Monday, January 31, 2011

Dear Mila, Dear Lola...

Dear Mila-Mouse,
Tonight you gave me fits. You were squirmy, you were needy, you smelled like milk but I knew a bath wouldn't be possible with daddy away at work and with your sister wide awake. You're usually calmer, laid back and peaceful. I love you either way. Sometimes I watch you simply study the world around you. I'm envious that something as simple as a ceiling fan makes you swoon. You look at the window in amazement. You smile for absolutely no reason sometimes. You have a sweet spirit, a kind soul. In your eyes I can almost see the woman you will grow up to be and it brings me to tears. I am enamored with you. I love your soft ears, big toes, and the way you "talk" to me. You bat your eyes and my heart flutters. I love you sweet Mila Susana, happy 3 months!

Dear Lola-Love,
My diva. What fun you have turned out to be! When you're not happy, you're not happy but when you are, my heart leaps. When I look into your eyes I see trouble, the good kind. The kind that's going to stir people up, the kind that will make positive changes in this world. You can look so serious, and give the coyest grin imaginable. You have a sparkle in your eye that shows me you will definitely be my little flirt, the one we'll have to keep our eyes on. You love your daddy. You look at him the way God must look at us. You have a warm soul, you are a free spirit, and you have stolen my heart. Lola Ruth, happy 3 months!


From Mommy,
You two have changed my life. I'm not quite sure how daddy and I were so happy before you came. Sometimes I just sit and cry at how wonderful I feel when you lay on my chest and simply breathe. We waited a long time for you and you came at the right time. You were the only things that could truly help me cope with the fact I should still in fact be pregnant. There is an angel baby I love an adore watching over us, but with you my heart is no longer broken. You came at the right time, and you were truly a gift from God. I hope you will always know that you were fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. May you never feel less then vital to this world, and our lives. I want to be an incredible mother for you two. I want to share everything I can offer you. I will work my fingers to the bone to provide the things you need in life, and I know your father will too. I don't want to ever disappoint you, and I want you to know if I do, it's only because I must have been trying too hard. There is so much I want to say, but it'll all come out in time. I love you so much, more than you will ever truly know.

To My Angel Baby,
I tried, I tried to write you a letter and in my heart it's there. It will come soon, right now it's still too hard. Just know I love you, I miss you more than anyone could imagine and I know my little bird that flew away is watching over me and your sisters. Mama loves you too little one, and one day soon I can express how much.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The End of the Shower Era

Yesterday the girls were honored one last time with a shower. This was shower number three, our first shower was for friends in family in our hometown, the second was given to us by my school, and this one was for my friends and family in the area we live. It comprised of some cousins, a few new friends, and some of my closest friends from college whom I ADORE. It was intimate and just perfect. My cousins Annika and Delma were gracious enough to host it and I couldn't thank them enough!

My little rockstars

Lola in love with Brennan

Mom and Eli

My sister Mia and Mila

Fellow art teachers Mary and Lynne

Christina & Brennan, Me and Mila, Stephanie and Lola, and Jennifer
It was a wonderful time and I am so thankful for those that came. I had such a warm feeling throughout the day and I went to bed so content knowing these special little girls have so many people that love and adore them. I'm also super happy because we now have a Pack 'n Play! Now we just need a bigger living room :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gifts Galore

As I said in an earlier post, we've been very fortunate to have so many friends and family graciously shower our girls with gifts. We've barely had to buy anything ourselves to meet their needs as so much of it has been done for us.  Not only did God give us the children we prayed for, but all of these other things we didn't even think of. He is definitely Jehovah Jireh in our lives.

Gifts of all sizes, price points, and purpose make us happy, but here are just a few in particular I'd like to share.

I wish I could share them all!

1) Customized Piggy Banks

We received these as a gift from Joey's principal and absolutely fell in love with them. According to the shipping box they were ordered from Nordstrom's but this would also be a great DIY project.

2) Books

The school I teach at has a tradition that at every baby shower, the ELA department chips in and buys baby's first books. Since my first shower at my campus I couldn't wait to be given some books for my own child(ren), so needless to say it didn't take long for me to sit and have our first read together.

3) Aveeno Baby Products

A $2.99 gift can make me just has happy then a $299 gift! I quickly learned Aveeno is the way to go for most frequent baby skin conditions. Our pediatrician suggested these products when Mila was given the double diagnoses of baby eczema AND cradle cap. Luckily, our good friends the Flusches gave us some. Even better, they gave us the lavender products which are perfect for bedtime.

