Thursday, December 31, 2009

one of those moments

So, today has been a weird nap day. I put the babies down for an extra late nap, from which Noah arose refreshed and energetic, but Lily got up craaaanky.

So I was sitting here holding Lily as she fussed and yelled, with Noah lying next to me on the couch. After several seconds of extreme fussiness from Lily, I looked over at Noah. He had KICKED off his PANTS! He would have been thrilled about it, but he wasn't aware he was half naked--just kept kicking. I had to set Lily down (sparking horrific screams of injustice) to re-clothe my male child. He just kept on kicking, with a frantic look on his face as if he was sprinting to the finish in a 100-yard dash. That didn't make it easy to put his pants on, in case you were wondering. Neither did my other screaming child, or the fact that by this point I was laughing so hard I was crying.

It was one of those moments of pure chaos that I knew I could never fully convey to any other person. And yet... here I am.

Christmas review: episode 2

Okay, I'm finally getting to the rest of the pictures from our Christmas festivities in Bastrop.



Lily with Gemma:



Noah "playing" with cousin (second cousin?) Jackson:


We tried "real" swings for the first time at a park in Bastrop. It was pretty cold (and it was hard to photograph moving swings at twilight), but the babies had a BLAST. I need to start looking for good playgrounds around here--that phase of our lives isn't far off now!



One beautiful day, we went for a hike at Bastrop State Park. Since I neglected to pack our baby carriers or COATS for the kiddos, we carried them with us wrapped in blankets. It got a little wearying for the adults by the end, but I don't think the babies minded--they both took the opportunity to nap.

Not sure I was supposed to see this one. (At least it's a BB gun.)

The kiddos try their hand at opening presents. They were terrible at it.


Noah's allllmost tall enough to see over Daddy's head!


Noah and Granddad:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas review: episode 1

Why is it that we make such a big deal out of a baby's first Christmas? It's not like they care. At ALL. (Though I have to admit, Lily was pretty enraptured by a couple of the pretty bows.) Maybe it's just that, by the time we have children, we miss the childlike joy of Christmas so much that we're going to project it onto any child-like person that comes into our lives. The same reason that dogs get stockings.

Anyway, how was that for a non-festive way to start a Christmas entry? On to funner things!



First of all, it's been way too long since I've posted. Since it usually takes me all day, off and on, to make even one normal post, I'm breaking this into two entries. (It will also give me time to find a bunch of pictures I'm missing...)
Noah and Lily accompanied me on my pre-Christmas shopping trip to Kroger. Usually if I take them both, I use their carseats and put one baby in the seat part, and one baby in the basket. This means that my shopping cart maxes out with about 3 cans of vegetables, 4 bananas, and a 2-liter. Any more than that, and the baby in the basket of the cart runs the risk of suffocation or avalanche from the groceries. As someone who perpetually buys tons of groceries, this was majorly cramping my style. So since Lily and Noah have been sitting up better and better, I was thrilled that they might be ready to ride together in the front part of the basket. The result was extreme and unexpected cuteness:
In the split second that it took me to re-focus the camera for another shot, this happened:
Needless to say we hit up the Clorox wipes as soon as we got to the entrance. I'm not too germophobic about most things, but Lily's determination to lick every inch of the shopping cart within her reach was a little scary. All in all the trip went pretty well, although the "twin factor" was pretty high with them sitting side-by-side. Meaning that we couldn't get more than about 10 feet without somebody wanting to chat with me about them. And they got a little bored by the end, but I was impressed at how well they did overall.
Our little fam trekked to Bastrop the weekend before Christmas to visit Scott's parents. It was a very fun trip and great to see them. Why a random town in the middle of Texas, you might say? Scott's extended family has a cabin there, in the midst of pine trees on top of a hill. His grandparents bought it nearly 40 years ago. It's not a cabin in the strictest sense of the word--more like a small, rough house, with ancient furniture, several beds, and a decent smattering of sheets, towels, cooking utensils, and other items that have been collected over the years. I always get a kick out of finding old stuff there. Here were my favorites from this trip:
I'm open to ideas as to how old anybody thinks these things are. The cabin was purchased in 1973... I'm wondering if these were among its first occupants. The wax paper has a coupon on the back that you can send in and get a wall-mounted wax paper dispenser for a dollar. I wonder what they'd do if I sent it in? I also wonder who in the world wants a wall-mounted wax paper dispenser...?
Most of the pictures from the trip were taken with Gemma's camera and they're not within arm's reach... so that will be the focus of the next entry. I do have a picture I took the other day of the babies with their new "laptops" that they opened on the trip...
They strongly approve of technology.
In other news, our Christmas was white! Scott heard somewhere that this was the first white Christmas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in about 80 years. That may not be true, but it sounds cool! It was not just a little snow, either--enough to cover the grass and stick on driveways.
So from our house to yours, we hope you've had a wonderful Christmas!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

