Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Self Love

Today, my Mom shared something with me that I wanted to share with all of you as well. It is so true, that you have to love yourself before you can fully love others. It begins with you. Appreciate yourself. Acknowledge yourself as someone who has everything to offer. Forgive yourself. And LOVE yourself.

Remember that when you wake up in the morning, and everything seems to not be going your way, that a fresh start can begin at any point in the day. Don't say, well I woke up this morning to a screaming kid, the realization that I had started my period, and an empty pot of coffee; so therefore the whole day is ruined and going to suck. Perhaps the morning was indeed suck-ish, but do your best to deal with it, get a handle on things, and then say to yourself "OK, lets start over". There will always be bumps in the road, big and small. Remind yourself that you can overcome them. And in the grand scheme of things, do the little bumps REALLY even matter?

The following is an excerpt from the book "Each Day a New Beginning".

"The struggle to love one another may be a daily one for us, and it is made more difficult because we are still stumbling in our attempts at self-love. Many of us have lived our whole adult lives feeling inadequate, dull, unattractive, fearing the worst regarding our relationships with others.

But this phase, this struggle, is passing. We see a person we like in the mirror each morning. We did a task or a favor yesterday that we felt good about. And when we feel good about our accomplishments, we look with a loving eye on the persons around us. Self-love does encourage other love.

Self-love takes practice. It's new behavior. We can begin to measure what we are doing, rather than what we haven't yet managed to do, and praise ourselves. Nurturing our inner selves invites further expression of the values that are developing, values that will carry us to new situations and new opportunities for accomplishments, and finally to loving the person who looks back at us every morning.

Self-love makes me vulnerable and compassionate towards others. It's the balm for all wounds; it multiplies as it's expressed. It can begin with my smile."

Monday, March 28, 2011

SPRING IS IN THE AIR!

MMMMM.....AHHHHHHH! That was a big deep breath (of fresh air) in case you were wondering. That's what I got to do today, FINALLY. The weather has been so dark, cold, drab, and depressing lately that I was starting to think this day would never come. But it was so nice out today! The sun was shining, it was warm, and the outdoors were calling my name. So I loaded the twins up in the double stroller, and threw Kyle in his tennis and his imitation Ray Ban's and we rolled outta here! We were able to take a nice, long, leisurely walk, and it felt so good. Just the food my soul has been craving lately. And also, the first time I took all of the kiddos on a stroll by myself. I see MANY more of these in our near future. There's just something about a beautiful Spring day, that makes your brain open up and allow the thoughts to flow through with far more ease. And those thoughts seems to have more rationale and logic. Anyway, like I said....food for the soul. Here are some photos from our stroll today :)






The neighbor guy saw us stopping to smell the *flowers* and offered to cut us a few. So here is my little handsome with a beautiful bouquet. Come to think of it, I could see many more of these shots in my future as well. Strapping young son, bouquet of flowers pointed in my direction. And I have 3 sons, so YAY for me!




So cool. The coolest, in fact.


Bryce above, Devin below. I know it looks like I edited his eyes, but I SWEAR I didn't. Their eyes are just naturally amazing :)



HAPPY SPRING MONDAY :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Don't Forget to Remember

11:15 pm last night, I finally make it to bed. 11:30pm, one of the babies starts fussing and I realize that he isn't going to settle himself back down. So I get up and head to the nursery to tend to him. Put a binkie in his mouth, pat his little back for a minute, and he falls back asleep. Because I had only been in bed for about 15 minutes, I hadn't really even fallen asleep yet. The woman's brain is much different from the man's brain, in that a man can shut his mind off and fall asleep in about ten seconds flat. While a woman lays in bed for 30 minutes, or upwards of an hour, or more before her mind finally settles and she can fall asleep. So, after 15 minutes of being in bed, my woman's brain was still buzzing with thoughts and I was far from asleep. My mind was still somewhat sharp, and not in the "its 4am and I would be lucky if I have accomplished more than 30 minutes of sleep yet tonight" complete delirium mode.

