What it’s all about

I took this video this weekend at my dad’s house. This is what it’s all about…

I’ve waited my whole life to sit back and watch my kids splash and play. This is what I yearned for before I became a mother…to see my little family happy. This is what I “just waited” for.

Since Kyle and I made it public that we were pregnant with twins, people felt compelled to tell us every horror story they knew. “My neighbor’s cousin was pregnant with twins and they were born too early and were in the NICU for 6 months and blah blah blah blah.” “Oh twins? Get ready…that’s gonna suck.” “Good luck with that…better you than me.” “Just wait until they start walking and run away from you in opposite directions.” “Just wait until they are both driving.”

I’m not kidding… people actually told us these things.

What in the world is wrong with people!? I can’t STAND when people start out with “Just wait” because it most likely is going to end was some negative, crappy thought.

For example…”Just wait until:”

They are both screaming all night.

They both start talking and won’t stop.

They get sick at the same time.

Ugh. Yes. I know parts of parenting suck. Yes, I also know having TWO kids means sometimes it’s going to suck TWICE AS BAD.

But let me tell you this…most of the time it is amazing.

No one ever said “Just wait until they both hold your hand while you walk.” “Just wait until they both give you kisses.” “Just wait until you get hugs from both at the same time.” “Just wait until they hug each other for the first time.”

For some reason, our society tends to focus on the negative. There is already so much negativity in our lives… so I choose to try my absolute best to focus on the positive, amazing, wonderful parts. It makes the negative parts so much easier to bear.

So when someone tells me “Just wait until ____” I try to answer back with “Oh yes but I can’t wait until they both learn to ride a bike, or learn to write their names, or have their first play at school, or fall in love” or whatever else I can think of to keep myself motivated to think positively.

And when times are tough… when someone is finger painting on the living room wall with who-knows-what or when they unroll a whole roll of TP into the toilet at my friend’s house… I remember my mantra “don’t get mad, get the camera.”

Being a parent is the most amazing, messiest, loudest, sweetest, frustrating, and funniest thing I’ve even done in my life. And I will make it my mission to make sure that every fellow parent I cross paths with walks away feeling inspired instead of dejected.

I want people to realize what being a parent is all about. We are teaching our children how to live in this crazy world. We are molding them for the future. We are nurturing their souls so they learn to find happiness.

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New routine = Amazing!

A couple of weeks ago, I was complaining to my friends about being tired because the girls didn’t go to sleep until around 11. One of my friends piped up and sternly told me that I have GOT to get the girls to go to bed earlier.

“How?!” I ask, tired and bewildered.

She essentially says “Tell them to go to bed.”

It made sense. With our old routine, they didn’t know when to go to bed or how to fall asleep when they should.

The next evening, Operation GO TO BED officially began.

Now, my girls have always been pretty good sleepers. They pretty much slept through the night after two months. Kyle spent his fair share of nights on the couch with a baby in the swing when they were sick or teething, but generally, they were good. The problem was that we never established a good evening routine so they would just wallow around in the living room until they would fall asleep and then we’d carry them to their cribs. Honestly, I really liked the evening cuddle-time so I didn’t want to change anything.

But the girls were cranky in the morning because they were tired. And I know sleep helps their bodies and minds grow. Plus Kyle and I were losing out on hours of time with just each other.

So, it was time for a change. A big change.

Before Operation GO TO BED, we’d finish supper around 6:45, bathe the girls and then head to the living room to play and watch TV. I’d lay out a big quilt on the floor and make three pallets (Ella, me, Emma.) Eventually they’d come crash on either side of me and would fall asleep after some time…usually by 10, but sometimes it wouldn’t be until after 11.

After Operation GO TO BED, the girls are in bed and asleep by 8:30.

8:30 people. That’s a big difference!

The girls are overall much happier, they aren’t as cranky in the morning, Kyle and I have time to actually talk in the evenings, and we can get to bed at a decent time.

Here’s what we do now.

