Easier, but still hard

As a new mom, you often hear the phrase "it gets easier."  Don't worry, it gets easier.  I've said this myself, many times, to new mom friends and to lots of parents to multiples in particular.  Just hang in there, it gets much easier.  And it really does, in so many ways. 

I don't really want to have to say this, it sounds like I'm complaining and I'm really not, BUT... it gets harder in some ways too.  I know, that's something no new mom wants to hear, multiples or not.  (Keep in mind that I speak only from the perspective of a mother to multiples.)  And really, while some things are harder at times, I don't think anything will be as hard as those first few weeks were.  NOTHING.  So there's that to be happy about, right?!

my 2 girls
Trying cereal bars for the first time.

What makes this stage harder?  The increased mobility is definitely a challenge.  Addison and Mackenzie are not walking yet (um, thank goodness?), but they are already into everything.  Got a cabinet or a drawer within reach?  They are opening it and pulling out everything inside.  Crumbs on the floor?  They're eating them.  Electrical cords in sight?  My girls are chewing on them.  Not that any of those things are out of the ordinary for babies their age, it's just exhausting trying to keep two sets of hands off of things they shouldn't have.

Bathtime is one of my favorite parts of the day.  I only get to spend a couple of hours with the girls in the evenings since they go to bed so early, so watching them play in the bathtub is quality time.  There was a time when they just sat there, contentedly playing with their toys and chewing on their washcloths.  Now?  They are fighting over who gets to stick a hand under the running water, crawling over one another in the tub, pulling up to stand, laying down in the tub, splashing, kicking, and generally trying to give me a heart attack.  I break a sweat just trying to get them in the bath, not to mention actually getting them clean! 

Mobility has made getting them dressed/undressed challenging enough that I actually consider it my workout for the day.  While I'm holding one baby down to get socks on her squirmy little feet, the other baby is heading out the door and down the hall.  I run to grab her, and find that the first baby has efficiently discarded both socks and is working on removing her diaper.  It's a vicious cycle.

Addison likes it...
It took Addison a little while to decide she liked it.

I thought life would get a lot easier when the girls could hold their own bottles and wouldn't be completely dependent on me to feed them numerous times a day.  While it definitely did, I neglected to think about what would happen when the girls stopped taking formula.  For this first year of life, they have gotten all their essential nutrition from formula, with solids just being a fun "extra."  As they move toward a full table-food diet, I get more nervous about meeting their nutritional needs.  They are now refusing baby food and relying completely on table food.  The issue?  They are getting pickier about the table foods they want to eat.  Right now, the majority of their meals consist of peas, carrots, lima beans, cinnamon-raisin bagels, cheese toast, yogurt, crackers, and occasionally oatmeal.  There is no meat that they will consistently eat, and I can't think of how to get a meat in their diet.  (I know meat is not a necessity at this age, or any age for that matter, but I stress about the protein they need.)  I'm just stressing a little about being responsible for making sure they get the foods they need, and trying to stay focused on "good" foods rather than processed convenience items.

All in all, the fun outweighs the challenges of this stage, but good Lord, I'm exhausted.  Sometimes it's hard to enjoy the fun things they are doing for worrying about what needs to be done or what I should be teaching them. 

i like it, mom!
Mackenzie LOVED hers, evidenced by the mess on her tray.

I'm just feeling a little burnt out this week, in case you can't tell.  It didn't help matters that Addison was sick this weekend.  She ran a fever from Friday evening until last night and just generally felt like crap, bless her heart.  She has all kinds of teeth coming in (FIVE, at last count), and the doctor said it looked like the beginning of an ear infection when I took her in yesterday.  She's got some medicine and is doing much better tonight, but whew...it was an exhausting weekend.  It breaks my heart when one of my babies is sick and just wants to be held and rocked and cuddled, but when you've got another baby who feels great and wants Mama to play, it just makes it even harder.  Mackenzie was really great this weekend, though, she played by herself a lot and was just generally a happy baby (as she usually is, we just appreciated it even more this weekend!). 

