Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This post mentioned "time" - me time, us time, alone time, our time, whatever you want to call it. And the thing about time is that once you have kids, you still get that alone time... just at very odd hours.
Like this morning, New Year's Eve, I woke up at 3:57a.m. to the sound of a screaming child. Eventually I ended up offering this child a bottle and she went back to sleep but there I was sitting on the couch wide awake at 4:15a.m. Now, I went to bed at 9 last night, which by the way, does NOT happen very often so I felt very rested and actually kind of giddy to curl up on the couch with a cup of hot coffee, a single sheet of monogrammed note paper for making a list, and the funny Dave Sedaris book that everyone has read except me, Me Talk Pretty One Day.
So I am thinking about my New Year's Resolutions and I am not going to make a huge deal about them but I will list a few little phrases that keep streaming through my conscious:
-pray more, like maybe 3 minutes every morning, first thing. That doesn't sound like a long time but I am talking about real uninterrupted prayer in the still of the morning.
-eat smaller portions taking smaller bites, with smaller utensils, have you ever seen how huge our silverware is?
-take more walks and lift weights, start yoga or pilates not just to be a part of the trend but to feel good
-do something nice for others, volunteer, donate money to a charity, invite my neighbor over for dinner
-get off the gossip train at work, how petty and ridiculous is gossip? mind my own business
-read more, a book a month?
-do more creative things, paint, write letters instead of emails, make a card for someone instead paying for one
-use my China and crystal a lot more, like maybe Sunday dinners.
-make a bigger deal about people's birthdays
I think that is about it for now. It is a good starting point at least. I am sure that more resolutions will be born as the year progresses. Oh, and I have this really cool square, fat, leathery journal, like the size of a stack of coasters, and each time I do something that falls into these goals I am going to write it down so I can look back over the pages this time next year and feel pretty good (or bad) about how much I stuck to my resolutions.
Oh and did you notice my blog banner and title updates? Why not? I hate the way this sounds but my blog isn't only about my precious babies anymore so I did a little changeroo... Look in the background of the picture, see that China plate? Does posting this picture count as using my China for the first time in 2009?
Monday, December 29, 2008
The other night, Jason posted about some of the highs and lows in 2008 and his expectations for 2009. In his post he wrote about his grandmother who past away this year. I was so moved by that section that I decided to do the same and share some of my favorite memories with my beloved grandmother who passed away in May of 2006.
Her name was Laura Kelly. I was named after her. She forbade my sister and me to call her anything "Grand-" so we called her by her middle name. Except, when you are two years old words don't come out right and "Kelly" was pronounced "Keh" and the name stuck our whole lives. Keh lived in the same house she was born in Hayneville, AL her whole life, except for a few years she lived and worked in Birmingham when she was employed by the Board of Education. My sister and I loved, I mean really loved, going to spend the night with Keh. Her house was full of old knick knacks that she let us be free to explore. One of our favorite games to play was "train station." Mere and I would used ticket stubs from the laundry mat and an old gadgety stamp that made this wonderful ching noise when you pushed down to mark the day of the week and date. I also loved to play salon with Keh. She would let me put curlers in her hair and bright red Elizabeth Arden lipstick on her until it ran out. She would also let us wear her satin nightgowns to bed when we stayed. We slept in my mother's room under an electric blanket that smelled like powder and moth balls.
