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Sam the Designer

February 27, 2014

So as I mentioned sometime….somewhere….in some post or other, I’m trying to do a bit more sewing. Because I miss it and it makes me less crazy which is a WIN for everyone.

Actually, it’s especially a win for Sam as it turns out because what the boy wanted more than ANYTHING was a Mater shirt (from Cars). Sam LOVES Mater. He pretends to BE Mater on a regular basis. (I have to be Holly). Much Mater love.

But weirdly Mater doesn’t grace many shirts. He has a few Lightening McQueen ones….but it’s not the same.

So Sam and I set about making a Mater shirt. I happened to have some orange and grey jersey that I thought would go together nicely to make one of the Hipster Henley shirts from Blank Slate Patterns. I own the pattern but hadn’t made it before so thought I’d give it a go.

When I showed the fabric I had to Sam though, he said (and I quote) “Welll….I like ALL the colours but I really like blue and green. I want my Mater shirt to be blue and green.”

I had a conversation with Brandon about this. The thing is, I’ve always tried to give Anika a lot of freedom with colours and fabrics and patterns for what we make her – because I want her to have an open mind about fashion and what looks good; I don’t want her to be too restricted by any one style or what everyone else is wearing. I want her to know there are options and that she doesn’t have to be hemmed in to what she sees in a store. (Yeah, I will let you know how THAT works out….but that’s the goal).

So by that logic, shouldn’t I extend the same freedoms to Sam? Especially when he SO RARELY CARES AT ALL what he is wearing? And when I sew so much less for him?

But on the other hand I already OWNED the other fabric, and MATER ON A SHIRT. He totally wouldn’t care if I sewed the darn thing out of kleenex because MATER.

After much back and forth I decided to take Sam to find some blue and green t-shirts at Walmart that we could cut up and make into a shirt for him. *I* found a cool marine blue t-shirt and a neat green and white striped shirt (blue body, striped sleeves…fun right??). Sam found the same marine blue t-shirt and a kelly green shirt. It needed to be ALL green apparently.

Fine. We brought the shirts home and I said “Sam, do you want the body blue and the sleeves green or the sleeves blue and the body green?”

Sam blinked at me like I was crazy and said “Oh no. No. I want one sleeve blue and one sleeve green. I want the front green and the back blue. That would be SO funny.”

CLOWN SHIRT. RIGHTO THEN.

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Now, here’s where I give a super shout out to Melissa and Blank Slate Patterns. Because a project that under normal circumstances would take me about two afternoons took me….well. A lot of days. Lets just say that most days I was really happy if I managed to complete a single step. I just can’t string minutes together right now the way I want to. I know it’s a season; I will get there….but it was a little frustrating. The way that Melissa lays her patterns out though are wonderful. I was able to do a step and then just wander back the next day and pick it up with the next step. There was no “Wait….what was I doing??” going on. It was easy to drop in and out and I appreciate that A LOT right now. (The former technical writer in me approves mightily).

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The pattern on its own is great fun. I decided to embrace Sam’s vision and run with it – we did a green front and a blue back; one sleeve each colour with alternate colour cuffs. The button band was blue, which is fun on the green shirt. And even though they aren’t necessarily colours *I* (or a drunk clown) would have put together they actually came together more nicely than I thought they would. Bonus

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For Mater we decided to just to an iron on transfer on some white jersey left over from another project and stitch it on the front. (I toyed with fabric paint but given the three minutes at a time sewing approach it didn’t seem so practical. Besides, Sam appreciates authenticity more than craftsmanship anyway.)

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I used some fusible webbing to attach Mater to the shirt, and then used the lattice stretch stitch on my sewing machine in brown to stitch it on – we were going for a “muddy tire tracks” look.

The shirt fits him beautifully (it’s a slim cut but it’s really true to size so it works nicely).

And he LOVES it.

Oh, and yes. He styled the photo shoot himself with the hat. Of course. And every last picture I have of him is blurry but you know, the truth is that SAM is usually blurry these days so I figure it’s an accurate representation of the boy at three!!!

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Babies Update.

February 23, 2014

For those who care about these things (okay, so probably just me in a few years when I’m trying to remember All The Things) here’s where we are at with le bebes!

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Miss Talia is turning into a regular chunk and is completely hilarious. She’s pretty much a complete ball of happy unless she is sad and then WOE. But it’s almost always solvable. Unless it’s that she wants to eat my hair, which is a little trickier. (WHY CHILD WHY?).

