Thursday, May 24, 2012

Seven Months!!!

A couple days late, my loves, because as you know- we're living in a war zone and the viral enemy is by far winning at this juncture.  Alas, I'm proud to say we got a photo shoot in at all this month!

Just like every month thus far in your lives, I sit here scratching my head, wondering how the calendar could be right.  You can't be seven months old already!  That's over the hump- we're downhill to the big "One" now and I can't wrap my mind around it.

But as I watch you both grow into the amazing little people that you are, I know that while it's going too fast, it's all too real.  Such a beautiful whirlwind!

Grace Face, my little Who!

Yes, I said it.  You, my dear, are our little Who...ya know, like from Whoville. You had all of those cute Who features as a newborn and I loved to trace the swoop of your nose with my finger as you sleepily passed the day in that newborn phase.  And then as you started to grow,  your little nose kept that swoop and I got to see your little Who personality start to shine as well.  Now, in your seventh month,  you're no less Who...and maybe even moreso than those early days!! And I couldn't love it more.

The best thing about this month has been your ever increasing smiles!  You wrinkle that brilliant little nose, glance in our directions, and shine the brightest little wrinkled smile there ever was.  You're incredibly active and oh-so-curious, so you seem to be always looking for the next thing to spark that smile.  I love it.

Your adorable hair has grown a bit longer this month, but still in every direction but down!  You look so cute with your spikey hair and your beautiful blue eyes!

This month you had your first solid foods!! It's been a lot more fun than I anticipated feeding both you and your brother.  While you have been a bit shy about trying most of the food, you've started to take to it a little more just recently and you seem to even like some of it!  So far you've had rice cereal, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, and bananas!  Your favorite is by far the bananas...sweet tooth, much? The rest of it all started with more of a curious but disinterested sentiment on your behalf.  You're warming up to it, we'll see what happens next month! 

You're still eating predominantly formula, taking right now about six ounces four times per day and seven ounces twice per day. Usually you eat less than that, though.  You get rice cereal in the morning usually at daycare and we usually (when we have time) give you some pureed vegetables in the evening before bedtime. We'll be starting more fruits this month!  I'm not making your food, which I'm not too surprised about (I had hoped...but life is just way too busy right now), but you're getting mostly organic jar food.

You've been going through a growth spurt recently, but you haven't really grown much at all little lady! You're still a very petite little girl, weighing probably just over 16 pounds. You're wearing 6 month clothes and don't seem to be needing anything else anytime soon.  The funny thing about all of it is that your feet are as big as your brother's!!  I wonder if you're going to go through some sort of crazy growth spurt at some point and shock us all.  For now, I'm happy with my tiny little princess. 

A new favorite pass-time for you is sucking on your bottom lip.  You'll sit up (you're so good at sitting now!) and rock back and forth a bit like you're dancing, then start sucking on your lower lip to the same beat as you're rocking! It gets me every time!!!

We've had a great time exploring this month.  You want to get your hands on anything that I'll let close enough to your grip, like your spoon! You want to feed yourself most of the time, which means food ends up everywhere but your mouth. 

You really love the paper towel dispenser in the kitchen.  If I'm holding you as I walk anywhere near it, you reach out for it, demanding I take you closer. At which point, you proceed to try and rip all of the paper towels off and get the top silver piece in your mouth!

I don't think this is going to be a temporary thing for you, my curious little one.  I think you're going to be our explorer, always ready to get your hands on the next new thing! With that said,  you still have your shy streak, and you take a little while to warm up to most people before you've decided whether you'll keep your tears to yourself.  But once you've warmed up,  you're such a happy girl! And you love to play, especially in your jumper!  You've figured out how to really bounce in it and you go to town bouncing up and down to high, it's the greatest! You get really happy when you're bouncing. You are absolutely our mover and shaker, little miss.  You're actually a bit ahead of your developmental milestones when it comes to motor skills, although your brother seems to have more of the verbal tendencies at this point.

We haven't gone swimming this month at all, but we've had plenty of other adventures.  My favorite was my first Mother's Day!  You and your brother got me cards and a beautiful necklace, and Daddy let me know it was your idea to take me out to brunch.  I love showing you two off, and everyone just adores you. How could they not?

