Imagine when they’re 16

My sweet little 16 month old boys….man can you eat. In all honesty, I think you’re (both) going through a growth spurt. However I’m starting to fear get a glimpse of what our grocery bill life will be like when you’re 16 years old. It’s no secret the cost of groceries has gone up, and we are buying more groceries all the time, but I never in my wildest dreams thought that you would be able to eat as much as you do at this age. For example:

On Wednesday
Breakfast: toast, banana, oatmeal, blueberry waffle, milk
Snack: Miscellaneous stuff (cheese, raisins, goldfish, etc.)
Lunch: 1/2 an avocado, an entire sea bass (I heated more up 3 times), leftover mac n’ cheese, leftover crack soup (i.e. Healthy Kid’s Campbell’s soup that you eat like it’s crack), cookie, mandarin orange slices, milk
Afternoon snack: two bowls of yogurt with apple sauce
Dinner: breakfast burritos (minus the tortilla), potatoes, blueberries, milk

On Thursday
Breakfast: toast, banana, oatmeal, blueberry waffle, milk
Snack: Miscellaneous stuff (cheese, raisins, goldfish, etc.)
Lunch: 1/2 an avocado, 1/4 pan of baked spaghetti, whole can of crack soup, 1/2 bowl of homemade stew, green beans, cookie, milk
Afternoon snack: two bowls of yogurt with apple sauce
Dinner: lamb chops, 1/2 pan of cheesy potatoes, green beans, raspberries

You two right basically eat the same amount of dinner that Ben and I do. Meals with leftovers are a thing of the past.

I just can’t imagine what it will be like when you’re 16. By the way, for future reference, you are never allowed to bring friends over for dinner–unless they bring their own food. It’s very apparent that we have boys already…excuse me…dudes.

 

 

 

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Another year of things to come

The past year has obviously been unlike any other. On this day (New Year’s Eve) last year, we found out that Baby B (Mason) had stopped growing and would need to get delivered within the week. The news that the babies were coming early was not surprising, but the reason why was unexpected. I remember being so scared, basically since the doctor said that the reason they had to come early…and I quote… is “because we don’t want your baby to die.” The fear of the unknown, the anticipation of their birth, wondering who they were, what genders we would be raising, and everything else made the last day of last year one I will never forget. Yet, here we are one year later and now we are anticipating the boys walking, their first birthdays, and all the other things yet to come. We will ring in the new year with the boy’s first birthday and also a trip for mom and dad–a celebration of the past year if you will.

Two days after the boys turn 1, Ben and I are off to Hawaii. This is something we have been talking about since we got married, and now five years later we are finally going. When we booked the trip (oh, 8 months ago), I knew we would be ready for a week to ourselves. However, I never imagined how tough it would be to leave the boys. My original thought was that they’ll be one, it will be perfect, and it will…it’s just that they are so darn cute and fun right now. But I know once we get there it will be great. The boys will be well taken care of (with the grandmas) and Ben and I will have a nice time to reflect, connect, explore, relax, and then be the only two people ever happy to leave Hawaii and come home to snuggle the boys. And after one year, 6 six days will fly by like crazy (at least that is what I keep telling myself).

Christmas was great-full of love, family, and friends. The boys loved, LOVED, the trees and lights. Pointing, hoping, and I swear saying “tee tee tee” were so great…as was their trip to see the big guy. I could see the picture before we even took it. Mason hamming it up and Elliott in hysterics. Elliott started out crying, but warmed up…kind of:

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They made out like bandits and love their new car. It was a great end to the year and a prelude of great things to come.

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Happy New Year and  Happy 2014.

Two things for me, not momma

A friend of mine asked Ben and I when the babies were around 5 months old what the most surprising thing was about parenthood. We laughed at first and said “how much you talk about poop,” because honestly…that is all we talk about sometimes. But after we thought about it for a minute longer, we both mentioned how life-changing it is to your sense of self. Everyone knows that having a baby (or babies) is life-changing. You know things will never be the same. But until it happens, and time passes, you don’t truly understand how your life is not your own, and will never be the same as it was again. That being said, we don’t want to go back to the way it was without the dudes. We wouldn’t change anything. And we are not unhappy in any way. You just can’t grasp the change until it happens, and even then, it is hard to grasp.

So with this in mind, for the past couple of months we have had numerous talks about being intentional with our time…intentional about our time as a family, couple, and as individuals. And this in itself is hard. Most of the time, time, is fleeting. But as the babies have gotten a little older, there have been two things I have started to reclaim for myself…myself as in Angela…not momma. And to be honest, taking some time back for me, overall makes me Angela, a better momma. So the two things? Trust me, they are no earth-shattering, but they are important.

