Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Belly Collage

During the pregnancy Jonathan and I decided to take a picture every Saturday to show the progress of my growing twins belly. We managed to get nearly every week from week 16 on.

It's so great when you actually keep things like this up because the product is so fun to look at!  The final picture is 36 weeks and three days, and I delivered 37 weeks and 1 day.  Of course now I'm working on reversing the belly growth ;)

Summer and Samantha are Two Months!

It's been two months since these two girls entered the world and our hearts. The last thirty days have been filled with joy, milestones, smiles, challenges, breakthroughs, and crying... lots and lots of crying.  Jonathan and I are making it through though. We still get out of the house occasionally, we're ironing out our systems, getting our schedules in place and fine tuning them everyday.

The girls are turning into such little people! Jonathan and I are basically the girls paparazzi, taking a million videos and pictures...then I spam the social networks with how adorable my kids are. I'll admit it, I've become one of those people, if your feed is suddenly mostly filled with Samantha and Summer, I'm guilty as charged. In my defense, they are just so dang cute! I can't help myself and must share my little joys with everyone.

All of the grandparents (and Uncle Jason) have come to visit and my mom jumped at the chance to visit again, so she's coming back out this week and staying for a week! I'm excited to have Grandma Julie here again and know the girls will be happy to see her and get some of her amazing cuddles. It's been really special to have everyone make the trip out to meet the girlds, we managed to get pictures while everyone was here so the girls to have these wonderful pictures with their grandparents taken while they were both still so little.

I've been struggling with what to write in this post, what do I share with everyone that makes for an interesting read? So I thought I would write some of my favorite things from the past month of watching these two little ones grow.

- Bath time, probably one of my favorite times of day... the girls love the warm water and just immediately relax as soon as they hit the water. Plus, the smell of their sweet little heads after they've been washed is without a doubt my favorite smell in the whole world.

- As annoying as it can be to wear a baby, there is just isn't anything quite like having a sweet little baby wrapped up against your skin and having them fall sound asleep almost immediately. The way their soft forehead feels against the side of my cheek is probably what I'll miss most someday when they won't let me cuddle them anymore. I'm pretty sure I could just feel their face against mine forever.

- Their smiles, they are so adorable! I absolutely cannot wait till those smiles turn into laughs.

- Family walks around the neighborhood... for six years, it was just Jon and me. Then we got Dahlia, and now the girls. We're a pack, the Stern pack, and I love it.

Motherhood continues to amaze me, everyday is filled with love and challenge. It exhausts you physically and emotionally, and as tired as you are at the end of everyday, you wake up the next day  somehow filled with the energy you need to get through.

Two months and I'm just falling deeper and deeper in love with these two.

That's all for now,

Signed, a very tired and hungry mama. (enjoy the pictures below)

Dahlia decided she also wanted to be in the picture,
I can't believe how enormous she seems next to the girls. 

Summer smiles on a Sunday morning

Sweet Summer cuddles

At the pumpkin patch with Full house Mom's group

Late fall flowers

Samantha smiles! 

More Summer smiles! 

Samantha cuteness, on mommy's handmade blanket.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sissies Needn't Apply

The girls just rounded six weeks old and I believe Jon and I should give each other some kind of award for still standing. We've been doing this parenting thing without assistance for almost a month and we've made it to the store (surviving Costco on a Sunday with twinfants makes you feel kinda like a badass); we've eaten warm, homecooked dinners (and lots of breakfast burritos, thanks Mom!); our dishes get washed and the laundry gets folded; our house gets vacuumed and is pretty clean; we've both worked out several times; we've even made it to a couple of happy hours and brought the girls. Dare I even say it? The bed gets made. My father's life long conditioning of making the bed every morning somehow still seems important. In other words, we are totally rocking this parenting thing!

However, I can't really tell you any detail about what's happened the past few weeks, mostly cause it's all happened in this exhausted dazed state of mind and body. For instance, me standing holding random items and discovering I'm completely unaware of what the heck I was planning to do with these things, and why did I come upstairs anyway? Toothbrushes have been put on chargers with the toothpaste still on them, cause I was too tired to notice Jon hadn't brushed his teeth yet. Awaking from the dead of sleep to your husband mumbling that he's "going to lay this baby down," the proceeding to a level 9 freak out before realizing he's actually holding a pillow that he dreamt was a baby.

Imagine how hard it is to run a marathon, only this one is more like an ultra... like a 50 mile ultra. Only when you get to the end of the ultra, you're rewarded with a couple of hours of sleep and then they make you run the ultra again, and again, and again. Everyday, you work as hard and as efficiently as you can, all day and potentially all night, stopping for quick one handed eating breaks (often you wish you could figure out a handsfree eating solution for meals), cause your other hand is being beckoned for just as soon as you need it for yourself.  There really isn't any room for sissies in this job. It asks for everything you've got, and then shows you how much more you have to give.

This past six weeks have been amazing. Watching the girls grow has been without a doubt been the most incredible thing I've ever experienced in my life. I didn't even know I could feel the way I do about my children. But this has also been the most challenging and exhausting thing I have ever done in my life. Parenthood is a 24/7, 365 job, and there are definitely no such things as weekends. In fact, as I write this, I chuckle cause for the first time since mid-pregnancy (approximately six months ago) I slept last night for NINE hours (not all at once, but still) and it was INCREDIBLE. The girls had a good night, it was the best vacation I've had in months and I spent it blissfully unconscious.

