Adam came home Tuesday night to find me in a state of exhaustion.

Jack Loves Holding the Babies

After another sleepless night, we walked around the neighborhood with all the kids who stay at home in tow, a convoy of strollers. In the afternoon it was hot and windy. We took all four kids to Jack’s school play ground. By the end of the day everyone was sweaty, tired and cranky.

When Adam got home from work at 8pm he took one look at me and said, “Hand me that baby and go to bed.”

I didn’t argue. I went to bed at 8:40pm Tueday night. I woke for the 10:30 feed. Then again at 1am and once again was up juggling babies until 4am. I must have been doing a poor job of keeping them quiet because Adam came in to see how he could help. At that moment, Ben started crying and Adam went to check on him. I was feeling very overwhelmed and sorry for myself when my mom miraculously showed up in the babies’ room and took the fussy one. Once I was down to one it was easy to settle him in the crook of my arm to sleep.

Right after the Morning Feed

Today I was tired again but wanted to bring the younger kids to see Jack on his school outing at the park. Adam suggested I take it easy, hire the sitter and get some sleep. I listened, sort of. I stayed at home, but skipped the sitter.

In the end we had one of those perfect morning where both babies slept at the same time (on top of me of course) and Ben watched a movie and napped down stairs with my mother. Three kids asleep at the same time! I got almost an hour nap in. I woke up to the unfamiliar feeling of waking on my own instead of to the sound of crying.

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Part of the Club

When Adam and I first got married I felt like we joined an exclusive club. The membership was your marriage certificate. Once you obtained one, you became part of the other side. The side that went through a wedding and lived to tell of all the family drama.

Then, when we had our first child, I felt like we joined another club. The parenting club. I kept looking around at how many people were mothers and thought, “You went through this? And you too? So many people going through sleepless nights! How did they all handle it?”

Now that we have twins, we have yet another club membership. The parents of multiple clubs. I no longer look at those mothers with singletons and think, you had it hard. Instead I think of that neighbor down the street with two sets of triplets, born two years apart and think, “How did she do it?”

Night time is the worst with the twins, as I guess it is even with just one kid. Every night I go to bed in a state of shock that I will once again be up all night then somehow manage to function all day.

Last night for the last feed before bed I found myself with Sam in the Boppy, feeding him with one hand and Aaron on the breast feeding him with the other. Aaron sucks a lot of air when feeding so soon he was in need of a burp.  I’ve learned to flip him onto my shoulder and slap his back one handed while holding him so I can continue to feed Sam the bottle.

Sharing a Crib

Putting them in the crib last night was not a complete success. Every time I got one calm and sleepy, I’d have to put them down before they were ready in order to pick up the other crying one. At one point I had one kid over each shoulder. They were finally asleep, but how could I put them in the crib gently with one in each hand? It proved impossible to do. I managed to get Aaron in the crib and had to swing Sam. But by the time I did this they were half way until the next feed. I just left Sam in the swing and turned it off until he cried for me.

For some reason after the feed around 2 in the morning, neither kid would sleep so I found myself in the same juggling routine, soothing one kid then putting them down before they were ready to sooth the one that was crying louder. I did this for about two hours until they finally both fell asleep, only to wake up an hour later for the next feed.

Every night I think about Adam’s offer for a night nurse and my stanch refusal to waste that kind of money. Most nights the uncomfortable moments, moments when they are both hungry with a poop diaper and crying hysterically at the same time pass quickly and in the morning I’m pleased that I was able to once again handle it all myself.

Adam has repeatedly offered to help but I’ve also refused it as Ben wakes up most night and needs someone to put him back to bed.

I’m happy to have the blog to remember these moments. It will all be over soon and I’ll forget all about the uncomfortable pregnancy, the pain of childbirth and the exhaustion of sleepless nights. Which is how I kept getting pregnant again! So I guess this entry is kind of like bloggy birth control.

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Fresh Picks (May 23)

Fresh Picks for May 23th

Fresh Picks arrived this Wednesday again. I completely let the shipment from two weeks ago wilt in my crisper. At that time I was 3 days out of the hospital and not moving around much.

This next delivery found me in much better shape.

Modern science is an incredible thing. That they could fillet me open like a fish and pull two kids out and a short three weeks later I’m almost fully functioning again is a miracle.

This week I received so many different greens I’m not even sure which one is which! Lettuce, Crimini Mushrooms, Kale, Hon Tsai Tai, Arugula, Oregano, Saute Mix, Red Onion and Broccoli.

So far I’ve managed to make the Kale into kale chips. Lara, Mom and Adam all ate them and complemented me on them. Even Ben wanted some after I told them they were ‘chips’. I brushed olive oil on either side, sprinkled with salt and pepper and baked at 350° for 5 or 10 minutes until they crisped up.

Baking Kale Chips

I had to look up on the internet what Hon Tsai Tai was. Basically another Chinese green. I plan on putting it in the wok for a few minutes then dressing it with oyster sauce. Maybe I can serve it with a chinese Chicken, Broccoli, and Mushroom dish to use up the broccoli & mushroom.

