Friday, April 26, 2024

It is Basically May

May is upon us. We head to Busch Gardens tomorrow which we did two years ago but it seems like waaaaaaaay longer ago than that. 

Pascha cheese anyone? 
Again seems like a million years ago but Pascha wasn't too long ago. 

Me and Grammy and the nine braved the ZOO on Spring Break. It was cheaper to buy a family membership than buy tickets. So now I suppose we will have to go back. 

I put the twins in 3-6 month bathing suits. That's the end of those. I figured they would be good for heat and sun. Here comes the summer 

Survival of the bravest! H got motion sickness about 20 minutes before our arrival - 1 hr and 40 minutes into the trip. That was awwwwwwwwesome. Highlight was getting cool treats once we got thru. A is convinced he's going back to ASIA which opens in 2026. 

#twinning at the soccer field 

E took a spin in the parking lot. I know I'm not the cool mom often but I think I may have score a cool mom point or two. 

Later that day... I told her I would give her $20 if she made it around the house in H's car. I am NOT $20 poorer - just for the record. 

Ge loving the strawberries

Gi loving the strawberries




One twin loves to swing. One twin might get sea sick 

Soccer season is upon us. J is doing waaaay better than last season. 

There was a middle school dance last week and this was all I got

These girls.
I love them are so exhausting but they are so so so worth it.   


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

366 Days of Twin Life

Thank you to the leap year for giving us that extra day!

Two babies. Two cakes. 

Well we can officially say we’ve survived the first year of parenting twins. Though I would argue the clock started ticking the moment we found out about them. Basically twin mom-ing is everything you can imagine and more. It is: 

Amazing - holding them both at the same time and watching them interact with each other. They like fighting over my necklace and taking the other one’s thumb out of their mouth

Crazy - to think they were both inside of me at the same time. Post - twin body might indicate otherwise 

Cute - I will say dressing them in all the matching things is fantastic 

Different - if people didn’t think our family was different before, they know it now. Also the Gs are so different. Different crawling different ways of doing things - similar but not the same.

Exhausting - there’s two of them plus the seven older ones. Need I say more?

Expensive - formula and diapers and daycare ain’t no joke.

Fun - seeing them together make all the chaos worth it and the bond they share is the best 

Hectic - double the diapers, feedings, lungs, needs, 

Loving - they love each other and their big siblings ADORE them so much 

I love a photo recreation. I have a pic of Lee holding the Gs in this spot from last year - 3/31 in the afternoon. Ge in the pink pink. Gi in the pale pink. Yes their shirts say I'm the Favorite. And if you don't LOVE the people you work with and laugh until you cry - y'all are missing out - big time. 

I wouldn't trade the twin mom title for anything. I would be a twin mom to a zillion more sets of twins just to see the interaction and the relationship and the love and the connections between two people - the sacrifice of time, body, energy, money, sanity - cannot be described. 

It has been said that love multiples with the more kids you have - and I do believe this - but the love and the bond between twins and that which I share in with them as their mom is so different than ANY off my other kids. 

Here's to the Gs and all the twin-sanity and twin-love they bring to our lives. 

Saturday, January 27, 2024

The Twins Arrival Story

The twins are officially10 months so no time like really late - to tell how they got here...

We picking up here and forgetting some of the interim. My due date with the twins was 4/8. After my first appointment at 15.5 weeks my doctor ordered all the things including a level 2 ultrasound so we could hopefully figure out if these babies shared a placenta - they were relatively sure there were two sacs from the regular ultrasound. That was really important because two babies in one sac with one placenta - momo twins - are the riskiest twins because the placenta and sac that normally hold one baby is home to two. You've lucky to get to 30 weeks if I'm not mistaken. 

Anyhow the level 2 ultrasound showed two sac (yay!) and probably two placentas which is the best situation for keeping babies baking for as long as possible. My doctor said if we can just get to 35 weeks he would be thrilled - early March. I was really really April 1 because April Fools Day - and it seemed fitting for whole situation which was God's big joke to us from the get go. 

