Sunday, September 30, 2012

Could It Be Genetic?

For as long as I can remember, I have loved chocolate milk.

When I was little and visiting my grandparents, my grandmother would give my siblings and me one glass of chocolate milk a day. Grandma always prepared homemade meals, and I often found myself forced to eat a number of foods I didn't enjoy too much (like oatmeal, beets, okra, beans). After a rough day of healthful eating, drinking chocolate milk was heaven.

Somehow, I developed a habit of drinking chocolate milk out of a bowl (and sometimes a cup) with a spoon. In my mind, using a spoon to enjoy my treat made the chocolate milk last even longer. I didn't meet another person who drank chocolate milk like this until college, and yes, we are now best friends (we're just really awesome like that, Becca).

I haven't had chocolate milk in a bowl since Eliza was born. There is simply no time to savor my chocolate milk like there was before children (and yes, children are totally worth that sacrifice). I still love my chocolate milk, though, and so does Eliza. I attribute her love for the delicious drink due to my diet while pregnant. With both pregnancies, I had hyperemesis and was unable to keep any solid food down. The only thing I didn't throw up was Carnation Instant Breakfast. I am so grateful for that beverage and credit it with keeping me from getting a food tube again when I was pregnant with the twins.  So yes, my kids have been drinking chocolate milk since they were in the womb.

A couple of weeks ago, I gave Eliza a glass of Carnation Instant Breakfast and instead of gulping it down like she usually does, she ran downstairs. A few minute later, she came back to the kitchen counter with the tea set she received for her birthday. She poured her milk into a little tea cup, picked up a mini spoon, and proceeded to sip her chocolate milk.

Could a love for savoring chocolate milk be genetic? Quite possibly.

Friday, September 28, 2012

10 Months

Every month, I find myself thinking, "Really? Another month already?"

Time is going by so fast. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was laying in bed all day, watching seasons of every show imaginable on Netflix, finding cute baby things on Pinterest, worrying about eating enough calories, and anxiously awaiting the arrival of Ezra and Elliott. And although it is easy to imagine life before our boys, it is hard to think of life without them. They bring us so much happiness.

Here are some updates on the boys:

At our appointment earlier this week, Elliott weighed 21 pounds. He is so big and chunky. I love it. Elliott already acts like the big brother. When Ezra is crying, Elliott looks at him with genuine concern. After the surgery, Ezra had a couple of rough nights. My mom and I went into the nursery and found Elliott reaching through the bars of his crib, trying to touch his brother. And although you may not believe this, my mom and I  both heard him babble, "Ez-ra. Ra-ra-ra." I wouldn't have believed it myself if my mother didn't immediately say, "Did he just say Ezra!?" It brought me to tears that Elliott was so concerned about his brother being in pain.

Elliott really wants to talk. He days "Da-da" constantly and has even manged to say "Pa-pa" a couple of times. Nathan likes to play a game with him where they say "Gee!" back and forth to each other. It is pretty entertaining for both of them. Elliott enjoys doing just about anything with Nathan, including going up and doing the stairs. When Nathan walks down the stairs while carrying Elliott, he will go "uh-uh-uhh!!" with every step his daddy takes.

We can already tell that Elliott has a big heart.  He is willing to let Ezra go first in most things and does okay with sharing toys and parents. Ezra wants to be picked up as soon as he is awake. If Nathan isn't working, we each get a baby. If Nathan is working, I pick up Elliott and take him immediately to a high chair. I then pick up Ezra and hold him until he is happy and willing to be put down. During this time, Elliott is fine with eating a few Cheerios and usually watches us with a big, goofy smile on his face.

Elliott can pull himself up to standing anywhere. Yesterday, he and Ezra discovered how to open and shut doors. They had so much fun opening up every cupboard today. Elliott has also mastered climbing the stairs. He definitely is interested in exploring his surroundings.

I could probably go on forever and how cute he is and how adorable his cheesy smile is, but I think the above picture says it all.

My little Ezra. He is just a few ounces behind his brother and weighs 20 pounds 7 ounces. He loves to be held (not cuddled, though, just held). Ezra loves to be held so much that he has started refusing to sit in his highchair. He will lock his legs, kick them outward, and do just about anything to stay in my arms. How can I resist that little face? While Elliott smiles with his whole face constantly, Ezra seems to always be grinning. It is so cute. His little smirk always makes me smile.

