Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blog Transition

I've decided it's time to start a new blog. Really, a continuation of this, but I wanted to make a blog for our family in general going forward. I have felt like I need to keep my posts here about the babies, parenting, or infertility/surrogacy and I'd like to have a more general blogspot. :) Of course, it will still be mostly the same things, but I just wanted to make it more of a "family blog" now that we are no longer in the midst of a surrogacy journey. This blog will be left up because I hope that others find it and it somehow encourages them in their own journies.

If anyone is interested in continuing to keep up with us, I would be honored for you to come on over to the new blog and follow along. There is nothing there yet, but will be soon!

http://crainfamilyblog.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What kind of parent do I want to be?

A long reflection at the 6 months point... :) I can't imagine that anyone cares enough to read all this, but I've been wanting to get my thoughts on "paper" about this, so it's time. (I just posted a baby update below also.)

This is a question that I have thought about a lot. I think about, "what kind of parent am I?" and "what kind of parent do I want to be?" Once I answer those questions, I can look at the gap between the answers and know what I need to do do change.

It's always easier, I think, to answer the question of the ideal first - what kind of parent I WANT to be. Here is my manifesto, in no particular order.

1. I want to be a proactive parent. It seems to me that too many people just have kids in their house without thinking about how to actually raise them. They just sort of "wing it" and deal with things as they come along. It takes a lot more effort to be a proactive parent - someone who parents with an already thought about philosophy, who educates themselves about what their kids need at each step before they get there, who is basically always 5 steps ahead. I can't stand the saying "all kids need is love". That is a nice sounding platitude, but at the end of the day, I believe it is my job as a parent to give them much more. Of course they need love! But I don't believe you can boil down everything they need to that. If we want to talk about "all they need", I could say all they need is food and water. Of course there are basic needs, and fortunately most families meet those for their children. But there is so much more we can give our kids if we are really proactive. As one small example, I want to raise Nathan and Kenna to be bilingual in French (I'm half French). I just finished reading an awesome book called "The Bilingual Edge" about how/when to introduce another language. The book is very specific about how to do it based on research. I've got a whole spreadsheet laid out with the times dedicated to interacting with them in French and what activities we will do, etc. Basically, they will be at a 40% French/60% English split during the week. If I weren't being proactive, I would just plan to send them to French lessons later in their childhood. But, I wanted to know how to BEST do this, and learned from the book how important it is to start now, that videos are a waste of time, that you have to do at least 20% in the other language to make a difference, what kids of books to read them, etc...all kinds of things I would not have just guessed. On this factor of how I want to be, I'm going to give myself an A so far...if there is anything in life I'm good at, it's being proactive. I'm super motivated and read, read, read to make sure I'm doing what I feel are all the best things at every stage.

2. I want to be a parent who models the way I would like my kids to be as adults. It's one thing to tell your kids to be a certain way, another thing to have them see you do it. I'm constantly mindful of this now and I recognize there are certain weaknesses I have that I don't want to model for my kids. Most top of mind for me is my temper/impatience. It's always been a struggle for me. If something makes me mad, I go from 0 to 100 in a seconds. It was so hard for me when I struggled with the solids because I was becoming so frustrated and mad visibly and I had to realize that I don't want to exhibit that in front of them. OF COURSE I am not a perfect person and there will be times I get mad in front of them. I don't have unrealistic expectations. But, my kids motivate me to be a better person so that they can be better people for having been raised with a better model. I work on it every day. On this one, I'm going to give myself a C+ right now. I think I started at an F when they were really little because I was SO frustrated all the time. But I'm improving. :)

3. I want to be a parent who models a good marriage. It's unfortunate that so many people of my generation were raised in troubled families. I've seen how it's impacted my friends' lives - several of whom even refuse to marry because they don't believe it can work. B and I were both SOOOOO fortunate to have been raised in happy, loving homes. I want so much for Nathan and Kenna to grow up to see what a loving, happy, God-centered marriage looks like. B and I have a great relationship and I never want having kids to somehow make that relationship less important. It does our kids no favors to focus only on them and not on each other as spouses. We agree that we will always take time to go on "dates", we will always eat dinner together as a family, we will not argue in front of our kids (of course I'm sure that will happen sometimes, but we are mindful of it), and we will continue to do the things we love even if it doesn't always include the kids. As an example, thanks to B's parents having the kids for the weekend, we will be setting out on a backpacking trip in August! So far, I'm gonna give us an A on this one. We have been going out on weekends thanks to B's parents babysitting, we've done two family trips and are going on another next week, and we've been spending a great amount of time together!

4. I want to be a parent who raises kids to love God. We are Christians and I want to raise my kids in a Christian home. That said, this is a tough one for me. Both of us grew up going to church but neither of us grew up in homes where faith was a matter of active discussion/practice. For example, my mom would read HER Bible every night, but she never engaged me in reading it or discussing it, or discussing faith at all...yet she is an incredibly strong Christian woman herself. Now, I guarantee what she would say is that I would never have been interested. True, as a teenager. But I wasn't RAISED that way and by the teen years it is too late. I don't believe in leaving faith to be something that you only learn about in church. I also don't believe in mixing faith and academics (I would not send my kids to a Christian school). I remember one time I came home from church camp after a week. I was probably 12 or so. For a whole week I was immersed in thinking about God, talking about God, praying, etc. By the time I got home I was talking to my mom about God like that's what we always did. Soon after I realized how strange that was...because we weren't like that normally. But after getting used to it at camp, it was comfortable. I liken that to how I want to raise Nathan and Kenna. I want faith to be part of their lives from the beginning so it is always comfortably a part of our home lives. I will share with them the Bible, pray with them, explain to them why faith matters in life. B and I recently started praying before meals together. We don't normally do that but we want to get used to it so we can do it with Nathan and Kenna when they are a bit older. Since they are too young at this point, I can't grade myself yet on this one.

5. I want to be a parent who is present in mind, not just in body. With all this proactivity, reading, thinking, planning, etc. going on, it is easy to spend more time on those things than enjoying the moment and being mentally present with your kids. For a while, I was so into our routine that I was a little robotic moving the kids around their "stations" - bouncer, mat, swing, jumper, etc. - without thinking much about it. About a month ago though I started to really focus on making myself present, realizing how important that is and that I wasn't doing a good job of it. Of course I need to get chores done and I don't think it's healthy to play with your kids constantly (they need to learn independence)...but I now spend much more time just sitting with them, talking to them about what they are playing with (of course in French 40% of the time! lol), holding and kissing them, etc. I'm really making sure that I'm not letting it all pass me by. I'm REALLY aware that these are probably the only kids we will ever have. I would give myself a D on this one in the past but lately I would give myself a solid B. Still working on it, and I know this is very, very important.

