Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

This was definitely the best Christmas I've had since I was a kid.

Children provide all the entertainment a person could want at Christmas! And I have to say this may have been the first major holiday/event where having two was better than having one. The ratio of four adults to two children was perfect! Having two tiny ones playing with new toys, discovering new things, and needing attention while the adults were taking turns watching, helping, eating, prepping, and cleaning was just a great dynamic. The house seemed busy but not hectic. There was always a baby to watch, laugh with, assist, comfort but doing so didn't take me away from the other one's needs. It was quite a nice break for us, having the extra set of hands around to help and entertain.

Sam and Rachel were adorable Christmas morning. They weren't sure they were allowed to touch the presents and the ripping didn't seem remotely acceptable even though we encouraged it with a ridiculous amount of cheering, clapping and maniacal grinning. Most of our photos show cautious little faces and tentative little fingers gripping tiny pieces of wrapping paper, while the present itself is totally ignored. But there were a few gems in the mix.

Here is Rachel totally unsure of what she's looking at and if she's allowed to do what she's doing.

 Here is Sam, happy to finally have a present in his hands, although completely unsure of what to do with it.
 The best reaction of the day was when they got to finally touch their stockings, which had been hung up but untouchable for weeks. They had no idea anything was inside them of course. Most of the gift were put under the tree on Christmas eve so the temptation wouldn't be too much.
 Here they are opening a gift together. Sam had the courage to take off the lid but I just love Rachel's face, she looks so skeptical. I can picture a thought bubble, "yep, this is usually the point where we get into trouble."

There was definitely a good mix of gifts for the babes. Some of them were perfect for right now like the wool balls and the push oball and a little radio. Some of them they'll grow into in a few weeks or months time like the foam blocks and cars, the books and pjs. It was a good mix of practical and fun too. There were toys but there were also things that they actually need. 
I'm so grateful for all the family and friends we have in our lives and for our two little miracles. I get asked all the time if we're done having kids. I'm not sure if we are or not but I have to say that right now I feel very fulfilled with exactly what we have.
Thank God!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Santa today and yesterday

Last year, some day in December, with my Mom's help I dragged myself out of the house with my two teeny tiny babies to meet up with another twin Mom. I think it was only the first or second time we'd gotten together. Mom went off to do some shopping and Mira and I walked around the mall commisserating, sharing our stories. In our sleep deprived stupor, we came across the Santa pavilion and I immediately dismissed the idea.
That kind of thing was for functioning people.
There was no line up, it was the middle of a week day, weeks before Christmas. Mira suggested we stop. She'd already gotten photos of her little ones with a family friend playing Santa but what about mine? I looked at my little sleeping babes in their casual outfits and thought how impossible it seemed, how much effort it would take and the incredible risk of waking one of them and having to deal with a screaming infant, which would inevitably lead to two screaming infants. I just couldn't... we walked on.
And shortly after we walked back.
We were nearly out of time, our hour in between feeds almost up. How bad could it be? We were heading home soon anyway.
So I did it, I walked up and went through all the hassle of getting a tiny baby carefully out of the carseat straps and all the layers and carefully handing them to someone else trying not to wake them. And the I turned to my second teeny baby and carefully undid the straps and all the layers and gently lifted him out of the car seat. I could not take off their sweaters! That was asking too much from all of us.
I settled Rachel in Santa's arm, she woke just enough to wimper and peer at him through her eye lids. I took Sam and gently laid him in Santa's other arm, he squirmed and sleepily peered at Santa as well.
The photographer started snapping photos as I anxiously watched. I fixed Sam's hood. I prayed they wouldn't start crying. Santa did a few different poses. The babies fell back asleep in his arms.
I looked at all the shots and one of the last ones was by far the best. Two sleeping babes with a story book in between them in Santa's sleeping arms.
It's the most precious picture. I absolutely love it! And it's been in our living room since that day...it was a day I'll never forget and I learned a lot from it.
Lesson 1 of being a twin Mom: Almost everything you'll do is too much effort. The cost/benefit is completely out of wack and it rarely makes logical sense to leave the house. Do it anyway! You'll be glad you did.

************ 1 Year Later**************

Today we took the twins to see Santa. I now call them the Kids more often than I call them the Babes. In order to keep everyone distracted and entertained through the usual nap time, we left the house early. This brought us to the mall with about 45 minutes to kill before Santa started for the day. We walked around with Sam and Rachel in the stroller for a good 25 minutes. But eventually they got bored and were hungry and needed to get out. So we went to a seating area close to the Santa pavilion.
It was the first time they've been out in public on their own two feet. I took off their jackets and tried to smooth out their wrinkled outfits and I fed them cheese. They were totally thrilled with this new sense of independence in a totally new environment. It was very early so there were only a few people around. Quiet enough to just let them wander as they wished.
They toddled around, munching cheese. Sam venturing so far that he looked back with glee at how far away he was from Daddy and not even being followed. Of course he made his way back pretty quickly. He smiled away as he walked into a store and past a booth. People smiled at him and said hello and he'd shyly smile, head down and turn back to find us. Rachel walked off to look at people sitting in the other section, boldly waiting for them to acknowledge her, straight faced and adorable in her pretty dress. She did not want to be followed and did not look back to see if we were there. She happily went in circles and looked in stores, thrilled with how she could travel over the tiles and see these new sights.
It was the very best part of my day.
They were so small in those big halls and yet so sturdy and proudly independent too. Everyone who saw them, all dressed up ready for photos, smiled....totally charmed by these little people.
Of course when it came time for the photo they didn't want to sit still even in our arms. We did a few 'family photos' which Mommy and Daddy were not dressed for. And then we put them on Santa's knee and stepped away.
They were NOT impressed! In the 2 or 3 photos we got they looked mad or scared. I didn't have the heart to choose to print one of those. So we'll go with the awkward family photo.
It isn't a good picture but I hope it will remind me of watching them toddle around the mall, how proud I felt of how far we've all come.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Feelin' the Love

Oh it happened, it happened, it finally happened! Something I didn't even know I was waiting for....and when I saw it I realized again how much I care about their relationship with each other.

It goes without saying that my relationship with Sam and my relationship with Rachel are different and yet equally precious to me. But since there seem to be so many drawbacks to being twins and having twins, I also really really care about their relationship with each other.

I want them to have a relationship that fills any holes that might exist because I/we can't be there for them the way I/we could be for a singleton. This leads me to carefully watch their interactions and rejoice in any signs that point to a strong bond.

So yesterday, at the end of a long day, when Rachel cried at being put down and Sam who was standing next to her took one look and wrapped his little arms around her shoulders in a hug and put his head against hers, my heart positively melted and I nearly cried myself.

It was a split second of time... Rachel was in no mood to accept comfort from her brother and Sam was a little distressed that his hug didn't seem to solve the problem. So I ended up scooping them both up into my arms, trying to praise my sweet, tender-hearted boy and comfort my hurt little girl at the same time.

The moment was just that, a brief moment in time, but it meant the world to me. It was like a Christmas present that opened itself in front of me.

We're feelin' the love this Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2012

We Got Rhythm

We set up our Christmas tree a couple Sundays ago. We had Christmas music playing and boxes of decorations out,the grandparents helping ensure Sam and Rachel didn't eat the glitter and garland and what-not. Luckily the kids were thrilled with the boxes and stuff but once it was on the tree they lost interest.
As we were finishing up and there was more space Sam was walking through the living room stomping one foot with every step. I think it was his first dance move. Prior to this he's only ever shaken his head to music, like our very own Ray Charles. But he couldn't walk/stomp and shake his head at the same time so he kind of took turns. It was adorable and so funny to watch.
Rachel on the other hand has had some dance moves for a while now and they're getting more pronounced. Our little girl shakes her booty. Mostly up and down rather than side to side so I'm not sure if she's a little more Elvis or a little more Beyonce.
No matter how they move, I love my little dancers.

Rachel has been in a huggy mood for quite a few weeks now, giving lots of hugs whenever requested and enjoying sitting on our laps. Sam's been more independent lately. But I've noticed both are gaining confidence in new places.
We were at a friend's place last weekend and there were lots of older kids (3 and 4) there. Rachel wanted to be with the big kids, either watching what they were doing or just being independent around them. One little boy seemed to take exception to her attention but luckily she didn't understand what he said. Her mother did though and it broke my heart to hear him say, 'Don't let the babies in.' Oh it's going to be horrible someday when they do understand.
This was the kind of environment that would have had Sam clinging to me in the past but he was completely content sitting on his Daddy's lap chattering away for an hour or so and then got confident enough to play with toys and wander a bit. When the big kids were having loads of fun in the bedroom shrieking and turning the light on and off he even slowly toddled over, peering in trying to see what the fuss was about. However, when he followed Rachel into the room and lights got turned off and the door closed, he only lasted a second before panicking. The door was opened immediately and Sam came staggering to me as fast as he could, very upset, followed by Rachel who looked a little overwhelmed herself. The panic passed quickly and they were happily playing in a few minutes.  I love my little ones and am so excited about this Christmas.

