Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Drawing

For the last few years, we've been doing a drawing for the adults in our family (Mom and Dad, Jamie and Anjie and Miles and I). That way we can cut down on the money we spend and get more thoughtful gifts for the person that we draw. We still buy gifts for the kids, which is really the most fun part anyway.

This year Anjie had a great idea. Instead of doing completely random drawings, why don't we swap households. We get the benefit of consolidating gifts and can buy a household gift if we'd like. So, this year, this is how it will go:

Miles and Jennifer --> Grammie and Bumpa
Jamie and Anjie --> Miles and Jennifer
Grammie and Bumpa --> Jamie and Anjie

Let the shopping begin! (I love the holidays.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

80 Diapers

The stomach flu! The Nurse said the diarrhea could last 10-14 days! Despite a constant gush of watery liquid, Amber's spirits were still pretty good. Since I've had experience with diarrhea and resulting horrible diaper rash, we were able to keep enough goop and powder on her bottom that we've actually come out quite good. A little red, but no bleeding or infection -- yet anyway. We're only on day 8 (only??).

The Nurse also said that day 4 is usually the worst. Day 4 was Thanksgiving day. The good news was that we didn't have to take her to daycare all week (except Monday), the bad news was that it was Thanksgiving and we were not at home. The boys have been to Jamie and Anjie's before, but this was Amber's first night sleeping in a bed other than her own.

Every time she tried to eat, it would come right through. Poor thing. There were some diaper changes that I would change her three times just as she was laying on the changing table. It seemed to get worse as the day progressed. By bed time, we probably changed 30 diapers (this is not an exaggeration!). She was up all night needing a diaper change or trying to eat. To make matters worse, Miles had left on a fishing trip with his buddies.

But we survived the night and Amber is still in good spirits. We used up a whole package (80) of diapers this week on this flu bug. Miles got the bug over the weekend and now it looks like Bumpa (one of her caretakers during the week) has it! So far I've avoided it and the boys have avoided it - thank goodness.

This is one of the reasons I don't like the kids in daycare. Although, I suppose they'd get these sicknesses once they started school, so better to get it out of the way now? It's really hard to see the baby sick, though.

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Day 9 and it's starting to slow down. Just hope we don't get anything else before Christmas.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Well I guess I didn't make the post a day every day in November. That's harder than I thought! Anyway, happy belated Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful time down at Jamie and Anjie's and all the cousins. Grammie and Bumpa were there too. The kids are starting to interact and play together which is really fun. I'm looking forward to many more holidays and family gatherings as the kids grow.

I wanted to post a couple things that I read from 2 years ago at dinner when the boys were just one month old. The words are not mine. They were written by Andrea Alban Gosline.

I treasure time with my child. "These are the moments for which we live". - Joyce Carol Oates
Each day I spend mothering is woven with a miraculous sense of immediacy. The emotions I feel are amongst the most intense I've ever felt. I am alive in ways I could not have imagined before giving birth. I savor this pleasure.

Pledge to my Children
I promise to look forward to our life together.
I promise to stay and watch you blossom.
I promise to cherish the sacred place you came from.
I promise to walk beside you on your miraculous path.
I promise to share what I know with love.
I promise to protect you as a parent and a friend.
I promise to value your hopes and dreams.
I promise to bring you great vistas.
I promise to hold you close to my heart.
I promise to celebrate the blessings of this day.

These inspirations made me cry.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Slice of Heaven

They melt my heart.Tyler has a special place for Amber. She thought it was pretty neat to have her big brother setting leaves on her head. She giggled and giggled...


One topic that I will write a lot about here is my family. Yes, my kids, that's a no brainer, that's really what this is all about. But also the rest of my family. My mom and dad, my brother and his wife and sometimes my husband's family. Life has a strange way of evolving and changing and giving me a new, different and better perspective.