In addition to his trademark grins, Ezra has a few other personality traits that shows some of his spunkiness. When he is excited, he scrunches his face up and breathes loudly. Eliza did the same exact thing, so maybe this two of a kind face is taught in utero or something. I have never seen another baby (other than his sister) do this!
Ezra shares a couple of other things with his older sister: he has already started to bite the sides of his crib (Eliza was a beaver and seriously chewed up her entire crib) and he loves twirling his hair in addition to touching the hair of others. Eliza was fascinated with hair as a baby, so maybe he and sister will be two peas in a pod.

Unlike his brother, Ezra isn't as anxious to climb and stand. He likes to crawl around and find new toys, but he doesn't enjoy standing. He hasn't expressed too much interest in climbing the stairs and stays on the bottom step, crying for Elliott to come back and be with him. I'm not worried about Ezra "catching up" because he is allowed to accomplish milestones on his own time schedule. Our boys are individuals, so I expect them to do things at a different pace.

Ezra loves music. When a song comes on, he will rock and sway to the music. He loves to shake his head back and force in rhythm.  Ezra also loves his brother. When Elliott is playing with a toy, Ezra will often crawl over to him and just put his leg or face. He loves to be close to Elliott. Ezra often wakes up at night and will begin to cry for milk. If I don't get to the nursery quickly enough, Elliott will also wake up and sympathy cry for Ezra. I love the connection that they already have.

Ezra has four teeth (so does Elliott, but his front teeth haven't fully come through) and they make his laugh absolute adorable. It reminds me of a jack-o-lantern with the four teeth so widely spaced apart. I am determined to get a picture of him laughing with his mouth open! I could also write a novel on Ez, but I think those are the best highlights.

Our boys are pretty amazing.

(Oh, and Ezra learned how to twist out of his highchair and stood up while I was washing dishes. He is a little Houdini baby! I have a feeling things are about to get crazy with all the stair-climbing, standing, and demands for cuddling.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Family Photos

We had some family pictures made while my mother was in town last week. My friend Brittany was nice enough to come over and take them for us. She gave us a disk full of images, but here are some of my favorite ones that I have had time to edit so far. Eliza and Ezra weren't too interested in posing for the camera, but Elliott was nothing but smiles.




We managed to get one get shot of all three kids together, too. Eliza isn't smiling, but at least she is looking at the camera.
We also got a picture of the boys and the girls.

And lastly, we took a family picture. There were about 60 various photos taken of this one sitting position and only two turned out. I guess that is what happens when you have two babies and a toddler.

My mother was visiting, so we also asked her to be in a few pictures. I'll edit those tomorrow. She is really cute holding her two grandsons, standing next to her granddaughter who is more than half her height.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Hardest Thing About Having Twins

Last week, as some of you may have seen me post on Facebook, a complete stranger at the grocery store said, "Twins!? God must REALLY hate you!"

Ridiculous, I know. Of course, I shrugged off the comment and didn't let it bother me too much. I was mostly shocked that a person would actually deem it appropriate to say such a thing to another person.

Before I became pregnant with twins, I knew several other women who already had twins of their own. Four of these women had blogs that I regularly followed, so I was somewhat aware of the various challenges associated with parenting two infants at once (and by somewhat, I really mean somewhat). Nursing has taken a ton of effort, sleeping is even more precious than it ever was before, and things can get crazy with two screaming babies!

Now that Ezra and Elliott are nearly ten months old, we have a familiar routine. Feeding two babies doesn't take much longer than feeding one, diaper changes are a breeze, and putting two babies in car seats feels like second nature. The boys entertain each other when I am trying to clean up or prepare dinner, which sometimes makes having two easier than only one! Having twins is part of our life. It has become our new normal, so I am never sure how to respond when people ask questions like, "What's the hardest thing about about having two babies?"

