Friday, April 27, 2012

Live from Memphis!

We are currently visiting friends and family in Memphis and having a blast! We're here through the weekend, so if you are a Memphis friend reading this and I haven't gotten in touch with you, just text me or call and we'll try to get together if the girls' schedules allow it! So far, here's what we've accomplished:

- had lunch at the greatest lunch place ever, La Baguette, which just so happens to be where our wedding cakes came from!
Tamsie in her swing back in the 'Ville. She has missed it mightily these past few days.
- went back to our alma mater, the real BHS, on a whim, just to see if any of our old teachers were around. Y'all. We are old. We ran into a teacher we didn't know who informed us that pretty much everyone we could think of to ask about visiting has long been retired. It was altogether sad!
Evie and the old bear-ear hat, which is now also too small!
- saw my old elementary school playground (which has now been a part of the high school campus since I was in second grade) and sang a moving version of "This Used To Be My Playground." You should be sad you weren't there. Sort of.
Tamsie and her old bird hat... trying it on to see how small it is on her these days! It now looks like a skull cap!
- went to visit my sweet Grandma, who patiently endured some crying from girls who were first hungry and then tired.
Naptime in the pack 'n' play... a blessed and all-too-rare event! I had taken Tamsie (in pink) out to change her diaper, and when I brought her back, Evie had attempted to take up as much space as possible!
- had my Dad's homemade pizza for dinner... yum!

Tamsie and her blonde hair that pokes up in the back, kind of like her mom's did 28 years ago.
- hung out with Carissa, Cliff, and Melissa for the greater part of yesterday. Melissa made Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls... YES!! We were all supposed to help with the cinnamon rolls, but Melissa rose to the occasion amidst the demanding baby-ness of it all. Mine absolutely refused to nap during the majority of their naptimes yesterday, preferring instead to fuss about how they missed their swings. We also sang a lovely (if I do say so myself) rendition of "I Have Nothing," in memory of our beloved Whitney. In continuing the grand '90s song tradition of the week, Melissa and I also got some roaring laughs out of the girls by singing  (or attempting to sing) the old classic "Scatman." 

My sweet little Evangelyn baby
By the way, Carissa is thinking of starting a blog, so if you talk to her, encourage her in that direction!
This is what it looks like when the girls refuse to nap in the pack 'n' play!
- had Petra for dinner last night. Are we noticing a trend here? I'm making myself hungry!

Tamsie being burped (it's the truth) while we had pulled over to feed the girls on the way to Memphis
 - lazed around this morning.
My little Tamerlane!

T-Dawg once again, this time sleeping with thumb in mouth... in pack 'n' play.... SUCCESS!!

Evie, reversed

The girls riding around outside La Baguette. Tamsie had started to cry, but I had forgotten her paci! Thank goodness she was easily entertained by her spare outfit. 
Great-Grandma time for Evie!
Well, I should go get ready so we can visit my mom at work. Happy Friday, y'all!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

This one's all over the place - kind of like our lives right now!

In my pre-baby days, I had no idea how joyful a celebration I would have after enjoying seven blissful hours of uninterrupted sleep, but that's exactly what happened this morning, folks! As you may recall, the girls started sleeping through the night relatively early on, and then about a month or so ago they spontaneously decided that nighttime is for crying, not sleeping. To their credit, we think that's due to teething more than anything else -- but y'all, that has got to be one of the most daunting things about baby twins. With two of them, it is quite literally an all-night it's-our-party-we-can-cry-if-we-want-to kinda festival of sleeplessness. Triplet moms and moms of more, my nonexistent hat is off to you. (I look awkward in a hat.) I don't know how you do it. Octomom, we're not even going there.

But last night we put them down at 10:30, because our schedule was all wonky. At 11:15ish they were up crying, so we chalked it up to some freakish nighttime version of the 45-minute intruder and fed them a little more. Then we put them back to bed, and they slept soundly until time to wake up for church! In fact, I woke up in a panic about 3 am, concerned because they had been so quiet all night. All was well, and I'm hoping we're once again going forward and not backward at bedtime!