I've been struggling a bit lately. Ended up with strep throat a couple weeks ago, followed by some kind of back injury....the Dr said it was muscular but part of me (the anxious, hypochondriac part) still believes something integral has ruptured inside me and as soon as I'm done the strep antibiotics I'm going to perish from some kind of septicemia..... too much Grey's Anatomy for me! :)

Hopefully all will be well soon. My back is feeling better today and we've got a great weekend ahead... fingers crossed!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Toddling Twosome

Rachel has caught up to Sam in her walking much sooner than I thought she would. She's not quite as steady as he is but she's happily walking around the house on her own now. This new ability to navigate their world is leading to more confidence in both of them. And although I love seeing this I'm really going to miss the crawling. I loved having crawling babies. These little walkers, they seem so grown up.
The older they get the more people ask about their relationship with each other. Do they get along? Do they entertain each other?
As with most things there isn't a simple answer. When they are happy, yes, they entertain each other. When one is upset or crabby, the other is his/her worse annoyance. Yesterday they had a minor collision while walking and bumped heads when they fell. Sam was in a good mood so it wasn't an issue for him but Rachel was rather cranky. So instead of just trying to get up she tried to head butt Sam repeatedly in retaliation. It was totally ineffective and, therefore, quite funny but I did step in and say no and then comfort her.
They tend to follow each other around the house. If one leaves the room, the other will follow shortly. I usually find them in the same room and often side by side or back to back playing.
They don't seem to have any words yet, nothing that seems deliberate. However, they will play off each other, call to each other and respond. Yesterday I was getting Rachel into her diaper after her bath while Sam was in the tub. Suddenly she let out this shriek and paused to listen and Sam responded from the bathroom with a shriek and then went on playing. And that was it... it was like a wilderness episode.... the little hyenas call out to each other to verify their location and then continue with their activities.
It's clear they do understand a lot of what we say and respond accordingly. The other day Sam was about to pull all of his clothes out of his shelf in the closet and from behind him I firmly but kindly said, "no Sam." He dropped his hand and started crying, not turning around, just broken hearted at the 'no.' It broke my heart a little that he was so upset but still willing to 'obey.' Comforting ensued.
I enjoy comforting them, making their little upsets better just by being there in a physical way. I will miss it when they don't come to me with bumps and bruises or when their problems need much more than a hug, a nap or some food to fix.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

13 months!

It's impossible to keep up...well, it wouldn't be if I blogged daily but I don't and each day brings something new that replaces yesterday's new. So yesterday's news is lost to the vague memories of ...our yesterdays, I guess.
I'd be sad if I weren't so excited about all that is to come. Here's a little summary of Sam and Rachel at 13 months:

Sam has a new best friend, he's about 6ft 7inches. He's my daycare provider's 20-something son and Sam is totally enthralled with him. He was holding Sam when I got there for pick-up yesterday and for the first time EVER Sam didn't cry or even seem that interested when he saw me! He kind of looked at me and was like, 'well hold on, I'm hangin with my friend Mummy, you just have to wait.' I think I'd be jealous if it was a woman he'd bonded with but because it's a guy, I'm okay with it. :)

Sam is officially walking. He's usually looks like a little drunkin sailor but he can walk more than 12 steps at time and turn corners and circles so I'm calling him a walker. And he walks almost everywhere he wants to go. No more crawling, walking is way more fun.

We took the kids to the pool earlier this week and they both loved it. Sam was a completely different kid from our previous visits. He was so .... confident! He wasn't just splashing, he was kicking his legs like crazy and moving his arms like he was truely trying to swim. I had to hand him off to Daddy because he was wearing me out with his non-stop movement. In the kiddy pool I put him up on the edge while sitting in front of him and he kicked at the water and pushed my hands away so he could sit by himself. And then he shocked me by reaching out to me and basically jumping into my arms from the edge. We practised this many many times and he loved it, especially the splashes he made. The funny thing was that I had expected them to both like walking in the water but Sam was just too excited and wouldn't stop jumping if his feet were touching the ground.
Sam is showing his ability to follow basic instructions these days. I told him to wave goodbye yesterday and he did it immediately! He also understands things like 'put it in,' 'give to Mummy,' 'get the ball,' and 'ta ta don't touch.'

Rachel is sooo mature she doesn't need her soother for naps anymore. She'd still prefer it but it isn't necessary. However, when she wakes up from sleeping she'll often gather up her belongings quickly to take with her before you pick her up.... in the mornings that can mean a soother in each hand, one in her mouth and her pink bunny blanket clutched to her neck.
She's turning into a real cuddle monster and LOVES hugging the stuffed animals and talking to them. She's also got some solid moves when she's dancing - wide stance and wobbly deep knee bends make her look like a tiny Elvis. She's got her eye on Sam's music frog and will push it's tiny buttons to change the music over and over and over again.
And the girl can really scoot along walking on her knees. She's very stable when standing but just takes a few tiny little steps on her own before going down onto her knees or crawling.
Rachel continues to be a little singer, she talks and talks and sings herself to sleep. Sometimes when she's crabby we'll put her in her crib to see if she's tired and she'll happily talk to herself for a half hour or hour before she cries for someone to come get her. She needs her personal space sometimes, some alone time. :) A child after my own heart!
Rachel can hold her own with Sam and we're starting to see signs of loyalty from Rachel. At daycare, when Sam goes down for a nap Rachel will watch the hallway and will be upset until she's put to sleep as well....even if she just got up. She doesn't want to be there without Sam. This really warms my heart.

Both the kids have a new trick at meal times. When they're done, or when they're in a particular mood, they'll take a big mouth full and then squish it back out all down their chins. This drives me nuts and I'm trying to discourage it but they seem to think it's quite fun or funny, not sure which. Sometimes they'll also reach over to put their fingers in each other's mouths when eating. Again, this is going to lead to bitten fingers someday and I'm trying to discourage it but it seems to amuse both of them.
One year olds are great fun!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Teeny Meanie Halloweenie

My teeny meanies liked getting dressed up on the big day. We went out to our neighbours just to show them off.

 Meanies in the pumpkin patch:

I think parents mostly dress their kids up so they can hear other people exclaim how adorable they are. We got a lot of smiles and a lot of comments.
But really it's the photo opportunity that is the reason for the effort. Years from now I'll look back on this halloween and remember how sweet they were... before they knew what candy was.
The farm was fun and an easy outing and the weather cooperated. Sam and Rachel didn't seem too interested in the animals and definitely didn't understand the dress up business. But they liked the pile of pumpkins, were completely entertained by the live music and seemed interested in seeing each other in costume, Sam enjoyed licking his for some reason.
Rachel surprised and impressed us by taking her first steps on Halloween too....well, Andrew says she did it the day before for him. But I didn't see it so it couldn't count, right?
Actually it seems fitting. Sam took his first stumbling steps towards me when Andrew was at work a couple of weeks ago. So it's only fair that Rachel took hers her Daddy in private.
We're probably just a couple of weeks away from having two walkers! Crazy! Ooooh how our lives are going to change.
This Christmas is going to be the best yet.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Transitioning together

I did it!
I went to work like a real grown up professional person. (Made the hubby do the drop offs to ease me into work life.) This first week was super easy, didn't do much but get set up and read through some docs to familiarize myself with the contract. And I only checked in with the daycare once each day.
Sam and Rachel are doing great! They cry at drop off when Andrew leave them but they recover fairly quickly (apparently). They have long naps and are eating pretty much the same as they do at home.
They are happy to see me at the end of the day. They pause, looking at me for a moment to make sure it's me and shy smiles spread across their faces as they start crawling as fast as they can to me. It's lovely .... for 3 minutes and then we have to go and they don't want to be put down or go into the carseats. So the reunion becomes a screaming fight. I hope that will stop soon.
Apparently Rachel gets upset during the day if any grown ups leave the room. She goes after them crying. Sam on the other hand sees Rachel leaving and cries and follows her, crawls on top and pins her down so she can't leave.
Bit of a gong show there but so typical of their relationship. :)
The sitter is enjoying seeing how they interact and I think she's bonding with them and them with her. That's a relief!
I get an written summary of their day and I think they are in great hands and handling the transition well. They both sleep really really well at night so they definitely aren't traumatized by any means.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Twin Bits

Rachel has 3 teeth! And she really wants to use them .... on real food, not any baby stuff. Sam has 4 teeth and still prefers totally smooth foods. Sigh.

Sam is practising taking steps every day. So far I've seen three in a row. They are very unsteady and he always ends up collapsing in a forward lurch, usually into our arms. Love!

Rachel is learning to dance. Every time she hears music she starts to move.

Both of them are talking using multiple sounds. Lots of nananam maaana gugugud duddudadada and then all the vowels alone. The house is burbling with noises when they are awake.

Sam blows bubbles with his saliva throughout the day.

Rachel gurgles or gargles her milk for her own amusement or to make us laugh. Not sure which.

They both continue to LOVE peek-a-boo with each other and with anyone else. And they have started mimicking actions. I put something on my head, then they want to put it on my head too. I pick up a cheerio to feed them, they take it and put it down again so they can pick it up themselves. Adorable!

