Sunday, June 28, 2009

beantown boys

A favorite play spot: the bouncy chair
Max has his first black eye

In just under a month, I'm heading back East with the twins for four weeks of summertime fun with their grandparents! We're getting into the spirit by busting out our Red Sox and Boston gear. The hats were a special gift from their major Sox-loving grandfather, while the shirts were two of the first gifts they boys received - way back last April when they were only about 20 weeks gestation! Thanks, Auntie!





And here are a couple of extras... I try to get the boys out every day to crawl around somewhere different. Many days we hang out with Korin, Ruby, and Laurie! This week, we all met up at Laurelhurst Park for a nice walk and some play time. Ruby decided the place to be was right next to Shoghi in the stroller! Let's ride, big sis!


Here's a little video showing how the boys like to use the bouncy chair now that they're climbers. They crawl into the chair and bounce on their hands and knees! In this clip, Max is pretty subdued, but these guys really get moving in there! You can see how Max ended up with a black eye, even though at the time, he wasn't the one jumping...

video

Thursday, June 25, 2009

berry boys

I've been meaning for days to post these videos for my folks, who were ga-ga over the berry photos.

video


video

Friday, June 19, 2009

words, muscles, and messes

Here's another highlights post - happenings from the past week or so:

There's been a lot of fun and laughter around these parts as the boys play with each other more and more. I remember those days of wondering when Shoghi would even begin to smile - Max smiled so much earlier. Now Shoghi is our laughing, squealing boy, full of vivacious, high energy, while Max is full of good cheer, loves to be tickled, and giggles for his "bra-bra".

the twinnies received their first First Birthday gifts - hank knit sweaters from Auntie Knittah!
They have no idea how lucky they are!

Here's Shoghi looking rather cheeky...

***

Max's language skills are improving by the day.
He can say mama, no, more, brother, and done, and he signs hi and more!
Looks like Auntie might be the next word, just in time for her birthday...

video

Fun with Food!

I decided to let the boys have at it, and defrosted some raspberries and marionberries.
What a hit, but what a mess! Thankfully it was warm - after it was all said and done, I plopped them into the kiddie pool to get cleaned off.

Shoghi looking a little dazed...

Max definitely got more on his lap than in his mouth!

***
Finally, yesterday Max surprised me by pulling up to standing! Since he's not truly crawling, hasn't figured out how to push into a sitting position from his tummy, and wasn't doing the kind of acrobatics Shoghi was when he stood, I really didn't even see it coming!

video

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

brother moment

Max has started saying "brother," which is completely adorable, especially since he kind of growls it - "bra-bra" is how it sounds.

So, tonight just as the bedtime routine was kicking in, Max was really melting down. I had to sit him on the floor so I could get all bedtime stuff: the pjs, diapers, eczema cream. He was sitting there, the poor little guy, just crying his heart out. Shoghi crawled up, then sat down right across from him. He studied Max's red, crying face, then gave Laurie a look across the room, right before dissolving into sympathetic brother tears.

It was the first time this kind of empathy has passed between them. I foresee many incidents of such brotherly love in our future....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

baby fave books

Oh, remember how hard things were at 6 and 7 months old? I probably sugar-coated it here, but there was constant whining and crying, and desperate, constant attempts at making the babies happy. Friends told me that when they could sit up, things would get better, and they did. Then it was "when they can go from sitting back to their tummies, things will get better," and they did. Creeping, then crawling, was such an adventure for Shoghi, but Max just lay there on his belly, complaining what he couldn't move. His recent new mobility has brought a whole new level of fun and contentment to our home.

Other things have also changed. Their hands are more coordinated, and they understand more words. They love books, love climbing into the bouncy chair, l-o-v-e electrical cords (and are learning, if ignoring the word "No!"). When things get iffy a couple hours after eating, they love sitting on the blanket on the living room floor with a bowl of TJs O's cereal. Now they can entertain themselves for several glorious minutes at a time.

I wanted to share some of their favorite things with you, and remember them for the boys! In this post, we'll talk about:

Books!

