Sunday, March 30, 2008

Time to get your Picture Pages

New friends, Beth and Tracy from Burlington, came to visit us one lovely afternoon. We had such a nice visit and look forward to many more with them! They also volunteered to babysit! We love them even MORE now! :P

Here's us with the babies. Another rare picture of all 4 of us together. For a change, Jordan is smiling, but Taylor has the glassy look. Most pics, as you might notice, have Jordan with the glassy eyed look. Taylor is usually such a ham for the camera!

Taylor loves playing with this toy, which we lovingly call "Dino Balls." Thanks to the Thompson family for passing it along to us!

Jordan and Taylor in a rare moment of playing together peacefully. Although, if you notice, Jordan's hand is on Taylors...perhaps to rip it off of Mr. Dino in a fit of anger. Jordan already shows a dislike of sharing. Wonderful!

Jordan and Taylor love their new activity table that the Easter Bunny brought them. The moms love that there are 4 sides to stand on and this hopefully means less squabbling!

Taylor loves her some spaghetti...but only if she can eat it with her hands herself. She refused to eat it from a spoon. This was not a designated bath night, but that obviously changed early on during dinner time.
Jordan also enjoyed the spaghetti, but in a much more civilized manner!
We had a lovely visit with the "two moms" bloggy family a few weeks ago. It was so great for the kids (and us!) to meet Jordan and Taylor's 1/2 brother, Mr. E. Thanks for a great weekend, ladies, and for being such gracious hostesses.
We met up with Jude, Jen, and Gus for some yummy sushi that weekend. Gus is getting so big and cute. Her moms have their hands full, just like us!

A lovely group shot pre-sushi gnoshing.
Jordan tried some rice for the first time. He loved eating right from the chopstick!
Taylor also liked the rice from the chopsticks.
Mimi bought these funny pajamas for the babies. Check out the matching hats! Very funny. The babies seem to hate the hats, but Taylor didn't seem to mind in this pic.

Jordan models his matching PJ and hat set, while hanging over his crib railing. Note receiving blankets that have been secured to the crib rail with medical tape, as Jordan was actually gnawing through the teething guard that came with the crib. We would find him with bits of the wood finish dotting his slobbery cheek after his gnaw sessions.

In closing, I leave you with pics of my craftiness. I took part in a felt food swap with some gals from an online group of moms I met when I was trying to get pregnant. I made donuts for the swap and was very pleased with the results. What do you think?

I think they look good enough to eat, personally! Mmmmmm, donuts!

Updates and news

Well, over the past few weeks, we did some sleep training with the babies, which involved up to 20 minutes of crying at a time per baby. We did our evening routine (playing in the play room after dinner, a bath every other night, changing into PJs, rocking and book reading, and then bed. We would leave the room for 20 minutes to try to get the kids to settle down by themselves. The first night, Jordan wailed for 40 minutes (2 20 minute stretches), despite us going in after 20 minutes to soothe and pat and shush. We vowed not to pick the babies up to rock them back to sleep, unless they were hysterical and clearly not going to settle down. After three nights, Jordan settled with NO crying and slept through the night from about 730 pm to 6 am! Holy crap! A miracle had taken place! Taylor still has trouble settling on her own, and sometimes needs to be swaddled on her upper body, due to flailing arms that prevent settling. But, once swaddled, Taylor also found success in sleep and the moms were so, so happy....And then both kids got sick again and now all bets are off! We are back to copious amounts of rocking, which goes along with copious amounts of snot and coughing. God, this winter sucks donkey balls! Both kids have also had goopy eyes, which thankfully has not turned into pink eye. We are using a home remedy to treat the eye goop, which our pedi nurse practitioner thought was brilliant. We made some weak black tea, and we rub down the eyes with tea soaked cotton balls. Apparently the tanins (sp?) in the tea are good for healing the eyes. The kids hate it, but it worked to clear up Jordan's eyes and it is doing a good job on Taylor's eyes, too!

Jordan now has three teeth on the bottom and he is getting ready to walk. He does this funny crawl where he has one knee on the ground and then the other leg is bent so that his foot is on the ground. It is kind of a walking crawl. He can stand on his own for a few seconds and he loves to walk behind this little push cart we have. He does not need us to help at all and he just walks right along with it. It is so cute! Jordan is also talking up a storm and he seems to be trying to say words. He makes sounds and then points to things and looks at us, as if asking what the word is. Very fascinating to watch! Jordan loves waving, bananas, and dancing.

Taylor has a third tooth trying to cut through on the bottom. She loves to wave bye-bye and laugh and hold her arms up when she wants us to pick her up. She loves bananas, playing with her dino balls toy, and cruising along the furniture. It won't be long before she walks, too, I think. Taylor is a super fast crawler, which is good, because Jordan likes to try to take things away from her. Taylor needs to be able to escape fast!

We are planning a very exciting trip to Florida/Disney World in September. We are going with my brother, Bill, and his family (wife Michelle, daughter Kelly, and son, Will), as well as Penny's sister Cindy and her husband Brian, and Cindy's daughter Heather and her boyfriend, PJ. My mom and other brother, Tim, also live in Florida, so we will get to see them, too! We will be down there for a week and we are all very excited, both for the time together and the Disney experience. Penny and I have been doing lots of planning about how we will make the trip doable for the kids. This includes shorter park days, as well as going back to the condo for naps and swimming in the middle of the day. We are staying at a condo about a mile away from Disney, that we were able to get for next to nothing, through our timeshare organization.

