Thursday, June 30, 2011

Water-ful Wednesday

We woke up yesterday to the sound of pouring rain and dark skies. It looked like it was going to be a wet Wednesday.

Perfect for our grass and flowers. Not so great for the babies' one year pictures.

Thankfully, the rain passed. The sun broke through slightly, and we were able to go ahead with the photo session after all.

During the shoot, the grass was slightly wet, but my babies didn't mind. They love water! Barefoot, they wiggled their toes in the wet grass, digging into the soft dirt.

This past weekend, we enjoyed a family trip to Busch Gardens. While the big kids enjoyed roller coasters, the little kids enjoyed the water playground.

Yesterday's "Water-ful Wednesday" included playtime with their new water table.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Emily versus the Table

A battle of epic proportions...

the table

One emergency trip to the doctor and some glue later, she's ready to go again.

Monday, June 27, 2011

10 Cool Things My Babies Did Last Week

While Mommy was busy being a slacker blogger last week, the babies were busy doing all kinds of cool things. So join me on this Monday to celebrate 10 cool things my babies did LAST week. Stay tuned for lots of cute pictures and video from the babies' first trip to Busch Gardens and Elmo's Castle water playground.

Drew and Emily both are walking. They both took their first steps the week before their first birthday, but this week, they have really taken off. Now that they are walking, life is a little busier for us all!

Drew’s rocking and rolling! He has learned how to make the recliner and his horse rock back and forth.

When Emily gets really mad, she has started clapping her hands in frustration.

They are talking on their phones. It’s a sign of the times—the babies already have their own cell phones. When Drew can’t find his toy phone, he will hold his hand up to his ear and talks on his “phone.”

Drew is signing. Today while I was at work, Drew signed “thank you” and said “tanks.” Another favorite: “milk.”

Both babies are mostly bottle free. When we transitioned to whole milk, they both started drinking, almost exclusively from their sippy cups.

Emily and Drew are also getting really good at sucking out of an adult straw. Now they want to drink whatever mommy and daddy are drinking at the restaurant.

As another sign of their growing independence, they want to feed themselves using the spoon. Both are now eating (on their own) from a spoon. Yogurt= bath time.

Drew decided to combine two of his favorite activities—talking on Daddy’s cordless phone and playing in the toilet—by throwing the phone in toilet!

While we don’t have many full-fledged words, we have lots of intense conversations in what sounds like a foreign language, and they pick up a new sound effect daily. Currently they are both making this really funny sound by clicking their tongue on the roof of their mouths—“ du-ku, du-ku, du-ku.” Too cute!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Way Back When-esday: First Father's Day

Special thanks to Cheryl at Twinfatuation for hosting the Way Back When-esday link-up!

Today we are going back a year to Father's Day 2010. The babies were about two weeks old. For Marty's Father's Day present, I wanted to get the babies' footprints done at a local pottery place. Leaving the house with them for something other than a pediatrician's appointment was a big deal. How neurotic was I? I made Marty go into the pottery shop and make sure it wasn't full of people before I would take the babies in!

We ended the big trip out of the house by picking up Outback to go since I was still too nervous to take the babies out in public.

This Father's Day was all about rest. We started our day with a trip to a pancake house for breakfast. It's always nice when someone else takes care of the cooking and clean-up. Then, we had a lazy day at home since Marty's Father's Day request was to just rest as much as he wanted. We happily obliged.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What I Love About Me

Holly Ann at Twins Plus One, Three Times the Fun has started a great new meme called “What I Love About Me.” It’s a chance for us to stop criticizing ourselves and remind ourselves of all there is to love.

Yesterday morning, I came downstairs to find Emily screaming. According to Marty, Drew body-slammed her. Almost as soon as the crying was over, Emily returned the torment by stealing Drew’s sippy cup. Awww…sibling love—twin style.

Watching their constant give and take--screams and all--reminds me of how lucky they are to have each other.

Sure, there will be body slams and sippy cup coups.

But, if they are lucky, they will grow to be lifelong friends. This wish reminded me
of something I love about me--

This week I love the fact that I am a big sister who is lucky enough to also be friends with her siblings.

The cliché is you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. In my case, I am lucky to count my sister and brother as some of my closest friends.

It’s not always easy.

We don’t always agree but somehow can always find common ground when facing a challenge.

We are not blind to each other’s faults because we’ve seen each other at our best and worst.

We can make each other the maddest but we also know the some of our happiest times have been together.

We can hurt each other the most because we know what each holds closest to his/her heart.

We can be most disappointed in each other but also the most proud.

We can talk about each other but we dare someone on the outside to try.

We can throw a drink at each other in a fit of anger but would be the first to raise a glass to toast the achievement of the other.

