Friday, March 30, 2012

happy birthday.

project 52.11


Since I learned y'all were coming, I have become stronger.

I've been surprised by how quickly the "mama bear" mentality has come.  From y'all being in the NICU to having preemies at home and  following strict orders from the doctor. 
We've had to say no to lots of things.  And we've had to put y'all first.  Your health.  Above our social schedules.  Above our idea of what it would be like when you came home.  Our idea that we would be around lots of family and friends from Day One.  But, as much as I like to please people, this was a non-negotiable.  I was willing to do whatever it took.  Even if it meant inconvenience and letting go of plans.  I hated this for others.  But, I was willing to do what was necessary to protect both of you.

I have also realized things that are important to me. 
Some, that are a little out of the ordinary.
And I've fought to make certain things happen because they are important to me.

Cloth diapering.
Breastfeeding twins.
Living simply.
Staying at home with y'all.

I've also learned to let go of things that aren't as important.

The comfort of dual incomes.
An ideal, spotless home.
People's opinions of us.

 I am finding out more and more about myself in this new role as your mommy.
And, I'm loving it.  

I pray that I will never stop learning and growing stronger in this new role. 
It is refreshing and exhausting and beautiful.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

project 52.10


Y'all are inspiring. 

Now that I am your mama, I am so inspired to do more.  To see more.  To be more.

I want to live life to the very fullest.
I want to make sure I seize this one wild and precious life that I have.  To make the most of every second of every day.  

I want to hold you more than I should.  And rock you when the laundry is overflowing and my to do list is ten pages long.  I want to take you for runs so you can breath in the fresh air.  And I want to feel the breeze through my hair and the sun on my face when we spend time outside.  I want to create.  I love sewing and photography and I want to do those more and be better at them.  I want to embrace life with a new passion.

Something about seeing life begin.  Seeing how precious time is.  Seeing the potential that lies ahead for both of you.  To do anything.  To see the whole world.  To be anyone.

It make me reevaluate my life.  Am I doing all that I can?  Am I seeing all there is to see?  Especially those things right in front of my eyes?  Am I living? Like, really living?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

a perfect thursday.

The boys and I had a perfect Thursday a few weeks ago.

It was a gorgeous, seventy degree day at the beginning of March.
Thank you, North Carolina! 

 We took a ride with the sunroof open...

 With sandals and pink, spring toes.
Okay, well...I was the only one with shoes or pink toes.  I'm sure Jordan is thankful that I didn't paint the boys toes pink :)

Jamming out to Seeds of Praise.  

I heard of the Seeds Family Worship from Jami's blog, Hello from the Natos
They are fabulous!
It is scripture put to music.  The boys got Seeds of Praise and Seeds of Purpose for Valentine's Day :)  
We listen to them anytime when we're in the car and I've already caught myself singing scripture!  I can't wait to hear their sweet voices singing along someday.

We took a quick pit-stop at Starbucks...

For a decaf, carmel frappuccino.

And then headed to Barnes and Noble. 

I got to drool over their endless inventory of colorful moleskine journals....

Tate stayed awake to enjoy perusing with me.

Crews was not as entertained...

I bought The Hunger Games and a new journal for church!

Two of my favorite things!  
A new book AND a fresh journal!  

That evening, when Jordan got off work, we went for a walk downtown.

Again, Tate was wide-eyed.  Crews slept :)

I would definitely see this as a perfect Thursday! 

Hopefully there will be many more of these to come!

Monday, March 12, 2012

project 52.9


I've joked quite often about how I wish that the two of you were shown some love every once in a while.  

The reality is, the two of you are loved by more people and in more ways than we ever imagined.  From the time you almost arrived, when I was 25 weeks pregnant, to your month long NICU stay, to now, as two healthy, four month old babies.  You have been prayed over and loved on.  Visited by family and friends.  Received gifts and phone calls to check on you.  

You are loved.

And we are so incredibly blessed.

When we show up at MiMi and Pop's house, we can't even put the car in park before MiMi or Pops or Aunt Sidney or Uncle Colby are running out to grab your car seats and bring you inside.  And from the time we get there until the minute we leave, there is a continuous fight over who can hold you.  

