Sunday, December 26, 2010

9 months old and Christmas in Maine

Here we are today for their 9 month birthday.  They are very good at sitting up, but not so good at staying in one place, so I'm there pinning them down.

December 23:
Let the gift-giving (and receiving) begin!  My mother-in-law insisted that we give the boys their first present-- a little tikes sport coupe.  Here they are, enjoying it:

Christmas Eve:
We went to Eric's paternal grandparents' for their annual Christmas Eve party.  This includes my father-in-law, his two sisters, and most of their children and grandchildren.  We are regulars, except for last year when I was stuck at home gestating.  Here is Benjamin on his great-aunt Annette's lap:

Here is Eric holding Asher.  Asher is wearing his "My 1st Christmas" bib.  I gave him some tastes of baked beans, watermelon, and a little shred of ham.  He seemed to like all of it.  Ben also had tastes, and my mother-in-law worried that I would upset their tummies, but it seemed to go down fine.

Here is Asher, sitting on his great-grandpa Whitten's lap.  Asher cried when Santa came, but was perfectly happy to sit on Grampa's lap.  Grampa loves his great-grandsons and it's so sweet.

Christmas Day:
We started the morning with opening the boys' stockings:
Their memere got them sippy cups, socks, yogurt melts, and bath toys.  Asher is eating a bath toy, not any of the things that are actually supposed to go in his mouth.

We were going to wait to open our gifts, but memere and pepere got excited and opened all the boys' toys.  They got a ton of stuff!  Here they are with a box, and their new cell phone:

Then the guys went down for their morning nap, and the rest of us opened our gifts and cooked a big breakfast.  I think my babies inherited their daddy's talent for waking up to the smell of bacon, because just as we finished cooking, they woke up and joined us for breakfast.
Here is Benjamin with some scrambled eggs:

"Asher Smasher" smashing his eggs on the table:

Here is a picture of me with Asher that I think shows just how similar we look:

The rest of the day was quiet.  My sister came up from Boston since she was all alone, and we took the babies on a walk and I gave my sister a brief tour of Main St. in Sanford.  My mother-in-law made a huge turkey dinner and we got totally stuffed!

And while I of course got many nice gifts, here are the two greatest gifts I got all year:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Welcome to Maine!

We have been in Maine for 25 hours now.  Here are a few pictures of our day (sorry they are out of focus, they are all from Eric's iphone):
Asher after eating some Shaker Pond ice cream-- his first taste of chocolate ice cream, and he loved it!

Asher sitting on his memere's lap and getting a kiss from his cousin Taylor.
Benjamin playing with his cousin Kiptyn.  Kiptyn is 5 weeks younger and at least 5 pounds heavier than our guys!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Asher the beast!

My goodness, we are in trouble!  In the mornings, we have been parking our boys in their toys, usually Benjamin in the jumperoo and Asher in the exersaucer.  It has gotten less effective over time, because Asher hates to be stuck in one place.  So this morning while I was emptying the dishwasher and getting myself some coffee, I heard him fussing and figured that I would just pull him out as soon as I finished with the dishwasher (Asher has had some trouble with the open dishwasher, pulling out forks and knives and once shutting his hand in the door...).

Instead I heard the pitter patter of Asher crawling, and he charged into the kitchen and headed straight for the basement stairs, since there was no gate up!

I thought, "Eric must have gotten him out."  But there was no Eric.  A few minutes later, Eric came down the stairs.  I asked, "Did you get Asher out of the exersaucer?"  Of course not!  So, somehow, Asher managed to pull himself out!  Without any serious harm, thank goodness.  There goes that way of getting a moment to myself...  I am running out of options, which is tough when I need to go to the bathroom or do something like unload/load the dishwasher.

If this is how he is at 9 months, what are we in for?  I think I am going to have to put him in some kind of gymnastics/athletics as soon as he can walk!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 14, 2009 and our 9 month pediatrician appointment

One year ago today I called my OB and asked to seen because I was worried that something wasn't right.  I was 21 weeks and 4 days pregnant.  On ultrasound we saw two perfect babies, and one shortening cervix.  He wrote a prescription for progesterone suppositories (which I have managed to forget how disgusting those were!) and sent me home telling me to take it easy over the next few days (no walking, but I could go to work since I sit the whole time I am there) and to come back that Friday, December 18.  I remember feeling so sad that my life was changing, but still feeling hopeful that when I went on the 18th, my cervix would be stable and I would be ok to keep working and take our trip to Maine for Christmas.

Well, we all know how that turned out... given the name of this blog...

Yesterday we had an early 9 month appointment for the boys with the pediatrician.  Benjamin weighed in at 18 pounds even, and was 27 inches tall.  Asher weighed 18 lbs, 4 oz (this is probably an estimate, given that he was climbing off the scale the whole time) and they said he is 27 1/2 inches tall (this is also probably inaccurate, the boys stand next to each other all the time and Asher is at least 1 inch taller than Ben, if not more, and he was wiggling, turning, and screaming while they tried to measure him).  Yes, Asher was our trouble maker on Monday!  The doctor seemed to think they were perfectly healthy, and commented on their physical prowess... she seems to think they are a little advanced in terms of their development at this point, which is nice to hear, but of course meaningless in the long term.  It just means I don't have to worry about developmental milestones this week.

