Saturday, December 31


Dear 2011,

You've been a pretty awesome year.

Colby went from a semi-toddling still-baby toddler to a talking, running, crazy two-year-old-going-on-ten ball of amazing energy.  I began the year counting words, amazed that he was saying 30 words at 18 months.  Now he won't stop talking and I can coach him to say things like "Sorry!  Didn't mean to be rude!" when he burps.  (Just for giggles.)  He's had 3 haircuts, went on tons of adventures, and really became his own person.  He went on his first train rides, his first plane ride, and even started 2011 in another state altogether.  We went from loving Thomas to Toy Story to Caillou back to Thomas and then on to Cars.  He became a total clown who loves to fall down for laughs and will ask "Are I okay Mama?" when he falls.  But he's still a Mama's boy at heart who loves to cuddle, hug, and kiss.  He reminds me every single day why we started this whole parenting thing.

And the girls.  Oh, the girls.  They helped fill the first 5 months of 2011 with anticipation and love mixed with worry and uncertainty.  I had a spinal and cerclage when 2011 was just days old.  I spent hours and hours at appointments, a month in the hospital in bed, another 6 weeks laying in my own bed (and on the couch), then had surgery, spent another week in the hospital, and a few more days visiting the NICU.  All for their health... and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  Times a million.  They went from (relatively) teeny 4lb 10oz loves (monsters when compared to the boys) who slept and ate and slept some more to squishy, rolly, sitting, teething, squealing loves.  Their personalities are so distinct it makes me laugh.

Sydney is laid back, content to play on her own.  But if she needs you for food or a diaper, she is fast to let you know.  She has a set of lungs on her to ensure she gets noticed.  She loves to jump in the Jumparoo and chew on anything in sight.  She loves her pacifier and will find it and start sucking away without help.  She loves bath time, but hates to get dried off. She won't lay still for a diaper.  She's so strong that you literally have to fight with her to get her to sit still for anything.  She's so ready to crawl.  She can scoot on her bottom, rotate, and push backwards a little.  She loves to eat and has chowed down on sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, cereal, applesauce, and bananas.  Like Colby was, you can't get food into her fast enough.  She wakes up every few hours at night still to eat, but I don't mind because it's when we get our best cuddles in, and she's growing way too fast anyways.

Zoe is usually pretty laid back too, but she wants more Mama time.  She's a little more laid back about her needs and will usually whimper for a diaper or bottle.  For awhile.  Then the screaming comes out.  She loves her big brother and will laugh at him for hours.  But she is a Mama's girl at heart and will let out huge sad tears while throwing out the pouty lip if she's not around Mama enough.  She loves to chew on anything and will sit and inspect it so carefully.  Her favorite toys are anything that belong to Colby- cars, trucks, trains.  Basically anything with a small part that can be swallowed.  She's not interested in her pacifier and I rarely even offer it anymore.  She's like Colby in that way.  She's not a fan of food and will only tolerate mixed grain cereal and squash, and only sometimes.  She's a total chow hound at night and will eat 15-20oz at night.  It's ridiculous, I can't get it into her fast enough it seems.

And me, well, I had an amazing 9 months off of work.  The first 10 weeks were spent on bedrest, but after that, I've gotten to spend an amazing amount of time with all the kiddos.  I know I was so lucky to get that time-- no time will ever be enough, but it was a good start.  Everything about all 3 of them is going so quickly that it's hard to remember where we were even just a few months ago.

Of course it's not always all good.  2011 was the second full year without Connor in it.  I'm always surprised how much that hurts and how it catches me so off guard.  But we're still learning to live with our reality and it does help to tell Colby about Connor.  To see him kiss Connor's heart.  To see him point to pictures.  I know he doesn't really get it, but it does help.

2012 has a lot of work to do if it's going to catch up to 2011.  But we have 1st birthdays, a trip to Texas, a wedding we're all in, and a 3rd birthday to look forward to.  There's sure to be so much more good in 2012 as well.

So, so long 2011.  It's been fun.

Sunday, December 25

Holiday Time

Holidays are hard with a baby in heaven.

But also amazing as you watch the joy in the eyes of your other babies.