1. Reading books. I love to read. I could (and have) spend a whole day engrossed in a book. But after the babies were born, it felt like I was wasting my time. I mean, there were babies to take care of, and a house to keep clean, and of course…sleep to be had. But after I gave up the mid-night pump, I realized that I could stay up about 30 minutes after the babies went to bed and still get a full nights sleep. I started off familiar with the Harry Potter series, followed by more popular fiction Gone Girl and Cuckoo’s Calling (apparently I was in a J.K. Rowling mood), and am now back to random stuff from the library and suggestions from friends. It’s only a couple of chapters a night, but it feels good to be reading once again.

2. Running. Hands down, the most important and helpful choice I have made. It wasn’t easy to start again. The only real reason I started was because Miss Jordan and I decided to do the Portland 1/2 marathon (way back in February?) and one doesn’t enter into that distance lightly. It took months of sporadic runs to get back into it…because I was TIRED, and in new motherhood with the running versus nap scenario, nap ALWAYS wins. But as the race drew nearer, and I started to sleep more, AND Jordan started training, Abby-girl and I started hitting the pavement more frequently. Although many days it was (and is) hard to get out the door, running helps me get back in shape (and Abby too), gives me a mental/emotional/physical outlet, lets me have some “Angela-time (no I do not push the babies)” allows me to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, and again, gives me a sense of self. Miss Jordan and I crossed the finish line on Sunday exactly 9 months to the day the babies were born. I am so very proud of my friend who had never run before she started training, and equally, I am happy to have been able to do it with her.

There are still things that I don’t do very often that I used to, such as watch movies, but all things will happen in time. Right now, I am just enjoying my two things…and of course…my family and our new life.

One Willie for Another & Some Gray Hairs Too

For Father’s Day, the boys and I got Ben tickets to go see Willie Nelson at the Maryhill Winery. This was going to be a weekend away for mom and dad and sleepover night for the boys with grandma. Hotel and shuttle were booked, and we were t-minus 2 hours away from leaving. Now, this post is less about that fact that we were not able to go to the concert, but rather how not only have the boys changed our lives, but rather have aged us an incredible amount in the process.

The day before the concert, the Maseman got his catheter out and all seemed well. Then about two hours before the concert, things took a drastic change. Within moments he started to tremble, then shake, then get goosebumps, all with a head that was burning up. I called the urologist immediately, because it just felt like something was terribly wrong. This was definitely my fight or flight moment, and this momma went into fight mode. As the doctor and I talked, I started to panic as Mason clung to me shaking, and making little gasps of breath. I told him we were going to the ER and he said he would call ahead. So two babies were thrown in the car and I tried to keep my cool as I was driving to the hospital, all freaked out because Mason kept falling asleep in the back. I screeched into the front of the emergency wing and unceremoniously left my car out front (although I made sure not to block the ambulance lane). Stroller out, two babies, out, and I flew into the ER. Mason’s temp? 105. The poor little bugger got a bladder infection. While we were waiting for the doctor and Mason was waiting for the medicine to kick-in, Ben and I had a moment where we realized that not only was life different, but we felt older…as in aged. I’m sure there is research out there about how having children accelerates wrinkles, gray hairs, stomach ulcers, etc.; but if there isn’t, there should be. We couldn’t love these two dudes anymore, but man do they put us through the ringer…and we’re only at 8 months.

Well our little trooper got another catheter, another shot, more medicine, and was sent home. I am sad that we missed our concert, but am so thankful that we were still in town and not an hour or so away. Overall, Mason is doing so much better. In fact, he seems like his old pre-surgery self, and even has a top tooth now begging to pop out. All week, Ben and I have been on edge making sure that nothing is wrong, that when he’s crying it is not because he is having pain peeing, that his poop is the right color, and thinking about how we might need an actual weekend away soon.

So as stated in the header, we traded our Willie weekend, for a weekend having to do with another willie (haha, sorry Mason, but you had it coming), but again, we are thankful that we were here, that everything is okay, that life is different but more rich, and that there will be many more weekends away…some that we will make it to, and some that we won’t. But that is life…and even without a Willie Nelson concert, it’s pretty great.