She would wake up at 4 in the morning when it was still dark outside and sit at the kitchen table drinking coffee and smoking Pall Mall 100's. Her kitchen always smelled delicious - like hickory smoked bacon, hot grease, and cigarettes. She let us help her cook but when it came time to eat the portions she gave to us seemed so small. Once when I was in 6th grade she pinched the back of my chubby arm and told me I eat too much. It hurt my feelings but I loved her so much that it was easy to forgive her instantly. My grandfather, "Big Daddy," was a quiet man. He was a WWII veteran who "never was the same" after he served 4 years in Europe. My mother has the box of letters he would write to her all of the years he was away before he came home and they got married. I remember thinking how cool it was that my grandfather had been to the Fiji Islands and had spelled out the word "Fiji" in bold letters across the telegram so secretly tell her where he was without breaking any rules about giving away the military's locations during their mission. Another reason "Fiji" was cool was because it was the place you could be thinking of to stump your class mates during a game of Mapquest... no one ever knew where Fiji was because it was this little tiny island off the coast of Japan or Australia, I'm not sure. Big Daddy always let us tuck him in bed at night and would give dollar bills and a stick of Juicy Fruit gum as party favors when it was time to go home. And Coke Classic was always served in a glasses with a few cubes of ice and sweat around the glass, makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
Keh would walk us down a dirt road behind the house the led to the family cemetary. She showed us her mother's grave, her siblings graves, and I distinctly remember seeing a tiny headstone with a cracked blue angel sitting on top and thinking to myself, "babies die?" We would also pick up pecans and carry them in our t-shirts and shell them when we got home. One day walking back to the house I stood up from bending over to pick up nuts and saw a black man riding bareback on a huge black horse. He tipped his hat to us and probably said something like "hi how are ya?" my grandmother said something like "fine just fine" and my sister and I still laugh about my response looking back up at him, "Whoa..." was all I said. I don't think I had ever seen anything so random and so huge and a big black man on a big black horse just walking down this country dirt road.
Keh lived to be 89 and up until the last 48 hours of her life she was comfortable and completely sane. Nick and I went and visited her at Baptist East one afternoon. I took socks to her because she complained about being cold at night. The next afternoon Mama called me at 9 at night and said, "She's gone." I knew that she wouldn't live forever but nothing can prepare you to lose someone so special as a grandparent... especially someone so perfect that was responsible for so many treasured memories.
One last thing about my memories of Keh... and I always think about this one at Christmas time. For all of the years of my youth Keh would come to Montgomery for Christmas dinner. When I got to be college aged and she was too blind to drive my sister and I would ride to Hayneville to see her. While we waited at the red light at the intersection where Hwy. 82 meets the Southern Blvd. and I65 South, I would roll down the window and give a plate of hot biscuits and sausage to the homeless people under the bridge. We never felt threatened. We felt good about it because while they couldn't be with anyone in a house on Christmas, at least they had a hot breakfast that day. Keh was glad we did it because she wouldn't have eaten all that food anyway. So I miss doing that too.
I have her old furniture and a diamond ring that she left me. She made it to my wedding but I hate, really hate, that she didn't get to meet Harper and Lily. At least I have the family cemetary to go back to see her. Maybe next Christmas we will go see her and take hot biscuits and sausage just in case someone needs a hot meal.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
When you are a parent and you ask for help you get a lot of helpful hints and a lot of "trust your gut" advice... the best you can do is hope that your decision a.) is a combination of both and b.) works.
I was getting a little agitated (to say the least) at how fussy and angry the babies getting as the days went on especially at night time. Many of you have heard and SEEN how upset they would get starting at 6 until about 9... especially if Nick was out of town. After having lunch with one of my favorite moms yesterday and swapping notes and comparisons of our babies days we concluded that my babies crankiness has been due to OVERTIREDNESS. I guess because they aren't "newborn" anymore I just assumed that meant that naps were a done deal and cribs were only for bed time. Boy was I wrong. After just one day of intentional napping my babies are entirely different. I'll start with yesterday's afternoon nap in bed at 3 till 4. Bottle at 5, bath at 6, bed at 6:30 - NO CRYING. This morning they woke up on their own at 7 and had bottles at 7:15, played on the floor until 8:45 when I noticed that Harper was drowsy and sucking her thumb. I scooped her up to go and rock and she immediately started fussing - so I put her in her crib and she was out in literally 2 minutes for about an hour. Lily went to bed about 20 minutes later and they slept until 10. Bottle at 10:30, played until 11:45, napped in bed from 12 till 1:30, bottle at 2, Target from 2:30-3:30, bottle at 4, watching TV from 4:30 till now 5:19. Bottle will be at 6, bath at 6:30 then bed. Fingers crossed they will go down as easy as last night.
