Five on Friday

one. Two posts in two days. Who am I? Well, for the past two days I’m the mother of two toddlers that have decided they can, in fact, sleep through the night without being ready for the day before 5am (who are these tiny morning people and who hatched them?!) Alas, this also makes me a mother that is well-rested (relatively speaking) and has been making a little time for herself in the morning. And that time involves blogging!
two. Can we all just agree that mashing your banana or avocado is the more logical way to eat it on toast? 


I mean, the little banana and avocado slices are cute and all but those suckers are slippery and the last thing I want to do is pick up more food from the floor. I already pick up after two tiny humans that find it hilarious when they throw their food on the floor. So I’ll stick to my mashed food on toast, despite its lack of Instagram worthiness.

three. Let’s keep taking about food, huh? Somedays I don’t take a shower or even change out of my pajamas. There, I said it. And this may or may not have been the case on Wednesday. But if I can do just one productive thing with my day, aside from keeping the kids safe and fed, I call it a win. Wednesday this dinner was my win. Mostly local (cucumbers and tomatoes right from my own garden), deliciously prepared food that screams SUMMER. Technically I overcooked the fish but still…win.

four. One more about food. If you aren’t putting peanut butter in your scrambled eggs already, do it now! Seriously. The best combination. I put a little in the pan when they’re cooking, then add another scoop for eating. Nom.


five. Little toddler heads are like magnets for coffee and end table corners so we’ve temporarily eliminated both from our living room decor, which can be pretty annoying when you’re trying to veg out on the couch, right?! Like, how much work would it be to actually hold my coffee cup while I’m social media binging?? Luckily, I’m very innovative. 😉

six. Because if you know anything about me you know that I like odd numbers but not necessarily 3 and 5.

We made it over to Pope Farm Conservancy on the very last of Sunflower Days so the flowers were just past their peak, but still beautiful and plenty, providing great photo opportunities. It seems silly, going to visit nine acres of sunflowers, but it was actually a fun little family outing! 


and seven. Because if you know anything about me you know that I dislike even numbers far more than 3 or 5.😉

No matter your political preference, this right here is downright adorable.


#whitehousebromance

Happy weekending, friends! Oh, and GO TEAM USA! But I’ll also be keeping a close eye on the Australian men’s swim team because um, hi Rhys Howden.

The One About Breastfeeding Twins. Kinda.

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week I thought it would be a good time to finally share our breastfeeding experience. I have drafted three posts on this topic, dating all the way back to when the boys were just four months old. But since our breastfeeding “situation” was so ever-changing, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t get around to finishing or posting any of those.

I’m going I try my best to keep this brief but that’s never been my strong point and this is a pretty hefty subject.

The boys were born six weeks early. I birthed them on an operating table (just in case an emergency c-section was necessary- it wasn’t) and they were immediately taken to the NICU so we didn’t get the opportunity for the immediate skin-to-skin, natural rooting and latching that I had so dreamed of. Feeding tubes were placed and they were given donor milk until my own came in. I started pumping about four hours after their birth and proudly carried my tiny droplets of colostrum, and eventual ounces of milk, to the NICU each time I visited.

With all of the tubes, wires, closed bassinets, and bilirubin paraphernalia, it never once crossed my mind that I could actually attempt to nurse my babies in those first few days. A lactation consultant was brought in on day 3, to coach me through my first attempts. They were failures. We kept trying, but as the boys quickly met all of the other criteria to be released from the hospital, I decided to go full steam with bottle feeding, in order to get them home. They had to take 48 hours worth of consecutive feedings, via breast or bottle, to earn their NICU diploma.


I continued to pump around the clock, still took advantage of plenty of skin-to-skin time, and attempted nursing whenever it felt natural. The forcing it, with an audience, just wasn’t working for us. But every once in a while one of the boys (almost always Nolan) would find his way and latch for a bit. 


My milk came in plentiful and I had quite the stash going in the hospital freezer. When the boys were 19 days old, my appendix decided it needed out of my body so I spent a long Saturday in the ER, followed by a quick 16 hours in surgery and recovery. My pumping schedule got totally messed up and I dumped much of what I pumped because of the yucky chemical stuff I had to drink before my CT scan to determine that it was, in fact, my appendix that was desperately begging to get out. I tell you this because the next part of our story is where I had to give up hope that my babies would be exclusively fed breast milk, even if not directly from the source. 

