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Friday, September 21, 2012

Life with 1 year old twins and an almost-3-year-old ... otherwise known as my attempt at organized chaos and staying sane.

My dear friend Lorryn recently wrote a "Day in the Life" post about the changes to their family routine now that she has started to work full time.  Their little family is thriving after this change and it's delightful to hear the excitement in her voice when she talks about their life.

Her post got me thinking that I haven't done a "Day in the Life" post in a loooooong time.  Last November, I described the complete shit-storm (literally and figuratively) that we called our life when the twins were 9 weeks old.  And in March, I wrote another post about the semi-organized days of life when the twins were 6 months old.  I could have sworn that I wrote another post this summer, but looking back I probably decided not to because it would have looked the exact same as the March post, minus the nursing and pumping.

Now that we have survived the first year of life with multiples, life has become easier and more enjoyable.  It's still not easy, it's just a different kind of chaos.  Somewhat more manageable. So here's what life looks like in our house these days....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nothing turns me on like a man who knows every word to a Disney song.

Remember these?  If not (and you were raised in the 80s/90s) you lived a deprived childhood.  Go tell your parents they ruined your life.

While eating dinner the other day, Brian and I somehow got on the subject of the Disney Sing Along Songs VHS tapes we had as kids.  He busted out into "Friend Like Me" while I promptly jumped on YouTube to see if I could find it.  It wasn't hard to find and when the music started, Brennan snatched the phone from my hands and stared at it for the entire 11 minutes and 44 seconds it took to get through "Friend Like Me", "When You're The Best of Friends" from Fox and the Hound, and "Something There That Wasn't There Before" from Beauty and the Beast.  His eyes literally did not move from the screen the entire time, despite his crazy parents dancing around and belting out every word of "Friend Like Me", even the banter before the song starts, without needing to even glance at the screen.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

12 months!

(**note … I'm 10 days late posting this and things have already changed in big ways!  But for the sake of memories, I'm pretending like I wrote this on their birthday :D)

My baby boys are 1 year old.  Holy bananas.

While in Michigan last week, I visited my dear friend Janelle and got to snuggle on her 2 sweet girls. I was excited to meet their newest addition, Miss T, who was a little over 3 weeks old.   I was a bit surprised when Janelle said that she weighed about 10 pounds.  She seemed so tiny and delicate.  I would’ve guessed closer to 7 pounds had I not known that she weighed over 7 pounds at birth and is quite a good little eater.  But what was really amazing to me was that my tiny little Kiernan, at his lowest weight, was about 5.5 pounds … half of Miss T!  It just does not seem possible, especially now that he’s such a beast! 

This past year has been such a wild ride.  It’s had its many ups and downs and I must admit that not all of it was enjoyable … but it was worth every minute.  While my boys have been physically and cognitively growing, I’ve been growing emotionally as a Mom.  And while I’m infinitely proud of Beckett and Kiernan for accomplishing so much, of Brennan for coping so well with the big changes that came along with being a big brother, and of Brian for achieving so much in his professional career while being a wonderful Daddy and my emotional rock over the past year, I’m also a bit proud of myself for surviving. 

It’s been a wild ride with many changes, and I can only see bigger and better things for our little family over the years to come!

Weight – 23 pounds 9 oz - 85th percentile
Height - 30.75 inches - 85th percentile

My sweet Beckett is as sweet as ever, but he has learned to hold his own when dealing with his brothers.  He’s much more patient than Brennan and Kiernan, but he doesn’t let them walk all over him either … well sometimes he does, literally, but he doesn’t put up with it for long.  His temperament is pleasant and steady.  He loves to learn new things, but sometimes gets overwhelmed by chaotic situations.  He has to sit and study something before he tackles it, but once he puts his mind to doing something, he is stubborn as hell and won’t easily give up.  Beckett is a bit smaller than Kiernan.  He’s noticeably shorter, although not by too much, and definitely feels lighter.  He is built like his Mommy – squishy with slouchy posture.  While it’s not that attractive as an adult, it’s deliciously adorable for a baby.