We still finish supper around 6:45, bathe the girls and then head into the living room. We play for a while or watch TV. But at 8/8:15 the lights go out and we sit on the couch or cuddle on the floor. We turn the bee show on (it’s a channel on Amazon Fire with soothing music and bees buzzing around in a meadow. It’s calming) and then I slowly and quietly read Goodnight Moon. After I read it the first time, I ask them if they want me to read it again (always yes hehe) and I read it again even softer and slower. After I say “The end,” I say “OK girls, it’s time to go to bed.”

Get this.

They stand up, grab their bunnies and walk to their beds. Along the way we tell Bubbles the fish, Penny the dachshund, and Daddy goodnight. No screaming. No crying. No fits.

They stand by their beds until I lift them up. They give me a hug and a kiss, I lay them down and turn on their seahorses.Then they both say “Nightnight sista.”

I turn the lamp off and as I’m shutting the door I say “Good night girls, I love you. Have a good night and I’ll see you in the morning, OK?” and I hear two little “OKs.”

For a few minutes, I can hear them jibberjabbering back and forth and their cribs squeaking as they roll over to get comfortable. Then they are out.

It took two days of “training” to get to this point. Day 1 they cried for 20 minutes. Day 2 it was less than 10. Day 3, they walked themselves in there.

I am still amazed at them. Every day they learn something new. Each day their individual personalities continue to blossom and their bond with each other grows. Kyle and I are SO lucky to have these amazing little girls in our lives.

Random Thoughts on Losing a Child

I just wanted to share a few of my random thoughts.

Losing a child makes you part of a really weird club…a club you don’t want to be part of. And you don’t always know who else is in this club. Plus people don’t usually want to talk about the club. All the people in this club have experienced a similar loss but have unique experiences. Some lost babies before they were born. Some lost babies shortly after birth. Some lost young children. Some have lost older children. Some people have recently lost their child while for some it has been many years.

It doesn’t matter at what age you lost your child, how you lost them, or how long it has been…you’ll always have an ache in your heart for them…for what could have been.

Everyone deals with their loss differently. Some are able to move on quickly. Some never recover. Personally, I’m fine most days but every now and then the heartache of my two lost babies hits me out of no where. I am eternally grateful for the two children I have here with me, but I will always remember my two lost babies.

When Ella and Emma are old enough to understand, I’m going to tell them about their brother, Chance, and their sister, Hope.

~You don’t live here on Earth with us…you live in our hearts instead~

Update: Development

Ella and Emma have been doing GREAT lately! Last night they were both in good moods and played with us for a long time. I’m so surprised at how much they learned in just the past couple weeks! They both know plenty of words and can appropriately use them. We play a game every day where we ask what noise different animals make and they answer.

Cow: Mooooo! (while throwing the head back)

Rooster: DODDLE DOO! (while throwing the head back, too)

Dog: Ruffruff

Cat: Meow (always real short and to the point.)

Sheep: Baa

Chicken: Bockbock

Dinosaur: RAWR! (with claw-hands)

Frog: Bi-bit (with a little hop)

Bunny: Pop-pop (hop-hop… with a little hop too)

Duck: Quack Quack (this one involves the whole body tensing up and hopping)

Pig: Oink!

Bird: HoooHoooo or peep peep

They can name and point to: eyes, ears, nose, teeth. (With ears, they gently turn your head to touch both of your ears.)

They say sock, shoe, and jacket. Ella can unzip her jacket.

They know “I’m a little teapot,” “Itsy bitsy spider,” and “Ring around the rosy.” Ella sings “Happy Birthday.”

They can say and sign “eat”. They say milk, water, cookie, fork, and cup.

They follow simple commands like “Bring me your blanket” or “Put the doll on the chair.”

They totally interact with each other while playing.

They pretend play like there’s no tomorrow: playing with their kitchen, pretending to eat play food, pretend feeding their dolls and toys.

Emma routinely initiates and plays “Peekaboo” which she calls “PeekBoo.”

They both love looking at books and have pretty much stopped chewing on them.