I had no idea that napping frequently in BED during the day would be so healthy. Before yesterday I would think, "keep them up during they day or they won't sleep at night" - so far from the truth.
SO THANKS! all you moms who commented and consoled. I can breathe easy knowing that they are happier on this revised nap,eat,play,nap schedule.
My mom always says, "we didn't know about schedules when we were bringin' y'all up" or "we didn't have Bumbo seats when we were bringin' y'all up." Does anyone else's mom say that sort of thing?
PLUS between H&L they ate an entire jar of baby green beans!
Friday, December 26, 2008
Well it's a good thing that every year I say, "This was the best Christmas ever."
Christmas Eve my dad, his new wife, and my younger siblings came over for heavy appetizers and gift swap. Nick and I were giving off of a very very small budget... actually we didn't budget for Christmas because there simply isn't any money in the account for anything other than the bills which has to last until January 31st. (still in the mess of not getting paid during my maternity leave.) We used gift cards and cash received from our anniversary to buy relatives "something" to open because we knew they would have something for us and the girls - oh and because it is the season of giving right? (post to come about this - the New Year Resolution post). I explained that this year would be our "freebie" Christmas of giving a framed picture of the twins - something everyone wants and needs right!? I vow to sock away some cash every month until next Christmas to cover the cost and to make a bigger deal of birthdays this year because the truth is I really do like giving gifts (who doesn't like receiving) but when it all adds up cost wise and you realize you just don't have it it can steal the joy. So I really appreciate everyone for being so grateful for what little we could give.
Christmas morning the M's came by for breakfast and gifting followed by Nick and my first holiday meal at our dining table using our china, crystal, and silver. I must say we did do a really good job. Pork tenderloin, squash casserole, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, rolls, and carrots (still full). By 2pm the house was quiet again and Nick, the babies, and I cuddled up on our bed to watch, Finding Nemo. Random I know but we wanted something animated, colorful, and longer than thirty minutes in case we were able to sneak in a snooze. About that time my sister and mama called to ask it it was alright to come by for a little while, "Absolutely" was my exact response. Short and sweet describes their visit but I'll take what I can get. We had to miss their official celebration the night of Christmas because with two infant babies it just isn't practical to be away from home anytime after 6pm.
-my very own copy of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird
- a two stranded bracelet with beads spelling out Harper and Lily
- a Lavender and Vanilla oil burner
- one pink Bumbo seat, one purple Bumbo seat - now maybe the girls can really be on their way to actual gross motor milestones like sitting up.
When we will take down the tree?
-probably tomorrow. I think that this Christmas went by faster than any other Christmas before. It really does seem like yesterday we were putting it up. The question on everyone's mind... where will the couches go NOW?
- lunch at Chappy's with the Huntingdon crew
- visit from my childhood friend visiting from DC
Does anyone ever get the "blues" after a day like Christmas, especially when it is so gray out? It seems like mentally I KNOW there is no reason to be blue but it's like, when all of the hype and commercialism goes away it can be a real spiritual test to keep the meaning of the season in your heart and efforts. It is 9 am now, the day after, and the babies are playing on the floor, Nick is snoozing on the couch (of course) and I am on the porch with the dregs of Christmas Blend and I just feel like there is nothing to "do." We really must take more advantage of the double stroller and blessing of "off time" instead of feeling like, "now what?" I sound like a kid sad that the Disney trip is over instead of ecstatic of the fact that we got to go. I have always been this way... I have always enjoyed anticipation more than the outcome. It is not because my expectations aren't met, they were exceeded this year and every year, but I guess that the gloom of "back to the grindstone" sets in and as the mommy it is my job to keep things interesting, clean, and happy. You know what I mean?