Tomorrow I go to work and someone else gets to see and hear their antics all day long. Sad.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The gifts of Grandma

Dear Sam and Rachel,
Your Grandma loves you. Adores you. Would do anything in her power to help you in this life.
As I type this she is in our kitchen crying over chopping a particularly strong onion because the mini-food processor is too loud and you are both currently asleep.... and we want you to stay that way.
This week she is here for a cooking marathon, which will fill our freezer(s) and keep us in easy meals for months as I start back to work and you both begin daycare three days/week.
You have started slowly integrating into daycare this week which has kept you out from underfoot for a couple of days. When you are here you both want to be in the kitchen where the action is, where the noise is, where the Grandma is.
Rachel, you particularly like to challenge Grandma's fortitude by hopping on your knees, arms raised, asking to be picked up. You want to see what's going on and you don't understand or care for any reasons why you shouldn't be held. Grandma caves pretty quickly.
We are all embarking on a new phase of our lives and I'll write much more about the transition in days to come. Tonight, you are tucked in bed, exhausted, beautifully asleep, while your Grandma works to make our lives easier.
We are so blessed.
Love,
Mommy, Daddy, and Grandma D

Sunday, October 14, 2012

One Year Olds

We did it!!
One whole year old. Their infancy is over and their toddling years are ahead.
Yesterday Sam took his first halting, stumbling steps unassisted. I'm not sure it was deliberate but we're calling them steps. Rachel started bum dancing this week to the Kaloo music, I couldn't believe my eyes. I strongly encouraged it. She also repeated Mumm when I asked her to and to celebrate her first birthday, she cut her first tooth last night.
We held a small party. People dropped in and had snacks and Andrew's homemade chilli. We opened gifts and sang happy birthday and had cake. We took many bad photos because, hey, it's really hard to get pics of two babies doing a difficult activity like present opening.
Sam and Rachel both worked hard to open presents but Rachel kept getting distracted by her desire to rip and eat the tissue paper and Sam liked the bags so much he didn't care about what was inside.
However, the gifts were a hit and we now have new toys clothes and books. Hooray!
I love that they are a whole year old. I love that they are growing up and I wish time would slow down and that they'd grow more slowly.....all their developmental milestones are about to heap on top of eachother, first teeth, words, steps.
And the next few months are going to fly by with halloween and then Christmas. It's going to be such a busy time....for the next 18 years. :)

Bring it on.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Nearly a year

Changes are happening so fast for all of us, within all of us.
I've been working through some of the emotional baggage from the babies birth and subsequent 4 months. In doing so I've found quite a bit of peace around the births and all the interventions that were required for us all - induction, epidural, vacuum for Sam.
But I still find myself disappointed and guilty about Rachel's time in the NICU. If I were the person then that I am now, I would have argued to have her with me.  I would have been fierce about it if necessary, even if it just got me more answers as to why she needed special care. I don't think she did need any special care, they were just being cautious. But caution wasn't needed for Rachel, what she needed and what I needed was for us to be together.
However, that is said and done. And I'm finding some peace in my disappointment in myself.
What I haven't found peace with is the first 4 months of their lives.
I struggle with so SO many aspects of that time. I'm haunted by it. Nothing will ever be that horrible again. My body falling apart, succumbing to infection while feeling completely overwhelmed with how much they needed and how little I could give. I lived in utter FEAR for them. Particularly after Sam's first choking incident.
Having to give up the care of your newborn to someone else, even if it's someone you totally trust (Thank you Mom!!) is a horrible feeling. Having to do so for months on end is sickening. I feel sick thinking of it.
It will probably take years for me to fully accept how things had to be those first 4 or 5 months.
And the blessing is that I get to be their Mom forever. Our future is not defined by our beginning. And as they quickly move from being babies to being toddlers, I get to delight in all they are blossoming into. I so look forward to getting to know them through all the stages of their lives.
I thought that this first year, this year at home with them, was going to be the pinnacle of enjoyment, of motherhood. But it's just the very beginning, we have so much to experience together along this road as a family.
Together! A family! I love those words.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thump thump thump

Sam loooves full body contact...in his hugs and in his play.
We throw the couch cushions on the floor nearly every day and let Sam crawl, roll, thump, wrestle and flounder around on them. He has a blast. Rachel does delicate little face plants and enjoys lying on the pillows and watching Sam. It's a very obvious difference in play.
Today Sam started seriously practising standing. He likes the thrill of momentarily balancing on just his own two feet. But it's clear, the real point of the act is how loud a thump he can make when his bum hits the floor.
Rachel bends her knees and sinks to the floor when she loses her balance.
Sam deliberately falls backwards on straightened legs making the floor reverberate as he does so. Grinning hugely and occasionally adding a cherry on top by continuing his backward momentum to  a create a second thump as his head hits the floor. He often adds the second flourish when he has an attentive audience.
He quickly rolls over and does it again and again and again.
I"m very grateful we have carpet but I keep thinking someday I'll be explaining to a chiropractor, 'lower back problems began around his first birthday."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Toddler behaviours

Samson and Rachel are growing into toddlers every day.
Sam is actually hugging, using his arms to squeeze my neck and head to snuggle into me. It's lovely!
Rachel has new splashing techniques in the tub and is standing up without support more and more. Her first independent stand happened a few weeks ago at the park. Suddenly she just leaned forward and stood up, bunching the blanket with her toes in an effort to stay standing. It seemed to surprise her as much as me. But yesterday she deliberately let go of the push car and surfed. Her little knees bent and she balanced the heck out of 15 seconds of her life. Wooohooo!
Suddenly the 9am nap is not a requirement for Rachel. I haven't figured out her new sleep needs but she can't make it till after lunch....at least I don't think she can. It's going to be a week of sorting that out.
She's also sitting on her knees to play for minutes at a time.
Sam has figured out the whole concept of putting things into other things. He will put a ball through these plastic tubes over and over and doesn't cease to like seeing it fall out the other end.
Sam falls alseep in his crib within a couple of minutes these days. And at night we no longer feed either of them. We just go in, give a pat on the back, turn on their music and leave. And it works!!! They are back to sleep within about 10 minutes! Such big kids!!
They've both started pointing at things and at us when they want attention or to share and idea. They both shove things into our faces unexpectedly to 'share.'
It's a sweet time and the bigger they get, the more I think it's going to be okay when I go back to work. It's only part time. They'll be fine....right??

Sunday, September 16, 2012

11 Months

I am loving these days. The tenth month was a really busy one! They are gaining a lot of independence and confidence and I no longer have to carry them both around the house very often. They follow and come find me when they need/want me.
We survived our first family flu. Somehow Samson avoided it entirely, thank goodness, which I can only attribute to breastfeeding since he and Rachel swap spit at least 50 times a day.
At 11 months Sam suddenly has 4 teeth coming in. Actually it's the first development that I haven't rejoiced in. It's going to change his smile so much and I want him to stay my baby....at least for a while longer.
They bathe together and have a lot of fun. They laugh at each other every day. Sam finds Rachel eating hilarious.
On the 13th I took Rachel and Sam to a Baby time group at the library. It's just a short half hour of songs and rhymes and doing actions with your baby. With two babies I try to take turns but on Thursday they had their own agendas.
Rachel went right into the middle of the group and watched the other babies and Moms and then visited a few on her own. She occasionally looked over to see where I was but for the most part she was completely confident on her own. I had to get her a couple of times just to get a bit of time with her during the activities.
Sam on the other hand wanted nothing to do with anyone else. He wanted to remain in my arms with his head pressed to my chest the entire time...so he did for almost the entire time. He smiled and flirted and was totally happy as long as he was pressed against my body.
I'm so grateful for the huggy baby and the independent baby and I hope there comes a time when they swap needs. I love the snuggling.
Sam and Rachel are both starting to sleep through the night better. Last night Sam slept 11.5 hours straight through! YAAAY!!!
Rachel woke once at 2:30 and didn't get back to sleep until nearly 4. It was brutal but she then ate really well today so I think we're turning a corner there. It's time to play hardball with this sleep business. I think we're done with all nighttime feeds starting now. Gotta love that!
I'll take the teeth if I can get the sleep. :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Peekaboo Video

There is nothing glamorous about being the parent of twins. But there is something truly beautiful that is unique to the situation.
Seeing them blossom with each other. Watching them learn to interact with each other, develop their relationship.
Something like this happens almost every day:
http://youtu.be/bNqcrbg_jvc
And it is so beautiful it nearly makes me cry.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Surfer Girl

Rachel is a surfer girl!
She's only been crawling for 3 weeks but she's always had good balance and is now walking along behind the push/walker car we have. Here's a video to show off her new skills.
http://youtu.be/kifwvngN92c
So proud!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The small things

Rachel and I went shopping just the two of us last weekend. I had her in a carrier facing me and I realized how infrequently this happens. Having two, I miss out on opportunities to snuggle and focus on one. And in 10 and a half months, I had only gone shopping with one Twice before. I loved walking around the store with her little body cuddled against my chest, her head often resting on me, the perfect distance to kiss her frequently, stroke her hair, tickle her neck.
Rachel is crawling faster and more smoothly this week. She's also following Sam when he goes off exploring the house. He laughs at her coming after him, which makes her smile.
The sweet interaction between the two is a highlight each day.
Sam was standing beside the coffee table this week, just in a diaper before the bedtime bath. Rachel needed some leverage to stand up behind him and grabbed onto his diaper, effectively displaying his little bum to Daddy who sat on the couch nearly crying with laughter. Sam mearly looked bemused, wondering what the joke was.
Rachel stood without support today for the first time. She balanced, digging her little toes into the carpet to keep standing for several seconds before she bent her knees and went down. I was so proud of her.
Sam has learned to turn the sippy cup the right way around this week. Aaah it's the small things that make being the parent such a unique, joyful experience.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Preview of Two

This week I think I got a small preview of what having two two-year-olds might be like.
And I cringed!
Cringed and thought, 'huh, maybe going back to work won't be so hard!'
On Wednesday both Sam and Rachel were cranky, emotional time bombs exploding frequently, often without any trigger that I could see.... and often with just the smallest impetus from their beloved twin.
You're holding him and not me. WAH!!
You're holding her and not me. WAH!!
She cried in my face. WAHH!!
He's touching me. WRAAAH!
He looks like he's going to touch what I'm touching. WAHAH
I'm hungry. I'm not hungry. I won't sit in my chair and eat. I'm hungry but I want to do it MYSELF. But you need to stay here and watch. I want to pick it up from your hand not from the tray.WAHaahaaaaWAH!
Hold me. Put me down. How dare you put me down. Hold me. Put me down. WAAAAH!
Repeat...