I don't know if I really processed the gravity of early babies until we went to the hospital the evening of me being 36 weeks pregnant because I was pretty sure (and I was) having contractions. I had taken the kids to swim practice and come home that Friday and I wasn't feeling the best but I mean I great could I really possibly feel after a long week? After unsuccessfully sleeping off the contractions, I rushed a hospital bag together and we left after the littles were asleep. That was definitely the first wake up call of -  okay there's two people going to be coming home with you soon. 

We weren't ready. 

They gave me bags of fluid and medicine for the babies lungs. My doctor said I could camp out there for the weekend or at home but strict orders - do to as little as possible. Thus began the days of drinking a gallon of water daily (thanks gallon Yeti jug for keeping me honest) and lots of time perched on the couch. We really shut things down after that hospital run because the thought of nursing twins seemed tough but nursing two tiny early babies wasn't something entirely different. We needed these babies to grow a little more. 

I'd do the regular morning school run, go to work, pick up the littles from preschool and then I was done for the day.

Between that and the water it worked and I was 37 weeks - and Lee had crossed the St. Patrick's Day school fundraiser cooking hurdle. My doctor said he fully expected me to be back that weekend of March 10 but I always seek to approve him wrong : ) 

The babies were not cooperating and were basically all but heads down for the last 12 weeks of the pregnancy so it appeared a c-section was in my near future. I tried ice packs to try and get them to move but they weren't having it. At one point baby B was in a ball jammed up against my left rib. I was in denial about a c-section for all the reasons but it came time to set the date for it so I was good with March 23 because 3/23/23 seemed like a cool birth date. 

I left my appointment earlier in the week and then the nurse didn't call me to schedule so the 22nd I called and was told I needed come in on the 23rd (and maybe he'd find a reason to do a c-section that day). I was to the point where I was going to say there was decreased fetal movement and boom - I'd be in the OR. Also at play here was the 23rd was a Thursday so I would be in the hospital for a few nights but home in time for the school week so I could still keep tabs on things. 

And the night of the March 22 is when I really learned things weren't up to me. I needed to let go and let God. 

From Valentine's Day to March 22, each week someone had thrown up. Some people were on round 2 and possibly 3. It was crazy. It was crazy. It was CRAZY. So everyone was seemingly healthy and then I was wrapping up work stuff at 8:30 in Lee's office and he comes down the hallway and says - You won't believe this, H just got sick! My heart sank. We were supposed to be through with the funk. And I definitely wasn't going to bring babies home to another round of the stomach bug. So we called our helpers - who were all in place for the next few days - and told them we'd wait to see what the doctor said in the morning. Then at 4:15 AM on March 23, A came down and announced he had just gotten sick. 

Oh the best laid plans. 

So instead of going to my appointment and begging for that c-section. I marched right in there and told them there was no way it was happening today. We discussed again for the last time why I couldn't have the babies on April Fools Day - they don't do elective surgeries on the weekend - but you told me I could choose any day I wanted, I reminded my doctor jokingly. He said March 27. A Monday. Possibly the worst day because then I'd be gone from the house for most of the school week and then there was a bit of work to contend with but I knew walking in the door, I had to go with whatever the doctor said. I had to give up my control/wants/worries - or our house might just spontaneously combust. 

I left at peace with with Monday March 27. That weekend I went back to church for the first time in two weeks because at that point if I did go into labor it would be fine -which I didn't. It was good to go back and get all graces before the babies came.

With a new set of kid care in place, we headed to the hospital early Monday morning - not without them calling Sunday night to confirm my noon surgery and me questioning why I was supposed to be there at 6 am for a noon surgery - I’m always up for a good questioning of procedure. By eight all was well and we waited and waited until noon - so glad I needed to be there that early. We talked. I worked some to take my mind of the impending surgery which I was still not 100% sure about. Noon rolled around and that became 1 and finally at 1:30 ish it was game time.

I was wheeled back to the OR. I got the epidural, the nurses counted off all the instruments in the room - because they have to do a pre and post count just to be sure they don’t leave something on the inside, then the doctor announced what was happening and not long after at 2:07 Baby A who was a girl and Baby B who was a girl were pulled into this world in the same minute. It was surreal laying there listening to two babies scream, grateful for their health and the crowd of people who had gotten us here and still being poked and prodded by the doctors who were discussing their weekends and the rental of a Tesla - that was weird but as someone pointed out, my c section was so normal and what they were doing was so second nature they could carry a normal conversation.


