Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So much change, so little time

Benjamin and Asher are really changing so much everyday!  They are working really hard on all their new skills.  Benjamin has mastered rolling over from his back to his belly:
(although this is a picture of him mid-way, focused on eating both hands at the same time)

Asher just started rolling from back to belly.  Asher is working on crawling, too.

Benjamin is trying to sit up:
And getting closer to doing it without his hands down everyday.

We are getting very close to a consistent nap schedule, with good morning and afternoon naps.  This means I spend a lot of time at home, but it also means that my babies are so cheerful.  As Eric noticed, there is rarely any screaming around here anymore.  The babies are a pleasure to be around, we have lots of exercise on the floor, and read books, and snuggles and giggles.

Asher loves his jumperoo:
And Benjamin is not sure whether the exersaucer is better for playing or eating:
They are both figuring out how to make things happen by using their hands.  Benjamin loves to pull on the toys on his exersaucer and make the songs come out.  He also loves pulling my hair and bringing me close to him.

The only negative right now is their nighttime sleep-- it has gotten so much worse!  That joyous post I wrote about them sleeping through the night about 2 months ago... we have taken several steps backwards.  They are both waking up about twice a night now, which means Eric and I are up about 4 times a night.  Not so good.  I am definitely tired... or exhausted.  One night I woke up with a baby in bed, and my nursing tank down, and I had no memory of the baby crying, or of someone going to get him, or of him eating... That was scary.  I have never had that happen before!  We want to do some version of "sleep training," but I can't stand to hear them really cry, so I don't know how well that will go, but something has to change before Eric and I go crazy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 months old today!

Here are the pictures I  took for their 5 month picture:
As you can see, these boys are developing little personalities!  They are no longer pose-able lumps like they once were.  I am going to have to try another photo shoot sometime soon, but in the meantime, these pictures do a good job of showing that 1) my boys are as cute as can be, and 2) they are starting to be a lot of fun and very funny!

Life here seems to be changing fast.  Things are so much easier recently, Benjamin and Asher are much more independent and curious in the things around them.  They are happy to play by themselves much more than they used to, which means I have time to do things like make breakfast and eat it before it is cold!  Everyone is noticing the changes.  For example, today they played while my mom, sister, and I made pancakes, and then they took naps.  After naps, we went out for coffee, where they were happy and looking around.  We came home and they ate, and then played, and then after a little snack, they had naps again.  After naps, another snack, then play time, and then another snack and a walk around the block, and then it was bed time.  There was barely any crying (Benjamin just cried when I put him to bed, but he just wanted more nursing and more rocking).  I like when they get two naps a day because they seem so much happier.

Both boys are working on new skills.  Benjamin is trying very hard to sit up.  He can sit in a "tripod" position for a couple of seconds, but then will lift one arm and fall to the side.  Asher is working on crawling.  Today he was having his tummy time, and he got up on his hands and knees, belly off the floor, and started moving his legs forward before falling over.  I could NOT believe it.  If he keeps this up, babyproofing will have to start sooner than I planned!  Of course, when I saw him do it my heart just leapt, I was so proud of him.  Benjamin is just a roller, he has totally mastered rolling from his back to his belly and does it over and over.  I remember when they were 1 month old, I would put them down on their tummies and leave the room and they would be in the same position when I came back... well, no more leaving babies on bellies unattended!

I cannot believe it has been 5 months.  They have flown by, and yet so much has changed.  I am still breastfeeding and the boys have not had formula since before they were 2 months old.  My original breastfeeding goal was 6 months, but now I think it will be 1 year.  Benjamin is nursing so much better than he used to, so I am pumping about twice a day only, which makes my life so much easier.  Plus, with breastfeeding, I get to eat ice cream every night and not gain weight, which I enjoy!

Overall, things here are going well.  I have two beautiful, healthy sons who seem happy and curious, and whom I love more than I ever thought I could.  I get such pleasure just looking at all their little parts-- their hands with chubby fingers, their tiny ears, their little noses, and big toothless grins!  They are so perfect, and I am so lucky. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Our trip to the Cape in photos

We had many adventures!