For the first time in my life, I feel settled. You'd think that getting married would do that. You'd think that having kids would do that. What did it for me is the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream, right here. What this means is, I drive down the street saying, 'My kids are going to turn 16 some day and drive down this same road. What will it look like then?" And suddenly I feel, well, settled.

It all started one day this spring when Miles got home from a bike ride and said he had something (a property) he wanted me to see. I didn't jump on it right away. We were expecting our third child and trying to raise twin boys that were almost 2 at the time. Finally I decided it was worth a look and well, I couldn't believe it. All my dreams of living on a horse property with my own horses outside my back door!

There were some challenges with the property. For one, the house was way too small. But, the idea forming in Miles head was that my parents would live in the house on the property and we would build our own house in the back part of the property. It would solve the problem that my retired parents were discussing about long term health care - who would take care of them once they got older and couldn't take care of themselves. It would solve my desire to have a horse property. It would solve Miles' need to live in town close to work. It would also solve his desire to maybe retire early - a built in retirement plan if we sub-divided and sold the rest of the property.

One thing led to another and we ended up closing on the property on June 29, 2007, the day before Amber was born. My parents put their house on the market and sold it at the end of September.

We have a lot of work to do with Larimer County and the City of Fort Collins, but we're hoping to start building our house on the property by spring of 2008. One of the goals of this blog is to talk about living so close to family. The definite pluses of having the kids know their grandparents so well, having a wonderful babysitter close by that adores the kids as much as we do, and a built in family support network. Not many downsides to this arrangement, but we do have to be careful about giving each other space and living our own lives as well.

I'm sure I will have posts in the future that I'll talk about the ups and downs as we build the house and figure our new roles out.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Practicing with Photos

Since I am new to this, trying to figure out how to post pics...

For a Penny

Not many things in life today can you get for a penny. I was with Tyler today during our weekend errands together. We went to the grocery store to get our Thanksgiving feast fixings, luckily early enough to avoid the huge crowds. As we were checking out, Tyler noticed the mechanical horse sitting there waiting to be ridden.

He looked up at me with those beautiful blues and of course I couldn't resist. And for a penny? Anything you can do for a toddler for a penny is priceless.

Even better, a little girl looked up at him and wanted to get her turn. He was very happy to give her a turn on the pony and enjoyed putting the penny that her mom gave him in order to give her a ride.

As I was writing this, I remember a trip to the store with the boys when a dad looked at me with pleading eyes and asked if he could have a penny. He only had bills in his pocket and his 2 year old was anxiously awaiting my reply. Of course I gave her the penny.

I will look at pennies a little differently now.

Friday, November 16, 2007

One Step Back

I'm tired. I didn't get much sleep last night, but I was thinking about it and I can't really blame the kids. They are all still sleeping so well.

I stayed up late (and it's late again tonight) - 10:00PM HA! I know that's not too late for most people.

Dog got me up at 3:30.

Amber up at 4:30


Sorry I can't get too much more down tonight, but I wanted to honor my commitment for NaBloPoMo - one a day in November! So far, so good.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Band of Brothers

As fraternal twins, I'm always trying to make sure I treat each boy fairly, with respect and as individuals. I want to be remembered as a good mother who responds to each boy in a way that is best for their growth and independence. It would be easy to respond the same to each and try to keep things 'equal'. But, from the very beginning I heard a phrase that I try to live by. "Fair isn't always equal." I knew from day one that these were different boys.

Cory is the one that gets beat up on at home. He gets pushed, sat on, bitten and his toys taken away. He cries and mommy comes to his rescue. I hold him and comfort him and then put Tyler in time out. Tyler comes out and says sorry and we're all ok again. Cory needs his DeeDee for comfort and has a finger sucking habit that helps calm him. He is the better sleeper. He goes down for naps and nighttime without a peep. He sleeps 12 hours at night and will nap a consistent 2-3 hours at nap time.

