Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

Yesterday, I went for my first postpartum run.  I went 3 miles at a pace of about 10:30 per mile.  I felt really slow, and my muscles hurt a lot during and after.  I could also tell that I have lost some cardiovascular strength.  Last night, Evelyn woke me up three times (ugh! - but one of them was 6 am, so maybe I shouldn't count that?), and every time I got out of bed I nearly fell over because my legs were sore.  I dragged myself down the hall like a little old lady - all bent over and mumbling to myself.

I was kind of depressed by how slow and difficult my run was, until I looked back at the blog and realized that after the twins were born I didn't run again until November.  November???  That's almost 4 months.  Good grief.  I'm glad that I'm not waiting that long again this time.  And my pace at that point was about 11 minute miles.  Wow.  Ok, I guess yesterday wasn't that bad.

Parenting Initiation

I feel like I have graduated to another level of parenting.  This morning, Vivienne held up her arms and gave me those big doe eyes and said,"Up!  Up!"  I picked her up, and then she said something that we couldn't decipher.  It sounded something like "bubba you" (like the letter "w" but starting with a b?).  What?  What is she saying?  What, Vivienne?

And then it happened.  She puked all over me.  I mean all over herself and my shirt and my shorts and my leg and the carpet.

Now I'm a real mom.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Winterpast Farm

Today we visited Winterpast Farm with our mommy group.  I took the three kids and Grandma came along, too!  My friend, Pam, and her son, Will, were also there.  The kids enjoyed seeing all of the animals.  They had pigs, chickens, llamas, goats, sheep, bunnies, turtles, geese, donkeys and a dog.  Most of them were out in an open space together, so the kids could really get up close and personal with them.

We were able to feed the animals veggies and crackers.  Miles was more excited about feeding the animals than Vivienne was.  She was very wary of them, especially the llama and donkeys.

The biggest hit was definitely the newborn bunnies.  Miles and Vivienne loved holding them.  They literally opened their eyes for the first time while the kids were holding them.

The Great Escape

Last week, Miles and Vivienne learned to climb out of the pack n plays at my mom's house.  We were there again today for naps, and Vivienne repeated her feat, except this time she actually got onto the floor and started playing (instead of somersaulting into Miles' pack n play).  Because I couldn't keep her in the bed there, I decided to bring them home to nap.

I put both kids down for their nap up in their cribs and shut the door.  I heard them playing and talking together, which is not unusual.  After a few minutes, I heard Vivienne calling out for help.  I went up to their room, opened the door and saw her hanging onto the outside of her crib, asking me to help her down.  It's kind of funny that she can climb over the railing of her crib, but she can't make that last 1-foot step onto the ground.

So I think we'll be switching them out of cribs soon.  I have a friend whose son broke his arm in his first attempt to escape his crib, and I would hate to have something like that happen with Miles or Vivienne.

At least I have a new little one in a crib now - helps Mommy from feeling like all her babies are growing up too quickly.

Evelyn in Her Own Room

Well, the day has come.  Evelyn slept in her own room last night.  Before last night, she slept in a co-sleeper beside our bed and in a bassinet.

The room that used to be our guest room is now a guest room/nursery for Evie.  We didn't really do much to decorate the room for her, besides putting a crib and changing table in it.  I have a cute little bird mobile that a friend gave me, but I haven't gotten around to hanging that up yet.  Maybe I will get to those things now that she is in her own room.

Last night went really well.  It took us a while to get her to go to sleep, but I don't think that had anything to do with her sleeping in that room.  I think she just had a hard night going to sleep.  Once we got her down, she only woke up once (around 4:30) to eat.  I would definitely consider that a successful night!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Happy 5 Weeks!

Today our Little Fox turned 5 weeks old.  I can't believe she is over a month old already.  She continues to be the sweetest, most snuggly little biscuit in the world.

