Tuesday, March 24, 2015

11 months!

Seriously, this is going by way too fast. 



Development & Play
Wow, where do I start?  I feel like Benji and Zachary are finally acting like brothers... not just like 2 babies growing up side by side.  They are interacting more--smiling, laughing at one another, tackling each other, mimicking each other.  Benji is picking up on skills that Zachary has already attained, and I'm loving it.  We get so exciting thinking about how these brothers will grow up to be best friends...and how they will help one another and support one another.  You can see it even now... for example, how Benji has learned to clap things in his hands by watching Zachary do it in front of him.  Keep it up, boys!

There is so much babble and baby talk happening, it seems like they are trying to talk.  Zachary, especially, loves to just talk talk talk.  First thing in the morning, as soon as I pull out his binky, he has lots to say.  Usually he just tells me about his dreams and how he slept ;)  Benji is talking, too.  They both say "mama" and "dada".  Not too sure if "mama" is necessarily assigned to Me, but we're pretty sure they know who "dada" is.  Even today, about 5 minutes after Andy left for the day, Zachary turned towards the garage door, waved, and said "dada".  Excuse me?!  My heart melted. 

We have officially outgrown our exersaucers.  I really haven't put them in there in months, except for the other weekend, when we hosted a baby shower in our backyard and I needed to keep the boys contained as I ran around hosting.  For now, they are on our porch outside, which opens up a ton of more space in the family room.  The boys are into balls now, as well as clapping blocks together, dumping blocks out, pushing the walker, and cruising.  Benji loves to cruise around with a block or something in his hand, balance it on top of a surface, and then cruise somewhere else.  Really funny.  

Zachary has stood on his own for a max of 45 seconds.  No steps yet, and he doesn't always want to stand.  Benji has stood for a few seconds, too, but he doesn't seem into it, either.  I guess they will walk when they want.  Don't think it will happen before they turn one!

The boys eat pretty much every meal with finger foods.  Sometimes (if I'm not in the mood to clean up a mess or if we're out) they will still get purees, but pretty much every meal they feed themselves.  I can't believe it!  Something I've been making a lot is a "pancake" made with 2 eggs, 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1/2 banana mashed, and 1/4 tsp baking powder.  So it's pretty eggy.  I add cinnamon or apple pie spice.  They LOVE it.  They also LOVE blueberries.  Zachary eats them faster than I can put more on his tray.  Their poop is purple!  Benji loves Cheerios.  Another fave is avacado and cheese stick (in little pieces).  They also have had Annie's mac n cheese, chicken breast, deli turkey, toast and jam, black beans, strawberries, peas, corn...

We're working on mastering the sippy cup so they can get off of the bottle easily in a month or so.  They do ok with the straw cup.  I've only given them water, but soon we'll try with formula.  They still get 4 bottles/day, about 24-28 oz depending on the day.  

Sound the hallelujah chorus--we are sleeping through the night!!!  Wahoo!  Miracle!  Raise the roof! Party time!  Ok ok.  Benji was the late one to the game, but now he's into it.  We still have some nights where he cries a little bit here and there, but nothing major.  Zachary is our sleeping champ.  He will sleep through even when Benji cries.  Bedtime is 7, and wake up time is 7.  Loving it.  Now I'm wondering when I won't feel tired again.  (In 18 years probably)

Naps are still great, too.  They have solid morning naps from 9:15-10:30/45 and great afternoon naps 1:45/2 - 3:30/4.  

I'm totally in love with these silly, sweet, joyful, funny little boys!!!

Highlights from Month 10:
Playing together.
The favorite toy is typically the one the other brother is playing with.

The boys got their first haircuts! 
They were SO good and so deliciously cute in the little capes.

Just give Benji puffs, and he'll do whatever you want.

Me and my sweet Benji.

Check out how long Zachary's hair had gotten!


Aww, my sweet big boy.

Auntie Care came in town for her birthday on March 14th!  We had a great day... we went back to the salon to fix Benji's hair (I didn't do a as good job directing his hair cut as Andy did Zachary's...), went out to lunch, and walked to our favorite park to go on the swings.  So glad she came out!

Here are a couple pictures of Zachary interacting with some older friends at lifegroup.  Too cute.


with Zoe (L) and Emmett (R)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Perspective and Grace

I've been wanting to write a post like this for several months now, 
but I guess the longer it takes for me to write, the more perspective I gain,
so it's not so bad!  :)

There has just been a lot on my heart since becoming a mom, and it has taken months for me to actually formulate cohesive thoughts and feelings that aren't just emotional dumps from my mind.  I know that I will only gain more and more insight into the heart of God and more and more insight on parenting and motherhood as the days, weeks, and years go on.  But this is my beginning...

I often say, when people ask about what it's like having twins, 
that the first three months are all a blur.
Like, I can't really remember specific details. Things are fuzzy.  
(That's really only partially true because I'm pretty detail-oriented when it comes to memories.)
I do remember stress, immense guilt, and great anxiety.  