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She led us on a bit of a merry chase in November – one Sunday evening she spiked a very low grade fever. I looked at Brandon and Brandon looked at me and I counted on my fingers and darn it, she wasn’t quuuiiiiiite three months adjusted yet which means that TECHNICALLY I am supposed to take her to emerg immediately. But I didn’t want to because it was snowing and awful out, and the children’s hospital is on the other side of the city. But, being the responsible human being that I am, I put Lucy to bed (I am responsible but not crazy) and bundled up Talia and drove across the city.

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I had high hopes that being a Sunday night, kinda late, it would be quiet in there. That was kinda true, and kinda not. But as always they were lovely to us and got us back in fairly short order.

The usual hoops they go through when you have Small Baby With Fever are basically to check her for RSV (glorified snot suctioning & lab analysis), check her for a UTI, and if necessary, blood work. So they catheterized her to check for the UTI (which took four nurses and two tries and they scratched her, aeeiiii), and they snot suctioned her, and we basically hung out. The doctor kept saying “Well, she looks so well; I’m sure she is fine.” I said “Great, me too, let me know when we can go home.”

So then the UTI results came back positive. (Me – are you serious? Huh. Okay I’ll get the cranberry juice. Wait…not what you do for babies??) THEN the doctor said she needed to do blood work because if her CBC was too high they would need to ADMIT HER. I was…gobsmacked, truthfully. I mean, it’s a UTI. Uncomfortable, probably, yes but no big deal?? Not so with babies. It can be a big deal.

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Her CBC was (of course) crazy high so they admitted her. Now, Sam had a cold at the time so they put her in quarantine. Basically that meant a private room and any nurses or doctors that came in had to be gowned and masked and gloved – which everyone thought was pretty funny but we rolled with it because hey, private room.

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The extra special part of this challenge was that they would not under any circumstances allow me to bring Lucy in. GAHHHH. Fortunately (??) Lucy is bottle fed….so other people taking care of her wasn’t a huge problem logistically but still – without knowing how long Talia would be hospitalized for we couldn’t make any reasonable plans more than a day in advance. It ended up being pretty nutty – we had some wonderful friends step up on different days to take care of her, and I basically ran back and forth from the hospital to home to handle the other kids and Lucy, and Brandon took care of Lucy overnight. Throw in the first major snowstorm of the season (which I got to drive across the city in four whole times) and it was…well. It was interesting.

Fortunately we all survived and got some good stories to tell. I learned a lot too – I always kind of thought it was more of a liability thing to take babies with fevers to the hospital and check them for every possible thing that could be wrong. But what I learned was that first, it’s really easy for babies to get UTIs because of diaper blowouts basically. The blood/brain barrier is usually closed for babies by four months, but they never get to know exactly if that’s happened – and the risk is that the infection will move from the urinary tract to the blood to the spinal fluid…and whammo meningitis. SO GOOD TO KNOW AND I WILL NOW AND FOREVER BE AN ADVOCATE OF GETTING BABIES WITH FEVERS TO THE ER AND DOING ALL THE TESTS. Safety first man.

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And wow, can I just say those doctors and nurses are fantastic. They never once talked down to me or made me feel stupid for not understanding something. They told me everything I needed to know. They took great care of Talia.

Really Talia has just been motoring along ever since. She’s completely adorable and completely fun. She’s discovered the jolly jumper and LOVES it. She’s really fun.

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At her six month appointment (which was technically at six and a half months) she was 61cm long and 5.74kg. (Which is…let me see….24″ and 12lbs, 10oz). She’s evening out a bit (her weight is catching up to her height, percentile-wise) and she is allllmost at the 3rd percentile not corrected for prematurity (if we correct her she is almost at the 15th percentile). Not a giant – I joke about the chunk thing because compared to Lucy she is, but it’s funny when you see her around other babies her age….she’s still pretty tiny.

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And Lucy….ahhh Miss Lucy. She is adorable (okay biased). She is all fair skin and dimples and big blue eyes, and she is a total flirt – if someone she doesn’t know smiles at her she is immediately batting her eyelashes and flashing the dimples and engaging them every way she can think of. Girl is trouble, is what I’m saying.

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She is still very tiny. As of the 6 month appointment (which was at 6.5 months) she was 60cm long and 4.44kg. (So about 23″ and 9lbs 12oz). Not exactly burning up the charts weight wise. She’s actually growing really well length-wise – in terms of percentiles she’s over the 0.1 percentile line now, which translates to probably around the 8th percentile corrected. Weight-wise…well even corrected she still isn’t on the chart. But, we are still working on it and everyone is encouraged that she IS still growing, and developing.