Tuesday, December 20

Back to Work

I have been back at work for 2 days.  I am tired.  :)  I get up at 5am to have time to pump and shower and get things squared away.  The nanny gets here at 6:30 and I leave around 6:45 to avoid too much traffic.  I  get to school around 7:15, the kids get there at 8:15.  I get through the morning and then I pump at lunch time.  By then I'm dying.  But then I get through the rest of the afternoon and pump before heading out the door.  I'm home around 3:30 with the kids, play, and get dinner ready.  Then it's baths if it's bath night or more playing if it's not.  The kids are all down around 8, then it's clean up and pump and school work.  By the time I'm ready for bed it's about 11 with one last pump session.  Then it's lights out with lots of wake ups with the girls.  The first night I was up 8 times and last night it was 9 times.

I'm so tempted to throw in the towel with pumping.  At school there is no place for me to go, so I hide in the corner of my room and since it's so long between sessions I ended up spending my full 50 minutes pumping, so I get nothing done at lunch time.  And I feel like I spend more time pumping in the evening than I get to spend actually playing with the girls and Colby.  And then I'm up pumping around midnight and then 2 and then 5, so it limits my sleep even more.  (Though I'm usually up with the girls anyhow)

BUT my goal was 10 months because that's how long I have the pump for free.  And I do like knowing I'm providing for the girls 100%.  And it's only a little more than 3 months away so it's doable, right?   So I just don't know what to do.  I'm afraid that school is going to really cut into my supply anyhow, so in the end I might be killing myself for nothing really.

Oh well.  Point is, we're adjusting.  I have 2.5 more days this week then it's vacation until Jan 3rd.  Then it's back full time at which point my class really needs to be whipped into shape.  It's a tough group behaviorally and academically and the sub did her best, but she was really just winging it.  They write worse than my K class did in terms of both content and handwriting, so I have to tackle that.  They have no real set schedule so I have to do that.  There is no behavior management system so I have to tackle that.  Basically I feel like I'm going to have to treat it like the beginning of school all over again & take the next 4-6 weeks establishing routines (like no talking and wandering around the room).  I can take academic struggles any day, but the blatant disregard for proper behavior?  That I cannot stand, so we'll hit that big time.

Saturday, December 17


When the boys were born Johnny & I only had one other set of friends with a kid.  She was 2 years older than Colby, so a little beyond our stage.  So we went through NICU and babyhood and into toddlerhood "alone" without anyone else to compare to.  (Well, except for everyone on here, but I digress.)

But now, with round 2 with the girls, it seems like everyone and their mother is having babies.  On facebook just about every day there seems to be new baby pictures of friends and acquaintances and that random person I sat next to in Intro to Writing sophomore year.  (Because BU got facebook back in the day when it was The Facebook and when you connected with people by classes.)

My point?  Now we have lots of people to compare our kids to.  Johnny even has a friend who had a baby boy the same day the girls were born.  And Johnny does a lot of sleep comparing.  (Which is actually a little funny because he has never gotten up with the girls and sleeps just fine through the night...)

He's always telling me about the 2 month old who sleeps 11 hours a night, or the 3 week old who slept for 7 hours straight or the baby who wakes up at 10am every morning.

So, this all brings out a question Johnny has been asking a lot lately:

Why don't our kids sleep?

Seriously, what am I doing wrong?  Let's leave Colby out of this because I rocked him and cuddled him and he sleeps with us.  Whatever.  Lost cause.  He'll be out of the bed before kindergarten, so I'm not worried.

But the girls.  Seriously.  They're not cuddlers.  It's sad and makes me miss the cuddly Colby stage, but they're just not.  They're interactive and fun as heck, but they won't just nuzzle in for a good nap or rock.  Therefore, I can't cuddle them to sleep.  Sydney especially- lay her down and give her a pacifier and she's good to go.  Both can fall asleep on their own.  They can both soothe themselves back to sleep with their pacifiers or hand sucking.  The can both down 8+ ounces right before bed at 7:30/8pm.

