Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

My goal for the holidays this year is to keep them low key.  Sometimes things can get so stressful and that's not what Thanksgiving/Christmas are all about.

We got up like usual (a little late actually! 7:30) and I pumped while Brian got the kids ready for breakfast.  We had to get our stomachs ready for a big dinner so he made hash browns, sausage, eggs over easy and toast.  The girls had eggs, a banana, cereal, and toast and the boys had home made sweet potato mixed with multigrain cereal.  

After breakfast we Skyped with my mom, sister, her boyfriend, brother, and sister-in-law.  They were all baking pie so that was kind of fun!  The girls are still scared of people that aren't my mom when they see them on Skype, but we are still working on that.

The boys went down for their nap a little bit late (around 10:00 instead of 9:00) were up by 11:30 and then down again at about 1:30.  We put the turkey in about 12:30 and didn't start any of the sides until the turkey was basically done!

My family in MN was at my grandma's house so I got a chance to also Skype with them while all of the kids were sleeping.  Elliott ended up waking up early, so he provided some entertainment for them as well.

After the kids all got up from their naps (around 3:30 I think) we started making our sides!  Grandma wanted to Skype again so we did!  Evy was having crying fits and Char was afraid of the other people there but the boys sure enjoyed seeing everyone!  Elliott stood up holding onto the table for a while and Oliver charmed everyone with his smile.  I think its pretty awesome that we can still see family on Thanksgiving despite being 1000 miles away!

I blended up some "turkey dinner" for the boys and you should have seen the looks on their faces! They took a couple bites and were just not having it.  Oliver closes his eyes and locks his mouth when he doesn't like what I try and feed him.... once he figured out he didn't like mama's puree he wouldn't eat anymore!  Elliott took a couple bites too but preferred eating the mashed potatoes by himself.  Oliver played with his, but I don't think any made it into his mouth

For dinner we had: Turkey (with bacon fat and bacon on it), green beans with pearl onions, mushrooms, and bacon, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce (canned) and rolls.  I thought everything was great! No butter or milk products because of the dairy restrictions but all was delicious.

Everyone was super tired and went to bed without a fight.  Brian's loading the dishwasher and I get a few minutes to blog!  I knew I needed to write this post today because my Thanksgiving 2012 post is still in my "drafts" folder that I never finished from last year.  OOPS!  Here are some pics!

Turkey dinner!

Elliott and his mashed potatoes


So yummy!

Mom, I'm not so sure about these

More milk, please!


Turkey dinner puree.... cranberries and all!  They were not a fan


All lined up ready for dinner

Carving the bird

Can't get enough of that smile!

My boys on their first Thanksgiving!

Always trying to get into something!!

Turkey... covered in BACON!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Realization

Okay, I will admit that I'm a broken record and probably think about boobs, milk, and babies more than I'd care to admit but that's just my life right now.  I'm still upset about the fact that Elliott quit nursing unexpectedly so I reached out to a La Leche League (LLL) leader in my area for some advice.  I was really hesitant to call because it felt strange just calling someone that you don't know but I figure if her number is on their website, then she expects to get a call every now and then.  

I told her a little about me and after doing so she stopped to clarify and said, "So just to make sure I understood you correctly, you have two year old twins AND nine month old twins?"  I said, "Yep, you got it right."  She said later in the conversation that her husband was listening to her repeat that back and gave her a look like... Wow, seriously?!?

I explained my situation and she sounded very hopeful.  I'm really not optimistic at this point but never say never, right?  She was very positive and upbeat during the whole conversation where I can't say that I was the same.  I don't generally find myself crying on the phone with random strangers but the tears just would not stop when I was actually talking about how upset I was that I couldn't breastfeed my babies.  I mean I "talk" about it here but there's just something so different, and almost embarrassing about having to say it out loud.  She said some things that really made sense about needing to get out more and go to some mommy groups and maybe even a LLL meeting.  I shared my hesitation to go to a group where there would be other moms able to breastfeed their little ones.  She said there would be lots of people there with breastfeeding problems because that's why people show up to those things and how good it would be to share my journey with others and listen to what other women have been through as well.  