a little Christmas reflection

It's amazing how much that we, even with the best of intentions, can mangle even the most precious things. You know? Like Christmas. And I'm not even talking about the secular celebration of Christmas, or all the political correctness that makes it hard to even utter "merry Christmas" to a stranger without having second thoughts, in case they might be Muslim or something. I'm talking about ...well, myself, mostly. How even as a lifelong believer, I can let the holiday periphery interfere so markedly with my observance of the true celebration.

Mostly, I think, I get caught up in the fun of Christmas--the traditions, the funny movies, the joy of picking out presents (and opening them). But the true first Christmas wasn't what I'd call "fun", exactly. Joyful, yes--in a way. Joy with a heavy peppering of forthcoming sacrifice and disquiet before it was all over. But there was a lot of hardship and worry, too. A lot of people had to practice a lot of true, steadfast faith in God to make that first Christmas happen. The first Christmas was hard. Hard, gritty, and overwhelmingly sacred.

It strikes me every year, but my re-realization this year has been more profound than usual. Perhaps because taking care of babies makes you realize the indignity and fragility of the human condition. It's hard to imagine anyone in their right mind choosing to be so helpless that they don't even recognize their own limbs, let alone know how to use them. Or volunteering to poop in a diaper for a couple of years and have somebody else clean it up. How much greater a sacrifice would it be for God Himself to make that decision? Every year I try to wrap my mind around it, and every year I fail.

So today I just wanted to post and meditate on Christmas a little bit. I have lots of pictures of babies opening presents, but those can wait. For now, I just want to celebrate Christmas, all by itself. And post a quote from Frederick Buechner that I have loved for many years:

"The Word become flesh. Ultimate Mystery born with a skull you could crush one-handed. Incarnation. It is not tame. It is not touching. It is not beautiful. It is uninhabitable terror. It is unthinkable darkness riven with unbearable light. Agonized laboring led to it, vast upheavals of intergalactic space, time split apart, a wrenching and tearing of the very sinews of reality itself. You can only cover your eyes and shudder before it, before this: 'God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God... who for us and for our salvation,' as the Nicene Creed puts it, 'came down from heaven.'

Came down. Only then do we dare uncover our eyes and see what we can see. It is the Resurrection and the Life she holds in her arms. It is the bitterness of death he takes at her breast."

Monday, December 7, 2009

mean mommy

As the babies get older, our adventures in solid food continue. The kiddos have definite opinions about what makes good eats and what doesn't. Fruit, as a rule, is a good idea (not surprisingly). Cereal is also fine, especially when mixed with fruit. Veggies are on another page, and meat is a completely different story. But, armed with my research (from the internet and parenting magazines), I am determined to provide the kiddos with the 6-10 exposures to a new food that it often takes before they learn to like it. And, let's be honest--I'm not going to count to 10 for each food, for each baby. I'm pretty much just going to keep feeding them what I think they need to eat, regardless of how they like it.

And why wouldn't I keep shoving foods in their faces that they don't like, when my reward is faces like this?




...and this?



And when I continue, the faces get exponentially better...