They eat at a picnic table next to our tall table and use regular forks and open cups (mostly.)

There is a school bus that takes older children to the different school campuses around town that usually leaves right when we get to school. The girls just LOVE watching the school bus back up and leave. It beeps when it backs up and the bus driver always waves. When we pull up, they start saying “School bus?” As it leaves we wave and say “Bye school bus. See you later!”

They also know the names of some colors but not which color is which. Currently everything is pretty much “Lellow” or “Nreen.”

When they mispronounce something, we repeat back the appropriate pronunciation so they know the correct way to say it.

They both say Ella (Lella) and Emma (Memma.) They both respond correctly to their own name but don’t always correctly say their own name yet (sometimes Ella says she is Emma and vice versa.

They don’t have too many temper tantrums and they are usually just when they are tired, didn’t get their way, or they are fighting over a toy. Since they are able to communicate better or at least take us by the hand and take us to where the issue is, life has been much easier.

They had their 2 year check-up on Monday where they ran a blood test. Yesterday the nurse called to let me know the girls are both “non-anemic iron deficient” and that we need to start them on iron supplements. I’m also working on incorporating more iron into their diet and pairing it with Vitamin C-rich foods to help with absorption. We go back to have the blood work checked in six months. Other than that everything is great! they are both around 28 pounds and are 34 inches tall.

Eating supper at the picnic table

Eating supper at the picnic table

They got these bouncy cows for Christmas and are GREAT for the sensory input they need!

They got these bouncy cows for Christmas and are GREAT for the sensory input they need!

Bouncy cow "action shot"

Bouncy cow “action shot”

Update: Ella’s “Spells”

I mentioned yesterday that we’ve had a crazy week. Actually the craziness boiled over from last week into this week.

Last Wednesday at daycare, Ella had a “spell” where she was spaced out for about 45 minutes and then fell asleep afterwards. We’ve noticed that for about six months, she’s had smaller “spells” where she spaces out but they only last for a few seconds and maybe happen once a week. We just thought she was daydreaming so we didn’t think much of it. When she’s spaced out, she won’t respond to her name and isn’t phased by us waving our hands in front of her face. On a few occasions we noticed that she was stiff as well.

We made an appointment with our pediatrician and after seeing him, he referred us to Dr. Jones, a pediatric neurologist in Houston. We saw Dr. Jones on Monday and she had Ella do an hour long EEG, which was quite an adventure. Kyle was a super champ through the EEG and even thought to pull up Daniel Tiger on his Netflix app. The nurse stuck the probes to Ella’s head with adhesive and then with tape. I had to hold her arms down so she wouldn’t pull the leads off which she was NOT happy about. Then they wrapped her head with gauze. The tests consisted of her having a strobe light flashed at her at different intervals, blowing on a pinwheel (too bad she doesn’t know how to yet…) and then her taking a nap (uhhh yeah RIGHT!)

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Daddy and Ella watching TV


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Investigating the exam room drawers


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Waiting for the EEG


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Getting leads put on


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Wrapping her head with gauze so she can’t pull them off


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Action shot of Ella being TOTALLY done with the test… before it even started.


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Toddler brain waves


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Attempting to get her to take a nap… yeah right!


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Daddy’s turn to hold her


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Kyle’s thoughts on the whole ordeal

The good news is that the hour long EEG was negative for seizure activity. The bad news is that 1) we don’t know what caused the spells and 2) now we have to do a 24 hour EEG at home on December 1st. A company will come out and attached the monitors and she’ll have a little backpack with a small computer and a monitoring device on her for 24 hours. They come the next day and take it off. Sweet Kyle is going to stay home with her while Emma goes to school.

She hasn’t had any spells that we’ve noticed this week. We just want to know what’s going on with her… both doctors were concerned. Usually when I call about some obscure behavior, they assure me it’s normal, but this time they didn’t. If it’s not seizures, then I have no idea what to think. We’ll see what the 24 hour EEG says and then go from there! Does anyone else have any experience with behavior like this?