The most enlightening part of the conversation was what she said were the top three priorities. 
1.) Feed the babies
2.) Feed the  babies mama's milk
3.) Make feeding the babies easier on mama (breastfeeding)

That list of priorities sounds so simple, yet she was so right.  I'm feeding my babies (obviously... since they are HUGE) and they are getting mostly mama's milk.  She really made me feel like I was doing a good job and made me feel good about my decision to continue to pump.  She said that most women would have thrown in the towel by now after facing this much difficulty.

She referred me to an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) that she highly recommended and I don't want to say I haven't tried everything, so I'm going to go see her on Monday.  She may not have any miracle solutions to get Elliott (and even Oliver) to nurse again but who knows, maybe she will.  I don't want to have regrets because it cost too much money to go see the lactation consultant so I'm just going to bite the bullet and do it.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I really haven't done a great job with updates about the girls, but I guess that's what happens when you have two toddlers and two babies.

The girls turned TWO at the beginning of October.  I still find it hard to believe that its been that long already.  I remember the day leading up to my c-section like it was yesterday!  I just kept thinking about what it was going to be like to be a mommy and what my beautiful girls were going to look like.  Today I can't imagine my crazy life without them.

At their two year appointment Char was about 27 pounds and Evy 31 pounds.  Today Char was peeling oranges and giving them to Evy if that tells you anything.... Evy is an adventurous eater and will generally give everything a try whereas Char is a little more picky.

The girls are wearing 24 month and 2T clothing for the most part, but some of their shirts run small so the 3T fits pretty well.  They wear a 7.5 shoe size and a size 4 diaper.  I think I could actually still fit them in 3s but they don't hold enough liquid!  We switched the girls to one nap at 21 months and just pushed it back from 11 a.m. to 1pm so that all four kids can nap at the same time!  Both girls have 16 teeth and no 2 year molars that I know of, but I haven't gone sticking my fingers in their mouths lately either.

Some of the girls' favorite things to watch are: Yo Gabba Gabba, Beauty and the Beast (Beast), Finding Nemo (Fishies), Puss in Boots (Kitties), Rise of the Guardians (Rise) and I think that's about it.  Evy knows all the names of the characters on Gabba and Char knows some of them.  I even got them Foofa sweatshirts, and Brobee pillows for their birthday because they love them so much!

They love to play with blocks, babies (the ones that were their "pretend" brothers), stuffed animals (especially all of their monkeys) some magnets that we just got, mama's phone, their ride on battery powered car, water, buckets, their Kangaroo climber, slide, forks, boxes, potty chairs, brothers' car seats, bead toys, beaded necklaces, and probably lots of other things that I am missing!

They eat a variety of foods, but some more than others!  Breakfast is usually one or more of the following: oatmeal (steel cut, or instant packets), bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, bagels, fruit, pancakes, and french toast.  Lunch/dinner often includes: mac & cheese, turkey, string cheese, grapes, strawberries,  bananas, peanut butter sandwiches, apple sauce, hard boiled eggs, green beans, broccoli, avocados, chicken, french fries, pizza, rice, and tastes of whatever we are eating.  Lately Evy has been wanting bites of the boys' purees and actually eats them.  I might start "hiding" more veggie purees in their food so that they don't exactly know what they are eating.  They also love to eat their sweets like ice cream, cookies, etc. but who doesn't, right?  After their 2 year well check we switched them to 2% milk per the pediatrician's recommendation.