Also, I hear stories and see pictures of other babies our kids' age (and younger) and am reminded that they are ... behind. I was told to expect this but it just makes me kind of sad. They are 7 months old now, not rolling over, not sitting up, not eating baby foods, and have laughed once. I am ready to be able to chase them and giggle with them and read to them without them dozing off or squirming to lay on the floor and look at things. I feel this guilt like it is my responsibility to get them to accomplish these milestones. I feel like there is more that I could be doing to help them but then I know that there are other babies FAR less stimulated and loved on than mine and they turn out and grow up. Isn't there some sort of preemie mom counseling or literature that could help me out and give me some peace of mind?
(I promise there wasn't a pea under my mattress last night, I am just being honest)
Signing off now... about to go intervene on the snooze fest and rally for some tummy time!
Merry Christmas, be thinking of some resolutions to share! I am jotting and journaling a few of my own.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
It is the day before Christmas Eve and Harper has a really really gross runny nose ( I am being polite since what I really want to say is really snotty nose). She slept from, what did we say 8:42pm last night until 6:45 this morning. I changed her diaper and then brought her into our sunlit den and realized her nose was almost completely sealed shut from dried... you know. So I ran some hot water and moistened a rag and went for the ole' nasal aspirator -which she hates.... but y'all I am not kidding I aspirated so much mucous I don't know even how to give you an accurate description. I aspirated A LOT of clear yellowy mucous. NO fever, NO decrease in appetite, no real mood changes. WTEFY book says there is nothing you can do for a common cold except hope it doesn't get worse.
So here was on the 23rd of December and my message to the phone nurse started something like this, "I know it is the day before Christmas Eve and I know this doesn't sound like an emergency, but...."
I really don't want to have a miserable feverish baby on Christmas with no options other than the emergency room.
Welcome to parenthood in Winter!
Does all of this go away in Summer?
Monday, December 22, 2008
is it child neglect to put your babies down at 5:30p.m. (because they fall asleep in your arms) then again at 6 (after rocking and falling asleep) then again at 6:30 (after a bedtime story) then again at 7 (more rocking) then between 7:30 and 8:42 let them scream their heads off in their beds because they aren't hungry, they ARE tired, and you just don't know what to do?
We go through these periods where H&L go down so easy, bottle, rock, bam, asleep all is right with the world and then all of a sudden we will go through a week or two when the children cannot me consoled. I wonder if they are about to cut teeth because not matter how many bottles we offer their hands are in their mouths but they do not want pacifiers.
Tonight is the first night I said, "Let's let 'em cry it out" and it is... painful. Lily cries so hard she gags and Harper does this cooing trembling cry that breaks my heart. Everything I have read says that when a baby reaches 4 months they have to learn to soothe themselves and put themselves to sleep and to run and pick up every time she cries is only teaching her that crying works. We have the sleeping through the night thing down. ONCE they are out they are our for 10-12 hours. It is the getting to sleep that seems hard... NO... it is staying alseep once you put them in the bed. They can be OUT COLD in my arms but the minute they touch the mattress the eyes POP open and screaming competition begins.
Tonight I put them in bed for the last time at 8:30pm and let them cry it out. It is 8:44 and they are quiet but the crying went on for about 2 hours. (No it is NOT colic, I am sure).
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Doesn't 150 posts sound significant? Like I have really made a commitment to something and stuck with it. There are 150 other things that I wish that I cold commit to accomplishing 150 times!
Today is Saturday and the first day of my two week Christmas break. I have never been so excited about a break as I am about this one probably because I have never had children on Christmas before. LAST Christmas day I was 6 or 7 weeks pregnant (I think) and I distinctly remember sitting down at the dinner table at my parent's house, taking two bites, and running to the restroom to throw up (morning sickness). Later that week as we traveled to St. Louis to celebrate New Years with Nick's family I had a similar but MUCH WORSE episode at Aunt Nancy's house.