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Both girls are capable of rolling (though they don’t do it much). Talia is physically stronger for sure – she is working on sitting and seems to be able to manipulate things a little better than Lucy. But Lucy is more vocal – she’s really chatty – and she loves to play with toys and things too. She also likes the jolly jumper, (though you need to make sure she stays centered in it or else she slides out one leg hole and basically hops around like a maniac while the other foot dangles in mid-air).

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They are getting more fun, finally. Still lots of work but…fun.

Photo 1-31-2014, 3 26 40 PM***BREAKING UPDATE****

Since it took me two weeks to get around to uploading all of the pictures I have on various devices (cell phone, iPad, etc.) to actually PUBLISH this post (don’t be judging – you get two babies and do this:

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and THEN talk to me), Lucy had another weight check. GIRL GAINED A SOLID POUND, and is now OVER 10lbs. DOUBLE DIGITS BABY! And only 7.5 months old. (SIGH but anyway). Pretty awesome…and it’s her most significant weight gain since birth. As an added bonus we get to work on transitioning her to less fortified formula and (if all goes well) onto a slightly less broken down formula – which is a LOT less expensive. So we will see…..

Go Lucy go!

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Anika, Sam, and a Teeny Tiny Bit of Relocating ME.

January 30, 2014

Ok wow. I did not mean to let so much time pass without updating. Totally one of those situations where TOO MUCH HAPPENED in too short a period of time, and I couldn’t write about THIS without first acknowledging THAT, and then….spiralfaceplant. Mpph.

It’s complicated being me. Needless to say this might be kind of a long update and I AM SORRY.

Also, do you ever start an update and realize it’s getting too long and slog-like for you to write it (never mind for anyone else to READ it)? That totally happened here so I am giving up and doing a separate post about the babies later. Right-o.

So I think I’ll start this post by chatting about each of my crazies, and doing some general catchup before diving into the stuff I’m really thinking about. Sound good?

First up, my lovely Anika.

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Anika is 7. SEVEN. ONETWOTHREEFOURFIVE….you get the idea. She’s a total kid now. No more messing around with this little kid nonsense – she is a full on girl. It’s kind of mind-blowing.

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She’s in Grade 2, and so far so….interesting.

She’s doing fine; not necessarily burning up the charts academically but she’s doing it the way she’s always done it – she tends to go a bit slower for the fall and by the spring she builds up her confidence and does much better. It’s a bit conflicting, because on the one hand you ALWAYS want your kid to do really well (and be recognized for the gorgeous brilliant wonderful person they are, in EVERY arena). But on the other hand, when I stop and think about it, Anika is really learning exactly what I want her to learn at this stage in her life. She’s learning to work hard. She’s learning that if she doesn’t get something instantly it’s perfectly okay to work at it; to speak up and ask for clarification; to figure it out – and that if she does keep working at it, she CAN figure it out.

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It’s a lesson I don’t think I understood until I was older really, and I actually really like that she’s learning that now. As long as she’s not giving up, I am happy.

Dance is….well. She is dancing ALL THE TIME.

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I guess compared to a lot of kids and the competitive circuit she’s not really dancing all the time, but even when she isn’t dancing she is totally dancing. She LOVES it. Thrives on it. The number of times I have had to say this year “Anika, my oven handle is NOT A BARRE AND I AM COOKING DINNER.” Or tripped over her working on the splits in the living room (which she can totally do now and it’s FREAKY).

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She’s maturing there as well I think. She’s getting better and better at it and the more she does the more committed she is to loving it. I always expect that by the Christmas break she will be ready for a break but she really isn’t. She couldn’t wait to get back to it. She’s doing ballet, tap and jazz this year, and while she really likes tap I think her first love is still ballet and jazz. So we will see what next year brings – she wants to start working to the RAD exams in ballet, so….I guess we will see.

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Her creativity amuses me to no end – she reads ALL. THE. TIME. now, which is fantastic – it’s gotten so that I have to actually go and drag her out of her room in the morning to get her to put her book down and get ready for school. It’s so familiar to how I was as a kid, and really fun to see.

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Talia is especially besotted with her big sister – and Anika figured out before Christmas that as long as Talia could SEE her she would be happy.

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Problem solved.

She also started reading to the girls a little bit, so that’s fun too.

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One other thing that I think is interesting about Anika is how well she and Sam get along. There’s the usual sibling bickering of course….but they really seem to love each other and they play well together – she can be eyerolly and huffy and whatever but she will always always help him. I love that about her. She’s a great sister to all of them.