We will just keep doing the same as we've been doing, since it seems to be working.  Benjamin and Asher still get breast milk exclusively, nursing the 6 days I am home and getting a couple of bottles when I am at work.  They eat 3 solid meals each day.  For breakfast I give them a carb (usually toast, some pancake, some waffle) and some fruit.  Here I want to rave about Munchkin feeder bags-- I put pieces of juicy fruits in them, like melon or pear, and the boys go to town!  They eat the fruit up and I keep giving them more.  I would say they can probably each eat half a pear this way!

Lunch starts with something like toast, and then they get yogurt mixed with a fruit, or a vegetable on the side.  They like all orange vegetables, and I am working in some green ones-- they tolerate peas and now spinach, and it's time to try again with the green beans.  At dinner I also give them some toast because they love to feed themselves, and then they get cereal mixed with a fruit or vegetable.  I have not noticed a drop-off in their nursing even though they are eating these three meals with a good appetite.  It is fun for me to share some of my favorite foods with them, and to watch them enjoy eating.  We're also going to work on taking them out to restaurants more often so that they can get accustomed to eating out-- I want my boys to have good table manners!

Their sleep is going well.  At nights they are going straight from 7 pm to 5 or 5:30 am, and I nurse them, and they go back to sleep until 7 or 7:30.  They take a morning nap at 9, hopefully until 10:30... and then again at 1 pm until hopefully 3.  If their afternoon nap is lousy, I try to get them down again around 4 or 4:30 for a cat nap just so that they don't fall apart and make for a miserable evening.  They are generally agreeable, friendly babies who love to meet new people, love to play peek-a-boo, love to crawl, and are content to explore every corner of our house.  I am one proud mommy!  Every time I see them I am happily surprised by how beautiful they are.  I cannot believe my luck to have these two angels as my children.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some pictures...

My mom's friend Lynne came over last week and took a ton of pictures of the boys, and a few of us as a family.  One thing we learned-- if you want a good family shot, do it before the individual shots!  Our guys were exhausted!  Still, we liked the picture I posted above enough to use in our holiday cards this year-- for the first time ever we're doing photo cards.  We never did birth announcements for the boys, so I wanted a photo card to send to friends and family, and to the various doctors and specialists who helped us have this beautiful family.

I just love Benjamin's perfect face in that picture.  He could not possibly be any cuter!
Here's Asher on the move!
Asher sucking his thumb in my lap.  He has been doing this more often lately, and I really enjoy the quiet moments of cuddling, since he is usually such an active and busy little boy.
This picture cracks me up!  Both Benjamin and Eric are making the same crooked smile with one eye squinty.  In looking at the photos Lynne took, it is really obvious how much Benjamin looks like his daddy!

We had a wonderful moment today while video chatting with Eric's parents.  Eric was hiding behind the couch to play peek-a-boo, and the boys were standing with their hands on the cushion with Eric's laptop in front of them.  They were both laughing, and Asher was so excited, between Eric playing peek-a-boo and seeing his face on the laptop screen, that he kept picking his hands up to wave them around and would fall over!  Every time he stood he bounced on his little legs in excitement.  It was hysterical to watch, and I was struck by how lucky I am.  I laughed until there were tears coming out of my eyes.  As we come up on the one year anniversary of my being placed on bed rest, I am thankful all the time for how our lives turned out.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A visit to our friends

I just wanted to post this picture of my guys (Benjamin on the left and then Asher) visiting their friends Brynn and Alex.  Today we went to Brynn and Alex's house (and their mom, Alli, was there, too) for a play date.  Alli has made their living room completely baby-proof, and it was filled with all kinds of fun toys.  All 4 babies crawled all over the place, pulled up on everything, played with toys, and generally enjoyed themselves enough that Alli and I could actually have some adult conversation.  Then I was lucky and they fell asleep in the car on the way home and stayed asleep until 5:30... although Benjamin was a real crab after he woke up and whined and cried until bedtime.  Poor bug.

Here is a picture of me with Alli 11 months ago:
Boy, have things changed!  We are both incredibly lucky that we have healthy babies-- she went to 38 weeks with her twins who are exactly 4 weeks older than my boys.  Now all 4 of them are active, curious babies who don't sit still for a second!  We had a great time with our visit and can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Working Mother?

This past week I have been pretty consumed with thinking about work, my career, and what my next step should be.  Tuesday a week ago, I had scheduled a new client to come in at 1 pm for a crisis appointment.  At 1:15 when she hadn't showed, I called to check... turns out her husband had managed to get her an appointment somewhere else the night before, and so she wasn't coming in... but they had forgotten to call. So I spent 6 hours in New Jersey and only worked for 3 of them.  The money I earned barely paid for our nanny.  And I was so annoyed, being away from home while paying someone else to take care of my babies.  I ended up spending those 3 hours applying to 2 other jobs.  Two jobs that are full-time.