4) Sassy Pants

I love baby clothes that look like mommy clothes. The wash of the jeans are so different from most baby jeans and the well-worn feel to them make them feel like a nice pair of vintage Levi's. The ribbon belt and pink flower are an added bonus.

5) Sailor Girl

I'll be honest with you, I never cared for sailor dresses, but I love tradition and it's such a traditional piece. Enter my pink and black number given to the girls from a dear co-worker of mine. I love the colors but love the fact that it's still a sailor dress. The perk here is Mila and Lola's future bff Anna is due any day now and she was given a sailor dress as well! I'm hoping they will all fit into their dresses at the same time for a super cute photo op.

6) Baskets = Bonus!

I've seen some pretty creative gift bag/boxes but nothing beats a basket in my book. Baskets always have a place in our home, there's always a place it can or could be used. Baskets of any size work and whereas some people see it as another way of wrapping, I see it as an opportunity to organize and store items like bows, socks, or toys. The larger ones also make great laundry baskets. Fortunately you can purchase these pretty cheaply at Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby (who almost always has basket sales).

Monday, January 17, 2011

3 Day Weekend!

This weekend was awesome for three reasons:

1. It was THREE days.

2. My mom, sister, and niece was in town which equaled lots of sleep which aided me in...

3. Getting a lot accomplished! Even some of the things I mentioned on my previous post.

Here we go!

1) Footprints!

So I didn't do the original idea mainly because I really didn't want to use acrylic so I went old school with ink and card stock. I haven't framed it yet but I have a few ideas spinning in my head that may involve scrapbook paper and possibly some of the awesome "congrats on your twins" cards. Unfortunately after a few failed attempts I've decided hand prints won't be possible. Even when the girls are sleeping they are too fidgety to get good prints without getting ink everywhere.

2) Craftiness

Okay, so being an art teacher I always have ideas on arts and crafts to do. Although I prefer actual art, acrylic painting, printmaking etc I also enjoy crafts - YES, there is a difference, don't get it twisted ;) In desperate attempt to get some decor on the nursery walls I painted some older crosses in bright, baby friendly colors (even though I don't have a color theme solidified).

I love cupcakes so I made the girls some cupcake onesies. I had left over fabric from a t-shirt I made for a friend's daughter so I used that. I simply cut the shape out, used fabric bonding paper and an iron to attach it to the material, hand stitched the inside of the edge as well as the red ribbon. Simple but cute, I can't wait to see them wear it!

I also made some Valentine's day onesies for the girls and have one in progress for myself that will match theirs, oh yes, we are matching! I used fabric acrylic to paint faux beads, and hand sewn a flower using black and white fabric, hot pink tulle, and a simple black button. I purchased the tutu from Target for $8 and also picked up some black and white leg warmers as well.

In the spirit of Valentine's, I made a wreath inspired by another blogger who I can't remember for the life of me as I type (I read A LOT of blogs during late night feedings). I opted for hot pink and red tulle as opposed to the Valentine Day fabric she used just to change it up. Unfortunately you have to use A LOT more tulle that way! I bought some adornments from the Dollar Tree (as well as the actual wreath) and used some old ribbon and rhinestones to finish the job. I had a lot of fun working on this and look forward to hitting up the Dollar Tree for the St Patty's items that are already in stock. I'd say this thing ended up costing me less than $6.

3) Thank You Notes

So I barely put a DENT in these things and right now I'm still in fits over handwritten -vs- a photo card but I don't have time to wait until payday to get photo cards out so in the meantime I bought these and quickly found out 30 wasn't enough for the cards just for my co-workers! Back to Target I go to finish the batch. I really am fortunate to have so many of these things to write and I just KNOW I'll forget someone, let's hope I don't.

4) Nursery Move

So we moved the nursery from a smaller, more decorative room to a larger plain room but with a bigger closet. The upside is the space! The downside, it looks so plain. I'm getting seriously impatient about getting their room to be as adorable as they are but we are on a strict budget and right now "decor" is not on the top of the list.

The good news is we were able to purchase a dresser and a bookshelf for the EXTREME low price of $60 on Craigslist. It's not the highest quality but it's not super flimsy and cheap either, plus, it is the same color as our Sorelle crib we absolutely adore. This will definitely help me stay organized, as well the closet with the built in shelving and two bars on each side for hanging clothes.