I take Evelyn on a walk almost every night.  After Miles and Vivienne go to bed (around 7 PM), I put Evie in the stroller or the ring sling or the Moby wrap and we head outside to explore for a while and get some fresh air.  We usually go about 2.5 miles, and she seems to really enjoy it.  Evelyn will stare up at my face or at the tops of the trees above her.  She usually eventually falls asleep, but often wakes up before we get home (and often cries for the last few minutes of the walk).  Our walks are probably my favorite time with her, besides our snuggly mid-day naps.  I love having one-on-one time with her and exploring the outdoors together.  I look forward to maybe running or biking together someday when she is much bigger.

I love you, Little Fox.

Finger Paint

I either let her finger paint or she slaughtered something.  You be the judge.

You Know It's Love

There are so many things about parenting that are really about letting go... letting your kids grow up, letting them learn to be independent, letting them fall and scrape their knees every now and then... all because you know you need to let go.

And I have also learned to let go of having things done my way.  There are so many examples of this.  I often spend time in the late afternoons dead-heading my roses while the kids play.  Sometimes they will "help" me by going alongside me and pulling off the perfectly beautiful new roses.  I just take deep breaths and let them go to town.

Another example is when we play with "shapie" (play dough - I have no idea why Viv calls it "shapie").  She likes to combine all the colors.  It takes all my strength to contain my OCD and let her do this.  But I have to ask myself what's more important - my need for order or my little budding artist letting her creative juices flow?

You know it's love when you let them do this to brand new "shapie."  

And don't even get me started on coloring outside the lines.  Lord have mercy...

And, for the record, it is impossible to separate this stuff once it has been so thoroughly combined.  Don't think I haven't tried to pick this stuff apart with my fingernails.

Only One Feeding

Pretty much since our second or third night with Evelyn, she has only woken us up 2 times per night to eat.  I have to say that I consider myself fairly lucky, because having twins was completely different (think 3-4 feedings per night for at least a month if not longer) and most singletons nurse more than that in the beginning.

For the past couple of weeks, she will usually eat around 9 pm and then wake again around 2 or 3 am.  After that, she would wake up around 6 am for her last feeding.  I guess if we actually got up at 6 am, I could have considered those to be "one feeding nights," but we don't usually get up until 7 or 7:30, so I think that would be cheating.

Last night, she ate around 9 pm, slept until 4 am and then didn't eat again until 7:30 after we woke up.  It feels so good to only wake up one time in the middle of the night.  Hopefully she will sleep through the night soon, but I shouldn't get my hopes up because she is only 5 weeks old, after all.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Tear

We had a wonderful morning at the park with my friend, Pam, and her adorable 3-month-old son, Will.  Miles and Vivienne had a blast playing on the playground, and we were able to sit on the side with the babies, enjoy the mild weather and the warm breeze and have some good conversation.  Afterward, we had lunch on the picnic tables beside the playground.

On the way home, Evelyn cried the entire time.  She eventually worked herself up into that really loud baby scream/cry with the shaking voice.  Not fun.  When I opened the van door on her side, I saw a little tear streaming down her cheek.  Now her crying is going to be so much more sad.  =(

So it was a bit of a rough ride home (at least for me and the baby), but it was an awesome day at the park with a good friend.


Somebody enjoyed their ice cream with Grandma...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Switching Sides

Yesterday, my mom, the kids and I dropped off my dad at the airport.  After that, we took Miles and Vivienne (and Evelyn, though she wasn't conscious for most of it) to Observation Park at RDU.  They have an elevated lookout area where you can watch the planes land and takeoff on one of the runways.  They pipe in the air traffic control as well, which is really interesting.  Miles and Vivi really enjoyed watching the planes, but Miles was particularly excited.  Grandma held him up each time a plane took off or landed and he would tell us over and over that it was a "Pane!  Pane!"

When we got back to my mom's house, we put the kids down for a nap.  She has 2 pack n plays side by side for the kids.  We put Vivienne in the left one and Miles in the right one.  Then I laid down with Evie to take a nap myself and Mom was on the couch on her computer.  After about 30 minutes, we heard the kids playing upstairs.  Mom went up to investigate and, much to her surprise, Vivienne was in the right-hand pack n play and Miles was in the left!  They had switched pack n plays!  She watched them for a little while, and she saw Viv do a somersault over the edge into the other pack n play.