We found out that Benjamin likes rice cereal:
And he likes eating his bib:

We were able to enjoy our own breakfasts while Benjamin got excited watching Elmo:
We went to the pond, and the boys tried out the canoe.  They hated being in it at the same time.
But Asher didn't mind being in it alone!
We also went to the beach.  First on a cold and cloudy day when their aunt Elana insisted we get out of the house:

And then on a nicer day, at the National Seashore, where Asher tried out his sea legs:
And Benjamin snuggled with Grandpa Nick:
Asher and his daddy had a good nap on the comfortable couch:
And read the New York Times over breakfast at our favorite breakfast spot, The Wicked Oyster:
And enjoyed watching his MeeMa Alison eat lobster!
While Benjamin can't decide what he wants to try first-- root beer or real beer:
In case you can't tell from the photos, we had a great time on vacation.  Benjamin and Asher seem to be maturing more everyday.  Benjamin can roll from his back to his tummy now, and does so all the time.  Asher has discovered squealing, and now it sounds like we have a little dolphin in the house!  They are both getting better at soothing themselves to sleep at night.  It is so adorable, Benjamin has taken to singing himself to sleep.  We hear him quietly saying, "La. Laaa.  Laaa..." until he falls asleep.  It makes me want to squeeze him it is so cute!  Except that would counteract my efforts to calm him down and get him to sleep.

Both boys are giggling and laughing, especially when we pretend to eat their ribs.  I think they're getting ticklish!  It is amazing how much more personality they have, and how much change happens in these short months.

Now it is back to real life, and summer is winding down.  I have that back-to-school blue feeling even though I'm not a student anymore.  But I am enjoying the cooler weather, and all the walks we can take now that it's not so hot out there!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

We made it! (to Cape Cod)

Thursday we embarked on another car trip.  I was very nervous, given how much time Ben had spent screaming on our trip up to New England in July, but fortunately, the boys seem to be enjoying car trips a lot more.  They both spent about 2 1/2 hours asleep, and then were in decent moods after having something to eat.  I sat in back with them and talked to them and played with their toys with them, and rather than cry, Benjamin smiled!

We didn't hit any traffic, and cruised right along.  In New Haven, Eric said, "do I take 91?" and for some reason I said, "yes."  Ummm... no.  So we were up 91, almost to Hartford, and Eric asked, "what's my next turn?"  I said, "are we on 91???  I meant 95! Take 95! Turn around!"  But there was no turning around, that would be ridiculous.  So we took the scenic route to Providence, which had zero traffic and almost no other vehicles.

Then we were in Providence and both boys wanted OUT of the car, and Eric's boss had been calling him with a work crisis, so we parked on Thayer Street in Providence and wrangled the stroller out of the car and went for a stroll.  The second the boys were out of the car they stopped crying, and were great the whole time.  We went to Starbucks so Eric could use the internet, and I nursed.  In the 20 minutes we were there, Eric did more work than I did in that place in my entire 4 years as a student!
Then we walked a little, to the Brown Bookstore (onesies are almost $20!), Eric got a Del's frozen lemonade, and then we got a falafel to go from East Side Pockets.  I can't believe I've been getting food from them for 12 years now, but it is so worth it, totally delicious.  Eric wanted one, I decided we would share it, but I really didn't want to share... I told Eric if we hadn't been on the highway with infants, we would have turned around, gone back, and gotten another!

Back on the road, both boys went to sleep, and Benjamin had a very long nap.  They did not share our excitement at crossing the Sagamore Bridge and getting on to the Cape.

Now that we are here, things are wonderful.  Benjamin is happy a lot of the time.  Here is a picture of him loving his exersaucer that our friend Molly gave us:
We went to the pond for the boys' first dip.  Here is Ben showing off his beach body:
But then we got to the pond, and Asher had fallen asleep.
So only Benjamin went in.  He actually liked it!  In the past, anytime he gets his feet wet, he screams.  But this time, he was calm and quiet, and let me swish his legs around.  We also had a little canoe that my mom had gotten them, and he went in the canoe and sat for a little, just looking around.  Then he got cold, so we took him out, dried him off, and put him in warm clothes, and he had a little snack.  He fell asleep on the way home.  It was a successful day at the pond, and today we hope to try the beach, just as soon as nap time is over.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A visit from Memere

This past week I have had Eric's mom visiting us.  Life is so easy with her here, and I swear she can work miracles.  She seems to have so much energy, and everyday she is able to help me with the boys AND get cleaning done.  While she's been here she has done countless loads of laundry, washed all the windows on the first floor, and organized the babies' clothes.  Oh, and today she cleaned our bedroom and made our bed.  The place looks great, considering we have two infants and three adults living here!

