Monday, April 30, 2012

maiden voyage.

We got a double stroller a while ago. Not that long ago, but time is a strange thing these days so I have no idea when we actually got it. But we did.

With the twins coming, I decided to go with a double Snap n' Go that would be easy to snap carseats into. I knew when it came time to get an actual double stroller, I'd want a small side-by-side, and such things don't take two carseats. So we were gifted the Snap n' Go and I was all set. Then all the sudden Carly decides she is interested in riding in a stroller. Two and a half years of little stroller interest, and she chooses now to change her mind. We decided to move double stroller purchasing up, so she could ride with one baby, and I could wear the other baby. Good plan right?

We went with the Combi Twin Sport, and I found a decent price online. Like I said, I wanted something small, but I also wanted good quality. With Carly we got a travel system and jogger. Then we got a $15 umbrella for airports. Guess which one got used 10 times more often then the others? The umbrella. I just like something small. I am a big fan of the Combi so far. Last week when the weather got semi-decent, we took our maiden voyage to the park. We actually ended up going 2 days in a row. Yes, just me and my three little chicks. I looked insane, I guarantee it.

[Carly and Prince John.]

[Carly done with pictures and ready to play. See Q's bear ears? Cutest.]
John slept away all cozy, while I pushed Carly in the swing while wearing Quinn.
Remember how I said I looked insane?
But we were out.
We were in the sun.
We made it.
It was a major morale boost for this mama.
[so spoiled.]

The second day, both babies were zonked out, so I decided to turn our double stroller into a triple.
Don't call CPS.
I was very careful.
[pile o' babies.]

Yay for a little mobility.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

the big sister.

Our sweet Carly.
She is so beautiful, inside and out.

Carly continues to adjust to having two babies in her house. Initially she had very little interest in them, primarily because she had one grandma or the other around to play with her. It has been interesting to watch her since it has just been us.

Carly has grown weary of the crying. At first it didn't seem to bother her, but now as soon as one starts whimpering she'll say "No . . . No . . . No . . . No!" Almost panicking. I think she can feel my tension when they are both crying, so I try very hard to stay calm and explain to her that they just need [fill in the blank]. A few times she has started screaming when she wants something, probably figuring I respond so quickly to the babies when they use the same tactic. I nipped that one in the bud, telling her they are babies and she is a big girl who knows how to talk, so she needs to talk and not scream. But Q and J's different styles make a difference for her too. When Q starts doing her hungry humming or crying a little, Carly will say "Mom, I think Quinn needs her milk." But when J starts screaming, Carly will scream "Mom, come get John!"

I do see her love for them. I often walk by Quinn and find toys in the bouncer or swing with her that Carly has brought her. Once I lifted her carseat cover and found a little teddy bear in the seat with her. That made me laugh so hard, but also warmed my heart. Carly doesn't lend her stuffed animals out to just anyone. She will also try to share toys with them. She's been carrying around these fake flowers and she asks "Does John want some flowers?" And will put them on his tummy or try to get him to hold them. I think she is a little confused why they don't interact very much, but I tell her soon they will be able to run and play with her. I am excited for when that time comes, because I think Carly will have so much fun with them when they can play with her.

The other day, the most telling event in Carly's big sisterhood occurred. I was changing Q on the floor, and Carly fell off the couch right on to her head. Q screamed a "Ouch that hurt!" scream that I had never heard before. I picked her up and calmed her down. Carly asked what was wrong. I told her that even though it was an accident, she fell and hit Quinn on the head. Carly started crying so hard. She was beside herself. I had to put Q down just to comfort her. Carly felt so bad about hurting Q. She was far more upset about it than Q was. Q was laying on the floor calm and I pointed and said, "Look, she is all better. Its ok." And Carly calmed down. Although it made for a very chaotic situation, it was sweet to see Carly's reaction.

Carly often calls the babies "my babies". They have rocked her world, but I know she loves them. She is just getting used to them and all the craziness they have brought to her life, just like the rest of us.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

things I like right now.

  • OPI's Grand Canyon Sunset. Quite possibly the best nail color ever bottled.

  • This Nike Running commercial. It is super cute and also quite effective: I really want to by those shoes next time I need running shoes, which is soon.