Work Christmas party last night. Nothing to say about it other than the wings were delicious and I won one of my favorite things in Dirty Santa: shower gel, lotion, and bath salts (no body splash :(
Today we will be at home and hopefully get a few chores done. My sister and her friend plan on coming by to deliver Christmas gifts and then at two I have a haircut. Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE haircuts. Some gals like shoes, or purses, I love haircuts. The minute I realize I need one I am pretty obsessed the thought of it until my appointment is made and I am sitting there. I was lucky to get an appt. today. Thinking about going for my regular short angled bob then maybe letting it grow out again.
The babies are playing on the floor next to the Christmas tree. Lily is stuck in a half roll and making a very funny grunting sound. Ali keeps standing in between both of them giving them kisses and wiggling her little tail in the way a dog does when they are excited but know they are about to get in trouble, and Harper is screaching - not screaming as an infant does when unhappy, but screaching - making high shrilled noises just to hear herself talk.
Wouldn't a Christmas tree be the most beautiful and enchanting thing young eyes have ever seen?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Well I am sitting here trying to think of something to write and I looked at the coffee table in front of me. On that table is a new package of baby wipes... yes wipes. Not just any baby wipes, "calming" baby wipes.
Really? so it is the WIPES that calms the screaming baby, or in my case babies? not the bottle, the paci, the kisses and hugs? WIPES?
oh ok. Glad I cleared that up for myself.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Lily 6 1/2 months old, 12 pounds
Harper 6 1/2 months old, 11 1/2 pounds
Harper trying to raise her little head up
Lily on her jungle gym
Harper swinging and giving a very pitiful look to me
My baby girls, 6 1/2 months old, Lily on the left, Harper on the rightDr. visit today and the girls turned 7 months old. Their eyes, ears, and lungs were all reported perfect today! Lily weighed 12.8 and Harper weighed 12.1. They are cooing and screaching so much during the day and early evening. They love the Christmas tree and watching the lights as they eat their nightie bottle. Also, we picked up a Baby Einstein DVD this weekend, "Mozart", and they seem to really enjoy it as well. I do not want to be a parent who lets their kids watch TV all day everyday but at this stage of development when they aren't rolling or crawling yet and don't want to be held all of the time (nor do they need to be held all the time) I feel that a 20 minute video twice a day is acceptable. Once, in the morning after bottles as I get ready for work and then once at night after their afternoon snack bottle as a "wind down" activity. Other than that I really like for them to "play" on a blanket with rattles and other toys and of course each other or swing and watch me do something like cook or clean - use every opportunity and task as a "language teaching" time!!!
Sunday afternoon we went to a NICU reunion/Christmas party at Baptist East. It was really really neat to see and visit with other families that we met during our NICU days. Everyone was very excited to see how much H&L have grown. It was really amazing to see other babies that I remember being so tiny or so covered up by chords and tubes in normal clothes and "filled out" as we refer to preemies that have gained weight well! Also, it was nice to see the mommies - I told N last night that it dawned on me that another good reason for a reunion is because you never really say "goodbye" to other NICU families... they are there one minute (or month, or two) and then just gone. Like us, no one really sticks around to say goodbyes to the other families... a few hugs to the doctors and nurses and then you are getting your babies and getting out of there. Also, when you meet a woman for the first time who has just given birth and then been told her baby has to go to ICU, she doesn't exactly look her best. Myself included. So it was very nice and refreshing to see all of the happy HEALTHY mommies back on their feet and dressed and GLOWING that new mommy glow.
That's about it for now on the baby updates! Keep checking in! Would love to hear from you.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Everyone always asks how we do it with two babies. My answer is simple... patience and timing. Also, having two babies means that one always has a playmate. When I need to be loading the dishwasher or balancing the checkbook I don't feel so guilty putting Baby A down on the floor to play because she has someone to play with , Baby B! The twins have certainly reached the point where they recognize us... they light up when we come to get them in the morning and when we are reunited after a work day but they also recognize each other. It must be odd in their little minds when they say something to themselves like, "oooh look at that one... it's a mommy face" or "that looks like my daddy face" or "oooh look at that one, no furry stuff on his face" but how queer it would be to think "hmmm, I know I've seen that face before, why, it looks like MY face... i'll stare at it, grab for it, oooh it squeaks like me!"
