A Decent Night’s Sleep

Finally after two months, a bit of a break through in sleep.

Last night I started to feed the twins and put them to bed around 7:30. This is a juggling process where you feed then calm one baby down, put it in the crib then start on the other. By the time the other is calm and ready for the crib, the first one is crying again. This normally goes on for an hour or more. Sometimes I just give up, put one or two of them on my chest and go to sleep.

Last night by 9pm they were both in bed for the night and didn’t wake until 12:45. Amazing. Then they fed and slept on top of me until 4:45. Even better. We were up by 6am. I was very happy.

I really needed it too. I was at sleep breaking point. Yesterday afternoon I planned to book the twins into the children’s day care at the gym, send Kristen upstairs to swim with the older boys and go to the sleep room for myself.

But yesterday the thunderstorms closed the pool. I changed the plan. Drop the older boys at the Children’s Museum with Kristen instead, then head to the gym with the twins. Ben fell asleep in the car on the way over and I could feel my much needed nap slipping from me. What should I do?

Thunderstorm Warning - Check out how my hair is standing straight up!

Luckily Kristen still has a functioning brain and suggested a stroller rental. Sixteen dollars and 20 cents later Ben was carted off asleep through Navy Pier.

I was so excited for my nap! Got to the gym and realized I, for the second week in a row, forgot to pay Kristen and it was the end of the week. This is what happens when you are a kept woman. I never deal with the money part of our life. Besides spending it, I don’t budget, pay bills or stress about it in any way. Now I was debating, should I go home and cut a check? There was no time to go back and get it before her shift ended. Again, what should I do? I really needed a nap. My eyes were closing walking into the gym.

I rang Adam. Poor guy had woke at 2am that morning to start work for the day. He was tired too. But he dropped everything, ran to the bank and got a cashier’s check so I could get my nap in. Thanks honey!

Big Brother Jack loves holding the Babies

Pin It

Bubbie Wednesdays

The past two Wednesdays Bubbie has come by in the afternoons to help. Kristen has an internship that afternoon so I would be on my own without her.

When Adam is around Bubbie tends to gravitates to him, preferring to catch up with him rather than focus on the grandkids. I was worried she would want the same from me when she volunteered to help. And I’m not much for conversation these days! So you can imagine my surprise and delight when she managed to keep the older kids busy and occupied. This past week it even cleared up enough time for me to doze on the couch for a bit.

She has quite a childlike enthusiasm. The first week she climbed up and down the stairs all afternoon chasing the boys. They played hide and seek, read books, and other games. She was fully engaged the entire time. The next week she was on her hands and knees in a make shift tent under the dining room table, hiding from the bad guys with Jack and Ben.

It was exhausting just to watch.

She even managed, through determination and persistence beyond my capacity, to get Ben to clean up the toys in the basement.

She is SEVENTY THREE! She just came from her power class that morning at the gym! The woman has more energy than I do! She still rides a horse every week!

I wonder what she was like at my age. She must have been some force to reckon with.

Bubbie and the older boys hiding from "Bad Guys"

Pin It

Nature Museum Bike Exhibit

Bike Exhibit at the Nature Museum

The temperature high today was 105°, so we decided to pick an indoor venue for the morning activity.

We checked out the new bike exhibit at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. I had heard from my friend Cynthia that it was quite cool for boys. They definitely enjoyed it. Bikes to mount, bikes to fix, lots of stuff to touch and look at.

Unfortunately it was Thursday and summer, so everyone else had the same idea as us. Including a bunch of summer camps.

It got busy and the rooms are all open, some with multiple exits. Most of the time it was quite manageable with three moms, one helper and eight kids. There was one point where I was herding the two five year olds down the stairs while breast feeding Sam in the one arm and carrying Ben in another. The other moms & helper had the rest of the kids and were meeting us downstairs via the elevator with the strollers.

Otherwise it was a great day for the kids. I highly suggest a visit if you are looking for something new and different to check out.

More Bike Stuff to Play With

Pin It

More Food

I assumed having more kids meant my culinary adventures were over. But I stand corrected.

Every time someone suggested they bring me food, my answer is YES PLEASE! It really is an incredible help. For example today Ben fell asleep in the car and I was able to nap (also in the car) with him after we got home. Kristen watched the awake kids in the house. If I had to cook dinner that night, my nap would have been cancelled in favor of cooking dinner. It was only 20 minutes, but it was still soooo nice.