The girls!

Lee claims he was no surprised it was two girls. I remember hearing one was a girl and waiting for the second to know which names we would call them.

Gianna and Genevieve it was. 6 lbs 5 oz and 6 lbs 7 oz.

I got to recovery and held them for the first time and FaceTimed the kids to share the double pink news! Lee went to get dinner and i was finally snapping back to it with some meds wearing off.

We stayed in the hospital for four nights - feeding to two ain’t no joke and same with a c section - Wednesday at lunch the anesthesia blocks they gave me wore off and I felt it in the form of crazy pain just getting out of bed. I begged my doctor to keep me that fourth night and I am so grateful he let me stay.

I had a day and night nurse who were the best. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have left the hospital nursing babies without them. I think of them especially on the 27th of each month and say a prayer for them. We were syringe feeding babies just to try and get them latched and satisfied. The feeding was constant and I knew I was not ready to tandem feed because they were so small and floppy.

During my extended stay - normally I prefer the get me outta here option - I found out that the week prior on 3/23 the nursery was madhouse with 12 babies and a set of twins - which just solidified for me the mantra of Thy Will be Done. Because if I had gone in on 3/23 and had the babies - I wouldn’t have had the same nurses and there would have been triple the number of babies in the nursery. So crazy to look back at the situation and see it full circle.

So Friday 3/31 we came home from the hospital and had no idea what we were going to do with two babies and a mama recovering from a c section. The village rose up to help and we have been surviving and at times thriving ever since. 

Diapers. Bottles. Formula. Wipes. Clothes. Was all we did for days but we found a routine that worked.

My final thought will be on the c section- the thing I was most nervous about. It was terrible. Well the recovery was. Two and a half weeks it took to finally get halfway to normal. I felt like I was sawed in two. But, the babies are here and safe which was the goal. So while I would never wish a c section on anyone - I would do it over again because our babies were healthy.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

December 2023

December seems like a lifetime ago...

The big 3 had their Christmas choir concert. I go to the rehearsals in the days leading up because two years in a row there were kids younger siblings so this is way easier and less stressful. It was amazing as usual and I am convinced the children's choir is one of the best kept secrets around town. 

The little three! 

Since we have to divide the kids up somehow in conversation or activities so thirds seems good to me. These girls are going to be into all the things before too long. 

The Gs! They are the best. They weren't sleeping through the night still in this month which is not a big deal when you get up once or twice with one baby but when you get up once or twice with two babies it is a little more of a struggle. 

The big three went camping with their AHG troop. E and R needed camping nights for their level awards in the spring and E needed a two night trip so this one fit the bill. We when to a state park about 40 minutes from the house so we left after school Friday and I could shoot home Saturday during the day to feed the (still nursing - yay!) babies and do the shopping run while Lee held the fort down. The girls hiked and played around for the day and made dinner and started the camp fire. Rain was in the forecast for Sunday morning so soon as we heard the first drop on the tent we were up and out of there - even in time to shower and get to 9 am Mass. Friday night was definitely colder than Saturday and I don't think my feet ever really got warm until Sunday afternoon. 

This was H in every other Christmas card picture attempt. The big three and even down to A and C know the drill for pictures. We are doing this until we get a good one so it can take 2 minutes or 10. 

2022 we used the family pics we had taken that fall as our card pictures. It was insanely easy mainly because I didn't have to take them and they were done in September so I could leisurely order cards. Not so this year and if you don't think I tried to squeeze in a photo session you are incorrect but between soccer games and swim meets nothing worked (plus coordinating outfits for 25 million people is no small task)

When the big 5 are at AHG and Trail Life I try and let J and H do things that we would have done with the older kids - like take baths. We are not much of a tub family because they take FOREVER and showering littles in much more efficient but way less fun for them. 

The Gs are enjoying their food selections... Ge is way better at picking up Cheerios but Gi has taken up crawling and scooting all over the place. So interesting the differences between them. 

