Friday, May 29, 2009

some recent photos from the life of Ava

Ava loves to watch the neighbor's puppy
swinging on her belly is a favorite
Helping Daddy with the swingset "renovation"

playing in the new pool
how's this look for a comfortable sleeping position?


I went out of the room for a minute and came back to find this.
I guess she thought she'd better read up on our strategies?

She told me she was reading "like mommy." The funny part? That is how I lay on the couch and always with a blanket when I read. Monkey see, monkey do!

Our little invalid - Ava thought her bandaged foot was awesome.
Doesn't Kate look bothered by it?! : )

an update on our life

These last few weeks have felt like a huge transition point for me . . .in a good way.

The twins are averaging about a 7 hour stretch between their last feeding at night and even did right under 8 hours last night (they've done that once or twice before). So last night the girls ate around 8:20, were in bed asleep by 10:30, and weren't up to eat again until 4. YEAH! They then go right back down for another 3 - 4 hour stretch before starting their day.

This means that if mom gets to bed early enough (big if : ) ), she ends up with a slightly functional amount of sleep the next day! It's made a huge difference, especially on the days I'm fully on my own.

The girls are also settling down for naps great these days at well (gotta love Babywise I tell you!). So when fussy, they get put down awake in their beds and usually within 5 minutes they are settled down fast asleep, if not less. They usually settle down fairly quickly at night too, although last night was a little fussier than usual.

I think for twins, nights are going very well. I don't take any of that for granted - although we have worked at it.

I've thought over and over again how thankful I am for two healthy, happy and content baby girls.

We had a bit of a scare with Kate last week that resulted with a trip to the ER for fear of losing a toe (Ava discovered multiple tourniquets of hair around one of Kate's tiny toes after a fussy day - it wasn't a pretty sight). The Dr's were great and with minimum pain, she's now doing great. Dr. Pogue gave her a final lookover the beginning of this week and was really pleased with how it's healed.

Kate was a trooper and it didn't seem to bother her much past the initial day of onset. We're just thankful for all 5 toes (and a big sister that saw it - I'm convinced that was the hand of God saving Kate's toe).

Kate and Olivia are so much fun these days (they were 12 weeks old on tuesday!). They love an attentive face and will coo and smile as much as they can to keep you there. Yet they bless their big sister and their mommy with being just as content to play under their play gym. And they love to watch Ava playing busily around them.

Mommy? I mentioned that I feel like we've hit a refreshing transition point. The girls are more settled into a routine (ahh the beauty of around 3 months old!) and that lets me feels some more freedom and downtime myself. This past week found all 3 girls napping at the same time for about an hour and a half in the afternoon 3 different days!

I quite liked. : )

I feel like I can function a little more around the house. That means laundry is more often done by me and not others (or at least partly : ) ). The kitchen sink doesn't overflow with dishes quite as frequently. Rooms get picked up on occasion. I can find the time to exercise at least a little most days.

While my house doesn't always really look like the above is a reality - it feels so nice to know it does happen on occasion and that I'm not so fully relient on others or Ryan to get through the day. Although I can't say enough how blessed we've been by the huge amount of support we've been shown. It still humbles me.

One day I'll have to write an "Ode to Grandma's." That's a whole post in itself!

There are times I can still get frustrated with how housebound I feel or the large amount of things that still go undone throughout the day. But I see changes and I see improvements . . . that helps so much on the days that drag on, the nights that are shorter and list of tasks that doesn't seem to lessen.

As I mentioned in a previous post, it's on those days I have to make a choice to thank God for this stage of life I'm in and learn to be ok with "less."

less done.

less "accomplished."

less me (or should I say more?!? : ) )

Overall, it just finally feels like our house has adjusted to its "new normal." I'm learning to see what that new normal is, embrace it and not lament the old. Because without a doubt, there are some pretty bright spots our two little girls have brought that far outweigh the changed.

With taking on more days by myself, I may not make it to blogging land quite as often, but know your prayers continue to be felt.

And with that, I've already rambled long enough just to say, "We're here, life's improving and it's even been fun along the way." : )

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Friday!

I don't know if it was everyone's prayers from my post yesterday . . .but Mommy got the best sleep she's gotten last night in about 2 weeks, Ava went to bed without a fuss and slept all night AND the girls went almost 7 1/2 hours between nursing last night! Add in a little girl who is going on a 3 hour nap and mommy likes today! : )

So all that to say . . .

Happy Friday!
(11 1/2 weeks old)
So do you know who is who?! : )

Thursday, May 21, 2009

some catch up

Life continues on at our house - although this week has been a long one. I seem to have come down with a mild virus the girls had last week and while mild . . .it is just enough to take a little more out of me with short nights and the sometimes long days.

Add in a big sister who suddenly has decided life is much too fun to sleep (ex: one night she was up from 2:45 - 5 AM just wanting to play), and who suddenly thinks bedtime is for sissies, and the twins seem like they're sleeping great! Ava's always been a great sleeper so I'm not quite sure what is the deal. I'm just praying it's short lived. : ) This mommy is a little weary today.