To use a few more clichés, when the going gets tough, we circle the wagons, knowing we are on the same team, and that blood really is thicker than water.

Right now, my sister and brother are going through major life changes: one is leaving a marriage; another is getting ready to marry for the first time.

The babies in the wagon all have babies of their own.

As the big sister, I have learned it is not my job to fix their problems. It is my job to love them, support them, and encourage them. Just like I know they would do for me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Living on (or falling off) the Edge

This week Drew fell accidentally.

This week I fell (repeatedly) on purpose.

Drew’s fall started when I put him on the bed for fun.

Image Credit

My fall started when I decided I needed a little more fun.

Image Credit

Drew’s fall happened when I wasn’t paying attention to the big things.

My fall happened when I stopped worrying about the little things.

Drew’s fall made him scream in pain.

My fall made me scream in delight.

Drew’s fall filled me with scary fear.

My fall filled me healthy fear.

Drew fell not even two feet.

I fell 205 feet.

Image Credit

Drew’s fall happened in slow motion.

My fall happened at approximately 70 miles per hour.

Drew’s fall made me feel like a bad mommy.

My fall made me feel like a kid again.

Drew’s fall gave him carpet burn on his nose.

My fall gave me a tingle in my tummy.

Drew’s fall made my heart stop.

My fall made my heart beat faster.

Drew’s fall reminded me to pay attention to the important things.

My fall reminded me to pay attention to the fun things.

Drew’s fall showed me that life can change in a second.

My fall showed me that change can be good.

Monday, June 13, 2011

First Birthday Party Recap

This weekend we celebrated the babies' first birthday with a backyard birthday beach bash! We joined forces with cousins Tanner and Kaelyn who also had recent birthdays to throw one big party. The hot June Saturday was full of all things cool--water, slides, a water playground, swim suits, a sand pool, sunscreen, sunglasses, lemonade, beach balls, lounge chairs, swings, sugary cupcakes, grilled burgers, hotdogs, ice cream, golf cart rides, family, and friends!

We transformed Grandma and Papa's backyard into a beach-inspired playground. The back deck was a perfect place to grill burgers and hot dogs.

Emily relaxes by the pool.

Drew found the perfect spot to chill! He's definitely a water baby!

The kids (and some adults, too) loved the water-filled playland.

Emily gets ready to go down the slide with mommy and Aunt Austin.

The slide with a splash pool at the bottom was a fun way to cool off.

Treat bags included everything a beach bum needs--goldfish crackers, candy, sunglasses, glow sticks, water balls, and crazy straws.

The bigger kids enjoyed taking a whack at the shark pinata.

"We all scream for ice cream!" We all loved the ice cream man! We loved seeing Great-grandma Retha enjoy two fudge pops!

As if we needed more sugar, there were two cupcake cakes to be eaten.

Emily and Drew enjoyed their own smash cakes. It was their first experience with real sugar and cake.

Mommy gets sugary sweet kisses from her babies who are officially one!

We got lots of great gifts! A wagon, swings, a water table, cell phones and remotes we can actually play with, clothes, beach chairs, a bench tent, diapers, bath toys...we were thankful for each and every one!

Unfortunately, we were too tired to open our gifts at the party, so we saved the upwrapping for the next morning. Can't you tell that we partied like rock stars from the sugar-hangover look in our eyes? Here we are checking out our cool monogrammed beach chairs!

Special thanks to everyone who helped plan/man the party, to those who attended, to those who sent birthday wishes, to those who were there in spirit, and those who have cheered us on and prayed for us during the last year. We love you all!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

First Birthday: Celebration #1

The babies' turned one on Wednesday, and we had a small celebration at a local ice cream shop. Since the babies have never had ice cream, this was an extra special treat. They shared a kids' cup of vanilla although Drew talked his dad into sharing some of his cotton candy cone.

Today is the big backyard birthday beach bash! I can't wait!!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Our Delivery Day Story

Happy Birthday, Emily Anne and Andrew Elliott! Mommy and Daddy love you very much, and we are super excited about sharing this special day as a family! You know it is a special occasion if I talked your daddy into being a guest blogger. That's right. Daddy and Mommy worked together to record our memories of that special day, just one short year ago, when you two were born. Thanks for making us the happiest parents in the world!

Our Delivery Day Story

Hospital Bound

MARTY: I thought I would be nervous, but it was a strange feeling of normalcy about the day. Perhaps it’s that we had been in a doctor’s office or hospital pretty much every week for 38 weeks. Maybe it was the fact that we had just been at Wake Med, in the same prep room, two nights previous. Maybe it was the fact that everything had been “scheduled”. Whatever it was, this day didn’t seem much different than other days.