All day long!

For the first time ever I sent hubby an SOS Please-come-home-early-if-you-can email.

It was so bad I couldn't even get too stressed out over it because it was such a totally lost cause. I could only laugh when it was at it's worst.

I fear what the terrible twos will bring. And I have a sneaking suspicion that what we're going to be facing is a temper (Sam) and a stubborn will (Rachel).

And from that experience I am now reading a great toddler development book because Momma needs more skills. Perhaps the happiest toddlers on the block will be mine....but I'm really just aiming for keeping my sanity.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nicknames

Over the past two weeks Sam and Rachel have morphed from Lovies to Monkeys.
I don't know exactly why Monkey fits better suddenly. Maybe it's because they are standing up all the time or maybe it's because they move around the house so much more. Maybe it's because they cling to me and cuddle when held. Maybe it's because they wave their arms around in the air so much these days.
Whatever the reason, my little pink monkey and my little blue monkey are so much fun.
Apropo of nothing:
Today at church Rachel crawled around, completely confidently exploring people, toys, different perspectives of the nursery. Sam explored a little bit but stayed close. It's fascinating how Rachel seems to be more confident or brave and yet she's also the quieter one.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Firsts

This week marked 10 months of being a Mom and another big first. One I dreamed of in detail for years.
And as it was happening I realized how miraculous it was and I called for Andrew to quickly bring the camera.

For the first time, I found myself sitting with my own children in my lap reading a bedtime story.
It's a simple moment that I hope will happen thousands more times in the years to come. But this was the very first and it felt wonderful.

Monday, August 13, 2012

10 Months!

These babes could not possibly be 10 months already! 9 seemed reasonable but 10 is waay too close to a year old.But here is Rachel crawling along, catching up to Sam in her movement ability. Here's Sam making all kinds of talking noises. One could argue his first words even....Mamamama and Dadada and Baba and Woow and Gagag.
Both of them love clapping their feet in the pool and bathtub making huge splashes.
Both are standing up every chance they get and usually are standing up in their cribs when we come to get them from naps.
This month they started playing in the cribs together. We sit beside the crib and reach in to tickle to say boo from different perspectives and they laugh and laugh. Sam seems to have suddenly grasped the chase concept and will race from one end of the crib to the other checking over his shoulder to see if you're going to get him. He also occassionally will crawl away from you when you try to get him around the house. And he's almost able to get Rachel to chase him by going around a corner and playing a bit of peek-a-boo with her. It's adorable! Especially when he's laughing hysterically while doing it.
Rachel wants to lift everything over her head and loves to throw things over her shoulder.
Rachel still likes to stand on her head and for the first time did it in the pool which she seemed to enjoy.
They are very funny monkeys, these two. And this motherhood deal just keeps getting better and better.
I love the physicality of motherhood at this stage. I love snuggling them tight. I love when they come to me to be picked up or just to hang on my leg for a minute. I love hanging them upsidedown. I love tickling them and munching on their fingers and tummies to get a squealing reaction. I love seeing where it is they want to go and what they want to get at....even if I have to take it away.
And I still find myself shaking my head, amazed that this is real, that they are mine. I wonder if I'll do that for the rest of my life.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sleep training...updated, again

Sleep training.... because nothing else we do does any good.

Night 1 = 1hr 45 minutes of crying.
The first 30 minutes I was sure this was the right thing. The second half hour I talked myself through and received my husbands assurances. The last 45 minutes I needed his arms to hold me tight to ensure I didn't go in there and cave.

Night 2 = 1hr 30 minutes of crying.
I listened to music and blogged and tried to ignore it.

Night 3 = 1hr 15 minutes of crying.
Daddy put him down later than usual and he slept through the night. Mommy left the house for the evening. He slept through the night till 6am!

Night 4 = 1hr 15 minutes of crying.
It's a blur. We cleaned and prepped for the next day and ran the dishwasher to drown out the noise ... of the crying and of my heart breaking.

Night 5 = 25 minutes of crying... and it was decidedly less anxious, less angry crying.
We're making progress!!!!
Oooor maybe not. He woke up 45 minutes later and proceeded to cry for another hour and a half! Then slept till morning.
Gaaah!!

Night 6 = 25 minutes of crying, woke up 45 minutes later and cried for another 25 minutes. Then slept till morning.

Night 7 = 20 minutes of crying and I feel a little better about this choice. I know he'll wake up in a short while but I also believe he'll put himself back to sleep in less than an hour.
Wish us all strength and hope we're through the worst of it.

Well knock  me down with a feather. He didn't wake up till morning on night 7!!

Night 8 = 5 minutes of crying.....aaaand that was it!
The hubby actually went in to check to make sure he was ok. He was ASLEEP!!! He woke at 11, I nursed him to sleep and he slept till morning.

Night 9 = 35 seconds of crying and now all is quet.

I hesitate to say it but this appears to have actually worked!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Movers and Shakers

Rachel is officially crawling! She's still awkward but she's definitely crawling forward and she's determined to get to things. She also still stands on her head frequently. Crazy girl.
Ooooh boy next week is going to present a whole new set of challenges as I try to keep track of two little movers and shakers.
In other news, today we went to a berry festival and had a good time with some twin friends of ours. Sam surprised us all by falling asleep without a peep in the BOB while listening to a local, loud classic rock band. (This may end up being a new sleep assist method if things don't keep improving.)
We also got very lost in a cedar maze that was way more challenging than we thought it would be. :)
My birthday is next week. I'll be 35. I feel too young to be 35. Aren't 35 year olds all grown up? Don't they have all the answers?
I'm having too much fun with babies to be all grown up. In fact I feel younger than I did a couple of years ago. I blow raspberries every day. I sing silly songs many, many times a day. I pretend to eat little feet and growl as I munch on baby bellies every day. I roll around the floor and wrestle and make animal sounds and talk in funny voices every day. I clap my hands and I dance with a tiny partner every day.
Thank God for children!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

9 Months

Samson and Rachel are 9 months old! They seem so big and independent sometimes. And so small and innocent at the same time. It's impossible to remember everything they do that I'd like to share. Unless I blog everyday and really that's just not going to happen. So here are some highlights as of today:
Rachel has a new smile. It's priceless. She used to give us a big wide open mouth smile that looked like a capital D turned sideways. Now she gives us a closed mouth version that is a perfect straight line. It comes with squinting twinkling eyes and super cute cheeks. These are more and more frequent.
Rachel is working hard on crawling and for some reason seems to think that standing on her head is easier than holding herself up on her arms. So many times a day she's on her feet and her head and both arms are underneath her playing with a toy. Hilarious! However, I do have hope that in a few weeks she'll have forward momentum on hands and feet. Today she made a very ungainly forward crawl to reach a cheerio. Success was oaty goodness.
Sam ... oooh Sam. Last night he slept through the night - 9 - 6. It was amazing!! However, as I type I'm trying to not hear his crying because we have bit the bullet and are sleep training. The evening, falling-asleep-part is truly brutal on all of us. This is night 4 and I hope the time starts to decrease from the usual 1 hour 45 minutes. Going in to 'sooth,'  or 'comfort' or whatever just makes him scream harder. It's horrible. But I believe it will only get harder if we wait and the solution of breastfeeding him to sleep is no longer working.
However, Sam continues to be a really happy boy when he's not tired. He is playing more independently all the time. But every 15 or 20 minutes he'll make his way over to wherever I am for a Mommy break. He doesn't seem to care if it's a hug or a bounce as long as it's physical contact with me.
Sam says, "mumm mum mmumm" all the time now. He may be starting to really understand that I'm Mum Mum. This is adorable, particularly when he does it as he crawls to find me.
Both Sam and Rachel really know their names. They also know the bath songs and the going to bed book.
I'm carrying them both around the house a lot throughout the day. They both cry when I leave the room so we all trek from the living room to the nursery many, many times a day. My knees are killing me.