I just can't believe how much the girls' vocabulary has expanded lately.  I was a little bit worried about Char's vocabulary because she wasn't really putting two words together but just in the last two weeks or so, she has really started to talk... a lot!!  Just today, she found a camera in the kitchen, held it up to her eye and said "Cheese!"  Do you think that means mommy takes too many pictures? Nah.  Evy says anything and everything and is putting together lots and lots of words.  If I have wet hair she says, "Mama take a shower?" or if I have a towel on my head she will say, "Mama towel head?"  I feel like I say, "Yes, Evy" all day long to all of her "questions" that she asks.  She also likes to tell me "Evy owie butt" when she has diaper rash and "Evy fall down" when she... falls down.  Char has recently been bringing me the dog bowl and saying, "mere (more) food!" and "Mere (more) wa-wa" so that I will fill up the dog's food and water.  She is so matter of fact about it too and won't let go until I get those things for the dog.  Its a good thing someone is looking out for him because he is the low man on the totem poll right now.  The girls still have some made up words for stuff that include : Baku (utensil)  Bucky (milk- but they rarely use this one anymore), Yango (yogurt), Mere (more), Foffee (coffee- Char uses this one) and I think that's it.  I'm sure I will miss when they don't use these words anymore.

I never would have thought that two year olds could be helpful, but its totally possible.  Sometimes I run out of wipes mid diaper change and yell for one of the girls to bring me some wipes or "Washies."  Occasionally they will bring me other weird items first, but in the end they find a package of wipes somewhere and bring it to me.  They also put bottles in the sink, find their blankies before bed or naptime, put blocks on their table, go get the remote, bring the boys a toy, grab things that the boys shouldn't eat out of their hands, tell the dog "No!" and to "Sit" find their own shoes, find their own clothes, turn on the TV, and once again, probably more things that my sleepy brain can't remember right now.

I'm pretty sure that if I let the girls stay outside all day long they probably would!  When I say the word "outside" I'm not sure who gets more excited: the girls or the dog!  When its warm out, we just go right out the kitchen door into the back yard.  These days, we go out to take out the trash or get the mail which they get excited about too!  They also love to go places... especially somewhere they can "see amals" (animals) as Evy says.

Our life is pretty crazy right now with two toddlers, 1 mobile baby, and 1 baby that will be mobile very soon.  I will have to add pictures very soon and update ALL of the girls' bear pictures when I get a chance.  They have 24 monthly pictures and one professional photo that I got done with the girls and the bear as their final pic with Mr. Bear.
Evy & Char- two years old!

Friday, November 22, 2013


Last week I was afraid my breastmilk supply was tanking so I took the time to calculate how many ounces I was making per day and I came up with 43 ounces three days in a row!! I was really surprised to get this number and I thought that the first day was a fluke.  The last time I calculated I was getting 38-40 per day consistently and didn't figure I could get it any higher than that.  I was also pumping 7 times per day and these days I'm down to 5.  I just couldn't take getting up in the middle of the night anymore for many reasons.  For one, it was taking time away from sleep, and for two, once I was awake for 30 minutes it was really hard to go back to sleep.

Since the boys are on a lot more solids these days, they are taking a lot less milk.  I actually have about 150 ounces in the freezer and 40-50 ounces in the refrigerator that I probably need to put in the freezer.  The boys drink 3 bottles during the day (before each nap, and before bedtime) and at least one at night.  So 18 ounces each during the day (36 total) plus 8-12 for Oliver and 4 for Elliott at night.  That amounts to roughly 50 ounces per day.  I generally make formula for them at night because its faster and if they don't drink it or spill it then I don't really care that much.  I started freezing some when I was testing out theories about Oliver's digestive issues, so I guess that's where it started.

This is as good as its gonna get!  My goal is to provide mama's milk for 12 months.  Today they are 9 months old so we have 3 to go!  The original plan was to BF Elliott after I quit pumping at a year but since he quit breastfeeding, I don't know what my plan is.  I really do hate pumping but I'm sure I will be a little bit sad to let it go when I finally do decide to stop.


Support from friends and family was crucial in my journey to parenthood.  I connected with other infertiles via forums, blogs, and in person.  Without this emotional support, I know things would have been much more difficult.  When struggling to conceive, it seems like you are the only one out there with these problems, and while I don't wish others would have problems, it was also nice to see that I wasn't alone.

After becoming a mom, I felt like the forums weren't as beneficial anymore because I wasn't in the trenches anymore and people don't always want to "hear" your miracle story and how if you just try "one more time" things may work out for them.  Your perspective changes because you are no longer wondering if you will ever be a mom some day and have just an overall different perspective.