Beckett excels at fine motor and language skills.  I’ve never seen a 1 year old with better fine motor skills, and I’m not saying that just because I’m his Mom.  He can pick things up in a pincer grip with the greatest precision.  Every sticker that Brennan puts on my body, Beckett picks off.  If I’m ever wearing some kind of jewelry, Beckett delicately examines it with intense concentration (usually before yanking it off and inflicting some kind of pain).  Even the tiniest spec of something on the carpet will make it into his hands, and then his mouth, in the blink of an eye.  It’s fun to watch this skill grow and develop.  Beckett’s gross motor skills are still developing.  He isn’t walking yet, but is cruising around on furniture, will walk while holding both of my hands, and has attempted a step/lunge toward me without holding onto anything a few times.  I’m not worried about it as this is pretty much how Brennan ventured into the whole walking thing too. 

Beckett’s language is so much fun too.  He says Mama and Dada fairly specifically for each of us.  Ba-ba tends to come after I say “bottle” or “brother”.  He also recently started saying “cheese” for the camera, “bye-bye” and “uh oh”.  I have to say, his “uh oh” is too cute for words.   He now has 8 teeth and FOR REALS I didn’t know he was cutting 5 of them.  They just kind of magically appeared in his mouth.  No fussing or anything.  This is exactly how Brennan was.  Kiernan?  Not so much.  But we’ll get to that in Kiernan’s section.  Beckett’s easy teething is really just a testament to his easy personality.  He is almost always happy and very often flashes his “hammy smile”. 

Lest anyone think he is the perfect child, I continue to have problems with Beckett’s sleeping habits.  I guess they aren’t really problems per se, he just requires much less sleep than the average 12 month old.  He sleeps beautifully all night long and goes to bed without an issue, but if he takes a morning nap, he won’t take an afternoon nap.  At first I thought it might just be a phase and continued to try to get him to sleep, but eventually I succumbed to the fact that he was dropping a nap.  So Beckett now takes one 2-2.5 hour afternoon nap and sleeps for about 12 hours per night. 

I really can’t express how much fun it has been to watch Beckett grow and change over the past year.  He went from a VERY sleepy newborn to my problematic sleep child.  From a very laid back newborn to a fairly busy infant.  His cheeks are deliciously squishy and he never fails to make me smile.  Brian and I are so in love with our Mr. Beckett and can’t wait to see him continue to grow into toddlerhood.

Weight – 24 lbs 8 oz - 90-95th percentile
Height – 32 inches - >100th percentile

Ohhhh Kiernan.  His smile melts me in an instant with his jack-o’-lantern grin and right-sided dimple (just like his mama).  And it’s a good thing that he can melt me so quickly because that boy is ornery!  As I’ve said for most of the 12 months of his life, Kiernan feels his emotions very fiercely.  Whether it’s happy or sad, giggly or mad, Kiernan is going to display his feelings with the utmost intensity.  While it can be frustrating at times, it’s a trait I admire about him.  He is almost always on the go, but one thing he will stop for is books.  This boy LOVES to read.  I very often find him sitting in a corner with a book in his lap, slowly turning pages and examining every inch with the utmost concentration.  But when he’s not reading, he’s (literally) walking all over his brothers. 

Kiernan is walking quite well now.  He excels at gross motor skills.  I love to watch him toddle around the house.  He still crawls a bit, but will very often stop in the middle of the room and stand up and start walking, kind of like he forgot that he knows how to walk.  His wide gait is adorable and I love to watch him balance between trying to walk like Brennan and then dropping down to his hands and knees to keep up with Beckett.  Kiernan loves to try to build a tower with our big blocks.  When he succeeds, he claps for himself and then promptly knocks them down.  Kiernan’s fine motor skills are still a work in progress.  He’s getting better, but still has a way to go.  It’s funny to see how Beckett & Kiernan each have different strengths.  Kiernan’s eating method, while still quite efficient, is very much a fistful of food to mouth method. 