There is soo much more, so much that I just can't capture in words... how wonderful they are. :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cure = Pool time

3:20 = one crying fussy baby
3:30 = two crying fussy babies
3:35 = Mommy trying to feed one, soothe the other
3:40 = Mommy gives up, leaves two crying babies on the floor while she throws some water in the kiddie pool on the deck
3:45 = two shrieking wriggling, laughing babies splash around in the water, beside themselves with joy

That was a worthwhile $13 purchase!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Progress in two parts

One week Sam officially crawled. The next week he sat back up from crawling. The next week he pulled himself up to standing. Today we'll have to drop his crib down again.
HOW do they do this so fast?? He was trying/learning to crawl for months. Now it looks like he'll be walking in no time.
Rachel has been sitting like a pro for weeks. Now she is not content to be still. She rocks and rocks and wants to be on the move. She's even getting on her tummy and knees and then gets frustrated that she can't get anywhere. It's going to take some time before she learns, so it's a matter of weighing her level of frustration before we move in to help.
When Sam got frustrated we just rolled him back onto his back because he wasn't sitting yet. When Rachel gets frustrated she doesn't want to sit she wants to 'move.' So she usually gets put into the jumperoo to use up some of that crazy energy. I think she may actually do most of her practising in her crib because the second we put her down she curls up like a little turtle or snail and we find her in all kinds of crazy positions.
I kind of look forward to her being mobile as I'll know what she wantsand she'll be better able to defend herself against Sam's attention. Right now he has the upper hand as she can't move away from him when he wants to pull her hair or give her kisses or is oblivious to the fact that he's sitting on her lap or her back. However, then I'll have to switch modes and start teaching 'no' to both of them.
Good times. Busy times.
Both Sam and Rachel are super huggy right now. I'm loving it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Water Play

Although Sam appears to be the one with the outgoing personality, Rachel appears to be the one who embraces new experiences.
Yesterday was my sitter's last day. We'll all miss her a great deal and hope to see her in the fall when she's back at school. It was a gorgeous day so I decided we should take them to the waterpark. We had a great time but it was fascinating to see how differently the twins handled the new experience.
Case in point: The Swing!
Rachel went first and was almost too busy watching other kids to really be aware that she was swinging in the air all by herself. (Just like the first time on the weekend with Daddy.) She did have a faint smile and her arms stiffened and shook a little as she learned to trust the swing would hold her. Then she happily, calmly swayed in the air while we tried to get a bigger response.
Sam on the other hand made it immediately clear he was not interested in this AT ALL. The first time he was fearful from the start of being put in and cried as soon as the swing moved without my hands on him. The second time he cried from the moment I put him in even though my hands were still wrapped around him while I moved him back and forth. Needless to say, this ended very quickly.
Case in point: The Water
To slowly introduce them to the concept we walked to the edge of the water park where the water was pooling slightly on the ground and held them so they were standing in the water. The water was cold but only a couple millimeters deep.
Rachel shivered and looked fascinated at her feet and made a lot of cute faces.
Sam complained and turned to crawl back up my body. Again he made it very clear he was not interested.
So the sitter took Sam back to the blankets to sit in the shade and watch the big kids play, which he was happy to do. I took Rachel and walked around the water park some more giving her the chance to feel the spray on her legs and arms and even putting her feet in one of the streams of water. She clearly enjoyed it, kicking her legs and breathing rapidly, eyes wide, hands reaching, body shivering with tension. It was such fun to watch her and see her responses.
Both of them loved watching all the kids play and run around. The highlight for Sam though was a puppy that came to say hello, a little boston terrier. Sam watched with total fascination and laughed at every unexpected move the dog made. I thought he was going to crawl out of his skin when the dog came and licked his hand.
It was a great day outside overall. We actually went for a walk later in the afternoon too. All this outdoor activity ended with Rachel's best night sleep ever! 7 hours straight from 11:30 - 6:30! Woohooo!!
Sam on the otherhand was up every 2.5 hours.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Acrobatics

I finally discovered how Rachel moves herself around her crib so fast. She turns onto her tummy and pulls her knees underneath her, then kicks at the matress doing a shoulder roll. This explains why she ends up all scrunched at the end of her crib with her legs hanging out. For a baby that doesn't crawl, she sure is strong.
As of yesterday Sam is able to sit back up from crawling around.
It's amazing how fast they change!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Privileged

When I was struggling with infertility I hated going down the baby isles in the grocery store or the drug store. Those isles that contained the diapers or baby food.
Sometimes it was because I would have to fight back tears seeing all the baby products. Often I just felt conspicuous being there. Felt like I had a label on my back stating that I did not belong there.... may never belong. And in a mall I would never, ever go into a children's clothing store. Would not even cast my eyes in that direction.
And now that I need things in those isles and stores, I cannot help but feel an almost overwhelming sense of privilege when I ponder the products there. When I am leaving a store and everything in my cart screams èI have children!È I want to slow down so people can see it. I know no one else cares but it just means so much to me that I still sometimes want to shout it from the rooftops.
I love telling people I have twins and I love being out in the world with Sam and Rachel. Being their Mommy is a privilege every day.
This week I got a hug from Rachel, my first very deliberate hug from her. It felt amazing!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Permission

One thing I really aspired to as a Mom was to make my own baby food. It's something that isn't hard to do and it's less expensive than buying baby food. I wanted that domestic aspect and looked forward to feeding a baby, seeing all the mess they could make, have feeding be a fun time.
The reality with two babies though is everything is a little harder and takes more time and more clean up is required.
Making your own baby food is time consuming. And it's hard to get a large variety of foods in the freezer stockpile when two babies are eating it.
We're two months into solid foods and I'm proud that they have a pretty good variety of veggies in their diet. However, I'm struggling with protein and a large variety of fruits. I'm also struggling with quantities and get frustrated if they won't eat something and I have to throw most of it out when it takes so much effort to get everything, including them, to the table at the right time.
So, as with every twin thing, I asked my friend with twins what she does. And she looked at me in shock, "Oh Stacey, you're trying to make their baby food?!?"
Now this is a woman who is very do-it-yourself. She's a strong supporter of breastfeeding, an advocate for natural everything, low environmental impact, etc. She even describes herself as a bit of a hippy.
But she buys baby food for her twins and knowing that somehow allowed me to give myself permission to do the same.
I'm not saying I'm buying apple sauce in tiny jars. However, today we went out to superstore and I bought a cupboard full of jars of mixed foods.....foods that I wouldn't easily be able to make myself or would be time consuming to do in bulk. Pear and black currant, apples and strawberries, apricot and mixed fruit, veggie and beef, veggie and turkey. That kind of thing.
I am committed to continuing to do the items that we eat often ourselves: butternut squash, yam, carrots, peas, avocado, spinach, banana, apple, blueberry, chicken, egg. That kind of thing. But I want the babies to get a big variety of foods and I don't want to have to make it all in bulk in the next 4 months. It's just too much work.
I'm very pleased with this new change and look forward to feeding them more in the next few weeks.
Both of them quite enjoyed the outing to the store too. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

8 Month Rachel

Today Rachel is 8 months old.
Say what!?!
 Rachel is often totally straight-faced whenever we pull out the camera but this shot is proof that she's a very expressive girl when she wants to be. :P
She marked the day by eating more of her solid meals than she has any other day. She also had only an ounce of milk at a time.
She is also celebrating her 8th month mark by staying up late. She had a late nap and just would not fall asleep in her crib. So she's happily, silently playing in the living room by herself right now, smiling whenever we do anything to acknowledge her. Such a sweet baby!
Today for the first time Rachel would cry whenever I left the room. So I was carrying her or them both everywhere all day.
Today I finally put up the gate that will close off the dining room as a big playpen area for the babes. It's the one place I know is totally baby proof and they'll be safe whenever I'm running in and out trying to get stuff done during the day. I'm sure I'll spend lots of time in there with them too.
 Me and Rachel decked out for Daddy's birthday at Grandma and Grandpa's place.
Playing tug-o-war with Sam. Rachel totally won.
I love you so, my Ray.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

8 Month Sam

Today Sam is 8 months old.
Firsts happen almost daily.... so I'm going to try to capture some of them this month as they occur.
Today he deliberately played fetch with me for the first time. Meaning I fetched what he threw down (a cloth), again and again and again. Perhaps I encouraged this by putting it on his head each time I picked it up, which he found quite funny.
He drank from a sippy cup for the first time today too. It only took a minute for him to figure it out and start sucking to drink the water.
I do adore my boy. Here are some recent pictures.
I know what you're thinking. Everything in this picture is too cute to be real. But I assure you two of them are real live creatures.
 Gnawing on his sister's soother.
 Sam woke up from his nap with a wicked hand print on his face today. It looked painful it was so dark but also funny. So I had to take a pic:
Love you Sam!!!