So why do they wake up 3 or more times every night?  What am I doing wrong?  They seem to have all the "tools" to sleep through the night, but they still get hungry 2 or 3 times a night.  And it's not that they wake up for a "snack".  No, instead, around 11 then 2 then 5 they'll down another 4-5oz at a time.  They definitely get most of their food at night.  During they day they may take a 3oz bottle around 9, a 5oz bottle around 1 and then a 3oz bottle around 4 or 5.  They go back to sleep easily after eating at night, so it's not like they have their days and nights mixed up.  They're just late night eaters.  How do I fix that?

Honestly, I don't really mind because I'm still getting up to pump and I do love the night time snuggle sessions (because they're more cuddly when half asleep than when awake during the day) but I feel the need to fix this more for them.  I feel like they'd be more rested if they slept a longer stretch than 3 hours at a time.  (Though, to be honest, it's not like they seem like they're not well rested, so really it might not be an issue...)

I've tried getting them to eat more during the day, but it doesn't really work.  I've tried to "trick" them with a pacifier at night to cut the night feedings down, but that REALLY doesn't work.  I don't want to do anything that is upsetting to them and if this is what they really do need then I DON'T want to do anything to change it.  But any suggestions?

But I do keep telling Johnny... some babies and people just never do sleep all through the night.  I have never been someone to sleep through the night.  For as long as I can remember I've always gotten up 2-3 times for the bathroom or for a quick drink.  Usually I'm up for 2 minutes tops and I can fall right back to sleep, though.  Maybe the girls (and Colby) are just more like me?

(And before you ask, introducing solids has only succeeded in adding some messy late night diapers- it hasn't helped the sleep at all.  Oh, and Zoe is not a fan of solids.  As in, the second I try to feed her something she starts gagging and trying to throw it up.)

But they're so cute I can't stand it.

Thursday, December 8

It's the time of year...

...where everyone needs more time.

As time ticks away and I get closer and closer to going back to work I remember how much I still need to get done before Christmas.  Because it's almost here... as in not this coming weekend, but the weekend AFTER.  Seriously.  (Yes, I know you all have calendars, but I had to remind myself.  Again.)

I still have pretty much every single craft to finish...
- The coasters are awesome (I think!) and super cheap (16 cents a tile! + paper + paint + foam/cork on the bottom).  BUT the rubber cement is killing brain cells (only mine, I'm smart enough to use it after the kiddos are in bed) so I haven't finished them all. (4 each x 6 people)
- The penguins are stamped in black, but I started to add the white yesterday and the black is bleeding through, so multiple coats are necessary.
- I still haven't stamped the girls butterflies because when I tried with Zoe, she proceeded to try to put her foot in her mouth.  Fully painted.  I need more hands.
- The handprint calendar is only done by 4 pages.  Colby's attention span is slightly shorter than mine. (Slightly)
- We haven't hand printed the snowmen because I haven't set out the drying rack outside so I can hang & coat it so the paint doesn't chip.
- I haven't chosen the photos for the kids ornaments- though Colby did finish painting the stars.
- I haven't chosen the family photos to print and laminate for Colby's memory game.  But I did decorate the box with scrapbook paper and letter stickers.  I like it.
- Make family cards.

So, yeah.  Busy.  I did finish my mom's photo book & Johnny's mom's calendar though.  And a few of our Secret Santa gifts have been purchased.  And we got Colby a few trains & books & maybe 3 stocking stuffers.  The girls have zip.  Nada.  We haven't even found them stockings.

And we still haven't taken pictures for our Christmas card.  But last year we sent the cards out on December 27th.  So we have time.

What else?  Oh yes, I'm going back to school so I have to get some clothes that fit.  (Seriously, zero clothes fit me now.  Every pair of jeans fall off.  No complaining, but it's a problem.)  I have to register for my spring class.  And figure out how to extend my teaching license.  And start applying for jobs in SE MA.  Because we might be moving & building sooner than we originally thought.

I'm starting to make myself anxious, so I'll calm down with this...

and this...

and this...

Monday, December 5

Obligatory Updates...

I'm just so far behind in LIFE right now!

I go back to work on the 19th, so I've been busy trying to get as much finished before Christmas as I can so that I don't have to worry about odds and ends my first week back.  Thanks to my addiction (PINTEREST!) I came up with a ton of Christmas gift ideas - mostly for the grandparents - so I've been working on those with the kiddos...

