Monday, October 26, 2009

Goodbye Savannah...

My family's dog was put to sleep today.  Savannah, a beautiful and sweet Golden Retriever was really "Miranda's Dog".  Miranda prayed and begged for her and after having major surgery to correct her hip sockets at 7 years old, my parents gave in.  I must admit, I asked my parents not to get a Golden, to get anything but a Golden.  Everyone had one and I wanted something more unique.  Still, I fell in love with her when I came home from school and saw the adorable puppy sitting in Miranda's arms.  We all loved her, but no one loved her like Miranda did.  She loved and cared for Savannah, as if she was her own child and I know that Savannah felt that same love for Miranda.  

Miranda, Alex (17 yo sister) and my mother took Savannah to the beach yesterday, it was her first time with her feet in the sand and the ocean!  It was a wonderful end to her journey and I wish I could have been there.  This morning she was simply to weak to get up.  My mom called me from the Vet's office and said it was time to let her go, so we all went and said our good-byes.  Always by her side, Miranda stayed with Savannah as she went to sleep, my did mother as well. 

Please keep Miranda in your prayers and feel free to leave a comment, as she follows my blog and I am sure could use any kind words offered.  

RIP Savannah, we LOVE you!

Persistence is FINALLY paying off... Part #2

You may have already read Part #1 of this post,  if not you can check it out here.  I am happy to announce that "action Jackson" had another successful bedtime last night and slept until 7am this morning!  Now for the "Twincesses"...

I gave some background info for Part #1, so I'll do the same here:  Ava and Emma were born just over 35 weeks and both came home with me from the hospital.  Emma spent her first day in the NICU, Ava (the smaller baby) was diagnosed with IUGR, but went straight to the regular nursery!  I have to admit, I do sometimes treat the girls differently because of their size and prematurity.  Certain milestones have been met at the appropriate age and some were a little late, but perfect for their "adjusted age".  I guess it's silly, since they don't have any problems related to their early arrival.  I had started to be a little more lax about things at one point, then both girls were hospitalized with RSV and I think I regressed a bit.  

The girls have been sleeping soundly and ALL night long for several weeks!  They have truly been good sleepers from the start.  Like most newborns, they spent much of the day swaddled like little burritos.  I think we expected that at some point they'd "let us know" when they were done being strapped into their "straight-jackets" as my family calls them!  I know all of you twin moms out their can sympathize with me here, as we have had many discussions and even posted illustrated tutorials on our beloved swaddling techniques!  I am sure a lot of singleton moms are with me too.  I mean really, they are sleeping 12 hours at night and napping the day away... obviously I am doing something right.  So now that they truly are out-growing their  
swaddle blanket/sleep-sack combo, we were faced with a decision... buy new ones or see how they do without them.  The following letter from "Ava and Emma" aka my mother, which I received at work last week was the last straw:

Dear Mom,
     I know you don't' want us to grow up, but you gotta face it. We are getting to damn big for those bleeping pink swaddles! Our toes are getting numb from them being to short for our growing bodies. Yes we are comfy and cozy for the most part, but get us something longer or we are going on STRIKE!!!.
Your Loving Daughters,
Ava and Emma

This is not a joke.  So what choice did I have, really?  Anyways, it's inevitable... eventually they will need to learn to sleep without the swaddles, so this week we decided to "wean" them.  With advise from another MOT (thanks Heather!) we got some long sleeve sleep-sacks (again, thanks Heather!) and turned the sleeves inside out, so that they girls could move around, but still were somewhat confined and cozy.  Like any transition, there was an adjustment period.  The first few naps were shorter and they didn't sleep as soundly that first night, but it wasn't bad at all.  We did this for 3 days.  Yesterday, we put them in the sleep sacs, with their arms in the sleeves... yes it's true... full freedom!  They were sooo funny, laughing, swatting each other, rolling around and sucking on their hands.  They didn't know what to with themselves, with all of this new found freedom of motion!  That first morning nap, it took about an hour for them to fall asleep, then they woke up a couple times, fussed a little and would go back to sleep for 15-20 minute intervals.  This lasted for 2-3 hours, which is how long these usually nap.  Their afternoon nap was much better.  Last night they went down at 6:30pm and didn't fall asleep until after 7:30, but they slept until 7am and this morning they went right down for their morning nap with no problem!

