Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Awesome Promise for Parents

I was reading Isaiah 40 today during my quiet time and came across a verse that I had underlined I guess one of the previous times I have read it. However, I'm not sure that I had children the last time I read it. It stuck out on such a different level to me this time.

"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." ~Isaiah 40:11

That really encourages me as a new mom. I am trying to soak up all of this advice as a new parent from books written by experts and from my friends who are more experienced moms than I am. Although, every baby and family is different so a book cannot correctly dictate the best for your child nor can a friend. How awesome is it though that God will lead those that have young. I often find myself crying out for wisdom to know how to raise Hannah and Kate. When they aren't napping right, what do I do? Is it time to switch them to a 4 hour schedule? Is it okay that Kate is better at eating solids than Hannah? Most of these are obviously not life or death situations, but rather convenience decisions. It's hard being a parent, especially when your child has limited communication skills. Who knows my children better than the One who created them and knit them together in my womb? So maybe while I rush to seek advice from books and friends, I should also be rushing to seek advice from their Maker. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking advice from friends or books. I think God blesses us with friends who are wise and it would be foolish to pass on opportunities to glean from their experiences.

So when I feel frustrated that things with Hannah and Kate aren't "fitting into the Babywise baby", I can rest on the promise that He will gently lead me. Woohoo...that's exactly what I needed to hear this morning!

A lot of people ask me how I do it with twins. I have decided that it can be easily boiled down to a one word answer: God. It's as simple and as complicated as that.

"I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. he is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." ~Psalm 18:1-2

Monday, March 30, 2009

Who Are You Waiting On?

I think that I have mentioned before that I am involved in a women's bible study every Friday morning. The bible study is "Esther: It's tough being a woman" by Beth Moore. Last week, she taught about waiting on the Lord. I think we all know how hard it is to wait for something. I see that displayed in Kate every time I have to take the bottle out of her mouth to burp her. She throws a little tantrum (I have to admit it's cute) because she doesn't want to wait for the rest of her milk. She wants it...NOW! I wish I could say that as we mature in age, we also mature in patience, but I'm not so sure that is the case. Sure, we learn to be patient when our tummies are rumbling, but how easy is it to wait for that next bonus or paycheck? Sometimes it's really hard to wait for the fruit of our prayers. I have lived through that.

In the teaching video portion of our study, Beth talked about waiting. Esther had to wait for the right time to approach King Xerxes with her request to save the Jews from a demise that he gave permission to.

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Reread the bold portion of scripture again. Wow...major convinction! It doesn't say that those who hope in the ____________(fill in the blank with whatever your situation entails) new car they want, the baby they've been praying for, the spouse they long to meet, and/or the new job they hope to find will renew their strength. It says that those who hope in the Lord. I don't know about you, but I so often find myself hoping for the things that I am praying for rather than hoping and waiting on the Lord. I can easily personalize it with our recent pursuit of having children. I prayed fervently for children. I waited on the children I wasn't sure God would bless us with, instead of waiting on the Lord. Do you see the difference? I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in praying for something that we focus more on that something than God Himself. I am as guilty as the next person of this.

Waiting is not easy and God knows that. That's why the Bible says that God will renew our strength, we will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. God doesn't promise quick answers to our prayers because it's in the waiting that He changes our hearts. I was praying this morning and thanking God for never leaving me during our attempts to get pregnant. I am totally in love with Hannah and Kate and am so grateful that He made us wait because He blessed us with better than what we could have planned for ourselves. I can tell you that through all of the waiting my prayer life has changed. I have a greater understanding for the urgency of praying for people. What may seem like such a small deal to me is a huge prayer request for some. I don't take prayer so lightly anymore. I find it a privilege and honor to pray for people, even people I don't know (hence the two little prayer for Stellan and Jonah buttons on the side).