What I'm trying to say is that, while infertility is behind me (sort of) its still something that will always be with me, and I even have a hard time relating to some moms that haven't struggled.  When people just decide they want a baby, go off birth control, and conceive right away, I just can't even begin to comprehend that.  They talk about timing and wanting a "summer baby" or the perfect spacing between their children.  What I think about if/when we decide to try for another is fertility doctors, appointments, shots, a million transvaginal ultrasounds, heartbreak, loss, tears, and a heck of a lot of money.  Also, no guarantee that it will even work and all of that time and money could be for nothing.  Most people just don't "get" that.

I started a group on FB to connect with others that face the same issues when parenting after infertility issues.  Some had success with treatments, some adopted, and others used surrogacy to carry their miracle babies to term.  If you feel like you are in the same boat, I would love to add you to the group! You can leave a comment with your e-mail and I will give you a link to the group or you can search Pregnant/Parenting after Infertility.

As a side note, my boys are 9 months old today!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

37+2 on the outside!

I'm about a week late, but as of Nov. 10th, the boys were 37 weeks and 2 days on the outside!  I'm so proud that I carried them that long and I can't believe they have been on the "outside" for that long as well.  I have two almost 9 month old baby boys that are learning and changing every single day.  I can't believe how much they change before my eyes.  Just today, I noticed a tooth that's coming through Oliver's gums!  It hasn't broken through yet, but I can see it.  I was starting to think he was going to be a year before he had teeth.  Oliver also ate a teething biscuit (baby  mum mum) all by himself today.  I handed it to him and he actually put it in his mouth and took a few bites!! (More like let it dissolve but hey, I will take what I can get.)
Oliver eating his baby mum mum

Does Elliott look HUGE or is it just me?

Elliott's two teeth! (He got them 1 day before he turned 8 months!)

Friday, November 15, 2013


Feeding my kids healthy food is a priority for me, so I typically make their baby food.  (Its not to say that I don't give my girls french fries.... because I do that too.)

I loaded the pictures from an app that syncs my phone pictures right to google, so they are in reverse order and I don't know how to fix that... but they are still here!  

I find that its easier to make the food in big batches so that I can just pull it all out of the freezer when needed.  I spent probably two hours making food last Sunday night and it should last for a while.  I made peaches, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, and spinach.  I usually mix the veggies with a mashed banana and some oatmeal or mixed grain cereal depending on what meal its for.  I do have some store bought fruit as well, but I got that when I was trying to just get Oliver to eat something.  I plan to make some more pureed fruit next time!  

I have a Baby Breeza, which works well but it quit working so I had to improvise.  This time I used a big bowl to put the food in and then just popped it in the microwave to steam it.  I then blended it up in my Ninja blender and use the Infantino Squeeze station to put it into pouches.  I could use the ice cube trays that have lids on them, but I find that I can't make as much at one time because once those are full, I have to wait for them to freeze before I can fill them again.  The pouches are easy to pull out of the freezer, warm up, and put in a bowl for the boys too.  I could make pouches for the girls as well, but I just haven't gotten around to doing that yet!!

I'm probably crazy for not wanting to buy baby food already made, but I don't know what "peach puree concentrate" is.  I like to know what goes into it, so the only way to do that is to make it myself!  

Our ice maker broke, so I use that to put all of my pouches in.  On the right there is extra breastmilk that's not dairy/soy free and ice cream that's just begging to be eaten!!

Here's my 32 pouches.  I had carrots ready to go as well, but I ran out of pouches!

This is what the pouches come in.  I think the pack of 50 is around $10

The Ninja!

I used a glass bowl to cook the veggies in

This is the Squeeze Station.  Its actually super easy to use and clean! I think it was about $25.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Today after a lovely nap, I grabbed my phone and opened up my Facebook app to check out what was going on.  Much to my surprise, I see a picture of an all familiar thing...two pink lines.  I was a little bit sleepy and had to look twice, but there it was.... someone announcing that they were pregnant with baby number two on Facebook.  Along with their picture of two HPTs was their size zero pre-pregnancy baby bump at about 14 weeks.