I am still not convinced that they really needed to be "set free", but I digress.  It was going to happen eventually and now we are a step closer to putting them down for the night in their crib.  That of course, will only happen when Jackson is consistently going to bed without melt-downs and not waking up at 4am! 

Stay tuned... and for now some photos of the "Twincesses", sleeping soundly and swaddle free!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Persistence is FINALLY paying off... Part #1

I have been a bad blogger lately, but I have a good excuse... actually I have 3!  Most of you that follow are personal friends or family members.  For those who aren't... a little background info:

We live in a small, but sweet and CHEAP 2 bedroom appt.  Jackson has always had his own room and has always been a phenomenal sleeper.  When we learned we expecting twins, we decided to switch rooms with Jackson as ours was much bigger and we knew that eventually the kids would all be in one room.  Jackson moved into his "new" room in March.  We did it then, so that the transition would seem less like he was loosing his beloved bedroom, because of the girls.  He's never really loved it.  It's bigger and better in every way and he even got a new bed, Airplane bedding and cute new shelving for all of his books and toys!  Still, he insists that his old room was "just perfect" for him, "small like me" and would prefer we "switch back and take the girls" with us.  He loves the girls and has no issues with them napping in their crib in "his" room.  He just refuses to also nap or sleep while they are in there!

Another issue... he has been waking up at un-godly hours lately.  Usually somewhere between 4 and 5:30am.  He comes into our room, asks if he can get up and when we tell him it's the middle of the night and he needs to go back to bed, he hits the floor screaming.  Now all 3 kids are up, Rick and I are up and the battle begins!  Some mornings he goes back to bed until 6:30-7am.  Some he goes back for 15 minutes, only to start the whole cycle over again and others he just screams for 2+ hours.  Lovely.  So of-course we need to nip that in the bud, before we start putting the girls in their crib for the night.  Luckily they sleep like angels in the co-sleeper in our room.  Honestly though, some days I feel like they'll be crawling (literally) into our bed, before Jackson get's over this.

In additional to ALL of  that, We have had our fair share of behavior issues lately.  Not listening, out of control tantrums, talking back, refusing to nap, etc.  Some days are great.  Others, not so much.  To be fair, we need to acknowledge that he's been through a lot of transition.  He's been sick.  The girls are getting more attention, oh and yes... he's realized now that we are "keeping them".  A new teacher at preschool.  I went back to work, so Rick's schedule changed as well.  Just for fun, lets throw a little over-tired 4 year old into the mix and see what happens?!  So, one of my co-workers (thanks D) suggested a chart and to be honest, I don't know why I didn't think of that. 

So, I went on-line and made my own, one sleep chart and one behavior chart.  Jackson earns stickers for things like "listening the 1st time", "cleaning up his toys" and "going back to sleep" after a middle-of-the-night wake up, without a tantrum.  I printed them on photo paper and dug through my scrap-booking supplies for some stickers (need to hit the dollar-tree for come basic gold stars and smiley faces).  I must say, I thought the first night was a coincidence, but he's been consistently better since we have been using the charts.  We have had 2 days of difficult bedtime (he's never gone to bed well for Rick) and one morning that he woke at 5:30am , but went back into his room and read books quietly till after 6am.  He's been napping better and when he doesn't nap, he has an hour of quiet time in his room.  He's been a better listener, more cooperative and he's even getting himself dressed (this is HUGE)!  All just for some stickers on a home-made chart!  We had originally thought of having some sort of reward or prize after he earned so many stickers, but Rick felt that the stickers should be the reward and honestly I agree.  He needs to understand that this is the behavior we always expect from him,  so getting rewarded with toys and such, for doing things like getting himself dressed and not having melt-downs at 4am seems a little ridiculous.  Right?

Regardless, it's working!  Here are our charts... stay tuned for Part #2, to see how persistence is FINALLY paying of for the "Twincesses"...  