I hope that encourages you a little bit. Just wanted to share what God is teaching me.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

Ever since Hannah started rolling over on Wednesday, Kate has been keeping a close eye on her trying to figure out how she does it. Well, on Friday morning at bible study, Kate went for the gold and rolled over. I really think she saw how much fun Hannah was having and was a wee bit jealous. She just needed that extra bit of motivation to get it done. She still doesn't have the technique down as smooth as Hannah. She struggles to get over (that's what happens when you're on the chunkier side), but she can do it. Put Hannah down on her back and about five seconds later she is on her belly. I don't have to worry about tummy time anymore because Hannah makes herself do tummy time.

I think that is about all these crazy girls are up to. Here are some pictures:
Best Friends
Nothing like using my sissy for a pillow!

Chillin' in my crib. (yes, they were posed-wanna guess by who?)

Hannah hanging out in her bumbo-I think she got bored
Happy Hannah in her bumbo-aren't her smiles precious?

This is how I find Kate when I check on her during naptime or go to wake her up. She always manages to get her lovey over her face.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Proud Mama Alert

Hannah had another first yesterday. She rolled over from her back to her belly. My baby can roll both ways now. Pretty soon she'll be rolling across the room. I'm so proud of her. George was off yesterday and I think God humored his complaints of never getting to experience any of her firsts by allowing it to happen when he was off. However, when I woke him up from a nap to tell him she just rolled over, he wasn't too amused and went back to sleep. According to him later that night, he doesn't remember me ever waking him up. So he got to see her practicing later that night. Here is some video of that:

And some more video:

*The videos seem to get darker every time I transfer them from the camera to the computer and then to the blog. I took the video with full lights on in the room. Any suggestions?

We actually had a really nice day yesterday. We both got outside to do some much needed yard work while the girls napped. It's a good distraction while they are inside crying. I wasn't ignoring them, but since we are doing the cry it out method, it was much easier to handle the cries if I wasn't cooped up inside listening to them. They eventually put themselves back to sleep. Yeah!!! Everyday seems to get a little bit better. We aren't there yet, but I feel like we are making progress. Back to our day...we then went up to church and ate dinner and went grocery shopping after that. We borrowed a baby carrier from some friends so George carried Kate and I carried Hannah. It was a fun little date! The girls love to just watch everything in the store so they were perfect. By the time we got home, it was time for bed so the evening was very enjoyable and smooth.

Here's another picture of Kate that I think depicts quite well why we have to use restraints in the swing and bouncy seat now.

Not to leave Kate's firsts out either. She did sit unassisted for a couple of seconds the other day. We had a boppy pillow supporting her butt, but that was it. Yeah Kate! As they continue to grow, we are noticing subtle differences in their development. Hannah seems to be more active physically and achieves those milestones first. Kate loves anything to do with her mouth, talking and eating. She also is better able to reach for toys. She really loves to play in the exersaucer, too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March Pictures and Video

This past week has been full of doctor's visits. I am worn out. On Monday we traveled to Tampa General Hospital to get sweat tests done. The sweat test was to confirm whether or not the girls had cystic fibrosis. I'm not sure that I mentioned this to a few people other than immediate family and a couple of close friends, but when Hannah was in the NICU the neonatologists thought she may have had cystic fibrosis due to her meconium plug. That was a devestating blow to a new mom, but I didn't say much publicly because I didn't want to cause needless worry. They did a genetics test on both girls to see if they had it, but it turns out they are only carriers, which means that at least me or George is a carrier. After a blood test, it turns out that I am a carrier and we aren't sure which side of my family it comes from. It was a huge surprise to us to know that we carried that gene. George hasn't been tested yet so we're not sure if he is also a carrier. Basically to put it simply, both parents must be carriers of the gene in order to have a baby with cystic fibrosis. Even with both being carriers, there is only a 25% chance that the child will have the disease. If only one parent has the gene then there is no possible way the child can get CF. Apparently there are millions (minus this informed carrier) of people walking around as carriers and they do not know it. That shouldn't cause alarm; it's just a fact. Even though the girls' original genetics test came up negative for CF, they still could have it because it doesn't test for every single possibility. The sweat test is the only way to completely rule it out. All they do is induce sweat on the arm and then collect it for 1/2 hour. It doesn't hurt whatsoever. I think the most painful part of the entire experience was having to take care of two tired babies by myself. We survived though. We didn't really think they had CF, but the pediatrician wanted us to be completely sure so we indulged her. The results were negative. Again not a huge shock, but still a reason to get down on our knees and thank God.