If I wanted to be honest, I could talk to them for a couple of hours about the sleep training, the mastitis, the costs of providing for two infants, the feeding tube and horrible pregnancy. I could go on to discuss the fact that I feel like I can never get any errands done when I have the twins because people can't stop staring and asking questions. There are a number of things I would like to say, but I realized this morning that there is actually only one thing that really makes me feel bad sometimes. When the boys woke up, I walked into the nursery and they were both crying in their cribs. They saw me, instantly smiled, and raised their arms up, asking to be held. But who to pick up first!? This is my dilemma throughout the day. I try to alternate between boys, but it always breaks my heart when I pick up one little baby and the other looks at me like I am abandoning him. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the hardest thing about having two babies. Someone always wants to be held and usually, both babies want/need cuddling simultaneously.

Fortunately, my boys are still relatively small, and I can usually manage to find a way to hold them both (when I am sitting down). I know things will become more difficult when they are both walking and destroying our house, but I'm sure that will become normal, too, after a while. Right?

We really are lucky to have twice as many smiles everyday. These faces are some of the cutest ones I know. And at the end of every day, every mother has her own challenges. I'm glad these are mine.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Other Side of the Continent

My mother went back home this morning.

One of my least favorite things about living in Othello is the distance we are to large airports. Spokane is two hours away and Seattle, which is much cheaper when flying to South Carolina, is three hours away. In order for my mother to make her 6 a.m. flight, we went to Seattle last night and stayed in a hotel. Eliza joined our "big girl night out" and came along for the adventure.

On the way to the airport, my mom called my sister, Marian. While they were talking, my mom said: "Well, Celia does live on the other side of the continent--I mean country." I thought about it for a second and realized I do live on the other side of the continent. I don't know why that made me feel even further away from my family, but it did.

2, 773 miles. That's a lot of mileage (I still cannot believe we drove there and back). 
I loved our life in Utah, and I really have grown to love Othello; I just wish these places were closer to my family. I miss my parents, siblings, nephews, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My dad is an only child, so my dear grandmother only has three grandchildren, and my mother's family has always been extremely close. Being this far away, especially for so long now, is difficult.

Of course, I feel very fortunate knowing we have family so far away that loves us dearly. Eliza has been spoiled by her aunts, cousins, and grandparents in South Carolina and knows anytime we receive a package, it is usually for her. The distance has not created any shortage of love, and I consider ourselves lucky that we are surrounded by Nathan's wonderful family.

It's been hard trying to keep that mindset throughout today. This morning, when my mother kissed me on the forehead and whispered her goodbyes, I was hardly conscious. I knew she was leaving to catch the hotel's shuttle, but I didn't register much more than that. It was 4 o'clock in the morning, and I was exhausted after a long day. She said she loved me, and I automatically responded, "I love you, too" and promptly went back to sleep.

Waking up a few hours later and seeing her bed empty made my heart drop a little. I tried to ignore the tug of sadness I felt and instead went back to sleep. When Eliza woke up a short while later, her first words were, "Where is my Grandma Homa?" I explained that Grandma had to go home and Eliza cried, "But I want my Grandma Homa!!" I felt like crying a little, too, so we drowned our sorrows in some Frostys on the way home.

We're home now, and the sadness I felt earlier is still there. It's kind of like when you are about to cry and you swallow it, so the nagging feeling remains in your throat. My mom isn't here reading a book or asking what she can do to help or trying to change the channel this evening; she's asleep in her own bed.

I guess I'll be more okay with that tomorrow. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Surgery (x2)

Tuesday began very early.

The boys woke up wanting milk at 4 a.m. Unfortunately for Ezra, he could not have anything to drink except for water. Because Elliott's surgery was later on in the day, he was able to receive one more feeding before we left for the hospital. I was worried about them both fasting and envisioned screaming, hungry babies in the waiting room. Ezra is all about his milk, so we intentionally scheduled his surgery first. I knew Elliott would do better fasting longer during waking hours. 

We checked in before 6 a.m. and settled in for a long day. 
Despite being denied his morning milk and breakfast, Ezra was truly happy. He was calm and cuddly, which is a definite first. Nathan held him and sang to him before he received "goofy juice," which made him a little loopy and relaxed for surgery. The nurses and doctors loved seeing the boys and kept saying they were impressed with how calm the babies were. The anesthesiologist had twins boys himself and immediately won us over when he told us, "Having twins is the joy of my life. They are my heart." Of course, I trusted him with out little guys even more after we spoke.