Even after four kids, I still don't like being surprised by those announcements on FB.  I don't know why, but I just don't like them.  I'm happy that people are able to expand their families when they choose but it doesn't mean I have to follow them for the next few months... that's why FB made the "hide" button.  This particular announcement brought back a lot of emotions for me.  The first time she posted that she was pregnant was right after I had miscarried back in November of 2010.  I distinctly remember standing outside of a Chinese restaurant after I made a nasty statement on FB about people being pregnant.  This one had just sent me over the edge because it seemed like everyone could have babies whenever they felt like, except for me.

 I wrote this post just about 3 years ago after seeing this gal's announcement.  I also remember writing something super crazy using the F-bomb because I just couldn't take it anymore... I'm fairly certain I lost a few "friends" after that and had a lot of people wondering if I was emotionally stable (which I probably wasn't!)

Its weird to put myself back in that place... before I had kids....... but I remember it all like it was yesterday!

Halloween 2013

Halloween this year was pretty low key!  We hung out, I took the girls trick-or-treating around our block, and Brian stayed home with the boys to hand out candy.

I made the girls costumes.. They were both Foofa from their favorite show Yo Gabba Gabba.  I bought them sweatshirts for their birthday added home made tutus and pair of leggings to complete their outfits!  The boys were dressed in Superman pajamas.  I went super thrifty this year.   I also got the boys some "First Halloween" onesies which I'm pretty sure were meant to be for girls... but its okay.  They didn't care! :)





Evy made her own Ghost costume!

Char followed along too

Char & Evy in their Foofa costumes

Evy, Me and Char


Elliott and Oliver

Evy & Char

Evy- playing in the leaves

The haul

We took the stroller trick or treating.... I was not chancing having to carry two toddlers around!

My two super babies! Oliver and Elliott


Elliott, Mama and Oliver!

The Schedule

Our schedule has been a mess for a really long time, and I finally decided that after the time change, I was going to try and get things a little bit more streamlined so that I can have a predictable time each day for what's going to happen.  Before, some days I would get some downtime and other days not so much.  I was pretty tired of it, so I did a little bit of research and this is what we have been doing lately!

4-5:00 a.m.: Boys bottle (Elliott holds his own and Oliver's gets propped up on a blanket so he can drink it by himself

6:30: Boys wake up! Change diapers and put them in the jumperoo/exersaucer

6:45: Pump for about 45 minutes

7:30: Girls wake up! Change diapers and get them up (If the girls happen to be up before I pump, I get them up and we watch some T.V. while I pump)

8:00: Breakfast for all 4. Usually oatmeal for the girls and some type of banana/oatmeal puree for the boys.  They also get puffs or Cheerio's.

9:00: Boys get a bottle and get put down for their first nap.  They sleep anywhere from 1-2 hours.  Pump.

12:00: Lunch for the girls. Usually they eat turkey/cheese/yogurt and milk.

1:00: Girls/Boys take a nap. Pump once they all go down. The girls sleep anywhere from 2-3 hours and the boys from 1.5-2.5 hours.  (I got super lucky the other day and EVERYONE slept for 2.5 hours!!)

5:00: Pump

5:30: Get dinner started

6:00: Eat dinner

7:00ish Girls go to bed!  Sometimes they get a bath before bed, but we have often been doing that during the middle of the day instead when we have time

7:30: Boys go to bed!  Since the time change, we have been pretty consistently getting everyone to sleep by

8:00.  Sometimes the girls stay up and chat, but that doesn't bother me any!

9/9:30: Pump one last time for at least 45 minutes before I go to sleep.

11:00: Oliver is usually up one last time before I go to sleep.... He eats about 4oz and then falls back asleep!

2:00 a.m.  Oliver is usually up again wanting to eat!

There it is... the day in the life of two 2 year olds and two 8.5 month olds!


My baby boys are growing and changing before my eyes!  It seems like every single day they are doing something new.

The boys are somewhere in the 20 (Oliver) and 23 (Elliott) pound range!  I even had to move Elliott to his convertible car seat a couple weeks ago because he exceeded the 22 pound limit on his infant carrier! He is a big boy for sure!