Helping Hands

We've been blessed to have amazing help along this journey with the twins. For the first 5.5 months my Mom lived with us during the week and went home most weekends to recuperate. 
Then she shortened her helping weeks to 3.5 days to have more time to recover and let us slowly get used to other help and being more independent. That other help was a young university student who has been awesome help for 2 or 3 afternoons a week for the past 3 months. She's helped with Sam and Rachel as well as done housework a couple of hours each week. 
This has freed me to go out with one babe and socialize or, lately, go out alone and get things done like grocery shop or running around town. 
However, she's going back home to Ontario for July and August and that means I'll be on my own every day  all week long.
This isn't scary for me the way it once was. Sam and Rachel are better at being entertained by themselves and waiting for me to do whatever needs doing. But I'm really going to miss the break it afforded me and the help with the house. It's been wonderful knowing the house is relatively clean each week.
Knowing my 'time off' is limited also has me thinking about all the little jobs I was hoping to get done while on mat leave..... sigh, I just don't know if I can fit them all into the next couple of weeks. Or if I even want to try. 
Will think about it. And maybe start with a list. :) I love my lists!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Baby Book

This blog has basically become the twins baby book. And I'm nowhere close to writing enough to satisfy my desire to hold onto the special moments. So many little things happen daily and they pile up so fast I don't get a chance to write them all down. So I procrastinate until I have time to write it all down and more and more time passes and those little things get forgotten.... lost in time. This makes me a little sad but also determined to continue enjoying each day as it comes.
So here's a little summary of where we're all at.
Both babes sit very well now. Sam followed within a week of Rachel.
Rachel now sleeps on her tummy, rolling over even for her naps. I miss seeing her sleep on her back with her little hands tucked behind her head.
Sam is now making (very slow but determined) forward momentum when crawling. And he's nearly able to sit back up from crawling. This new freedom is resulting in more interaction with Rachel.... toy stealing has begun. Luckily the only real issue Rachel has is when Sam takes her soother. Funnily enough even if he just finds a soother on the floor and start chewing on it, Rachel takes offence. Her bottom lip goes out and she lets out a seriously offended cry, pauses to see if he's still got it and cries again. It's quite funny actually.
Both are over the initial gagging when eating food with texture to it. Although there are no teeth yet for either of them, we now have oatmeal and blueberries for breakfast in the morning. Sadly, eating solid foods has now made Sam quite disinterested in breastfeeding. I'm not sure what to do about this except try to breastfeed first before offering solid foods. I still pump once or twice a day to ensure Rachel gets at least one bottle of breast milk every day. I want to continue breast feeding but I'm still not sure if I want to go a full year. It's just so much less expensive than formula and it's better for them. I want them to have the benefits... I will probably just continue to play this by ear as I've been doing for the past 4 months. I'm actually rather stunned that I've lasted this long.

Some moments cannot possibly be captured in words or on film. They are just little pieces of magic that take my breath away and have to be remembered:
- Rachel laughing at Sam in the nursery after feeding, him laughing back, triggering her to laugh and it goes back and forth again and again and again.
- Sam chewing on the orange kangaroo on the jumperoo as I helped him stand and Rachel's face turning to pure delight but not really smiling.
- Rachel's new high high pitched little squeal when she's happily playing or just lying on the floor.
- Sam's loud roar and delight in the noise he can make and him smiling ALL the time! Even when Rachel cries because he's being too loud. ha ha ha
- How Sam now clamps his legs around your waist when you pick him up. He's such a baby monkey suddenly, all over the place, constant movement.
- Sam grabbing my face, hair, shoulder, whatever he can and giving great big sloppy kisses.
- Both babes wrestling with the large stuffed bunny and chick. They are as big or bigger than the babes are but they
- Playing peek-a-boo with Rachel in her crib, popping up from below and seeing her smile, anticipating your surprise.

These are good days.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Momentum

Sam and Rachel are definitely picking up momentum in their development. Rachel now officially sits on her own. (Sam still topples over backwards pretty quickly.) Rachel also whistles....okay not deliberately but she has a habit of pursing her lips really tightly, which she's done since birth. When you add in breathing quickly due to excitement of some kind or another, you occasionally get a true whistle. I love it!
Sam is up on his knees rocking back and forth and is so close to crawling we hold our breath each time he does it. It's funny that he can't sit but he sure can get around on his belly.
Both babes are now sleeping on their tummies. Both are eating solid foods....some days better than others. Both are resisting diaper changes..... specifically, they resist getting the new one put on. grrrrr Both are going longer stretches at night without food.
Both can wriggle out of the bumbo seats and don't react when they hit the floor. That's what I need - good fallers! :)
Both now resist falling asleep if they are interested in what is going on around them. On Monday we went to a BBQ for Infertility Awareness and they were wide awake and well behaved for the whole thing in spite of being  1.5 and 2 hours overdue for naps.
Both are practising their volume control. Sometimes they really startle each other when one of them lets out a sudden yell or shreek.
Being at the BBQ was great. We had a great chance to show off Sam and Rachel and also thank all the nurses and Dr Hudson for all they did for us. We are thrilled to be where we are today.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Seven Month Joy

This past month has been so full of joy and I can barely believe a full month has gone by. I wish time would slow down. Sam and Rachel are changing so fast. It seems like every few days they are showing us something new. Here are some highlights:
Rachel can now manipulate her soother so she finds the right side to put in her mouth. It's adorable to watch her do this at night when her eyes are closed and she's mostly asleep.
Sam has a new funny face/noise. He scrunches up his nose, squints his eyes and purses his lips, then breathes quickly through his nose. It's hilarious to watch and the more we laugh, the more he does it.
Both can nearly sit unaided.
Sam is now doing bbbb sounds.
Rachel's sounds are more and more like singing all the time and they are getting higher in pitch all the time.
Both can roll around and can pull their knees underneath them but so far there is only backward movement by Sam and rocking movement by Rachel.
Rachel loves to splash in her bath and she's soaking the bathroom and Daddy with water every night.
Sam is sleeping through the night!! He's done this twice now, 9 full hours! Whooohooo!
Both are loving seeing the world upside down and often lean back to do so when you're sitting with them.
Both love the cat and can often get distracted from their other needs or activities when she's in the room.
Both love food some days and hate it the next. Sigh!
Sam likes to grab my head and give great big sloppy kisses.
Rachel is nearly holding her bottle herself.
They are babbling with each other more and more, noticing and laughing at each other, wanting to hold hands and pull at the other whenever they are within reach.
I love this! I love them! More and more all the time.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Relocations

It was time. Past time.
He was ready. We were ready.
Ready to transition Sam from swing to crib.

For 2 months Sam has slept in the swing. For naps I put him in, gave him his puppy blanket, started the music and the swing and left him there, swinging, till he woke up. Sometimes this involved him crying for a while before falling asleep but never for long.
Bedtime was a little different. We did a bath, put him in his sleepsack, then we nursed. If he fell asleep nursing, I transferred him to the swing, started the white noise, gave him his puppy and left. If he woke up or didn't fall asleep, I would do the same but start the music and the swing and leave him swinging until he fell sleep. Sometimes this involved him crying for quite a while before falling asleep. If he was really unhappy and just not falling asleep Daddy would go in and sit with him until he calmed and then he'd fall asleep.

So after 2 months of this, we were pretty sure he had some coping skills and we were ready to transition him to the crib. This meant some big changes though because we knew he'd seriously disturb Rachel if they were in the same room.

SO, the big shift occurred on Sunday. Rachel's crib moved to the spare room, where she will sleep, and the swing moved into the nursery. Sunday night we did the usual bedtime routine, everything was the same, except for the swinging. He still had his sleepsack, his puppy, his swing music, his white noise and his Daddy comforting him.

And he cried and cried and cried. He cried for an hour. And then he slept.

He woke up 5 times that night and each time I went in and comforted him or nursed him. Each time I put him back in the crib to sleep. Twice he cried himself to sleep when I left him but it was never more than 10 minutes.

We have continued this all week and it's going better and better. Now he wakes up twice a night (as per usual) and that is totally fine with me.

I consider this a wild success!  It's hard when he cries but I know, and he knows, he's just fine.

I LOVE that they are getting older. :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Morning Baby

It's miraculous to me how Sam can be so so so happy in the mornings. So happy that he's nearly jumping out of his skin.His legs are pumping the air. His arms are flailing around. His torso is wriggling. He has a smile that practically wraps around his head. His eyes are dancing and he cannot contain or control the sounds that he makes, shrieks and giggles and outright belly laughs.
What makes this miraculous is what triggers it. Surely it must be a beautiful sight, it must be.
But one glance in the mirror confirms the miracle.
He's responding this way to a baggy eyed, crazy haired, pasty skinned, smelly, lop-sided-half-smiling Momma.
That's love, people, that is love!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rolling Rachel

She did it!! She rolled over! Whoo hooo! Yesterday, on what was supposed to be my first full day alone with the twins, Rachel rolled over for the first time, front to back.
In a funny twist though, Andrew happened to be home because we had a roofing guy come to put in new vents. So Andrew was working from home for the afternoon and got to see the big event as well.
It was so exciting. Particularly because our tiny girl has literally been practising this in her sleep at night! Fast asleep with one leg thrown over the other, head arched back and top arm reaching for an imaginary toy. I got to witness this while breastfeeding Sam on Sunday night. So I wasn't shocked when Rachel finally did the big roll the next day.
Since then she's been rolling a lot, which is wonderful. She may just catch up to Sam who has been rolling for a couple of months but still doesn't realize he can go back to his back whenever he wants to. So he ends up fussing on his tummy eventually.
We'll be needing those baby gates pretty soon!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

6 Month Samson

Master Samson is our clown, our gremlin, our cuddle monger, our sensitive soul.

Sam has been the first to roll over, attempt to crawl, learn to jump, chew on his toes, laugh, give kisses and cry in sympathy for his sister. He loves to smile, loves to laugh, and loves his Mamma!

Those who know us would probably agree that Andrew is a master of understatement and I'm the queen of hyperbole. If that's the case, Sam takes after me and Rachel after Andrew.