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(Except maybe Lucy but in her defence, picking up Lucy is always a gamble – that girl’s reflux is an adventure and Anika does NOT hold truck with babies spitting up on her.)

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Sammo is doing well too. He’s predictably “boy” and “three”, which roughly translates to “kind of a handful” from time to time…but overall he’s great.

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We had a really nice Christmas holiday with all of the kids, but Sam in particular was just SO happy and relaxed. He spent hours hanging out and doing puzzles (still his favourite thing ever) and just…being with his family.

The other day I asked him if he’d like me to find someone to stay with the twins one day while Anika was at school so that he and I could go swimming as a special date. He said he would really rather go on a special date all together with Mommy and Daddy and Anika and Lucy and Talia. He’s really just happiest when we are all together.

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One thing Sam managed to do around New Years was to BURN THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS out of his hand on the fireplace. It’s a gas fireplace with a glass front on it, and we didn’t really think anything of it – he knew it was hot; the kids were careful – we weren’t worried about it. But he managed to just graze the back of his hand along the glass and whammo – blisters the whole lengths of all four of his fingers and onto the back of his hand – a complete mess.

(Yes I do have a picture – but I will spare you.)

We treated the burns and wrapped him all up in a gauze bandage for the better part of a week, trying to give them time to heal (can I get an amen for kid skin that heals super fast??). He was SO GOOD about it. It was kind of crazy – I mean, burns hurt right?? He insisted up and down that it didn’t hurt; he was fine; he just needed to wear his special mitten until his hand healed. The funniest part about the whole thing is that it was his right hand and now….now it’s been a month and he still does certain tasks with his left hand. Like eat soup. I have no idea why.

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I feel like in general life is starting to get a bit easier. I’ll share more about the babies in another post but….I really do think things are slowly easing. Nights are getting better (the girls are generally only up once or maybe twice, and usually at the same time which is a HUGE improvement). They are better able to entertain themselves when they are awake now, and it’s given me some bits of time here and there to catch my breath a bit and evaluate where we are – and where I am.

We recently decided that we need to hire some help for a couple of days a week, and have been SUPER blessed that our friend and long time go-to person to look after our kids when we go out is available to help us. She’s one of those people who just makes things easy – “Nope, you guys go, I got this.” And it might not be totally smooth and awesome for her but she figures it out, doesn’t make us feel guilty for going out, and loves our kids in spite of the bumps. It’s the best situation I can think of.

20140208-215341.jpgDates for us! Dates for us!

She’s going to come one full day and two half days per week for now – the full day will be on a day when Sam is home, which will let me spend some time with him (rather than fitting him in around the babies). The half days will span the after school homework/dinner/CRAZY hours and hopefully help things run a little more smoothly – and allow me to spend some better quality time with all of the kids. I hope.

I’ve slowly been getting back into the things that I love. I made Lucy this sweater in December, and am working on finishing Talia’s.

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The pattern is Welcome to the Flock by Julia Farwell-Clay and it’s SO FRICKIN CUTE I just can’t even. If you don’t mind messing with colour it’s a pretty easy knit, and quick too.

As anyone who has read this blog for awhile knows, working with my hands makes me SO happy and knitting is a good compromise – doesn’t typically require the overhead or effort that sewing does, and I can haul it out, knit one row, and then go deal with whatever else I have to do.

That said, I finally finished a couple of character skirts I was making for Anika and a friend for ballet class….and I cannot begin to tell you how good it felt to sew that first seam. It sounds so silly but I was so. much. happier for DAYS after doing that.

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They are not exactly complicated sewing….but it was great to get into it.

I’m really hoping to be able to incorporate more of that into my days in the coming months….I’ve promised Sam a “mater” shirt, and I’ve got some LOVELY fabrics to tackle a washi dress or two for me. I’ve promised to make Anika and her friend Scirocco dresses for the summer, so there are things!

And you know, it’s REALLY REALLY nice to have “things” that are unrelated to looking after babies.

Four Months!! Life!!

November 14, 2013

Well the girls have crossed the line to the four month mark, which seems vaguely crazy. Actually it simultaneously seems like they have been here forever and also like they just got here. Such is life with preemies I suppose.

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I feel largely these days as if I’m just kind of head down and getting through the days. I don’t get to see very many days in a row with all of the drs appointments so its hard to know how to plan much.

Ms. Talia is cruising along beautifully now. She is totally lovely and chunking up marvellously I think. She has managed to hold rock steady on the tenth percentile line on the preemie curve (weight) so that’s awesome.