We also had our last pulmonary specialist visit today. After today, no more synagis shots. Poor Kate (15 lbs. 1 oz.) had reached the point of needing two shots because her weight was too much. They can only inject so much into one thigh. Hannah (12 lbs. 11 oz.) was thanking Jesus that she was the little one. RSV season officially ends in April so we will be putting the girls in the nursery at church starting at the beginning of April. We are done with all of our NICU followup and are regular babies now. Their next scheduled doctor's visit is with the pediatrician for their 9 month well baby visit.

I was sorting through all of the clothes they have outgrown and came across their preemie clothes. I sat there and stared for a couple of minutes because I couldn't believe they ever fit into those clothes, much less that they were too big on them. I just feel so amazingly blessed by God choosing to give them life everyday.

Here are some recent pictures that we've taken.

Daddy & Kate-sleepyheads Kate Hannah-first time in the Exersaucer

Happy Hannah

Serious Hannah

Friday, March 20, 2009

Beach Bums

Hannah and Kate went to the beach for the first time today. We went with some of George's family. It was a lot of fun and the girls were excellent minus some minor fussiness because they did not get decent naps. We got to dip their feet in the water but it was too cold to actually put them all the way in. We'll have to save that for when the water is warmer.

Kate & Dadddy testing out the water
Kate loved to pull up her bathing suit & eat it

Nanny & Hannah

Daddy & Hannah

Mommy & Hannah-testing out the water

Two little beach bums-forgive my daughter who loves to flash the camera

Hannah is in cherries & Kate is in strawberries


Hannah is enraptured by Grampy Lantz

As part of our NICU follow-up we had the girls evaluated by a developmental clinic. There was a team of about 5 workers who evaluated them. They basically asked me questions about certain skills they could or couldn't do and then spent some time watching them play, etc. Based on their observations, they said that they are actually do many things that a normal 6 month old would be doing. That is awesome. They told me to keep up whatever we were doing at home! I really didn't think that they would find anything that would be concerning, but it always feels good to have professionals who know what to look for tell you that your children are doing just fine! They loved all of the attention. Kate actually thought that one of the nurses was absolutely hilarious and was actually laughing out loud at her. They both laugh out loud, but not for more than a few ha-ha's. Kate actually carried her laugh on for several seconds. They both had quite the audience.

Hannah has also graduated to no swaddlers at nighttime.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Miracle Babies

We were out and about a lot the last couple of days so many people have gotten to see the girls. It's "ironic" because I think about 3 people came up to me at some point and referred to them as miracle babies. Sometimes it's easy to look at them now as they are big and forget the difficult path that they endured for the several weeks after their life began. That's good that I can finally look at them as "normal" babies. Of course, I still take extra precautions when it comes to their health, but they are definitely not my little fragile preemies anymore. It was just a sweet reminder of how blessed we are to have miracle babies.

It was actually a year ago on March 15th that we found out that I was pregnant. Life only got interesting from there. It's hard to believe all that has happened in a year. Looking back on it, how can one deny God's faithfulness?

So as far as the napping goes, we are definitely dealing with the 45 minute intruder. They wake up from their first sleep cycle and think their nap is done. I've decided to go ahead and let them cry it out so that they can learn how to soothe themselves. I have them separated in different rooms. Some moms on the twin website I belong to suggest letting them cry it out in the same room, but I don't know if I'm that brave. I'm already dreading the idea of listening to them cry, but I know it's best for them. We have a pack n' play in our room and then the other baby will sleep in the crib. Please pray that I will have the perseverance to see this through. I give in so easily. Kate is actually taking her second nap without her swaddler so I am probably going to have her give that up. I think that is it for now. I've got some pictures for you to enjoy:

Kate-sleeping with no swaddler at naptime

Kate-sleeping like a big girl
Kate-after her bath
Kate-after her bath

Peekaboo-it's Hannah

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Making Friends

One of the things that I love about our Bible Fellowship class is that there are so many young kids/babies and that Hannah and Kate will grow up and be their friends. We have an awesome group of friends in our class and I love knowing that I do not have to hesitate in letting Hannah and Kate go play at "so-and-so's" house because I already know what principles are taught in that home. We are a very fertile class, which made it hard when we were trying to get pregnant, but it's great now. There are actually quite a few good looking little boys in there (hint hint)! Don't worry, George and I are not arranging any marriages...yet.
With that said, Nicole (one of the other women in our class) and Julia came over the other day to hang out. Her husband is currently deployed in the Middle East so she is a single mommy for the time being. Nicole was actually due one day before my due date so we went through the stages of pregnancy at the same time, that is until 7 months. Now our daughters are going through the same milestones and development at the same time though. Julia is much longer than Hannah or Kate, but she is about the size of Hannah. My girls are the chubby ones! We had a lot of fun the other day and here is a picture of Hannah and Kate and their friend, Julia.

Kate, Hannah, and Julia

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Starting Solids

The pediatrician gave us the okay to start solids. This surprised me a little, but they are still developmentally a little ahead of their adjusted age, so I figured there really wasn't any harm. Plus, I thought maybe this might fix some of the napping woes I seem to be having with Hannah. It seems that the 45 minute intruder (most of you Babywise moms will know what I'm talking about) has ruined our nice peaceful long naps. Hannah is consistently waking up 45 minutes into her nap and if I can get to her in enough time I can usually soothe her back to sleep. Today, I separated them in different rooms for naps because Kate sometimes wakes up after 45 minutes but needs much less soothing than Hannah.

Anyway, we started rice cereal on Monday. They actually did surprisingly well. Yes, it got a little messy, but not as bad as I was expecting. Today went even better. Kate is all about her food, no matter what form it comes in or how she gets it. I made the texture of it a little thicker today and after the first bite both girls smiled and laughed like I was playing some kind of trick on them. It takes me about a full hour now to feed both of them so it is more inconvenient and it will continue to be so as they go to 3 meals of solids a day, but we'll try and work around it. As far as the 4 hour schedule goes, I have given up on that attempt right now because I'd like to figure out this nap situation first. I've been reading up on it a little bit and it seems that around 4 months it is fairly common for babies to start experiencing napping problems. I'm just praying that with a little bit of coaxing the situation will fix itself. For instance, I just put Hannah down for a nap about 45 minutes ago and I peeked in at her because I heard some noises and she is in there wide awake. She was staring at her hand and bringing it down to her face and repeating this. I let her be, but now I am hearing louder noises. I'm afraid to let it go for too long because it will turn into a fit and then she's completely awake. I've heard that crying it out is a great method, but many people have recommended not doing that until they are 6 months old. For those mothers who have used this method, when did you start it?
Here are some pictures of them getting their first solids:

Kate-not too messy, most of it ended up in her mouth

Hannah-messy eater
Hannah "holding" her own bottle

Hannah-ready for her rice cereal
Here are some other pictures:

Hannah-isn't the ladybug on her butt cute

Their smiles are so contagious
Kate sucking her thumb

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sarah's Baby Shower

Sarah, my "little" (she's not so little, she's only 16 months younger than me) sister, had one of her baby showers this past weekend. It was a small gathering, but we had lots of fun and Sarah was blessed with some much needed baby items. No, they do not know what they are having yet because they want to be surprised! Here are some pictures from that: Isn't this cake adorable? Erin (my sister-in-law) made it!

Sarah @ 35 weeks! She's due on April 11th.

Kate at Aunt Sarah's baby shower

While I enjoy the cooler weather, I was really glad that it was finally warm on a Sunday because I have some cute dresses that I have been waiting to get the girls into for church. Here are some pictures of that:

Daddy's Girls

Happy Hannah

And finally...another video. The girls thought it was funny that Daddy and Bella were playing together. You can't really see it on the video, but every time Hannah raises her arms, she is actually also smiling. Again, I apologize for the darkness of the video. I turned on all of the lights in the family room so I thought that would help. I'll keep playing with it until we get it right. Until then...enjoy!