Saturday, January 30, 2016

Consistent Quality Time

My parents have been here since shortly after Thanksgiving -- initially helping with Tracey Ann and household chores through the end of my pregnancy, and, for nearly the past month, helping with children and household chores since Howard and Tracey Ann were born.

Although I know living with their daughter and son-in-law and caring for three children under two for three months have been an adjustment, to say the least, they have kept a wonderful perspective of what a precious gift this time with their grandchildren has been.  Tracey Ann only sees them a few times a year, but now has a stronger relationship with both of them every day.  While Howard and Caroline will not remember first-hand the love and care that their grandparents devoted to them in these early weeks, my parents are spending time holding them, cherishing them, and getting to know them each -- and they are two individuals to be sure.

All that to say, with the consistent quality time we are spending together, there have been some very precious moments that we've been able to share.

Last night for example, everyone except Hubby ended up in my parents room for about 30 minutes.  Papa was watching the news and I went in to ask him to hold Howard for a few minutes to tide him over while I nursed Caroline.  While he was getting situated, Tracey Ann wandered into their room... and it just happened that everyone hung out in Grammie and Papa's room.

For about twenty minutes, I was nursing either Howard or Caroline while either my mom or dad held the other twin, and Tracey Ann was playing on their bed.  She realized that she couldn't quite climb up on their bed by herself so she kept asking my dad to lift her on the bed... then she would climb down by herself and immediately ask to be lifted up again.  "Up Papa,"  "Thank you Papa,"  "More Papa," along with her giggles as Papa lifted her up and she climbed down were the sweetest sounds.

Within a few minutes, I was nursing Howard, Papa was holding Caroline and Grammie and Tracey Ann were reading a story together on the bed.

When my parents leave, I will definitely miss the help... but I will really miss the consistent quality time my children (and Hubby and I) are getting with my parents.

Friday, January 29, 2016


I'm trying to keep this perspective as my new little babies are no longer newborns... or won't be in a few days, and my daughter is halfway through her toddler years...

I don't want to miss my dream come true because I lost the forest a midst the trees.  I don't want to lose these beautiful days, months, and years because I am focused on getting through the feedings, and laundry, and baths, and bedtimes.

These children are my dream and I only get them for a precious few years before they will be gone.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Great Pictures

We had some newborn pictures taken when Howard and Caroline were one week old, and some are really great... here are a few:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Who Wore It Best?

One of the benefits of having a mother (or Grammie) who saves many of the dresses I wore when I was a little girl is we can now compare and ask the question --

Who Wore It Best?

Definitely my daughter wears everything best...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Value Of a Minute

Since our precious twins came home from the hospital, I am progressively learning the value of a minute.

One minute... a full sixty seconds... there is incredible value to a minute.

We are still figuring out feeding schedules with Howard and Caroline, and sometimes I have fifteen or twenty minutes between feedings.  Oh, those fifteen minutes are precious.  At one point in my life, I would have thought that a mere fifteen minutes to nap would not be worth it -- as soon as I fall asleep it would be time to awaken again... but now, oh, yes please sign me up for a delightful fifteen minutes of sleep!

Before the twins, when Hubby and I would watch a television show together, one of us might be getting tired as the show was coming to an end -- maybe the show had ten or fifteen minutes remaining and we would think, "Oh, its only ten minutes... I can stay awake for the end."  Now, first of all, we only watch shows together while we are up with a late night feeding, and we usually have to rewind the same scenes of a show over and over because one of us was accidentally snoozing while we were watching a show... but if we finish up with the feeding before the show ends the television goes OFF regardless of how many minutes is left to the show.  Even two minutes remaining of a show is not worth the two minutes we could be sleeping instead.

One reason my blog posts have started to have less and less quality each day is because, at the end of the day, I want to spend those precious moments sleeping instead of writing a blog. 