Plus I get to see what everyone else is cooking and get some new ideas for future dinners at our house. So hard to come up with new and creative ideas that the kids will actually eat every night.

I forgot to mention that a few weeks ago our friend Morgan dropped off yummy Soup Box soups and a zucchini bread. They shored us up for a couple of breakfasts and almost two nights.

Tonight we received even more home made dinner from another friend of ours, Myla. She brought by her famous crab cakes, which my friend Pam raved about when she was treated to them on a play date at her house. They were everything they were talked up to be! No second dinners for this one, we demolished in it one sitting.

Crab Cakes, Herbed Quinoa, Salad, Dill Sauce, and Fruit & Ricotta Tartlets

Thank you Myla!!!

Pin It

Twin Photo Shoot

We hired the very talented Mimi Weinreb to photograph the twins as well as the rest of the family. The past few weeks she has scheduled a few different photo sessions with us.

Mimi Calming the Twins

Some of you may have seen the pictures she did of the twins on facebook. Tonight she dropped off the entire disk of photos. Here are a few of my favorites…

Pin It

Twin Personalities Emerging

Whenever you have two of something, you can’t help but compare. I hear over and over again from people with twins how their kids are opposites, like two halves of a whole.

Who are you, little dude?

Every day I stare at these little creatures that have blessed our lives and think, “Who are you?”

Sam is proving to be quite a strong character. His wide forehead and full sweeping hairline have earned him the nickname “The Politician”. He is always hungry. When I mix formula for the two boys I double the amount for Sam. He’ll finish it all off in a few seconds. Often I see him with clenched fists, fidgeting erratically. Adam says when he cries it sounds like someone is sawing his arm off. I have a feeling he will be a very feisty personality. Lord help me!

Aaron on the other hand has a small, delicate little face. His forehead is framed with a widows peak. I hardly see him clench his hands into fists, instead they look like they are doing tai chi, slowly moving in the air with a calm, steady rhythm.  When he cries he sounds like a baby lamb, and often he can sooth himself without help. Will his brother overshadow him in the future, I wonder?

Pin It

Home Alone

Today was the first day since the twins were born that I was home alone all afternoon with four kids.

Kristen the sitter, lucky girl, is on her way to a bachelorette party. Adam took the morning off but had to work in the afternoon.

The day started badly. Sam was up every 45 minutes last night. I was beat.

Still, at 5:45 am the twins were awake but the older boys and Adam were still asleep. I packed up the twins and headed to the grocery store. Logistically it is quite a feat to do with twins.

I pushed the double stroller in front of me while dragging the cart behind me. I actually said yes when they asked if I needed help out to my car. Okay, I said no but they insisted. And I was grateful.

When I returned Adam and I held a baby each while juggling the care of the older kids. Both of us were pushed to the limit with requests, crying and reprimands. I turned to Adam and said, “Are you nervous for me this afternoon by myself?”

He answered, “A little.”

Then he laughed uneasily and said, “I love you.”

Adam took the boys out in the morning and returned around 1pm. I was able to get a nap in.

In the afternoon I expected the worst. So I decided my parenting standards should be dropped this afternoon to just try to keep the kids alive and fed. Otherwise don’t worry about baths, healthy foods, or keeping a clean house.

I used everything I had. The swing for the babies. The TV for the kids. It was definitely going to be pizza delivery for dinner. Wine for me.

Freshly Washed Twins

Surprisingly the afternoon passed quickly and without much incident. I was even able to empty the dish washer and refill it. Before Adam got home from work I had all four kids fed. The twins were bathed. The bath for the older kids was running.

Perhaps I was just lucky. There were moments when both twins were crying. There were time outs for misbehavior for both boys. There were TV shows to put on, boo boos to kiss, drinks to get, snacks to prepare, dinner and dessert to dole out. But none of these happened all at the same time. It was all quite manageable.

Even though this afternoon gave me confidence, I couldn’t live like this. With the kids at this age there is no way I could leave the house and cover everyone in a park, store, or on the street without another set of hands. Take out every night would be a terrible thing.

But for a short amount of time I did it! And lived to tell my tale.

Ironically it's the Older Kids with Matching Outfits

Pin It

On Sleep Deprevation

Seems like my past few posts would show that life is getting back to normal. That we are running around all day doing fun kid activities and I am sleeping again.