We had planned to skip church on Sunday and Jeremy was going to let me sleep in--something I have only gotten to do a couple of times since this time last year.  With Addison being sick, it wasn't quite as relaxing as I'd hoped, but I did get an extra three hours in.  I hope I will get to try again in another month or two.

Of course, even though I'm feeling out of sorts this week, I will be getting my act together to enjoy some birthday festivities this weekend!  The big party is next Saturday, but Jeremy and I are both off work on Friday to spend the day with our ONE-year-olds.  I am counting on some time at the playground and lots of much-needed family time as we celebrate one year with our sweet girls (as exhausting as they may be!).


Weekend Pictures

This past weekend saw some absolutely beautiful weather, and we definitely made the most of it.  I kicked it off on Friday night with a bubble bath and Grey's Anatomy on the laptop (it was a safe distance from the water, of course)...which just might become a habit, I enjoyed it so much. 

Saturday, we all went to our friend Jackson's first birthday party.  No one wanted to waste the opportunity to be outside, so the party took place mostly in the backyard.  Addison and Mackenzie were fairly friendly and actually let a few people hold them.  They enjoyed eating graham crackers and birthday cake.  After seeing Mackenzie chow down on Jackson's cake, I don't think she will have a problem digging into hers in a couple of weeks!  When we got home, we just couldn't stand to stay in the house, so we went out to swing for awhile.  After that, I opened the door to the deck and let the girls play out there for awhile.  Addison had an especially good time picking up little sticks and leaves.  Mackenzie did too, but she got upset that I kept digging the acorns out of her mouth, terrible mom that I am. : )

As they explored, I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures.  (Addison would be the one with the still-bruised head!)


Addison looks like such a big girl in this picture.  When did that happen??




They are climbing EVERYTHING lately.



Mackenzie, with the ever-present tongue.


I tried to get a picture of me with both girls, then I remembered why pictures like that are so rare!  I do think it's funny that in this picture we are all three holding our mouths the exact same way:


And this one is pretty decent:


Unfortunately, today was rainy and cold, but the rest of the week looks more promising.  I'm hoping for many more weekends like this one this spring.

Other items of note:  Just over a week until the big birthday!  That means it's just over two weeks until the par-tay.  These pictures have reminded me that I need a haircut before then--need to make that call tomorrow.  Don't you love that my blog also serves as my to-do list? 


Not a Moment too Soon

It seems that spring is finally ready to make its way to north Alabama.  After a winter of rain and snow on more occasions than I remember ever seeing before, we have been treated to a few days of sunshine and temperatures in the 60s and 70s.  I was inspired to break out the nail polish this morning and get my toes ready for some cute summer shoes.



I just love the huge trees in our backyard.  They are so TALL...you just don't see that in newer developments.

Some things I'm looking forward to this spring/summer:

--Spending time on the swings in the backyard.  We took Addison and Mackenzie out to swing yesterday afternoon, and they were SO loving it.  I could have pushed them all day.

--Getting a pool for them to splash around in.  I was thinking I might order this one.  (Except I just realized when I read the reviews that it keeps running water from the hose, which would be really cold.  So now I don't know.)  I wasn't sure the babies would like the splashing effect, but lately, they stick their faces and hands under the running water in the bath every night, so I'm thinking it might be a hit.  Anyone tried it?  Have any other pool recommendations?

--Vacation-planning.  I love to PLAN a good trip almost as much as I love to take one.  I carefully scrutinize hotels, restaurants, and travel routes to make sure we maximize our time.  Yes, I'm a nerd, and I'm a nerd who loves to eat good food on vacation.  I would like to go to Savannah, GA, but I'm not sure it will happen this year.  My sister will be participating in Summer Beach Project again this year, so we will probably head down to Destin, FL to see her for a long weekend.  I guess I won't complain about missing out on Savannah if I get to spend a few days relaxing by the pool or on the beach.
--Baseball!  We only made it to one game last year, which was pretty good, all things considered.  This year I would like to go to at least three games.  We'll see how it goes.  Turner Field is about 3 hours away, which is just enough that we can either make a day-trip or extend it into a nice overnight trip.  The girls may even get to experience their first major-league game this year!