From the moment we brought the boys home from the hospital--after a 5 day stay for both of us--
I got busy pumping, trying to nurse, and incessantly writing down times and schedules.
I had it in my head that we needed to get these babies on a good routine (which is great) and was adamant about keeping it. I was also struggling with nursing and pumping and was beating myself up about failing to produce enough milk in time and failing to get the boys to nurse.  I had dreamed of dual nursing and providing my babies with all of the nutrients and calories and fat they ever needed all from me.  

I tried my darndest to pump every 2-3 hours for the first week home.  Even overnight.
Because the boys lost so much weight in the hospital, we had strict orders to not let them go for more than 3 hours without eating.  I'm a GI nurse, so there was no way I wasn't going to follow this doctor's order, lest my children get labelled "FTT" (failure to thrive).  So there was extremely little sleep for those first few weeks months.  :)

Andy was home with us for the first week, with no church obligations (ha, except for the Easter service, which was the day we got home), and my parents, especially my mom, were at the house with me for the first few weeks, all the time.  So I was never alone or on my own.  That was great.  But even still, I felt overwhelmed by the task at hand.  Feeding and sustaining these little lives.  

Oh, the love was flowing.  
The joy was abounding.
Thankfulness welled up inside me.
Yet I was crippled by anxiety.  

Each night, as the sun would go down, I would experience deep anxiety.  I've never struggled with anxiety, and really don't even feel it much at all, so this was awful.  I didn't want the night to come because that meant the next morning would come, and Andy would leave.  I would actually cry.  I felt like I didn't know what I was doing and again, just felt overwhelmed.  Not to mention feeling so guilty for giving the boys formula and not producing enough milk for two.  And getting up every 3 hours to pump. 

Around three months, I was thinking about their birth, and I think we were recounting the day of to our friends, when it hit me:  I never held my babies after they were born.  Of course, I held them, but I was the 7th person to hold them, after the doctors, nurses, Andy, and my family.  And I just felt hit with defeat.  I wasn't even the first one my children smelled or snuggled.  I'm not even their sole source of nutrition, as it were meant to be--anyone can feed a baby a bottle--they don't even need me!  And then came the lament and shame and frustration and guilt and sadness and mourning over how the boys were born.  I had dome some of that already, but there wasn't much time for me to process my emotions in those first few months.  

I finally was able to sit down with God and talk to Him, share with Him the pains of my heart.  
It just took one sentence that He spoke to me that calmed the storm of emotions and guilt that was raging in my soul:

"I Am bigger than your birth story."

Wow.  You are.  He is.  God is so much greater and sweeter and bigger than what I had built up in my mind as such a crucial and critical thing.  How a baby is brought into this world is indeed special and planning and preparing oneself is important and totally something He cares about, too.  But I had built it up to be the end all be all in how I myself became a mother.  In fact, it's just the opposite.  It's only a blip on the timeline of life.   C-section or pushed out, epidural or natural, breastfed or formula... these seriously are such small things in the grand scheme of eternity.  

I realized that I really had glorified the birthing event over God being God no matter what.  

The moment a child is born, the mother is born also.  -Osho

I feel like I became a mother the moment I took that fateful pregnancy test and 
saw the word "pregnant" on the screen.  
I will never forget that morning, 
that feeling, 
that overwhelming sense 
of excitement and thankfulness.

The way they were physically brought into the world and the way they were fed did not and would not change the fact that God made me their mommy.  
No one else could be their mommy.  
Andy and I were their whole world.

And so, I feel like I am on a journey of gaining more and more insight and perspective.  
The further away I get from different events or circumstances, the greater and healthier perspective I have.  Which is always the case, I guess.  I am better able to see what God was doing and is doing.  No longer do I stress or beat myself up about giving my babies formula.  No longer do I cry when I think about their birth story.  (that's not to say I don't hope and pray things will go differently one day if God allows me to be pregnant again)

I was so concerned about letting the boys "cry it out" in fear that they would wake each other up or would they think I didn't love them??  Oh, now that's not a problem :)  
The boys have probably had the statistical amount of viruses in their first year of life (the average infant gets 9 viruses in their first year).  With that first cold, I was so upset and nervous. Now I know the drill and we press through.  I'm not ashamed that my kids are sometimes sniffly because I understand that kids get sick.  It just happens.  

Of course there will be more and more perspective that I gain as the years go on.
There's something comforting about perspective... Godly perspective is being able to look back on events and know that He was there.  He was in it.  You were never alone.  And it is also being able to look forward to the future with a word from God that gives peace and greater understanding.
Thank you, God!
Whether looking back or moving forward, 
we can have peace and not fear or anxiety or regret.

I can look back on different events in my life (not just as a mom) and see His grace peppered throughout.  And as I look onward, maybe without the perspective or insight just yet, I can rest in the peace of His grace that surpasses all understanding.
He is good.  He is faithful.
He will always be good.
He will always be faithful.

Here is a picture from the early days.  
I wish I could go back and give myself a hug and tell myself I was doing a great job.  
I can't even remember holding my sleeping babies!