Back to Reality

For the past 12 weeks, every moment of every day has been consumed by this...

In the beginning, it was challenging, to say the least (and that's putting it mildly!). But together, we have survived. There has been a little of this:

Thankfully, there has also been a lot of this:

Finally, instead of simply surviving, we are beginning to thrive. We are adjusting to this new version of normal, one in which we wash ten bottles and at least one load of laundry daily (compared to when it was just the two of us and we did dishes about once a week and laundry only when we ran out of clean clothes). We rock babies and sing lullabies instead of relaxing on the couch and watching The Office. Our world now revolves around them, rather than us.

Just when I've settled into this new phase of life, it's time to adjust again. Tomorrow ends my brief reign as a stay-at-home-mom. Tomorrow, I will begin working toward a new normal once again. I am not dreading going back to work in the way that I was afraid I might. I know I will miss devoting my days to caring for them, and I will truly miss the early morning naps on the couch and the silly songs in the afternoon. However, I function much, much better when I get out of the house on a regular basis, and my job provides a familiarity and an outlet I don't have at home. In sum, I think I will be a better and happier mom, by choosing to return to working outside my home. As a friend recently said, it's not necessarily the quantity of time you spend with your kids, but the quality of that time that matters. I certainly plan to make the very most of the time I will have with my girls! Who can't be happy when you get to come home to this...

And, lucky mom that I am, I get this too...

We are so very, very blessed. :)


New Kid on the Block

Yep, it's true...there's a new kid in town! My best friend gave birth to this little cutie, Wyatt, on June 10th.

Isn't he sweet? Kelly and I have been best friends for years, at times feeling more like sisters than friends. We have always done pretty much everything together, so it's no surprise our babies are so close in age. (Actually, she was due only 5 weeks after me, but since the girls were 5 weeks early, they are 10 weeks apart.)

Fun fact: Kelly and I were born two days apart, and were almost switched at birth! They took me to her mother when it was time to feed. Luckily, she realized it and the problem was corrected...we think. Just kidding! We both look a lot like our moms, so there's no doubt we made it back to the right place.

I teased Kelly that Wyatt would probably be almost the same size as Addison when he was born. She was just over a pound heavier, so not too far off considering she is 10 weeks older! : ) Here they are hanging out together for the first time:

Addison is ready to make friends, but Wyatt is not so sure!

Welcome to the world, Wyatt! We love you already and can't wait to watch you grow!


Sleep, Baby, Sleep!

I have been hesitant to say much about our sleep situation, for fear of jinxing us, but I have to admit I am really, really proud of how well my babies have been sleeping. We had been on a regular schedule for awhile- in bed by 10:00 or so, then waking up around 1:00-1:30 when Jeremy gets home, then back down until about 5:30. Last weekend, though, the girls and I spent the night at my mom's in Scottsboro on Saturday night. They slept in a pack n' play in the room with me (still in their Boppies, of course...they sleep so well in them). I got up when one of them started fussing a little around 2:00 or so and put a pacifier in her mouth while I went to fix their bottles, thinking they would be up soon. However, I noticed she had fallen back asleep. I laid back down, expecting to be roused again in 15 minutes or so. An HOUR later, one of them fussed again. Again, I put the paci in and she immediately went back to sleep. This process continued until 4:30 am!! At that point, one baby actually woke up and began to fuss and cry, and I could tell it was time to eat. Still, I was wonderfully excited to get 6 hours, which is technically considered "sleeping through the night." (Who decides that, by the way? In what world is 10-4:30 sleeping through the night?!)

I was afraid the good sleep at my mom's may have been a freak one-time thing, but the same rough pattern has continued for a little more than a week now. Yay for extra sleep at our house! Last night was amazing...they were down by 10:00 and didn't wake up until almost 5:00. If I can get that bedtime moved back to about 8:00, we will be in business. I have also been focusing on getting in a good long nap each morning and afternoon. We still pretty much have to swaddle them in order to get them to sleep well for a couple of hours, but the pediatrician assures me they will outgrow that pretty soon. (Not that I mind...whatever works...I was just worried about when we should try to stop.)

I do have to brag on my sweet babies for a minute. I have prayed for good eaters and good sleepers, and as always, God has taken care of us! Praise the Lord (and ok, knock on wood for continued luck!), we have had wonderful luck so far. I just can't say enough how blessed we have been with these girls. As if being born five weeks early in perfect health, with fully developed lungs wasn't blessing enough, they have continued to amaze and surprise us every single day. They are developing wonderfully well for their adjusted age, we have had no issues with food or had to switch formulas, no sensitivity to diapers or other products (thank goodness we can use the cheaper Luvs!!), and no doctor visits other than regular checkups.