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She’s not a giant I suppose – nine pounds ten ounces as of Monday – but she’s really solid. She likes to sit in the bumbo seat now and watch things (except, of course when she doesn’t. Babies – totally unpredictable).

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Developmentally she is way more sturdy with holding her head up and is smiling away. She’s starting to make more sounds which is really really fun.

Sleep wise she is funny. Both girls will happily go from 7pm to 7am waking about twice to eat (usually somewhere between 1130 and 130, and then again around 430). But at 7 I usually get Talia and pull her into bed with me to nurse her, and she almost always goes right back to sleep. I usually have to wake her just before nine so that I can dress her in time to walk Anika to school.

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She can also be super emotional and just seems to go through periodic phases where she just wants to snuggle – like, I’m all good as long as there is some form of skin contact. Mom? Mom??? OHCRAPIMALOOOOOOONE!!! Usually I can just stick her beside Lucy and she’ll jam her hand into the side of Lucy’s face and we’re all good again.

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One of our more dramatic days about a week ago was when the lovely Talia decided to spike a fever. Awesome. Babies are not supposed to do that – especially ones that are under three months adjusted. Darn. That earned us a trip to the ER at the children’s hospital. I had to bring Lucy and Sam with me (aeeiiii) but I was kind of hoping that with so small a baby we’d be in and out quickly.

Hah. No. Six hours later we came home. Now because I am awesome I brought one lonely snack for Sam – which he ate in triage – and that was it. Talia was fine. Virus. The end. (I can say that with absolute certainty since they ran every test known to man on her). Lucy had some wicked reflux episodes, running through most of the spare clothes I had with me (in the end she was sporting a short sleeved onesie with Talia’s legwarmers on her arms. She looked like a drunk clown dressed her).

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Sam, poor kid, just about lost his mind. He was good – for being stuck in a room with a stretcher and a chair and nothing else for five hours he was amazing. I brought his leap pad and he basically taught himself how to write the entire lower case alphabet. When they finally said we could leave he was like “no, no! I like it here! I want to stay!” Basically he’d lost his wee mind. He’s also fine now.

Now Miss Lucy. As of her four month appointment she is now about 7lbs 9oz. She is getting there. Not burning up the charts but getting there. I am now finished breast feeding her, which breaks my heart a little bit even though I’m not actually sure why it should matter. It had to be done – she just wasn’t thriving the way she needs to be. The formula seems to be working for her so that is promising. And the cost of it ought to prepare us nicely for university expenses.

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She’s also smiling and enjoying life in the bumbo seat though if she’s not really engaged and strongly awake we run the risk of her sliding out a leg hole. She’s kind of small still.

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She is a wildly chatty little thing and if I get her going she will sit there and “guh” and “aboo” at you for quite awhile.

Her reflux is kind of a drag still. The Zantac she was taking stopped working so we’ve now moved on to nexium. I guess that is supposed to inhibit acid production and help her out? It does seem to work pretty well but wow is it a hassle to give her. I’m supposed to do it first thing in the morning, half an hour before she eats. Boo. This basically means i give it to her and then deal with her majesty’s outrage for twenty minutes (which is about all I can stand) before I cave and feed her. Also the medicine itself is weird. I’m supposed to mix a half packet with a quarter teaspoon of water. The problem is that the resulting…stuff? Is more solid than liquid. So I’m basically trying to convince a very small, very hungry baby to deal with tiny bits of gelatinous goo off of a spoon instead of feeding her. Oh well….it works at least so there is that. I’m not sure I can really see the point of doing it first thing in the morning though. It’s not like she sleeps through the night and is operating on an empty stomach or something. Who knows.

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There are days now where I see the girls getting fun.

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They play now. That’s kind of awesome. You have to pick your window but they can do It.

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Why yes, that is Jesus perched near Talia’s shoulder like the master of all good angels. Talia is very in touch with her faith. Amen.

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They have located their hands and think its really fun to grab stuff and chew on them. This stage is particularly hilarious to me because inevitably they will be moving their hands away from their faces, watching them go and you can just see the wheels turning…”hey wait!!! Come back!!”

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Fun silly babies.

*****

In Sam randomness (egads the boy is challenging these days) I have just now figured out why on earth the child was refusing to eat carrots – a vegetable I could usually count on him to eat a few of at least.

Me – Sam, lunch is ready! (Lunch consists of a bunch of random things thrown on a plate, including a few baby carrots).

Sam – (eyes plate suspiciously) – Are these big boy carrots??