As I stood over my youngest twin's crib, making sure that he had completely fallen back asleep, I felt a sudden overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. Something hit me, and I took a moment to look around the room and feel it. Everything felt whimsical. Like in a dream. The soft and gentle dim lighting that radiated throughout the entire space, highlighting every grove and curve on those sweet babies' faces. The cribs positioned at opposing sides of the room, directly beside their individual dressers. Dressers upon which their little stuffed animals sit and watch over them throughout the night. It was exactly how I had always pictured the room that my newborn baby would reside in. Only, I had 2 babies residing in this one. Exactly what I had never pictured. That fact, that there were two, amplified the feeling. The nostalgia. I thought in that moment, that I never want to forget this. Ever. Ever ever.

Of course we take pictures, and videos. But nothing can compete with a person's memory. A parent's memory. Because memory has the ability to record imagery, which cannot be captured in a photo or a video.

There's something about cliche's. They always seem to present themselves in abundance during times where emotions are magnified. "Don't forget to remember the small things". "You're gonna miss this". "It goes by so fast, and then you look back and ask -Where did the time go?-". That's why you cant forget to remember. To take in those little moments and bank them in your memory. Absorb every second, because its true, the cliches are so true. And you never want to forget. Never, ever ever.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sleep - So THAT'S what normal is!

I think I have made it pretty widely known that our kids are all bad sleepers. The twins at 8+ months old, are still insanely tough. As I said before, we see every hour on the clock throughout the night. Baby fusses...we let them fuss until we know they wont settle down and will wake the other baby, so we go to them. Put a binkie in their mouth, roll them on their side, pick them up, give them a bottle....etc. Its odd that the nights go so terribly, when during the day we sleep train them and they are champs through it! Devin has even gotten to the point where, when we lay him down, about 50% of the time he doesn't even whine or fuss or whimper....just rolls over and snuggles into his blanket and goes to sleep. So I know they GET IT. They CAN do it! At night, they don't "wake up"..they barely even open their eyes. They don't try to be "awake" and playful...just high maintenance! So, that's what our normal has been.

*BUT* last night......was a miracle! So big of a deal that I am actually doing a blog post about it! Here's how the night went down. Each baby had a bottle around 9 and they both went to bed at 9:30. Kyle went to bed at 10. The babies SLEPT ALL THE WAY UNTIL 2AM, without ever waking us once! And they woke at the same time, so I took Bryce and gave him a bottle, and Todd took Devin and gave him a bottle. They went right back to sleep and then SLEPT THE REST OF THE NIGHT UNTIL 7:15!!!! BOO-YA!

I know most every parent reading this is going...seriously? That's the big darn deal?? But it SO is a big deal. And I'm pretty well certain that by making a big deal of it all, I will completely jinx myself for this coming night, but I just couldn't keep it to myself. Besides, I know that most parents of multiples (with the exception of Samantha-who, lucky duck, has the easiest twins ever) COMPLETELY relate!

So, celebrate with us...It is a BIG deal :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

In God I trust

I grew up in a "non church-attending family". We didn't give thanks before every family meal, we didn't attend church every Sunday, and we didn't say a prayer before bed each night. My parents did however, instill in us the faithfulness of God. The fear of Him was always there. My Dad used to say something that will always stick with me, "I don't think that God is going to punish me for spending the weekend at a rodeo or a soccer game with my kids, instead of going to church". I couldn't agree more. To be honest, I am thankful for the way we were brought up, regarding "religion". We were given just enough information, but it was never crammed down our throats. It was that whole, "you can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink" idea. They guided us in that direction, but gave us enough space to explore, and calculate a notion for ourselves. It allowed us the space to have those moments, that even the most devout still have (even if they don't admit to it), where we are unfaithful. Where we question. Where 2+2 does not equal 4, and we want to know why! I've heard, in more faithful groups, that we are taught to never ask why, and just to know that He has a plan. But certain things, sometimes, don't fit into the plan. You cant imagine, how...your best friend dying of cancer, could be part of the plan. Or your neighbor's son taking his own life before he even had time to live it, could be part of the plan. Or how a serviceman, doing nothing but good for his family and his entire country, dying a slow and painful death at the hand of an enemy, could be part of the plan. Right? We all have to wonder.

