The twins at 1 year

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AJ & JT @ 1 Year

The twins @ 1 year

One year. 365 days. 525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year? (shoutout to my R.E.N.T. fans out there!) How do you measure a year with twin babies? Without having an accurate record count, I’d say 5,000 bottles, 4,300 diapers, 2,000 pumping sessions, 16,000 ounces of milk pumped, and who knows how much $$$ spent on baby STUFF. Would I call my babies priceless? Ehh… they are pretty dang expensive. Not only monetarily speaking, but they cost us sleepless nights, endless worries, immeasurable energy, countless drops of blood, sweat, and tears… Would I call my babies worth it? Is that even a question? Without blinking an eye, of course they are worth it. They are worth more than life itself.

…And now they are ONE! We made it an entire year, just when I thought I’d never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Time to throw away the receipt and keep them forever! If we made it through the roughest part of their lives (relatively speaking), I can truly say we can make it through anything.

I posted these thoughts of mine on Facebook and Instagram a few days ago. I finally have some time to share here:

Getting the nervous jitters. Nearly a year ago, we prayed and waited patiently for the boys to arrive. With each day that passed, I literally cried with joy knowing the boys were blessed with another chance to grow and “cook.” And then at 34 weeks and 5 days, they decided it was time to make their debut.

This Friday, we’ll celebrate their first birthday. As much as it is a huge milestone for them, it is an even bigger celebration for us. Cheers not just to the joy, happiness, and laughter, but to all the pain, tears, frustration, challenge, exhaustion, and heartache we’ve endured. Here’s to going from surviving to thriving.

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It’s amazing how much can happen in a year.

There were the worries:

  • the boys’ early arrival (34 weeks & 5 days)
  • their almost-month-long stay in the NICU
  • their blood-sugar issues, Adrian’s heart issues
  • their torticollis/plagiocephaly that lead to helmet-wearing (blog post on helmets WAY overdue)
  • what seemed like endless visits to doctors and specialists
  • my struggle with efficiently nursing two babies
  • the stress and hard work required by exclusively pumping
  • feeling hopeless as we struggled to get the boys to sleep more during the night
  • the daycare search
  • the return to work
  • the fact that we were literally sending them to a daycare with people we have just met
  • the day-to-day challenges of being a full-time worker outside of the home and having a “2nd job” when the babies get picked up from daycare and are with us the rest of the night.

Then there was the joy:

  • the boys’ “graduation” from the NICU and finally coming home
  • their defeat of those medical issues and a decrease in doctor visits
  • my increasingly abundant milk production and frozen “stash” (I plan to do a breastfeeding/pumping post ASAP!)
  • the boys sleeping through the night UNDISTURBED from 7 pm to 5:45/6 am
  • discovering how much the boys enjoy their daycare provider and do really well there
  • capitalizing on opportunities at work to advance my career and enjoying my work life
  • going out with the boys to parties, the mall, walks to the park, and other realms of civilization outside of our house
  • truly enjoying the smiles, laughter, funny moments, precious cuddles, and overall fun we have with the boys
  • learning from other fellow moms, moms of twins/triplets, and also sharing my own knowledge and experience with new moms
  • gaining confidence as a new mom and parent
  • watching the boys thrive

Alright, I’ll put away the violins and talk about what the babies are doing now!

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AJ @ 1 Year

Adrian Joseph

Stats

Height: 2′ 7″

Weight: 20.6 lbs

Adrian likes to:

  • EAT! Not only does he eat almost everything offered to him, he can sit in his highchair for long periods of time and is patient. Unlike some other babies, not naming any names…
  • Climb on top of me
  • Smile in his scrunchy-nose-cheesy way
  • Talk. All the time! Getting louder and the syllables are more distinct
  • Throw things (he’ll throw a small ball in front of him)

He can:

  • Pull himself up to stand
  • Crawl the “right” way
  • Clap his hands
  • Wave bye (although he says “Da-da-da-da” while waving)
  • (Sorta) say, “Uh-oh!”
  • Climb stairs
  • Sip from a straw cup

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JT @ 1 Year

Jeremiah Tyler

Stats:

Height: 2′ 8″

Weight: 20.9 lbs

Jeremiah likes to:

  • Army crawl
  • Mimic a zombie (he does his “zombie voice” on command!)
  • Be carried or given ANY kind of attention. He’s our new divo.
  • Scream like a pterodactyl. He’s our Jerodactyl.
  • Climb over anything in his way, boppy, pillow, toys, me.
  • Cling to mommy or daddy
  • Use his binky… still!