Our Little Trooper

Since the day he was born, the Maseman has had a few extra life experiences than Elliott–and none that he (or we) would call fun. These would include eight days in the NICU (although he came home to a warm house, with parents who finally understood how to adjust the straps on carseat, and not freak out over every tiny thing…sorry Elliott), getting his tongue clipped (he had a tongue-tie, like his momma), having Stricker and seeing the breathing specialist, and the biggest one–having Hypospadia (basically peeing out of a different hole). We knew about this last one since the day he was born, and all the doctors told us that they fix it around 6 months. Now in the beginning, 6 months sounds like forever…it could basically have been 6 years. Also, although the pediatric urologist (or as Ben and I referred to him for a long time…the pee pee doctor), told us it was a 2.5 hour plus surgery, we were still at the two-month mark, and very very delirious, so nothing registered. Well, as the months went on, the 6 month (7 for Mason since they were 4 weeks early) came about before we even knew it, and there we were back in Dr. Lashley’s office (the pee pee doctor) for his pre-op.

Now the surgery was real. It was going to be at least 3 hours with Mason under general anesthesia, breathing tube, the whole sha-bang. After a few terrible Google searches (don’t ever Google anything medical), and looking at what my friend Lucy described as “hippie” websites, I had a small panic attack at work. Then the next day I went to the hospital to give back the pump, and saw where we would check-in. The very nice check-in lady led me through everything (mind you this is a week in advance) and then I had a nice breakdown at the hospital. However once the day was upon us, I was just ready to get it over, and was ultimately glad that we were doing it now when he would have no recollection of it.

But what a tough morning. The saving grace was the medical team and how confident and comfortable they made us feel…oh that, and the Maseman. He was a trooper. And a ham. Everyone fell head-over-heels for our little man. Even when we checked out the nurse told us we could drop him off if we wanted to go on a date night. So we felt that he was well looked after, because let’s be honest, who wants to hand over their 7 month old baby to strangers? For a medical procedure? Nobody. He caused quite the commotion before surgery when he ripped off his ankle bracelet (apparently the nurse had never seen a baby do that), which caused the anesthiologist to get crazy on a couple of nurses (not involved in the surgery thankfully), because he tore the clip off and tried to put it in his mouth-haha…only my kid. But overall, everything went very smooth. He came through with flying colors, woke up, didn’t cry, ate right away, oh yeah, and he basically has a new pee pee. Well, a revamped one. You can look up the procedure if you want. His catheter comes out Friday (surgery was last Thursday), which will be nice because the week has been tough. He hasn’t felt great, his bladder spasms when he pees, and it was hard to sleep in the beginning, but every day is a little better. I’m glad it’s over, will be glad when it’s all over, and am quickly realizing that we now have a lifetime of worrying about these little dudes. This is just one hurdle of many, but if Mason acts anything like he did for everything he has already gone through, I know we will be just fine.

Here he is right before we got to take him home. He looks a little goofy-eyed, but I think that has more to do with my picture taking, then his state at the time.

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Media moguls

It was a big weekend for the boys, filled with more media exposure than I thought they would have at 5 1/2 months. First, they had a calendar photo shoot with their great-grandma Gail. With great a little reluctance, my grandma agreed to participate in the Hot Flashing Lumpy Ladies’ calendar. This is a calendar that features breast cancer survivors appearing like they are naked—as in the movie “Calendar Girls,”–that raises money for cancer research. Our family friend Arleen, and Longview’s all-star (Momma Hubble as I call her–participates, organizes, and leads just about everything in the Longview community) asked grandma to be “Miss December” with the boys. Although not too excited to disrobe, she was not going to: 1) say no to Arleen; and 2) pass up this opportunity to have with the boys.

Originally, the boys were going to be in stockings, covering up grandma’s front, but they got too big to fit. So instead, they were shoved in a package type box, with grandma behind. The photographer said that she could Photoshop from one picture to the next, which is probably a good thing, since the boys were all over the place…one would smile, the other would grab his foot, etc. etc. I was going to take some photos to share, but mom and I got in trouble for trying to take a picture of Mason sitting on a saddle (one of their props). We were reprimanded like little kids, so alas…no pictures. We will all just have to wait till the calendars go on sale. (I will say that although grandma was not overly excited of appearing naked…by the sounds of it she had it pretty easy. Grandma got to take her photos in Mr. C’s studio, sitting on the floor, surrounded by Christmas trees, packages, etc. Other ladies apparently are taking their photos outside, and we were told “Miss October” had to balance on a broom…yikes).

The next day was Father’s Day. About a month ago I read that “The Oregonian” was accepting photos for Father’s Day. These photos were supposed to represent a “dad moment.” Ben gave me the green light to submit one on his behalf, and hearing nothing back from the newspaper, I had no idea if it was selected for print. So on Sunday morning I got a call (from Mr. Jeff Green) telling me that Ben was in the paper. I got all excited that they had printed it and since I was in Longview, I went to the store to buy a copy to share. As soon as the lady at the gas station handed me the paper, I grinned from ear to ear. Not only was the picture of my handsome husband and sweet babies in the paper, but they were chosen to be on the front page representing the Father’s Day section.