Having cousins that are so excited to even touch your toes [since they still can't hold you :( ] or watch you eat or have your diaper changed.  Aunts and uncles that call to check on how you are doing or drive from far away to come visit you.  Grandparents that are enamored by you.  Always thinking of you.  Always wanting daily pictures of you.  Always praying for you

So many people don't have that.

We are blessed to have such an amazing family.  I don't want to ever take that for granted.  
I don't want y'all to ever take that for granted.  

Our cup truly overflows.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012


We took the boys to church for the first time today!  

It was such a sweet Sunday.  
So thankful for my little family :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

preparing my heart.

I just read this post from my friend, Heather.

She titled it Radical Obedience and talked about how he biggest desire for her son's life is that he be radically obedient to Jesus.  No, her biggest desire isn't that he is happy.  Although we all do want that.  But the most important thing is that he be radically obedient to the call that God has on his life even when it's hard.

You should read it.  Seriously.

I left this comment in response:

"Oh my word. SO good. And so true! I was just talking to one of the boys the other day while I was rocking him and I told him something similar. That I wanted him to love Jesus with every ounce of his being. And obey Him even when it seemed crazy - even when He was leading him in some way that seemed crazy from a worldly perspective.

 I'm sure his four month old mind processed all of that perfectly. "

And then it also made me realize that I need to prepare my heart for that too. 

Because this mama's heart will want to keep them safe and sheltered as they grow up. 

But nothing about being "radically obedient" to Jesus is safe and sheltered. 

So, I need to be ready to trust Jesus with these precious little lives. Knowing that He has a plan for their lives that is not always going to be the easy, safe road but it will be a plan that will bring glory to His kingdom. 

Which will be beautiful and messy but oh, so worth every second.

I pray that for Crews and Tate.  That they will be radically obedient.

And I hope to remember this one day if one of them comes home and tells me he is moving to Uganda or that he's giving up everything to pursue something that seems crazy to me but something the Lord has specifically laid on his heart.

It will be tough.  Especially when it's dangerous and not "by the book".  When I know that the road won't be easy.  And that I can't shelter him every step of the way.  But I trust Jesus.  And I am so thankful that He has entrusted me to lead them to Him so He can use them for His glory.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

project 52.8


How quickly I've forgotten what my normal used to look like.

This is my new normal.

Two babies.

It has become normal to function on less sleep.
And operate in three hour windows during the day between feeding y'all.

It has become normal to see your tiny legs kick around.
And hear your sweet noises.

It has become normal to get peed on.
And to have spit up on my clean shirt within thirty minutes of putting it on.

It has become normal to sing "Jesus Loves Me" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" at least a dozen times a day.
And make ridiculous faces and noises just for a sweet smile.

It has become normal to operate with only one arm (if even that).
It has become normal to carry two babies around, pick two babies up out of the crib, and rock two babies.
It has become normal wash two of everything.

I remember being so excited to wash baby clothes for the first time.  They smelled so sweet.  And they were so tiny.  I folded and refolded them, trying to figure out the best way to fold something so small.  I was so excited when we installed the car seats.  It made everything seem so legit.  I was excited to pack up my diaper bag for the first time.  Putting in the extra paci for each of them. And the change of clothes.  And the burp cloths.  I remember putting the bedding on the cribs and being so incredibly excited to fill those cribs with two, sweet little bodies.

And now?

Now, it's my normal. 

And I love that.

Monday, March 5, 2012

breastfeeding | pumping.


Breastfeeding the twins has been quite an experience.  While they were in the NICU, I wasn't even allowed to attempt anything until they were about 3 weeks old.  The boys were so small  and nursing was so difficult that they would have burned more calories trying to nurse than they would have actually gained from eating.  

So...I pumped.
And pumped.
And pumped.

Then the boys would be fed the breast milk through their feeding tubes. 

I woke up every three hours during the night and pumped.  And I pumped every three hours during the day.  In order to give my supply a boost from the start, I pumped on a very strict three hour schedule and I pumped for the entire time milk was coming plus 2-5 minutes after I no longer had any milk left.  By pumping while empty, I was telling my body that I needed it to supply more than it was already supplying.  I definitely think this helped establish a healthy milk supply.  