Friday, October 16, 2009

Things I Just CAN'T Live Without!

I have lots to update everyone on!  I just don't have the desire or the energy right now, emotionally we are all still pretty raw.  But, I will must say THANK YOU all so, so much for the prayers and well wishes and you'll all be happy to hear that Jackson is perfectly fine!  I promise to post all about that soon.

For now though, I am sort of copying Cheryl and having a little fun.  So... here is a list of things I just can't live without.  

1. Popcorn

2. My compact

3. Cell-phone

4. Soapnet

5. Digital Camera

6. Foot rubs

7. Chocolate

8. Girls night (drinks preferably, but not required)

9. Magazines (both trashy and parenting)

10. My Kitchenaid Stand Mixer

11. Coffee

12. Fuzzy socks

13. Scrap-booking, party planning and gift-wrapping

14. Butternut squash

15. Warehouse shopping (love my Costco and BJ's)

16. Everything Christmas, but specifically:  Late-night Christmas Eve, wrapping gifts with my Mom, while sipping hot chocolate and listening to Christmas Carols.  Watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation with my dad.  Big FAT real Christmas Trees.  The sweet surprised look on the kids faces.

17. Spell-Check

18. Talking!

So of-course my family is a given!  Honestly though, when I read this... I am a little embarrassed.  I mean I was honest, but yikes... I sound so tween-like!  I am not that vein, I swear.

Now EVERYONE please, pretty, pretty please leave a comment!  Anything on my list that makes yours?  What can't you live without?


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apple Picking for Alex's Birthday!

My baby sister Alex is turning 18 in just a couple weeks and thank goodness she's (sometimes) a sweetheart and wanted to include the kids in the celebration!  She chose apple picking and really what could be better?  We had already been planning on going to Lookout Farm this year, as we did last and although it's pricey, there is lots of fruit for picking and lots to do for the kids.  The day was extra special, since it isn't too often that all 6 of us sisters are in the same place!  Also, Jackson's had a great weekend and OMG is that worth celebrating?!  So I packed the kids up and brought along my "new" baby jogger double for the first time, although it didn't get much use, since Sam (my sister) and I had the "Twincesses" in the Baby Bjorns.  The kids picked lots of Apples and had a blast running around the farm's huge play-area.  There was so much to do, but for the most part they enjoyed a kids music and magic show.  Fun was had by all and the weather could not have been more perfect!  

Here are some of my favorite photos from today and be sure to stay tuned for this years photos of Rick and Jackson making apple pie (it's their tradition)!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Way Back When-esday: My Favorite Time of Year

I love the Fall, it's my favorite time of year!  I love the foliage and the cool crisp air.  I love apple picking, carving pumpkins, seeing all of the kids dressed up for Halloween and of course Thanksgiving... I LOVE all of it!  This is definitely my season.  Next week we will hit the (not really) Haunted Hayride at our local Farm, and enjoy an apple picking birthday party for my sister Alex, who's turning 18!!  Jackson's preschool is going pumpkin picking for their field-trip this month and my local twin moms group is having it's annual Halloween party, which I have heard is always a blast.  Oh, the fun-filled-Fall activities are endless!

I'd love to hear what fun everyone else has planned for the Fall and to see some of your favorite Fall photos, here are some of mine...


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Snapshots: Happy Birthday Ella, Not so Happy Day for Jackson.