For a split second when I was in college, I went through one of those unfaithful, questionable phases. I was all "Darwinism all the way!". My brain was in mathematical, numerical mode. There had to be a black and white answer for everything or I wasn't going for it. Not-one-bit! I look back at that time, and I don't feel like God is unhappy with me for experiencing that. Because I came back around. As He knew I would. And I am glad that I went through that as well. It gave deeper meaning to the things that did make sense.

In recent, post-college, times...I have found more solace in the unanswered and undefined things. And here is where I digress (forewarning). Shortly before my husband and I got married, I got pregnant. And while it was the right time for us to get married, it was not the right time for us to have a baby. But we were ecstatic and ready to rise to the occasion. I waited probably too long to make my first OB appt, because I had no idea what I was doing, and for some reason thought that you were suppose to wait until the 3 month mark was in closer perspective. So I went in, when I thought I was 11 weeks along. 2 days before our wedding. It was a Thursday. I went alone, because again, I didn't know! When the doctor did an in-room ultrasound, he discovered that the baby had no heart beat. It wasn't wiggling and moving around the way an 11 weeker should be. But I didn't know what to look for. All I knew was that I saw a little baby on the monitor, and it was mine, and I was going to be a Mommy! I was still grinning from ear to ear when the Dr. so coldly said, "This fetus doesn't have a heartbeat". First of all, how dare you call my child a "fetus". Secondly.......nothing. I got nothing. Just tears. I didn't even know what to ask. Didn't know what to say. I just wanted him to leave so that I could go sit by myself and let the feelings come. Cry, weep, curse, do whatever I needed to do. And then recompose myself to find out what I needed to do next. And, tell my husband. I thought I had myself together when I called him, but when he answered the phone, I just cried so hard that I couldn't even talk. Can you imagine what he must have felt? He was scared to death and didn't know what was wrong. I finally choked it out, and then he had to process the way I just had. Anyway, the next morning I had a D & C. And 24 hours after that I married the man of my dreams.

We got through that, and I am sure I don't need to go into how that was another one of my "unfaithful" moments. And then 3 years and a couple of months later, I went to my first OB appt (with a different, less heartless doctor) with what I thought was my second child. I had another in-room ultrasound, and when this Dr. said "ummmmmm...." with a questionable look on her face, my heart DROPPED and I could feel the tears start to well up. And then she said "I think there are two". THAT, those mere 15 seconds, was the most gigantic emotional shift, I have EVER felt. And once I was able to process that...I realized, that it all made sense. That this was indeed, all part of God's plan. He knew the timing was all wrong for us to have a baby the first time, and the result was a miscarriage. And then, when we LEAST expected it, He gave us back what we had lost, and we were having twins. TWINS. To become siblings to our gorgeous firstborn son, Kyle. To complete our family.

I still see the world as one big teeter-toter. Where equilibrium and balance is key, and without those things, everything else would get all out of whack. So that is how I make it make sense. You have to take the good with the bad. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction (thank you Newton). I'm very scientifically driven. But I have found a balance. Where I can calculate events, I can question them, and I might understand the outcome, or I might not. But I allow my brain to still look at the idea of God through scientific, mathematical, and numerical eyes. I understand it that way. I can be a better Christian that way. So I am thankful for what I have gone through, all of the good and all of the bad. And I plan to raise my kids the way I was raised. We will guide them, and they will know the Lord. We will introduce them to Him, and then we will let them each develop their own relationship with Him. As for my relationship with God....we understand each other. Its not exactly conventional, but it works and is desirable :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Five Things

Hellohellohello. I'm so sorry I have been MIA in the blogger world lately. You know when you have one of those weeks (or months, or even years!) where life seems to be throwing bucket after bucket of nails at you? And its all you can do to dodge them, but eventually you just get worn out and decide to let them stick, feel the pain, accept it, heal and move on.... Ok, that may have been the weirdest analogy I have ever come up with, but the point is.....the past week has been one of THOSE weeks. I could go on and on about it, and bore you to death with the whiney details, but instead you can just thank me for sparing you of them.