Samson lives out loud! He's very vocal, interactive, expressive and physical. He loves to flip himself over on his tummy and then holds himself up and look around and attempt to crawl. However, he can only move backwards at the moment. This get rather frustrating for him when a toy he wants is in front of him.

He's a little Houdini who can get out of his Robeez and socks within minutes of them being put on. This is due to him rubbing his heels together all the time.... I think he may be a little bow legged like his Daddy.

Sam is an enthusiastic eater, not very clean or coordinated but enthusiastic! He still struggles with reflux and still fights sleep. He likes to sleep (eventually) with a blanket or toy covering his face.... this freaks me out a bit but so far he's fine. I try to not think too much about the risks. He sleeps in the swing (not swinging) in our bedroom and usually goes 6 or 7 hours between feeds at night. This has changed our lives dramatically for the better (mine mostly).

He loves to be tickled under the chin... or anywhere. He also spends most of the day with his tongue peaking out of his mouth, like he's tasting the air. :P He can play peek-a-boo for a long long time, pulling a blanket over his own face and then pulling it off. He loves a surprise!

My favourite noise from Sam is his most common: yeay yaah yaah ya ya.

Right now Sam is not feeling quite himself, he's got diarhea and is more subdued and sleepy than usual. I fear it may be the beginning of teething! Yikes!

Our Sam is a joy to be around and we adore him.

Monday, April 16, 2012

6 Month Rachel

Miss Rachel was the first to do that classic baby pose of lifting her feet high in the air and then reaching out to grab her knees or feet. She was the first to learn to kick at toys and hold herself up while standing. She was also the first to learn to use the spinning toys and know where sound is coming from in a toy.

However, with most other things she seems content to leave the firsts to her brother.

Miss Ray generally knows what she wants and how she wants it. She does not roll over and does not attempt to crawl yet. (Sometimes she gets the top part of her body entirely over and is withing millimeters of getting her legs over and then falls back.) She is quite happy to hollar and have someone assist her when she wants to go on her tummy or be picked up. She likes her rice cereal and likes her bottles to be a perfect cool temperature....not warm and not too cold. She does not like getting dressed and would prefer to be naked all the time. She loves her baths and diaper changes.

Rachel is still our 'looker.' She quietly and seriously takes in the world around her no matter where we go. She does not smile or make noise, just contemplates everything that is going on and anyone who approaches. At home it's another matter though. Rachel has a fantastic smile that lights up her whole face and especially at night, she can talk talk talk talk talk. Her sound that melts my heart is maam mamm mamm mamam.

Her eyes are still a blue grey but we see hints of brown now. Her hair is still growing like crazy and even the bald patches are filling in.

Although she can be stingy with the laughs, she now finds some things reliably hilarious: zerberts on the feet, belly tickles, Mommy teaching consonants by repeating ba ba ba ba baby.

Rachel enjoys flying around the house in our arms, getting tossed up in the air, getting kisses on the neck and loves to sit on her Daddy's lap and hold the book while he reads a bedtime story to her.

She makes us laugh all the time. She loves to stand up and is quite the twinkle toes, dancing around on her little feet. When she's on her tummy and in a particular mood she will often bump the floor with her forehead...when this occurs on a sqeaky toy, it's priceless. She also likes to stuff toys in her mouth and hollar at them, take them out for inspection and then do it over again.

Rachel continues to be a great sleeper. She falls asleep very well....we do wish she'd stay asleep through the night but that will come in time. :)

We adore our girl.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Roaring Babe

Samson has found his roar. About two weeks ago he discovered a new sound, a growly sound in the back of his throat that he could make with his mouth closed. And soon that was all we heard from him.
This is quite funny to watch because it's usually accompanied by him tensing his arms or whole body. So he looks like a little baby wrestler flexing his bod.
However, it's also sad because he has such a sweet, soft voice and it soon became completely replaced by this growl. Just when I was about to dispair and started getting annoyed by all the growling, Sam discovered he could alter it by opening his mouth.
He now sounds like a gremlin.
I'm assuming this is a stage that it will pass and I hope to catch it on film before he moves on to other noises.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Anniversary

Today is our anniversary.
It's been a fun, crazy, amazing, wonderful, sometimes sad and difficult 4 years. But when I look back on them it's easy to categorize the infertility struggles as sad and difficult, not our marriage.
Our marriage has been fantastic, amazing, a true gift....as is my husband.
I'm so so grateful to be on this journey with him. So glad to have him at my side for all the wonder and struggle that we face with our two little miracles.
Andrew was my rock through the hardest times after Sam and Rachel were born. He never once let me down. He held me when I cried, even if it was the middle of the night, and he reassured me when my anxiety was at it's worst and I was sure I was falling apart. He kept on loving me and taking care of us when I had nothing to give him. He offered me patience and kindess when I could give nothing back except fear and frustration and short tempered replies to anything he said.
He laughs and delights in our children and loves them as much as I do. He is truely my partner and I could not love him more.
Getting a little teary.... not much more I can say.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Better and Best

Things are getting better and better all the time. I hope this trajectory continues for a long long time.

We had such a great week with Andrew off of work that when he went back to work I was bummed out. But we've adjusted and now have a few more outing options on our list of things to do, which is wonderful. With both babes getting more and more predictable with regards to mood and sleep, it's also easier to run out and leave them for short periods with someone else...or just take one along and be confident that it will be a fun outing for them.

Case in point: I took Sam (in an ergo carrier) grocery shopping and then ran over to a bakery the other day in the rain. He was quiet and alert and happy the whole time even though it took longer than anticipated and he was overdue for a nap. He fell asleep in the car on the short ride home and had a good nap in the carseat. A month ago, he'd probably have been a crying mess or I wouldn't have even attempted the outing.

Sam seems to be working on his language skills these days. Last week he sounded like the count from sesame street, now he's stiffening his body and grunting/growling. It's like he's saying, "I'm He-Man HAAAAARRRGH." It's hilarious and he does it 100 times a day.

Rachel is coming out with new sounds too but she doesn't repeat them all day long. Although she is not rolling over, our little contortionist can really move herself around. Tonight she was left to fall asleep in the middle of her crib. I found her 10 (silent) minutes later with her bum lodged in the top corner of the crib peering through the bars at me upside down. She seemed mighty proud of herself.

We have some cute videos on you tube: (Cute being a HUGE understatement.:P)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6VkFJNYc68

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPCWjiEX6cg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yDhQD7f9bE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74K-tAvfWqw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdrRIifSlls

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sweetest Time

Sam and Rachel are breaking my heart daily....in a good way.

We've hit such a sweet spot in their development that I wish I could stop time and keep them exactly at this stage for a long long time. I'll miss this when it's over. Miss it sooo much. There are things I hope I never forget:

How Sam grabs my arm at the end of diaper changes and clings to me trying to chew on my arm or elbow or hand, whatever he can reach. He just wants more of my attention. It's adorable!

This is the phase of puppy-kisses. They get excited and want to kiss and don't know how. So instead they lick. They lick my face, my arm, my shoulder, my sleeves. It's fabulous, it's heart-warming. In church on Sunday Samson kept licking/sucking my shoulder where my short sleeve had been pushed up. He kept pulling his head back, seriously inspecting my shoulder and then attacking again with his soft wet licky tongue. The elderly lady behind me nearly lost it. "Oh my gosh he's so cute. He sure loves his Mommy," she said. "They're baby kisses," I replied. "They're wonderful," she said trying not to laugh in the middle of the service.

This is the phase of laughter for no reason. Yesterday evening as we were in the kitchen making dinner, we hear Rachel laughing from the playmat. She has squirmed her way around so she is perpendicular to Sam instead of parallel to him as we left them. Her feet are close to his chest and everytime he tries to roll over he touches her feet.... and she laughs and laughs and laughs. It's adorable, nearly brought me to tears.

As I've said before, Sam laughs all the time. At church a lady came up to say hello and he laughed and laughed at her .... perhaps it was her voice? Perhaps he liked her smile? Perhaps he was just so darned happy, he had to laugh and share it with someone? He charmed her to pieces, she couldn't get enough of him and of course laughed back.

This is the stage of talking and singing and new sounds that delight them. Rachel will talk herself to sleep some nights and sometimes during the day you could swear she's trying to sing. She also has a new high pitched hiccup-like sound that we love to hear. Samson is practising his deep throat sounds and has one that he keeps repeating. It sounds just like the count from sesame street, I am the count ah ah ah ah ah. Every time he does it I smile.

This is the stage of drinking in new experiences...often quietly. :) With the husband taking a week off, we have been doing one outing every day. Sunday was church, Monday was the library, Tuesday was a Baby Talk session at the local rec centre, Wednesday was swimming, today was a walk, tomorrow will be shopping and lunch out. They drink in these experiences with wide eyes and rapt attention, their little brains trying to make sense out of it all. Sam got a little overwhelmed at the pool but all I had to do was hold him close and he was able to watch everything from the safety of my arms and enjoy a good swim. How wonderful to be able to offer such comfort.

It breaks my heart that this too shall pass.

Every day they make me smile, make me laugh, fill my heart with joy. What a blessing to be in this place, to experience this part of motherhood.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Five Months!