Nick and I have been on a Scrabble kick lately. Last night I asked him, "Are you at peace with the fact that you are at a point in your life where you get in bed at 8p.m. on a Saturday night and play Scrabble with your wife?" "Absolutely" he said. I am pretty sure if I polled most 30 something men in our day and age they would be far less interested in playing scrabble in bed, twister maybe. (sorry)
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Oh Tannenbaum, oh tannenbaum...
First, Christmas trees should be real! I just don't understand the plastic tree!? Think about it ... PLASTIC TREE... tell me a more huge oxymoron.
Our tree went up Saturday and in all it's tacky lights and home made Christmas ornaments glory it is amazing. The smell of Frasier Fur hits you right when you enter the house and the ambience while sipping coffee and watching CNN at 5 am can't be beat. When I think of cozy I think of a 9 foot pine tree in my living room with 100 little stories to tell our children hanging from every branch.
"This is the ornament your Daddy and I bought at Cade's Cove on our honeymoon."
"This is the ornament I made in first grade when I was a Brownie and so proud to have my picture taken."
"This is your Daddy's first ornament, 1978, what is "Precious Moments? Oh just a little collector's cult popular once, I'm sorry the little boy's huge eyes freak you out."
"This is a rocking chair ornament that your Auntie Mere and I used to play with until Moomps and Pa made us hang it back on the tree and go to bed."
"This is the ornament I bought when I went on a mission trip in South Dakota... that's Mount Rushmore... spin it around, the president's are wearing Santa caps!"
"This is my favorite Wedgewood ornament, see how the lights shine through the glass and make it look extra pretty?"
"This is the ornament the nurses made for you when you were 42 days old and still living at the hospital... see how tiny your footprint was?"
What are your favorite Christmas tree memories... speak up "Sparky" if you are reading this... was it when Uncle Lewis lit the first tree ablaze or was it when the squirrel flew out and attacked your entire family?
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
(It is December third!? I am so glad it actually FEELS like winter! Thanksgiving Day was a typical November day in Alabama - warm and sunny but the mornings of December have all been white, crisp, and cold. I will enjoy bundling up before work over the next 3 or 4 months but by April I am usually tired of bundling and ready for Spring... I, like most people think that Alabama isn't such a bad climate to live in because we actually get to experience changes in seasons.)
Work is still going really well. I have a larger caseload at my base school this year which keeps me mostly in that building and comfortable - as opposed to being a junior high setting and pushing my way through the halls in between classes. At my elementary school I have my own office/therapy room with a computer, a phone, a microwave and fridge, and Christmas music. One thing that really adds to the enjoyment of working in an elementary setting is doing crafts with my kids. Nothing fancy, just construction paper, dull scissors, and a glue stick. I must be doing something right because non speech impaired kids ask me all day can they come to my room!?
My friend Sully that retired last May is living it up at home and it is different at work without her but I have gotten closer with a few other gals. One is the music teacher and it has been really rewarding to pop into her room during Christmas Program practice. After the kids practice their lines and caroling we play a word game - something educational - like a spelling bee or "Around the World." It gives me a chance to get out of my little room and be among lots of kids at once.
Being at work has been good for my health also - I have already bragged about this to a couple of folks but my news is blog worthy I think. Since starting back to work 4 weeks ago I have lost 10 pounds! Drinking lots of water, not snacking and replacing one meal a day with a salad, and walking the halls from 3-3:30 before I am dismissed have all been the key. I still have a long way to go and have not gone down any sizes but can notice a few subtle changes in the way my clothes fit and certainly in my self esteem.
The truck is finished warming up now so I need to scoot on down the road. Have a happy hump day everyone!