I can't remember whether this was a happy face or a sad face, but I can guarantee that's Tamsie up front.
We've had a pretty nice couple of days, too. On Thursday, Chris realized that in all of the intensity that has been our lives lately, he has not actually taken a day off, and that he really needed to. So we went to Lexington that day, because that is where the nearest Chipotle is located. Seriously. And it was so worth the trip! It was fun to get the girls out and to drive around a different town for a change.
My attempt at taking a picture of Evie sitting up with minimal assistance. Also I want you to know that while we were out shopping yesterday, someone saw her in this outfit and asked if she was a boy. ARE YOU KIDDING ME.
Yesterday we hit up Macy's and took advantage of a major sale to score no fewer than 16 size 6-month outfits for the girls! It was awesome!! Each outfit was sooo cheap by the time they took off the additional 25% friends and family discount (because everything was already on sale to begin with), so if you're reading this and you're a mama, now is the time to stock up (if they're having this in your area too)!
This is actually a size 6-month outfit that Evie is wearing!! It's still just a little big, but not terribly!  
This week we'll be taking a trip to the Big M once again, and I can't wait!! My dear old friend JT just had a baby boy this past week, and I'm so excited about meeting Mr. Dalen in person! 
Tamsie had a severe case of baby bed-head when I came to see her this morning. (I had to hold her head down for the picture because she kept moving it around everywhere!)
 Today we took the girls and went to the church where our friend Anthony is now a student minister. It was so good to get to see Anthony and Kristen and meet some sweet people at their church, including a man who has 27-year-old identical twin girls!
The girls in their PJs this morning. Tamsie's leg was wrapped around Evie's, which was typical of what they would do during ultrasounds!
Tamsie standing up in her crib this morning with Chris's help!
Random but true: Chris entered us in a little contest, and we made it to the P&G web site
Meanwhile, this is what Evie was doing on her side of the room. Check out those rosy cheeks, and there's not even any photo editing involved! :)
Also, if you think of it, could you please pray for my Uncle Hank? He's recovering from a stroke and could use the prayers.
Well, that's all for today. Y'all have a wonderful and restful Sunday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Breakthrough Babies

It seems that the theme in our lives right now is breakthrough. We're either experiencing one or hoping and praying for one all the time. A lot of what's going on is very exciting, and a lot is very difficult... but progress is happening, and I keep hearing that it only gets better!
Evie and the NICU bears
 * Let's get the not-so-fun out of the way. After what seemed to be a fading-out process, feeding issues have returned. We are trying to get the girls to see that eating is goooood. Bottles are goooood. Apparently that's not always an easy lesson for everybody to learn! In fact, it's getting hard to hear about babies who just love to eat and can't get enough. While we're happy to hear about that, it just makes us feel so hopeless. What also makes it particularly hard is that we'll have a few good days with no tears during feeds, and we'll get all excited and think the worst is over... then it just randomly returns. We are praying for a breakthrough to come very soon!

* Also, we're hoping some teeth literally break through any time now. The poor girls' pain has escalated, and they are awake at all hours of the night, crying and biting their hands. Tylenol helps... for a while. I just feel so bad for them and so helpless!
Tamsie and the Peek-a-Boo Monkey her grandparents gave her. She never knows when it's going to say, "Peek-a-Boo," so she just eyes it suspiciously whenever it's around!
 Now on to some enjoyable breakthroughs! :)
* The girls are laughing when we play peek-a-boo these days!
Wrestling is not just for boys! Of course the girl version involves something akin to playing with hair....

Care for a scalp massage?

Sister love
 * The girls have been recognizing their names for a little while now. They have also learned what "Can you sit up?" and "Can you stand up?" mean, which is really fun! If we're holding their hands, they will sit and stand on their own when we ask them these questions. I think it's so neat they can understand us, even though they can't talk yet!
Tamsie wanted to help hold her dad's bag of chips,  which made for some funny pictures! :)
 * Tamsie has been learning to splash in her bath, which has made bath time more fun for her. She initially loved her baths, then she decided she didn't care for them too much... so it has been nice for her to learn to have fun during bath time.

 * The girls slept in their cribs last night for the first time since their pre-Nap Nanny days! They really didn't have a hard time with the transition at all. While they woke up a lot, it seemed to have more to do with teething issues than anything else. Who knows? Maybe that's why feeding is so difficult right now too. Those poor little gums!
Evie bites on a teether. She and Tamsie both love this rattle, and their eyes get huge whenever we shake it!

Tummy time with Evie and a mirror

While it's not without its share of long days and long nights, being a mom to Tamsie and Evie is by far the greatest thing I have ever done! It's so easy to be scared that we're doing something wrong, or there's something we should try that we haven't yet. Sometimes when they're crying I wish that they could take a break, look at me with a smile and say, "We get it, Mom. You're trying. We know we're hard to read sometimes, but we appreciate what you're doing." Alas! All they can do is cry or maybe crack a smile or say, "eh-goo-ah!" But I always say that when they smile and laugh, that makes the hard times MORE than worthwhile, and I just keep remembering that this time will go by so fast, and it's important to enjoy it while it's here!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Happy 6-Month Birthday, T and E!