The Saute Mix looked like a bunch of different kinds of lettuce so I’ve just been putting it in salad for lunch with some tomato, feta, chopped up roast chicken left over from my Charlie Trotter delivery and a bit of balsamic vinaigrette.

I think there are a few more items that I’ll hopefully be clever enough to use before they get too old but I if not I won’t feel totally guilty. Getting back the old life I had before I had two more kids happens in baby steps. No pun intended.

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A Lazy Saturday

Saturday was such an easy day that by the end of it I wondered why I ever complained so much when I just had Jack. Infants are easy compared to a 2 and 5 year old!

Adam took my sister to the airport in the morning. I cried when she left. Not only am I going to miss her cheery attitude and clever wit, but I’m really going to miss her hands on, 24 hour help. She was up most nights with me juggling babies. All I did was feed, she would burp, change diapers, and hold the baby I wasn’t feeding. She took Ben out every morning to the park. Every afternoon she and Ben would picked up Jack and let them play at the school playground for a few hours so I could rest. I was nervous to be in my own house without her!

Luckily it’s the weekend so Adam is here. After the airport he took the older boys to a place called 2 Toot’s Train Whistle Grill. It was all the way in Bartlett, but since they were half way there after taking my sister to the airport, it seemed like a fun, different thing to do. After hearing about their day I was again saddened they we don’t all travel around as one big happy family anymore, it’s become a divide and conquer strategy. I’m sure it’s temporary, but I miss palling around with the older kids and Adam.

Train that Delivers the Food

The food is served to you via train. If you order dessert, you get a little train whistle. If you order ten desserts, you can trade your train whistles in for a conductor’s hat.

They were out of the house all day. Which left Mom and I at home with the twins.

We took them for a leisure morning stroll, otherwise I was able to rest and relax while they slept and fed most of the day. Mom held any baby that happened to fuss. I didn’t even have to make dinner. Another neighbor brought buy a huge pasta, meat and cheese bake with bread! Thank you Susie!

Susie Linker's Pasta Bake

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A Night with Mike

Last night, with two babysitters at the house (my mother and my sister), Adam and I managed to make it out for a few hours.

Me and Mike

Mike Vecchione, who I went to high school with, was performing at Zanie’s. Recently he has become a very popular comedian. He had an appearance on Jay Leno as well as a Comedy Central special. We saw him perform at our high school reunion. He was hilarious. I couldn’t wait to see him again!

I very hopefully bought the tickets when I was pregnant, but until last night I wasn’t sure if I would make it.

As I mentioned yesterday, I was finally able to give Aaron a bottle, which freed me to go see the show.

I treated myself to one glass one wine before going back to water. I didn’t want to waste any breast milk!

Adam suggested he take me to dinner first then the show but wasn’t sure my boobs could handle that much time away. And I also wasn’t sure my free family helpers that are visiting could handle that much time away from us either!

In the end Adam and I disappeared for 3 hours. In that time Mom and Lara put the older boys to sleep, fed the twins bottles and managed to get one in the crib for the night, straightened the entire house and folded the laundry. They managed to accomplish much more than Adam and I can in three hours at home!

Adam and I were able to relax and spend some time alone while getting giggles spoon fed to us by Mike. It was a very enjoyable evening.

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More Help Arrives

Books before Bed

More help arrived last night. Mom’s flight arrived at Midway at 5:45pm. Between baby feedings, dinner and baths for the older kids, and the time it would take to drive to the airport in rush hour traffic and back I asked Mom take the Orange line in. Even with my sister here I’m still so overwhelmed! I wonder if it will ever get to the point where I feel confident covering 4 kids on my own?

I wasted no time putting everyone to work. After the last feed of the night I dumped a baby on Mom and one on Lara and went to bed. It was nice not to have to sooth the babies to sleep. I just got in bed and passed out.

Feeding Sam

Other than waking up soaked and shivering in a post pregnancy sweat, it was a good night.

The new bottle I bought for Aaron worked. He sucked down almost 4 ounces of breast milk and slept two 4 hour stretches. Sam gave me 5 hours. As a result I only had to feed Aaron at 1am then again at 5am. Sam fed at 2:30am and again at 5am. I was never able to get either Jack or Ben to feed less than 3 hours a go for at least 8 months, so to have a night like that when they are only 3 weeks old is a miracle in my mind. I’m sure it won’t continue but I will take anything I can get!

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Two Week Dr Appointment

The week since my last doctors appointment for the twins has been a long one.

At my last appointment the babies were under their original birth weight.

So I started to supplement Sam with formula. I would try to breast feed them both then just top Sam up with 2 ounces of formula if he still seemed fussy. I was amazed how much of that stuff Sam would suck down. Aaron, on the other hand, refused the bottle all together.

At night I would give Sam one four ounce bottle of formula at the beginning of the night, and I would feed Aaron both breasts to try to fill him up as much as possible. I was hoping this would lengthen their sleep.