Tyler is aggressive. He repeatadly got in trouble for biting at daycare before I brought them home with me full time while on maternity leave. He will take advantage of his slight weight and height advantage and push Cory around. He spent a lot more time in time out over the summer for infractions like beating up his brother, stealing toys, or chasing the dogs with his dump truck. Tyler has a harder time going to sleep and was a night waker for a lot longer. That prompted us to separate their rooms. They still have their own rooms and I don't forsee putting them back together unless as they get older they want to. Tyler is also the one that wants to kiss Amber all the time and is very affectionate and sweet. He will be as likely to bring a toy to Cory as he is to steal one.

But I've noticed, just in the last few weeks since I've been back at work that both are growing and blossoming in ways that maybe wouldn't have happened if we were all still at home together. I've observed Cory jumping right in at daycare, right in the middle of the pack. He is the center of attention and is not shy about showing the other kids that he is a part of the pack. When I show up to pick him up, he wants to stay there. He is also starting to let us know when he's angry. I think he might be a lot like my dad.

Tyler is a little more reserved. The first few days he cried for mommy a lot and held onto his DeeDee for comfort. He played on his own a lot and wanted to go home immediately when I got there to "go see Daddy." He's starting to warm up a little now, but it took longer than I thought. I think he might be a lot like Miles' dad.

This post by "I think this world is perfect...." reminded me that there is a lot of nurture that goes into our kids' development, but a lot of it is nature too.

I'm sure they will continue to grow and switch roles and surprise me. I hope I always have the forsight to respond to the action and treat each one as they are. Brothers.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

With Guacamole, Mommy

A toddler's speech development is such an amazing thing to witness. I have to admit, I can't remember the first word either of the boys uttered, but I have my favorite phrases and words that they've come up with. Mommy and Daddy were a few of their first words, I know for sure. I really think Dadda was first, but now it seems so long ago.

It was even more fun when they started putting words together to make sentences. It's very obvious to me that they understand way more of what we say than they can repeat back to us for some time. They also pick and choose their favorites to recite back to us and sometimes take me off guard.

The other day I was making guacamole and Cory came up and asked for a chip. As I handed him the chip, he said, "with guacamole, mommy".

The other aspect of speech development that amazes me is how they actually get the context of words. For example, as Cory and I were walking around the outside of the mall to find the car, he wanted to walk up the little concrete drains. The drains have large rocks embedded into the concrete to make it look a little more aesthetic. While holding my hand and climbing up the drain, he sort of slipped. I caught him with my hand hold and he looked up at me and said, "I almost slipped Mommy." How does he know what the word "almost" means? How did he insert it into a sentence that he created himself and made total sense? Amazing!

They also have their own names for things and I find it very endearing. For example, they both call their blankets, "DeeDee". They have some favorite bedtime books, "The Mother Book" is "Are You My Mother?" The "Very Far Book" is "Guess How Much I Love You?"

It's also interesting how they communicate the negative. Instead of saying, "Don't climb up on the table", they'll say "Climb up on the table, no" while shaking their heads no.

Even though they both have developed language mostly at the same time, as I write this post I realize that it's Cory who usually comes up with the words and phrases first. Tyler is vocal and can communicate his wants, but tends to put it in action first. Cory called his blanket DeeDee for awhile before Tyler picked up on that phrase. Maybe he wanted to call it his blanket, but we grabbed onto DeeDee so quickly (because it was so cute!) that Tyler just decided to join us instead of trying to change us.

I love that we can carry on a conversation (sort of) and it's only going to get easier and clearer as time goes on. My favorite part is that I can ask them to have their tantrum in the other room and when they're ready to join us quietly, they can come back. (It works, it really does!!)

P.S. Another night of 8 (count 'em 8!) hours of uninterrupted sleep. I think I am human again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


It's amazing what 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep can do for a person. I feel pretty good today. I can't remember the last time I had that much sleep. It's always been someone, some dog, or being pregnant that would wake me up at least once in the middle of the night. Last night they all went down at their usual times. Amber at 6:30 and Cory and Tyler at 7:30. I went to bed at around 9:00.