We started supplementing with some formula around the one-month mark because their demand outweighed my supply. Even though I was spending more than three hours of each day pumping, I wasn’t able to keep up. We mixed a portion of formula into each bottle of breastmilk, the amount varied depending on how much milk we had in the fridge. It was important to me that they get the benefits of breastmilk over an extended period of time, rather than just running out and completely switching to formula.

I cried, a lot, when we started doing this. I had only ever imagined exclusively breastfeeding my babies. Even when I found out we were having twins, which I knew would present some challenges, I still only ever imagined exclusively breastfeeding. And so to not be exclusively breastfeeding, but now to be giving them formula too?! It was just more than my exhausted, emotional, momma heart could handle.


But you know what? It was fine. They are fine. They are healthy. In retrospect, it took a lot of pressure off me because I didn’t feel the need to pump between feedings. I didn’t feel the need to have that thing attached to me at all times. I didn’t feel so terrible if I slept through my middle-of-the-night pumping alarms when the boys started to sleep for longer periods.

So we continued on, attempting to nurse often. Nolan was much more into it, latching and nursing quite often, actually. Then there was Theo, who, at times, would scream anytime my nipple came close to his face. There were tears. Lots of tears. From all of us when we were frustrated with it. And from me during those rare tandem nursing successes. When it was just as I’d always dreamed it would be, even if briefly. 


Ultimately, neither of the boys ever seemed completely satisfied with nursing and were always screaming out in hunger ten minutes after a nursing session so we continued with bottle feeding. I give my husband serious props for getting up for every single middle-of-the-night feeding in those early months. Every. Single. One. 

Nursing, for us, was for comfort. For closeness. For snacks. For emergency “why don’t we have any clean bottles?!” and “oh crap, it’s meltdown time situations. 


And even though it’s not how I had imagined it would go, it was what worked for us. It was our version of natural and I’m so grateful that we got the opportunity to experience it at all. While I know they didn’t really care how they were fed, I wanted what I felt was best for them and never gave up on doing my best to provide that. Lucky for me, they were troopers and let me continue trying. Between 9 and 10 months they really lost interest in nursing. They could now maneuver their own bottles and liked the independence of doing so. I’d grown very tired of pumping around the clock, and thus, had dropped a few sessions. We had a vacation coming up and while fully prepared to bring along my pump, the timing just sort of naturally worked itself out so I was able to stop pumping about a week before and didn’t have all of that extra stuff to take along. I continued to hand express daily, both before our trip, and on vacation. I had so many mixed emotions about completely losing my supply! Upon returning home, Theo enjoyed a couple last nursing sessions and then both were totally over it. There was something poetic about him being the one to get in those last couple of sessions. My strong-willed boy, who resisted nursing for so long! It was as if he just wanted to say, “thanks, mom”. 

Or, he was just hungry and knew where he could find a good snack.😉


Rock on, mommas. Do what works for you and your littles. And most of all, support and normalize breast feeding!!! It’s the way nature intended it to be and it’s a darn shame that people can’t just let mommas and babies do their thing!

Summer Vacation 2016

Saturday we returned from a wonderful week in the glorious Northwoods, just outside of Minocqua, Wisconsin. We made the trip last year when the boys were just seven weeks old and as you might assume, it was a vastly different experience with two toddlers, as opposed to two tiny infants.

With the second year under our belt, we hope to make it an annual tradition with our next door neighbors (my parents’ neighbors now, but are your childhood neighbors ever not your neighbors?) and their growing family.

We’ve been visiting Minocqua since the late 90s but sort of took a break from it in recent years, and now I cannot fathom why we ever did such a thing. As much as it feels good to be home, I easily could’ve spent the rest of the summer there.

We were largely disconnected from  “the real world”, with no wifi and very limited cell service. We didn’t watch one second of tv and I touched the newspaper only for crossword puzzle purposes. There was likely some sort of madness happening in the world, but I was blissfully unaware and that’s exactly what I needed.

Our days were spent watching bald eagles soar over the lake, listening to the loons, boating, playing cards, and enjoying one another’s company. 