We're a big reading family. Between my parents, my siblings and me, we all love and highly value books. I've been reading to the boys for a good while, and they seem to have gravitated to them as a favorite passtime. Just this morning, Laurie was with the boys, and said to Shoghi, "what's that you have? Is that a book?" and Max crawled right over to the bookshelf. You might remember that Shoghi's first attempt at crawling was to get a book. Be still my heart - a bibliophile in the making!

The boys seem to become interested in a couple of particular books at a time, and want them to be read several times (before we, the readers, get bored and try to hide them!). In the past couple of months, favorites have all been books that we read dramatically, making special animal sounds, or accompanying the rhythm of the story with a shaker.

Here are some of them: Tykeosaurs, which involves Max roaring on the last page; Freight Train, a classic by Donald Crews; Chicky Chicky Chook Chook, a fun read that we use a rattle or shaker to accompany the words. Shoghi's current favorite is called Haiku Baby. He even has a favorite page - when we get to the "leaf" page, his little face lights up in a huge smile, and he laughs while we read the haiku: "yoohoo, peekaboo/ wind plays tag with autumn leaf/ catch me if you can." Max has really started to get into I Love Animals - we often have to read this over and over again, complete with animal sounds for every page. I adore that they love books, and hope it becomes a lifelong joy to them as it has been for me.


I'll be talking about our other baby faves in the days to come, so be sure to come back! More importantly, please share your baby favorites with us! We (and "we" means me, my sister, and our awesome sitter) are always, always interested in new baby toys, games, books and ideas!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

night time diapering

I always thought I would be a cloth diapering mama. It only made sense - I remember it well from my own childhood, it's economical, seems like it would be a lot more comfortable for baby, and of course there are the environmental benefits of not throwing away thousands of disposable diapers. Cloth has come a long way since my own childhood in the 70s. Now you can use the traditional prefolds, but you can also get cloth diapers that are as easy as a disposable in the form of pocket diapers and all-in-ones. I haven't tried too many varieties - quite early on I settled on fuzzy bunz pocket diapers. They have a semi-waterproof outer layer, making it so that you don't have to use a wool diaper cover. They're easy to use, easy to wash, and pretty inexpensive - I bought mind for less than $15.50 each, and currently I'm rotating about 30 diapers for twins. We've been using this set of diapers since about March, and all indications are that they will continue to fit for probably 10 more pounds of growth. That's just $465 for maybe a year of use!

Nights are a different story. My struggles to get the boys to sleep well at night are well-documented here - the choice to use disposables at night so I wouldn't have to do overnight changes was a no brainer. Even with using cloth all day long, I still spend about $50 a month on disposables, as we have also been using them for car outings. Sitting in the carseat for a couple of hours seems to always result in wet pants. I've been bummed about using the disposables, but felt like I had little choice unless I wanted to deal with wet clothes and extra nighttime wakings.

So, last week when I read this post from one of my favorite twin/parenting blogs, I was excited to find a cloth diapering solution that seemed to be a good option for nights. On the same day, I found the brand of cloth diaper she recommended on craigslist for a great price - only I found dream-eze's new all-in-one diaper with a PUL outer layer, which could mean not even having to use an extra layer of a wool soaker on the outside. I was really excited to pick up these gorgeous new diapers.

Upon seeing the dream-eze AIOs, I knew I was going to love them. They're trim, comfortable-looking, and as an all-in-one, I wasn't going to have to pull out a liner from a dirty diaper. We tried them that very night, and I was thrilled to have absolutely no leaks - about 60% of the time, even our disposables leak!

Sadly, that first night was our only success. Max got a terrible diaper rash for the first time, due no doubt to the detergent used by the previous owner. While his poor bottom healed, I kept him in diaposables at night, and Shoghi continued to wear the dream-eze. His sleep became very disturbed. At 10 months old, I guess he just couldn't get used to the different feeling of the cloth's wetness. He was waking every couple of hours, and for a few nights in a row, I ended up changing him into a dry diaper at about 3am.

I'm sad to say that I've given up on nighttime cloth. Maybe I didn't try for long enough. I really think that if we had been doing this from the beginning, it would have been fine, I just don't like the sense I get of making the boys get used to a different - and clearly uncomfortable - feeling in their pants. Not to mention that I don't like to be waking up to crying babies all night long.