--Cute summer clothes, for both me and Addison and Mackenzie.  I just love summertime skirts and flip flops!  : )

Most of all, I'm looking forward to being able to get out and about more with the girls.  We can take walks when I get home in the afternoons, and we are more likely to go out to eat, etc. when we don't have to bundle up to get there.

What are you looking forward to this spring?  (Or fall, in the case of you South Africans??) 


Wishlist Wednesday

I'm playing along with Jennifer for Wishlist Wednesday this week.  Since I'm consumed with getting the house in order before the birthday party on April 10, my "wishes" this week are things I would like to have for the house.

We've been able to get a lot done on the house (pictures coming soon...really!), but one thing I am not completely happy with is our living room.  It's kind of an odd shape/layout, so it's been hard to make our furniture work.  (hmm...maybe I should post pictures and ask for ideas...).  I've got it set up so that it works for now, but I'm not sure what I will do in the long run. 

That said, the top item on my wishlist this week is a new tv stand.  The one we have is a few years old, and when we got our new tv last year, we realized we needed a larger one.  So, here's the old one:

I want something a little more substantial, with doors to hide the dvd player and the Wii from little hands.  I would love a piece like this one, from Ballard Designs:
I could also make a dresser-type piece work, such as this one from Pottery Barn:

Of course, what I would like and what I can afford are two very different things, as is often the case.  : )  I will probably settle for something from a more affordable location.  I've been keeping an eye out for a cheap dresser I might could convert myself, but I haven't come across it yet (and in all actuality, that sounds like a lot of work!). 

Addison would like to throw a wish in for today's list.  She wishes that the knot on her head heals before 1-year pictures on April 3!!  She fell off the couch on Monday and got the colorful golf-ball-size bump she's sporting for awhile.

Surely it will be gone in two weeks, right?


Eleven Months

Notice this is the only picture with the bows intact?

Dear Addison & Mackenzie,

Your eleventh month of life was an exciting one.  On February 13, we moved into our new house, the one we plan to call home for a very long time.  From the first time we saw it, your daddy and I pictured you girls growing up here.  We talk about you sitting at the bar in the kitchen, doing your homework in the evenings, and I imagine all the whispering and giggling you will do in your room at night before bed.

Each month, you seem to notice each other a little more.  This month, you really became mobile for the first time, and whenever I looked up to see one of you scooting down the hall or into the kitchen, your sister was right on  your heels.  Sometimes in the morning, I watch you from the doorway of the playroom as you play together.  When you don't know I'm watching you, you will play contentedly, passing toys back and forth and crawling all over each other.  Once you see me, though, you race each other over to me, pulling up on my legs, holding your arms up for me to get you.  Although I love when you reach so desparately for me, my heart swells to watch you playing happily.  I hope that you become the best friends you were born to be.  I know there will be moments of fussing and fighting (I'm quite sure the teen years will be a challenge in our house), but I hope they are far outweighed by the shared secrets, the late-night giggles, and the excitement of experiencing new things together.

There goes the bow

You both seem to be constantly becoming more like little girls than the babies we brought home from the hospital nearly a year ago.  You laugh and clap and repeat the noises we make.  We play lots of pat-a-cake, and sing many silly songs in the evenings as you take baths and get ready for bed.  Your newest game right now is to help "wash" one another in the bathtub.  It's very, very cute, until you start slapping your sister on the head in an attempt to help. 


We had some weeks of picky eating over the past month.  There were weeks when you refused to pick up anything wet, warm, cold, or gooey.  If anything got stuck to your hands you would hold them up in the air in disgust until we cleaned it off.  I was picturing you throwing a fit when you got icing on your hands from your birthday cake next month.  Thankfully, you both seem to be moving past that stage this month.  Maybe it was teething, who knows?  Right now, you are both LOVING lima beans, and you will eat as many as I will give you, picking each one up carefully with your tiny little fingers.  Addison, you chew your food in the most hilarious way when we remind you to chew it up good.  You chomp your little teeth together and smack your lips in an exagerrated "chewing" move, making us all laugh every time.  Mackenzie, you have learned to clap your little hands together when we put you in your high chair and tell you to say your prayers.  You both are just more and more fun all the time.