He can:

  • Pull himself up to stand
  • Clap his hands
  • Point to certain things in a book
  • Hand things to me (book, toy)
  • Do all kinds of tricks with his binky (he’ll hold it in his mouth sideways, put it in his mouth without looking…)
  • Sip from a straw cup
Read more monthly updates HERE!
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Boys’ first birthday festivities: Sneak peek!

Celebrating their actual birthday on Friday, August 1st… supposedly National Twin Day?!?! Still looking for confirmation, but how cool would that be?
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Decorations for their carnival-themed birthday!
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Monthly photos compiled together:
wpid-20140802_131621.jpgGifts galore!
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Couldn’t wait to take out their radio flyer, which was a gift from Jer Bear’s Ninang (Godmother) Marie, Ninong (Godfather) Ellis, Kuya Eli, & Kuya Ethan! I will update this post with an AWESOME video clip the hubs took of the boys enjoying their new wheels.
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Well, it’s been one heck of a ride. This past year (plus the duration of the pregnancy!) was a true roller coaster ride. From here on out, I won’t be posting the “official” monthly updates, but I will certainly keep sharing tons of pictures and videos of the boys as they grow! Thanks for reading!
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Motherhood: I heard, but I didn’t listen

I was warned about those early months.

Warned about the scary, ugly, yucky parts of being a mother and a parent that you don’t always see in the movies or dream about when you’re younger.

I heard everyone and what they had to say.

But I didn’t really listen.

Photography by Tammy Nguyen Le

Photography by Tammy Nguyen Le

I recently came across this article, “What Nobody Tells You About the First 3 Months of Motherhood.”

Even though I could relate to most of it, I didn’t quite agree with the title.

It wasn’t that nobody who told me any of these things. They sure did tell me.

In fact, it seemed like EVERYONE had advice for me, whether it was, “Get as much sleep as you can now!” or, “You’re life is gonna change!”

See, I heard them, but I don’t think I quite listened to them.

Or maybe I just didn’t realize how true those words were, or how exactly they would play out in my own experience.

Then, I went through it myself.

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And having SURVIVED those early months, I can now share my own take on the advice the author above wishes she knew in those early months of motherhood…

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Something I Really Needed

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I read something today that was too fitting for me not to share as soon as I could. I have been feeling this way for MONTHS, but could never quite put into words what I was going through. So many people would tell me to “enjoy every minute” because the babies will grow so fast. I’ll “blink and then they’ll be in college.” Just “be patient because they’re only little for so long…” I understand the intent behind these words. I truly know not only in my head, but in my heart, that even though the days are long, the years are short. It’s just that sometimes I needed to hear something else. Something that made me feel less like I was drowning. Something that pushed me out of the dark and closer to seeing the light. Something that didn’t just pat me on the head and told me to not worry because I’ll be alright. Well, I know things will be alright. I have an amazing husband and family and support team. I have this village that is just willing to do anything and everything for my babies. It’s just incredibly hard, however, to keep it all together all the time. To suck up all the fatigue and frustration, tears and pain. I would never trade what I have for anything in the world. In fact, the mommy guilt is so real that I feel it just writing this post. But I would give something just to have some of the pressures of motherhood lifted to the point that they are realistic and practical.

Maybe this vision of a perfect mother is all in my head. Maybe it’s just portrayed in books, websites, and movies all too much, but I should know better than to compare myself to her or feel like I need to match up to her. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely hopeless. I’ve gained a lot of confidence and feel so proud of how far we’ve made it and how well the babies are doing. It’s just that mothers need to know they are not alone in what feels like a never-ending, uphill battle of raising children. They need to be encouraged to stop taking on more than they can handle, to be told it’s OK to say “no” sometimes, and to know that even though they truly are “supermoms,” they are still human and it’s OK to make mistakes and let down their guards.

Anyway, here’s that read I first mentioned. If you’re a mother out there, I hope this brings you some peace. If you’re not, I hope you can understand where this is coming from.