Elliott has two teeth that he got on the 21st and Oliver still doesn't have any teeth.  Elliott started crawling for real just recently as well!  Oliver still is not interested in rolling over, being on his tummy or back, and definitely not crawling.  I've been trying to put him on his tummy more often, but he just hates it!  He has started to push himself up though, so that's a good sign!  This is something I will bring up at their 9 month appointment because I think he might need some sort of intervention since his development is behind.

They are both eating about 6 ounces 3-4 times during the day and at least once during the night.  Elliott was sleeping all night, but just recently has started waking up for a bottle between 2-4 a.m.   I'm not sure what that's all about, but I'm guessing its related to teething.  Oliver is still up multiple times per night, but drinks his bottle and goes back to bed.  They are generally up around 6/6:30 for the day since the time change and mama is not loving that!!  I really did enjoy our 8:00 wake up time, but we will go back to that when we go off daylight savings time.

They are in size 3 diapers and wearing mostly 18 month clothes.  They wear some 12 month clothes as well.... just depends on the garment!  Different brands really run differently.

Its so fun to see the boys' personalities really coming out!  Oliver is shy especially in front of strangers.  When I take him for his doctor's appointments by himself, he sees someone new and immediately looks to me and buries his head in my shoulder.  I think its pretty cute!  He loves to smile and is really starting to find his voice.  He enjoys imitating the girls and showing you his presence!  Elliott is very outgoing.  He's always crawling around and trying to figure out his surroundings.  Both of the boys are really into anything with wheels.... toy buses, the girls' doll stroller, cars, etc.  Elliott loves to figure out his surroundings by putting EVERYTHING in his mouth.  Oliver... not so much, but that has to do with his oral aversion (I think.)

The boys love to play with their sisters too.  The girls are great with interacting with them.  I ask them to bring their bro bros a toy and they do!  Usually it is a developmentally appropriate toy as well... not something for a 2 year old.  Bead toys on the wires are a favorite for both of them as well.  Its a good toy for Ollie to play with while he's sitting.... Oliver also really likes one of the girls' stuffed monkeys that they got from their Aunt & Uncle for their first birthday.  Oliver doesn't chew on much, but he loves to put the monkey in his mouth!  I'm trying to get him to "explore" with his mouth because that will help him with his sensory difficulties (says the OT person.)

As far as food goes, we are still moving pretty slowly with the solids.  I just recently got Oliver to even take bites of his food.  Apparently he didn't like what I was feeding him, so I had to figure out something he liked.  I typically make their food myself, but did end up buying some pre-made peaches and pears just to try them out because they are sweeter.  Turns out that Ollie loves those so I now mix that with their peas, green beans, carrots, squash, oatmeal, mashed banana or whatever else I have made.  I find I can get him to eat the veggies if they are mixed with something a little bit tastier.  I made a huge batch of baby food not too long ago and that's running out so I really need to start making some more!  I haven't had any luck with peaches in the past because they are watery, but I'm going to have to try again because I really don't like buying the pre-made stuff.

Other than that, the boys are growing well and healthy as can be.  They've had a couple runny noses here and there but nothing too terrible.  We are heading into cold/flu season, so that's one of my motivations to keep pumping.... I know that my milk will help keep them healthy.  I'm still pumping around 40 oz/day.  Elliott quit breastfeeding last week, and I'm still pretty upset that it happened so abruptly but I will just need to get over it.  I talked to my LC and she said to just keep offering the breast when he's sleepy.... she said some babies at this age will come back to it and some will move on.  I guess we'll see what happens!

8 Months  Ellitot and Oliver

8 Months!

The girls love it when I bring the boys in to help get them up in the morning.  Ollie and Char

Elliott sleeping with his butt up in the air

Ollie showing off his skills

Ollie and Elliott

Oliver... sleeping on the job

Elliott... finally fell asleep after resisting a nap

Elliott holding his own bottle

Ollie waiting for the doctor to come in

I was trying to entertain Oliver before seeing the doctor, but he was not amused!

Ollie... my smiley guy!