I guess they can no longer be contained.  Next time we're at her house for naps, I think we're going to try to separate the pack n plays and see if the kids still try to escape (hoping that it's not as tempting if you can't simply somersault into your sibling's bed).  We'll see.

Boo Boo Knee

Miles and Vivienne are frequently falling down when we're out in the driveway or on the sidewalk playing.  This results in a lot of scraped knees and hands.  Vivienne has started the cutest little saying for these, calling them "boo boo knees."  She will point to her knee and say in the sweetest little voice, "Boo boo knee.  Look, Bramaw (Grandma), boo boo knee."  It's adorable.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Church Art

Miles and Vivienne have just moved up to the next classroom at church on Sunday mornings.  The new classroom involved a lesson and often includes some kind of craft.  Their very first craft was last week when they made "fire" (red and orange streamers attached to a brown pipe cleaner).  This Sunday, they colored some waves with paint because they were learning about the parting of the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea).  They were so happy and proud when they brought me their paintings after church.  Their works of art are currently adorning our refrigerator.

This is the face that I get when I ask Vivi to smile.  Not sure why she thinks that involves opening your mouth as wide as possible, but it sure is cute.

Happy 4 Weeks!

Evelyn turned 4 weeks old yesterday.  She has been with us for nearly a month now.  She is still a very mild-mannered baby, sleeping a lot and nursing well.

When Evelyn was first born, it was clear that she couldn't focus on things that were more than a few inches from her face.  Now she is much better at focusing on things that are further away.  When I'm walking her in the stroller, I can tell that she can easily focus on my face now.  She is starting to show some interest in her bouncy seat arch and the toys hanging from her play mat (looking at them, but not trying to touch them yet).

Evie is just starting to experiment with her voice a little.  Occasionally she will make a little cooing noise, but these are few and far between.  She also looks like she's starting to try to smile at us, though neither Jason nor I have seen a real smile from her yet.  I'm looking forward to that.

We're starting to get into a bedtime routine with her, though she is fighting our routine tonight (up in our bedroom crying while Jason is trying to get her to sleep as I type this).  After Miles and Vivienne go to sleep around 7, I usually take Evelyn on a walk for a couple miles in the stroller.  She usually sleeps through much of that.  We arrive home sometime around 8, and we start the bedtime routine - swaddling her, nursing her, rocking her a little and trying to put her down drowsy but not totally zonked out.  Sometimes she goes right to sleep, and sometimes she fights us.  Tonight is definitely one of our more recent "late" nights with her because it's after 9:30 and she is still fighting sleep (though we can clearly see that she's tired).  Here's hoping that Baby Girl finds some sweet dreams soon.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Family Park Day

This morning, we took the kids to a nearby park.  The kids really enjoyed themselves, and they especially liked playing with Daddy.

The merry-go-round was a particularly big hit.

After we played a while, we walked with the kids to a nearby overpass so that they could watch the cars and trucks go by.  Miles really liked seeing all the trucks, and some of the drivers were kind enough to honk at us as they drove beneath us.

We didn't take any photos of Evelyn on this trip.  She was mostly just snoozing, as usual.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Raising Children

I received this in an email from a friend earlier this week and it touched me.

Raising Children 

by Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief.

I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast.Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like.

Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon, and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages, dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, and finally what the women on the playground, and the well-meaning relations -- well what they taught me was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything.

One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome.

To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.

I remember 15 years ago pouring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made.They have all been enshrined in the "Remember-When-Mom-Did " Hall of Fame.The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs.The times the baby fell off the bed.The times I arrived late for preschool pickup.The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp.The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?" (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1.

And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.

I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top.

And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity.

That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me awhile to figure out who the experts were.

I Will Survive

Well, tomorrow is Friday.  I have made it through nearly an entire week solo with the kids.  Of course, my mom has been here a lot to help with them, which makes an enormous difference.  Thanks, Mom, for all of your help!