6. I want to be a parent who pushes their kids to be their best. It's so not cool these days to say you want to "push" your kids. It brings to mind images of hard core parents who are shuffling kids to and from activities without time to breathe, who live by the mantra that only first place matters, and who enroll their baby daughters in pageants by age 1. This is not what I mean. Notice that I said "pushes their kids to be THEIR best"...not to be something they aren't. I'm always surprised at how many people bristle at the idea of pushing their kids, that they just want them to be themselves and make their own decisions. I don't believe that kids are old enough to make many decisions on what is best for them, so it is up to the parents to use good judgment in this area. Just like I have the weaknesses I described, my kids will have weaknesses. I am certain that Nathan will have a temper and Kenna will be overly fearful (one of my own weaknesses), for example. But I don't want to just accept that that's how they are and we're done. If Kenna is fearful of something, I will work with her to overcome that and be conscious of her tendency toward fear so that I don't encourage it. I saw my friend K's son fall from a playground ladder once and I screamed while he was in the air. She hardly flinched, and neither did her son because he is used to her not making a big deal of things (it wasn't a huge fall). It sounds funny, but I was inspired by that - kids really respond to how you respond, so I will be cogniscent of Kenna's fears in order to not overreact to things which would then encourage her fear further. Another example of "pushing" would be requiring them to finish things they start (unless there is a good reason to drop out). I doubt any kid is happy about piano lessons all the time. But, if our kids take piano lessons (B plays piano so this is likely), they will be required to take them for a given amount of time. After that, we can talk about things. But there is NO WAY I would let them take like 4 lessons, tell me they hate it, and quit. I don't know how many I would make them take, but I would decide with B up front, agree with the kids on it so they know what to expect, and go from there. It pushes them beyond what they would do naturally and teaches them about tenacity, patience, and the rewards of hard work. Hard to grade myself on this one yet, but I will say that I'm already working on Nathan's temper/impatience...I have been making him wait in the high chair for a while after eating and he no longer screams to get down. :)

7. I want to be a parent who fosters character building. I really believe this is another thing you have to actively work at as a parent. I want to instill in them values of being humble, kind, gracious, self-giving, thankful and loving. I have been thinking, for example, about how cool it would be for them to give something to a child in need each year on their own birthday. I want to take them to volunteer for others when they are old enough. It would be a lot easier to not actively think about what experiences would foster character building, but I want to be a parent who seeks out these experiences to make the most impact on their development.

8. I want to be a parent whose kids know that they are loved at all times. OK, so I said that "all kids need is love" is too trite, but it certainly is something they need lots and lots of! As I have "gotten to know" my little ones over the last few months, I have fallen so deeply in love with them that it scares me sometimes. I sometimes feel like I shouldn't love them so much because if something happens to one of them I would die. In a weird way, I think that fear is exacerbated because I know we probably can't have any more kids. It's not that I could ever replace one of them, but sometimes it feels like they are EXTRA precious because of our unique situation. B and I for the last few weeks have been sneaking into the nursery at night before our own bedtime for a "baby check"...it has nothing to do with the babies needing to be checked and everthing to do with us needing to look at our sleeping cherubs. We go in, whisper about how precious they are that night (every night), put a hand on their backs just to be closer to them, and kiss them gently to not wake them up. We love them sooooo much and I always want them to know that. They are the most amazing little people. No matter how tired I am in the morning, when I walk into the nursery and see their smiling faces, all I can do is smile, feel my heart melt and be oh so grateful that I have the opportunity to sweep them into my arms for one more day. I can only hope that I can live up to the expectations I have for myself in this post in order to give them the best lives possible.

6.5 Months!

Somehow we flew right by the 6 month post - I guess it was all that frustration over solids. ;)

Actually, not a ton has changed except 4 major things:

1. We started solids.
2. Kenna has two teeth as of last week!
3. Nathan is probably seconds away from crawling.
4. A trip to the emergency room for Nathan.

Solids...

We are doing MUCH better with solids now. We started rice cereal about a week and a half before they turned 6 months because I could tell that they were ready - well, that Nathan was ready. He was always hungry after emptying his bottles and never seemed satisfied, even with more milk. The cereal wasn't a big hit, they both spit it out. They still aren't big fans of it, but when I mix something in it goes better. We have since tried bananas, applesauce, carrots, pears, peas, green beans, squash and oatmeal. The only one they outright try to reject is peas. But I keep giving it to them because I want to give them the chance to like everything. It's getting better and they do pretty much eat them now. Victory! I definitely don't want picky eaters. Kenna LOVES applesauce. Nathan reacts pretty much the same to everything. I'd say Kenna has more of an affinity for her veggies than Nathan but he still eats them fine so I'm happy.

So, the recipe for our success after the frustrations of my last post was as follows:

1) Give them 3/4 of their bottles before solids. This was about 70% of the success. I had tried 1/2 of a bottle before and it wasn't enough to make them stop crying because they were still really hungry. I had tried the whole bottle but that was too much and they no longer cared about the solids. Well, Nathan would still have cared but I always try to find something that works for BOTH of them if possible because I like to keep it simple! So, giving them 3/4 worked well because it was right in the middle. If they aren't screaming, I'm not frustrated. So that was huge.

2) I made them pay attention to what we are doing and open their mouths before I would give them anything. Before when they were crying so much I was just trying to shovel it in fast so they wouldn't cry. But I realized they didn't know what was going on and I don't think they realized it was even food, so they were crying for their bottles. Now I make sure they are looking at the spoon, move slowly toward their mouths and wait for them to open. They have learned quickly since then. Nathan is a total pro already. He basically sits with his mouth open the whole time. Kenna is still a bit difficult sometimes - it's off and on with her. Sometimes she tries to play by blowing raspberries with the food rather than swallowing. I stopped laughing at it and she has done it much less. I now shake my head and say, "No, we don't play with our food." We've had a couple of choking incidents with her and I realized that she wasn't swallowing everything sometimes, just building it up in her throat and opening again. Now I wait a lot longer between bites for her and it hasn't happened again. It was super scary though!

3) They have a serving of solids with breakfast (7:30), lunch (10:30) and dinner (5:30). They have bottles at 2:30 without solids. I really felt that they would learn more quickly by praciticing more frequently so I kept at it with 3 meals per day and that's worked out. I also make sure to feed them bottles AND solids in their high chairs so they know it's feeding time. The only time I don't is the 2:30 bottle-only feed. I do that on the boppies. I figured out that they weren't crying BECAUSE of the high chairs, but because they were hungry by the time I put them in. Now they sit in the high chairs for a bit before we eat and a bit after. I make them wait for me to clean their faces, clean their bibs and their trays before they get down. I explain to them each time that we must do each of these things before they get down (and wait for one another). They intently watch what I do. It's really cute. :) They have become really patient! I'm so happy to see how they have changed that way. I don't give them toys or anything while they eat or wait because I want them to focus on mealtime, and then get used to waiting patiently. I'm amazed, to be honest, that it's working with them being so young. They used to scream to get down right after but now they understand that doesn't work and wait nicely. I am a proud mommy!

Kenna has two teeth...

