours while we weren’t there.  They wrote down everything.  It was really very reassuring because they were obviously keeping very careful watch over my babies. 

It was really very calm in the NICU.  There was the steady beeping of the monitors, which in itself was reassuring.  The lights were dim.  There were multiple rocking chairs so you could sit and relax.  The nurses were nice and sweet and gentle and so good at explaining everything.  They each worked 12-hour shifts, 3 days on and 4 days off.  that way they were with the same babies for a 12 hour stretch, which was nice because then they knew what to watch for. 

I was feeling much better about this whole situation now that I got to see it for myself.  Plus, I was in the hospital for 2 more days.  I could just take a little walk down whenever I wanted.  Or stay there all day and night if I wanted.  They even told me that.  And a nurse would take me down if Tim wasn’t there.  They didn’t want me to walk by myself yet, but they would get me whenever I wanted and then take me back up.  It was nice to be taken care of.  That was then.

Whirlwind Weekend

NOW: We had such a flurry of activities and emotions going on this weekend! 

Saturday morning started with our normal swim class….although we were running a little late because Tim and I got up and exercised and then had to pack up the car for tree-hunting. 

We met our friends, Katie and Erich, for breakfast, and then we were on our way to the Field Of Dreams Tree Farm!  YAY! 

I had put the twins in boots because of the mud/snow and so they were very excited to be going outside.  Apparently BOOTS = OUTSIDE.  Makes sense.  When we got there, we were happy to see a small layer of snow on the ground.  This meant we could use our sled!  YAY!

We bundled the kids up in snow pants, hats, mittens, and scarves and plopped them on the sled.  I volunteered to pull them for a little while.  Big Mistake.  Why did I not realize that it was uphill?  I told Tim I shouldn’t have bothered getting up to exercise that morning, this should have counted.  Oh well, a little extra workout never hurt anyone, right?

So I’m pulling them up the path and we come to a fork in the road.  Now, let me tell you, we have been going to the same Tree Farm for the last few years now.  I knew we always went straight at the fork.  Tim insisted we go left and seemed so sure of himself that we all agreed.  Big mistake.  

Luckily the twins were THRILLED to be in the woods.   I pulled them on the path for a while, but then we decided to go off-roading a little bit.  By that time they decided to get out and proceeded to trip over every tree stump they could possibly find.  Not to mention getting stuck in brambles and hit in the face with tall weeds. 

Ariel was dantily moving each and every branch out of her way as she walked.  Oh my goodness, we were going  to be here all F%$#%ing day if this continued.  Will was just plowing through. 

We convinced them to let us pick them up.  I kept reminding Katie that she was the one who pitched the idea of bringing them.  Of course, she grabbed Ariel, and even taunted that I had to carry the heavier one.  Bitch.  🙂

So now I’m plowing through the brambles, trying not to trip with the boy in my arms who honestly now weighs at least 10 times as much as his normal 27 lbs.  Probably because he ate 1 and 1/2 pancakes, a piece of bacon, a scrambled egg, 2 pieces of toast, a sausage link, and had a full cup of milk with breakfast.  And some of Katie’s waffle.  Plus, his jacket and snow pants have to weigh like 20 pounds each I think.

 And he’s insisting that HE wants to pull the sled.  So, I have it draped around my arm, but then also draped around his arm so that he thinks he’s pulling it.  Of course, he also keeps wanted to manuver himself to peer over my shoulder and constantly reassures me “sled still there mommy.”  Ok, thanks bud.

We get back to a path and I practically drop him.  He probably would have bounced, but I might have would have felt bad.

Now, here’s where we realize for sure that we do not normally go left at the fork.  To the right of our path there is a very scary-looking foot bridge that I have never seen before in my life.  Tim now insists that we should have listened to him and gone straight at the fork.  I almost strangle him, but I still need him to cut down and drag a tree to my car.

Well, we have to cross the bridge now, he says.  Um.  No F-ing way.  It is over a small creek, no railings. and there’s a big sign that says “slippery when wet”.  No way.

Well, we had to.  Katie and Erich went first, with the empty sled.  Tim and I each carried a child.  It wasn’t really slippery.  But it was a little scary for someone who is afraid of heights and has a 2-year-old in their arms.  But of course we were fine.

All this while we were looking for trees, but Tim finally spotted one that might work for us.  It was 10 feet tall.  BUT, there was a big gap in the middle…..so we took the top half of the tree! 