The past four nights Sam has had between a 5 and 8 hour stretch of sleep after his big formula feed. Aaron has had the occasional 5 hour stretch, but mostly it’s still every 3 hours. The main problem with the different schedules is that, as a result, I’m up basically all night feeding them at different times.

For example, last night after their 9pm feed, Aaron was up for feedings at 12am, 3am, and 6am. Sam didn’t wake for a feed until 1am, then 4am and 7am.

Now I’m trying to get Aaron to take one bottle at night. If I could get them both on a longer stretch my life would hopefully become a little less hazy during the days. I went out and bought a new brand of bottle, hoping this one will suit Aaron better. I’m going to try to feed him with pumped breast milk first, maybe that will help.

My doctor says to wake the other one up to feed when you feed the first one, but I’m finding it hard to do that at night. Seems like you might ruin any chance you have of them naturally lengthening their sleep?

The good news is that the boys weighted in this week well. Sam was 7 pounds 11 ounces, up an entire pound from last week. Aaron was 7 pounds 6 ounces (up from 6 pounds 11 ounces).

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Charity Piece de Resistance

Just when I thought it was too good to be true, it got better.

This afternoon another neighbor of ours, Charlie Trotter, dropped off this very generous gift. Three bags full of food and drink from his shop…

Charlie Trotter's To Go

This picture does not do it justice. Those are not normal sandwiches. Everything Charlie does has a unique flavor twist. For example, the turkey sandwich was a ‘Roasted Turkey Breast with Horseradish Aioli, Caramelized Onion and Arugula’.

This afternoon Lara and I dined on roast chicken, a garlic potato puree with asiago cheese that was to die for, a healthy salad followed by not so healthy but oh so yummy indian spiced peanut brittle and chocolate meringues.

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More Charity Food

The army of friends keeps coming and shoring up the Cailsoff troop.

Laurie's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I already mentioned Lauren Marks’ brisket, which fed us for 3 days, warming beautifully each time. On the fourth day I still craved it.

This weekend we bumped into my friend Laurie on the street. When she offered this delicious rhubarb and strawberry pie, I answered, “We are accepting all donations.”

Jack’s comment after having a slice of the pie with a little vanilla ice cream was, “This is yummy, we should tell her to make us another five of these.” 

The Latham Family Casserole

We also were given a casserole so unique I’m not even sure what to call it. Sara, who brought it over just described it as a pasta, chicken cheesy thing. It was a hint spicy, and chocked with a surprising variety of vegetables too. And it came with wine! Another great dish that I’m going to have to get the recipe for.

Finally this evening Tami brought us kabobs and rice. As she told us, she is Israeli, so she does that well. And I know she used to own a restaurant. So we were very excited to taste her cooking. And even with our expectations so high, we were still completely blown away with the results. Normally when Adam comes home he forgoes dinner until after he puts the kids to bed. This time I came out of the bathroom where the older kids where bathing to find him digging into the spread. I couldn’t blame him, I was eating it one handed with a kid latched on my boob earlier. I couldn’t wait either!

Tami's Kebabs, Rice, Salad and Dipping Sauce

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The Helpful thing about Help

When my sister came to help, I was very excited to have an extra set of hands. Someone to help carry kids, dress them, change diapers, cook, do laundry.

But the best thing about help is the unexpected help you get. Like an outsiders perspective.

Not only was Lara excellent help with all things above, she knew just when to whisk an crying kid from me and distract them with humor or new games. She figured out I needed new clothes that wouldn’t rub my c-section scar. Yes, I am so tired I could not actually think of this myself.

One of the most helpful things she did was putting the babies in the crib. My first two kids got carried everywhere. It never occurred to me to put them down. But with twins you must. And the more you try it, the more it works!

And she continues to surprise us.

This morning Lara and Adam took all the kids to Starbucks so I could sleep. It was not a good night, and despite both Lara and Adam’s offer to help, I decided to do it alone with the twins.

Afterwards they took the kids to Jack’s baseball game.

How We Roll

I woke up 3 hours later in a panic that the twins were starving and the milk was still in bed, three blocks away.

But all was fine when I arrived at the park. After I fed them both, we played a bit with the Camerons and decided to go to Dim Sum for lunch. Tomorrow they are celebrating cultural diversity week and I wanted to go to Chinatown and buy fortune cookies.

The Cameron thought Dim Sum sounded good and suggested the place they go to in Uptown. Perhaps the Asian store near the restaurant would sell fortune cookies? We met them there, ate a ton. Then Jack had to poop. But he refused to go at the restaurant. He hates pooping anywhere but home. But I hadn’t got the fortune cookies!

I tried to cajole him into going at the restaurant. I told him we couldn’t get the cookies if he needed to run home. Adam was asking Jack to forget it. Then Adam suggested we stop by our local Chinese restaurant and buy cookies from them later this afternoon.

And here is where the helpful help piped in, “You realize we are at a Chinese Restaurant right now?” 

Duh! We bought 20 cookies on the spot for $2! Thank you Lara!

Dim Sum at the Furama

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