Ever since, I have been going back and forth in my head.  Pros, cons, pros, cons.  The pros of a full-time job are: steady income, hours for licensure, and the jobs I applied to are a shorter commute.  The con, which might outweigh any pros: I would be away from my boys 40+ hours a week.

I have been fortunate, because I have gotten interviews at both the places to which I had applied.  The interviews seemed to go well, and both said they would like to see me for a second round interview.  I already prefer one place over the other, and if they make me an offer, it will be hard to refuse.

But I think that if I can make things work at my current job, I think I would be happy.  I need to work more days per week, and I need more clients on those days.  I told my supervisor about my concerns, and she thinks she can work things out.

I have tried to tell myself that we will all be fine if I work full-time.  I am sure my boys would be!  But would I?  Just being away from them yesterday for work and this morning for the job interview felt like too much time away.  And I can't even begin to imagine my exhaustion working full-time and being a mom in my other hours.

I know I have been so lucky to have had all this time with them, and that some moms get 6 weeks and that's it.  I know these are the ramblings of a privileged woman.  But perhaps I've been spoiled, and now I can't stand to think about being separated from my babies.  I have heard other working moms say that they felt being at home was like losing their identity, but I have not felt that way.  I would never give up my career, but I just don't know if I am ready to make it my sole focus at this point.  I am so happy as a mom, and I really do cherish my time with the boys.

In the midst of all this dithering and ambivalence, Eric sent me this picture while I was at work yesterday:
Um, yeah.  How am I supposed to leave that face all day, 5 days a week???  So we shall see.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Goodbye, Toby

This afternoon at 3 pm, my dad took Toby to the vet to be put to sleep.  Toby was diagnosed with lung cancer early this summer, at the age of 15.  My parents decided they would not treat him, since the odds of it working were slim, and it would just make him sick.  We all agreed that Toby would stay around as long as he was comfortable.  Today, Toby seemed very sick and unable to sit or lie down.  He had lost control of his bowels.  We had to say goodbye.

It's so hard to believe that he's really gone.  He was the first cat we ever had who was friendly and would let us pick him up, cuddle him, and would purr on our laps.  He was so patient and tolerant and was wonderful with children.

He was a Scottish Fold-- the only bred cat we've ever had, and probably ever will.  He had medium-length fur that was so soft, especially right under/behind his tiny folded ears.  His front paws were big and faced out like a ballet dancer's.  He was a pretty quiet cat and would really never cry unless it was time for him to be fed.

The first night we got him, he slept in my room with my sister and me, and he ran in circles for hours!  Eventually he settled on top of my head, kneading and purring away.  I remember being annoyed that I couldn't sleep, but one look at his tiny kitten body melted all my anger.  When we first got him, he used to step into his food bowl with his front two paws and get food all over his face.  It was messy, but adorable.

As a kitten, he was quite rambunctious, but shortly after his "routine castration" (which, as my dad noted, was not very routine for Toby!), he became a more subdued, quiet cat.  He slept a lot, like most cats do, and was almost always happy to have company on the couch or the bed.

We will miss Toby so much.  I hope he's sleeping tight.  He was loved.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

Tonight was the first night of Hanukkah, and we lit the menorah with the boys and my dad (who took this picture).  This picture, with 3 out of the 4 of us smiling and not looking dopey, was as good as it got for photos!

For dinner I tried to give the boys a Hanukkah special-- mashed potatoes with applesauce instead of a latke and applesauce.  Not a hit.  Asher took a few mouthfuls, gagged, and then refused to open his mouth.  So I got him a bowl of oatmeal and applesauce, which he was only too happy to eat, and began his singing and humming that he makes when he's eating something he really likes.  Benjamin seemed to suffer through it, but even he wasn't thrilled.

I had picked up some Hanukkah gelt at Trader Joe's as their gift, although they don't eat chocolate.  I just wanted their first gift to be something traditional!  Here is Benjamin, chewing on the bag:
And here is Asher, chewing on the bag:
They do have some other gifts coming, nothing big or expensive, just a few toys that I remember having when I was little and that I thought were important for them to have, too.  We'll have Hanukkah with my parents over the next few nights, and I think that my mom has gotten a few little things for them.  I am just glad to have children to share the holiday with, since I remember how much I loved it as a child.  My parents were never out of control with gifts, but I loved lighting the candles, getting a surprise, and playing with my new toys (or reading my new books!) each night.

Today it seemed like the boys had little colds-- slightly snotty, more fussy, and Asher napped A LOT.  We all slept in until 8 after waking up around 6 for the boys to eat, which was a nice surprise.  We all are in need of a little extra rest until we feel better, which will hopefully be soon, since play group is scheduled to be at our house on Friday and I will have to send people elsewhere if my guys are sick.