Monday, January 11, 2010

Best gift for multiples

My life is rich!

I have a wealth of experiences

(gosh, I hope that doesn't sound arrogant!)

Sometime people ask me questions, or for advice. and I just LOVE giving my opinion. Doesn't everyone?

I received and email from a friend, who has another friend who just had triplets, and she was asking me for recommendations on what might be a good gift.

Just so I can answer this question again with out having to retype the whole thing from scratch, here is what I said:

Practically speaking - depending on what type of person she is (what she'd be comfortable with) a gift cert for a post partum doula or even a maid service after the babies are home might be a unique touch that would be greatly appreciated. That'd be on the higher $$ amount though... providing meals for her or organizing a group of people to bring them meals every other day for a couple weeks can really make a big difference between total chaos and a little bit of sanity!

I was shocked at sheer amount of diapers and formula you can go through with twins. With my two babies and 2 yr old, we were averaging 20 diapers a day for the first month. A large container of formula from Costco would last us about 4 days. is a great way to go for that kind of thing - you can google to find a $10 off first order coupon code.

For something that would last a little longer - we go through a lot of bibs and burp cloths.

For something more fun - I found a playmat/baby-gym for the boys for Christmas that is extra large - about 3 1/2 ft wide by 4 1/2 ft long. I had even thought that it would fit 3 or more babies. Boppy's and Bumpos are great too... places to safely park the babies is important when you only have 2 (or even 4) hands.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My favorite time of the year

The last week has been about decompressing from the busyness of the Christmas holiday. As I look back, I find joy in the memories and start looking forward to next Christmas already.

I enjoy Christmas as it focuses thoughts on the gift of Christ to a broken and hurting world, and joy in knowing Jesus myself.

I enjoy giving gifts - lavishing good things on my children that bring them delight ; finding the *perfect* gift, the kind that the recipient is totally thrilled with but didn't expect it.

(I like getting gifts too...I'm not gonna lie. Not nearly as much as I like giving, but the receiving is fun as well)

I enjoy sending and receiving Christmas Cards, and thinking about friends and loved ones I don't see or talk to nearly often enough.

I enjoy the traditions and memories that go along with decorating, entertaining, Christmas Carols.
But definitely the best part of Christmas for me is easily


My Dad has made it his tradition to visit for a few weeks between Christmas and New Years. I truly treasure the time that he spends with us. ...and this year, like other years did as well, his time here ended much too quickly.

My sister has also made a habit of being here with us at Christmas time over the last few years, and since meeting her partner, Chris - who grew up just south of Portland, where his parents still live - they find double the reason to get out west. I'm so glad for that, but in my own selfishness, I would like to keep them all to myself and not share their time with anyone.... but since I don't get to decide that, I guess I will share...

It was a very Merry Christmas for our family this year. I have a Christmas wish that one year we will also see my brother and his wonderful wife and adorable son...

Hopefully its not too far from your mind already as the calendar shifted to 2010. Maybe you would leave a comment - is Christmas your favorite time of year? What makes it most enjoyable for you?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nice work - if you can get it...

Apologies if this sensitive subject makes you uncomfortable. I feel a little weird writing this knowing my Grandparents will read it, but I'm a big girl now, and thus, coming to terms with the fact that I can discuss adult subjects and hope it doesn't shock them or anyone else too much!

Yesterday, a chain drifted around the Facebook world. A secret email, supposed to only be shared with other women, asking you to post your status as a color, making a reference to your bra color. The email went on to say that this was supposed to be for Breast Cancer Awareness. By the end of the day, and into today, it really just got a little bit silly.

I admit, I posted a color status. But afterwards, I had to rethink and consider the fact that it really did little in terms of advancing Breast Cancer Awareness. I sort of wonder if someone didn't make a bet that they could get thousands of women to post their bra colors on FB. hahaha....

Today, I saw and re-posted this message

I hesitated a little to post this. I have been a big breastfeeding advocate...


.... my twins are formula fed.

Before the twins, I had been able to nurse all 4 of the older kids for almost a year. I thought I knew what it was to struggle with breast feeding.

After all, my oldest, was 5 weeks premature, born lacking the ability or desire to successfully nurse. He came home from a couple days in the NICU feeding from a bottle. After many weeks of struggle, soreness and frustration, I was finally able to get him to nurse exclusively. The first feeding took 6 hours. Then we slept for 2. Then nursed for 4 hours.... and on it went until 3 days later he was satisfied after about 45 minutes at the breast. I nursed Noah to 12 months.