Again, I am a little hesitant to mention all of this, for fear I will jinx us, but I just want to share how incredibly lucky we are. The Lord is certainly looking out for us and providing just what we need. God is so good!

I am about to go enjoy at least a few hours of sleep since my babies are down for the night, but I'll leave you with a collage of some of my favorite pictures from the pictures we had done at seven weeks. Addison is on the left in both the single picture and the one of the two of them. You can see she has just about caught up to Mackenzie in size again!


27 and Two Months

Late May/early June is birthday time around here. Jeremy turned 27 on May 22, and I followed yesterday. No big deal there, though...we've been celebrating birthdays for years (getting so close to 30 though-scary!). The big news is this:

I can't believe my girls are two months old already! It's been a challenging two months, to say the least, but we're making it! I have enjoyed the time at home bonding with my girls, and I'm a little sad that I only have three more weeks at home with them. I am thankful they will be staying with my sweet mom in Scottsboro, where I can see them at lunch every day, and I am extremely thankful to have a flexible job where I will hopefully be able to swing a day off every now and then to spend the day with my babies. : )

So, here's a little bit about what my precious girls are up to at 2 months of age:

"Little Addison," as I call her often is proving she's not so little anymore. At her two-month checkup, she weighed in at an impressive 8 lbs, 12 oz...exceeding our expectations! She is 21 inches long, and is in the 10th-11th percentile for her size based on actual age (there is a separate scale for adjusted age, where she is only about 3.5 weeks old...she's a little higher on that one!).

In the past week or so, Addison has suddenly become very alert and aware of her surroundings. She is constantly looking around in every direction when she's up where she can see. She seems to be a little more serious and thoughtful than her sister right now, although she is also the one who smiles more easily at times. (Neither baby is smiling very much in reaction to us yet, but it's coming!) Addison has certainly found her appetite over the last few weeks. Gone are the days of force-feeding this child! She is now as voracious an eater as her sister, and will chase the bottle down with a wide-open mouth. Addie loves to lay on someone's chest, preferably her mama, daddy, or Jen-Jen (my mom), and lately we've noticed that she likes to bury her head and get snug and cozy.

Although I try very hard not to "label" my babies, I do confess that at times I refer to Addison as my little drama queen. When she drops her pacifier at night, there is no "crying it out"-the child gets louder and louder while her sister sleeps soundly next to her (thank goodness for that!). She is also the bigger "talker" already...making lots of sounds that may also turn into shrill whines at any moment. We love this baby, with all her sounds and funny faces, more than we ever thought possible, and we can't wait to watch her grow and learn all kinds of new things!

Miss Mackenzie, or "Chunky Monkey," is quite the little charmer. At two months, she is weighing in at 9 lbs, 4 oz. The surprising part about that is that she's only 8 oz. ahead of her sister! She gained her weight back so much faster (hence my nickname for her), and has felt so much bigger than Addison for many weeks, so we were surprised to see how fast Addie is catching up. She is also 21 inches long, and falls in the 10th-12th percentile for her actual age.

If Addison is the drama queen, Mackenzie is my laid-back, go-with-the-flow child. She is much less vocal than her sister, but when she actually cries, she means business! She is also very alert, and loves to stare at a spot just above your head...making you wonder what could possibly be so fascinating. Though her smiles are a little more difficult to come by, they light up her whole face and melt our hearts just as quickly as her sister's do. Mackenzie is a pretty sound sleeper once she's out (again, thankful for that!), and she is more likely to lull herself back to sleep. It's almost as if it's not worth her effort to get all worked up over a lost pacifier; she'd rather just snooze!

Both girls absolutely love being outside, and will instantly relax. Their fussy time of day is from about 5:00 pm until bedtime. I've heard it called the witching hour?? It definitely strikes around our house. Don't think I haven't considered moving the pack n' play to the front porch! : ) Because of this difficult time of day, my mom is still coming on the nights Jeremy works to help me with the fussiness and bath and bedtime. They LOVE their baths, but expect to be held or get a bottle immediately after, which I can't quite manage on my own just yet! Mom lends an extra pair of hands and stays until I get them down, bless her heart.

Even with all the extra work, the lack of sleep, the endless laundry and bottles to be washed, these girls have truly made our lives so much richer than we could ever have imagined. And it's only the beginning! I love each and every day with them, and I'm so excited for what God has in store for their little lives.

We never imagined we'd be a family of four at 27!! : )