With the pink bears that were with them in their isolettes back in the NICU, so you can see how they've grown!
Full disclosure. Back in my pre-mommy days, I used to secretly scoff at moms who would gush about their babies' 6-month birthdays. "Oh, please," I would think contemptuously as I scrolled down my Facebook news feed. "Talk to me when she's learning to drive. She's still a tiny BABY and yet you're acting like she's all grown up!" Heartless, I know, but that's how it was. (I also used to think baby monitors were for the paranoid, so that shows you what I knew.)

But now, here we are, and oh my gosh! My babies are SIX MONTHS OLD!!!! So if you're reading this and scoffing and not a mom, just know that your day will most likely come. Go ahead and laugh at me now, but one day you too will be in this situation, and you'll get it. I promise. And while I am acutely aware that they are still mere babes (especially today, after waking up with them too many times to count last night... and yes, this after I had smugly declared not that long ago that they were sleeping through the night!), I can't believe I've had them now for six months. What's even more bizarre is that the time frame from the day I learned I was pregnant until the day I delivered them was a couple of days shy of six months - so now they've been out longer than I knew they were in! And when I look at it that way, it seems like the past six months have flown by - especially compared to how sslllloooooowwwwwlllyyyyyy the pregnancy seemed to go.

With that said, here we go!

Evie knows exactly what that armrest is for. You should also know that I love these outfits because they remind me of something my Barbies would have worn in the early '90s. (Of course that's how I feel about 99% of the neon outfits that have come back into style! :)
Dear Tamsie and Evangelyn,
Half a year ago you were entering the world much sooner than we had ever expected, and now in half a year we'll be throwing you your first birthday party! I absolutely love being your Mom, and I'm so thankful God brought you into our lives six months ago!
Tamsie giggling
This month you have been laughing and smiling more than ever. You want to practice standing up all the time, and you love sitting down with a little bit of help. We've really been seeing your personalities unfold a lot lately.
Pretty blue eyes!
Tamsie, you aren't happy unless you're the center of attention. You aren't particularly good at entertaining yourself, but you love being held, played with, talked and sung to. That said, the play mat is the exception to that rule. You really enjoy playing with all the toys on your play mat, and they hold your attention for long periods of time as you grab them, bite them and talk to them. We think you're going to be our social butterfly, because you just love being around people all the time! You have a silly little sense of humor, and a lot of nights you laugh right in the middle of our prayer time. You used to be the first to fall asleep at night and the last to wake up, but you are a feisty little one and you've recently decided you would much rather raise a ruckus at bedtime than go to sleep. We think it's because you're more alert now, and you don't want to miss out on anything! Evie used to eat more than you at nearly every feed, but now you've started outpacing her. We fix 6-ounce bottles of Similac Alimentum for you and your sensitive tummy, and we add 4 heaping scoops of rice cereal. Sometimes you only take 1/4 of the bottle, and sometimes you come close to finishing it. You're really unpredictable like that! Feed times are generally getting easier for you, although you can still fuss when you want to.
Evie and her signature eyebrow raise. We're thinking she might be our left-handed twin, and here's why: I can raise my left eyebrow exactly like that, but I'm right-handed. Since she's reverse, maybe she's left-handed! Also, she tends to roll over to the left first every time, although she is rolling both ways.
Evie, you love attention but you don't demand it quite like Tamsie does, so we have to be sure to give you just as much of it. You enjoy your swing more than just about anything else. While Tamsie either wants to be asleep in her swing or not in it at all, you are perfectly content swinging while you're awake, looking out the window. You are very cuddly and snuggly. When you're lying next to Tamsie, you like to hang onto her with one of your hands. When you eat, you rarely seem to be in a big hurry. Rather, you like to look around at everything and take your time. We fix 4-ounce bottles of Enfamil Nutramigen for you and then add in 3 scoops of rice cereal. Just like Tamsie, sometimes you take the whole thing and sometimes you are just not feeling it at all. You hate bedtime, and you generally always have! When we read to you, you like to talk. We've also noticed that while your Dad and I are talking when we take you out on walks, you like to chime in. You always have lots to say! Some of your favorite words right now (and Tamsie's too), besides the old standbys "agoo" and "agoo-ah," are "uh-wuh," "ah-ah-ah-ah" and "ooga." A lot of random times it sounds like you and your sister are saying "Mamama" and "Dadadada," but we try not to get too excited because we know you don't have any idea. When we go out in public, people can always tell that you're slightly smaller than your sister, and they always want to touch you... which your Mom is NOT a fan of!