This post is brought to you as respect for all the mothers and fathers out there. Before getting pregnant, I thought I got it -- sure yeah, it's hard but really, how hard could it be? I realized weeks ago... I definitely didn't get it, not at all. This is one of those experiences that is defined by its difficulty, something those who've been there before can look at and truly understand the commitment required to be all that you can and more, to give without regard to accolades, thanks, or respite. To all the good parents out there -- especially our parents -- this is a virtual double high five from me to you!

Post Bathtime snuggles

Sleepy Mornings after looong nights 

Five week check up! They finally love looking in mirrors! 

If ever there was an must have item, it's these vibrating bouncers. #love

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

One Whole Month Old

It's been a month since I arrived at the hospital to embark on the journey of becoming these two little girls mommy. I am in shock that they are a month old now. I've been their mother for 32 days, and while they're so new, it's like they've been here all along. They've already changed so much in this first month that I cannot imagine how fast this first year will pass... they say it's like a blink of an eye and they are in high school, or heading off to college, or getting married. I get it now: it's not just a figure of speech, it's a real reality... they grow up fast, and this itty bitty baby phase is over faster than we can absorb it.

When I met these girls a month ago, I didn't know them yet. I didn't know what their little faces would emote, what kind of hair they'd have, the shape of their noses, and sounds of their cries... it was all a mystery. I loved them from the first moment that I saw them, but this month has been about falling in love with them. Learning about who they are as people, what they like, don't like, what they need. Samantha and Summer are such unique individuals from each other and yet it's evident they love and are comforted by each other's presence... they love to sleep together, side to side. Neither is bothered or awoken by the other's crying (thank goodness). They eat at different paces, they move with different vigor, and they cry at different volumes! For me, every day has been about patience, kindness, and understanding.

Someday I imagine that these now little lumps of love and baby softness will be babbling little girls,  and eventually will want to us to read this blog to them, to tell them their story, who they were as little people? Jonathan has a letter from his mother written to him while he was still an infant, more than thirty years ago, in hopes that someday he might read it as an adult and think back to a time he can't recall, but to have the chance to experience it through the lens of the love of his mother. The letter is an unforgettable gift of words.  I hope this blog will be that for Summer and Sam, someday they'll know how much they were wanted, and loved before they were ever even conceived.

So here it goes, after a month of life, this is what I have to say about each of you:

Samantha, you are one fierce little girl. You use your legs, back and neck with a strength I hadn't ever expected an wee little six pound baby to possess. It's really something to behold, I think you have a fine sports future ahead of you should you ever desire to be an all star soccer player or something. You spend so much of the day awake, and since the minute you were born you've looked at the world with big wide open eyes, not fussing or crying but just taking it all in... You look so happy and content I wonder if I'm missing something that you're seeing. You are the worlds pokiest eater, and until yesterday you have been none to interested in latching like your sister, you're perfectly happy with the bottle and won't be rushed to finishing your meal. You have so much hair, it's practically an inch long already, and I'm sorry to tell you it's my hair, full of cowlicks and curls and I suspect it will be outstandingly beautiful and absolutely horrible to manage. Your cheeks are filling in and your dad says you look just like his dad's mom, but when you crack a  practice smirk I actually see my dad's face in your little smiles. You are a joy and a half, sometimes in the middle of the night, when you're taking a break from your bottle I just melt into your little face. I can't get enough of your sweetness.

Summer, you are so chill. You're always mellow, calm and relaxed, until you're hungry. Then you get crazy loud with cries of hunger and you absolutely cannot be consoled until someone fills your tummy full! You love to eat, and you do it really really well. You take so much joy from your meals it brings both your dad and I joy to feed you. You are such a good little sleeper and are so happy and content wherever you are and whomever is holding you. You're a big time snuggle bear, loving being held close to your parents. You, my sweet Summer, were the first baby I laid eyes on in the hospital and the first baby I got to hold after birth. I will never forget the sweetness of your face on my lips and softness of your hair when I touched you with my hand. Speaking of hair, yours has half fallen out, but only the part on the top of your head... you're still adorably cute and a little silly with all that missing hair, both your dad and I laugh about it. I have a feeling you got your dad's thick straight hair, but time will tell. You are all cheeks: you have been from birth, in fact you look like me as a baby, with your high cheekbones and full face. We share so many of the same mannerisms too, so many it's uncanny, like how you hold your hand to your face when you sleep. Lastly, I have to mention your name.  Your dad and I agreed on your name, but I named you. As soon as I thought of your name, Summer (who we loving call Summertime), I knew it was it... You are the symbol of abundance and love, you were our 2nd baby girl and more than we ever thought possible.

A note from daddy; "You are, and will forever be, these two perfect baby girls whose tiny bodies fit mostly into the palms of our hands. I'll always remember holding you, one of you scooped up in each arm, waltzing around the living room with me, soothing away your tears. If, sometime in the distant future you girls are reading this, I want to tell you how happy and proud we are of you, no matter what has happened in the meantime. The kind of love we have for you two is permanent and irrevocable, the kind of bedrock you can build your lives on." - Jonathan

It's been a long post for the longest and shortest month of my life. It's been wild and crazy, I've been stretched beyond what I ever believed was humanly possible and all it's taught me is I have room and time for more than I ever imagined. I have learned that multi-tasking with twins is a way of life and you need to have a plan for everything, yet retain the flexibility to scrap that plan when things aren't working out. Even now, I write this post after three days of having it on my todo list, and the only way this is getting done is because I have Samantha wrapped up in the Moby, her sister downstairs spending some quality time with dad, and Dahlia at the foot of my chair getting some much needed pets that I can offer to her with my only unused limb, my right foot...