Thursday, June 24, 2010


14. Watching Hadley and Brynne smile at each other.

15. Blackberries from the farmer's market.

16. Waking up to Hadley chattering away in her crib through the baby monitor.

17. Having Brynne's hands on rub my cheeks.

18. Hot days for aqua aerobics.

19. Friends who don't run out of gas to help me out when I do. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Napping bootcamp

I had a small breakdown/revelation this weekend. My husband had three baseball games, so I spent much of it alone with the girls. It was a long, stressful weekend for me--the girls seemed fussy and irritable most of the time; I was tired, outnumbered and feeling very overwhelmed. At one point I looked at my sad, exasperated daughter, and saw dark circles under her teary eyes. It was then that I realized--my daughters are exhausted.

When the girls were sleeping through the night, I didn't consider it such a big deal that they weren't napping, but they have since hit the four month sleep regression, and/or are teething, and/or are going through a growth spurt--whatever it is, they aren't sleeping for long stretches at night anymore. This coupled with no naps makes for two very tired little girls (and two sleepy parents too).

Saturday evening while nursing the girls to sleep, I began my research to figure out how to get these girls napping. Now, I will say, I can get the girls to sleep during the day--they take small snoozes on the nursing pillow, or will fall asleep in the car on the way home for aqua aerobics, but they hardly ever lay down and sleep for long stretches of time. It's so rare, in fact, that I can probably recall, with detail, each of the instances in which this has occurred. Okay, so enter my sleep research. There are many schools of thought on getting babies to sleep, and I think I explored just about every single one of them. I knew I did not want to do the "cry it out" method, this is not meant to offend anyone who may adhere to this technique, just my personal preference based on research I've read, plus it just does not jive with our parenting style. So--I found a no-cry gentle sleep training solution, courtesy of some like-minded ladies on Baby Center's sleep training message board.

So, Sunday, after church, I began this napping bootcampBootcamps are intense, and yield results--I was/am determined! My goal is to follow the basic format of wake, eat, play sleep. The key is to pay attention and watch for "tired cues" from the girls, to get them ready for a nap before they become over-tired, which basically means that they get worked up and cry. At their age they should not be awake for more than two hours at a stretch. Once they are ready for their nap, I'm supposed to lay them down with their pacifier (we call those binks). When they cry, I am to go in and give them back the bink. If that doesn't work, you pick them up, calm them down and begin again. Sound like a lot of work? Trust me, it is!

Day one of this adventure did not yield too many results. The girls took a few short naps, in the swing, or in my arms. Not a total loss, but I wasn't feeling too encouraged.

Day two was a little bit better. I got them both down at the same time for about 20 minutes at one point. Mostly naps took place in swings, slings and automobiles. Brynne tends to fight sleep a bit more than her sister. It seems she just wants to hang out with her mama, which is okay too--she does eventually fall asleep in the sling, so at least she's snoozing.

On day three things started to look up. I decided that I was really going to buckle down, and try this whole process--I mean people have done this, and it's worked for them. I decided that I wasn't going to lay the girls down and walk away. Instead--I would bring all their laundry into their room, and put it away while they were trying to go to sleep. I hummed or shushed, so that they knew I was there. If their binks fell out, I was right there to put them back in. This worked out pretty well; Hadley took three naps this way! Brynne only fell asleep this way one time, so she and I hung out quite a bit. Again, she did fall asleep in the sling, so she did get some sleep. The one nap that they both took together lasted a whole hour. Hallelujah! What I noticed at the end of the day was that the girls were far more relaxed and content, and there seems to be, overall, fewer tears through out the day--it could have been a fluke, but I'd like to say it's some positive results from our napping bootcamp.

Today is day four, and so far we have one and a half naps under our belts (they fell asleep on the way home from aqua aerobics in the car). I've continued to hang out in the girls' room until they are asleep. Their room is going to be very organized by the time bootcamp is over! My spirits are lifting, and I'm feeling very proud of our girls for having such patience with their mama as we transition to this schedule. We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


8. Brynne rolled over from her tummy to her back for her papa yesterday morning--twice.

9. Watching Hadley learn how to kick the balloon with Miss Kris.

10. A young girl in the Schnuck's parking lot who returned our shopping cart for us when she saw two   parents and two fussy babies.

11. Seeing the girls smile and coo at their reflections in the mirror.

12. No tears at last Wednesday's aqua aerobics.

13. A friend described Hadley's smile perfectly--she smiles with her whole face.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Relationships are More Important

A friend, who has twins, shared a blog of another twin mom (did you follow that) with me yesterday, which inspired this. What she wrote completely resonated with me, as it did with my friend, and is exactly where I am at and what I'm struggling with.

Just after my graduation from graduate school in 2003, I had the great privilege to live with a family with whom I went to church. They have a big, beautiful home near Forest Park, and had an entire unoccupied third floor, which they used to house young, single adults from time to time. This family has four children, all close in age, which makes for a very busy household! I was always so impressed with this family's generosity, their great love,f and their commitment to relationships both with each other and with others. It's this last one, commitment to relationships, that has stuck with me all these years, and especially resonates with me now that I am a parent.