  • This song. The thing I love about country music is the "surprise endings" that wrap the theme of the song up in a new way and all the sudden you're crying.
  • Some new entertainment: Started watching Guiliana & Bill and I heart them. I have to confess I was a Kardashian watcher, but always felt worse about myself after watching them. G & B are nothing but cute and even uplifting. I also watched Charlie St. Cloud and, call me a 15-year-old, but I really enjoyed it. Last but not least . . . Chris and I watched Moneyball last night. Well, most of it. We need to finish it. But it is so good, if you love baseball like we do in our house. If you don't, I'm not sure you'd be a fan. I owe all this entertainment-while-feeding-babies to cable/DVR, which we will sadly be canceling soon because we live on a student income and just tripled our number of children. Heaven help us.

  • Fresh blueberries. They are de-lish in a bowl of hot oatmeal, or on a [GF] bagel with a bit of cream cheese. Mmmmm.

  • The clothes coming out for this summer. Can I please go on a shopping spree? Oh, yes, that student income.

  • Carly's hot pink nails. She is my style icon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

two months young.

Happy 25th!
The dynamic duo are 2 months old today.

Quinn is a sweet, calm, alert little thing. I feel bad for her sometimes, because since she so calm and her siblings are both a little nuts, she is often left to hang out while we're running around tackling the other two. I've been making an effort to make sure and snuggle her throughout the day, because she deserves it, and when things finally calm down, it is just nice to sit and hold her. She is the best nap buddy. She'll wrap her little arms "around" you and just zonk out. It is delicious.

Q is so so so beautiful. I can't even handle it. She has recently started making cute coo-ing sounds. When she is hungry, she starts working her little mouth, like if she tries hard enough she'll somehow get something. She produces little bubbles in the process. And she does this little urgent humming. It is so cute.

The babies' doctor appointments are off due to their late release from the hospital and scheduling issues. Their one month appointment occurred at 7 weeks, and Quinn weighed in at 10 lbs 1 oz. She moved to 0-3 month clothes just this week, and wears a size 1 diaper. She takes 4 to 6 ounces per feeding. She sleeps in the crib with a sleep sack on. I'm considering re-exploring the possibility of swaddling. But she has recently started sleeping in longer stretches, like 5 hours or sometimes more, so maybe I won't mess with her. She goes to bed around 10 or 11 every night. 

He dark hair seems to have developed some red roots, giving it a beautiful dark auburn look. It stands up all over the place all on its own. I try to tame it by giving her a faux-hawk, but this is becoming less and less effective. Right after her bath all the soft hair smells like heaven.

If every baby was like Quinn, I might have 10 more. But we have John, and he's a whole different story . . . 


A little joke in our house is that Quinn is the good twin and John is the evil twin. You wouldn't believe it looking at those cheeks. Good grief, he's yummy. John is a screamer. He screams so loud when he is hungry. Like, from silent sleep straight to screaming. There is hardly a warning. Sometimes he literally makes me jump, it is so sudden. His waking hours at this point are from about 9 to 1 or 2 am. He eats constantly during that time, and then crashes for 6 to 7 hours, which would be nice if he didn't have two sisters who get up earlier than he does. It is something I'm trying to fix, and I know that means I need to have him up more during the day. But with two other kids up, it is nice to have one asleep . . . so he is the asleep one. John also growls loudly, without warning. Another thing what will startle me when I'm holding him and all the sudden he lets out this loud growl. In between sleeping and eating and screaming and growling, he whines a lot. He really takes the prince thing to a whole new level. And somehow he just melts my heart.

John has the ability to drive me absolutely nuts very quickly. The screaming and being up at absurd hours will do that. Sometimes I just feel like what Andie Anderson says on How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: "I love you, but I don't like you right now." I don't know how you can love something this much that drives you this crazy.

There are times, however, that I get calm sweet John. He is a good snuggler, and he likes to go on "motorcycle rides" with daddy (he sits in Chris's lap and holds on to his fingers; it looks like he is riding a Harley).

At the doctor's appointment at seven weeks, John weighed 10 lbs 6 oz. He moved up to 0-3 month clothes and size 1 diapers a little earlier than his sister. He won't sleep in the crib. His nose is finally clearing out (thank heaven). He takes 4 to 6 ounces per feeding. He smiled two real smiles last week, but hasn't done it again.