 ....and more floor place for these essentials

5) Milk Momma

This weekend we also scored this for a cool $100 saving us over $200. I am definitely a bargain sniffer and I really hope to come across more bargains like these when the formula runs out!

Definitely a productive weekend and look forward to an even more productive week at home and work. I hope the same for you!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Catch Up Time!

There is so much I'm behind on and desperately need to get started on. It has been almost 6 weeks we've had the girls and we are still adjusting. Don't let this blog fool you, we don't have it ALL together but we are enjoying the journey.

Here's a glimpse of what I'd like to see done over the next week or so. I have a three day weekend coming up but I'm not pressing my luck as the end of a semester brings a ton of extra grading and planning!

1) Thank you notes

We have so many to write, but not only is it a timely task, but it's not cheap. Thank you notes cost about $4-$6 for a dozen, sometimes more if you want cute ones, but I'll need several dozen. As an art teacher I would have made my own using some printmaking techniques had I had more time to plan but becoming an instant mommy made that impossible. I'm working on making a photocard which will save on time, and be more of a keepsake as opposed to something that may just be thrown away but am bothered with the fact they may not be as personal as a hand written note. Then I think of my handwriting and feel better about my choice seeing how trying to decipher it is a task in itself.

2) Nursery Intervention

Our poor girls :( They have a great crib and a few other things to occupy their nursery but I haven't decided on bedding, nor do I even have a set of drawers! Money has been tight with the changes but it will get better once these initial couple of months are over. In the meantime my girls have a few of these keeping their things organized.

I also need to move the location of the nursery to another empty room as I picked the smallest room and closet in the house. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, but with TWO, I definitely need more space (and a place for real furniture when I can get it). This involves moving this crib (in espresso, not cherry).

Of course it would have to be disassembled first. Boo. Bedding has been a tricky. They have temporary crib sheets and blakets for now but I'm not a pink girl so finding bedding has been diffciult. I know I want earth tones with lots of warm reds and golds. I LOVE this Tanzania bedding but just can't allow myself to spend $400 on bedding. If I can't find something soon, it looks like mom will have to bust out the sewing machine.

3) Footprints/Handprints

We didn't get our girls until they were already one month old so this little project was already way behind before we even had them! The only thing stopping me was an ink pad that I kept on forgetting to purchase while at the store. Luckily I came across this little project idea and love it, plus, I have ALL of the supplies already at home. Check it out at Little Miss Momma's blog here.

4) Baby Book(s)

I've made it an issue to make sure I document, and photograph important milestones and elements involving our girls and their adoption. Not only does the baby book serve the purpose of recording milestones, but it will allow me to answer many of the questions the girls may have about the adoption. I want to be able to give them as many answers as possible as they grow and become curious about how we became their mommy and daddy. Of course it would be easy for me to just go buy one, but the art teacher in me feels like I squeak out something a little more custom.

So there you go, a list of just a few things I'm desperately behind on! I hope to blog soon about the completion of each of these tasks, very soon!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This Week!

Nanny McWeeee!
The girls completed their first week with their new nanny Crista and it was a success! Both mommy, daddy, twins and pups are very happy. We definitely had our hesitations about a complete stranger entering our home on a daily basis and taking care of our dearest possessions, but much like everything else in this process of parenthood, God was in control and brought us the right person(s). We hope to have many happy years with Crista and baby Hailey.

Tuesdays & Fridays + Soccer Season = Mommy is SOLO
Soccer season is here and instead of my usual spot on the sidelines clicking away photos for the end of the year banquet slide show, I find myself home alone with Sugar & Spice. I was nervous for about 2 minutes and once the show begin (see diaper changes, simultaneous cluster feeds, and crying) I went into instant mommy mode and went into baby battle. It's all good and I'm confident we'll be just fine as daddy ventures off into another successful season. I really do miss supporting him at his games but look forward to when our "coach's girls" can show their support with me!

Joey talking to his team during the 2010 season. Joey has been coaching high school soccer for 9 years and has been very successful with many playoff runs, awards and accolades including being named Coach of The Year for his district and Region and most recently was voted Regional Director for TASCO.

2 Month Checkup & Shots
We quickly discovered the Medicaid the girls came with simply wouldn't cut it for us as we were very limited to what doctors we could see. On the same day Joey spoke to his insurance company, the girls were on his plan and with the help of our friend Michel, we had a great pediatrician. Lola's soft-hearted Godmother Annika graciously joined us for moral support and helped (Joey had practice he couldn't miss), and boy did we need her. Paperwork times two is no fun, nor is two screaming babies who are looking at me like I didn't love them anymore (how could I if I let that strange lady stick them with a needle three times, right?) but at the end, and a few tears later (which were mainly Annika's) we all survived. 