This family did not always have the cleanest home--there were definitely things out of place and dust on the floor. Their reason? Relationships are more important than keeping a spotless house. They would rather help their children with homework, or play a game of catch in the front yard rather than make sure the house was clean. Their lack of the immaculately clean home didn't keep them from having company over either--they encouraged people to call and invite themselves over for dinner at a moment's notice. Why? Because relationships are more important. They said that they would never regret not having a perfectly clean home, but they would regret missed  moments spent with their children, or missed opportunities to pour over good conversation with a friend. I remind myself of this lesson on a regular basis as I battle that gnawing feeling that I should be doing more daily.

For those of you who have read this blog before, you may remember that our girls do not nap well. Maybe once a week I can actually get them  down in the crib asleep, but most of the time they take small naps on the nursing pillow for as long as I will sit there quietly, and then they are awake again. All that to say--when the twins wake up in the morning, I am "on", and I am "on" sometimes until late evening if my husband has to work late, or has some sort of social commitment. It's intense, and can be exhausting. So what have I chosen to do about it? I'm waking up early. I know to read that it doesn't make much sense, but hopefully it will. I try to get myself up, and get myself ready before the twins get up each morning for a little quiet time. It's my time to be quiet, to talk to God and to be still. I'm very intentional about this, and it is hard. As I sit at our kitchen table,g the pile of dirty bottles and pumping equipment taunts me to be washed and the dog hair on the kitchen floor begs to be Swiffered. But I sit still. I sit still, drinking my coffee, eating my oatmeal, talking to God, or reading the Bible, because it is good for my soul, and ultimately it is good for my daughters, friends and for my husband--it makes me a better mother, friend and wife.

Then, when my daughters wake up, I am theirs--I feed them, clothe them, play with them, I.take them on walks, I take them swimming; I do so willingly, and with a joyful heart, because I've had my quiet time--they won't require as much from me forever, so I enjoy it while I can. During the day I have great friends who occasionally come over to visit with me and the girls--I love chatting with each of them, and let them in the door regardless of the state of our home. I have no idea what they think of our home, but I don't care. If I waited to have them over when my home was clean, I would be very lonely--relationships are more important. When my daughters go to bed, I am my husband's; I do so gladly, because I've had my quiet time--our marriage remains strong, and we continue to feel connected to one another, even though our family has doubled and our lives have been changed dramatically! I, occasionally, pay attention to our home--we certainly don't live in squalor, but I won't let that become more important than my play time with my daughters, visits with dear friends, my evening time with my husband, or quiet time with God--relationships are  more important.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I'm going to admittedly copy another blogger. She is making her way to 1,000 things that she is thankful for. She adds them to her posts, or sometimes her list is her entire post. It is good to be thankful in all circumstances. And so, now, some things to be thankful for:

  1.  Hadley singing along to "The Ants Go Marching" song when I get to the "hoorah, hoorah" part. Her "hoorah, hoorah" sounds more like "coo, coo," but we know what she means!
  2. Brynne giggling during a diaper change--love, love, love her giggle. I think that baby giggle might be one of the top 10 best sounds in the world.
  3. Our girls love to walk through our garden smelling the lavender, roses, sage, basil, oregano and lemon mint.
  4. They also love to feel the texture of lamb's ear leaves on their cheeks and the freshly cut grass on their feet.
  5. For a wonderfully supportive husband who loves me because of, and in spite of.
  6. Friends who answer the phone when I "need" to talk.
  7. Only a few tears shed in the pool today, despite frigid water temperatures.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

So they all rolled over...

Today my daughter, Brynne, rolled over! It was very exciting--maybe only to me and my husband, but I'm sharing with all of you anyway! I had her up on the changing table, and she kept rolling to her side, so after I got her all ready for church, I put her the floor to see what she could do. Sure enough--within a few minutes she had worked herself to her side, and then--plop, she rolled herself on to her tummy. She gave a repeat performance a few moments later, so that her daddy could see her new trick. I was ecstatic--I don't think I could have been prouder of anyone in that moment than I was of her. I went on to share the news with just about everyone I talked to at church, texted my family and a few friends, and made her accomplishment my facebook status. Overboard? Perhaps, but I was pretty stoked, and graciously, people have celebrated this accomplishment with us with gusto!

Rolling over, I realize, is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of one's life--I certainly don't recall the day when I rolled over for the first time-- but for our girls, it marks the first of many milestones, that I will lovingly journal about, with all the details that they aren't going to remember either. Then, one day, many years from now, they can know that they were a pretty big deal, and that we celebrated their first roll over, first step and first spoonful of smashed peas, among other things.

I have had the privilege of walking alongside a friend's last year with her son before he goes off to college.  I've listened to her both celebrate and mourn his last sporting event, last sport's banquet, last prom and last week of school. She has lovingly and painstakingly catalogued all his milestones and accomplishments, which were proudly displayed for all to see at his graduation party this afternoon. In the fall, she will experience the ultimate "roll over" moment as she takes her son to college, four hours away.

As I think about my friend, I think of where we are, at the other end of the parenting journey, with many more milestones and achievements yet to be reached by our girls--rolling over is just the beginning of many events to celebrate. My friend's journey reminds me that each one is precious, and should be met with great excitement--what a blessing and privilege to experience!