Kenna beat Nathan to something...she has two teeth that broke through last week! A couple of months ago I could have sworn she was teething but nothing happened. I didn't notice any teething symptoms lately and then all of a sudden there they were! There was a little blood spot on the gum one morning and the tooth broke through the next day. By Wednesday last week, the other one popped through too, literally a day or two apart! It's so cute! They are far enough out that you notice when she laughs and smiles and it's adorable - she seems like a big girl now! I'll post pictures in my next post. No sign yet of Nathan's teeth, just a bumpy gum.

Nathan is probably seconds away from crawling...

For the last month I would have sworn Nathan was like a day or two away from crawling. He is SO strong. He has done every position possible without actually crawling. I thought for sure around his six month birthday he was really close. He pushes up on his arms really high, scrunches his knees under him, then buries his head in the floor to push forward. He also has been doing something I call the backwards crab. He lies on his back, arches it way up with his head arched behind him (so his neck is sticking up) and scooches backward. He rolls all over the room. Basically, he can get wherever he wants with some combination of these things but hasn't actually crawled. If he has been days or hours from crawling earlier in the month, he must be seconds away the last couple of days. He has his stomach off the ground now and is in a perfect crawling position - up on arms and knees. This morning he managed to bring both knees up at the same time and moved forward. I thought for sure this was going to be it but not quite. :) It will be very, very soon. Kenna, ever since she learned to roll over both ways that week of my last post, has become so much stronger. It was like an overnight transition. She now pushes way off the ground just like Nathan. But she hasn't bunched her knees up yet so I think crawling is a while off for her.

A trip to the emergency room for Nathan...

This was much less eventful than it sounds. Nathan is fine. I will spare you the boring details, but basically he started "panting" heavily off and on at 5 pm last Thursday. It got more and more frequent and the Dr's office was closed so we took him to the emergency room. I didn't know what was going on; he had never done it before and I didn't want to just put him to bed panting. What if he couldn't breathe during the night? I took a video of it to show the doctor since I knew with my luck he wouldn't do it when we got there. Sure enough, he was sleeping and wasn't doing it. I showed them the video and they were totally amused I had taken a video. The triage guy said in 16 years no one had taken a video to show him. I couldn't believe it. It seemed totally obvious to me. The doctors checked him out and said he was fine. They saw the video and concluded he must have just "learned" something new.

What hasn't happened...

No sitting! I seriously think Nathan may walk before he sits. He is completely solid on his feet. In fact, this morning I was holding his hands and he started lifting one foot at a time to walk toward me! I was amazed. I have tried that before with him and he didn't want to lift his feet. He can sit with his hands between his legs for a few seconds but always wants to "get down" to roll/pseudo crawl instead. Kenna actually does better trying to sit. She can do it for a few seconds and has a better "posture". I think they are both strong enough now, they just haven't seen a reason to want to learn it. :)

I will post new pictures in a bit!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Taking a deep breath. :)

OK, sorry about the random dramatic post last night. lol I was SO frustrated and I just had to get it out. I appreciate the comments and suggestions. It's a new day and I have renewed energy so we'll try something different today. Pledge for today:

1) I will not become frustrated when the babies don't want the solids. I understand they can sense this and it helps nothing.

2) I will keep reminding myself that though they seem like little kids now compared to being newborns, they are still just little babies who have a lot to learn in the world. This is a very different experience for them. I think sometimes I see them as big kids now.

3) I will keep the bigger picture perspective that they don't have to have learned to eat full meals 3 times per day by tomorrow and we need to learn a little at a time. They have not failed and I have not failed if they don't get it immediately.

I will let you know how that goes. Thanks again for the suggestions and comments. I will change some things up today. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

FRUSTRATION!

I am interrupting the regularly scheduled positive blog experience to vent to the world about my frustrations with solids. I don't know why, I just have to put this out there. (I will post a 6 month old update soon, I promise!)

So we started solids a couple of weeks ago. It is NOT GOING WELL!! Honestly, by the time night comes I am so frustrated I want to throw rocks through our windows. Like right now. Here's the problem. They pretty much cry the ENTIRE time I am feeding them the solids. In fact, they cry the second I put them in the high chairs for the most part. They don't like sitting up to eat and they don't like eating anything but their bottles. I know it's not the food because they outright rejected peas, so now I know what that is like (spitting out all the food and refusing to swallow). All other foods we have tried - rice cereal, pears, carrots, applesauce, and bananas - they have accepted (i.e., not spit out for the most part; yes I am waiting 3 days between starting each new one). But the whole time we are sitting there they are crying in between bites. I've gotten to the point I'm so frustrated that I wait until they scream - mouth open - and stick the food in. Yeah, I know, really helping the situation by giving them a negative association with the experience.

I'm sort of mad at our pediatrician for telling us we had to wait until they were 6 months old. I'm convinced that this is too long to wait and that at this point they are so used to their bottles they don't want anything else. It's been TWO WEEKS of the same thing and they aren't getting any happier with it. I've increased the frequency so we now do a serving of solids at breakfast, lunch and dinner, just like the end goal. They get their bottle after they finish the serving. Then there is one feeding at 2:30 of just their bottles. They are doing fine swallowing it so I'm not going by the whole "give them 1 or 2 spoons to start per day". They know how to do it, they just don't WANT to, so I see no reason for just having them take 1 or 2 spoons. They'll never learn that way. And Nathan has no problem eating a whole serving in a sitting. He likes the food, but he is still crying.

I think the reason Nathan cries is that he is totally hungry by the time of the feed and he can't control the speed of solids. Yes, I've tried 1) giving him half the bottle first so he's not ravenous and 2) giving him the whole bottle first and then the solids. If I give him half the bottle he still cries because he wants the rest. If I give him the whole bottle he doesn't want the solids. Kenna I think cries just because she doesn't want to accept anything new period.

At this point, I'm not willing to stop for a few days, cut back to 1 or 2 teaspoons per day, etc. I don't see the point. They just have to learn and practice makes perfect. And I may go insane in the meantime. I mean, really, really insane.

Did anyone else have a really frustrating experience starting solids?

Friday, May 29, 2009

For the record book...

This is DEFINITELY Kenna's big week to officially claim she can roll over...and over...and over! She has rolled from front to back probably 20 times in the last 2 days. I keep putting her on her tummy and she immediately rolls to back (I think she thinks it's lots of fun to not have to do tummy time now!). Hooray! It took a while, but she has it mastered!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Pictures

(Baby update in post below...)

Here are some recent favorite pictures! The outdoor ones at the end are from Memorial Day weekend. We went to Big Bear Lake. It was so much fun hiking with them and taking them fishing for the first time! I was so excited to share our favorite activities with them.

















5.5 Months!

Time for an update! I keep resolving to get back to my weekly updates and then time slips away. I have so much I want to write about outside of baby updates (about parenting in general and life after infertility) but top priority is baby updates so I can keep track of everything so here we go! I will post pictures in a little bit (today).