We went to a swim meet and it felt like we were in outer space inside of the bubble that is put up over the pool so it can be used in the winter. 

E took on the pretzel/M&M treats. I can't think of who she got the organize by color idea from : ) 

M, A and C were in the school Christmas play. M was a narrator, A was a wise guy man and C was a pig. Which Lee and I still get a kick out of because if there was one animal not in the stable/cave it was NOT a pig. 

J and H had their Christmas program recorded so that was a nice gift - though I do miss the in person programs. J did have a Christmas party that I went to. 

The Gs enjoying the afternoon sun with Skittles. 

Then somehow it was time for Christmas and I replaced pregnant Mary with Mary and baby Jesus in our manger scene. I think I did that while the big four were at church Christmas Eve night - I did make it to church Christmas Even morning but Lady C was sick - fever  and really tired 12/23 and 12/24 so I missed Christmas Even vesperal Liturgy for the third time in four year - which is such a bummer. Between COVID and sick kids and having a deacon for a husband I'm the one who stays home. If we can see the sickness on the horizon I can usually squeeze in getting to church somehow but I tuned into Christmas Eve Mass - which is never the same. 

We faked it to make our Christmas pic and our neighbor snapped a few before the church goers left for vesperal Liturgy. 

The stockings were hung and Mama got even more motivated to get As stocking done because I am waaaaaaay behind on them. 

I'm warming up to the faux tree. It is nice to not have to deal with needles all over the place and fluffing the faux tree is a real thing. 

Grammy and Grandpa Joe with their grandkids on Christmas!

We had an action packed first and second day of Christmas with lots of food and family and gifts. My favorite part is sitting around the table at breakfast and singing Christmas carols in between bites of egg bake and coffee cake. 

This is what the twins thought when I told them they were starting daycare in January : ) 

9 months with the twins! Nine months always causes me to pause and reflect more than every month milestone because of the 9 months in / 9 months out thing I guess. We had no idea it was twins until about 4 months but still so much has changed in our life in the last 18 months - and while it has been chaos at times there is definitely peace underneath it all knowing we are doing God's work, raising these souls that He has entrusted us with

J and H wanted in on the 9 month photo action

And that's how that last month of 2023 went down. 


Sunday, January 14, 2024

More than 500 yards

Last weekend A swam the 500 free to snag his very own swim bag. See the 500 free is a bit of a right of passage in our house or at least it has come to be. 

It started years ago when E wanted one of those fancy swim backpacks and I told her she had to swim the 500 to get it. 500 yard to a seven or eight year old is pretty grueling. 20 lengths of the pool at 25 yards a piece. You’re talking 8-11 minutes of swimming with no breaks.

The big three have done it. R swears she’s never doing it again but we think she’ll change her mind one day.

So A who was more desperate to get out of his little sister’s swim group claimed readiness for the 500 before our home meet. His coach gave him the green light and he was off to the races.

Not without a whole lot of nerves and psyching himself up - and maybe out too - he was ready. His swim friend and our neighbor counted for him. Yes someone counts your laps just so you don’t forget what lot lap you are on. A had the world’s best cheerleader as his counter. 

The best.

He was racing against 11 and 13 yr olds so he was definitely the small and mighty one who had his whole entire swim team behind him. 

I happened to be timing his lane - unplanned. So he had me on one side cheering and about 15 teammates on the other side pulling him through the grueling race - for an 8 yr old. 

Every time he would get to that end of the pool the natatorium erupted in shouts and cheers of encouragement for A. It was something. It warmed my heart and the thought of it still does. The whole team was behind him and I hope one day he’ll be the one cheering on his younger teammates who look up to him.

And while he may have missed the wall - on more than one flip turn- the swim bag looks great on him. And you never know the impact of your actions and encouragement on others - a mom told me a few days after that her swimmer was thinking about doing the 500 after watching A swim.

Not to overlook Ms swimming accomplishment, she got a time for Age Groups in her 50 fly - during her 100 fly race. She promptly got out of the pool and announced she was going to get sick. Then she celebrated with a new swim cap. We are hopeful for another time or two that she can swim during that meet.