Me – *blinkblink* – Yep they are Sam!

Sam – Good. Because I’m not a baby. Baby carrots are for Lucy and Talia.

Rights. Big boy carrots FTW.

In other big boy news we are finally (finallyfinallyfinally) toilet trained. As in he goes willingly all of the time and he tells me when he has to go so I don’t have to remember to ask him every five minutes. So happy it’s not even funny.

Yesterday morning he came into my room and said “I think I should keep my essie (soother) in the garbage. I don’t think that’s for me anymore.” That cracking noise would be my heart breaking.

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Now before you get all judgey, yes the boy still had a pacifier. In his bed only at bedtime, blah blah blah. It’s been a battle I’ve been gearing up for but frankly I have had bigger fish to fry. Getting the boy to stop depositing horrific matter into his pull-up was way more important to me.

He has very obviously rethought his decision to toss the soother a few times (most notably at bedtime last night) but he really was ready and he wanted to do it…I think we just need to reassure him and gently encourage I him and he’ll be ok.
****edited to add that the boy made it two nights with some amount of tears and drama! and then today he located a spare soother he’d forgotten about in his room and pretty much we are back to square one. Now he says he’s going to keep it until he’s bigger than me and daddy. Riiiight.

But the Sam drama – oh the drama. Things are awesome! Things are horrifically tragically devastatingly sad and wrong! It is exhausting trying to keep up.

For instance this sad tear stained face?

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Is because his stick broke on the way to pick up Anika at school.

Right-o.

I seem to be using the phrase “it’s just a phase!!” an awful lot these days.

Now I realize I’ve said next to nothing about my spectacular almost seven year old. She’s all very complicated and delightful and basically I love her to bits and pieces and she very definitely deserves her own post. Let’s just assume I will be able to write that really soon!

Three Months, a Hike, and Fun With Growth Curves.

October 23, 2013

Well, my littles are now a whopping three months old…which for those keeping score at home makes them one month adjusted.

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This is especially delightful because it means that they are *finally* starting to Do Stuff. Smile. Notice people. Trust me, after months of feeling like you are stuck in that Groundhog Day movie with Bill Murray, this is very very good.

We celebrated this weekend (Thanksgiving! Yay!) by going for a hike. I let Brandon pick so of course we did 8km in the back country.

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The babies were fine – we each strapped one on and wandered off.I carried the backpack for the first half; Brandon for the second – pretty great.

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The true rock stars of the day were Anika and Sam.

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Ani did the ENTIRE distance all by her own self. There was a fair bit of up and down; stream crossing, etc. and she just did it. Amazing.

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Sammo was awesome too. He pretended to be “Lightnin’ NcQueen” for the whole trip (I was Sally) and he probably walked 5 or 6km by himself.

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Brandon put him on his shoulders when he started falling down more (dude was tired).

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And I…well, I nursed two babies at the same time sitting on a log in the forest which I *think* makes me kind of a rock star too. And yes I have a picture and no you cannot see it. This is a family establishment folks.

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It was great to get outside.

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Now, lets talk about le bebes. Granted this may not be interesting to most people but since the last three months have been a TOTAL BLUR OF CRAZY I should probably write some things down so I actually remember.

First up, Miss Talia.

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Talia, contrary to the pictures that make her seem like a giant next to Lucy, is actually kind of a peanut herself. She is now, (at 3 months 1 week old) 8lbs 8oz. She LOOKS big next to Lucy (who we will get to in a minute) but she’s actually only about the 10th percentile on the preemie growth curves. She’s more like 50th for length though, prompting our doctor yesterday to say “Stop looking so much like your father!” Hee.

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Talia does need to gain more weight but overall has been doing pretty well. Our strategy with her for the last sixish weeks has been to nurse her during the day, and then for her overnight feeds (approximately three – one at bedtime, one sometime between 1230 and 230 am, and one around 5am) to give her bottles of pumped milk fortified to 24 calories/ounce. We’ve done the fortification with a particular formula that the pediatrician recommended and it’s worked pretty well.

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She’s maintaining her growth well enough that just yesterday they told us we could discontinue the fortifier – so YAY. We’re going to give her bottles overnight still (to make sure she is maintaining the volume) but it’s pretty great that we can actually see a path to a point where I could just (gasp) nurse her and not have to do things like pump at 5am. WAHOO!