Nathan

Nathan continues to be our little strong man! He is VERY physically active. I desperately wants to crawl but isn't quite old enough. He pushes up on his arms about as far as you can possibly go and scrunches up his knees to try to push. He just hasn't quite coordinated lifting his tummy off the ground in order to get to that next step. He rolls around constantly so I have to watch him at all times. The other day I left him in the middle of the living room floor and went to get something in the kitchen. I came back and it looked like he was gone! But instead he had just rolled all the way over to the corner of the room behind a chair. :) He was lying there smiling at me when I found him! He is such a happy little boy - full of BIG smiles for mommy especially. I can almost always make him smile hugely at any time. A lot of times when he is playing on his own and I'm doing something else I will catch him lying there watching me. As soon as I smile at him and he realizes he's been "caught" watching mama he gets a giant smile and buries his head in his arms like he is embarrassed! It's so adorable. I'm sure babies don't get embarrassed at this age, so we think he just forgets to coordinate his smiles with his strength in pushing up (he is almost always on his tummy now, pushing up on his arms).

We bought an exersaucer sort of thing to help them gain the muscles for sitting up and eventually standing. Nathan struggled with it the first couple of days but now he LOVES it and is sitting really well in it...and standing! It's crazy how you can see the development happening so fast. He plants both feet on the ground solidly now and can literally stand up in it, whereas a couple of weeks ago he hadn't figured out how to put his feet on the ground. I can tell it's made a difference in his balance and back strength too because he can now sit unassisted for a few seconds at a time. And when I hold him standing (not in the saucer) he now stands solidly straight up! This is all new since the saucer, so I'm very excited it's doing something.

Nathan is loving his feet. He lies around holding them and looks very pleased with himself. He is great with his hands too, though I don't think he's got the same fine control that Kenna has yet. He just takes big swats at things and grabs everything he can.

Once in a while we can get him to laugh out loud. We got lots of squeals or little mini-laughs, but full on adult-type laughter is still hard to get. One very random thing we can do to elicit that kind of laugh is say in a very gravely, low voice, "mama's gotta work". I know, it's so random! I don't even remember how it started. I was probably playing around with him one Monday or Tuesday when I work (I work from home) letting him know I couldn't play then and he just thinks it's so funny. I've tried other phrases in the same voice and it doesn't get the same response. :)

It's a good thing we get to start solids in 2 weeks...Nathan ate 15 ounces of formula this morning! HE IS READY! LOL - He is on his tummy next to me and reached over and hit the caps lock right when I typed he is ready!!! I guess he wanted to make that point! He is over 18 pounds and wears mostly 9 month clothes! I'm 5'2/110 pounds and B is 6'2 and thin as a rail...I don't know where Nathan is getting his size from!

Oh, and we have solved Nathan's sleep issue, of getting stuck in the rails and screaming...or rather J solved it. She brought us a mesh bumper and it worked! I'm not afraid of using it since it's breathable, and it keeps him from getting stuck, so we are back to full nights of sleep! Hooray!!


Kenna

Kenna has had a few big moments in the last week...she's rolled over several times! She is really showing an interest now in more physical activity. She has rolled over in the past a couple of times but it was never something she could "replicate". Last week she rolled from stomach to back three times in a row one morning, and this week she has rolled over a few more times from stomach to back. I think she is getting the hang of it because you can see her trying a lot more now. She is also trying to go back to stomach and spends a lot of time on her side recently, half way there. She rolled over that way once or twice a while ago, but never again. So she is definitely working on the more physical skills now. I'm relieved - I really thought she was never going to do this stuff! She lifts up much better now on her tummy and gets up on her elbows. She doesn't have the arm strength yet to push up on her arms like Nathan but now that she is taking an interest in more movement I think it's going to happen pretty soon. I'm excited to have the saucer for her too because she is interested in it and it's helping her with her upright balance. She won't stay in as long as Nathan because she hasn't figured out how to plant her feet so she has more control. But I can definitely see it helping her already too!

Kenna continues to be extraordinarily aware of everything and everyone around her. You can just see her studying things all the time. While Nathan is rolling around experimenting with his body, Kenna is calmly and intently watching either him or some small part of something in front of her. She has a really deep attention for things and you can practically see the wheels turning in her head. You can often tell what she is thinking - especially when I am holding Nathan and she is staring at me. "What about me? Why are you holding him and not me?" She is so aware of what Nathan is doing and most of the time he is totally unaware of her (though I caught them smiling at each other once and it was so precious!). She is our little deep thinker. :) I can't make her smile on cue the way I can with Nathan, but once I get her going, she gives the cutest, sweetest smiles you've ever seen. Her cheeks are so big and sweet when she smiles! We also laugh about how her cheeks seem like a separate part of her - we ask her, "how are your cheeks today?" :) She is still a snuggle bunny, loving to be held and carried around.

Kenna is over 16 pounds now, but she seems so much more delicate and petite than her brother! He feels like a tank compared to her! She eats 9 ounces per feeding, 4 times per day though, so she is holding her own. She still waits patiently in her crib in the morning for mommy to come in and now Nathan has caught on. It's so pleasant to wake up at 7 on my own, not to crying babies, and come in to find them happy and waiting!

I absolutely love dressing Kenna up with little dresses and hair bands/bows. I will go crazy when she has more hair to play with! Of course I'm biased, but I'm going to come right out and say that she is a beautiful little girl. We still get a constant train of people when we are out commenting on the twins and coming up to see them, etc., and she steals the show most of the time. :)

So that's the latest...they'll be 6 months in a week and half. That is CRAZY!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Five months old!!

Nathan and Kenna are five months old! Can you believe it? I certainly can't. It really is remarkable how fast they grow. It's so trite to say that (and I get tired of hearing it), but yes, it is true. Nathan is 17 pounds and Kenna is 15 pounds. People are always surprised when they ask how old they are and we say 5 months...they usually think they are a couple of months older!

So let's see, what's new? Well, I have to say that things have gotten a little more difficult lately if I'm being honest! I thought as babies got older they needed less attention, but I swear that Nathan and Kenna want more and more attention! It used to be that we would do "stations" during the day...some would involve me, others would involve them playing independently on their mat, etc. But I don't think there are ever times now where they are both happy to play on their own. It's become very tiring!! I get no breaks except during their lunch nap (and of course once they go to bed at 6:30). Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with them, but I also have to continue to get things done around the house and when two babies are constantly wanting attention it's next to impossible!! Mommy is very tired by the end of the day lately! All the little brief breaks I used to get during the day have gone out the window...I literally have swamps of emails I haven't been able to get to, and haven't read blogs in weeks. I know, that's not all that dire, but still, these were little things I used to do during the day when I had some free moments. I'm in the process of readjusting my expectations. :)

I would say the above is true for both of them, but especially for Nathan. He has always been so low maintenance (except at the beginning when we had the feeding problems) but lately he never wants to be in one spot for more than a few minutes. All this really started when he learned to roll from stomach to back a few weeks ago. He won't stay on his back at all now and just constantly is rolling around. When we put him down for bed time he immediately turns over and puts himself on "tummy time". He plays around for a while (meanwhile Kenna is fast asleep, being the champion sleeper she is). Then when he gets tired he goes nuts because he is stuck on his stomach...he has somehow forgotten for the most part how to roll from stomach to back even though he was doing that since he was six weeks old! So he goes crazy in the crib, gets his arms and legs stuck in between rails (we have bumpers off since they are considered a hazard now), and screams until we come in usually 45 minutes after we put him down. We pull him out of the rails and he sleeps on his tummy the rest of the night (that's supposedly OK once they start flipping on their own, and this is how he chooses to sleep every single night now). It's become a little routine for him. Then he sleeps until 4 or 5 am when he wakes up and realizes he is stuck again and we have to move him. Very frustrating seeing as how we have had them sleeping 12 hours a night since they were 7 weeks old thanks to the brilliant schedules in "Contented House with Twins". I got too cozy with our little routine I guess! I move Nathan now half asleep and come back to bed. :) He is just a really active little boy and it's easy to tell he will crawl and walk really early...he is trying to crawl desperately but is just too young. He gets really frustrated because he wants mobility badly! Little Kenna is content to just sit in mommy's lap all day and smile at me. She has still only rolled over twice...they are stereotypical for a boy and a girl I uess!

Our schedule these days is: Wake up at 7 and eat. Nap 9-9:45 then eat. Nap 12-2 then eat. Nap 4:15-4:30 (yes, a cat nap) then eat. Bed at 6:30. Yup, they sleep over 12 hours at night! They both eat about 9 ounces per feeding (4 feedings per day). We'll start solids at 6 months per the pediatrician's recommendation. I can't believe they are almost old enough!

In other news we accomplished our first family trip! We went to Mammoth last weekend (ski area in central California). It's one of our favorite places to go both in winter and in summer. We went with some good friends of ours who also love Mammoth and who have a baby just 3 months younger than Nathan and Kenna. We drove up at night during their bed time and they did great (5 hour drive). They slept in their car seats the whole night and had no problems. The next night we had them at the condo in pack n plays and Kenna was the great sleeper she always is, just like mommy. Nathan, however, woke up at 4 am. I immediately started to panic and two lessons immediately became clear: 1) It is far more stressful to have babies in a location where others are sleeping because you can't just let them cry back to sleep like we would at home. 2) Without our trusty swing that puts either baby back to sleep when needed within minutes, combined with number 1 above, it was a very scary situation. B walked Nathan around for a good hour and he just didn't want to sleep. It threw the whole day off. The next night he woke up even earlier, and it was even less fun in the wee hours of the morning. We are going to a cabin over Memorial Day and no matter how much space the swing takes up in the car, we will have it. :) When all was said and done, all of us were so proud to have made the effort to go...we are all of the mindset that it is really important to not give up on the things you enjoy after having kids just because it's more difficult. It wasn't the most fun trip I've ever had, but now that we know what to expect we can plan better for future trips.

So today is Mother's Day. I really looked forward to going to church this morning since they always celebrate motherhood and I have avoided this service like the plague for the last few years. But truth be told, I felt really weird about it all this morning. Our church had a red carpet toward the entrance with sunflowers for all the moms. I absolutely couldn't bring myself to walk down it and purposely walked in the other side. A red carpet signifies a position of honor or prestige. It's not that I don't think moms deserve that, but it hurt me to think of all the women who do not hold this "position of honor" yet long to desperately. There is no way I felt comfortable blithely walking down the symbolic path of honor knowing that I do not deserve that honor anymore than those women who are waiting still. Pretty much every time I'm out with the twins in public I am told how lucky I am. Over and over people tell me how much they always wanted twins, and how perfect that they are a boy and a girl and how beautiful they are. I am SO incredibly lucky. I am constantly aware of that. You can not decide that you are going to have kids, so anyone who has them IS lucky. Of course most people never have to give it a second thought. But for many of us who do, it will never feel right to be "honored" for something that you realize you can in no way control - Nathan and Kenna are a beautiful, precious gift from God and J and I am just the recipient of that blessing. No red carpet for me, please. I just want two of those sunflowers to put in their nursery, one for each blessing we have received.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pictures!

The first picture is my favorite picture of all time of them! I'm so peeved I can't figure out how to rotate it on here. It looks fine on my computer but when I upload here it goes sideways. Anyway, turn your head and you'll see my favorite picture ever. :)









Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Weeks 16 through 18: Found our hands!

Wow, I'm really behind!! Time has just been getting away from me. I can't keep up with the days! :)

Nathan and Kenna turned four months old last Wednesday. Can you believe it? And one year ago today is a very special day...it was the day of our egg retrieval and fertilization; basically the day that Nathan and Kenna were conceived - they have "existed" for exactly a year today! It is so hard to imagine how much has changed since that day.

Easter was a magical day for us as a little family. Christmas was their first major holiday, and it was amazing, but it was also a bit of a blur. They were about 3 weeks old, and we were sleep deprived, clueless new parents, just trying to survive. They were so little that they slept the whole day, so it didn't really seem like "their" first holiday. But Easter was different. We dressed Nathan up in a little suit (pictures to follow) and Kenna in a beautiful spring dress with a little hat, and they were so much more like small children than newborns for this holiday! They have such personalities now, and are so much fun, so it seemed like we were really "sharing the day" with them this time. We had the joy of taking them around grammy and papa's back yard for an Easter egg hunt (we have older nephews, it wasn't a hunt for them or it would have taken forever!). It felt like such a priviledge and joy to have our very own children this year to introduce our traditions to. Kenna was asleep during egg dying, but I had Nathan in my lap and "we" dyed an egg together. I was ecstatic and beaming. :) I LOVE holidays. I just love them. To get to experience a holiday with your own children is a whole new level of wonderful. It was an incredible, special day. B dyed an egg for me that said "MOM" on it and it brought tears to my eyes. I will never take for granted this incredible joy I have found in becoming a mom.

As for the latest and greatest news, it's all about hands! 3 weeks ago they found their hands. I had heard people mention babies finding their hands before and always thought it was a weird thing to point out - like, why is that a big deal? But now I understand it's a big deal because they have to FIND their hands before they can USE their hands. :) So 3 weeks ago they started bringing their hands together constantly (Kenna loved putting them in her mouth). Then 2 weeks ago they immediately started USING them to reach for things! What an amazing thing that develops so quickly after finding the hands the first time. When you dangle something in front of them, they concentrate really hard, put their arms out far apart, then slowly bring them together in the general area of the object. Kenna has really mastered this and grabs for things right away when presented with the opportunity (and then promptly brings the object to her mouth). Nathan isn't as quick to desire things presented to him, but when on the play mat, he has fun grabbing for the dangling things on his own. It's so awesome to see them intentionally reaching for things.