I don't relax and simply hold one of our twins very often.  Between the nursing schedule, pumping, trying to accomplish some household tasks, and the demands of Tracey Ann, I will rarely burp Howard or Caroline or just hold them while they sleep.  The minutes I do find myself cuddling one or both of them are incredibly valuable.

I am learning that a mere minute has tremendous value.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

She's TWO!

Our baby girl... our first baby girl is turning TWO today!  How in the world did that happen?

 This little girl turned out lives upside down in the best way possible and continues to do so every day.


Friday, January 22, 2016

A New Love

I have never loved my body.  Over the years I have come to appreciate my body -- how I am healthy, strong, fit, able-bodied, etc... but no matter my size or shape, I have never loved my body.

Even in recent years, I have come to really understand and identify with the joke, 
"I'd love to be the weight I was when I thought I was fat." 

Even at my most fit, I have never looked in the mirror or tried on clothes and been satisfied with my size and shape... I have always wanted a flatter stomach, fitter legs -- all in all, a more slender shape.

Now, for the first time in my life, I have a new love for my body.  Now, I do not look in the mirror and love what I see -- especially with many postpartum changes still occurring, but for the first time in my life I love my body.

In the past two years, I have grown, nourished, carried, and birthed three children.  
My body has housed them safely... and for one pregnancy, it safely grew two at at time.
My body produced the breast milk nourishment for my first child for well over a year.
My body is now producing breast milk nourishment enough for both the twins.
My body not only carried all three children to a safe pregnancy gestation, but it spontaneously went into labor and allowed me to labor and birth all three children without pain medication.
Although I had a little pitocin to help begin my labor with Tracey Ann, my labor and birth of the twins was completely unmedicated.
My body was able to do its job and deliver both Tracey Ann, and twins, Howard and Caroline the way it was designed to do and without anesthesia.
My body has recovered beautifully and very quickly from childbirth with the twins.  My body did its job -- it grew the twins, labored and birthed the twins, now is producing milk for the twins... and yet it has bounced back to the physical endurance I had before pregnancy.

Physically, I do not look in the mirror and see a body that I love or think is beautiful and perfect... but for the first time in my life, I look in the mirror with great love and appreciation for what my body has been able to do.  My body has produced my dreams come true -- my children.  My body, as of now (thankfully), is working the way God designed the female body to work, and, for the first time, I look in the mirror and appreciate what I see -- beauty and love. 

I look in the mirror and do not love what I see -- my size and shape, but I look at my children and I fiercly love what I see, and my body was instrumental in their existance, and this I love.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Our Grown Up Baby Girl

Our baby girl... our first baby girl, is becoming so grown up.

She and I had some special time together yesterday and it was SUCH a blast!  First we visited her new preschool that she is starting soon, and she did not want to leave.  She made herself at home with the different activities and was such a sweet heart.  At one point, she tripped and fell near another little girl -- she landed maybe a foot away from her, so no one was hurt, but Tracey Ann jumped up, and looked at the little girl and said, "Excuse me.  Sorry."

After our time visiting her new preschool, she and I went to a "Parent and Me" toddler dance class that is offered for from here in Rifle.  She and I have never been able to attend because it is on Tuesdays and I work on Tuesdays, but it was awesome!  There were specific activities designed for toddlers and parents including a balance beam, tumbling mats, an obstacle course, musical instruments and more.  Tracey Ann had so much fun and I had so much fun with her.

I can't believe how grown up our first baby girl is.  She is going to be two years old in a just a few days.

I will try to do an update in a few days about all that she is doing at age two... but my goodness, she is adorable.

She speaks in full sentences, she repeats everything we say, and then puts her own adorable little twist on it.  She knows how we say prayer, she calls out when she hears one of the babies crying, "Hurry, he's crying!!!" and then runs over to where the babies are sleeping.

She brings us more joy than we ever knew existed and we are so honored to be her parents.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Howard and Caroline -- Two Weeks

Howard and Caroline are a little more than Two Weeks old and I want to document how they are changing and growing the way I did with Tracey Ann... and I hope I can make this a priority...