Wow, five months is a great time for babies....and for Mommy! We've just been having too much fun to find time to post. Or maybe it's that so much is happening so fast it's hard to find time to capture it all.
At 5 months Sam is enjoying rolling over. He has not quite mastered rolling back to his back though. So eventually he gets frustrated on his tummy. However, he's commando crawling backwards so we're very entertained by it. He also LOVES jumping around in the jumperoo. He runs and then bounces in the seat. It's hilarious to watch.
Samson is very vocal. He loves to chat with you, find new noises and seems entertained by his own voice. He wakes up incredibly happy and generally is happy until he gets tired. He's also quite a Momma's boy, which I both love and need to work on. He's getting better though and is enjoying playing with our mother's helper who is now coming 3 times a week to help me out.....more on that later.
Sam still fights sleep. We finally gave up trying to put him to sleep in our arms or in the crib. Most night he falls asleep in the swing and usually only cries and fights for about 10 - 20 minutes before falling asleep. Then we turn the swing off before we head to bed. When he wakes up at 1 or 2 am for a feeding I put him back down in the crib afterwards. So be it! We'll change this whenever we need to but for now it's saving our sanity.
At 5 months Rachel is generally a smiley girl, a happy camper and enjoys laughing and talking/yelling at toys. Often she will talk herself to sleep. She is an amazing sleeper. Although she still often wants a bottle every 3 hours at night, she goes straight back to sleep with no fuss.
Her hair is about 1 inch long on top and we have fun styling it sometimes. Although they aren't the most flattering dos, we find it entertaining.
Rachel doesn't roll yet but is finding her feet very entertaining. For some reason she has sweaty, stinky feet. So daily footbaths are part of the morning routine.... as is playing funny games with her feet.
Both are now enjoying car rides, which makes getting out 1000 times easier for everyone! They are both awake for longer periods and very aware of their surroundings. So outings are great for us all.
Both babes find zerberts (raspberries?) very funny. So we have lots of laughs making disgusting noises with them and laughing and laughing. Tickles are also great times in this house. What a joy it is to make a baby laugh hysterically.

I try to get out of the house a few times a week with both babies. We either go to a friend's house or go for a walk or go to church. We do try to get to church as often as possible.

The hubby is off work this next week so we look forward to getting out as a family and trying some new things....perhaps expand my repertoire of activity.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Enjoyment

Oh my babies! MY Babies! I'm finally enjoying them the way I imagined, dreamed of enjoying them.
We laugh every day. We play. We tickle feet and dress in cute clothes. We talk and talk and talk. I watch them sleep and I greet them with smiles when they wake up.

THIS is what I wanted. It's so nice to have arrived at this place... finally. I'm a big fan of babies. I'm not a big fan of the newborn stage!

We're slowly turning a corner with sleeping. Master Samson is more and more consistently stretching out his nighttime feeds. Although I feared it would never happen ...or only happen if he was tucked in bed next to me. Last night Sam went 7 hours and then 4 hours between feeds and spent the whole night in his crib! Wooohooo! This means better and longer sleep for Momma!

Miss Rachel seems to have her day and nighttime feeds mixed up. She will go 6 hours without eating during the day and then want to eat every 3 hours at night. We're working on this. It helps immensely that I still have my Mom here during the week. She wakes up for Rachel at night; I wake up for Samson. Until last night I had the harder job I assure you. Miss Rachel falls back asleep SOOO easily at night. Samson sometimes requires 30 minutes of crying before he finally succumbs.

Last night I finally got some spontanious giggling from Rachel. She was just in SUCH a good mood, all I had to do was laugh back and she'd giggle and giggle. SO nice to see. Samson just gives laughs away all day long, Rachel generally makes you work for them.

We still spend our days moving them from one activity to the next: playmat, bouncy chair in the kitchen, jumperoo, Mommy's arms, swing!

Samson's eyes are still grey but there is more and more brown sneaking in around the pupil every week. Rachel's eyes remain a lovely blue. Sam's head seems to get bigger every week and Rachel appears more delicate all the time. :)

Some days Sam's drooling out of control. But I'll take drool over spit ups anyday. Spit ups are still common but not nearly as common as a month ago. In fact, on the weekend he went 24 hours without a spit up!!

Yes, things are definitely getting easier.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

4 Months

We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. I've been trying to focus on my strengths lately and not beat myself up too much for my weaknesses.

With the twins I've learned that although I had wonderful thoughts of them being solely breastfed and loved totally equally and me learning all kinds of developmentally appropriate games, reality is a bit different. I'm struggling to define what it means to be a good-enough Mommy to them... not perfect, but good enough for me and them to be happy.

Sam and Rachel have their strengths too.

Rachel understands sound, she gets that a toy is making a sound and will bat at a toy to make the sound happen again. Her eyes light up when she recognizes a tune you've sung before and she will pay close attention when you create a rhythm.

Rachel also has favourite toys....those with faces that smile at her! She has a special place in her heart for a particular lion that smiles down at her on the playmat.

Rachel laughed last week for the first time. It was for her Daddy who was playing peek-a-boo with her. Adorable! It takes a lot to make her laugh but when she does it's so rewarding.

Samson rolled over for the first time last week from back to front. What was amazing is that his Daddy had just gotten home and we got to witness it and cheer together. We witnessed the first roll from front to back a couple of weeks ago together too. Sam is much more physical than Rachel but not as good with his dexterity.

Sam's favourite toy is people. :) He laughed for me several weeks ago during a bath and later that week for no apparent reason found me hilarious to watch. He's way more interested in chatting with a person or watching them than paying attention to an inanimate object. I have a sneaking suspicion that Rachel is going to break his heart a thousand times over their childhood.... I think he's going to want her attention and time much more than she wants his.

Both Sam and Rachel are now regularly pulling anything they get hold of into their mouths. And their hands are little pincers ready to grip anything in their reach. They also scooch themselves backwards on their backs and off the playmat regularly.
Both are now looving their baths and have outgrown the tiny infant bath we first had.

They've also outgrown their goopy eyes, bad eczema, and baby acne. YAY! As long as Mommy stays gluten free and avoids soy, it looks like we'll all have good skin. :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Blossoming

Both Samson and Rachel have been blossoming from newborn into baby over the past 3 weeks. It has been making life easier for us all.
They both hold their heads up now. So much easier to carry them around!
Samson is spitting up MUCH less. So much less that we haven't used a bib in over a week! Many days the past two weeks, he's been in the same outfit all day. We used to often go through 2 or 3 outfits with each feeding! What a relief this is.
Their behaviour is more predictable too and we are better at reading their signals. When Sam is fussy, he's tired. Otherwise he's a super happy baby. So we need to get him to sleep quick...what a relief it's been to figure this out.
They both talk a lot more now and the sounds they make are wonderful. They also listen so much you can almost believe you're having a conversation.
Both are now good at batting toys around and finding their thumbs/hands to chew on. Often they'll talk as they chew which makes for some very funny sounds.
Rachel is a bit of a night owl, happy in the evenings and goes to sleep quickly when she tires out. Samson is a morning baby, wakes up so happy he doesn't even need to eat right away.
I just wish they slept more reliably! At night they often still want to eat every 3 hours and feeding takes at least half an hour and longer if they don't fall asleep afterwards. Rachel is sooo much better about this than Samson is. Sam is a nightmare at night sometimes.
Oh how I dream of more than 3 hours of sleep in a row. Right now 2 is considered good, 3 wonderful, 4 unlikely, and 5 a distant dream. I'm promised this will happen someday. Hopefully when they start on solids we'll get longer stretches of sleep...?
Some things aren't changing and I'm glad of it. Samson still sucks his tongue when he sleeps. My Dad thinks this makes him look like Winston Churchill. ha ha ha. I think it's adorable!
Rachel is more a looker than a talker and this is very endearing, her big blue eyes and flashing smile have so much to say all on their own.
And I'm doing better as time goes on. I'm enjoying moments more, am more relaxed, less anxious and just generally feeling more like myself. That is also a major relief!
I look forward to weekends when it's just Andrew and I and the babes. This is our first weekend alone in over a month. We took them on a long walk yesterday and today Andrew took Rachel on a shopping excursion. As much as we need and appreciate the help from my Mom during the week, it's so nice to just be a family of 4. I look forward to the day when I'll be comfortable with them on my own. We're taking baby steps to get to that point but we'll get there.
Gotta run, laundry calls.....as does vacuuming and sleep before Sam wakes up again.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Eye Spy

I expected to have brown eyed babies. I still may someday but so far these two still have blue eyes.
Rachel's eyes are a clear deep blue with a much lighter inner circle of dusky light blue.
Sam's eyes are a greyer blue and for weeks now I think I've seen a hint of brown or hazel sneaking into the inner circle right by the pupil.
I want to remember the time when they change. Eyes are so expressive and the colour can be so distinctive that I look forward to seeing what they will be someday.
We've had two big 'firsts' with Sam this week. He now rolls over when placed on his tummy. He was really surprised the first time he accomplished this in his crib with Mummy and Daddy watching. Also he laughs! When I was bathing him and running the washcloth across his neck he let out the most adorable huh huh huh huh huh. So sweet!
Rachel is becoming a touchy baby when it comes to feeding. This is turning quickly into a nightmare with screaming every time we offer the bottle. Unfortunately she's a terrible nurser so this is leaving us in a tough situation. The Dr had little to offer as far as suggestions. Just tough it out, it sounds behavioural rather than a physical issue. GAH! We may go crazy.