The investment in the dream-eze diapers isn't a total loss, though not being able to use them at night was definitely disappointing. I'm now using them for car rides, with terrific success. If the boys are still in cloth when they graduate from the medium fuzzy bunz, I will be really tempted to switch to these amazing diapers.

If you're thinking about cloth, I say give it a try - it's easier than you probably think. I'm surprised to be still using it myself - when we moved from Korin's, we all figured that cloth would be the first to go, but here we are, still going strong. It's not a lot of work, and it's quite rewarding, somehow! I'd just suggest that you invest in good nighttime diapering supplies early on so that the baby(ies) gets used to it from the beginning. I wish we had!

Friday, June 12, 2009

we get by with a little help

My experience of infertility over the course of 15 years and two marriages is no secret. I started posting on mothering.com/discussions in the ttc (trying to conceive) forums way back in early 2004, and found there a community of amazing women seeking to fulfill their dreams of family. Many of them ended up falling into the range of "normal" - conceiving within a year of beginning to try. Many others ended up taking paths that required a great deal of sacrifice, laying their bodies and finances and emotions on the line for months and years on end. Most of us have ended up with at least one child, while some found that they began to resonate more with life without children or simply had to move on from the very draining process of long-term ttc.

The best part of the story of those days of connecting with the "mdc" mamas is that it resulted in some tremendous friendships. Some people have found these incredible connections through the blogging world, and certainly it was because of my participation there that I began blogging back in 2004. Five years later, the core group of women who found ourselves supporting, celebrating, grieving and waiting with each other is still connected. I see comments here from several old friends that I don't otherwise connect with, I get to follow the blogs of some others, and a handful of these special friends remain people I consider the inner circle of the people in my life. I find constant amazement in the fact that in this online world that would at first pass seem rather annonymous, I have gained some of the best friends of my life.

One of these friends is mentioned here often. I connected with Korin at the very end of her IVF cycle back in those early days on mdc. She became mercifully pregnant with a child who has added sparkle and wonder to our lives for the past three years. Ruby is as much an older sister the boys will likely ever have, and they adore her.

Korin and Ruby

As you know, Korin is the friend who, when I said I was considering leaving my marriage and pursuing getting pregnant on my own said: "Do it. Move out here to Oregon, stay with me and my family, and live the life you are longing for." She is the kind of person who does this, who makes tremendous sacrifice and gives wholly of herself for her friends, on a regular basis. She, Ryan, and Ruby not only shared their home with me while I was pregnant, they sheltered me and my twins for months after their birth, opening a space for us to become a family. The ways and extent of her support is truly indescribable.

Korin, me, and Laurie, in the moments before my c-section.
Korin was the person who sat by my head for the entire surgery, coaching me, crying with me, and sharing the moment of my children's births along with my sister.

Korin doing kangaroo care in the NICU with Shoghi.

Korin and Ryan have been trying for another child for about six months. You can read about that journey on Korin's blog here. Right now the important point is that they are at a point where they have had to decide to do another fresh IVF cycle, a costly, invasive, emotionally and physically intense series of procedures that we all pray will result in another child (or two!). I am happy and humbled to say that another online friend has started a fundraiser, with the hopes of raising the majority of the money this amazing couple will need to pursue adding another child to their family.

If you are a knitter, or need a fabulous gift for a knitter friend, please consider joining us in supporting Korin and her family. Lousli is conducting a raffle with fabulous prizes, including several sets of my sister Laurie's knit kitty hand-printed cards. Lousli's etsy shop is also donating all profits this month to the cause.

hand-dyed yarn from Lesley's shop

knit kitty cards

The greatest good of this blogging community is our ability to make connections and support each other in an increasingly fast and disconnected world. I hope you'll help me pay it forward and join in. Just think, you could be a part of creation, part of the fulfillment of a dream. Every time that future baby smiles, you will have been a part of a sacred moment.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

the big to-do!