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I Know It Goes By So Fast, Dammit

Source: Scary Mommy

I was in a public parking lot, trying to get my starving, exhausted, tantrum-throwing kids into the car when a little old lady tottered up to me and said, “Enjoy it while they’re little! It goes by so fast!”

I looked up at her as I was karate chopping my son’s stiff-as-a-board body into his car seat and gave her a smile. A smile that said, “I want to strangle you.”

I wanted to strangle her because it’s true. It does go by so fast. And I know I should be enjoying every minute of it.

BUT I CAN’T.

I can’t because raising young kids isn’t always enjoyable. Sometimes it is—there are precious moments of absolute parental bliss. Moments when my son places a chubby hand over my larger, dishwash-weary hand and asks me to play with him. Moments when my daughter blows me a kiss that I catch and tuck into my heart under my shirt. Moments when the three of us snuggle head-to-head-to-head reading a book.

But a lot of the time having young kids sucks.

It’s relentless and boring and exhausting and infuriating. And the fact that I’m not loving every tantrum-filled, pooped-smeared, yogurt-coated, sleep-deprived moment makes me panic. Because it’s going by so fast.

The days of my children’s childhoods are slipping through my hands faster than E. coli-infested sand and I know I’m not enjoying it enough, lady in the parking lot, so please don’t remind me.

When I creep into my kids’ rooms at night and watch them sleep, my heart fills with love and peace … and regret. Regret that we didn’t all enjoy the day that just ended more.

I know one day the pain of it all will fade and I’ll look back with a rosy tinge and think to myself, “I really enjoyed when my kids were little. It all went by so fast.”

But the one thing I promise to never do, is stop a young mom in a parking lot and tell her to enjoy it. Tell her it that all goes so fast.

Instead I’ll tell her that I know raising young kids is hard.

I’ll tell her it’s OK to cry. It’s OK to scream. It’s OK to fall to pieces at 5pm when the kids are pushing her every last button. I’ll tell her to breathe. I’ll tell her to hide in the bathroom if she needs to. I’ll tell her to laugh at the insanity that is her life. And I’ll tell her to kiss her baby’s toes, not because they won’t be little forever, but because it will bring her a moment of joy in her otherwise insane, chaotic day.

Things I’m Reading These Days

First, pictures of the boys, of course!

The boys & papa accompanied me to Ulta yesterday. They were very well-behaved and Adrian was even very sociable and cute, making the ladies in line behind us smile.

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The toe grabbing is just so adorable.

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Jer was almost not having it, but he made it through the short trip. Thanks, Jer.

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The boys are sorta getting the idea of their Sophia teethers… They’re getting really good at grabbing toys and items in front of them, and even better at putting them in their mouths. How we are going to keep up with cleaning and sanitizing everything, I do not know. But I also hear it’s good to not be such a germaphobe because we’ve gotta build up that immunity!

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The things I read these days seem to be 99% baby- & parent/motherhood-related, 1% everything else. I wish I could read more current events, new recipes, fitness and running blogs,  even celebrity gossip. However, I am still in survival mode. I’m still trying to navigate the chaotic world of parenthood, while juggling work and a household. Thus, I continue to gravitate toward anything on raising babies and being a parent.

Luckily though, since returning to work full-time last month, I am ever so slightly transitioning into a new mode. I’m happy that I am finally going from fighting to survive to learning to thrive. I may not be ready to go for a run again or throw a party, but I’m cooking again (yay!) and getting back into old routines, which makes me feel like I’m finally enjoying myself as I wade through the waters of parenthood, compared to when I was fighting to barely stay afloat.

When I stumble across a great read these days, I send an email to myself with the link and then save those emails to a folder for blogging inspiration. It was a great idea until the folder started to grow and grow and I never found the time to write. So today I realized that I would be happy with simply sharing each link I’ve saved so far in order to spread (what I think is) the goodness and move on with my (blogging) life!

Parenthood and Raising Children

10 Common Mistakes Parents Today Make (Me Included) | Kari Kampakis

This post is a pretty much a big “NOTE TO SELF!” I know some of these things are not quite applicable until later on, but it’s nice to have a glimpse of what is ahead.