Talia is much sturdier then she was – she holds her head up like a champ, has accidentally rolled over a couple of times (very traumatic apparently). She’s starting to smile occasionally, and she’s really alert – she likes to watch people and things. She’s starting to bring her hands to midline and try to hold onto things occasionally. Most of that has developed in the last three weeks – pretty exciting to FINALLY see some milestones!

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Now lets talk about Lucy.

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Poor little peanut. At 3 months +1 week she is 6lbs, 9oz. She’s doing okay, and has been growing…but not the way we want her to. We’re fairly certain that she has a milk allergy, and switched her diet accordingly – nondairy fortifier, I eliminated all dairy from my diet (Dr. G. writes in her chart “Mother bitter but compliant.” Hee. And also true. And also YAY for drs with senses of humour).

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Unfortunately yesterday we got some blood work back that shows that her ferritin levels are really high and her albumin levels are really low. (“Aha!” I can hear you saying. “I thought so!” No?). Those things together point to an inflammation in her digestive tract somewhere. It means she’s not absorbing enough protein and SOMETHING is making her twitchy. Could still be dairy. Could be something else entirely – we don’t really know. Soy? Something?

The long and short of it is that Brandon and I decided in consultation with the Dr. to stop nursing her – hopefully just for now, but maybe for good. We need to get confirmation of the amounts that she is getting (maybe her slow growth is just because she is not big enough to transfer enough milk? I don’t think so, but who knows I guess), and we need to eliminate some variables where the allergies are concerned. Once we get her on a good growth track we will repeat her bloodwork and just see where she is.

She is being referred to a GI specialist, but that appointment is six weeks from now and we just figured that it doesn’t quite make sense to wait until then with (likely) continued poor growth and issues, and then get her seen at which point the GI person will PROBABLY say “Hey stop nursing her and lets see what happens”….it just doesn’t make sense to wait. We want her to grow, and the fact is that the babies started 5 oz apart in weight but are now two pounds apart. It’s not ok.

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I’m kind of okay with it. I’d like to nurse her (largely because I am lazy and nursing is easy and I LOVE that they always hold hands when I tandem nurse them). But I don’t want to nurse her at the expense of her health and growth. I don’t want to nurse her if it’s going to cause health problems. She’s had three+ months of breast milk; if that’s all it is then so be it. And my supply will still be there since I’m nursing Talia – if I can transition her back at some point then great.

Other than being wee (and having a giant coconut of a head) Lucy is really healthy. She’s strong; she holds her head up; she smiles; she’s engaged. She’s also accidentally rolled over a couple of times but doesn’t seem to hate life as much when that happens as her sister does. She’s really cute.

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So that’s the update on the babies. The big kids deserve a post of their own too….but they are amazing as well. So sweet and so engaged with the girls and each other – it’s really wonderful. The bond between the two of them is really tight.

Sam is big into make believe and always wants to “play a game” – in which he is one character and you are another. He will be Lightening McQueen; you will be Sally/Mater, he will be Marlin, you have to be Dory, he might be Buzz Lightyear, you have to be Woody – it goes on and on and it is HILARIOUS if a little bit exhausting!

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Anika’s still dancing up a storm, and seems more committed to working hard at it then ever…so…good? She tells me all the time “This is really hard mom, but I want to be competitive so I’m going to do it!” (Usually in reference to some step she’s learning….or in reference to when the teacher makes them do planks because they aren’t listening. I should try that at home come to think of it!). She is really strong and has definitely crossed the line from “Things I could probably do if I tried” with dance to “things that would make me fall down.” So good for her!

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We have a pretty cool family shaping up here….very thankful.

Why yes. I did go there.

September 18, 2013

Baby headbands.

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And do you know why??

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Because if one more person makes reference to one of my girls being a boy, I am going to beat them senseless.

The funny part is that usually it is a health care professional of some description who is HOLDING MY DAUGHTERS’ HEALTH CARD WITH GENDER CLEARLY INDICATED at the time. Also, why is it always Talia who they think is a boy?? Are girls not allowed to have dark hair? Are boys not allowed to be blonde? It kind of baffles me. Although there was a lab tech doing blood work on the girls on Monday who thought Lucy was the boy. Really?!

Okay; I don’t really care that much. I do like dressing them up though. Plus, babies with things on their heads! It’s never not funny.

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Lucy isn’t quite sure what to make of hers – and her head is small enough that when she’s in the carseat it usually falls forward and covers her eyes. She doesn’t seem to care though – she kind of just treats it like a wee sleep mask. (Hm. Perhaps I should test this out at night??).

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Talia kind of rocks it though.