Gracie, I've had so much fun watching you grow this month.  While I was very sad to see you with your first cold and ear infection from daycare, you've been so happy through it all.  I can always count on a beautiful smile when I pick you up from daycare or anytime I come to grab you off of your playmat.  You love to be held and I absolutely love holding you.  I can't tell you how lucky I feel to have you, my love.  You're the best little girl out there, and I can't believe you're mine.  I love you with all of my heart!

Mr. Caleb, my big man!

Oh buddy, another rough month for the health side of things is in the books...but another amazing month full of smiles and lots of laughs came right along with it! How you manage to stay so happy through all of the junk you've been through is beyond me.  I'm so proud of you every single day!

You've had your tough days where I knew you had to be feeling just horrible. If I can't get a smile out of you in the morning,  I know you feel bad. You're always so smiley, especially in the mornings! Recently, anytime you see Daddy you're beyond thrilled about it and make sure he knows.  You even let out your one-syllable chuckle just when he looks at you.  But when he tickles you, you can't hold in that adorable belly laugh!!

As much as I hate to write it out, I want to remember how tough you are with all of the different bugs you've been dealing with!  Just after you turned six months old,  you started having some pretty bad diarrhea.  Your sister got it too, but she was throwing up and you never did.  Hers went away in about two days, so we figured the same with you.  Three weeks later, you were still having diarrhea.  You got a horrible diaper rash because you were just pooing all the time and sometimes at night when you wouldn't wake up. We tried everything and eventually had you on a four-cream regimen that included diaper changes every two hours at night and hourly during the day.  All of these diaper changes were with a spray bottle and air drying, so needless to say, Mommy got pooped and peed on quite a bit!  Then came the blood in your stool. This was so alarming to me so we called the doctor but they said if it isn't recurring, it's ok. Two days later you woke up with pink eye in both eyes and more blood in your stool.  I took you in and sure enough you also had double ear infections! I could not have felt more horrible for you.  You were in such a sad state, I've never seen you so worn out and down. We got you on antibiotics and were told to keep an eye on the blood.  A few days later I brought you back to the doctor because the blood was occurring more frequently and you were refusing your bottles. That was the first time they sent us to the hospital.  They were concerned about a problem with your intestines because of the prolonged diarrhea and the particularly alarming consistency of it.  You had to do x-rays and ultrasounds and way too much blood work.  I was there with you the whole time and you sat in my lap as they put in your IV and did the ultrasounds. You were so mad and I felt so helpless watching you scream. Luckily the IV perked you up a bit and all of the tests came back negative.  Unfortunately, a couple days later you still weren't eating and then you got a really bad cough that kept you up all night so it was back to the doctor.  They sent us back to the hospital, this time to be admitted overnight, because you were having trouble breathing and the doctor was concerned about dehydration again.

I spent the night with you in the hospital, rocking you and trying to make you feel better in any way I knew how.  They tried four times to get an IV into your tiny veins but couldn't do it and I asked them to stop.  You were miserable, and it had taken 30 minutes of you screaming non-stop as they continued to poke you and wiggle the IV line to try and get your vein.  I had gotten you to eat just before that so I asked to keep trying the bottle instead.  Thank goodness you started eating again, I couldn't see you go through that anymore.  The nurses were grateful as well, they were at a loss for what to do for you when the third nurse couldn't get the IV in as well.  You turned out to not need any breathing treatments other than some steroids as most of you congestion was up in your nose and throat and not in your chest.  After one night in the hospital they sent us home with instructions to continue the antibiotics for another week.  Turned out you had croup on top of everything else.  Poor, poor little man.

I tried to explain to all of the nurses just how happy you usually are, none of them had seen my bright eyed little bubba! About ten minutes before they discharged us, I was playing with you in the hospital crib and I got a great big smile out of you.  A nurse walked in just a couple minutes later and I made her stop to watch you and she was blown away by your handsome smile!  Your cheeks are the things of dreams, little man.  I just want to chew on them they're so chubby and cute!  Everyone commented on how big you were and a couple of the staff thought you were already over a year old! 

I have been in complete denial about how big you're getting. I'm still trying to fit you into 9 month size pajamas!  You're already starting to outgrow a few of the 12 month outfits that I finally bought for you, so I probably need to change out your pj's as well!  You're eating six ounces four times per day and eight ounces twice per day.    You LOVE solids and will gobble down your share and usually your sister's leftovers as well.  The only time you've struggled to eat is when you're really, really sick, otherwise you're my hungry little man.  You still have a little bit of that thrusting reflex I think, so a lot of the food ends up on your chin, but we get it in there eventually.