Let me assure you, I am still completely sleep deprived. I’m still waking up as little as three or as much as six times a night. Every night I go to sleep praying for a longer stretch from the twins. On a fluke one night Sam slept 8 hours. Unfortunately Aaron woke every 3 hours that same night. Most nights I try to bath and feed the twins, topping up with as much formula as they will take around 6 or 7 pm. By 8 or 9 I hope they will fall asleep enough for me to transfer them to the crib. Some nights it works, some nights I end up on the couch at 10 or 11 at night with a baby on top of me, too tired to try again. Most nights they will give me a longer stretch in the beginning, 4 or 5 hours. Unfortunately I’m not sleeping then, the older boys are still awake. Even if Adam is home putting the older boys to bed, the twins don’t fall asleep right after their big feed, they stay awake for an hour or more, begging to be held. By 5 or 6 am at least one of the kids has woken me up for the morning.

I’m starting to think I’d make a great P.O.W. (Prisoner of Wellspring!)

Still, I don’t want to spend every day missing out on all the fun things the older kids are doing, so my first priority is to do something with them every day. Second comes napping. If we do a big activity during the day or I have a lot of errands, no nap.

Today we met my friend Pam at Fellger Park in the morning. When we came home and I snuck an hour nap in with the twins on top of me while Kristen entertained the older boys downstairs.

With the Camerons at Fellger Park

Yesterday Kristen took the older boys to the Children’s Museum in the morning while I napped. In the afternoon I joined the boys at the park.

Like anything else in life, you get used to it. I reach a point of exhaustion, I schedule naps. I’m still tired, but it’s a little better. Then it starts again.

The twins are six weeks old, Jack and Ben didn’t give me a stretch of sleep longer than 3 hours for 8 months. I’m hoping the twins (at least one of them!) will do better but I’m preparing for the worst.

Pin It

Happy Birthday Adam!

Today was Adam’s 43rd birthday.

Unfortunately it fell on a work day, so we didn’t get to celebrate the life of Adam all day long. In fact, he had to leave for work this morning before 8am to start his first conference call. But he was able to sneak out early, a bit after 5pm in order to see Jack’s baseball practice.

In the past birthdays have been a chance to plan elaborate, fancy, self indulgent treats for ourselves. But now with so many kids we ended up getting Potbelly’s to go and picking up some Mandy B’s cupcakes.

We ate dinner together, Adam with a kid in the baby bjorn and I had one on a boppy breast feeding as I ate at the same time. Jack and Ben were bribed with chips to eat their sandwiches.

You’d think with all the kids limiting how much Adam could treat himself for his birthday he would be quite depressed by the situation. Especially since I know in the past that birthday’s have always been a time of reflection for Adam.

But not Adam. After the birthday song was sung and before he blew out his candle, he looked up around the table at his big family and I swear I thought I saw his eyes well up with happiness.


Pin It

Beach Days

I have been waiting for our weekly beach days for months now. I’ve told my girlfriends to meet me at the same time every week at the same beach. No need to spend hours organizing a play date time and place. Just show up.

Angus, Kaden and Jack

I was a bit worried now that we have two new additions that the beach would be difficult.

But I was proved wrong. The twins were angels. Sam slept in his car seat the entire time except when he woke to feed. Aaron was a bit fussier, perhaps the heat got to him?

Twins in the Tent

I didn’t want the twins in the direct sunlight so I brought a tent I bought from costco. Unfortunately it was broken when I opened it. Luckily my friend Jennifer had another one. Also my friend Pam had an umbrella. After using them both I decided I was lucky the tent was broken, the umbrella is a much better way to go. Inside the tent was stifling. The umbrella gave us the shade we needed and also let the breeze flow through.

Ben and I Build Sand Castles (Yes, it's a sand beard)

With Kristen there it was fairly easy to juggle the babies and still have time to play with Ben, who didn’t at all seem interested in what the rest of the kids were doing. He’s definitely got a mind of his own. Most of the younger brothers are chasing after their older brothers, hoping to join in on whatever game the other boys are playing. Ben still prefers to hang out with me. I will take whatever I can get. Especially when I see Jack is already off with his friends.

We stayed for 5 hours and it passed quickly. In fact, we easily could have stayed longer.

And now that I know it’s possible, I can’t wait for our weekly beach trips!

Pin It