A few other cute things:
  • Noah is somewhat mobile these days, having learned to roll over so well that it gets him places. Not that he's aiming. I keep coming back into the room to find him wedged against the wall, Lily, or the base of the Christmas tree. The playpen is getting set up semi-permanently this evening.
  • Lily has begun blowing raspberries regularly when she is angry. Just as a tip, I wouldn't recommend raspberry-blowing as a way to communicate anger to others. I just sit and laugh at her as she makes pitiful spitting noises between whines.
  • The babies are sitting better and better these days, even able to play with a toy for several seconds before their jerky movements catapult them headfirst into the ground. It's absolutely delightful (to me) that babies' ability to fall over far precedes their ability to catch themselves. As long as they're just landing unhurt on a soft blanket, of course.

Most of my family made it down to our place for Thanksgiving...


Grandma with Noah and his Ridiculous Hat.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

pseudo-Thanksgiving post

So here are some pictures of our early Thanksgiving weekend with Scott's family...

DOGGIE!

Gemma and Grandad with the babies.



Family shot:


Brad and Becca borrowing the babies for a picture...




The Hewitt fam


Liz and Lily




I thought the babies could have their own "Thanksgiving dinner" while the rest of the family ate, so I brought jars of sweet potatoes and turkey. Noah liked it okay... Lily, not so much.



Aren't we just cute?


Monday, November 23, 2009

semestris

Six months ago, my babies were fetuses. Six months from now, they will no longer be infants.

As much as it seems like my life has been consumed by babies forever, this whole thing is going way too stinking fast. In the past several days, Noah has developed about 28 new facial expressions. He now has a consonant sound: "b", and babbles it all. the. time. He now rolls over CONSTANTLY in his sleep, and wakes up very confused as to who put him on his tummy. Lily deftly pulled off her socks today to play with her toes. Her hair is getting so long that she always looks like some sort of mad scientist with a flyaway 'do. Her favorite thing lately is the Grabbing Faces Game, which she pretty much never stops playing.

Our little fam just spent Thanksgiving #1 with Scott's family in Beeville. Brad and Becca are in Texas for awhile on their way to Australia, so we took advantage of the opportunity to celebrate with the family a little early. They're taking off soon for Becca's home country before their baby boy is born in a couple of months. We had a good time catching up with family and consuming ridiculous amounts of food.

On a related note, babies love routines. Need routines. Especially Lily. We have been traveling for the past 4 days, and missing our normal sights, sounds, and timelines. So either due to that, or because she experienced her first ear infection (and subsequent diarrhea-inducing antibiotics) over the past week, Miss Lillian hasn't been herself lately. Fussy, uncomfortable, not sleeping well, not laughing or smiling as much... it makes a mommy sad. So we finally got home this afternoon after a 6 1/2 hour journey. I almost breathed a sigh of relief, until I realized that tomorrow they have their 6 month checkup... and shots. And then the day after that, MY family will be rolling into town for OUR Thanksgiving. Holidays are wonderful and I love spending time with family... I don't like that there's a part of me that's starting to dread times like this, wanting to run away with my babies and protect them from anything that might disrupt their little lives. I want them to learn to be flexible and resilient, and the only way to do that is to let them experience things and learn to bounce back. But it's hard. Good thing it'll only get easier for me to control, protect, and manage their lives...

Okay, enough of that. (Have I mentioned that they are growing up too fast?) Now is when I would post pictures, except that I have tried twice and apparently the ever-capricious internet is refusing my attempts. I'll try again tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

picture catch-up

So, Mommy's been a slacker in the visual media department lately. In my defense, though, I truly believe that time has speeded up lately. Take my last post, for example: It's only been about 3 days since I posted, and yet the dates say it's been over a week! Something has gone awry in the space-time continuum.

Anyway, I am catching up. This is mostly a collection of pictures and a couple videos, so to those of you who yawn a bit when I get long-winded, Happy Birthday. I'm not feeling verbose tonight.

Here are Halloween babies (Thing 1 and Thing 2) ready to dispense candy to the masses. (They are clearly unaware of the deliciousness of chocolate and chewy sugar, being so ready to give it all away!)