Mom was here Monday morning to help me, and then Monday after naps we went to her house.  So that day was a breeze.  Tuesday was my first day entirely on my own, and it went fairly well.  It was the first time that I have packed up all three kids and put them in the car to take them somewhere by myself.  We went to my mommy group at church, and everything went very well.  During the afternoon naps, I swaddled Evelyn and she sat in her bouncy seat quietly for about 15 minutes before dozing off on her own.  "This is going to be a piece of CAKE," I thought.

Then reality set in.  Yesterday was a little bit hairier.  Miles and Vivienne were both in a very delicate state for most of the day - crying at the drop of a hat and just generally being very fussy.  Luckily, Mom and my friend, Lindsay, were here for part of the morning and that helped to keep the kids preoccupied and alleviate some of the stress.  During naps, I couldn't get Evie to go to sleep, so I didn't get a nap myself.

Today was really good.  I took the kids to a playground this morning and met up with a few friends.  When we left, Evelyn and Vivienne were crying, but my friends were very quick to help the kids put their shoes back on and dry some tears and help me pull us together for the short trek home.  (Thanks, Rachel, Mary and Julia!) 

Then Mom and my sweet friend, Beth, were here from about 11 to 1, which was a great distraction for me and the kids before their nap.  After they left, Miles and Vivienne took a THREE hour nap (glorious!) and Evelyn and I slept for about 2.5 hours of it (heavenly!).  That was the longest nap that I have had in months probably.  It was amazing.  I feel like a new woman.

So this week certainly had its ups and downs, but I know I will survive being a mom of three kids under three.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jason's First Day Back at Work

We are so blessed for Jason to work for an employer with such generous paternity leave.  Jason got two weeks of paid paternity leave and then took a week of vacation to be home with us during Evelyn's first weeks of life.  This was such a precious time for our family to be together and to have extra time with Daddy.  But all good things must come to an end...

Today was Jason's first day back at work.  I had been really anxious about this day, because it just seems overwhelming to have Miles, Vivienne and Evelyn all on my own.  I know that it will all be fine, but I tend to get disproportionately worked up about potentially stressful situations.  Luckily, my mom only lives about 3 miles away, so today was very pleasant.

Jason left around 8:45 this morning.  I managed to keep us all alive from that point until about 10 am when my mom came over.  Vivienne was in a good mood today, so that made the day move along very smoothly.  Around 11, we all went out for lunch, mainly just to get out of the house.  Then we brought the kids back for their naps and Mom went back home.  After naps, my previous postpartum doula, Pam, dropped by to visit.  It was fun to see her, and the kids enjoyed playing outside in the sprinkler for a while.  Then we went to visit Grandma and Mindy (otherwise known as "Bramaw" and "Minmi" - the kids have been asking to see "Minmi" for a while now), and then came home to greet Daddy.

So while it was Jason's first day back, it wasn't really my first day being totally solo, because Mom was an enormous help.  Something tells me we're all gonna be just fine, though.

Mass Transit

Until this weekend, the baby was riding in the back row of the van, because this was the fastest way to install her seat in the van.  Yesterday, while the kids and I were napping, Jason reconfigured the seats in the van (moving the twins' car seats to the back row and putting Evelyn's car seat in the middle row).  This is going to make it much much easier for me to get the kids in and out of the van.  Not only did Jason reconfigure the seats, but he also vacuumed out the van (amazing!) and mowed the lawn (including trimming and edging the driveway - beautiful!).

The kids love the new setup!  Thanks, Daddy!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Me and My Children

The kids just looked so cute this morning in their new clothes from Grandma.  We had to get a picture outside of church so that we could show her how cute they looked in their new getups.  I also think this is the first picture that has been taken of me with all three of my children, even though you can only really see the back of Evelyn's head.  And I think it's just deplorable that we don't have a picture of the five of us together yet - not even a picture from the hospital.  We need to get on it!

This is the face you get when you ask Viv to smile.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

When Daddy Comes Home

One of my favorite times of the day is when Daddy comes home from work.  Because it's summer, we're almost always outside when he gets home at 5:15.  Luckily, because our house faces east, the shadow of the house is on the lawn in the evenings.  This makes it very pleasant to be outside with the kids without worrying about sunscreen.  They often run through the sprinkler or play with their cars or help me with the weeding.