One thing I just love about John is he is so boy. There is no way to put it, but after having Carly and having Quinn at the same time, he is so different from them. And I love it. I love having a boy.


A truly amazing thing is how different these babies are, how different all 3 of our kids are.
Chris and I have talked about how we love them equally, but we love them differently.
We love them for who they are.

Happy 2 months, Q and J.
We're happy you joined us.

Monday, April 23, 2012

a child's prayer.

[Uncle Brady turns 21 this week. one short month until he gets home.]

On Thursday, Carly said her first prayer all by herself.

It went like this:

"Dear Heavenly Father,
Thankful for this day.
Thankful that we got dinosaurs
In the name of Jesus Christ . . . . 

I have to say, hearing your child speak to her Heavenly Father on her own, saying what she wants to say . . . that is a whole new level of love and joy as a parent. The next day, I was going to say it, and she wanted to "help" me (tell me what to say, like we used to tell her what to say). She proceeded to look around the room, thanking Heavenly Father for everything she saw: towel, her babies, mommy and daddy, the pillows, the tv, the door. At first I was tempted to get frustrated, because she wasn't trying to be reverent. But then it occurred to me that she is right. All we have to do is look around the room to see everything we've been blessed with. 

Even the door.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

john smiles.

Today after a bottle, John was awake and alert and happy.
I like singing Taylor Swift's "Dear John" to him.
No, the lyrics don't really make sense, considering its a break-up song.
But naming him John pretty much left me no choice.
I was singing Dear John and I bopped him on the nose with my finger.
And this is what I got:

Poor kid.
Wearing a girl bib in his first smiling picture.
I'll have to assure him he has very manly green dinosaur pajamas on under it.

But to say this is the cutest thing ever in history would be an understatement.
I keep looking at this picture to remind myself that he is, in fact, adorable.
Because right now it is 1:30 am, 
and he is being grouchy-won't sleep-doctor thinks he might be colicky-John.
Which is significantly less cute.
But that smile.
Boy, he is lucky he has that smile.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I call her "madame".
Because I just can't not.
She is the epitome of refinement, regality, and class.

One day, we'll be having a tea party. Carly will be running circles around the table, refilling cups and feeding every stuffed animal under the sun. Quinn will be sitting in her chair, sipping from her teacup and making polite conversation. 
I can see it now.

We sure treasure this little Lady.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

snippets and pics.

Things are genuinely insane.
So here are a bunch of [unedited] pictures.
And snippets of life in the C house to go with them.

John is a heartbreaker. I want to eat him all the time.

Carly seems to have a special place in her heart for Quinn. Maybe it is the natural sister thing. Maybe it is because Q doesn't scream bloody murder when she is hungry like John does.

 See what I mean? Edible.

Sisters watching Dora.

I might actually have a pacifier baby! Carly refused them, and Q is the same way so far.

Carly does, however, like reading stories to John.

Cozy Q after her bath. I've recently started bathing them both by myself (one after the other, very quickly) while Chris bathes Carly. It is a party, to be sure.

The boy is a tank. He looks smaller than Quinn, but she is a waif, and he is a little tank and is noticeably heavier and more dense. I call him the next Clay Matthews.

"He's breathing my air!"

Tackling all three (straight out of the shower . . . don't judge).

Pink and blue lines have been erased. While I make sure and dress them in the right clothes (except when I ran out of boy jammies and John spent a night pretty in pink), you'll often find Quinn wrapped up in blue and John wearing a bib that says "Cute Little Girl". What can you do?

John has started sleeping in longer stretches (like 4 and 5 hours). He just won't start until 1 or 2 am. He and I watched all of Sabrina last night. Love that movie.

Quinn has her first long stretch last night. 4 hours. Trying not to get my hopes up that we might be approaching some sort of normal-functioning sleep amount. 

John is such a baby. I think my girls are born wise beyond their years, so when I got an actual baby with him . . . he can drive me crazy real quick. So he's lucky he's cute. Such a prince.

Quinn is the most peaceful little thing. She will just stare at you with these big wide eyes, and I can't quite tell if she is staring into my soul or just thinks my hair looks funny. On many days, she is my source of sanity with a uber-active big sister and a whiny twin brother. I really cherish her.