Anyway, just for the record....I write each blog as ideas or topics come to me. I do not sit around drumming up ideas for a new post (like I have the time for that!). Generally an idea will come to me while I am doing some mindless, mundane chore...ie. dishes, laundry, bills (yes I can daydream and pay bills at the same time. How's that for multi-tasking?!). So while I was doing dishes the other morning, with the sound of some obnoxious song by the uber UNtalented Fresh Beat Band blasting off in the background, I thought of a few things that I hated. I know, hate is a strong word. Fits perfectly right next to "The Fresh Beat Band". Its a phase. I hate it now. Next week or month it will be something else. Same goes for things that are currently making me ten-different-forms-of-GIDDY. Things I'm lovin'...in layman's terms. So here is my bright idea. This blog is about the top five things I'm lovin' and the top five things I'm hatin'....right now. Enjoy :-)

Oh...And, I would love to hear some of the things you all are lovin' or hatin' right now too! Do share!

FIVE THINGS I'M HATIN'

1) Strangers who pass us by when we are out in public with all 3 kids, and say "You've got your hands full". Nooooooooooo! You think??! And shut up. Because that is about ALL you can judge from the cover of this book! So there are like fifteen different come backs I have in my head for this remark. None of which escape in a single breath from my lips. But my hubby, the wise ass that he is in a situation like that, usually responds with a deeply sarcastic "We haven't hear THAT before!". I know. We are jerks. But there is no alternative when you've heard that statement 3 times in a 5 minute time frame, all in one aisle of a store!

2) The Fresh Beat Band. I have no idea why Kyle is interested in this show, other than the fact that it is all about music and dancing. And he LOVES music. But I am siiiiiiicccckkkk of it. I'm just not a fan of having the "there's no problem we cant solve" song humming in my head all.day.long. I feel like ripping those 4 obnoxious little peeps out of the TV and forcing them to tolerate a weeks worth of nights with my twins and then saying "Solve THIS Fresh Beats!".

3) The drab, cold, dark winter. I'm over it. Having a gigantic influx of spring fever. Ready to get the kids out and into the sunshine. I have been crammed within these 4 walls for the past 8 1/2 months, we all have....and I am over it! Bring on the light and the heat!

4) Daylight savings time. More importantly, loosing an hour of potential sleep (if the twins decided to have a major fluke of a night and allow us to even realize the prior extra hour even existed). But yeah. Such bogus!

5) Post babIES body. While breastfeeding twins, I never had to even think about it. In fact, all I really thought about in regards to this was how I could make myself eat more. Eat eat eat! Obviously that doesn't translate well to the non-breastfeeding body. I tell ya...it was the coolest feeling in the world to keep dropping pants sizes and not be trying in the least to do so! The butt just got smaller and the boobs just got bigger. YES PLEASE! But, newsflash...it all reverts back :(

FIVE THINGS I'M LOVIN'

1) PANDORA. Need I say more? Ok, guess so. Hubby turned me onto it a couple of weeks ago and now I feel like I cant live without it. Freakin' cool! Loving some Sugarland, Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood, Heart, and Joan Jett radio :) Plus more!

2) Blogging and Photography. My MAJOR outlets right now. Both things are making me feel like I actually possess some talent, that doesn't revolve around homemaking, horses, or academics.

3) White Mocha Freeze. I've never been a big coffee drinker, but if I'm going to have it...its gotta be this. And no I'm not partial to any particular coffee stand. Any wmf from any place will do. But, if the barista so much as forgets to amp the thing up with lots of caffeine, Ohhhhhhhh! She'd better!....Or Else! Well. Ok, so I probably wouldn't do anything. Not my style. I would just end up back down there with circles around my eyes two shades darker then they were the first time I was down there, a greater stench to the smell of my hair and shirt-now that I have had enough time to get a banana smushed all over me, and $3.75 less in my wallet. But sometimes, the caffeine...its sooooo worth it.

4) Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. They are the best shows ever-on-TV-period. So yeah, even though it takes me an entire week to watch them...and that's with fast forwarding through the commercials (thank you tivo)...I love them. Its my Mommy self indulgence right now.