Amber woke up at 10:00PM, took 6 ounces and went right back to sleep. I didn't wake up again until 5:00!! 10-5! I could survive on that. I did get back to sleep a little bit till 6:00. Amber got up around 6:00 and Cory and Tyler at 7:00. Now if we could just count on those times consistently, we'd be home free!

I'm not at all surprised at how many books, studies and blogs are written about babies, toddlers and sleep. How important it is to our sanity. And how much I really love it. Night, night, I'm going off to get my second night of 7 hours of sleep...

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Days are Too Short

Cory woke up at 7AM. Miles hustled him downstairs. I quickly fixed him some breakfast and sat next to him while he ate. We started loading up for daycare at 7:40. Quick drive to daycare and a kiss, hug, "I love you" and "bye". = 1 hour

I picked them up at 5PM, hustled home, fed Amber while Miles cooked and the boys played. Ate dinner. Miles took them downstairs so I could finish cleaning up (a little) and then I brought Amber down to hang out with the boys for a few minutes before Amber couldn't keep her eyes open any longer. = 1 hour

After Amber was snuggled in her bed, I went downstairs to gather everyone up for bedtime. A little fussiness and foot dragging, but mostly willing boys upstairs for pajamas, teeth brushing and a story. = 30 minutes

"Snuggle with Mommy" before laying Cory in his crib. = 20 minutes

Less than 3 hours with my precious boy. Something wrong with this picture.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

5:00 AM

I keep thinking of the song "It's 3AM, I must be lonely". Not that it has anything to do with this post, I just can't get it out of my head...

Tyler was up at 5 again this morning. Too early. Every time he wakes up at this time, I bring him to bed with us and try to get him to go back to sleep. It doesn't work. He starts kicking and poking and then eventually, he says, 'milk'. When that word is uttered, we know he's not going to go back to sleep. Miles usually gets up with him, brings him downstairs and gets him his milk.

When it was nice out, they'd sit on the deck and read books. Now that it's quite chilly in the mornings, they sit on the couch and read or play with Thomas or just chat. Usually Tyler gets upset about something. Like getting his diaper changed, or he wants mommy's keys, or he just feels a little grouchy. He is a very loud cryer. I usually don't get back to sleep, but try to at least relax until Amber or Cory get up. Amber is usually next. Cory is our late sleeper. He usually won't wake until 6:30 or 7.

Now that I'm back to work, our routine has changed a little in the morning. Miles sets his alarm for 5AM and gets in the shower, hoping to get ready before Tyler wakes up. If he wakes up, I'll bring him in our room until Miles is ready and he'll take him downstairs while I get ready.

Our Doctor's suggestion is to get a face clock and tell Tyler that he can't get us up until the hands point straight up and down. I don't see that working. First, it's dark in the morning and unless we get one with a light, there's no way he could see it. Also, not sure trying to rationalize with a 2 year old will be that effective. Others have said we could just let him cry and leave him there till 6. Fine if we want to deal with 3 cranky children. I suppose it wouldn't last long, but I don't think that's going to put him on a later routine either. I'm more inclined to try the crying it out method if it gets to the point where he's getting up that early every morning. That seemed to work for him when he was still waking in the middle of the night.

It's not really too bad getting up that early. After a while, you really do get used to it. A friend of ours said her son got up at 5 until he was about 6 years old. She still gets up that early because she got so used to it. I could use that hour to get a workout in!

For now, I just go to bed before 9 every night and enjoy the time in the mornings with him. Time flies by so fast he'll be 6 before we know it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Back to Work

This was my first week back to work after taking 4 months of maternity leave. Heavy sigh. It was hard. For reasons I'll discuss on this blog, we decided I needed to go back to work full time instead of part time and after four instead of six months, like I did with the boys. Oh to live in Canada or Europe where I've heard stories of moms getting as much as 2 years off. I know there are trade offs for that, but it just seems that our country could help out a little more for new moms. I am lucky, I work for a wonderful company that allows me to take up to a year, but only 6 weeks of it is paid.