Kiernan has 5 teeth now and has been working on one of his bottom teeth for awhile now.  His bottom gums have been big and swollen and I keep thinking one morning I'm going to get him up and he'll have an even number of chompers … but no such luck.  And this guy is not a good teether.  He requires lots of cold things to chew on, pain relievers, teething tabs, and Mommy snuggles.  The best thing about teething though?  That it has to end eventually!  Kiernan babbles quite a bit, but doesn't really have any "words" yet, aside from Mama and Dada.  I'm sure it's just a matter of time before he starts to get more words, because of his love for books.  When we read books, I point to things and repeat words and he just stares in amazement.  I think he's just taking it all in. 

As you can see from his measurements, Kiernan is a beast.  He's very solid and while he still has a bit of cute baby pudge, he's certainly not a chunk.  This growing boy still requires quite a bit of sleep.  He takes about an hour nap in the morning and about 1.5-2 hours in the afternoon, and still sleeps for about 12 hours at night.  He had a fussy night last week and I went in to rock him back to sleep.  As he rested his head into the crook of my neck and adjusted his knees into my hips, I couldn't help but marvel at the fact that it seems like just yesterday his little body fit so perfectly on my chest, his little bum at my belly button and his sweet head tucked under my chin.  How is it that my tiny little 6 pound baby has quadrupled in size and is (dare I say it) beginning to look a bit like a little boy?  I will say, Kiernan is just as ornery now as he was when he was growing in my belly.

The fact that my baby boys are one year old pulls at my heart and makes my uterus quiver.  How does time pass so quickly?  It seems that their first year flew by three times as quickly as Brennan's first year.  It was such a crazy busy year and I can't even begin to describe just how much the advice I received about raising twins rings true - just SURVIVE the first year.  And you know what?  We did it.  And life is getting a bit easier.  OK, maybe not easier, but it's a different kind of chaos.  More manageable and more enjoyable.  All 3 of these boys are hard work, but they are FUN.  And so, so worth every bit of that work.

Maize and Blue Birthday Bash.

Oh boy, did we have some birthday madness a few weeks ago.  Please forgive the crappy photography.  I have a crappy camera to go along with my crappy photography skills.  Note to self - ask one of your close friends (who happens to be a photographer and is already coming to the party!) to take a few shots for you.  

I think I might have a small problem.  And I may have been a party planner in another life.  Or just have had OCD.  Whatev.

The theme for Beckett & Kiernan’s First Birthday party was Michigan Football/Hambone and Honey Badger.  The date we chose for the party just happened to fall on the same day as the first Michigan football game, so we decided to go with a Maize and Blue football theme.  Brian also threw out the idea to have a Hambone and Honey Badger (the boys’ nicknames).  I decided I could merge the 2 together, so I came up with this invitation:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sad, broken, bitter, angry.

Beckett Andrew & Kiernan James

Can I be honest?  I’m a bit of a mess today.  Sad, broken, bitter, angry.
Overall, I’m just disappointed.  Today is my baby boys’ first birthday and I can’t be with them. 
I know, I know.  They don’t know the difference, we can celebrate another day, in the grand scheme of things it’s just a day.  Blah … blah … blah. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The day before life changed forever.

Tomorrow is September 6.  One year ago today, I was heading into the hospital with a giant 37 week 6 day twin belly, ready to meet my boys.  I remember thinking that I liked the birth date my boys would have.  9.6.11 has a nice ring to it.  September 6, 2011.  One of the scariest, happiest, most exhausting and emotional days of my life.  It’s the day that, after about 8 hours of labor, I brought 2 of the most beautiful boys I’ve ever laid eyes on into this world.  Even though I wrote a pretty wordy post on it last year, words cannot express the flood of emotions that I experienced on that day.