You still wake up at 4am for food, but recently you've been waking up a whole lot at night with how sick you've been. I don't feel comfortable letting you cry in your crib, so whoever is on baby duty for the night usually ends up taking you out into the living room and sleeping with you on the couch on and off until morning.  We've given you your binky back a lot recently with the hospital visits and the very sad little man moments.  It's been hard not just giving it back to you at night, but the couple of times that I have you just end up crying for it every thirty minutes or so, you can't seem to figure out how to keep it in your mouth or putting it back once it's fallen out. 

Developmentally you're pretty on track.  You're our talker where your sister is the mover.  You still haven't been able to sit up on your own besides a few seconds of tripod'ing here and there.  You're not really all about standing either, although I can get you to do it for a little while if you're in the mood. But oh how you love to roll over from your back to your tummy.  You've taken to sleeping on your side a lot now, but sometimes you'll sleep on your tummy. A lot of the time once you get there, you just get mad about it and want help rolling back to your back. I know you can do it, but I guess you choose not to! :)  You've also achieved one major milestone first, you got your first two teeth! They're fully in now and they're so cute. Your smile has taken on a whole new shine with those two bottom teeth sticking out.  But man, those things are sharp!

You absolutely love to babble! You have this high squeaky voice when you get excited and you make the cutest oooh aaah eeeeeh weeeeh aaaah sounds! I haven't heard you do many consonants other than the occasional W or B, but I love it all!

I'm so enamored by your sweet little personality and your happy go lucky ways, little man.  I have so much fun watching you grow and change, getting more bubbly as the days pass.  I couldn't be more proud of you or feel more lucky to have you as my little boy.  I love you so very, very much!

Luckies, I want to freeze these beautiful moments with you!  I never want to see you sick, so as long as we're out of those dark days, I am loving every single minute of this time with you.  I hope you know how much you both mean to me and how incredibly in awe of you I am.  Thank you for making my life so bright.  You fill me with unbelievable amounts of joy, my little ones.  I love you both more than you'll ever know!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WWW...I'm baaack!

Oh how I missed, no actually that's not right. No, I hate you WWW.  You wanna know why? Cuz this mama bear is WEAK.  And fessing up to my weaknesses, my failures, this is not my favorite thing. 

Alas, I'm here, called out in all of my 7 weeks of laziness glory by the lovely and oh-so-correct Josie.  Busy much? Why yes, thank you.  Six month old twins.  Check.  First month back at work. Check. Illnesses running rampant through our house. Check. I hate daycare.

All of this is absolutely no excuse to forget about me (at least not a good excuse...).  As much as I hate the accountability sometimes, I really need it.  So here's a very quick recap (mama's tired and it's my night to be on baby duty...with a son who is rocking out a not-so-fun cough and some serious diarrhea, it's not going to be fun for either of us) of what I've been up to.

1. I have some health issues.  Shocker, right?  Take a look up at my blog summary and you'll get a brief picture, but it gets better.  Now they're thinking no on the Hashimoto's. Yes on Grave's disease.  This means pills, maybe surgery...maybe some radiation.  Either way, it's me thinking about my health again and I hate that.  I've also been on a wild goose chase trying to figure out what's going on with my very elevated liver enzymes.  Now they're thinking maybe related to the Grave's?  Lots of tests and scans later, they're not sure.  Plain and simple.

2. My son isn't sleeping.  We did CIO and broke the binky habit about a month ago and after four days of rough bedtimes, naps, and middle of the nights, he started sleeping! And sleeping well!  He was happier, we were happier.  All was right in the world.  Not and easy decision, but so, so right for us in the end.  Well, about two weeks later, he started teething.  Up a lot, and I couldn't justify CIO when he was in pain.  Then about a week later, he got a horrific diaper rash.  Again, up all night (now pooing three times per night??!?! what IS this???) and no CIO for a baby in pain!  Then he got sick- Hand, Foot, and Mouth.  No CIO.  Then the diaper rash came back and the diarrhea started.  That's where we're at. The tough part is him not having a binky. That was a tough habit to break and I struggled to decide whether I should give it back to him when he was in pain/sick, but decided that making him break the habit again was just as cruel.  And it turns out, he's sick all the time.  Sad, but true now.  So it's really hard to soothe him in the middle of the night now.  Especially when he's sick :(