MELISSA: I was running on high energy that morning. I was up early to shower. I even did my hair and then put on the only shirt that still fit—the infamous egg yellow shirt—and the overstretched yoga pants that would have probably fit a sumo wrestler. I had Marty take one final preggo belly shot before we left. We left in the Highlander with two newly-installed, empty car seats, knowing the next time we were in this car, we would have double the passengers. It was hot, sunny, muggy June morning. A perfect day to have babies.

Prepping for Delivery

MELISSA: After a fairly quick check-in and blood work, which I hadn’t anticipated, I was wheeled up to the same triage room that we had been in two nights before for the non-stress test. This time, I wasn’t leaving until the babies came out. I had great nurses who asked lots of questions and who did their best to reassure me. The monitors were in place, the babies’ heartbeats were great, and I was a nervous wreck. I was petrified of the thought of the spinal block and the c-section.

MARTY: As we got closer to the pre-arranged time, we were, of course, informed that things would be delayed a bit--fairly normal procedure at a hospital so you get used to it. I decided to go get some breakfast and do remember feeling somewhat guilty as the family ate breakfast in the waiting area while Melissa had been fasting for close to 12 hours.

MARTY: Finally, it was time. It seems a bit strange that they would separate husband and wife this close to delivery, but I was not allowed in the OR while they prepped Melissa and gave her the spinal block. I was very worried how she would do with the needles. She has never been very good with needles and always wants me there with her. After they wheeled her out, I was able to get ready myself. I hadn’t worn scrubs since college, but it all came back to me quickly. It wasn’t long before they came for me. After a few last minute instructions, we were ready to go.

MELISSA: I remember when they finally said they were ready to move me to the delivery room. I remember thinking how odd it was to waddle back there alone. I also remember thinking that in just minutes my babies would be here. Things moved quickly once I was on the table. Dr. Smith was there, and he talked me through the epidural. He told me to think about a happy place. I will never forget that I mentally replayed our Mexico jet ski adventure, silently yelling, WOO HOO over and over, until they were finished. In seconds, I would be numb and Marty would be by my side.

Delivery Room

MARTY: As I walked into the OR, it seemed that they had half of the hospital staff in the room ready to go to work. I recognized only the doctor, the anesthesiologist and the nurse that brought me in. The sterile curtain was up and I had barely sat down when the doc said, “Okay, here we go.” From this point, it gets a little fuzzy thinking about it a year later. It was just a minute or so when I heard, “Here’s the first head of hair.” The doctor pulled Emily out head first and said, “Whoa, we have a big baby here,” above the screaming we would become all too familiar with over the last year. He held Emily up so we could see her briefly, then handed her off to the team for washing and putting under the warming lamp. Just one minute later (if that), the doc said, “I see a leg here”, then “We have another big baby” as he pulled Drew out and repeated the showing process.

MELISSA: For as long as we waited that morning, the actual delivery went surprisingly fast. Almost as soon as I was told to expect pulling and tugging, it seemed Emily Anne was here. At 9:06 am, the doctor announces, “Oh, this one has a lot of hair. And she’s a big one!”

Then there was more pulling and tugging, and at 9:07, Andrew Elliott arrives. “There’s a leg. And we have another big baby. A boy.”

I see a mob of people surrounded the babies. I hear cries. The mob leaves and Marty is cleared to go check out the babies for me while I get stitched up.

Meeting the Babies

MARTY: Right away, Melissa wanted to know when I could see them, and they said I could walk around and see them, and then we would weigh them. I walked around, checked them out, took some pictures, and snuck some video on the flip camera. I walked back over to Melissa who asked me if they were healthy and what they looked like. I told her that Drew was cute. When pressed about Emily, I said, “Drew is so cute.” I’m not going to lie. Though she’s was beautiful to me, Emily was not a cute baby right out of the womb.

I was able to go with the babies as they were weighed. The nurse and I were shocked when the scale said that Emily was 8 pounds 6 ounces and Drew was 7 pounds 9 ounces. 16 pounds of babies were in Melissa’s belly. No wonder she had to ride the Wal-Mart electric carts and couldn’t turn over in bed the last month without assistance. We were then able to bring the babies to see their mommy up close. I’m not sure how much Melissa saw through the tears, but the babies certainly saw her.

MELISSA: All I wanted to know was if my babies were okay. Were they healthy? Yes. Yes, they were. Now, were they cute? Marty assured me twice that Drew was cute. His non-answer about Emily concerned me.

As I heard them call out the weights, I was sure that the c-section had affected my hearing. There was no way I just delivered twins that were 7 and 8 pounds. Our last ultrasound was way off, especially since we had thought all along that Drew was the bigger baby.