It's amazing how fast four months goes. My hope was that I'd get to spend four glorious months with Amber. Getting to know her, cuddle with her, nurse her, love her; all of the things I enjoyed so much with the boys. It didn't seem like I got to do that too much. I spent most of my time running after the boys. At 20 months when she was born, they were still very needy and a huge handful. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed every last minute of it. I got to watch them go from baby to full fledged toddlers. Their vocabulary amazes me every day. They grow and learn and amaze me every day -- not to mention, get a little easier every day too. They have their moments, but they are such a pleasure and a joy.

So back to work I go, with all three in daycare. Luckily we made some investment decisions this summer that has allowed my parents to move into a house on a property we will subdivide and build our own house on. (Another blog for another day...) What that means is that the boys are in an in-home day care 2 days a week and with Grammie and Bumpa 3 days a week. Amber is in a child care center 3 days a week and with Grammie and Bumpa 2 days a week. Being with family helps, but it still doesn't ease my aching to be home with all of them full time.

My hope is that in 3-5 years, I can leave my corporate job and do something part time, or take on a hobby job that I truly enjoy. I just hope that I'm not missing out on the kid's best development time. I have so many mixed emotions about them staying home with me vs. in a daycare setting.

First, I think it's good for them to be away in a daycare setting some of the time. I like the interaction they get with peers their own age, the structured activities and development opportunities and also the time it allows me to do some adult things. I think it really allows me to be a better mom if I'm not with them 24/7.

On the other hand, if they're with me full time, I can control their development, be a part of their daily life and grow and learn along with them. I feel bad thinking about someone else raising my kids. When they're in daycare all day, the mornings and evenings are so short! I only get a few hours with them a day. I guess I just need to be sure that those few precious hours are quality filled hours. (Except that I'm busy making dinner, cleaning up, getting baths done, etc.)

The other downside to daycare is that I don't think any of them are getting enough sleep. Amber was taking two 3-4 hour naps at home. Now she's only getting several 1 hour naps. The boys were getting one 2-3 hour nap. Now they are only getting 1.5 hours at their daycare, although the days my parents have them at home they get their normal naps. I know they'll settle in to their routines and be just fine, but I stress out about this stuff!

Next week is my second week back. I'll make the most and know that for us, this is the way it is and it will get easier after we all settle into our new schedules.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Getting Started

I've been a blog lurker for so long now, not sure that I'm cut out to having my own. But I've decided it's time, for three main reasons:
  1. I want a place to document my journey for my own personal purposes
  2. I want to become part of a really neat community I've found while lurking a ton of mommy blogs
  3. I want a place where I can have my family read about our journey
Mainly, I just want to give this a try. No better time than the present, right? And the title of my blog, for now, sort of explains that. I have a ton of learning to do. I am not a writer. I am not a technical wiz. I do not know most of the web lingo. I do not have a lot of free time. But, I'm game and what better month to start than NaBloPoMo?

I will post things mostly about my family, but also about blogs that I read, books that I read, tv shows that I watch or movies that I watch. I do not have much time to read or watch tv, but as the kids grow, I think I'll have more time. I will probably get into my past issues with infertility, my IVF that resulted in beautiful twin boys and then subsequent pregnancy that resulted in my beautiful baby girl. I will talk about the process of building a new house and trying to put a house on the market with three young children. I will post my struggles with trying to find time to excercise and eat healthy and how to get a good meal on the table while working full time. I may get into my thoughts as the elections draw near next year, but not sure I want to go there in such a public forum, but we'll see.

Mostly this is just for me, so if you stumble upon this, my apologies for probably breaking all the rules. My hope is that after I get the hang of this, that I will end up posting information that is useful or at least enjoyable to read. Maybe someone will relate and I'll meet some neat people. Maybe I'll get good at it and be able to quit my job and do this full time! (ha ha)

So welcome to my journey. It's never too late to start.