Lola sleeping with her band aids on her thighs

Here are their stats!

Mila Susana
Weight: 10lbs 7 oz (25th percentile)
Height: 23 (75th percentile)
Head Circumference: 38.10 (25th percentile)

*according to her first doctors appointment in December, Mila was diagnosed with congenitial muscular torticollis, but according to this doctor the physical therapy exercises must be working as she thought Mila had excellent range in her neck!

Lola Ruth
Weight: 10lbs 2 oz (25th percentile)
Height: 23 (50th percentile)
Head Circumference: 38.10 (25th percentile)

*at Lola's first appointment in December, her little belly button needed some help healing, this week Dr Wallace said it was perfect!

Dr Wallace also swooned over their ability to lift their heads high and for long period and said their tummy time has given them a lot of strength in their necks.

Puppy Love
We were concerned regarding Jet and Romo's reaction to our newest "puppies" but they adore them and the girls seem to be okay with them as well. It hasn't been easy and they have been tended to a bit less but they seem to understand and try as much as possible to interact with the girls. The last thing we would ever consider would be to find a new home for them (a personal pet peeve of mine when others do this - not fair for the dog to uproot his life because you planned poorly) so we knew we had to make it work and it has. This snapshot melted my heart this week and made me glad we had Jet and Romo in addition to our twins.

Twin Indie artists, Tegan & Sara and of course a favorite of mine

Girl Time
With daddy gone two nights a week we are having serious girl time. They've been introduced to one of my favorite set of twins (see left) so of course that means loud singing, huge grins, and a dance party. We also had a few impromptu photo opps via my MacBook Pro's cam!

Rest for The Weary
I can proudly say the girls had their best night of sleep last night, which means we slept well too! Right now they wake up two times a night (at 3:00, and around 6:30) but last night Mila slept straight through 5:00 and Lola woke at 1:00, but also then slept through 5:00 which was great for us! That didn't stop us from napping today though.

Mila and Jet share the love seat on a snowy Sunday afternoon 

Lola and Daddy bond through sleep
Well I didn't nap. I did laundry, cleaned bottles, took pictures, and wrote this :)

Here's to our first great week in 2011!

Twin Perks

Being the mother of twins brings new challenges your average mother may never encounter. I use to get bothered by people that always made comments to Joey and I about our free time and financial status before we had kids. You know, the whole "Just wait 'till you have kids!" or "You don't understand, you don't have kids..."Let me be honest, it's drove me nuts when they said those things. Maybe I was frustrated that we weren't parents yet, or maybe it bothered me that they assumed we would be ill prepared and oblivious of the seriousness of parenthood. I always thought, once I have one, then they'll say I won't understand until I have more than one...the only way to stop is to have twins. 

Guess what? It worked :)

Now being the new mommy of twins has been a challenge. Has it been hard? No. I've had one borderline hard evening but overall hard isn't the word to describe it. It has definitely been an adjustment. When people ask how we do it, we simply reply, "We don't know anything else." Our first opportunity at parenthood is with twins so it's all we know. Twenty diaper changes a day is normal for us, buying twice as much formula is expected, and having two of everything is already second nature. 

Domino art featured on Etsy by therubyrabbit

Many people focus on these things and consider them cons of raising twins and tend to focus on those things, but never consider the pros. Consider the fact we have an instant sibling for each child, no opportunities for baby number one to be so spoiled that the idea of a new baby is unwelcome. What about double the love? Double the kisses? Double the grins? Sure you can throw in double the illness, double the bills, double the crying but we're already losing sleep and money? What's a little more to have an extra baby? 

My favorite pro of all is an instant friend. I'm sure sibling rivalry maybe an issue in the future as it is with most siblings, but as twins, they have a deeper connection then your average pair of siblings. They will achieve milestones at similar times, keep each other entertained, and hopefully be able to laugh and confide in each other as they get older and become the best of friends (not to mention share toys and birthday parties!)

After our first couple of weeks with the girls I was a bit saddened because they seemed to have no realization that the other existed. Since then I've placed them on the same boppy, I've sat them near each other, and Joey and I hold them closely so they can study and connect with each other. It seems now they have started to take interest in each other and this makes me very happy. 

I look forward to seeing them grow, watching them interact, and seeing their similarities and differences even further. I love my girls.