Katie and Erich found one soon after we did.  We made our way back up to the front.  Luckily, we only had to drag the trees a short distance and then the workers came and got them with a four-wheeler, so we just had to get ourselves up front.  By now, the twins were done wandering, and just sat in the sled all the way back.  We paid for our trees, got some hot chocolate, and ate some yummy cookies Erich had made the night before.  It took some time to get the tree secured to the top of my car, but then we were on our way home!

Twins fell asleep for about 15 minutes on the way home.  🙂  We got them out and fed then lunch while we set up the tree and they watched safetly from their high chairs.  Then, we put them down for nap.  Will cried for a while, as usual, but then was quiet.  Ariel was talking to herself, as usual.  I left to do a little shopping.

Tim called me. 

Tim: Guess what else we need to buy for Christmas gifts?

Me: What?

Tim: Bed rails.  And Guard Rails.  Guess who just climbed out of the crib?

Me: Oh my gosh, is HE OK?!

Tim: Oh yes…..he’s fine…..SHE’S the one who climbed out!!!!!

Never would have guessed it.  Even Tim, when he heard the THUMP, went running into Will’s room and found him sound asleep.  It wasn’t until a couple seconds later, when he heard Ariel wailing, that he even figured out what had happened.  She was on the floor.  Crying, but fine.  Tim was a little shaken up. 

Then when he did go get Will, he discovered poop paintings again.  Poor Daddy.  He had a rough couple of hours.  So he was a little stressed. 

The next morning, there were more poop paintings.  So Tim had Will jump in the shower with me to get washed off.  I helped him clean up his room, and he went and got Ariel while I got dressed.  She’s screaming at the top of her lungs when he walks in; “NOOOOO, WANT UPPY MOMMY!!!!!!!”  So our morning started off a little stressful also.  Then they were fighting during breakfast, and dumping food on the floor.

We decided to call Mema and Papa to see if they’d babysit while we got some shopping done.  We just needed a break.  I put the lights on the tree while Tim entertained the twins with Elmo Saves Christmas.  Very cute movie!  They loved it.  Then, while we were out we started looking into our options for big-kid beds.  I’d rather change them over while I’m at home a little, so we were originally going to do it February break.  Looks like we might need to do it a couple months early.  I know she only fell out once, but I really don’t want to risk it now…..knowing that she knows that she can get out.  She’ll get over the scare in a few weeks, I’m sure. 

After finishing our shopping, and then going to a nice dinner at a new restaurant in the mall, Gordon Biersch, and having a beer, we went home refreshed.  And ready to put the ornaments on the tree with the twins.  We put Muppet Family Christmas in because we had watched it already, so we didn’t have to pay super-close attention and answer a million questions.  But they loved it the first time so we figured it would serve as an OK distraction while we put on some of the fragile ornaments.  Everything worked out very well.  After a while, Will started to get a little crabby because he was tired and Ariel wasn’t content with the stuffed ornaments we had deemed ok for her to put on, but we were almost done by that time anyway.  I love sharing all of these traditions with them now that they kinda understand what’s going on!  This is now.

THEN: My children were born at approximately 3 and a half pounds each.  Pretty good for 31 week twins actually.  When I was wheeled up to their incubators in the Dogwood room, I thought they were the smallest people I had ever seen.  They were so fragile-looking that I was almost afraid to touch them.  But I was their mother and I couldn’t be afraid.  Besides, Tim and our families had, and they were fine.

I went to see Will first, because he was closer to the door.  His lungs were a little more underdeveloped than his sister’s, so he had a CPAP machine and a mask on his face to help him maintain his oxygen levels.  It wasn’t helping him breathe, just making sure he got what he needed.  Other than that, he was hooked up to monitors in three different places.  A clip was on his foot, monitoring his heartbeat.  There were two different needles in his hands.  And there was a feeding tube down his throat.  He couldn’t open his eyes because of the mask.  He was so beautiful and precious and little.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, but I had to see his sister.

She was hooked up to all the same machines, except the CPAP.  She had been on the CPAP for a couple hours when she was first born but that was it.  I thought the’d be enclosed, but instead they were on heated platforms, surrounded by blankets.  They only had diapers on, so that they wouldn’t get too warm.

They couldn’t eat, that’s why they had the tubes.

They couldn’t regulatre their body temperatures, so they had the blankets and the heated pad.

They had to be monitored at all times and couldn’t be held yet.  All I could do was lightly stroke their backs or touch their hands and feet carefully to let them know that Mommy was there.   Finally.

That was then.