Our Montessori Home | When Hippos Talk

I never completely understood what “Montessori” meant. This blogger does a great job explaining – complete with pictures!

I Signed Up for This | Mrs. Gore’s Diary

This post caught my eye because I wrote something with a similar name, although the title suggested the exact opposite. This post written by Mrs. Gore was honest, humble, and true. After I read this post again, I look forward to reading the follow up.

Photographer Captures Beautiful, Loving Glimpse Into The NICU | Huffpost Parents

I can’t believe how much I miss the NICU. Being a parent in the NICU has certainly given me a newfound hope, inspiration, and admiration for all people – parents, family members, friends, nurses, doctors, and most importantly, BABIES – who have ever had their lives touched by the NICU. I regret more than ever not saying yes to photographs in the hospital. It’s true that I was too busy and stressed about the babies’ health that I just passed up the opportunity. What’s worse I that I learned Kaiser does full on photo shoots these days with babies! But luckily we were given an amazing opportunity to capture the boys during their infancy and I will cherish those pictures forever.

 

Being a Mother

31 Days to Becoming an Organized Mom | Mommy Kudos

More than half a year into our kiddos’ lives, we’re ready to tackle those pesky home projects that have been put on hold for far too long! Before starting, we need to get our house back to a functioning, beautiful environment. Home maintenance alone is such a challenge. Laundry-food prep-dishes-tidying… it’s a never-ending story.

A Breastfeeding Story: Breastfeeding Through Leukemia | I Am Not the Babysitter

Wow, this post inspired me. I cannot wait to write about my own experiences with breastfeeding.

Dealing With Working Moms Guilt, Whether You Love or Hate Your Job | About.com

I sure did type things like “working mom,” “feeling guilty with kids in daycare,” and “dealing with mommy guilt,” to name a few. I think I may have shared this other link on a separate post, but the lesson learned is that no matter what your situation as a mother, you are doing your best and that is more than enough!!!

25 Rules for Mothers of Sons | Team Studer

Growing up with a sister meant I grew up in a household full of women. It was nice to read about things I have to look forward to now that I have been blessed with two baby boys.

50 Things Moms Need to Do for Themselves | Elephant Journal

I agree! Now the challenge is finding the time to actually do these…

A Love Letter to the Father of My Child | Elephant Journal

This letter really resonated within me. Becoming parents surely changed our lives, but the relationship I share with my husband is still #1.

 

The 1% that is non-baby/parent related

Ben & Jerry’s Nails It With New Core Ice Cream Flavors | Huffpost Taste

There’s ALWAYS room for ice cream! MUST. TRY. THESE. ASAP!!! See? I’m not 100% baby/parenting…

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Did you see how long that list was? This is why I can’t even try to blog more often than I do. I spend a good amount of my time reading other amazing blogs and good stuff!

I wish I could devote an entire post to each link above, complete with all my thoughts and comments, but no can do. This gal has to keep on moving along!

Surviving the Holidays: Do less stuff

Adrian Boy & Jer Bear

Just be. Be warm, be fuzzy, be slightly squishy. Be in the moment, be on the couch sniffing the baby’s head, Be Still.

Do less stuff. 

This article written to Mamas of Littles during the holidays was a very nice reminder of what counts this holiday season.

As much as glitter and gifts are on my mind, it’s about spending time with loved ones, especially my little ones.

It’s about cherishing these moments that sometimes slip through the cracks of Black Friday shopping and Christmas plans, the decorations to be hung and cookies to be baked.

Of course I want to make this first Christmas for the boys memorable (for us and for them to look back on), so I’m looking forward to snapping photos and dressing them up.

But instead of feeling frustrated or stressed about my mile-long to do list, I’ll simply do what I can and not sweat the rest (ahem, maybe one or two glisten drops, but I promise at least no throwing a fit).

I’ll pray more, give thanks more, and love more.

Surviving as a first time mom

WE’RE ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It has been exactly five weeks since our boys were born. They are a month old

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This Saturday is actually my original due date & I have bittersweet feelings about it.

I’m sad because the babies should have been in the womb a little longer, but I’ll always be so grateful for how long they did last (34 weeks and 5 days).

It was a long and trying pregnancy, but they made it not just OK. They are grrrreat!

Our boys. Our sweet, sweet boys. Can’t get enough of them!

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