5) Date Nights. We have been making a point to do everything in our power to make time once a week for each other, away from the house. To nurture our marriage. After all, that is where it all began. We wouldn't have all of this without every bit of that.

So. Notice that I listed the negative things first and the positive things last. Because I wanted to end the post on a good note. We need to remind ourselves to do that in our day to day lives too. You cant not complain. Everyone needs to vent and let the steam release and escape. But you still need to remind yourself of all of the blessings you have. The positives that are in your life. I assure you, the positives will outweigh the negatives. They WILL. And at the end of the day, that is ALL that matters anyway. The blessings.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Twin Talk Tuesday

8 MONTHS AND COUNTING!

So today is the first of March. Which means the twins are 8 months old! And it is also a Tuesday...so I just had no choice but to do Twin Talk Tuesday :)

Thinking of everything that has happened in our lives in the past 8 months really sets my heads spinning. Life has changed drastically, to say the least. At 8 months old, the twins really are doing amazingly well and are thriving little babies. I NEVER use that expression "its easier" because easy has NOTHING to do with it. I will be honest. It is still HARD. Really hard. But it is far less excruciating than it was in those earlier months. Maybe our "twins" experience would have felt a bit more comprehensible, had our little guys not had issue after issue. It took us the first 5 months to discover that they were cow milk *sensitive*. Not allergic...just sensitive. So I had to stop breastfeeding them and we put them on soy formula. And that changed our worlds so much for the better. And then they both started teething their bottom teeth. By 7 1/2 months they each had both of their bottom teeth. And immediately after that they both got colds. Just your regular, typical, seasonal cold. They had about a 2 day break from that and then they both got REALLY BAD colds. A different type of cold that was heartbreaking to watch them weather. Bryce had absolutely no voice. When he cried you couldn't hear a sound except heavy breathing. It was all just sooooo sad. But they are finally over that, and now they are teething top teeth. UGH....kiiiillll meeee nowwwww! So that's where we are. At the point where things should seem relatively normal. And normal is relative of course! But its our normal. As normal as it will get at this point for us. It means that, while so many things are still here-there-and-everywhere and occur according to nothing but randomness, there is some consistency and a few things we can count on and schedule around.

We felt like when Kyle hit the 9 month mark, things started changing rapidly and it was nothing but FUN. I can see the same pattern developing with the twins. Its Coming. They are doing SO MUCH now and we are enjoying them endlessly :) Here's what is happening with them....

DEVELOPMENTAL/COMMUNICATION: Just in this past week, Devin said his first 2 words. I know...your thinking "Oh riiiiiggghht, your 8 month old baby is talking -- ok, maybe you are as sleep-deprived as you say you are". And you are certainly right about the sleep deprivation part, But he IS talking. Remember, I have done this before...I am perfectly capable of differentiating between the babbling, muh muh muh and dah dah dah and bah bah bah, and actual words. And he said them. 2 of them. Mah-Mah and Dah-Dah. He said Dada first, I concede....so you win Dear. But just 2 days later he said Mama. I know he said the "words" because Devin is not as much of a talker and babbler as Bryce. When he says something he means it and doesn't want to talk unless he has to. Typical guy. He says Mama whenever he fusses and sees me. He reaches his arms out toward me and says Mama. He ALWAYS reaches when he says it and only says it to me. Same with his Dad. He says Dada when he wants his Dad's attention or just wants him period. So he said his first 2 words. Dada and Mama. AWESOME!!! All of the hard work we put into taking care of them in the earlier months was like putting deposits in the bank, and once you start having moments like the first smiles, first laughs, first words, etc....those are your withdrawals. When you really feel like you are getting paid back for everything you put in. We are having lots of those moments now :)

Clapping. They have been clapping for about a month and a half now. It is quite early for that so we are thrilled :) If we clap and tell them to "clap clap clap" they do it. Pretty simple. They also just clap randomly whenever they feel like it.

Waving. Devin started waving this week. ~Quick interjection: Devin is usually a couple of weeks ahead of Bryce on most things, so when Dev does something new we know its about 2 weeks before Bryce will start doing it too~ So if we wave at him and say Hi or Bye Bye, he waves too. The open-and-close-hand-repeatedly wave, not the actual wave wave. Adorable!