For a while, my strict schedule was pretty limiting.  Both hands were tied up with holding the pump parts.  So pretty much, I just sat there.  I watched tv if I was at home.  But the majority of the times (other than the middle of the night), I was at the hospital.  

Thankfully, at both Duke and ARMC, I was allowed to pump beside the boys beds on most occasions.  At Duke the boys were never in the same room.  So I would pump beside Crews.  Then, three hours later, I would pump beside Tate.  They would pull the curtain around their isolette closed and I would sit and just stare at their sweet little bodies.  (At ARMC you had to manually set up these barriers - wheeling them through the NICU and locking multiple together to create a wall.  Thankfully, the boys were side-by-side at ARMC so we would just block off the whole corner and have quite a bit of room with the barriers up).  It was good to pump beside them because it has been proven to help your milk supply as a NICU mom.  When you aren't actually nursing your baby(ies) and you're hooked up to a pump every three hours, you start to feel like a machine.  You're not actually getting to enjoy the process so much.  Just getting the job done.  Which can often affect your milk supply.  Especially if you're sitting at home, without your babies.  Or if you're sitting in a pump room staring at a wall (I used the pump room only once at Duke and a few times at ARMC - only if family was visiting.  So they could stay with the boys instead of having to sit in the waiting room while I pumped.  I hated it every time.).  So, being around them and listening to them cry and watching them move and all of that, can help with your milk.  

Kinda like that episode of The Office when Pam has a baby and goes out to an office party and Kevin (the big, bald guy) keeps running up to her and going "Waaa-Waaa" really loud and in her face.  And she is confused about why he keeps doing that and what he is trying to accomplish.  So, he does that the whole time they're at the party.  Then, near the end of the party, Angela starts to cry and all of the sudden Pam looks at Jim, wide-eyed, and tells him they have to leave.  Right then.  Pam had started leaking.  (Kevin gets mad that he'd been trying it all night and it hadn't worked.  haha!)

The whole concept of how your body works with producing milk is amazing to me.  It's the craziest thing ever.  But, I just had to throw in The Office reference to relate to how it is seeing your babies and hearing them cry and your milk letting down.

Okay, so back to being tied up.  I would just sit there and look at the boys or watch tv.  But, if my phone rang or if I dropped something on the floor, or if I wanted to change the channel, I was in a bind.  I would have to stop pumping on one side  or somehow hold both sides with one hand so I could use my other hand to get the phone or the remote.   Over time I got better at holding both sides with one hand, but I would still end up in a bind.  

Thankfully my sister-in-law, Katie, was at the hospital one day while I was pumping and told me that I had to buy this hands-free pumping bra.  It  I'm so serious!  I'm going to post a picture below, but I couldn't find one without a woman actually wearing it.  So, the picture does show it on a woman.  I actually tried to look for a brown-headed woman so you wouldn't think it was me at first glance.  Haha. So she does have blonde hair, but it's not me.  And, just so you know, my stomach looked JUST like that when the boys were a few weeks old and I was sitting by their bed pumping.  Riiiiighhhtt.

It's a Medela Easy Expression Bustier.  And it is the bomb-diggity.
Yes, I just used the term bomb-diggity.  Because it is THAT good.  Welcome to 1995.

I bought mine at Babies R Us and it was around $30, I think.  Best $30 I've spent.  Promise.  One of the best parts about it is that it's strapless and it zips in the front.  So, when you get ready to pump you just pull up your shirt, wrap this around you and zip it.  You don't have to pull it down over your head.  You don't have to worry with hooking it in the back.  And you only wear it when you actually pump, then take it right back off and throw it in the bag with your pump parts!  So, after I got that, I would set up to pump and sit by their beds and read them books.  Or at home, I would read, or get on the computer or stalk people on Facebook - ha.

The other thing that was limiting was that I had to be home or at the hospital every third hour so I could pump.  Untillll, we bought one of the adapters so you can plug a regular cord into the car.  It is fabulous.  I have since, pumped in the Target parking lot, sitting in the backseat while Jordan was driving, in the church parking lot in between services, and while driving myself down I-40.  Definitely worth it!  I'm all about some multi-tasking :)

Robin also helped a ton by telling me a few things before the boys arrived.  