Hi! Boy, it's been a busy week. We've been struggling a little bit (ok, a lot) with sleep again, my sister's hours at work picked up and she was featured in the "cool stuff" section on knitty, and I taught my last class in the series "Marketing Your Micro-Business" I've been offering to a pilot group of women entrepreneurs, and bought my return tickets for our trip to MA in July/August. Here are some of the things on my mind that I hope to share with you soon (and record for us!):


Today we've got a chorsey line-up: when the boys are both up from their naps, we're heading into the city to pick up Auntie, then doing groceries. After that, we plan to come home, cook up a batch of riboletta soup, perhaps roast a chicken, and make some baby food. The boys are starting to eat actual finger foods, which is really keeping me on my toes. It was so easy for a while, just opening a jar of this or that. Now I've really got to think strategically about our meals, and give the boys some time to make big messes (sigh) and have fun learning the next stage of eating. It's so much fun to watch them, and they seem to be fascinated by all sorts of foods. Chicken, broccoli, and canteloupe are this week's favorites.

playing in the pool

New and as yet uncaptured achievements: Max is waving "hi" and starting to sign and say "more;" Shoghi is standing and cruising around his crib, and starting to stand with one hand on the exersaucer; Max continues to improve his crawling skills (and even though he's just "creeping," he gets around very fast!); Shoghi has learned how to clap; and they boys are playfuilly interacting with each other more and more. The days are full of adorable baby-ness, and there is less Maxy-whining now that he can move himself around. Awesome!

where'd those curls come from? mama!!

laurie with max at cannon beach

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

for all the years without you

Dear Shoghi and Maxwell,

The house is quiet; everyone has gone to bed. You are both sleeping peacefully, beautifully, gracefully in your beds. Your sweet hands moved, Shoghi, when I bent to cover you with your blanket, one I bought about a year before you were conceived. Maxwell, you lay there quietly when I just now spread the blue blanket I crocheted with my longing hands some four years before you were born. You are going to be ten months old this week - it's so close to a year ago that you were born into my hands and my life. I can barely contain the love I feel for you; you are both so perfect and miraculous.

I believe that there is a spiritual essence to our relationship - you my sons, I your mother. There is a place within us that connects and communicates with meaning deeper than words. I believe that, in some way, you know what paths I have traversed, what sacrifices I have offered up, what difficult and profound growth I had to achieve in order to become your mother.

For fifteen long years I tried to bring you to life. I sought you out first in the rose gardens, and then in the depths of the cold oceans - I even searched through the deserts of the world, just to catch a glimpse of your beauty and life. Sometimes I thought I had reached you, only to discover that it was just an illusion, a cruel hoax, and I was devastated by loss. Finally, in the end, I gave everything up. I opened my clenched fists, and let everything go. And it was there, in that place of detachment from all the places I had been searching, that I found you - within myself, in the deepest heart of my heart. I found you in joy.

When I am with you now, I delight in your curiosity, I soar on the waves of your laughter, I rejoice in your discoveries. Over these months that you have taken on your physical lives, I have bent and bowed to your needs with love, as mothers do, and I have healed for it.

Maxwell. Shoghi. My sons. Now I know. I know why those years were filled with such terrible longing and sorrow and search - it was the loss of being with you. You were known to my heart before you were known to my arms and eyes. You are the fruits of my joy and my heart and everything that is good and pure about who I am - you are the embodiment and the breath of life and love.

For every difficulty we face, know that the distances I traveled on my journey to our reunion were far greater. I have found that place within myself, that place of creation. We emerged from that place as a family. To say that I love you is but the most pitiful attempt to capture the glory of the sun in a drop of water.

I am, and with deep gratitude ever will remain, your mother.

steady as he goes


Shoghi's still in the same phase of pulling up on select items - particularly the exersaucers and the toy hamper. He's really into climbing into the bouncy chair and making something of an amusement park ride out of it - I'll have to try to get it on video before he gets so strong that I have to put the chair away!

Max is getting stronger in his crawling every day, which has significantly decreased the amount of whining he's doing. I'm very grateful for that!

I haven't been very inspired about posts lately! What do you want to know about our little lives right now? Got a question or topic in mind? Let me know about it in comments and I'll use the ideas for up-coming posts.

Thanks!