EATING: They are AMAZING eaters. On some days, they individually give Kyle a run for his money on food intake. I'm not even kidding! Its crazy to me because Kyle has never been a big eater. He wouldn't eat ANY meat until he was 15 mos old. And anything with a texture...even something as simple as oatmeal....he would gag on and regurgitate. Are you getting a clear enough picture? :) But the twins eat everything. Except the usual things you have to avoid until a year old (wheat, dairy, citrus, fish, nuts, strawberries, etc) and major choking hazards. They will eat any meat. Shredded chicken, hamburger, lunch meat. As well as things like pasta, rice, refried beans, green beans, bananas, etc. And the containers of baby food. And finger foods/snacks :) Like I said, Great eaters.

SLEEPING: Ohhhhhh...maybe I shouldn't touch on this topic :-/  Ok...here's whats up. Still having a miserable time with them at night. Let's just say that both of us see every single hour on the clock, and sometimes multiple times. As in, we get up when the hour hand is on the 11, 12, 1 ,2, 3, 4, 5, 6. You get it. Yea, its like worse than some newborns. 8 months later. Its all we can do to keep our sanity and THIS is why. During the day things go MUCH smoother. They nap consistently 3 times a day and at the same time. And usually Kyle naps along with them during their 2nd nap, around 12 or 1. Triple nap time! This is the only thing keeping my brain from turning to mush. Well, its already mushy like jello because of the lack-of-sleep, but this is keeping it from becoming mushy like soggy cereal. I have been doing sleep training, finally. I think this is why days go so great. I wait to put them down until they are totally rubbing their eyes and smashing their little faces into my shirt. Cuddling with them and loving on them while they are sleepy and getting tired, before laying them down, makes me more willingly and able to accept the sleep training. I feel like I am letting them know and understand that I love them dearly and this is just to make everyone's life easier. Having that sweet and tender moment before makes me a little more ok with actually letting them cry themselves to sleep. Even though it goes against my every instinct. I know it is practically mandatory for them and for us, but its still hard. They only cry for 5-10 minutes typically and then fall right asleep. So they are handling it magnificently.

TWIN INTERACTION: This is what people always want to know about. Its that whole twin thing, the thing we will be challenged by for their entire lives. People want to know more about what their interactions are with each other as twins, and are far less concerned with their individual accomplishments and milestones. There are no hard feelings...I'm sure people don't even realize they are doing it. And its neat...the twin interaction thing. It truly is. But we will always struggle to maintain a balance between respecting them as individuals and celebrating the gift of them being twins.

So anyway. Yes, we are starting to see a lot of Twin interactions.

If one cries, it sets the other one off and he cries.

If we pick one up, the other one will start fussing and reaching out for us too.

They fight over toys. If they are playing side by side, they always want the toy that the other one has. And of course, they cry when the other twin takes the toy. This is just a sibling thing period.

They still hold hands. And now they chew on each other's extremities. Well...mostly Bryce chews on Devin :)

So I know that as soon as we figure out the nights, things will seems like they made a huge turn around. It feels good now, other than that part. Its feels like the twins are really functioning as part of the family now. I know that sounds weird, because obviously they have been part of the family since they were born. But other than being cute and lovable, they didn't interact with all of us. And now, they are involved and taking part in everything we do. When we eat, they eat with us...the same things mostly. We play together with toys on the floor. They laugh at Kyle jumping around entertaining them while I cook dinner. Its less of us changing our routine, or forgetting it altogether, just to take care of their needs....and more of them now partaking in what we are doing and fitting into our routine. Hopefully that makes sense! They are the sweetest little guys and we love them to death. Its hard to believe that in just 4 short months, we will be celebrating their 1st birthday!

And lastly....we STILL do not know if they are identical or fraternal. They look soooooo alike its crazy. We just haven't determined whether its that they are identical or that its just strong genetics :) What do you think??....



Either way...they are adorable, gorgeous, 8 month old baby boys!