3. I did a juice fast.  This one relates back to #1.  I needed to cleanse. I needed to detox, try to get a little self-healing going.  I was hoping it would help my liver.  Maybe even my thyroid.  I fasted for 4 days!  It was great! I was hungry the first day, but then settled in and it really helped me understand "hunger" and how my mind is responding much more than my body.  It was such a good experience.  I would have loved to go a little longer, but life got in the way and I felt good about 4 days. I'm sure I'll do it again someday, but I was pleased with the 8 pounds I lost in 4 days.

4. I put seven of those pounds back on within one week of stopping the fast.  However, I started to lose a little bit again and I'm back down to within two pounds of my low fasting weight.  I'm doing a much better job of eating healthy now after my fast and I don't crave the sweets as bad as I used to!

5. I stopped exercising when I stopped sleeping. Period.  The health stuff wasn't helping- with the Grave's my resting heart rate was rocking out at around 95bpm, yikes. I was an athlete, my resting heart rate used to be around 45, and more recently around 55. 95 is bad.  Very bad. And without the sleep, I'm in super paranoid mode about getting sick.  I've already gotten sick twice since we started daycare about 3 weeks ago and it's no fun to be sick with two kids.  I'm torn about starting back up again. I want to feel good and lose weight, but I want to avoid illness and not push my body too hard.  Three broken hours of sleep isn't condusive to working out, or "health" in general.

6. I started birth control today!  Yes, I've been trying to start the pill for about 3 months now.  I am deathly afraid of my endometriosis running rampant again and I was starting to feel more and more twinges, cramps, and that all too familiar upset stomach after I weaned from pumping about a month and a half ago.  I wasn't allowed to start until I got more answers about my liver tests.  I finally got the go ahead from the liver specialist with the caveat that I have to be seen every 3 months.  I'll take it at this point.

Ok, there you have it. Here's the stats and cheers to starting back up again. Thanks Josey!

Starting Weight: 205
Last Week's Weight: 203
Current Weight: 200.4
Goal Weight: 180

Starting BMI: 27
Last Week's BMI: 26.8
Current BMI: 26.4

1. Reiterate my goal and where I stand in reference to this goal:
I've got about 20 pounds to go and I'm feeling a little stuck with the lack of exercise and my concern about the health stuff.  I'm trying to eat healthier so that's hopefully going to help inch me closer.

2. Discuss what I am going to do to achieve my goals:

Progress on last week's activities:

No working out.
Eating much, much better!
Bought a great water bottle and have filled it up and finished it at work every day this week!

On-going Life Style Goals:
Drink water all day long!
Don't give up on the health stuff, keep going to appointments and get it figured out!

3. Post a (reasonably healthy) recipe that I've tried, a cooking tip, a new idea for working out for people to try, a photo update of my weight loss, or anything else I feel like sharing.

When you're hungry, stop to think about what sounds good.  If only certain (unhealthy) foods sound good, you're probably not that hungry. Try some water.  When you're really hungry, pretty much anything sounds good (think nuts, lettuce, spinach...anything). 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Snapshot of Dreams

In the end, it all comes down to one thing. Change.

Everyday is a new adventure as these babies change, growing and developing new skills all the time. As my marriage changes and takes on a whole new meaning as partners in parenting. As my life changes transforming from infertile to mother to stay-at-home-mom to working mom. The only constant in all of it is that nothing's constant, it's always evolving. We're shifting and changing as we go, and I'm proud of that.

So I thought I'd take a minute to stop and take a snapshot of my dreams in this moment. Those deep hopes I have for my children. What I want them to know, to learn, to live. As time passes, these dreams will change, but I want to remember what I feel in this moment.

So, Grace and Caleb, know that on this day, in your sixth month of life, as you sleep peacefully in the room beside me, my heart is overflowing with dreams for you. Here are a few things I want you to know:

1. Happiness is not a destination, but rather a frame of mind. No one else can truly bring you happiness, you have to decide on your own that you will adopt this frame of mind, enjoy what lies before you, and be.happy. I wish, more than anything, that you choose this path and decide to make each day great. To be happy.