As many of you know, I have been having a tough time with "action Jackson" lately.  He's not a bad kid.  Really.  He's actually a great kid, smart, funny and so loving.  I am not just saying that because he's mine.  For a while, I was actually feeling pretty blessed that he seemed to have adjusted to life with "the Twincesses" so well.  Sure, he's had a few little bumps in the road since the girls arrived, but nothing major, nothing we weren't prepared for or expecting.  It seems however, that the older they get, the worse he gets.  It's tough.  I can see that he is torn.  He truly loves Ava and Emma and for the most part, he shows them only kindness and loves to help me with feedings, getting the girls dressed and is always trying to make them smile.  At the same time, he is super difficult when I am busy caring for the girls and almost impossible when anyone else pays any attention to them.  It's normal, I know.  The thing is, with me going back to work, Rick being home more often, a new preschool classroom and now a new teacher, he's a total mess.  Disaster.  The majority of our days are a struggle, he's normally a sensitive kid, but these days he is incredibly emotional.  He's not having great days at preschool, not even good days.  To be honest, I am tears as I type this and not because I am upset with him, but because I am hurting for him.  I am also feeling incredibly guilty.  I am 100% head-over-heals in love with my girls, they are just too sweet for words.  That being said, I miss being just Jackson's mom.  I miss being able to spoil him with attention.  Most of all, I miss him.

We went to a birthday party today for my sweet and adorable niece, Ella!  She turned 2 and her mom threw her an amazing birthday party, complete with a ladybug Pinata, face painting and a pumpkin for all of the kids to take home.  This, all despite the fact that it seems Mother Nature has it our for her!  

Jackson was not himself at the party, he just seemed off today.  I am not making excuses, those of you who know me, know that.  Plus, there is no excuse for bad manners and just not being a good friend!  I wont get into details.  I have been making empty threats lately and today I had to follow through, which proved to be difficult.  Strike 1 was a minor offense, Jackson and I had a quick talk on the porch and headed back in to enjoy the rest of the festivities.  Strike 2 was not even 30 minutes later and with that I packed up the girls, loaded the kids into the car and we were off.  This of course, was after I apologized to the other moms, my friend for having to leave the party so early and the little boy who Jackson was singling out "because he had curly hair".  Enough said!

I am not sure where we go from here, I just know that I need to make sure I don't let my emotions get the best of me.  I tend to have a hard time with that... he get's it from me.  I just hate to see my sweet little boy struggling like this.  I think for know I need to stay calm and let him now that I am here for him and that I love him no matter what, without accepting this behavior... right??

In the meantime, say a prayer for my little guy and enjoy the pics below of Ella's Big Day, my little man Rocco enjoying all the action, a sweet photo of Jackson passed out after lots of tears over having to leave the party, but notice his amazing Jaguar face (thanks Erin) is still perfect!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Back on the Wagon...

... The weight-loss wagon that is.  It's time, actually it is long overdue!  The girls are 4 months old now and I am NOT even close to where I want/need to be.  I have never been thin and actually it's been a quite a while since I have even been average.  I have never been so upset with myself before, at least not about my physical appearance.  I know, I know, I just had twins.  The thing is, this body wasn't much different before I got pregnant.  I am struggling to find anything in my closet that fits and is not maternity!  It's just not healthy and I am not happy, this is not the wife, mom or person I want to be.  So since I had great success in the past with Weight Watchers, that is what I am doing now, along with our "biggest loser" challenge at work.  A few of the other nurses, medical assistants and I started on Monday, but official weigh in was on Wednesday. So far I am doing well, I have actually lost almost 5lbs since Monday's unofficial weigh-in.  To be honest, I think that is good and bad.  I know what your thinking... how could such a quick loss be bad?  The thing is I am SO overweight now that the lbs will melt off in the beginning.  As long as I eat well and get some exercise, of course.  My body doesn't need ALL of this extra weight.  It's going to be more difficult to loose those last 10-20lbs.  So the fact that it was that easy to loose almost 5lbs, is a bittersweet reminder of just how overweight I am!

I will post weekly updates on my goals, successes, failures and experiences.  When I reach or become much closer to my goal, I will reveal what I started at.  YIKES!  

I'd love any advice, support, recipes, walking buddies, anything you think could help me.  I am just going ask one thing of my friends and family that actually see me on a regular basis:  Please DO NOT comment that "I look fine", am "not overweight", or say things like "you look great for just having twins".  What does that one even mean?  Would it be completely unacceptable for anyone who has not birthed more than one child at one time to look like I do?  I know you're being sweet, but it's NOT true and it doesn't help me.  It's a blatant lie and it isn't saving my feelings.  I know exactly what I look like and you're not making me feel any better.  Thanks!