First thing was that I would need to rent the hospital pump for a few months.   I have been renting the pump through Duke for the last four months.  It is about $80/month but it is a much more effective pump and with as much pumping as I have done, I needed a really good one.

Robin also told me to be prepared to supplement.  Many twin moms do not have enough milk to keep up with two babies.  So, she had already given me the talk about not being upset if I did not have enough milk.  That I might have to supplement and that it would be okay if that was necessary.

I am praising the Lord that this was not a problem.  After puking for four months straight, being on bed rest for two months, going in to labor three times, having the boys two months early AND having a month long NICU milk supply is one thing that worked correctly!  But, honestly, I realize that is not the case for many people and I do not take it for granted. 

My milk actually came in so well, and the boys needed so little (like 2 teaspoons every three hours!) that I had to figure out some way to store all this milk.  And quickly.  So we ended up buying a freezer to store it all. It only stores breast milk.  (Except for like three ziploc bags of corn in the door).

Again, Praise the Lord for milk.  But also...holy cow.  (Literally.)

Once they boys got to start nursing, I continued to pump after every time they ate.  Because I had worked up my milk supply, I needed to keep it up and not allow my body to readjust to only making what they needed as such small babies.  So, I would pump until I was dry after they boys were full.   Knowing that the boys only get one side apiece, means that each side has to produce enough to feed a baby.  So, I had to continue to keep my supply up so as they needed more, my body could keep up.  I know that this is all based on being a twin mom, but I would definitely recommend pumping after your baby or babies (it would work the same for a singleton mom) finish eating if you think you need to increase your milk supply.

And then, last thing, is that I am still pumping during the night.  The boys are now sleeping 8 1/2 - 10 hours per night.  But, I can't go longer than 6 hours without pumping.  I did not realize this.  And other moms forgot to mention this to me :) So, I typically pump once during the middle of the night.  I do allow myself one night a week where I sleep through the night without pumping but a lot of times it's not worth it because I wake up so uncomfortable.  Feeling like I have two cinder-blocks sitting on my chest.  Which is tons of fun. Let me tell you :)

Okay, I think I've dumped all my pumping knowledge here.  Maybe in a not-so-organized fashion.  But it's all I've got :)   My final thought is that pumping can definitely make a difference and has been worth every second!  

How about the rest of y'all?  Any pumping experiences?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

::: march goals :::

  • Make two presents ::  I haven't figured out my two project this month.  I think I know one that I'm doing but I'm still trying to decide on my second one.  This has been such a fun goal so far this year!  I'm definitely excited to continue this.
  • Read The Hunger Games ::  So, I caved.  I've seen everyone raving about this book and I requested the book at my library at the beginning of February.  They put me on the waiting list.  Last night I checked online and I was number nineteen on the list.  I went to Barnes and Noble today.  I couldn't wait that long! 
  • Complete the 10 Day Plan from Organized Simplicity ::  Y'all.  This is a big goal.  Yes, it's a 10 day plan.  But I am anticipating it taking longer.  The plan is fabulous.  And our home will definitely be organized when I've completed the plan.  But it's going to take a ton of time and energy!  I considered this being one of my only goal for March because it seems that big and daunting!  We'll see how it goes...
  • Make a photo book of the NICU stay ::  I have a coupon for a free Shutterfly book that will expire mid-March.  I'm planning to do photo books each year but I thought that a separate NICU book would be nice. Just so we can remember that important, difficult, trying month.
  • Pursue Jordan ::  I don't want to stop pursuing Jordan now that life is so crazy.  I'm going to be intentional this month about trying to love him well.  Finding ways to make him feel important and cherished and loved just for who he is.
  • Make a menu and stick to it :: I've made my March menu.  This is a step closer than I've gotten the last few months.  For both January and February I didn't even get my menu written down.  Hopefully this will be the month for success!
  • Blog :: I want to keep this up.  Hopefully I'll blog a little more but a few times here and there is better than nothing!
  • Extra credit - Paint the Buffet Table :: I really want to paint the table in my living room.  But, I know that adding this to my list maaay not be realistic.  But, we'll see :)  I'm going to let myself only do this if I finish my other goals in time.  Because, knowing myself, I'd skip one of my other goals that I really don't want to do and paint my buffet table instead.  
What are your March goals?  Leave a link to your post!