The girls are making butterfly footprints...

Colby finger painted paper & I'm attaching it to tiles and making coasters.

Colby made a footprint penguin for each set of grandparents.

And Colby made handprint snowmen.

I think we have enough... but I LOVE this thumbprint ornament so much!

If you need ideas for the CUTEST crafts in the world, visit  Seriously, I could browse forever.  (And about 90% of my "Kiddo Crafts" board on Pinterest is from that site!)

Back to Work
As mentioned, I'm back to work on the 19th.  I vary from excited to nervous to plain old dread.  My first week is 4.5 days long with a holiday concert thrown in on Tuesday.  It will be interesting.  When I got my list over the summer there were 21 kiddos on it... apparently they have had to move a few kids because they were just too hard to handle for the sub, so I'm a little worried about that!  She wrote me an email awhile back telling me that they are "crazy but good".  Hmmm...

But then again, I spend my time with a crazy 2 year old and 2 6-month olds.  I like to think I can handle crazy.

We chose our nanny - we went with S.  She came over today to hang out and get a better lay of the land.  Colby warmed right up to her which isn't something he always does.  Within minutes he had her building a train track for him to play with Thomas.  That makes me feel a little better about the whole thing...

The girls are still up 2-4 times a night every night.  They like to eat at night.  Sometimes I'm so over it and think that I have to stop feeding them on demand because they're 6 months old and they should be sleeping through the night.   I worry that I'm creating bad habits and they'll become dependent on it blah blah blah.  But then I remember that I did the same thing with Colby - I fed him bottles through the night for the longest time, but he outgrew it on his own terms and they will too.  

And now the part that I feel like the worlds worst mother!  We have forced hot air and it's pretty much the worst heating set up in the world.  The girls sleep in our room and I close the door to keep out sound and light and because I hate sleeping with an open door.  What that does though, is keep the room chilly because the sensor for the heat is downstairs and when downstairs registers the 70 degrees, upstairs is still chilly but the sensor doesn't know because the door is closed.  And I put on the fan every night (pointing at the ceiling though) as white noise.  (We have a sound machine on order for Christmas thankfully.)  SO I'm always cold and sleep with two blankets & warm pjs.  BUT being the idiot I am, I was putting the girls to sleep in their Rock N Plays (it's a nightmare transitioning to the crib from those!) in their pjs with 1 blanket draped over them.  And they were both SO fussy.  They'd squirm and be generally whiny all night  -- though not waking up.  

WELL the other night I woke up shivering because I had one blanket on.  And then a lightbulb came on in my head.  Here I am, an adult and I'm cold, what on earth must the girls feel like??  So I dug out a pile of blankets at 3 am and piled each girl with about 4 blankets.  (It's safer in the Rock N Plays because I can easily tuck the blankets in and because the girls are strapped in and can't move).  Both girls slept like rocks for 3.5 hours after that.  Yes, it might not sound like much, but that is HUGE around here.  No fussing or whining in between.  Then this AM Zoe slept until 8:45am!  I actually went in to wake her up.  She was so toasty and snuggly in her bed.   So now I feel like I have been torturing my daughters for months by making them sleep in a freezing room with no warmth and their whining was just because they were cold!  :(

The girls are finally big enough to start cloth diapering fulltime and I'm so excited.  I love the cloth diapers and they give me such a sense of satisfaction that I'm doing something else.  They're so easy and CUTE.  (Yes, that's a motivating factor!)  I'm still waiting to get a full stash (Christmas!) but so far I grovia and thirsties that fit the girls.  I'm still getting used to the snaps and getting the right fit, but I'm happy with it!

The girls 6 month check is on Thursday so I'll be starting solids this week.  Maybe that will help the girls sleep even LONGER.  Johnny got some veggies for me to start cooking up.  We have a Beaba Babycook so I'm going to try to make most of the food that the girls eat.  I think I mentioned before that we're skipping over all of the white rice cereal and jumping right into veggies.  I'm excited to see how the girls do.  :)

Well I have a lot more to update about the kiddos, but it's 12:30am and this mama needs some sleep before the next feeding!

Showing off his choo choo collection!