I also struggled with #2. She was classified as having a "failure to thrive." Most babies lose an average of 10% of birthweight in the first few days before beginning to gain again. Hannah had the doctors worried, and consequently, she had my emotions in shambles! She was an 8 lb baby at birth, dropped a little over a pound and didn't gain it all back until week 3. (I found out later this is MUCH more common than the doctors presented) Her latch needed help, but really it was more that despite her 'healthy' birth weight, she is a slender girl, and has always been healthy that way.

#3 and #4 were what I would call easy breast feeders.

I will honestly tell you that I assumed that breastfeeding was difficult, but, because of my experiences with Noah, if you REALLY try hard, it can work. It wasn't wrong if someone didn't want to try, but if you really wanted to make it work, with the right support, anyone could. I am certain that my assumptions and cavalier attitude unintentionally hurt people that I cared for. I may have been ignorant to the reality, but that is no excuse. For my hurtful words and thoughts, I am deeply sorry.

When I came home from the hospital with Nathan and Micah, I was expecting breast feeding to go well. They both latched well, and I was excited to be able to successfully tandem nurse. But a trip to the doctors office at 4 days old gave us a huge wake up call, things were far from well.

Both boys had lost almost 20% of birth weight and were extremely yellow. My milk had still not come in, which I assumed was because of the c-section. It just was taking too long. We came home from the appointment planning to start bottle feeding them and pumping every two hours, as well as putting them on wallaby light blankets to treat severe jaundice. I expected that, like with Noah, we would fix the problem with the boys and then fix the breastfeeding and continue on to nurse as long as possible. The jaundice and weight issues showed improvement within a day, and were completely resolved by 3 weeks. The nursing was not.

The twins were both taking 2 or 3 ounces of formula every 2 to 3 hours. I would pump and pump and pump and put the babies to breast all day long, and still could not produce more than 5, maybe 6 ounces in a day. I tried almost everything I knew how, short of taking drugs that might or might no increase my supply (but were not FDA approved).

Aside from the practical challenges of the situation, I was coping with an unbelievable amount of hormones. I did not anticipate two times the hormones, but quite literally that is what I experienced. Another mom of twins told me she cried for absolutely no reason at all for a full month after her twins were born.... and I knew exactly what she was talking about. Not sad tears, not frustrated tears (although I had those too), just tears... washing away all that build up of hormones.

I wanted to breast feed my twins more than anything. And I was failing. I could not make my body produce the nourishment that my babies needed.

I realized that my thoughts of it being possible for anyone to breastfeed were not only ignorant, but at that moment, I realized how hurtful those thoughts were. They had hurt others and they were now hurting me.

By God's grace and the sweet encouragement of a fantastic community of friends and family, I pulled out of the hormones, made a decision to feed my babies formula, and put the girls into retirement. I gave Nathan and Micah as much breastmilk as I could provide, which sadly was less than a month. Yet, I have found a surprising amount of peace about formula, that, I didn't expect. And I know now, that I did not fail. My children are healthy - that is a measure of success.

So, when this opportunity to plug breastfeeding arose on FB, I wondered if I wanted to join in. If you didn't know this - breastfeeding DOES decrease the risk of breast cancer and IS the most ideal food a baby can receive. But things don't always work out as they should. I am now aware of how blessed I was to have been able to nursed my children as much as I did.

I am also blessed to have a nutritious formula to provide to my babies. I am blessed to have had the experience of it not working, to know what others might have gone through - I'm always thankful to be humbled.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A new year

As a friend said in her blog (quoting another blog, I think) - the first post after not posting for a while is always so darn awkward. The best thing to do is just do it.

So the thing I'm seeing going around other blogs - as I slowly try to catch up on 3 lost months of google reader - is a list of 10 for the new year. I'm going to take a stab at it and make it as brief as possible - which is a new thing for me too!

What I'd like to do this year -

1.Be consistent to post to my blog, and not think too much about it being something that I'm not.
2.Develop consistent devotional habits in my own quiet time and with my children.
3.Read more - at least 4 fiction and 4 non fiction
4.Can and preserve so much over the summer that I can get through the winter with out store bought veggies, spaghetti sauce and broth
5.(cliche I know) Loose the baby weight (at least 25 lbs) and get back into the old clothes
6.Sew instead of buy
7.Play more games with the kids
8.Read more as a family and watch less
9.Learn to play the guitar
10.Find ways to serve others with out sacrificing service to my husband and children... maybe serving together!

Happy New Year. I hope to be back with you again really soon!