Finally, they brought the babies around to me. Sweet Emily. She was beautiful. I remember thinking her cheeks were big and her eyes squinty. Maybe I just couldn’t see clearly through the tears. Dear Drew. My first thought was that he looked just like Marty. I remember the nurse telling me to talk to them. I thought I was. Why weren’t the words coming out of my mouth? I tried to speak aloud. I was choked up. What should my first words be?

“Hey, sweet babies. Mommy loves you.”


MARTY: From that point , Melissa didn’t want me to leave the babies side at all, so I went with them as she was taken to recovery. They were taken to the nursery and parked, and I was able to go out and get the entire family and tell them their names, which we had kept mostly secret. I remember having to repeat Drew’s middle name before it registered with my sister and brother-in-law that his middle name was their last name.

Although I did eventually tell Melissa, recovery was the only time I was ever nervous or worried when we were in the hospital. She was hemorrhaging severely and her blood pressure was dropping as low as 50/25, which surprised me that she was even conscious. I looked at the nurse when this came up and she immediately called for the doctor. They administered some meds to get her BP back up, and help with the bleeding, and after about an hour, things were looking pretty good.

MELISSA: Recovery was rough. At first, I was told I should only be there an hour or so, and then I could see the babies. I waited for Marty, then my mom, and my grandma to come back and give me updates on the babies. I was tired. I faded in and out. I could tell the nurse was getting nervous. My blood pressure was falling. I was bleeding more than I should be. There was a flurry of activity, phone calls, visits from a couple of doctors, more medicine. A longer wait to see my babies…

Hospital Stay

MELISSA: Sometime after lunch I finally held my sweet babies. And, then, there were so many other people who wanted to hold them and change them and talk to them. And, it was okay because I was still bleeding, so much so that I had to have a transfusion. Honestly, much of that first afternoon is a blur.

After the recovery scare, Melissa’s BP was not an issue again, but the hemorrhaging did continue prompting the doctor to order a transfusion. Melissa was as pale as a ghost and it was nice to see some color return.

MELISSA: My favorite memory of that first day happened late at night when the nurse brought Emily back from the nursery so she could nurse. I had rested, guiltily for a couple of hours, so unsure of letting them take the babies out of the room. She places Emily on my chest, and she snuggled up until her face was in my neck. We laid there for what seemed like forever. With Drew, I repeated the same process-savoring each baby in the quiet of the night.

MARTY: We took advantage of the nursery every night while we were there and I’m glad we did. The second day, I started exposing the babies to some music from my phone and lay down with them both on my air mattress. It was pretty cool to have two babies, and I was able to change my first diaper probably since I was a teenager. All was right with the world.

MELISSA: We stayed four days at the hospital, and I was grateful for the help, especially from the lactation consultants. I really wanted to breastfeed, but the combination of the c-section and the transfusion had delayed my milk coming in, and I had two voracious eaters on my hands. Emily was jaundice, and the pediatrician wanted us to supplement more. Using a complicated supplementary nursing system, I gave it my best, but it was hard. We enjoyed the nights as a family, and as much as I didn’t want to admit it, it was nice getting a few hours of sleep while the babies went to the nursery.

Coming Home

Then, the reality set in. The first night home was a complete shocker and we didn’t know if we were going to make it at that point. Melissa was trying to breast feed, but still wasn’t producing much, so we were supplementing. We had been told that the babies could only take about an ounce of formula so we would feed them that, and by the time the second one was fed, the first one was going nuts again. We took them to the pediatrician the next day, and we were informed that they could take close to twice that much at each feeding. Thank goodness for that because if the second night had been as bad as the first, I probably wouldn’t be here a year later telling this story.

MELISSA: The first night was bad. One of them cried all night long. I would nurse one and then other. And then I would start all over again. We worried if they were too warm, too cold. We worried if they were too inclined or not enough. We broke out pacifiers that we swore we wouldn’t use. We broke down in tears. How early could we get to the pediatrician’s office? Did they know what they were doing when they just let the two of us take TWO babies home by ourselves??

One year later

MARTY: Melissa keeps saying that it’s flown by, but to me it’s been one of the longest, yet most rewarding year of my life. Everything they do amazes me and as I’m typing this, Drew has now decided to stand straight up in the middle of the room, and start walking after having shown little interest in doing so before. Amazing!

MELISSA: I sometimes wonder who has learned more in this last year—me or the babies. I stand amazed each and every day at each new thing they learned, but I am also amazed at what Marty and I have learned. Watching Em and Drew learn to walk reminds me of us learning to be parents. We’ve needed some hand-holding; we’ve made some missteps, had some stumbles, and endured a few bumps and bruises. But, we persevered. And, each day we get a little more stable, a little more efficient, and a little more relaxed. Like watching them take their first steps, it’s been a miracle to watch.
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