Carly's imagination is taking off. Every day she amazes me with what she says and comes up with. I've been telling her Book of Mormon stories in my own words, and the other day she was playing and she found my scriptures. She said "Mom! We need to get the scriptures from the king so we can take them to Nephi's daddy!" If I could clone myself so one me could take care of the babies and the other me could play in her world all day long, I would.

Chris is a pillar of strength. I don't know how he does what he does. But I love him and I'm so so grateful. I won the lottery with that one.

Life is mostly good. 
There are times you will find all 4 of us crying in the living room. 
But there are also times you will find all 4 of us sitting on the porch in the sunshine.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

spring has sprung.

I dare say spring has sprung in the Mitten.
We sure had a mild winter, so I've been hesitant to declare victory.
But I think it is time to celebrate.

This week was also the first full week I spent alone as a mother of three.
It went well.
We went to storytime at the Library on Tuesday.
All four of us. 
We were quite the site, me carrying a carseat on each arm and trying to get Carly to walk with me.
Fortunately, we've made some friends at storytime, and it is just about as easy of an outing as you can have.
So it went rather smoothly.
And it felt nice to have some sort of success.

We celebrated what has become a holiday in the C House:
Opening Day!
Carly and I made and decorated Cubs cupcakes, and the whole family wore our Cubbie pride on our sleeves. Well, except Carly, who insisted she needed to wear her pink dress even though it was "baseball day", but agreed to wear her hat for pictures. And except me, who still doesn't quite fit in my Cubs or Twins shirts. It was a little sad when I couldn't even get my Cubs shirt past my shoulders. Did they grow during my pregnancy, too? Fabulous. We had our traditional dinner of Ballpark Franks, and settled in to watch the game, which Chris had recorded on the DVR. Unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't pull off a win. Nothing a lot of cupcakes couldn't cure. For me at least. Chris needed a few minutes in the basement to cool down.

[decorating cupcakes.]

[we won't talk about how many of these I ate . . . ]

[cutest. ever.]

[love this girl.]

[raised in the righteous traditions of their father.]

[go Cubs go.]

We also spent a lot of time outside in the sunshine this week.
We would leave the babies inside to sleep, open the windows to hear them, and head out to our front "yard". We dug in the dirt for worms, colored with chalk, hid from the bush who tries to get us, and kicked the big green ball around. We also ran races, since I'm technically cleared to work out. Someone tell my hips that.

We have a new tradition of watering our new flowers together.
Carly takes it very seriously.

[pouring the water in the exact right spot.]

This Easter weekend has been a nice one. Chris's parents and two of his sisters came up to visit.

On Saturday we staged an Easter Egg hunt in our front yard.
We've been keeping things simple like that.
Carly liked hunting the eggs much more that enjoying what was inside, so we ended up hiding them repeatedly so she could hunt for them over and over.

[the thrill of the hunt.]

[what's inside?]

And this morning the Easter Bunny left a trail of dyed eggs that led to Carly's basket. He left her some new sandals for the summer. The Easter Bunny likes getting things he'd have to buy later anyway.

Then we got all dressed up to head to Church.
I sure have beautiful kids.

[sisters in matching dresses.]

[love my girls. carly is a fabulous goof.]

[our first easter.]

[the C house. Easter 2012.]

After church, Carly and I spent a few minutes outside in the sunshine while Chris's family fixed Easter dinner (that worked out nicely for me!). I watched Carly push her little tractor around on the sidewalk, and I thought about the real meaning of Easter. And this Easter, my heart is full. I am so grateful for my Savior. Because without Him, I wouldn't have these three little miracles forever. I wouldn't have this crazy chaotic life. And I just can't imagine being truly happy any other way.

Happy Spring.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

got milk.

Did you know that when you have two placentas, it triggers your body to make "twice" as much milk as when you have one? So when you have twins, your body is designed to take care of two babies, given those babies each have a placenta.

God thought of everything.

I wish your body was also designed to have twice as much energy, and your brain was designed to handle twice as much stress, and your eyes could handle half the amount of sleep.

Alas, not everything is supposed to be easy.