I ate my weight in tortilla chips and drank enough Summer Shandy to put at least one Leinenkugel through college (yet never got drunk- the best part about slow, all-day, vacation drinking, right?!) so you can be certain I spent a good chunk of my Sunday healthy food prepping, but there are no regrets from this trip. ‘Twas a lovely time with some of my favorite people. 

Here, have a look!


Oh, and the boys had Hand, Foot, & Mouth so the first couple days they had fevers, which then turned into rashes/sores/blisters all over their little bodies but they were SUCH troopers!

Nolan went from walking to running on this trip, and also really came out of his shell in public. He’s been sort of a momma’s boy as of late, which is totally fine by me, but it’s also great for him to not be so shy in public settings.

ooh baby baby, it’s a wild world

…I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do, and it’s breaking my heart in two. 

I’m finding it difficult not to carry the weight of the world lately. I almost can’t bear to turn on the tv or browse social media, for fear of what I’ll see.

Another senseless murder, another act of terrorism, another life taken too soon*, another racially charged tragedy.

And the worst part about it? None of this is shocking anymore. When I heard about the attack in Nice yesterday, I didn’t gasp like I did when these sorts of incidents first started happening more frequently. 

When was that even? 

When did this sort of thing become so regular? 

Did you know there have been nearly 12,00 people killed by Islamic terrorism this year alone? This list may not be completely accurate or up-to-date, but it’s devastating nonetheless.

As mothers we do everything in our power to protect our children. We desperately need a break from them at times, yet when we leave them we do nothing but worry. And now, we even worry when we’re with them. When we think they can’t possibly be harmed in our care. But we just never know. 


I’m trying my best to stay above it all. Soak up every single moment of happiness that is in my life. Kiss  the little cheeks (and lips, because THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS) of my babes as much as they’ll let me. Embrace middle of the night wakings with open arms because far too many mothers no longer get to snuggle their babies.


And I don’t know how I’ll begin to explain all of this to my children when they’re old enough to understand. I don’t know how I’ll begin to tell them the ways in which the world can be so cruel. How there can be so much hate when all anybody wants is to be loved, how people can be so evil when we were all born with the same innocence. 


So for now, I hold them as tightly as I can. I cherish each and every moment moment I have with them; the little and big, the good and bad, the happy and sad.

Someday I’ll teach them to be smart and aware. And I’ll hold out hope that by the time they’re old enough to understand, I won’t have to tell them there’s a lot of bad and beware.

I wish you all sunshine through the clouds, positivity when the negative drags you down. I hope that you can see through the evil, embrace the little things, I hope you can get by just upon a smile.


*The story of Beau Solomon has been weighing particularly heavy on my heart, as he was a resident of my hometown, attended my high school, and shared his love of life with many people I know. My 19 year-old Godson was his teammate, his classmate, his friend, and on Wednesday he was a pall bearer at his funeral.

five on friday

Siiiiike! I dislike the number five, but love alliteration, so you’re getting seven random facts, yet the title remains the same.

one. I’m in a coffee rut. I feel like I need coffee, yet none of it really tastes great to me. My go-to iced coffee has lost its luster. I get coffee envy when I see other good looking coffees, but just can’t seem to get mine to taste the way I want. Generally I think hot coffee is good for only booze and winter, but I did try it blended with coconut oil the other day and it was pretty tasty. It’s a fairly healthy option so I might stick with it. Really I think my body may just be telling me that I don’t need coffee at all, but who am I to listen to my body? And who does my body think it is, telling me I don’t need coffee anyway??
twin mom cup.jpg

I should probably get this cup, no?

two. The problem with blending coconut oil in my coffee is that my babies are afraid of the blender. This poses an additional problem because I’ve recently introduced them to crack smoothies, which are also blended (in case you didn’t know), and well, Theo starts to freak out at even the sight of the blender. Soooo, I do as any mom would do. I take the blender out to the garage and close the door while I whip up the goodness!

three. We’ve reached the battery stage. 97% of the gifts the boys were given for their first birthday require AA batteries. And you know what we don’t really have just lying around here? AA batteries. This morning I discovered that HyVee sells a 4-pack for 99 cents so I bought numerous 4-packs since I’m sure they’ll last super long at that price…

cake

four. I want you to know that I did thorough research to find out whether “sike” should be spelled “sike” or “psych”, since essentially it means “I psyched you out, man!” It bothers me a little that I went with the technically incorrect spelling, however it just feels more 90s, you know?

