Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Bonanza!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have had the chance to spend time with family and loved ones this year and if you haven't yet maybe you will have that chance soon! We are very fortunate and have been celebrating with family for weeks now! We made hard candy early in December with Nana Jean and Grandma Winell and Aunt Abby all the little kids mostly just played with toys this year….next year we will have 3 two year olds and a 1 year old in the house so candy making will be fun fun! ;)

Uncle Jared brought Fitz a doughnut to munch on but Anders thought it was his for the taking so he just starting stealing off of Fitz's tray!

We also had an all day cookie baking extravaganza with my mom and sister and our munchkins. Trevor and Jenna were able to decorate this year which was fun to watch! They both had about 6-8 cookies that were designated as 'theirs' by the end of it because they were so 'beautifully decorated with saliva' ;) haha!

We also did some breads and puppy chow on our cookie making day. We've been informed by the committee (AKA: The boys) that next year we also need to include no bake cookies. Well our deal was that if the boys come along and watch the kids then maybe we'll add no bakes. Sounds like a fair deal to me!

Since the twins were only 1 month old last Christmas we didn't have to really 'celebrate' as an immediate family so this year felt more like their 1st real Christmas. Jared and I don't like to go overboard with gifts because we feel that gifts shouldn't be the main focus of Chirstmas but rather the birth of Christ. So with that in mind we try to stick to this plan:

Something you WANT
Something you NEED
Something you can WEAR
Something you can READ

We feel this is a great guideline for our family. I know that not everyone likes this plan but it's what we want to stick to.
This year because they are still so young we choose their 'wants' for them and got a blow up ball pit and push popper since they are walkers now!

They could care less about the clothes but I think what we got them are super cute outfits! Anders got little yellow corduroy pants and a blue and grey striped shirt. Joline got a cute navy dress with colorful hearts all over it and pink skinny jeans. Their books were more practical because I knew they were getting some fun ones from Grandmas and Grandpas so they got Calm-Down Time and Sharing Time by Elizabeth Verdick. We are working on both of these qualities right now. :D Their need gift was new silver wear for the table and splat mats for the floor because they are working on learning how to feed themselves with forks and spoons! Yikes. Most days this is a train wreck but I hope that we will make progress quickly.

I got an exercise ball for me and for them…they loved playing with Aunt Abby's when we were there so I decided to get one for us and it's a good tool for me to use too!

AND JW got me tickets to George Strait's farewell tour concert with Little Big Town in Auburn Hills on Valentine's Day!!! We don't go out very often and we really don't do overnights almost ever so this is a huge hit with me because what girl doesn't love date night?!

Well, off to tackle dinner with the twiners! Pray for me!? ;)

Blessings to you all as you ring in the new year!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Life after 1

Here we are after reaching the 1 year milestone and I honestly feel like I just finished the marathon of a lifetime. There is something about that first year, a stigma, a fog, whatever, that calls to a first time mom and screams to her that she is in the race of her life to get them to 1 alive and relatively well rounded.

In this great land of the USA I think moms feel this pressure acutely. I think I told myself over and over that I wouldn't be one of 'those' moms who worries what other moms are saying or who pines over whether or not their children are reaching milestones at the proper times. But I can tell you that after a year I was that mom, I still am that mom, and I will probably struggle with this in many ways as we grow together as a family through the years. I'm not proud of that fact nor does it make me feel like less of a person it just happens when we least expect it.

As moms we desire to see our children thrive in all aspects and we want to get it right too. We want to be the mom who is a champion breastfeeder, the mom who can successfully make all her own baby foods from scratch, the chic mom who's son or daughter never looks unkept, or the mom who's child is completely content to sleep through the night or go down to sleep in perfect peace every time. Some of these things we will accomplish and some we just won't. It doesn't make us bad moms, it makes us who we are. We are families with flaws and when we are willing to forgive one another and to forgive ourselves for not reaching standards that perhaps we weren't meant to reach in the first place, then, just then, maybe life can happen. 

Of course I feel a sudden sense of freedom because I have reached some huge milestones in the lives of my twins.
-We conquered birth and the 'survival' stage of having premature, infant twins at home in the dead of winter. 
-I pumped my brains out and breastfed for 5 months to get what breast milk I could for them and when that didn't work I allowed myself to give them formula; not my original plan and it was devastating at first but it was the best thing I did for them and for me all around. 
-We figured out naps and scheduling of bottles and bedtime through a fog of sleeplessness. 
-We harvested and bought as much fresh produce as we could so that I could make baby food for them and it was A LOT of work but it was worth it and I'm glad I set that goal for myself-It's not for everyone so DO NOT feel bad if you choose not to. 
-We hired a 'nanny' -a helper that comes in twice a week for 5 hours at a time to help me get out of the house to run errands since I cannot drive due to my seizures. This was probably one of the biggest turning points for me. I can't tell you how much freedom it's given me to know that there are certain days every week that I can count on to get out of the house and see people (even if it's just the lady at the Meijer checkout)! haha! Sometimes we stay in but on those days I try to make the most of my nanny and let her take over the kiddos while I get stuff done around the house. I know she doesn't always feel like she's being useful to me but her extra eyes and hands are sometimes all I need to give my overworked mama brain a little break! :) 
-We cut out bottles one by one until finally just after their 11 month mark they were completely weaned! FREEDOM!! 
-They are both taking big steps towards being walkers! They will both take about 5-6  independent steps before a fall now but they improve a lot every day.

I don't make this list to make you focus on what I DID to say….'SEE you need to do it this way.' No, that's not my point at all. My point is, every mom does it just a little differently and its OK. Now, I'm not advocating that it's ok to do your own thing and not care for your child or only feed your kid ravioli from a can every night of his life. But you know what I mean. Let's be GOOD moms and let's not beat ourselves up because our kids don't look like they belong in a Pottery Barn Kids magazine cover or because they still have a hard time settling at bedtime (both of which my children struggle with daily). Let's keep working on things and praying through this journey of parenthood because it's God's strength and wisdom that will get us through even our toughest battles. 

"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young-a place near your alter, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God." "O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you." 
Psalm 84: 1-3 & 12