Alas, my plan is backfiring. This morning a woman looked in their carseats and said “Oh a girl and a boy!” When I corrected her she claimed that she was confused by Talia’s blue bow. (Blue bow? The pink dress was ambiguous….but the silver sparkly very-much-not-blue bow confused the issue?)

I was explaining the dilemma to our not-quite-four year old next door neighbour – an adorable little blonde/blue-eyed girl. She has come up to me a few times and since and said “Oh, I NEVER think they look like boys!!” Awesome.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation.

September 11, 2013

Wait, what summer? WHAT VACATION??? People, that was entirely too fast.

I did lots of things actually. But the best thing I did was make these people.

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Introducing Talia Grace and Lucy Caroline – the newest members of our little pile of people. (Cheat sheet – Lucy is fair; Talia has the dark hair.)

This should be an OH HEY LOOK THEY WERE BORN! post, but it isn’t really – they are in fact two months old today. They showed up at the ripe old age of 31+4 weeks gestation, which earned them a good month or so in the NICU.

Here’s the beginning….

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Lucy rocking the CPAP, and sporting a cloth diaper like a quilt.

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Talia, just free of the CPAP.

Lucy (aka Twin A or Twin 1 depending on who you talk to) was 3lb 8oz, and Talia (Twin B or Twin 2) was 3lbs 13oz. Flair for the dramatic these two!

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It was really funny watching their progression – neither of them needed to be vented (YAHOO) but both needed CPAP for a few days. We started calling them the tortoise and the hare because their progression was really like that. Lucy came off CPAP within 24 hours and lasted a day and a half but then got tired and had to go back on. Talia took an extra day or so to come off…but once she was off, she was done with that nonsense.

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Both girls are rock stars who managed to latch at 32 weeks – blew me away; babies are amazing – though I’m still required to give them fortified bottles of pumped milk at least some of the time now. They are getting there though!

But seriously, this is the first time Talia nursed – keep in mind she’s the bigger of the two – and NO I am NOT showing you nursing pictures. But this gives you an idea about her head size. Think fuzzy tennis ball.

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And here they are today, at 2 months, looking totally awesome and comparatively giant.

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Talia, currently 6lbs 10oz and ROCKING IT.

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Lucy, currently 5lbs 7oz and…

….well, she’s getting there. She has some nasty reflux that is causing the weight gain to be slow (and sleep to be tough). But she is getting there!

And really right now we’re all just….figuring things out. We’re getting there. It’s hard – some days it’s really hard. But it’s also completely awesome and I choose to focus on that part. (That’s one of the more startling things really – the realization that it’s a CHOICE to focus on the awesome, and in making that choice it becomes even more awesome.)

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Sam and Anika are so completely over the moon in love with these little people it’s not even funny. They adore them.

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I expected Anika to be in love – and she is. She is beyond helpful; when I am dealing with one and the other one is crying, she will go and pick up the crying one, give her a cuddle and sing to her – in short, calm her right down until I can get there. It’s lovely to see the relationship developing between them, and I’m constantly reminding myself that I don’t have to police her – she might not be picking Lucy up PERFECTLY, but if Lucy isn’t complaining then I don’t need to get in her way. This is part of the two of them forming a relationship and it is a good thing.

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Sam has really blown me away. I mean, the thing about Sam is he’s a boy – and he really is a BOY. He’s rough and tumble; he’s usually covered in some kind of dirt, his hair is almost always too shaggy and he’s really physical with his affection – giant crashing into your legs hugs; that kind of thing. I love that about him; it’s fantastic. But it’s a little scary when you’ve got that careening around your 4lb infants. So I was nervous when we brought them home….but the truth is that Sam has been SO gentle, SO loving and kind with them – he will put on this very affected “I am now talking to a baby” voice and say “Oh Luce. It’s okay. I’m here. I’m your big brother. I will protect you.” It’s impossibly sweet (though I am obviously biased and make no promises about becoming unbiased!!).

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The things I’m finding hardest right now are finding time to use my hands. It’s ridiculous but I mean if you’ve had a baby you know what I’m talking about – you know how to do your hair, clean, put on makeup, whatever all with one hand while the other hand is holding your baby. But suddenly I’m standing there holding two babies and staring at a pile of dinner ingredients with no idea how to get them assembled because NO HANDS. Or I’m looking at an email I’d really like to respond to and…can’t because NO HANDS.

Or you know, I’d like to write a blog post showing off my babies and I can’t because….well you get the idea.

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Mom. Stop being so lazy.

More to come…lots more to come. Just as soon as I find my hands.

 

 

 

 

 

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