But when Daddy turns the corner into the cul-de-sac, Miles and Vivienne both squeal and drop whatever they are doing to run out to meet him.  With their adorable little toddler runs, they meet him in the middle of the cul-de-sac, where he opens the driver's side door.  They eagerly hop into the car, one child in the passenger seat and one child on Daddy's lap, "driving" into the driveway with huge smiles on their faces.  Even when they are soaking wet from playing in the sprinkler, Daddy will gladly let them sit on his lap to practice their steering skills and enjoy this special treat that Daddy shares with only them.

While I'm not looking forward to Jason going back to work this week, I am looking forward to him coming home and seeing the huge smiles on Miles and Vivienne's faces as they greet their dad.

Happy 3 Weeks!

Evelyn is 3 weeks old today.  She has already changed so much.  It's clear that she can focus on things a few feet away.  She enjoys looking at our faces and watching the arch on her bouncy seat.  She still nurses very well, and seems to be gaining weight quickly, having already outgrown her newborn clothes and diapers.

Evie is still a very calm baby.  She still sleeps a lot of the day, and most of her awake time is happy and content.  In the evenings (usually starting around 7), she gets a bit fussy and has a harder time getting herself to go to sleep.  But once we get her to sleep, we usually don't have much trouble keeping her down.

She has mostly slept in her co-sleeper or bassinet.  But a couple times this week, I have pulled her into bed with me for one of the sleeping stints (mainly because it's easier than spending an hour or more rocking her and repeatedly trying to get her down on her own).  Evelyn feels the most secure when she is in bed with us and she seems to sleep very well with Mommy's arm around her.  Unfortunately, it's not the best sleep for me because I don't feel like I can roll over or move much with her right beside me.  The long term goal is to have her sleep on her own, but I'm trying to relish these snuggles while I can.

It looks to us like Evie will have brown eyes.  Miles and Vivienne's eyes looked fairly blue even this early on, but Evelyn's eyes appear to be brown with no signs of blue.  I guess this should not be surprising, considering that neither Jason nor I nor any of Evie's grandparents have blue eyes.  (How in the world Miles and Vivienne ended up with blue eyes, I will never know.)

Miles and Vivienne seem to be adjusting to their baby sister very well.  We have seen very few signs of jealousy so far.  It will be interesting to see if that changes on Monday when Jason goes back to work.  I definitely have some anxiety about juggling the kids on my own, but I have to say that it is an enormous relief to have my mom so close to us and so willing to help me with the kids.  Having Grandma and Granddad nearby has been an absolute lifesaver.

I can't believe my baby girl is almost a month old.  The time is already flying by.  Happy 3 week birthday, sweet biscuit!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Singing in the Rain

Well, they definitely can't say that I never let them have any fun.

Language Explosion

Over the past month or so, we have seen a language explosion in the kids, especially in Vivienne.  I had noticed a big difference in Viv in just the time she was at my parents' house when I was sick.  Her grasp of the English language has grown in leaps and bounds.  It seems like it was not long ago when she was just learning to say "kitty cat!"  Now, she's talking in sentences.

When we brought Evelyn home from the hospital, Vivienne was in love with the classic little white and pink striped hat that every baby girl has at the hospital.  She came in the door and asked me where it was.  I told her that I wasn't sure.  She said,"I find it!"  I was shocked to hear her construct a sentence like that.  And she has developed even further in the last few weeks, surprising me every day with her new expressions.

Miles still mainly communicates in single word and occasional two-word phrases.  My assumption is that this is probably mostly due to the differences in boys and girls.  He is learning very quickly, though, and I don't think he will be very far behind his sister.

It is fascinating to watch the kids learn, and I love hearing their little voices ask us questions or make statements about the world around them.  Their personalities are incredible, and I am eager to hear more of their thoughts and questions in the coming months and years.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Evelyn's Newborn Portraits

We had a photographer come to take pictures of Evelyn last Wednesday.  She got some beautiful shots of our gorgeous girl.  Here are my favorites: