Reminicing About My Mary Poppins Bag

I used to be a great babysitter.

I'd show up to the house with what became known as my Mary Poppins Bag. Do you remember that? From the movie? She'd pull the most amazing things out of that tiny thing... lamp, a table... it never seemed to end! In actuality, mine was just a large blue Adidas duffle bag, but the contents are what made it special. For one trip I might have a few Disney videos, bubbles, boondoggle keychain materials, coloring books and crayons, paint and markers, sidewalk chalk, gummy fruit snacks, candy and a box of macaroni and cheese. I'd change things around after every trip and tried to keep it exciting. The kids weren't allowed to touch my bag, making it seem that much more mysterious. Bribery was my best friend! Kids were happy, I was happy, parents were happy (and they always paid me generously!)

I've been thinking a lot about that bag lately and felt a little sad that that part of my life was over. Those carefree days of shopping at the Dollar Tree to buy some fun little toys, making a quick trip to Walmart because they had the best deals on those vanilla sandwich cookies one family liked. Receiving phone calls for a babysitting job, looking at my calendar and saying, "I'm sorry, I'm not available," or "I'm not feeling well." Receiving praise from the kids when they'd tell the parents all we did when they came home. Having to say that you're not accepting any more families because you couldn't keep up with all of the jobs your current families wanted you for. To be wanted. Appreciated. Well liked.

As a mom, we are immediately put into a situation where people just expect you to know what you're doing and your 'clients' rarely say thank you. When your child asks for the treat on the top shelf, there's no one else you could call and ask if it was alright. You can't just say "Oh, I didn't know what the house rules are," or "Sorry, they're your mom's rules, not mine," because you're the one calling the shots. When your baby cries because you had to pull him away from the jar of Vaseline he was playing with, you feel horrible but you know that sometimes, parenthood requires us to be mean like that. The buck stops with you. We are ultimately responsible for the decisions - how every small they might be - on a daily basis. And it's not always easy.

As a babysitter, I could pick up a screaming baby and hold him in my arms for two hours until the parents got home. Let a screaming baby cry? NO WAY! As a babysitter, I might let them eat their lunch in front of the television in order to finish the movie before I had to leave. Cleaning up the extra mess? NOT A BIG DEAL! I don't mind cleaning it up! As a babysitter, I'd be home by 11:05pm and could even sleep in the next day.

As a mom, I know better. The crying baby is fed, clean and comfortable; it's okay for him to cry it out. It's alright if the kids eat somewhere else, but they need to clean it up; if I let them do that all day, I'd go out of my mind. For moms, this is our life. We don't get to hand off our kids back to their original caretakers or cancel because we're not feeling well. We don't have the luxury of leaving the dirty messes to someone else. Molding kids' lives while also maintaing the smallest details of their day takes a lot of effort. It is physically and emotionally draining. It's exhausting, especially since most of us are with our children longer than 4-6 hour intervals!

But gosh, I wouldn't trade this job for anything.

I still have a Mary Poppins Bag, although now I call it my Diaper Bag. It's amazing what I can fit inside that little thing. I don't receive the accolades I used to get from the appreciative children I babysat, but the smiles on my boys faces make me feel like I'm doing something right. I may not get paid for the work I do on a daily basis, but the benefits are outta this world!

At the end of the day, I am so incredibly proud of the fact that I get to keep these boys.


Mother's Day Gift Idea

I realize this is a little early, but I found what I think is the cutest Mother's Day gift! A stool with each if your kids' footprints!

You can find the original directions at this blog, Brown Paper Packages. A mother to TWO sets of twins and one singleton, Kiestie is always bursting with creative ideas! Photos were used off of her blog, too.


God Knew What I Needed

Only God knew how much I would have needed to get out last night. It was a date we had planned for three months. Andy bought me tickets to see Grease at Shea's Performing Arts Center for Christmas, something I have looked forward to with each passing day. It felt like such a long time off. But then, when the time came, I wasn't sure that I wanted to go at all.

It's been a really hard week and a half. Jack and Ben have had RSV and Jack also had an ear infection. It was horrible. Congestion, coughing, runny noses, wheezing, diarrhea, vomitting and loss of appetite were just some of the highlights. They were uncomfortable and just wanted to be comforted by mommy and mommy alone. They'd wake up coughing in the middle of the night and throw up everything they consumed. I was sleeping with them on the couch and washing 5-7 loads of laundry a day. I was tired. Exhausted. Run down. Emotionally drained. Completely spent. Andy was a huge help, even coming home from work early most days to lend a hand. But I was still frustrated. When would this end?

The boys would seem to get better, and then get worse again. Yesterday, I was so frustrated by their indecisiveness that I wanted to lock myself in the bedroom and just drift off to sleep. I was easily discouraged. But I did what every other mom would: I kept on going.

Andy came home and tried to help, but my nerves were so shot from the day that I was refusing all assistance. I was short with him and I could tell he felt helpless. When my parents arrived, I wasn't sure I was in the condition that my husband even wanted to take me on a date anymore. Thankfully, Andy held my hand as we walked to the car and after we got our seatbelts on, he gently asked if I was alright.

That's when I lost it.

I cried in the car and after the hostess seated us at the table. I cried when our food came and as we picked at our salads. I was a mess. Andy tried to be understanding, even when I started accusing him of little petty things that didn't have to do with anything. It was almost as if I wanted him to hurt as much as I was hurting. As much as I knew we were a team - we've always been a team - I felt like I was doing this alone. He's at work. I'm with the boys. I have to juggle a time to use the bathroom or go to the refrigerator for some water. I have to share all of my meals with two ten-month-olds, if I get to eat at all. I never get to run out for some quick errands or grab a few groceries without a 20-step plan.

How is that a partnership? I thought, when I'm the one doing all the work?

It was embarrassing how much of my focus had turned onto me.

Amazing, isn't it, how the devil knows just where we're vulnerable?

He HATES marriage and will do everything in his power to destroy it. After all, if he attacks the marriage, the partnership is ruined, communication has stopped, kids are receiving mixed messages, they're unhappy, parents are fighting... and he's won.

How blessed I am to have such an understanding husband that is such a great communicator. We took a few minutes to get everything out there, careful not to blame the other person, but starting our sentences with "It makes me feel ______ when you ______" and so on. It sounds silly, but it sure makes a difference in hearing something negative when you don't feel like he's attacking you! Some of the things were difficult to hear, but I knew he needed to be heard, too. Once it was all out there, we apologized. Then, we made a plan.

As a team. We came up with a plan of how we'd like to get the boys back on a schedule and how we needed to take more time to talk with eachother about how we're feeling before it gets to the point of an explosion. I felt ashamed for thinking he wasn't doing as much as I was, realizing how hard he works for our family and how helpless he feels when he can't be here to assist me during the day. My heart was softened to realize just how much help my husband - my best friend, my greatest ally - gives me on a daily basis. I felt horrible for thinking that he was somehow getting out of it easier than I was.

Thank God tough times don't last forever.

We got to Shea's and felt like different people. We were laughing, enjoying the music and having a wonderful time being together. At one point, we laughed and looked at eachother because of something they said onstage. I turned back to the performance, but could still feel his eyes watching me. I saw his eyes turn to a gentle glaze. He smiled and put his hand on mine. I exhaled, put mine on top of his, and smiled back. We were back.

Thank God for my friend. Thank God for this date. Thank God for a renewed perspective. Thank God for the trials that remind us how blessed we are.

Thank God for knowing exactly what I would need, more than three months in advance.



I have been so grateful to have Andy home with me this weekend. What a help he is. I honestly think the boys are more settled when daddy's home, too. Maybe it's because I'm more relaxed. Either way, his presence and help makes a huge difference.

He watched them yesterday afternoon so I could get out for a few hours. I got some gas, went to the post office, got groceries, made a deposit at the bank... a wonderful outing! Until you have kids, you just don't appreciate how wonderful it feels to move in and out of the car in less than twenty seconds! I really enjoyed getting out and came home with a renewed determination.

We took a walk to the Buffalo Zoo just before their naptime for a change of scenery and to get out. It was beautiful outside! The boys weren't themselves, obviously, but I think they enjoyed the fresh (albeit dung-smelling) air! :) Since we're members now, we'll be able to make the short walk to and from the zoo whenever I have the motivation to do so! I love the fact that it's less than a mile from my house!

Our first family trip to the zoo and Jack and Ben are ready for a nap

Weird. There are reindeers, lions, polar bears, elephants, zebras and hyenas just about a mile from my bedroom. I don't know what I would do if I found a rhino sitting in my front lawn! Let's hope those gates are secure. Reeeeally secure.

I miss my smiling babies! Jack and Ben chill out in the stroller on a nice day in Buffalo

The boys are still sick and aren't able to keep very much down. They're throwing up most of what they consume, but at least they'll still eat every few hours. You can hear the mucus when they breathe and their noses are running pretty steadily; I'm hoping that's a good thing. We stayed home from church since they both threw up a few times during the night and we didn't want to pass on any germs to any unsuspecting people. I wouldn't wish this stuff on my worst enemy! The boys are napping now and even though they're not 100%, I feel like they're better than where we were a few days ago... although that might just be because daddy's home.

Thanks for your prayers! Here's hoping this week is the downslide of the illness peak!


One of Those Days

My boys have been sick this week. I think it's RSV, or just a nasty cold with lots of congestion and mucus build up. Either way, it's been no fun. Up until today, I've been able to manage things alright. Up until today, I've been trying to stay positive and just take deep breaths. Up until today, I've been doing okay.

Up until today.

Jack woke up three times through the night with a nasty cough, so I finally got up at 2:45am and layed down on the couch with him until we both fell asleep. Then Ben woke up at 4:45am, so even though I only had about two hours of sleep, I decided to start the day with the boys. I got them dressed, changed their diapers and closed our bedroom door so daddy could sleep for a few more hours before getting up for work. I thought, no problem. I'm exhausted, but hey, I'll play with them for a while, they'll go back to sleep and it will be fine.

Honestly, Mindy, when do things ever go according to plan?

They went down and slept for an hour. One hour. I had barely touched my head to the pillow before I heard them crying. Andy had left for work, so I dragged myself out of bed again and picked them up. Jack was crying pretty hard in the 45 seconds it took me to get up and when I walked in, I found him sitting in his crib and covered in his own puke. Poor thing. Poor mommy.

I did my best to clean him up before getting Benjamin, who was now also crying. Once I got Jack's clothes off, Ben decided it was time to get rid of that mucus, too. At least I was ready for this one and cradled it all in a towel I had left for this very purpose so I didn't have to change his clothes, too. They wouldn't let me go. Do you know how difficult it is to clean up a crawler and keep the other one away? Woah. And they couldn't make up their minds about what they wanted either. They wanted to be picked up, they wanted to be let down. They wanted to eat, they were full. They wanted to crawl, they wanted to stand. They wanted a bottle, they wanted to play. It.was.driving.me.bananas.

There were points in the afternoon where I would just find myself staring into blank space, letting the boys roam free. They'd pull my hair, hit my arms and crawl over me a bazillion times. That alone can send someone into insanity. I called Andy and vented a bit. Thank God, he can handle it. It just helps to have someone listen to your story, empathesize with you a bit and make you feel like they want to be there to help. The difference is that I knew he wanted to.

The boys continued to be irritable throughout the afternoon, then I got a call from Andy around 2:30pm to say that he'd be home in an hour. He was coming home early. I started crying. I mean, it was Niagara Falls in my shirt. I felt so relieved. Right then, things started to feel more manageable. Okay, I can do this. Just one more hour and then daddy's home.

We took the boys for a walk after dinner (which Andy graciously bought as well) and the boys seemed to appreciate getting out of the house. I sure did! Jack threw up again just before he went down, but Andy comforted him while I took a shower. And blogged. Thanks, honey.

I don't mean to turn my blog into a venting session. But I guess it's important for me to communicate the idea that I am not perfect. This is my life. These are my struggles. I know that many of my posts make me sound knowledgeable. Experienced. A know-it-all, at times. But I'm just a simple girl trying my best to raise these boys well in a home that my husband wants to come home to. It's not easy. Lord knows I've been tested beyond what I thought I could handle. But this is real life. I don't have the answers. But I am learning. A lot.

Tomorrow is a new day. One step at a time.


Love is a Decision

Ever see the movie, Fiddler on the Roof? Growing up, I always loved watching that movie, fast-forwarding through the boring songs and dancing to the music with my sisters. I woke up with one of those songs in my head today.

Do you love me?

Tevye, the father just finished a conversation with his oldest daughter where she explained that she didn't want to marry for money; she wanted to marry for love. "Love?" he asks, confused.

He awkwardly goes to his wife and asks, "Golde, do you love me?" She, like him, is confused why he would even ask. She thinks about everything they suffered through together. Things they've shared. Things they've gone without. They, like everyone else in the community, met on their wedding day. Love was not even considered; not then, and not after twenty five years.

Once Golde considers his question, she realizes that it must be love. "It doesn't change a thing... but even so, after twenty five years, it's nice to know."

The lyrics of this song are like a beautiful love story.

That song made me think of all the things we do because we love our family. Make dinner. Clean the dishes. Fold the laundry. Get up at 4am when we hear our babies cry. Clean up their puke. Ease their falls. Kiss their boo-boos. Hug their daddy.

We may not say I love you that many times during the day, but it oozes out of everything we do.

Love is not merely an emotion. It's a decision. A decision we make every single day of our lives.


A New Favorite

I'm always on the look-out for QUICK easy meals, but my hesitation to try new things always seems to get in the way. What if I don't like it? What if it doesn't turn out how I expect it to? These are real concerns. I mean, making dinner takes some effort... I don't want it to be in vain! But I'm determined, so I've set out to try one new recipe at least twice a month.

I was so pleased with my latest experiment that I had to share it! Initially, the recipe caught my eye because it had everything that my boys could eat: chicken, sweet potatoes and carrots. And there's not many more things in it! (I think it was in the Taste of Home magazine, but I don't remember!) Oh, my word. SO easy and SO delicious. I just threw everything in the same pan and cooked it! My boys had open mouths and eager faces as we cut pieces of vegetables to give to them. It's one of my new favorites - Andy's, too!

Maple-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes

4 large skinless chicken thighs (about 1.5# with bones)
2 sm. sweet potatoes (about 1# total), peeled and cut into 1” chunks
1 sm. onion, cut into 1” pieces
½ bag (16 oz.) bag baby carrots or 8 oz. parsnips, cut into 1” chunks
¼ c. maple syrup

Preheat oven to 450˚. In 15.5” by 10.5” jelly-roll pan or large shallow roasting pan, combine chicken, sweet potato chunks, onion, baby carrots, maple syrup, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper, and toss to coat. Roast chicken mixture 40-45 minutes or until juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with tip of knife and liquid in pan thickens slightly, stirring vegetables once and turning chicken over halfway through roasting.

A Letter to CPS

Dear Child Protective Services,

Please do not think I am a bad mom. Do not threaten to take my children away from me. You see, the bumps and bruises you might see are easily explained...

I have never tried to stuff them into the same small space. Definitely not. They're good babies and would never go anywhere we wouldn't want them to either.

And I've never encouraged them to take a nap (or a time out) in the book shelf. That would just be wrong!

Never once have I made them twist themselves into crazy positions and then take a picture of it before helping them out. I would never do that! I'm much more attentive than that.

In addition, I would never let them play with the tissues. How gross! What if they tried putting them in their mouths?

We give them baths every night (and they're very well supervised too.) It's such a great way for them to relax and get themselves cleaned off from the day. We're not the kind of parents that would allow them to drink any of that bath water either. Not a chance. We're much more responsible than that.

And please don't mistake me for the kind of person that will take a picture of her son crying just so she could get a photo of his two bottom teeth. That is horrible! I mean, what is this world coming to?

And I have never made them make their own meals. Nope. I do all of that for them.

Because I'm a good mom and that's what we do.

I know how dirty those floors can be. I would never in a million years let them eat off of it, even when they spill one of their favorite foods on it. No. Way.

I know how important it is to have exersize too. My boys are on the move all of the time! We would never allow them to do anything unsafe, though, like balancing themselves on my husband's hand. Never. Even if it was on our bed, what if they fell?

So please don't be concerned if you notice any of these things around my house (including baby fingerprints in my Vaseline jar.) As I said before, I am a good mom. I just have two very active little boys!

Thank you for your concern.



Little Victories are Still Victories

Today, I took my boys for a walk. Doesn't sound like a big deal, but trust me, it really is.

You see, we live on the second floor of our double. I absolutely love where we live, but this fact alone has got me dreaming of our single family home someday! Especially with twins. I have never had enough energy/motivation/reason to take the boys anywhere on my own. It was just too much work! When they were little and in their infant carriers, I would have had to carry all of our stuff to the car first, go back up to get the boys and then back up again to lock all of the doors. No, thank you. It just wasn't feasible. As they got older, the idea of taking them out still gave me a headache, but I knew there'd be a day the effort would be completely worth it.

Today was that day.

The weather was gorgeous. More than 60 degrees and a gentle breeze. The sun was shining in my windows and so I opened them for some fresh air. The boys climbed all over themselves to get up on the couch to not just see out the window, but also (for the first time, I think,) actually hear all of the noises that went with it. They were mezmerized. I just couldn't keep them cooped up in our apartment in a day like this. So I set out to do something that I would have never entertained six months ago. I was going to take them outside.

Our destination was my mother-in-law's house, just a block over. I called Andy to let him know our plans (which really excited him) and then started the planning... get myself dressed, pump, feed the boys, change their diapers and pack some light stuff. I took the stroller out of the van, packed everything onto it and then I came back up for the boys. I held them both in my arms and carried them down at the same time, taking extra care to lock the doors behind me. For about twenty-two pounds each, I felt like I was lifting two anvils. Woah, they're getting heavy.

I loaded them into their stroller, an idea they weren't sure they wanted to get behind at first, and began our trek. I was already out of breath.

The boys enjoyed the walk, the sounds, the people, the lights, and the fresh air. When we got to Grandma's, they enjoyed touching the grass and feeling the sidewalk. It was priceless. We visited for a while and then came back to the house for naptime. I put the brakes on the stroller, threw the diaper bag around my shoulder and carried them back up the stairs. If I thought they were anvils before, they might as well have been baby elephants. How did they both gain twenty more pounds on that walk? :)

I had beads of sweat running down my cheek and I took off the layers that were weighing me down. I cleaned up the boys and changed their clothes before giving them another bottle. Within a half hour, they were both asleep.

Jonathan sprawled out on the couch, exhausted

You may not think taking a walk is a big deal. Well, you are wrong. It doesn't matter how many kids you have or how old they are. Taking them outside of your house - dressed, fed, and ready for anything - is a really big deal.

I. Did. It.

And that, my friend, is a really good feeling.


Changing My Expectations

Everything changed when I had kids. My schedule, my goals, my free-time, my wardrobe. Everything. So it would make sense that my expectations would change, too.


Logic would wisely answer "yes." And yet, I have been struggling to keep my expectations high.

I used to be really productive. I'm a great multi-tasker and love crossing things off of my list. Even going on vacations as a kid, I would make boondoggle keychains in the car to sell at school and bring sewing projects to do at the pool. I'd rubber stamp images on paper ahead of time so I could color them in front of the television. I'd watch an old favorite movie with my husband while writing thank you notes. I've always loved doing things with my hands. Not only would those things relax me, but I'd feel good knowing that something was getting accomplished.

When the boys arrived, all of that went out the window. Sleep was essential. Anything else was purely a bonus. I resolved myself to this and tried to adjust. It went alright. But as they grew, they became a little more independent. They'd play by themselves for a bit and they'd be sleeping for long stretches in their cribs, allowing me a few minutes each day to work on some of my own projects. I thought, wow. This is great. Now I can get stuff done! I prepped dinner, dusted the baseboards and even ran the vaccum a few times. I felt good, thinking I was actually accomplishing something again. I wasn't just in Survival Mode.

Then teeth starting coming in. Mommy couldn't just sit at the table trying to prep dinner anymore. She had to be sitting right.next.to.them. I couldn't be in the other room putting laundry away. I had to be.right.there. I couldn't even get away to pump at regular intervals because someone always fell and needed help or I had to wipe their noses. When my husband came home, he'd ask about my day and I'd hang my head and say, "Fine. But I got absolutely nothing done." My house was a disaster and the laundry pile was becoming a small mountain in my bedroom. I felt defeated. Ashamed. And like I wasn't doing what I should be doing.

Andy lovingly reminded me of the fact that I have two (very active) little boys would only need their mommy's attention. Keeping them fed, clean and happy is a full-time job. I can't possibly expect to keep the same kind of schedule I did when I was single, married or even pregnant. I don't know why I put all of this extra pressure on myself to perform, especially since Andy is very happy with the way things are right now. Thankfully, he doesn't mind when the house looks as though a bomb went off in the living room, nor does he mind having take-out or picking up groceries at the store. He's just happy to see his family. Safe. Happy. Healthy.

Needless to say, it's been a progression for me.

I'm trying not to think of it as lowering my expectations. I'm changing them. There are days when the boys want to be held throughout their entire nap, so I just PLAN on it now. If they let me put them in their cribs, that's a bonus. If I'm able to get away to pump, that's a bonus. If I'm able to get absolutely ANYthing done during the day, that's a bonus.

When my friends found out I was having twins, they joked, "Mindy, no one God gave you twins - you'd be bored with just one!" While I'm not sure that I'd be bored - children are a lot of work, no matter how many you have - I knew what they were saying. They knew how much I appreciate getting things done and how I would be challenged with two babies at once.

Changing my expectations has been a lot better for me - emotionally and physically. I don't plan big dinners anymore. It's grilled cheese, pancakes, reubens and beef stroganoff type stuff. And that's alright. I'm just grateful that my husband had his own apartment before we got married because he appreciates ANYTHING I cook for him... and he still gets a kick out of the fact that he opens his drawer to find clean laundry! Two things he hated doing as a bachelor!

There'll be a time when I'm able to do more. But not now.

I've got more important things to do.


10 Months Old

Jonathan and Benjamin, 10 months old today

Random Acts of Kindness Tree

I thought this was a clever idea to encourage positive behavior in our homes. Ideas and photos were taken from the "Down Memory Lane" blog. See the complete directions here.

You write positive behaviors you notice on red hearts and then hang them on a tree.

She made this tree by gathering some dead branches in her backyard. Then she kept red hearts with twine in a small basket underneath the table, ready to write a new random act of kindness. Clever!

Watching them Learn

How is it possible that my babies are growing up so fast?

I love how you can practically see them learning, right before your eyes. What an amazing priviledge.

Jack and Ben are 10 months old today. I took this video before their afternoon nap today. It's Benjamin... and he's almost the Lord of the Rings! :)


Teething Tricks That Have Worked for Us

I'm learning that ideas about parenting are best learned through trial and error. You hear something, try it on for size, see how it fits... keep it if you want, throw it away if you don't. Here are a list of things that I've been doing to help soothe my boys through the teething process. I wish I had seen something like this a few weeks ago! :) Take away what you'd like, throw away the rest, and feel free to add more!

  • Feed them more often - My boys were unusually fussy a few weeks ago and I assumed it was all because of the pain from their emerging teeth. Most of it, yes. But really, I think they were crying because they were hungry! My husband was the first to mention this possibility; I'm ashamed that I hadn't thought of it sooner! I guess they have an increase of moisture (i.e. saliva) in their system and that they're more hungry during this time. That sometimes turned to mucus, too, making them more prone to throwing up. This moisture also peaked its ugly head through diaper rashes on both of my boys' private areas; Desitin has been really helpful in clear that up. But to curb their appetite, I've been feeding them more often throughout the day in smaller meals and snacks. That seems to help a lot. They especially like Gerber's Lil' Crunchies because it helps soothe their gums. Cheerios, too.

  • Keep their noses clean - Whenever we have a hint of a cold in our house, I have the saline and a nasal aspirator handy. The boys don't enjoy getting their noses cleaned... alright, they hate it. But what a world of difference it makes when they're clean! We also use a humidifier in their room when they're sleeping and if they have a cough, we put a generous amount of Vick's VapoRub on the feet under the socks.

  • Give baths every night - We had been giving the boys bath every other night, but increased it to every night when they have colds. The warm water helps clean their nasal passages and they absolutely LOVE playing in the water. It probably has something to do with the fact that daddy is the one giving it to them plus they are able to play with their brother since we put them both in the tub inside a laundry basket. We usually let them play until they get fussy, around 15-20 minutes. It's a nice part of their nightly bedtime routine.

  • Keep your tools handy - Some of the best tools we have on hand are ice teething rings and cold washclothes. They'll chew on anything, but seem to really enjoy the cold rings. We also use Munchkin mesh holders and put fresh fruit (including bananas, cantaloupe and apples inside) so they can suck the juice. My sister also put ice cubes inside for her son, which he absolutely loved!

  • Use medicine when you need it - I don't like using a ton of medication, but I use it when I feel like it's necessary. The boys seem to be doing really well with Hyland's Teething Tablets, which we found (on recommendation) at the Feel Rite Pharmacy. They'll all natural tablets that dizzolve almost instantly. We put 2-3 under their tongue and it seems to help with the pain. We usually give them a few Tylenol drops before they go to bed, which seems to make them more comfortable to sleep through the night. Hurricaine Gel (which you need to ask for at the pharmacy at Walgreens) helps numb the area really well, too.

  • Don't be discouraged if your baby doesn't seem to want food - I noticed that even if Benjamin was hungry, he would push food away, especially anything I offered him on a spoon. I thought it meant that he didn't like the baby food anymore. But then I realized that if I held down his arms long enough to get a taste of the food on his lips, he'd be jumping up and down for more. I just had to keep trying.

  • Keep your cool - It's easy to get frustrated when your baby isn't sleeping, eating and acting as they normally do. Instead of getting mad, remind yourself that they are in pain and are simply looking for comfort. That idea helped me stay a little closer to the "sane" side of the fence rather than jumping over.
What other things have you tried that work? I'm always open to new ideas and suggestions!


A Little Perspective

There was a family at church that always walked in late. Every single week. Parents, two daughters and their son. I would watch them down the aisle, toward the pew, step their way over people sitting on the end and into their seats. And it always seemed to be about twenty minutes into the service. I tried not to think about - after all, they were coming to church - but it did get my attention. Gosh, I thought, if you're always going to be twenty minutes late, then just start a half hour earlier in the morning.

Then I had kids.

Two of them. And WE were the ones walking in late. Getting the boys fed, dressed, allowing time for the two of us to get ready as well as the twenty five minute commute, I didn't think we would ever be able to make it. No matter how hard I tried, it felt like we'd never make it on time for the 9:15am service... err, the 9am service.

Talk about a little perspective.

I sat pretty comfy in my warm pew seat, careful to point out other families' flaws without having one of my own. It's always easier to point out what other people are doing wrong, isn't it, especially if it's something we've never done? The crying baby at the grocery store, the crazy lady yelling at her kids from the front seat of her car, the little girl who didn't follow our directions. We have NO idea the stories behind these situations and hence, we are no position to judge.

When the boys were about seven months old, we began taking them to the nursery so we could enjoy the church service from INside the sanctuary, something we weren't able to do since before the boys were born. (The slope in the sanctuary was too uncomfortable for me and my very pregnant self, so we had been used to sitting in the cryer's nursery or the front foyer, listening to the sermon on the televisions for about a year!) It was so nice to be able to take the boys to a place where others would care for them while we enjoy being ministered to for more than an hour.