We are still working on a nap schedule here.  Some days have gone incredibly well, with them both taking morning naps (at the same time) and an afternoon nap (at the same time).  When those days happen, it feels like life will be very manageable sometime soon.

In the past week, it seems like the boys have done a fair amount of growing and changing.  Benjamin LOVES the exersaucer, and he will stand and play in it for long periods of time.  This is great, because prior to the exersaucer, we had no way to leave Benjamin alone without him crying.  Now he seems happy and occupied.  Here is a picture of him in his exersaucer, watching Sesame Street.
And Asher loves the Jumperoo.  He jumps up and down, sometimes throwing his arms up while he jumps.  It is so adorable.  Asher also seems to smile non-stop.  He wakes up, and smiles at me.  He poops, and smiles.  You make eye contact with him, and he grins.  I guess he is a happy baby!  Benjamin is also smiling more, and he has started giggling at times, too.  His giggle is so wonderful to listen to!  Both boys now love bath time.  It only took four months, but now bath time is a pleasure for all of us.

Here is Benjamin and his memere, after she gave him a bath:
And for evidence he loves bath time:

Here is a picture of Asher and Eric, having a man-to-man talk:

On Monday night, Eric and I enjoyed a date night at a new restaurant in town.  We had a lovely night just the two of us, but it was hard to leave my angels!  They don't yet seem bothered by my leaving, but I miss them when I am gone.  Work is also difficult, and I am grateful that it is only 1 day a week and not more.  Our nanny is working out so well, she is wonderful with the boys and a sweet woman overall.

Today their memere leaves to go home to Maine.  We will all miss her so much, and I'm guessing she will miss her grandsons.  But we are on to our next adventure: the annual vacation to Cape Cod!  I have gone every summer since 1993 with my family.  In 2006 Eric joined us for the first time, and last summer I was 5-6 weeks pregnant when we went.  And this year, we go with the two newest members of the Landes family.  We have friends from Amherst coming on Friday to spend the weekend, and then my sister will be coming in from Cambodia on Saturday.  She hasn't seen the boys since they were 3 weeks old, so she will basically be seeing them for the first time, since the boys they are now are so different from the itty bitty infants she left in April.  I am excited to continue some of our old traditions with our new babies. 

I've also set a vacation goal for myself: eat ice cream everyday!  I like to set achievable goals.  When I went to Italy last year, my goal was to have gelato everyday, which I was able to do.  And my goal when we went to Maine was to have ice cream everyday, too, and I did that.  It seems that not only do I like achievable goals, I like goals that involve ice cream. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August 4

August 4, 2009:  I woke up, went for a peaceful walk, showered, and dressed in a cute little dress.  I drank a lot of water, and Eric and I got in the car and drove to Main Line Fertility.  There we waited until our names were called, and went back to the embryo transfer room.  The embryologist opened a little window in the wall and handed a photo over to our doctor, who showed us: six embryos, grown to blastocyst stage, two of them marked with an "x."

"I recommend you transfer these two," he told us.

We had already agreed if we made it to a 5-day transfer, we would transfer two embryos, at most.  So we said, "ok!" because I really wanted to be pregnant, and thought two embryos would increase my chances.

I lay down, and using the ultrasound machine, my doctor transferred those two little embryos into my uterus.  He showed us on the screen where they were, and printed a picture of my uterus with a white spot in it.  I stayed lying down for 30 minutes, then leaped up to pee, and off we went.

I spent the day in bed, on bed rest.  Eric and my parents and I had a picnic in the bedroom, turkey burgers and corn on the cob.  I felt peaceful, optimistic, and relaxed.

August 4, 2010: I woke up at 1:30, Asher was hungry.  Seriously hungry!  He ate for 10 minutes and usually only nurses for about 5.  I went back to sleep.  I woke up again at 3: Benjamin was hungry.  Eric fed him, I pumped.  He wouldn't go back to sleep, so he came into our bed and I nursed him.  Asher woke up from Benjamin's screaming.  Benjamin went back to his crib, Asher came into our bed and I nursed him.  At 4, we all went back to sleep.

At 7:30, we were all up for the day.  Breakfast and baby talk.  Then a nap for the boys, a run to the grocery store, dirty diapers all around...  We went out for sushi for lunch (only I ate sushi, the boys had breast milk, as usual) and Benjamin screamed!  We came back to my parents' house, where I enforced afternoon nap time, which is still going on right now.