Quinn, that girl nursed right out of the womb. She was a pro from the get-go. But since she was so small, she was supplemented with formula. It was necessary, and I was ok with that. John was a weaker nurser, and was also supplemented with formula. I started a strict pumping schedule right away, and I made sure both babies got colostrum and as much mama milk as possible.

And the milk came. Woah, did it come. The lactation consultants would look at the results of my pumping and  just marvel: "Wow, look at that color. Isn't that beautiful?" Lactation consultants are a special breed.

You see, when I first found out about the twins, I thought I wouldn't even try to breastfeed them. But as time wore on and I read up on it, I really really wanted to give it a go. I know how good it is for babies, and for mommies. And so, I was going to do it.

Enter premature babies. Enter no sleep. Enter pumping. And more pumping. And more pumping. John's energy faded. His eating struggled. His feeding tube was placed. I pumped around the clock for him, and he stayed on breastmilk the whole time he was in the hospital. That is something I'm proud of. At home, Quinn would nurse, but for short periods of time. And she was small, so she needed calorie fortified expressed milk to gain weight. And so, I was nursing her, then giving her pumped milk. Get the picture? So much pumping. And no sleep. And running back and forth to the hospital. And, honestly, not enough time to eat. Sometimes I would stand up and my legs would literally wobble under me, I was so weak. Oh, and did I mention I had just given birth to two babies and my whole body ached like I had been in a car crash? Those were some of the most physically taxing weeks of my life (just realized this pregnancy began and ended with the hardest physical challenges I have yet to face. special.).

John came home, and I started nursing Quinn exclusively and pumping for John, because he just didn't have the strength to nurse. As time wore on, Quinn started nursing more and more frequently. Carly nursed like all day long, the lazy nurser. I could see Quinn was going to be the same way now that she was no longer getting high-calorie supplements. And so, I started giving her expressed milk too.

I'm getting long winded. The point is. It was all too much. While my milk supply was fine, my emotions and energy were shot. As my mom wisely said, "You have twice as many babies, but the same amount of time in a day." Chris and I talked extensively about it, and we decided to gradually move to formula. My goal was to get the babies breastmilk until their due date. And, wouldn't you know it, the pumped milk ran out and they each got their last breastmilk bottle on that exact day. The Lord had His eye on me with that one.

Because, I've struggled with this. I felt like a complete failure. I felt like the babies will already be getting less snuggle time, less one-on-one time, more hectic of a home life . . . I couldn't do this one single thing for them? I nursed Carly for 7 months. I started worrying about how smart they would be or if they'd be sick all the time. I thought, what if one day Carly excels at math and Quinn struggles? Would I look back and blame myself? Yes, I was that insane. I blame the hormones.

[how to feed two at once. notice Q is checking her fingers for milk.]

The thing is, I don't care if other people formula feed. Lots of people do because of circumstances, and lots of  people do because they simply prefer to. And I think that is wonderful. Everyone has the right to make their own parenting choices, and kids turn out smart and healthy and beautiful no matter what.

So here was the question that came to me:
Why was it ok for others to choose formula, but it wasn't ok for me to?
Why was I being my own worst critic?
Why didn't I deserve to create the situation that was best for our family at this time?

But I still struggled.
And to make it worse, I could still feel my milk in.
It was haunting me. 
Why wouldn't it just go away?
So one day when Quinn was being weird about taking her bottle, I went upstairs and tried to pump. 
I got a tiny little bit.
I knew it was over.
And something clicked.

I had been praying and praying to feel at peace with the whole situation, to know Chris and I were making the best choices we could, and to know our babies would be healthy and grow strong.

I looked at those few milliliters of breastmilk, and my prayers were answered.
I knew.
And I haven't worried one second about it sense.
What a tender mercy.

Formula feeding has its downs.
Our table and countertops have a white powder on them when I don't get around to wiping it up, and it makes us look a little bit like crack addicts.
Formula smells really bad.
We have bottles everywhere. I mean, 1 billion bottles.
And making bottles is just not as easy as popping a baby on your breast.
Its true.
And worst of all, I have to start watching what I eat again.
I don't have a million calories getting sucked out of me every day.

[one night's worth of bottles.]