They have also started "talking" in a different way. They have been cooing for a while, but this week they have started this half squeal/half babble thing that is so cute. Kenna is doing it especially, but Nathan joins in sometimes too. Nathan spends more time enjoying his newest skill of blowing bubbles. This morning he did it for like 15 minutes straight! He gets giant smiles when you talk to him while he does it!

Big news for Kenna...she rolled over the first time on Monday! And I missed it! I put her on tummy time on the mat while I went to make breakfast. All of a sudden I heard "plunk" and turned around and she was on her back playing. She has never come close to rolling over before so I was more than a little surprised! And she hasn't done it since. I'm pretty sure she did it once just to cover off on the 4 month milestone that says they should have rolled over. :)

Similar big news for Nathan...he rolled over from back to tummy for the first time on Easter! He's been rolling tummy to back for a long time, but never the reverse way. It was funny - there were several people in the room (family gathering) and when he did it we all cheered. :)

Their personalities have really emerged and they each have some really cute things that they have made "their own"...

KENNA

Kenna LOVES attention! She is acutely aware of people - who is looking at her (or not looking at her), what they are doing, if they are happy/sad, etc. She really concentrates on faces, and gets a look of intense focus where her eyes get big and she purses her lips. When she was a newborn, she had that same look of concentration but she would actually concentrate so hard her eyes were crossed! I always thought that was adorable. Now she concentrates the same way, but she has eye control. :) Kenna really takes notice if I am holding Nathan and sitting next to her. She looks at him, looks at me, looks at him, looks at me. A lot of times she will start "talking" or even fussing at that point because mommy is paying attention to Nathan and not her! We have had to have several talks about how she is a twin and that means mommy must divide attention. :) Her favorite form of "attention" is being carried around. She just loves looking over the back of your shoulder. I think it's really interesting how much attention she seeks compared to Nathan. Nathan can play on his own forever and he never seems to notice her. She is much more aware of (and sensitive to) her surroundings. We left her and Nathan at the church nursery for the first time on Easter and ended up getting called back during the service because Kenna was crying uncontrollably (a rare event). Apparently, hearing all the other babies cry in the nursery was really stirring her up. So it seems that she is a sensitive, empathetic child already.

Kenna is a great sleeper. She's just like me in that you put her down when it's time (naps or night) and she is immediately able to conk out. Even if she doesn't seem very tired, when I put her down at the scheduled times, she's out within a few minutes and rarely cries at all (Nathan has to "wind down" just like his daddy and finds it very hard to just "go to sleep"). She sleeps soundly from 6:30 pm to 7 am and doesn't even cry when she wakes up. I go in at 7 am and there she is, happy as a clam, looking around her crib. She's a morning person just like mommy! When she sees me, she gets a giant smile, squeals and kicks like crazy! It is my favorite part of the day. It's so rewarding to see how happy she is to see me in the morning! I love that she waits so patiently.

Kenna is also a lot like me in that she is impatient and gets frustrated easily (I can't believe you can already see that in a 4 month old, but you can). When she is reaching for something and misses, she immediately fusses. I put it back in front of her and she goes back to concentrating. It's like an on/off switch!

Kenna doesn't smile as easily as Nathan does, but when it comes, it is pure gold. She is mommy's little sweetheart. :)


NATHAN

Nathan is a really good natured, happy baby...as long as he isn't hungry or tired, at which point he becomes a fuss monster! Smiles are so easy to get from him. Whenever you make eye contact, it takes less than 2 seconds of you smiling at him for him to give big smiles back. This makes picture taking loads of fun...the adorable "Nathan smiling" pictures are endless. And because he's not as aware of his surroundings as Kenna, he doesn't seem to care when the camera gets pulled out (Kenna sees the camera and gets totally distracted by it!). I can never get enough of Nathan's smiles; they just melt my heart because he always looks like such a happy little guy.

Something that I love to do with him is go in repeatedly to kiss his cheek and say "MWAH!" He expects it each time and as I get close he closes his eyes and opens his mouth really big, then has a big smile. He's started to make his own MWAH sound so I can stop making any sound and he says MWAH each time. It's so cute. :)

Like his daddy, Nathan needs to wind down before sleep time (B can never just go to bed, he always has to read or something - I can go to sleep in 30 seconds anywhere, anytime!). I usually put him the swing to make him sleepy before transferring him to bed at night. During the day he's gotten pretty good about going to sleep on his own, probably because it's right when he gets so tired, so he just conks out. It's very easy to know when he is tired because he hits a wall and goes from happy Nathan to fussy "mwah mwah mwah" Nathan in an instant. I understand, because I hit my sleep wall fast too. :) In fact, it's sort of a joke with people I know that I hit a wall at night and I'm done. I once slept through a Queensryche concert (in my seat)! lol

Nathan still LOVES food. If he is hungry, there is no distracting him with anything else. He eats full 8 ounce bottles and usually starts fussing as soon as he is done because he wants MORE! He doesn't realize he is full yet, so I have to distract him for 5 minutes or so then he is fine (he eats more than enough over the course of the day as it is). But it cracks me up that he ALWAYS must fuss after a bottle is empty. It's the only time he gets like that. My boy loves food. :) He is 15.5 pounds now and Kenna is 13.5 pounds.

*****

I will post pictures ASAP!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Weeks 14 and 15: Sailing along

I am happy to report that the last couple of weeks have been blissfully uneventful. :) It's just so nice to be in a good pattern with nothing major going on.

Let's see, there have only been a couple of changes in the last 2 weeks. First, we have completed "unswaddling". I really didn't think it would ever happen because Nathan especially has very active arms and he keeps himself awake. We started off by letting them sleep during daytime naps with their arms out of the swaddle. That took about a week for them to get used to. Then we let them do it during the 7-10 time at night (we wake them at 10 for their last feeding). Although it seemed they hadn't quite mastered that and were still waking themselves up, it was close enough that one night we decided to go for it after the 10 pm feeding for the rest of their sleep. Kenna did amazing! She slept all the way through and never made a peep. She had always been waking up at 5 or 6 (rather than the "goal" of 7) and she just could never seem to sleep on through. After we unswaddled, and ever since this week, she sleeps all the way through to 7 every night and we don't hear anything from her. When she wakes up she just lies in her crib looking around until I come in (at which time I get huge smiles and coos)! The first couple of nights Nathan woke up at 4-5 am, but that is what he had been doing anyway for a couple of weeks before (he had regressed from sleeping through for some reason). I figured he was waking up early anyway, so keep unswaddling. Well, he finally got all the way through and for the last few nights has done great! He still wakes up early, cries for about 5-10 minutes, but now goes back to sleep on his own and waits for me in the morning without crying. Hooray!

Kenna is doing better with her head lifting. She has gotten it very high a few times and can hold it up for limited amounts of time. Definite progress. I'm confident that she is getting it now. She's just not as motivated to lift her head as Nathan, who now loves his tummy time and lies around for long periods with his head way up in the air.