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Front Page In “Living” section

What a nice little surprise for Ben’s first Father’s Day. And our two little media moguls were so good to dad on his special day–they fell asleep when we went out to dinner.

32

Today I turned 32. There is nothing extremely significant about this, but since this is my first birthday as a momma, and in turn with babies, it is definitely a birthday unlike any other. Mostly, I have just been reflecting on birthdays past. Last year, I knew that I was pregnant, but we only thought it was one baby, and of course, the 31 year old me had no idea what the next year would bring. Ten years ago, I was just about to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, and that 22 year old could never ever EVER imagine what the next ten years would bring: travel, more school, Ben, more school, the loss of my grandfather, and now twin babies. The past ten years have been anything but boring. To me, they have been extraordinary, and I feel blessed at all that I have been able to do and have experienced. I’m sure the next ten years will bring even more things that I cannot quite fathom right now, but I refuse to even think about those years. My plan is to throughly enjoy 32 and the present, because I know that 33, and every year after that will come sooner than I expect. So right now I say “happy 32!”

Don’t wake the dragon

Elliott and Mason were born in the Year of the Water Dragon. I was pretty excited when I found this out, because 1) I thought it sounded so cool to have little dragon babies; and 2) according to Chinese horoscopes, it is supposed to be lucky (both to them and the household). However, also according to Chinese horoscopes, dragons are fiery, temperamental, and all other things associated, with, well dragons. The water element is thankfully, supposed to calm them…I guess. For a more in-depth description see here:

http://healingartscafe.com/2012/02/year-of-the-water-dragon-2012/The Dragon is a sign of energy and power and has a special place in Asian mythology. In the East, the Dragon is a symbol of luck and authority. People under the influence of the Dragon are considered charismatic, independent and resourceful. In astrology, the Dragon corresponds to the sign of Aries. People born in this year tend to be fearless and confident in their pursuits and are often successful. They need to be careful not to make decisions too quickly and be aware of not being too arrogant. The element of water has the most calming effect on the Dragon and cools their fiery tempers. Water is said to bring out patience and sensitivity in a Dragon’s personality that is often overshadowed by their fiery need for attention. This influence tends to help them make wiser decisions and work better with others. (According to this website).

Anyways, not that I’m really into horoscopes or anything–again, mostly I just thought it sounded cool. The reason I bring this up, is that we started (with no connection to their horoscope) saying “don’t wake the dragon” when Elliott is sleeping. As a reference, Elliott in general is a little louder, feistier, and harder to calm down when he gets upset, so we like him to get as much sleep as he wants.

I bring this up because this past weekend the four of us (Abby had a doggler date) went to Long Beach, WA with my dad for Ben’s first clam digging. The boys were amazing on the way over there (they slept the whole car ride…2.5 hours), but when we got there, things started to change. For one, neither baby had pooped in awhile…how long you say? Elliott was rocking 6 days strong–and that would make anyone upset. We stayed in a motel with paper-thin walls, and you can see where this is going. The dragon…the poor dragon…woke up at 5:45 AM and 7:30 AM howling and breathing fire. Nothing was calming this boy down. And because he felt so bad for him, the other, smaller (but amazing just as loud sometimes) dragon started up too. Ben was gone clamming for the 2nd bout, and when he returned at 9:15 AM, I was pretty sure we were about 10 minutes away from getting kicked out. And of course, 5 minutes before we leave, both babies were silent and cashed out. Why? Monster poops. Well at least it happened before we got in the car. Overall, their 2nd trip to the beach was good, even if our neighbors didn’t think so. But I’m sure if they saw them, they would forgive us instantly…because honestly, how cute are they?:

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and to add to our growing number of beach self portraits:

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Yes the babies are with us, but it was so windy they are covered up.

The Backyard, Part II

A spell of nice warm weather inspired Ben to start tackling the backyard project (see Backyard Part I). So as of right now, we can officially cross off item #1: remove chain link and build cedar fence. This is what it looked like after the chain link was ripped out:

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and now:

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Great job Ben! The only thing we didn’t rip out in the back was the Cherry tree. I wanted to, but am so glad we didn’t, because look how pretty it is without 4 million feet of blackberry bushes behind it. I bet you didn’t even notice it before…go ahead scroll up…yeah, me neither. But now it pops!

Total cost of fence: $680…man wood is EXPENSIVE.

The cold, crappy weather stalled us (along with lack of funds), but Ben just finished the “brooding box”…so I think #2 is right around the corner…chirp chirp.