But there are perks too.
Like, I'm not the only one who does the feedings.
I don't have to wear nursing bras.
No ripping my shirt off when a baby starts screaming.
And my body is all the way mine again.
That is something that is especially nice after housing two humans for 36 weeks.

So it has been quite the emotional little journey.
Why can't I have a pleasant, guilt-free nursing experience?
Maybe next time.
Assuming there is a next time.

[they sure are growing. they are both getting deliciously meaty.]

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


My mom came for almost 3 weeks.
It was long enough to feel like her presence should be permanent, that she should be my full-time nanny who dwells in the basement and gets paid in onion bagels and chocolate ice cream.

Most of the days she was here passed so quickly. Like it was bizarre how quickly they passed. We spent the days in our pjs feeding, changing, and bouncing babies, and taking turns entertaining Carly. Mimi and Carly spent about 90% of the first few days in the basement, which we turned into a sort of playroom just before the babies came. Carly sure loves her Mimi, and didn't have any qualms about waking her up every morning, yelling down to the basement, "Meeeems! Are you wakin' up?" She also started calling my mom and I "girls", as in "come on, girls" or "look at this, girls." We got a spell of summer weather, and went outside to "color chalk" and "play hopscotch". Thank goodness we still got some meals from the ward and a Cottage Inn Pizza was nearby, because often dinnertime rolled around before we had time to catch our breath.

And it just so happens that one of my mom's personal mottos is to leave every place she goes more beautiful than how she found it. So we made a few trips out and got pots, soil, and flowers to spruce up the front of our townhome. We'll see if I'm a better flower mom than a fish mom. And we made a trip to Goodwill, buying other people's junk that I've been spray painting in-between feedings in order to liven up our desperate-looking kitchen.

My dad joined the party the final few days of my mom's stay. He was eager to get his hands on the babies, and that was good, because we put him to work. He cooked us dinner. We went to church for the first time, and it took all 4 adults to get us there on time. Carly, mom, and I did a little shopping, leaving dad alone with both babies. Chris and I also headed out to the Hunger Games (ummm, counting down until I can see it again. love.) leaving all three kids in the hands of my parents. It was a little bizarre to be out at the movies with friends. Like traveling back in time to before we had kids, or something. My parents also took a night all by themselves, when Chris had a big day at school the next day and I developed a migraine. What a blessing.

We spent a lovely Sunday evening at the park, swinging on swings, chatting, and kicking around a neighborhood girl's ball. The days passed too quickly.

And then, it was time for them to go home. Mom had been here long enough, and they were both exhausted enough, that they were probably ready to go. But I wasn't. And neither was Carly. She rode with Chris to drop them off at the airport, and for a few days afterwards kept informing me that "tomorrow I'm going on an airplane to go to Mimi's house."

Between the time Chris's mom took off to be with Carly when we had the babies and were in hospital, and the almost entire month my mom put in to make our transition to a family of 5 so much easier, we sure are blessed with wonderful and selfless mothers (and fathers, of course). My heart hurt when my parents left, not because I was losing two baby-helpers (though, that wasn't easy, either) but because I had to say good-bye again. I'm not sure it will ever be easy to be so far away from them.

The good news is that this time, I already know when I get to see them again. We have tickets to go to Idaho in June. My little brother is getting home from his mission (can you believe it?) and every member of the T family will be under one roof again. He is coming home to 2 new nieces and a new nephew. We will be blessing the babies on the same Sunday he gives his "homecoming" talk.

 It will be a sweet reunion, indeed.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

the prophets on tv.

"The prophets on TV."
That's what we called General Conference all weekend.
There is something refreshing about taking everything down to a toddler's level.
Every time Carly saw President Monson, she would point and yell,
"There's President Monson! Do you see?! Its President Monson?!"

I tried to play a game where you put a piece of candy on a picture of each apostle, and when they talk you get to eat the candy. It lasted all of five minutes. Carly kept eating the candies when I wasn't looking. I would replace them, then she'd eat more. The girl was on a sugar high in no time.

But Conference was wonderful, as usual.
The parts I heard, anyway.
I'm feeling a little extra grateful for the Conference edition of the Ensign this time around.
That is how it goes sometimes.

But if you're going to have something make it hard to watch Conference,
three beautiful kids is the way to go.