Mmm, peas!!


Mommy's exciting and slightly-psychotic peek-a-boo face...



Noah flying with Daddy

Lily has a great passion for sucking on things--she took to a pacifier from birth. Lately, though, she has her hand shoved in her mouth more often than not. A couple of times, it's been like this, just like Daddy used to suck on his fingers when he was little:


The view from our back porch on Diaper Day:


Could he GET cuter?


These are Texas babies, after all...



The kiddos enjoy sitting in front of the front door lately, can you tell?

...and now on to some video footage. Scott caught Lily blowing raspberries for the firsts time yesterday, and managed to catch it on camera. Believe it or not, it's a developmental milestone to blow raspberries! Lily isn't too happy about it, though...
video
People are always asking me about how the babies interact, since they're twins and all. I'm sorry to say that our kiddos do not show any of the touted benefits of twindom, such as being calmed by each other's presence, reading each other's thoughts, tandem telekinesis, or whatever else twins may be purported to do. They do acknowledge each other's presence, and could be construed to "play" with each other, if you're imaginative. Here they are:

video

Monday, November 2, 2009

a day in the life

For better or worse, a fairly predictable routine has been a part of our daily lives for a long time. Well, I guess you could call it "long" --for most of the babies' lives, anyway. It's evolved a bit over time, so I thought I might record it the way it stands right now. Both for the sake of curious and bored readers, as well as for my own gratification when things (so they promise me) get easier.

Here is a typical day when I am home with kiddos:


  • 6:30 - Babies awaken! Happy smiles for a few minutes. Their wild screaming usually begins when they are on the nursing pillow, because they realize where they are and it apparently infuriates them that they are not already eating.

  • 6:45 - Babies eat. This process has gotten both faster and more violent as the babies have gotten older.

  • 7:00 - Babies play. They have gotten better at playing, but their attention span is still pathetic. I spend their playtimes rotating them to different Baby Play Stations every 10 seconds to 10 minutes, as I hear them yell their dissatisfaction.

  • 8:15 - Babies begin screaming, signalling the need for a nap.

  • 8:20 - Naptime. These last anywhere from 20 minutes to 2.5 hours and may involve The Pacifier Game, swing, and/or hair dryer to help them sleep longer. Things get even more complicated when Mom tries to grab a nap.

  • 10:00 - Babies eat.

  • 10:15 - Babies play. Attention span is a bit shorter than it was last time.

  • 10:45 - Lily has an uncontrollable fit of fussiness.

  • 11:30 - Naptime #2.

  • 11:40 - Noah wakes up and refuses to go back to sleep.

  • 1:00 - Babies eat.

  • 1:52 - Noah has an inconsolable meltdown, refuses to nurse and doesn't calm down until he's given a bottle of formula.

  • 2:13 - Noah falls asleep for Nap #3.

  • 3:00 - Lily falls asleep for Nap #3.

  • 3:01 - Noah wakes up.

  • 4:00 - Babies eat.

  • 4:15 - Babies SHOULD play, but they are fussy unless they are being held. And sometimes when they ARE being held.

  • 4:48 - Mom's daily near-breakdown. Recent topics include: "Why do they keep crying?" "How could God give me two babies?" and "How long until bedtime?"

  • 5:00 - Some days, Nap #4. I'm not sure babies this age are supposed to have four naps in a day. Ask me if I care.

  • 6:00 - Babies eat final meal, sometimes have a bath, and change to pajamas.

  • 7:00 - Baby bedtime.

  • 10:30 - Nightly check-in on sweetly sleeping babies.

  • 10:31 - Nightly moment of reflection. Recent topics include: "How blessed can one mommy get?" "How could people think having twins is hard?" and "At least it's not triplets!"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

tips of the day #3 and #4

First of all, let's just get it on the table: When you take your 8-month-old trick-or-treating, you're not fooling anybody. I don't care how cute her little doggie costume is, everybody knows the candy's going to be for you. So unless you're actually willing to let your infant gum her way through a pile of Snickers and Tootsie Rolls, just let the farce go. You're a big girl--go to Wal-Mart and get yourself a nice big bag of candy and just eat it all yourself. You can even toss it into a plastic pumpkin first if it makes you happy.