Both babies discovered thumbs this week! They have had much fun putting their hands in their mouths. They had their hands in their mouths many times before but now you can tell it's intentional and they are really working hard at finding those fingers. I'm happy about that because neither one is good at keeping a pacifier in so it's not fun to keep replacing fallen pacifiers. We have mostly weaned them from pacifiers anyway, but I still use them when we are out and sometimes at night when we put them to bed.

That's all that's new right now. I will post some pics in a bit here. I love these babies more and more every day, even though it seems like I couldn't love them more than I already do. We just bond more all the time and I am loving being a mommy. Boy, those first three months were hard. It was harder for me than I even let on in my earlier posts. But it sure makes me appreciate our smooth sailing ship all the more now. Nathan and Kenna are the precious lights of my life!

My heart goes out to some of my online friends/fellow bloggers who have had very difficult news lately. It's made my heart so heavy for them and I think about it so much when I look at my little ones and know so many are still struggling. When you come out "victorious" from infertility you can still easily feel the pain of others going through their own battles. One friend, after several IVFs and losses, tried surrogacy for the first time recently and the surrogate did not get pregnant. Two others, after devastating past losses and many IVFs, did surrogacy for the first time recently, both surrogates got pregnant, and both just suffered miscarriages in the last couple of weeks. Another did seven IVFs, finally got pregnant with twins, went to her big ultrasound to find out the genders yesterday and found out one of the babies has a severe heart defect and will require multiple heart surgeries as a baby. My heart just pours out to all of these families. I feel like we can't possibly be this lucky so something bad must be around the corner for us too. It's just not fair that things worked out for us and these other wonderful women are still in the trenches. It really feels like you are stuck in the bottom of a well when you are going through IVFs. Yes, you can see there are several possible ways of getting out; a possible step here, a loose hanging rope over there. You know that something can probably work, but every time you try something and it doesn't work, it feels more and more hopeless. You try the rope and the whole thing comes down into the well with you because it turns out it wasn't tied at the top. So you try the step but it's too wet and you slip and fall back. With every option used you feel more and more hopeless and frustrated. Sometimes you just sit down in the dark bottom and cry. It's hard to imagine trying that other step over there since it looks wet too and will take a whole lot of energy. Meanwhile, you hear all the happy people at the top having fun and playing with their children freely. But you are stuck in the well. You keep trying because you have to. And someday you know you'll be on the other side. But those days stuck in the well, you will never, ever forget. They leave you a changed person.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Weeks 12 and 13: Lots of changes!

I feel guilty combining weeks but I just didn't have time to update last week! Nathan and Kenna, if/when you read these someday, know that it's not that I didn't love you enough to update both weeks...I was spending time with you instead. :)

So let's see, what's new? Well, I feel there have been a lot of developmental and physical changes with the babies at this 3 month mark!

Nathan, in week 12, suddenly went from being strong about lifting his head when on tummy time to lifting himself consistently 90 degrees while leaning on his arms and just holding that position without struggling. It's amazing to watch! For so long I was impressed that he could just lift his head so high and then put it down, but it's like one day that week he realized he was strong enough to hold it up once it got into position, supported by his arms, and he never turned back! This skill then enabled him to roll over one morning. He rolled over from tummy to back a couple of times before he was even six weeks, but purely by accident as he never did it again. The morning he rolled over recently I was so excited because I could tell he was really trying! I put him on his tummy again and he rolled over two more times that morning! Since then he has rolled over multiple times per day. He loves it!

I know that by 3 months babies are supposed to be able to lift their heads at least 45 degrees and last week I really started getting concerned about Kenna. On tummy time she really doesn't try at all to lift her head and when she gets frustrated and does try because she wants out of the position, she really barely moves it up. I wouldn't even call it 45 degrees. So I started obsessing about this issue and putting her on her tummy a kazillion times per day. I started doing "exercises" with her that intuitively seem like they would help. I would hold her head up for her on tummy time to show her what things look like if she tries to look up, exercise that muscle by lifting and lowering her head, put her across my lap for a different view, etc. She still didn't seem to get it. Then one night I put her down one last time and she suddenly lifted way up OVER 45 degrees on her ARMS (not just the newborn head lift) and held it there! I was so excited I went dashing for the camera across the room and slipped and hurt my knee on the hard wood floor. LOL She has done it a few times since then but is not consistent yet. I'm just relieved to know she can. We'll continue working on it.

Aside from the physical aspect, something significant started happening on February 28 (end of week 12). I know it was that day because we were over at B's parents house when the babies really started vocalizing the first time. They had been making little sounds here and there before, but nothing like that morning...and they haven't turned back. I've tried really hard to talk a lot TO them because that is supposed to really help from an early age, but it just didn't occur to me that they were at a point to talk WITH them. B's mom was talking "with" them that morning, pausing to give them the opportunity to chime in, and that's when they started doing it. Now I make it a point to talk with them every day - where we establish good attention and eye contact and then have a conversation. :) I absolutely love their little sounds. Sometimes they aren't even sounds, just little "squeals" or excited kicks, but it's all communication. They are so fun!

I can't believe how much they have grown, which is something that has really struck me lately. In the past it seemed impossible to tell because I was seeing them every day. But when I look at them now they just look like SUCH bigger, older babies. I really see the changes in their faces. They both have faces that have filled out so much. Kenna has gotten especially plump lately (in a good way!!). I've been feeding them at the same time for a while now, using the two boppies, and the other day I decided to feed one at a time because I missed it. I couldn't believe how different it was to hold them while feeding now compared to a few weeks ago when I regularly did it that way! They just seemed huge! Of course I hold them every day, but I don't have the same obvious reference point with that as with feeding so it struck me. They are also moving through their clothes so fast, I can't keep up. I have clothes for the future in sorted stacks in the closet. Periodically I remember, "hey, I should check the next range of clothes in case they can wear them now" (so we don't get too far along and they've already outgrown them before I realized it). Every time I do try it they fit and I just can't believe it. Nathan is now in 3-6 month (3 month is tight) and Kenna will be very soon (she is good with 3 month exactly). It's fun to have them wear new clothes all the time, but OMG, my babies! They are getting so big so fast! I never thought I would say that a month ago when I was so overwhelmed. LOL But each time I put away another outfit that is too small I feel a little pang of sadness. In a good way, it really has made me "get it" in terms of enjoying each stage, because now I'm really experiencing how fast the stages go. I am obsessively taking pictures and need to do a better job remembering to grab video.

For those who don't know, I own my own company (started it 4 years ago) and work from home. The problem is, running it to make it worthwhile means I really need to work more than full time doing it. I don't want to work full time for now. So, I made the decision recently to put my company on "hold" for a year (it's something that requires advertising for business, so I can just keep my advertising off). That said, I value the balance of work and do want to work part time, so I've decided to work two days per week. I've been doing some minimal marketing consulting for B's business (he owns his own also) for the last couple of years because they don't have a marketing executive, needed a marketing plan and that is my background. They have hired me to be their Marketing Director and I'll be doing that with my two days per week. It's perfect for me because it's a high level job doing what I love, while working from home exactly how much I was hoping to. :) To enable this, we've hired a nanny for one day per week (on a neighbor's referral) and B's mom comes the other day. We started this last week and I'm really happy with how it's all working out!