Weight: We're actually not sure because they haven't had their two week check up yet.  We're really hoping and praying that they will both be up to and over their birth weights which were 6 lbs 9 oz for Howard and 6 lbs 0 oz for Caroline.

Length: They were measured two days after their discharge from the hospital, but I don't know what their lengths were... I know, bad mother.

Clothing size: They are both in newborn clothes, and sometimes those newborn clothes are too large.  If the newborn clothes says "5-7 lbs," then they fit... if they just say "newborn," they are too large.
Eating: Both Howard and Caroline are getting only breast milk, but we have a sort of complicated feeding procedure right now.  At two weeks we started feedings every three hours -- so 12am, 3am, 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm repeat and the feeding process took between 1 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 45 minutes.  I breastfeed Howard for 20 minutes, then Caroline for 20 minutes, then I pump for 20 minutes.  After his 20 minutes of breastfeeding, Howard is burped, then bottle fed (my breast milk), burped again, then changed by someone else.  Right around the time Howard has been changed, Caroline is done nursing and ready to be burped, bottle fed, burped again, then changed.  It is quite the assembly line.  Both Howard and Caroline eat approximately 60-90 ml with every feeding.
Sleeping:  Well... sure, we sleep for 75-90 minutes between feedings.  Thankfully, the twins are sleeping between feedings right now, which allows myself and other cogs in the feeding assembly line to sleep between feedings... in theory, but when Tracey Ann is awake, we don't sleep between feedings.  We're all a little like zombies these days, but we're okay.
New things for the Twins: 
  • Both babies have become much better at nursing over the past two weeks -- Howard really had a hard time getting the hang of nursing in the hospital, and now he is a CHAMP!  He has a great latch and looks so proud when he opens really wide and successfully gets himself some milk.  Caroline does not latch as easily has Howard, but she gets better and better every day.
  • They both LOVE to be cuddled - they are absolute snuggle bugs
  • Taking newborn pictures
  • Meeting both sets of grandparents, Memaw and Peepaw Miller, and Grammie and Papa Sanden
  • It was so special to bring the twins home to our new, the first home that we own, to see their big sister and our critters, Lexie and Lloyd.  We are a family -- just now a larger family then we were a few weeks ago
  • Sleeping
  • Eating
  • Pacifiers
  • Warm baths
  • Laying next to each other
  • Having their big sister help take care of them
  • Cold diaper wipes
  •  Delayed feedings
Big events:
  • Having her newborn pictures taken... hopefully images to come soon
  • Being dedicated in church
  • Adjusting to life, their family, their big sister and their parents outside the womb

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Here are pictures from Howard and Caroline's church dedication.  We dedicated the twins when they were nine days old, which is a little earlier than we would have preferred, just in terms of germs etc... but this was the only Sunday for the foreseeable future that both sets of the twins' grandparents would be here and it was very important to us for them to be a part of the dedications.

Family picture... working on a successful picture as a family of five

Grammie and Papa Sanden

Memaw and Peepaw Miller


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Hubby in Charge

I can only imagine what I will find when Hubby is home alone with three...

Friday, January 15, 2016

Great Feelings

Our beautiful twins are two weeks old today, which is just crazy to think about...