Impromptu hand-holding moment!
Both of you girls are noticing each other more and more these days. It's sweet to watch you look at each other, smile, and talk to each other. I hope and pray that you will become best friends as you get older and more aware of each other!
"Is this any way to celebrate my half-birthday? In the doctor's office??"
 These days you're wearing size 0-3 months and size 3 month clothing. You are still wearing size 2 diapers. At your six-month check-up, Tamsie weighed 11 lbs 13 oz, and Evie weighed 11 lbs 2.5 oz - but we have a baby scale at home and usually the gap is not nearly as large. Every day it fluctuates, and some days you actually weigh the exact same! But usually Tamsie is just a little bit bigger. Even though they sound itty-bitty, the doctor is very pleased with these numbers, because your bodies are working hard to catch up!
"The doctor's office on my 6-month birthday?! Seriously! I thought that's what Chuck-E-Cheese was for!"
You both received an excellent report at your six-month check-up, along with permission to sleep as long as you'd like to at night! Unfortunately, after being such good sleepers for so long, you are now both waking up most nights. We think it's probably because of teething or allergies.
My crazy active girls tore this paper to shreds during their time at the doctor's office. I took this picture of T not long after we arrived, and she had already gotten the party started.
Since you're both exclusively on formula right now due to all of your milk protein and soy allergies, you no longer have to take vitamins. We have also taken you off the Prevacid since your GI test revealed no reflux. We're hoping your tummies mature quickly so you can get back on milk sooner or later. However, you are currently taking Benadryl for all your stuffiness and runniness! You do not like the taste of that at all!
She's a total Daddy's girl: Chris was trying to see whether Evie's first tooth had broken through (it hasn't), and he got her to smile!
You are in the less-than-fifth percentile for height and length, but you are in the 10th-25th percentile for head circumference! Y'all are some smart girls with those big heads! :)
Tamsie was practicing sitting up while she waited for the doctor.
 You love music and start kicking your legs and throwing your arms around when you hear it.
Evie's own hands weren't enough to satisfy her need to chew, so she latched onto mine as well!
Both girls were loving playing with my ring.
T grabbed my hand with both of hers.
I promise I was not this vein-y pre-babies!
She's got her Daddy's smile!
 You love being read to. We recently bought you Pat the Bunny, which is your new favorite! You love all the little activities it gets you to do.
Yes, Evie is in fact the little sister: she's younger and she weighs a little less.
 You are bouncing yourselves in your bouncy seats these days. Tamsie, you get to kicking your left leg so that you'll bounce really fast!
This is the way E falls asleep, falls asleep, falls asleep...
 You are very alert and focused. When Cliff stayed with us and he would be crying down the hall, both of you would twist around in your seats to try and figure out what was going on. You are always trying to figure out where sounds are coming from.
Evie playing with her bee toy with both hands... this is a new thing!
 Speaking of sounds, you are also making new sounds all the time! You are testing out those sweet baby voices of yours.
Bite it, girl!
 You're still sleeping in your Nap Nannies, but we're hoping to transition you to the cribs soon. You're also sleeping with your arms unswaddled.
This is no laughing matter, folks.
 You both wake up happy most mornings, talking and practicing new sounds. Evie, you like to get up with your Dad in the morning, but Tamsie, you like to sleep as late as you can... just like your mama!
It's hard work!
  You really like going on rides and walks.
Tamsie and her tired mama. That is not pink eye shadow - I had just gotten my eyebrows arched! Just wanted to set the record straight.
You are both trying to crawl as best as you can during tummy time, and you're enjoying tummy time more and more. Your necks are getting so strong, and you can hold your heads straight up when you're on your bellies!
Out for Saturday errands. Tamsie looks like she's trying to play an invisible flugelhorn.
 A lot of times you interrupt feed times to smile, giggle, and talk.

I tried to get Tamsie to fit into one of my old baby dresses from 1983. Alas. I waited too late! It's way too small!
 You girls are loved more than I can even describe.
I can't wait to see what this next month has in store for you!

Love always,