Ava's growing independence can make me excited and exasperated all in the same minute (all you out there with approaching 2 years olds understand me I know!). She definately pays attention to see if we follow through with reprimands and has no problem voicing her opinion.

The good news? She's also becoming more and more interested in playing and talking with the twins. It's been pretty sweet to watch as she'll lean over them and talk to them. They give her quick smiles and love to watch her playing around them. Her talking seems to improve by the day, it seems at times, and that I love to see and hear.

Ava definately outgrew her scooters from last summer so we went out and got her a trike to grow into. She had lots of fun helping Daddy put it together and was quite excited about her new bike.
While eager, her legs are still just a little too short.

So what's the next best option? You get creative! Pushing it is much more fun anyways.

Ava usually has fits as I try to do too much of anything with her hair. I have forced a pony tail on her once but since we just trimmed up the sides can't anymore. Well peer pressure can be great!
While at my sister's earlier this week, she saw her cousin get pig tails and let Alisa put them in for the first time! I absolutely love them . . .and hope this can continue. I think she looks pretty cute!

This is her telling me "CHEESE." Bubbles are too serious of an activity to fully deviate from.

Here Ava is talking to Olivia to try and get her to stop crying.

Next we'll try some kisses.

Always the helper, Kate could use her pacifier.

Olivia can't be consoled.

I'll try to get some good pictures of the twins up yet this week.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

so where's the gray in your life?


No cute pictures of my kids again.

It's just me.

But I just kind of had to post about something I've been reminded of lately as I"ve read some other blog posts and thought through some circumstances in my own life.

Do you ever find yourselves amongst the land of "all or nothing?"

You know.

There's no way I can get the whole house cleaned up, so why bother with just the family room.

I already ate way too much this morning, the rest of the day is ruined.

I only have 15 minutes before the kids are up, what's the point of even trying to exercise.

There's no way I have time to do "real devotions," 5 minutes aren't enough.

Yes, such is a bad habit of mine.

The good news?

It's gotten much better.

Long ago in my "much younger years" ( : ) ), that used to be the basis of all my decision making.

If I couldn't accomplish a task or goal in the entire duration, intensity or way I wanted to, there was zero validity in doing even a little bit.

Life is depressing living that way (probably why I was depressed : ) ) and leaves little room for growth, grace or learning.


You're constantly in a state of failure.

You try to not get depressed while failing all the time. It isn't easy I tell you!

I think if anyone ever asked me what is the "Big" lesson God taught me through some very rough years, it is that even He created life to hold a little gray (although He probably would use the word "grace.").

So why bring this all up?

Because I find myself at a stage in life where I am constantly having to choose the "gray."

And that isn't always fun.

Lack of sleep, constancy of children and an endless list of things that should be done have all become things that stand in the way of devotions, eating well , going places, and exercise.

God bless Ryan.

When I call him on the phone at work lamenting a shortened time frame or encountered obstacle to accomplish a desired goal I had that day, he is gracious at constantly trying to come up with a new way to make it happen in some shape or form.

My problem?

I find myself sliding back into an "all or nothing" mindset too often as I shoot down suggestion after suggestion he offers me.

God love the man. . . and his patience.

The truth is?

Some is always better than none.

Mornings do not need to define an entire day.

The girls' bad nights do not have to ruin tomorrow.

Just because I"ve found I can't cut back much on my food intake because of nursing two, doesn't mean I have to eat junk all day long.

And even when I only have 10 minutes . . . I still have 10 minutes.

So I'm working on soaking in the 5 minutes of reading I can embrace.

I'm trying to feel accomplished in the 10 minute workout segment I managed to get in despite the girls' waking up early to nurse.

I'm learning to celebrate that the kitchen sink has been emptied of dirty dishes even if it's the only clean surface in my entire first floor. : )

I'm relearning the simplicity of the gray.

Lots of 5 minute drinks turn into refreshment.

3 ten minute segments becomes 30 minutes.

Emptied sinks, wiped up counters and folded laundry turns into a mostly clean kitchen.

And you know?

Since my morning doesn't have to define my afternoon?

I'm going to oh so enjoy my ghiradelli's caramel filled milk chocolate square (or two).

I'll start again this afternoon and maybe start with an apple. : )

And no worries - my parents leave for Japan tomorrow.

More pictures will return soon.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

ahh . . . the lovely family photo

We had our pictures taken for the church directory today.

It was such a joy.


That was a lie.

You see, our family is at the stage where family photos are a bit of a joke.

You try and tell two 9 week old babies and a 21 month old little girl to sit still, look at the camera . ..oh and while you're at it, please smile.

Ryan and I went in with low expectations.

I said all I hoped for was one child looking at the camera.

Nothing else.

The bow didn't need to be in place.

Smiles weren't required.

Shoes were a bonus but not a neccesity.

And if I didn't look completely awful, that's always a plus.

I got slightly hopeful as Ryan, myself and the twins were put in place, then Ava and no fits began.

Ava even was sitting still.

However, Mr. Photo guy decided it would be nice to take 5 minutes of prep before beginning to click and actually trying to get my daughter to smile.

It was a sweet thought, but Mr. Photo Man didn't you know? - a smile wasn't on my list of requirements.