Secondly, it is never okay to ask if you can hold a stranger's baby.* It's just not. Especially not while you're trick-or-treating and your judgment has already been called into question for the reason described above. Not even if you say, "I have a baby too!" What sort of ridiculous reason is that for me to let you hold my child? During flu season?! Go hold your own baby, then, and quit pushing her around in a stroller while you beg candy from your neighbors.



*I suppose, in the interest of full disclosure, that there are SOME instances in which it is okay to hold a stranger's baby. Like if somehow you witness someone toss their baby into the air as they fall down three flights of stairs--I think in that case they would be glad for you to catch their child. You might not even need to ask.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

so as not to forget

My friend Page will occasionally blog about things her kids do so that she won't forget. I find myself wanting to do that lately, so I think today's the day. The babis get more delicious by the minute, and they've hit an age that's just an incredible amount fo fun. For the first time, I find myself wanting to hang onto this stage, instead of just being anxious for them to get a little bigger and more independent.

Noah


Ah, Mister Noah. You have to be one of the happiest babies I have ever seen. I look forward to seeing you and your big grin every morning, and I love the laugh/squeal/gasp/thing that you do when you just can't contain the joy. When you start to get mad, you sort of pant really fast, and it always makes me laugh. It used to be so hard for you to fall asleep, until you finally figured out how to hold a pacifier in your mouth, and now there's nothing left that's difficult about you. For the past couple fo weeks, you have been sleeping half turned-over to the right, as if you fell asleep in the middle of tossing aside a boulder, and it's phenomenally cute. I think if I just had you, I would wonder what people found so challenging about having a baby.

Lily

Ohh, Lily. You take everything seriously, even laughing. From the moment you were born you have been wide awake and staring, drinking in everything you can. Daddy says you have a "million-watt grin" because it's just so intense! From smiling to rolling over to sitting, you are ahead on every milestone and I'm always wondering what you're going to do next. It's amazing to hear your baby coos and sounds, because they are so expressive I can tell exactly how you're feeling. You are a wonderful cuddler when you're sleepy, and it makes me feel like the most special person in the world when you snuggle against me.


Both of you love to watch the dogs, and you laugh and squeal with delight when they sneak in a slobbery kiss. (The dogs aren't quite as thrilled that you've learned to grab their ears.) You both have been sleeping 11-12 hours through the night (with occasional minor wake-ups) for more than two months now, and for that I am eternally grateful. You love it when I read to you and sing to you. You love tickles and peek-a-boo and being swung into the air.

A year ago yesterday we found out we would be having twins. And I almost cried. Almost. (And it wouldn't have been from joy.) But I didn't cry. And it's been a long time since I could have imagined or wanted my life without you.



Monday, October 26, 2009

thank goodness for daddies...

... because mommies aren't as good at making beat-box noises while making babies "dance".

... because mommies might not think of making fart noises and pretending that they propel a baby into the air from the force of the gusts.

... because mommies forget that bath time is, first and foremost, time for blowing raspberries on naked baby skin.

... because mommies may not notice that a red-and-white polka-dotted shirt looks something like a bandanna. Therefore, they might also not wrap it around a baby's head (and one of her eyes) and swish her hand around while growling, "Avast, ye mateys!"

... because mommies get so caught up in feeding babies baby food that she doesn't realize how funny baby laughs are when their mouths are full of cereal and squash.

... but mostly because daddies are the best at making babies laugh, hands down, and helping mommies to slow down and enjoy the fun moments.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

five months! and toes!

The babies are five months old!! Absolute craziness.

Noah is more of a heartbreaker than ever:


...and Lily is zooming ahead on those milestones. She figured out how to grab her toes today. (Noah is vaguely aware that he has toes, but he can't stop giggling long enough to try and catch them.)