Although I felt anxious the days and months before surgery day, I was surprisingly calm once the actual moment arrived. I felt peace that their little operation would go great. We received updates every 30 minutes and tried to keep Elliott entertained for the three hours until his surgery. He was an angel and did great fasting. He won the hearts of everyone in the waiting room with his cute little smile. At last, Elliott was given "goofy juice" (which didn't affect him much at all because he is always happy!) and was sent back for his operation. The OR nurse was laughing as she took Elliott away because he was so smiley and content to be with a stranger.

The pediatric urologist, Dr. Starr, then came out to speak with us and informed us that Ezra was out of surgery. She is such an amazing doctor. She stays with all of her patients in the recovering room and comes to get the parents herself. She let us know Ezra had done wonderfully and then went off to prepare for Elliott's surgery. 

Walking in and seeing Ezra laying on a little cot with wires and chords all over him was a little upsetting, but as soon as I held him, he began to wake up. He cried for a minute and then returned to his normal, silly self. As soon as he had some milk, he was perfectly content.

An hour after Elliott's surgery began, Ezra was discharged. We went back to the waiting room with a very drugged baby and waited for Elliott to be out of surgery. We were told in the beginning that no siblings were allowed in the back, so I was prepared to go back while Nathan stayed with Ezra in the waiting room. When Dr. Starr came to let us know that Elliott's surgery was also a success, she invited us both back to the waiting room. I let her know about the "no sibling" policy, and she immediately laughed and said: "Give me that baby. They won't say anything to me." She picked up Ezra and walked us back to the recovery room. All the nurses laughed when they saw her obviously breaking the rules, but I was grateful we could all be together.

Elliott had a harder time coming out of his post-surgery daze and nursed until he made himself sick. While Ezra had looked funny and even smirked once he saw us, Elliott remained motionless and looked up at us with huge, scared eyes. It broke our hearts. Nathan said, "I think this is the first time in months where Elliott hasn't smiled when I looked at him." He was pretty out of it for the rest of the day. 

After being at the hospital for 10 hours, we finally left with two very sleep boys.
We made it home, and Nathan and I were grateful to have both of our mothers there to help. Ezra was screaming in pain most of the night, and we had to supplement his Tylenol with Ibuprofen. I will be glad when the stitches are out and our boys are no longer in pain. Nathan and I are so relieved that the surgery is finally over and are grateful things went as well as they did.

Two side notes: 
1: I got ten inches cut off my hair last Friday (it looks so short in pictures to me!)
2: We got more comments about our stroller (in the hallways, elevators, and cafeteria of the hospital) than we did about our twins!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pre-Surgery Jitters

We're in a hotel next door to Sacred Heart Medical Center with Ezra and Elliott. Their surgeries are back to back tomorrow, beginning at 6 AM. I know the procedure is relatively minor, but like any mom, I am stressed out of my mind. I will be one happy lady once tomorrow is over. In the meantime, we'd gladly welcome any and all thoughts and prayers for our little e's.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How To Prune Your Roses

Eliza has developed a love for her grandmother's flowers. She loves to say hello to them when we are outside playing and always takes time to stop and smell the roses. A few days ago, she asked if she could have a flower inside like Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

How could I say no?

First, we asked Cheryl if it was okay to cut a rose. Grandma said yes, so we found a pair of scissors and walked outside. Eliza insisted that she cut the flower herself and took the scissors as I watched her carefully.

Definitely intimidating.
 After closely examining each flower, she finally picked the lucky winner.

 She then cut the rose, and I brought it inside and placed it in a "vase."

She named the rose "Minnie" and has loved looking at it the past few days. It looks like we may have a future gardener on our hands.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


This Thursday, Eliza not only celebrated her third birthday, but she also went to her first day of official preschool. Last year, she was in the toddler class, which required parents stay during the two hours. This year, she gets to stay by herself. She's so grown up!

I apologize for the plethora of photos in advance. She was just too precious not to photograph that morning (and always).

She was so excited to get back to the familiar classroom and see her friends. There was one big difference this school day, though: Grandma Cheryl is no longer her teacher. Eliza is now in Miss Dena's class, and she seemed to do okay without Grandma after the initial disappointment.

When I tried to coax her into making new friends, she insisted on playing with Mr. Potato Head. Very matter-of-factly, she looked at me and said: "I'm making friends again with Mr. Potato Head today. He's been real sad without me."
I guess she'll work on making new friends next week.