Plus his window of opportunity for said 21 month old to stay still enough for a picture was quickly evaporating.

However, after one photo, it was almost like this man looked at us through some realistic eyes and a light bulb went on.

Ryan and I both said later to eachother it was as if he looked at us and realized the poor potential in front of him, and he just decided he had to click the shutter 3 more times "to give us options" and he might as well get it over . . .because the gorgeous family photo was not about to manifest itself.

So he quickly clicked the shutter 3 more times with little or no warning and hustled us out of the room.

I walked out just praying for something that wasn't entirely embarrassing - my expectations had changed.

I no longer needed even just "average."

All I was hoping for was something not entirely embarressingly awful.

As we were called in to view our photos, we got to walk this line of perfectly placed, tailored and smiling framed families.

Children sitting sweetly in place.

Rest, peace and joy exuding from every pore of the parents' perfectly tailored faces.

In fact, I think I might have heard angels singing.

Either that or mocking - I'm not quite sure.

You see, as soon as we sat down and viewed the first photo, we knew we were in trouble.

Bad appeared on the screen in the form of photo #1.

Ava's eyes were closed, Olivia was half crying and Ryan wasn't looking directly at the camera.

Photo #2 showed up: worse.

Ava was looking at the camera with her dead stare. Oliva AND Kate were crying. Mom was looking down.

Photo #3: worst
Ava was trying to climb off the table. Kate had her head completely tilted upwards and looked ridiculous. Mom and Dad looked exhausted (that's being kind)

Photo #4: just ugly
Ava's hand was covering her face. The girls were starting to fuss. Mom LOOKED like she just had twins, is exhausted and possibly ready to hit said photo man across the head. Dad still just looked tired.

Meanwhile, those perfect church photos still stared tauntingly at us across the top of the computer screen.

So Ryan and I yelled "surrender," chose bad photo #1 and walked out as gracefully and quickly as we could.

We're praying our friends really love us because of who we are . . .and not the cute pictures we take.

But I tell you, watch out.

In another 10 years, WE"RE going to be that family staring at you across from the top of the computer screen.

Family picture drills start promptly monday morning at 8.

My kids are going to love me.

OH - and just in case you were wondering?

No additional photos were purchased. One copy will be MORE than plenty.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

my little reader . . .

Ava has always loved books - and as a self-diagnosed book worm myself I have loved watching her love for books grow.

I can think of countless times throughout my life where my night ended with mom and dad having put me to bed . . .only to get in trouble when they discovered me under my covers with a flashlight hours later as I read late into the night a book I'd read 10 times before. I've often hoped my own kids would love reading as much as I did and have tried to foster that love myself.

It seems to have caught.

Last week, Ryan put Ava to bed around 8 and came downstairs.

We heard her singing for a little bit but within 10 minutes all was quiet as our daughter settled down for a long night's sleep . . .or so we thought.

Around 9, as we got ready to feed the twins, Ryan decided to quick check on Ava.

He walked into a quiet room to discover our daughter sitting up in bed, stacks of books around her, quietly reading books to herself over 40 minutes after she had been put to bed.

We talked to her a little bit but being that she was relaxed, quiet and behaving, let her be thinking she'd be out shortly anyways.

Another 45 minutes later I snuck upstairs to check on what would have to be my now sleeping child.

Instead, I found a daughter still diligently turning the pages, even as her eyes were heavy and tired.

And I did what I always said I'd never do . . .

I took my daughter's books and told her she had to go to bed now.

Since then, on numerous occasions, Ryan and I have put Ava to bed at night or for a nap, only to check on her much later to find her asleep and surrounded by piles of books . . .that hadn't been there when she'd been put to bed.

It seems the book bug has struck and stayed.

This is one habit this mommy doesn't find irritating.

In fact, I find it pretty cute.

Keep reading little girl.

baby loves . . .

Because I seem to find my days are often passed before I get a blog post done, here some recent snapshots of our little girls. They seem to change so much by the day and just keep getting more and more fun - smiles easily abound from both to anyone who'll stop and show a little love. They're sleeping about 6 - 6 1/2 hours a night which finally allows mommy to get a somewhat refreshing stretch of sleep - YEAH! : )

SO here's some fun pictures from earlier today - you'll quickly understand why I pay to have someone take pictures for me! Despite my lack of photography skills, I still think they're pretty perfectly sweet.

Kate (left) and Olivia (right)
Some cheese from Olivia

Kate talking to Mommy

How about some extra cheese from Olivia (ignore the spit up on sleeper : ) )

The girls were 2 months old this past saturday, the 3rd!
We had their appt last thursday:
Kate: 9 lb 0 oz
Olivia: 8 lb 11 oz
The Doctor was extremely pleased with their growth. He still charts them at their adjusted age (which was 5 weeks then) and both girls found themselves around the 20th/25th percentiles in all areas of growths - looks like mommy's genes might be playing a slightly larger role this time around (Ava's always been around the 75% percentile). It'll be neat to see as they continue to grow. We just praise God for two healthy and happy little girls.
Kate (left) and Olivia (right)