sike

five. My babies (I WILL CALL THEM BABIES FOREVER) have almost zero interest in TV. The only time they really care is when a song comes on. Then they stop whatever they’re doing, have a little five second dance party, and then go back to licking the floor, slamming the cupboard doors, or pulling all of the DVDs out of the basket. I digress.
I mention the TV thing for a few reasons:
a) Most days the TV remains off. All day. Is that weird?
b) When I do turn on the TV, it stays on PBS Kids even though mine are not watching it.
c) I have all of the PBS Kids show theme songs memorized. The Cat in the Hat is my fave.
d) I couldn’t even use the TV for entertainmentif I wanted to.
e) I could totally be binging on NetFlix goodness all day and they wouldn’t even know. They’d probably dig the Pretty Little Liars theme song!

six. I dropped a can of pears on Nolan’s head Wednesday. I did. If you ever want to feel like the worst mom ever, just drop a can of pears on your baby’s head. Bonus points if that same baby smacked his head on the dining room table a few days earlier because you were blinded by his cuteness and didn’t see the danger in the situation that caused him to hit his head. All this to say, we might all start wearing helmets around here. And mine is going to have the two little can holders with straws, a la Homer Simpson.

IMG_6336

 

Also, he’s fine. But I did take him to urgent care just to make sure and to take away a smidge of the mom guilt.

seven. I have been drooling over this recipe for like two weeks, and now, after three trips to the store for the ingredients, I am finally making it for dinner tonight. #mombrain

*Thanks to Amber for the blog title inspiration today. I always get the itch to share random information on Fridays but I’ve never stuck with a name for it. After reading her Friday five, I decided to go with it. Twin mom same brain.🙂

Have a great weekend, friends!

How Do You Measure a Year?

*one thing you should know about me is that I will always take advantage of an opportunity to sing/share/relate to a RENT song.


In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.

So very many cups of coffee.


In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

Eight miles might as well be a million when that’s the distance that separates you and your newborn babies for the first three weeks of their precious lives.


In diapers, report cards, in smoked wheels, in speeding tickets.

We could buy a small island with the money we’ve spent on diapers this year. 


In  contracts, dollars, in funerals, in births.

The first birthday seems like an ideal time for them to sign a contract agreeing to love me forever and ever, more than anyone else, right?!

Or. How about love? 


Yes. Measure your life in love.

Year after year.

…and suddenly I get it.

I’ve always wondered about those parents. The parents who say their child is 26 months old instead of just saying that they’re freaking two. I realize that baby/toddler clothing is tagged in months up until 18-24ish, but honestly, is there any reason to count your child’s age in months??

Yes. Yes, there is. A very valid reason that, up until recently, I hadn’t understood at all.

It’s because after months, come YEARS. Once your child reaches the one year mark, they are no longer babies. You don’t count their age in weeks or months, you count it in years. Scary, wonderful, exciting, can’t-get-them-back YEARS.

One minute you have newborn baby boys and the next they’re hanging with girls that aren’t mom or grandma.


Then suddenly they’re driving.

And thriving.


And with each year, they inch further and further away from you. 


That independence they gain with each is year is utterly bittersweet. The more independent they become, the more you want them to need you. 

And so I’ve come to realize that those parents aren’t crazy or stupid. They know that there are 12 months in a year. They can probably even figure out that 18 months equals a year and a half. But when you say that your baby is a year old, it sounds so SO much more frightening than saying twelve months.

Once you start counting by years, you don’t get to go back to the months. And before you know it, the days of counting by weeks will sadly be but a distant memory.

All this to say, I have two babies that are about to turn ONE YEAR OLD.

I’m filled with fear. And excitement. And tears. And hope. And love. I have a lump in my throat the size of a boulder any time I think about the fact that we are actually going to be hitting this milestone so quickly. But one thing I know is that each day, each week, and each month of life with these boys has brought so much joy to our lives. And so I know that the years will too. They will bring happiness beyond my imagination, even if they do fly by faster than I can handle.

So excuse me now while I weep until June 9th. Or 10th. Or maybe 11th? At some point I’ll accept that my babies are toddlers, but I get a couple of extra days to deal with it, right? Isn’t that a part of the twin package?

Oh, and I promise I won’t be one of those parents with 32 month-old babies. Probably.