When we approached the desk to sign the boys in, I recognized the family behind the desk. It was THEM. The family that always came in late. Every one of them. They were the ones helping get kids signed in, parents settled and direct any questions. Hmm. I didn't think much of it at the time. Andy and I took the boys to the nursery and then walked to our seats inside the sanctuary. About ten minutes later, that family came walking in. They walked down the aisle, to their pew, and over the people sitting on the end. All five of them. It was twenty minutes into the service. They had finished their time at the sign in desk and were now coming in to enjoy the service.


That's why they were twenty minutes late all of the time. They weren't late. They were helping with ministry. In fact, they were probably one of the first families here! And to make me feel even worse, they were coming early to help people like ME.

I've apologized to that family in my heart and am now trying to keep an open mind when it comes to the things that us parents do to help care for our family. After all, we're all doing our best.

Amazing what a little perspective will do.


Two Little Irish Caps

The last few days have been tough around here. Well, weeks.

The boys have continued to sleep really well through the night, about nine or ten hours, sometimes eleven. But naps? Well. Let's just not go there.

Jack won't let me sit. Ben won't let me put him down. My solution? Stand with both of them in my arms until they fall asleep, sit down, then let them nap on my chest for at least an hour and a half. It's better than no nap at all, right? Right?

My arms ache from holding two 22-pound sacs and I can feel my fingers going numb. My leg falls asleep a few times, but I'm able to move it around a little while they continue sleeping. I finally have to wake them up when a tingling pain in my lower back becomes too difficult to sustain. I readjust myself and am almost relieved when they wake up, smiling.

I did this twice yesterday, once for each nap. I hadn't had a moment to myself and was feeling drained. So when Andy came home, I am more than exhausted. I've had four little arms pulling at me, grabbing at me, clawing, scratching, crawling over me for eleven hours straight. They've thrown up three times and I've washed five loads of laundry. Thank God for relief. Andy played with them for a few hours while I made dinner, pumped and spent a few mindless minutes on the computer. (Thank you, Andy!)

I was excited to go to my mom's today for a change of pace. We had MOPS in the morning (another blessing) and then we hung out at the house. She gave them these little Irish caps she recently bought a few days ago. Oh. My. Word. They are too cute.

Ben and Jack, sporting their new caps (which are JUST like daddy's!)

Jack listening to his iPod. Just kidding. He's really trying to pull the cap off. But it looks like he's holding earphones, doesn't it?

Benjamin jammin'

And then I take these pictures and upload them onto the computer (something which has always been therapeutic for me anyway.)

Look at these faces.

Aren't they so beautiful? Such miracles. Such blessings. And they belong to me. Wow. Yeah, it's a lot of work. But isn't ANYthing that's of any value a lot of work?

To add to my softened heart, I noticed a new tooth poking its head through on the top of Benjamins' gums before he went to bed tonight. Maybe that's why he's so uncomfortable. My poor baby.

So now, I have two adorable, uncomfortable children who are a lot of work, but add more joy to my life than I could have ever imagined. And apparently, all I needed to remind me of that was some time away and two (very adorable) little Irish caps.


Good Behavior Idea

I thought this was a great incentive for kids, earning "money" for good behavior and then spending on goodies for a fun family movie night at home. See the complete directions here.

Miracle of Life

When was the first moment you felt like a mom? When the little stick read "positive?" When you first felt him kick? When you first saw his little body on your 2D sonogram picture? When you first held him in your arms?

At whatever point this blessing became real to you, he was your child long before that. The moment you conceived - even before you had any idea there was a being inside of you - you became a mom. The moment you realized you'd be adopting a beautiful baby, you became a mom. How you became a mom doesn't matter. If you care for little ones, on any range of the spectrum, you are a mom.

My older sister experienced the joy of holding one of God's miracles for the second time yesterday. Evan Joseph was 9 lbs, 2 oz and almost 23" long (22 and 7/8" to be exact.) He's perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Big brother Matthew got to experience the excitement, too, as he first met his brother on this side of the womb. He couldn't stop staring and touching him!

What a blessing for God to allow us to be used in such a beautiful process. The fact that He allows us to play a role in bringing about one of the most amazing processes known to man speaks to just how loving our Heavenly Father is.

Thank God for new life. And for good mommies. Both gifts from the Lord.