A busy day, and not very peaceful (except for nap time).  What a difference a year makes!  I cannot believe that one year ago we made a decision that brought us these two babies and completely changed our lives.  Sometimes I wonder, what if I had decided to transfer only one embryo?  Who would it be?  I wouldn't know what I was missing, but I love both these babies so much that I can't imagine life without either of them.  Now that I have these healthy babies, it is hard to remember that I didn't think our IVF would work.  One year ago today I began my pregnancy, what a day that was.

Monday, August 2, 2010


This weekend was hard for me.  I am having some trouble adjusting to life with babies, even though it has been four months.  I am not sure if it's because it's summer, or what, but it seems like all around me people are having fun, and I'm not.  I realized that Eric and I haven't been invited to any barbecues or parties this summer.  We usually spend the summer traveling, we visit friends, and we have lots of dinners with friends, and I usually host at least one dinner party at our house.  Not this year.  We also aren't hosting people the same way; in fact, Eric wants to get rid of our dining room table that can stretch to seat 10 and put in a table that can only seat 6.  I don't really see a reason to argue.  I'm proud of us when we get a dinner together for the 2 of us, so I can't imagine hosting a dinner party.  Although, I am hoping we can continue to host New Years Eve. By the time it comes around again, the boys will be a little more independent and in bed early and hopefully sleeping through the night.  Regardless, my social life has taken a nose-dive and I miss my old independence and interaction with other adults.  It doesn't help that most of my friends don't have children, so their lives are the same as they ever were.

Saturday was really difficult for me.  I told my friend Shoshana that I would meet her up at her boyfriend's apartment, and that we would go to an outlet mall nearby.  I was in the mood to shop and hoped to find some new things to make me feel less frumpy.  The adventure did not start well-- Benjamin cried for 30 minutes of the 45 minute car ride.  Then we got to the mall and he was still crying.  Ok, I would nurse him.  But no, he was too hysterical for it.  Shoshana tried to give him a bottle.  No, wouldn't let her hold him.  After about 2 minutes in my arms, he did calm down.  I wore him in the Moby wrap into one store, but then Asher woke up and started fussing-- he wanted to eat.  So in the dressing room, I nursed Asher and fed Benjamin a bottle.  Then we were off again.  And then, in the next store, Benjamin pooped, and so I had to change him on the floor of the dressing room.  Then he was crying, so I had him back in the Moby wrap.  We tried to get lunch, with Asher in the stroller, but then Asher started crying.  I nursed them a little at lunch (eating one-handed with a nursing cover on in the middle of the mall) and then we were off, with Ben in the wrap and Asher in Shoshana's arms, and the stroller carrying only the diaper bag and the two things we had actually had time to buy.  It was ridiculous.  We didn't really get to shop, the babies cried, and I began to get anxious.  I felt like the worst mom in the world, like if they were upset, it was because they were tired, and I should have stayed home so that they could nap.  We decided to just leave.  I dropped Shoshana off and then went home, and Ben cried the whole way.  Hysterically.  Painful sobs that made me so unhappy that I started to cry.

When we finally got home, I fed them both (again) and put them down for naps.  They napped for a few hours, and I did my exercise video, made granola, and did some cleaning.  By the time they woke up, I felt much better.  But I don't know what to do, do I stay home with them everyday?  That doesn't make sense.  But neither does going out and having them cry and me be anxious.  We have not yet found what works for us, and in the meantime, days like that make me miserable.

I am trying to make new friends, and am working on starting a play group.  I have work, and Eric and I will hire babysitters for some date nights.  But, I miss my independence, and my socializing.  Oh, and I miss my relationship with my husband-- most of our conversations now are about our children and nothing else.  And don't get me started on our (non-existent) sex life.  With my friends,  I barely get to talk to people when I'm with them because someone is often crying and I am distracted.  Things will improve, I am sure of it, but in the meantime it's tough.

On the positive side, I cannot look at my babies without being overwhelmed with love for them.  They are so beautiful, and their little personalities are starting to show.  Asher is happy all the time, he smiles when you look at him, and tonight in his bath he was just laughing away.  The sound of it just made me feel full of happiness and love.  Benjamin's moods are less predictable; at times he is happy, smiling, and laughing.  At other moments he is hysterically unhappy and only calm if he is held, and there is no way to know what leads to what with him.  But we are trying out new toys with them, like the exersaucer and the jumperoo (jumperoo not such a big hit yet), and I am loving watching them try new things.  Next up-- we try oatmeal!  I will be sure to take pictures.