Addie's funny face

The teeth are coming in left and right...literally.  Lucky us, neither one of you has experienced much of a problem from teething so far.  Tonight I discovered a new bottom tooth for Addison that I had no idea was coming in!   You both have your bottom two teeth, which you've had since about 7 months.  Addison, you've had a top tooth coming in for a few weeks now (not a middle one, so you may look a little funny for awhile, but we will still think you are beautiful!), and tonight, I found one already through the gum on the bottom right.  Mackenzie, you have been working on the bottom left one, and I wouldn't be surprised if your top one appears in a few days.  Neither one of you wants to let any of us look or feel in your mouth, so we have to look closely when you're letting out a big laugh to try and count teeth.

We are doing lots of birthday planning around here.  I know you won't remember it, but we are going to make sure you have one rocking first birthday.  We can't wait to see you playing with all your little friends at your party. 

finally, a smile

We love you so, so much, girls.  You brighten our days and make our lives a million times more fun than they were before you.  Although we work a lot harder since you came along, we can't really remember what we did before you were here to entertain us.  Your daddy and I are thankful for every day we have with you girls, and we hope you know that you mean the world to us.

Love, Mama


A Day in Our Life

I haven't posted about our daily schedule in awhile, and life has changed a ton since the last time I mentioned it, I'm sure.  That's definitely for the better, as our days are a lot calmer these days.

Since it is time for an update, I'm playing along with Kelly for Show Us Your Life today.

A typical day in our house starts at 6:00 a.m.  Mackenzie has been waking up around 5:30, but I usually bring her back to bed with me, where she is content to snooze or "talk" to me until my alarm goes off at 6:00.  I think Addison has an internal alarm that goes off at 6:00 also, as she is usually just beginning to stir when I go back in to change them. 

Jeremy doesn't get home from work until about 2:00 a.m., so I'm on my own for the morning routine.  While I get ready for work, the girls play, jump in their jumparoos, have their morning bottles, and watch Baby Einstein or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I run back and forth between my bathroom and the playroom as I shower and do my makeup and hair.

I think they look like little ladies gossiping...Mackenzie (L) is telling Addison a good story.

We try to leave the house around 7:30.  Now that we live five minutes from my mom, that gives me plenty of time to grab some breakfast after I drop them off at her house.  (Some mornings that works out; other mornings, somebody needs a diaper change, etc. and we run a little behind.  Those are the days I eat peanut butter and crackers at my desk.)  The babies' general schedule for the morning goes something like this:  breakfast (baby food, yogurt, or bagel) around 8:30, 1-2 hour nap, and playtime.  They are not very good at napping in their cribs, so naps are usually on the Boppies on the couch with my mom sitting between them to make sure no one falls off!  Sometimes they have a late-morning bottle, though they seem to skip this more often lately, and they eat lunch (baby food, mostly) between 11 and 12.

Most days I go back to my mom's at lunch, and Jeremy is usually there by that time also.  We eat, visit with each other, and play with the babies for about an hour.  I go back to work and Jeremy leaves for work soon after.  The girls eat a snack if they act hungry, then play until they get sleepy.  They are offered another bottle, then usually take another nap.  The afternoon nap is a little more sporadic-the avereage is about an hour and fifteen minutes, but some days they don't take one at all. 

I get off work at 4:30, and I'm usually home with the girls by 5:00.  They play while I change and get their dinner ready.  Dinner for them lately consists of a variety of vegetables (fresh frozen-cooked in the microwave-individual pieces the girls can pick up and feed themselves), bagel torn into small pieces, 1-2 jars of baby food, and yogurt or fruit.  After dinner is bath time, which we do every night unless we go out to eat or something else out of routine.  Giving both girls a bath together is a lot of work, but it's much better than when I was bathing them individually!  We play in their bedroom as they get lotion and pajamas, then we settle on the couch for the last bottle of the evening.
Once they finish their bottles, we say prayers and I sing a short song as I put them in their beds (around 6:30-6:45).  Most nights, they are asleep within ten minutes, and sleep pretty peacefully until we begin again the next morning.  After Addison and Mackenzie are asleep, I make myself some dinner, clean up around the house, then check email, blog, watch tv, or read.  Bedtime for me is around 10:00--I'm such an old lady!  : )

Bath time is even more fun when Daddy is home.