Two weeks postpartum, there are a few great feelings I want to remember:
  • It feels absolutely heavenly to lay flat on my back
  • It feels equally amazing to lay flat on my stomach -- even better when I'm receiving a back rub while laying flat on my stomach
  • I love being able to pick up Tracey Ann and swing her around and hug her tightly... as opposed to very gingerly picking her up and putting her down again immediately after
  • It is wonderful to be able to touch my toes
  • I love being able to go longer than fifteen minutes without needing to use the restroom
  • It is wonderful to be able to turn my head, rotate my core, and look over my shoulder without a gigantic watermelon in my stomach
  • I love that our King Size bed feels enormous again... it felt very small for many months when I was as large as a house and I slept with a huge body pillow
  • I love that I can snuggle up next to my husband again
  • I love that I walk and not waddle... and I can walk briskly, even jog if I needed to.
  • I love that Tracey Ann can climb on my body and sit on my lap again
 I know there are more amazing things I have been feeling lately, but those are the ones I can remember right now.
Being pregnant is an amazing experiences... and being pregnancy with twins was truly extraordinary -- possibly one in a lifetime... but just as extraordinary and amazing is how quickly the body rebounds and the appreciation I have for the feelings and physical capabilities of not being pregnant.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Blessings Upon Blessings

How is it possible that just over year ago... like 54 or so weeks ago our family picture looked like this:

And now our family picture looks like this:

Blessings upon Blessings and Grace upon Grace.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Having been home with the twin for nearly one week, I am learning that I need to be intentional with my time -- not necessarily productive with my time, but intentional.

At the end of last week, I was exhausted -- which I'm learning is just the new normal these days, but I said to Hubby that I didn't feel like I had spent any time with any of my children all day.  That wasn't the case, but it was how I felt.

Our feeding schedule with the twins is demanding.

Because they were premature, they do not nurse as well as a baby would who was born at 40 or 42 weeks.  The nurses in the hospital taught me that to nurse, or attempt to nurse, either one longer than 20 minutes is counter-productive because so much energy is required for them to nurse.  As a result, in the hospital, they encouraged me to pump breast milk after every feeding, and then each baby was given a bottle of a little extra breast milk after every feeding just to top them off and make sure they were eating as much as possible.

So, our feeding schedule usually goes:
Howard nurses or tries to nurse for 20 minutes
Caroline nurses or tires to nurse for 20 minutes
I pump for 20 minutes

The process takes at least 1 hours -- usually more like 75 or 90 minutes... and we feed every 3 hours.  That means I am lucky to get two hours between feedings as usually its more like an hour and a half.

Now, obviously, when I'm nursing the twins, I am spending time with them -- but they are still learning to nurse.  Nursing is work for all of us at this point.  They are still learning to latch, they need help staying on, and they often fall asleep halfway through the feeding. 

Then, after 20 minutes of feeding or struggling to feed, I hand off each of the twins to be burped, bottle fed, and snuggled by someone else while I either feed the second twin or pump.

It took me about a week, but I am learning I need to take moments and intentionally cuddle, snuggle, hug, and treasure each of my children.

When Tracey Ann is eating in her high chair, or relaxing with a movie, I have to be intentional about going to her and snuggling up to watch the movie together, or rubbing her head and kissing her while she's in her high chair.  I have made more of a point to carry her and cuddle her and hold her and tell her what a wonderful and special big sister she is and how much we love her and that she is our wonderful, special Tracey Ann.

When I'm nursing Caroline or Howard, I have to mentally remind myself how special this feeding time is, and take time to cuddle them and smell their sweet newborn heads while they're feeding instead of just being focused on the work involved.

I need to be intentional about moments with my husband, that I will give him a hug when I walk by him in the kitchen, or take a minute and rub his back as we are both falling asleep.

These days are very full and mildly crazy, and we are just beginning to figure out our routine... but my children and my husband are what makes this crazy life wonderful and a dream-come-true.  I don't want to wake up in five or ten years and realize that I was so busy keeping life going, that I forgot to stop and treasure these blessings that makes this life so beautiful.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Full Arms... Full Heart

While we were expecting the twins, I kept reminding myself that I would have to repeat this phrase to myself many times int he coming years:

If you think my arms are full... you should see my heart.

I think I will probably post pictures from time to time showing me with full arms... and reminding myself (and you) that really, I have a very full heart.

Here is the first:

If you think my arms are full...

You should see my heart. 