For those of you who are still expecting, I would like to leave this 3 month post for you with this thought: Getting through the first three months is akin to getting through the first trimester. It's a totally new phase of your life with lots and lots of adjustments. It's a very emotional time filled with highs AND lows. I really feel that I have "conquered" those first three months now and emerged alive. :) I feel like I know my babies inside and out, the daily mystery and frustration of trying to figure out what is going on is gone, our schedule is like a well oiled machine, we all sleep great through the whole night, and I love these little precious children like I can't even explain. I am so grateful for every minute and I dream of all the wonderful times ahead.

I don't have time to post pics right now, but will soon!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Week 11 Pictures










Week 11: Really Loving It

I'll start this week with the highlights, then a little commentary:

--Both babies have crossed over that bridge of "newborns can't stay awake for more than two hours"...they both consistently make it to 2.5 hours at the times of day when they are "supposed to" for babies their age now. It's amazing how fast they have caught up on the schedule to babies their age. In the beginning they were following the schedule for their adjusted age (4 weeks early) and now they are right on track with what full term babies are supposed to be able to do! They seem to really be thriving and alert.

--We ended week 11 with all four of us in the house sick. B and I had the flu and both babies had colds. It was/is their first illness. My maternal instinct showed up in full force - it is so sad to see their little congested faces crying! Kenna seems to be much worse than Nathan. Nathan is a bit congested, but Kenna keeps sneezing and has so much stuff in her sinuses. I keep using the nasal aspirator with her but it seems there is no end to it. She has been really fussy and just wants to be held all the time. It's so sad! I just keep comforting her and am enjoying the opportunity to "rescue" her from her pains. :)

Nathan Update

Nathan continues to give us lots and lots of smiles. He is sooooo sweet. Those little smiles just melt my heart. He smiles spontaneously at things and seeing little spurts of joy in my sweetheart just makes my heart leap. When he gets really excited he opens his mouth really wide and it looks like he is going to laugh, but no audible laughs yet! He loves when I smile really big and say in a high pitched tone, "TEE TEE TEE TEE TEE!!" LOL (Yes I feel stupid writing that!) B has his own ways of eliciting Nathan's beautiful smiles, like pulling his hands together in a clapping motion. Nathan has squealed a couple of times, but not too much. He does make little sounds here and there but I don't know if it's what you call "coos". I don't know exactly what a "coo" is, but I guess I'll find out one of these days! Nathan continues to really surprise us with his strength. I'll post a picture after this where you can see him holding his head way up. He only likes tummy time for a minute or so, but while he is there he is an amazing little guy, lifting his head way up and looking around both directions. He also has a really strong grasp. Although he isn't really reaching for things intentionally, he grasps at the air a lot and loves holding on TIGHT to my fingers or hair!

One of the funniest things that Nathan does is say his own special word when he is hungry: UN-GAY. It cracks us up because it does sound a bit like HUN-GRY and is very distinctive when he says it. When you take his bottle away to wipe his mouth or something he immediately screams and tells you, "UN-GAY!!!" It's so fun to respond by saying, "oh no! Not that! You are un-gay? I better give you the bottle back!" or "I know you are un-gay, don't worry there is more food!" Both babies eat 6 ounces 5 times per day, but yesterday Nathan was screaming UN-GAY after his 6 ounces during two of the feedings so I gave him more. By the night time feeding he didn't want anymore after 3 ounces. I took the bottle out of his mouth and said, "you don't seem very UN-GAY tonight!" He got a huge smile on his face and it was so precious. He was done eating. :)


Kenna Update

Kenna may not smile as frequently as Nathan, but when she does it is pure gold. She gets some GIANT grins (I'll post some pictures after this) and it's just amazing. We had some friends coming over to see the babies for the first time this week so I dressed her up in a new dress we have for the first time. She looked like a precious little doll. I love dressing her up so much! It's the pink dress in the pictures I'm going to post. I just can't wait for summer when I can put her in dresses every day. She has the cutest expressions. She opens her eyes really wide sometimes and puckers her little lips as if she is surprised and I think it's the sweetest thing - so innocent and pretty! There are two things that make her consistently smile. The funniest one is when she sees me get the camera out! I sit her up and when she sees the camera she almost always gets a big grin! So I always have a series of pictures with the first couple of her smiling (she doesn't smile the whole time so I have to get them fast!). The other thing is the flashing, music playing star attached to her play mat. Nothing else keeps her occupied in the same way. She just loves it. When it is off and she is lying under it, she stares at it waiting for it to blink and play its songs. As soon as it does, big smiles!

Kenna is doing a great job looking all around her on both sides now. For a while, she would look to her left side 90% of the time. The doctor said it might have been how she was positioned in the womb. I had been encouraging her to look the other direction for a while, but in the last couple of weeks she has really gone to evenly looking around in all ways. When I sit her upright on my lap or against my chest, she holds her head up really well and looks to both sides with intrigue. Her face is so petite and dainty...when I see her looking around with those inquisitive eyes I just can't help but kiss her big cheeks over and over. :)

I can't really get her to lift her head while on tummy time very much yet, but she's doing well when she is lying angled against me. Hopefully she will decide she wants to lift up like Nathan soon.


Me Update

I just have to say that I have really transitioned from struggling with the day to day to honestly and truly loving it. I find so much joy now in all the little things - watching their expressions, seeing how they develop new skills, eliciting their beautiful smiles, waiting in anticipation for their next milestones to happen, feeling their fingers tightly wrapped around mine, watching their eyes close slowly at night as they fall asleep, comforting them when they are unhappy. It is such an honor and a privilege to know them. I'm just so excited about our little family and all the time we hopefully have ahead of us together.

When we were at the mall a few weeks back pushing our double stroller through, a woman came up to us and sort of stopped me by putting her hand on my shoulder. She looked at the babies and then looked at me with emotion beyond her simple words: "You are SO lucky." People make comments all the time when we are out and about, but this woman stands out to me. It wasn't a flippant comment. I could tell there was so much behind it, though I could never guess her specific story. At the time I thought, "if you only knew how much we've been through to get here!" But I am reminded lately of how much so many people go through with infertility and still don't have their desired outcomes. It's really sad that there is not necessarily a correlation between how much work you put in and what the outcome is with infertility. It really stands out to me lately HOW lucky we are, and that I should never think "if you only knew how much we've been through..." Many go through even more than we did and don't have a double (or single) stroller to push through the mall. That woman was so right. We are SO lucky.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Weeks 9 and 10 Pictures!

My mom cracking Nathan up...I love this picture! Look at their two faces!




Nathan and Kenna hanging out




Nathan hanging out in his sweatsuit




One of the few times I have caught Kenna smiling on camera!




Awwwwww...




Some very excited grandparents meeting the babies for the first time...