2. You are who you choose to be around. Friends are the fabric of life, they make everything feel more real and seem more vibrant. Friends also define you more than you think they do. Choose wisely who you spend your time with, they will undoubtedly rub off on you, for good or bad.

3. You will always have each other. Your were born with a special bond that not many get to experience. Cherish your unique place as "twin" and remember that you have been together all your life, and nothing can replace that. Lean on each other for strength, humor, compassion, and above all, love.

4. Your parents love you more than you will ever fully comprehend. There are no words strong enough to explain that love. Everything we do for you is in the name of this love, be it discipline or praise, enjoyable or irritating. It's all because we cannot step outside of this love, it consumes us, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

5. It takes a village to raise a child, and probably most of the neighboring villages to raise twins. The support system that cares about you, prays for you, and watches you grow is one of the most important factors in your success. Keep them in your mind and come back to them when you need to find your bearings, plant your feet, or just reconnect with the past that built you. They will always be ready with open arms.

6. Learn from those who came before you. Read and absorb the beauty and success of great people. Learn about strong women who lead and inspire. Take note from intelligent men who lead by example and hold tight to their morals. Do not idolize the recent trend or the fleeting personality, spotlighted by media or thrust in your face by popular culture. Emulate the greats who came before you or who challenge the status quo of today.

7. Love yourself before trying to love someone else. There is someone out there who will steal your heart and challenge you to become better. This person deserves the best of you, and you cannot give that if you don't yet know what it is yourself. Find who you are, take calculated risks and try new things, look in the mirror and decide that you are powerful, beautiful, and original. And once you believe those things, and only at that point, will you be able to convince someone else of the same. And believe me, you deserve someone who is absolutely and undeniably convinced of YOUR power, beauty, and originality. Period.

8. Live out loud! You may be shy. You may be outgoing and boisterous. You may be athletic, artistic, creative, or composed. You may be every single one of those things. Whatever you do, whoever you are, live it outwardly with pride and dignity. Do not hide the talents and passions you have; they are you. Show the world what you're made of, in the way that feels right. Follow your heart and then let it lead others.

9. You are a role model. It doesn't matter if you don't think others are watching you, they are. You will always be teaching someone, be it your sibling, your friends, your teammates, the kid in the back of the class, the kid in the grade below you, your cousins, or your parents. We're watching to see just what you will do next. Someone is always waiting to try what you've tried, be like you've become, do what you're doing. Be careful what you do. Stop, think, then react.

10. Dedicate yourself to something. Take the time to dedicate yourself to one thing and become great, even amazing, at it. Spend your life trying things, but don't ever let that be an excuse to not be great at something. "I tried" is not the answer. Do it, and do it right. You will reap so many beautiful rewards from learning about the power of dedication.

11. Be gentle with others and know that everyone has their own reality, which may be very different from your own. Realize the vast differences in perspective and be patient with ideas, thoughts, and circumstances that are not your own. Diversity of thought has a very important place in innovation and success. Listen and use those other perspectives to bring new light to your own potential!

12. Be humble. You will surely be an amazing person with significant talents and important ideas. This does not mean that you are the most amazing person with the most significant talent and the most important ideas. Share what you know, who you are, and how you got there. But realize that others are better than you in certain aspects. Acknowledge your weaknesses as opportunities to grow. Accept criticism as a blessing, a challenge, and a gift. Learn from others and be gracious for the lessons.

13. Truly know your Creator. He is the reason for your being, the One who answered our prayers and gave us you. He gave you life, and everything around you. Talk to Him and know that He is always listening; speak from your heart and the words won't matter. He loves you in your darkest hours and will never leave you alone. Turn to him in your confusion, trials, and victories. Thank Him, every single day, every single breath. And love Him for the amazing gifts He has given us.

14. Come home. No matter how far away, how many minutes, hours, months, or even years have passed since you were here. No matter where your house or our house resides, when we are together, we are home.

15. Talk to your Mother. While there will be many times that you find yourself wondering how I could possibly have any answer worth listening to, I can promise you this- I will listen to you and offer my love, no matter what. I will always be your #1 fan, cheering you on from the stands, the auditorium, the front row. I will love you from now until forever. You will always be my baby, my child, my heart walking around outside of my body. Wherever you go, you have my heart. Tell me your stories and know that I am truly amazed at who you are. I could not be more proud.

With all of my love,