(In case you don't know what you're looking at... I'm nursing Caroline, Tracey Ann is cuddling at my feet, and Lexie has decided she wants to be loved on too.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Saturday, January 9, 2016


We had newborn pictures taken yesterday of the twins and our little family.  We probably won't have them all for awhile, but here is a little preview:


Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Best Things

I am not the first to say it... and yet it is not a cliche...
in my experience, I have come to find that the best things in life are not easy.

My marriage is one of the absolute best things in my life -- that does not mean our marriage is easy.  Sometimes it is -- sometimes we are a well-oiled machine.  Sometimes our marriage is more difficult, and it always takes work and effort on both of our parts.

Motherhood is the other absolute best things in my life... that does not mean that motherhood is easy.  Motherhood wasn't easy when I had one child -- and now, with three -- two newborns and one toddler, three children in less than two years, motherhood still is not easy.  It is joyful, wonderful, hilarious, heart-warming and more... it is not easy.

I have to keep reminding myself of this truth... that the best things in life are not easy as I see Tracey Ann adjusting to her brother and sister.  Now, thus far, she is actually doing very well with the babies and does not seem to have any anger or dislike for them.  It is clear she is adjusting to all the new commotion at our home, but she, so far (Praise God) has not seemed to be in any way angry or jealous of the babies.

The truth is, I fervently hope, and sincerely believe that having siblings will be one of the best things in her life.  Giving her siblings is one of the greatest gifts I, as her mother, can give her.  That does not mean having twin younger siblings will be easy for her -- now, or anytime in the next 10-20 years... but the best things in life are not easy.

I truly hope, pray and believe, these siblings will be two of the best things in Tracey Ann's life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Of Three

*** Disclaimer:  I am going to try to keep up with daily blog posts because it is just a part of my routine of how I end my day, and also, I want to document these fleeting precious first days with twins, but I cannot guarantee the quality or quantity of these posts. ***

In a few minutes, I went from a Mother Of One to a Mother Of Three.  That is a crazy jump to make in the span of a few minutes.

Although I was already a Mother Of Three because I had one toddler and two babies I was carrying in pregnancy... I only had one child to hold, feed, respond to when she's upset, dress in the morning, diaper, bathe, and more...

Suddenly, I have three.

Yesterday was a hard day because we thought we were going to be discharged from the hospital but the pediatrician was unhappy with Howard's weight loss and bilirubin level.  Yesterday was the first day I felt the weight of being a Mother Of Three.

I had one baby being set up in a bili light where I was told I could not hold him all day except for feedings.  I had another baby who was doing well, and I held all day instead because I couldn't hold my baby who wasn't doing well.  Much of my morning was spent standing at the bili light trying to soothe Howard while holding Caroline -- more for my benefit than hers.  Then, I had another baby (an older baby, but still my baby) at home in Rifle now going on four days of not having Mama and Daddy at home.  Mother Of Three took on a new meaning, and realistic weight in that moment.

Between postpartum hormones, lack of sleep, and on-going concerns about how each and all of my three children are doing, I have been a little emotional these days.

My dad did a great job of reminding me of how well a lot of things are going during these first days --
  • Our twins really are doing well -- these issues we are monitoring with Howard are very normal and very treatable
  • Our daughter is healthy and happy at home with Grammie and Papa and they are having a fun and doing well
  •  Our twins are still in the hospital -- but it is a hospital 30 minutes from our home, NOT 200 miles away in Denver
  • We have my parents here at home taking care of Tracey Ann, and ready to help with the twins as soon as we are sent home
  • Chris and I are healthy and have each other and are incredibly grateful for each of our children
These first days of being a Mother Of Three has come with its challenges, but it has come with so many more blessings.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Big Sister

Tracey Ann is ready and eager to excel in her new role as a Big Sister.  When she came to the hospital a few days ago she looked at Howard and said, "Baby."  Then she looked at Caroline and said, "More Baby."  She's got that right.