Our days are routine, but we thrive on a schedule, and I love the day-to-day life with my little family.


Best day of my life? Um, not quite....

We've all heard parents say the day their child was born was the best day of their lives, right?  That may very well be true for them, but I can without a doubt say that it is not true for me. 

That may sound a little harsh, and I want to clarify--my girls are my world, and I certainly cherish their birthday as they day they became the best things in my life.  As we approach the one-year mark, I find myself thinking back on that day, trying to remember what it felt like. 

The days leading up to the girls' birth were stressful, probably more for those around me than they actually were for me.  Jeremy was anxious and worried about both me and the babies, as was my mom and most of our other family members.  As for me, well, I was surprisingly calm during the last few weeks.  Once I entered the hospital, I knew I was in good hands, so I spent time reading, napping, and catching up on blogs (which is really the best way to spend the last days of pregnancy, in my opinion!).  The night before they were born was not so restful and relaxing, due to the blood pressure cuff squeezing my arm every ten minutes and the nurses checking vitals and monitoring the babies...never mind having to unhook all the machines and wheel my IV into the bathroom with me to pee at least once an hour.  Still, I wasn't terribly worried.  Same goes for the next morning; even when I found out it would be the day of my babies' birth, it all felt a little too unreal for me to be worried.

I've written in their birth story about how smoothly everything went during the birth, but it was sometime after that the stress began to set in.  We had a room full of visitors, which was fine at first, as I was still pretty out of it and just sat back and listened to everyone else talking and gushing over the babies.  As the evening went on, I began to get more and more overwhelmed.  I remember a nurse helping me nurse the girls for the first time, and I remember enjoying the peace of the moments when it was just Jeremy and me and our babies.  At the same time, though, I didn't know quite what to do with these two little beings, so I was also a little anxious for someone to come back and tell me what to do.  When everyone left for the evening, we had a few quiet moments, but then the night set in.  I remember sitting up in the hospital bed, both girls nestled in the Boppy balanced on my belly where they had fallen asleep after nursing.  I couldn't get out of bed yet because of the catheter, and I didn't yet know how to maneuver two babies in my lap, so I was afraid to move.  (I will never forget the nurse who came in and found me at 4:00 a.m. and wheeled the babies back to the nursery, saying, "Honey, you have GOT to get some sleep.  You canNOT go home exhausted with two babies."  Oh, how right she was!)

That feeling, the one of not being able to move, pretty much sums up what I remember of the next several days.  Jeremy and I refer to the first night we were home from the hospital as "the hardest night of our lives," and we absolutely mean it!  We were tired, overwhelmed, nervous, and unsure of ourselves.  We were literally afraid to be alone with our babies without someone there to help us.  It was an awful, paralyzing feeling, and when you throw in the guilt I felt over how much we were depending on my mom, it was...rough, to say the least. Chaotic is another word I would use to describe the first week or so--just trying to remember who ate when was enough to make any of us crazy.  It was a blur of bottles, diapers, doctor appointments, visitors, phone calls, with a nap and a shower thrown in when we were lucky.  I'm surprised I didn't cave in from all the pressure, particularly all the pressure I put on myself.

I don't mean to imply that there were not good moments in those first days...of course there were.  I remember how refreshed I felt after crying my eyes out in the shower one morning, and I remember napping on the couch with my girls, just breathing them in.  But, no, I would not call them the best days of my life.

What has been the best day of my life so far?  That is a little hard to narrow down.  I choose to focus on moments, rather than a single day.  The best moments of my life began a few weeks later, when my babies began to recognize me, respond to me, and when I began to trust myself with them.  As Jeremy and I gained confidence in our parenting abilities, the girls seemed to become more and more comfortable with us.  Some of my favorite moments so far?  Napping with both girls on my chest, learning to soothe their cries, their first smiles and giggles, and realizing that my babies are quickly turning into two amazing little people.  Those first days may have been rough, but we've had enough good days to make up for them a hundred times over.  Addison and Mackenzie keep getting sweeter, and the good moments just keep getting better.


Peek-a-boo, Addie