That's about it for now, I guess. We are excited about a visit from my mom and Bill's family next weekend. It will be nice to all get together. While my mom is excited to see all of us, she is most excited to spend a long weekend with all four of her grandchildren in the same place! We have lots of new pics to post, but I will have to try to get to that later today!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Jude wants to know....

What I was like in high school...

Well, for me, high school was actually quite enjoyable. I had a lot of friends from sports teams and I guess you could say I was popular, although that seems weird to write. I had a terrible time in junior high because I switched schools in 7th grade (after skipping 6th grade). No one knew I had skipped 6th grade, but they were a bunch of kids who had all been together since Grade K and they were not too welcoming. Plus, I wore braces and head gear. (I had to wear the heada gear 22 hours per day. My orthodontist told my parents I had the worst jaw that he had ever seen. Our choices were to break my jaw and have it wired shut for some period of time, or to have braces and head gear. I wore braces from 4th grade to 9th grade! Looking back, I wonder whether we should have just gone for breaking my jaw!) While I cried everyday after I came home from 7th grade (things got somewhat better in 8th grade), I have a lot of fond memories from high school of bus rides to and from games and friends spending the night at my house.

I went to a small coed Catholic high school in NH. I played field hockey, basketball, and softball. I was the class Vice President and I was in the National Honor Society. I loved working on the yearbook my senior year. My date to the Junior Prom backed out on me at the last minute (even though I was on the prom committee and this crushed me not to be able to attend), but I had an awesome time at my Senior Prom with a pretty cute guy!

I dated a few guys in high school, but always ended up breaking up with them either when it got too serious (physically or emotionally), or when I got bored with their high school boy antics. I always wondered why my friends all had more long-term boyfriends and I didn't. Gee, I wonder why it never worked out! I did not know anyone gay at my school, although looking back, there are a number of sports teammates that I wonder about. Maybe someday I get to find out if some of them are lesbians now.

That's all I can think of to write about regarding who I was in high school. Oh yeah, I had big hair and big bangs they took a long time to get just right. My parents and I had our challenges over the years and I remember fighting over wanting a phone in my room. I also remember fighting with them, storming up the stairs to my room, slamming my door, playing music really loudly and having said phone taken away. Sometimes my mom now says, "You are lucky we let you live through high school!" Good times. I, for one, can't wait to see what Taylor is like in high school. In some ways, g*d help us if she is anything like I was. In other ways, I hope that she is like I was, since I have so many fond high school memories!

Thanks for the question/comment, Jude!

Inquiring minds want to know...

Babyblueprint and Familiewillim both had questions about our two year journey to parenthood, including how we coped and how we decided it would be me to carry a baby..or two, as it turned out!

So, I have always wanted to be a mom and had long dreamed of being pregnant and giving birth. I knew that if I was with another woman who also wanted to birth a child that we would have to take turns. While Penny always hoped to be a mom, being pregnant and birthing a child was not something that she felt a strong need to do. Also, Penny is 10 years older than I am, so that kind of made the decision for us. Our IVF doc did talk to us about using Penny's eggs for the IVF, but we decided that was not important enough to us to warrant both the cost and the level of invasiveness.

Over our two year journey to parenthood, we tried lots of different things. We tried fresh sperm (from a donor who was a friend of ours) and frozen sperm (from a local sperm bank). We tried just about all the different kinds of meds there are: clomid, femara, a few different injectibles, progesterone, metformin, and trigger shots. I had lots of testing and all my hormone levels came back fine. We tried different types of inseminations: IUI's, ICI's/IVI's, at home, with a midwife, just us, with a friend assisting (Thanks, Jean!) at the doc's office, etc, etc, etc.

So, I had unexplained infertility. I am not sure whether this made it harder or easier to keep going. In a way, if everything was fine, it made me feel more positive about going forward and believing that it would work at some point. On the other hand, it becam more and more frustating over time that it was not working, given that even my reproductive endocrinologist was saying she did not understand why I was not becoming pregnant! Her and me both! One recommendation was to lose weight, which I tried to do and was somewhat successful with, but it was hard for me to rely on that as my sole hope of becoming pregnant because my periods were regular, I appeared to be ovulating, and I just did not believe that being fat was my sole problem. Maybe that was naivete, or maybe it was a survival mechanism!

We took some breaks during the two years, so we really "only" had 14 months of active trying over the 27 months. When I counted my cycles, I was amazed that we had actually taken about as many breaks as we had active cycles. This was fascinating to me, as it seemed like we were always trying or waiting. I also tried acupuncture and made some diet changes. We tried to take good care of ourselves during the 2 years, by having date nights, taking some weekend and extended vacations, and checking in with each other as the process dragged on and on.

In the end, we decided to try IVF one time. I had great infertility coverage through work (IVF only cost us $3000), so we had not spent much up to that point. Meds only ever cost me a $5 copay and the office visits were free. Frozen sperm was our greatest expense, but for a year we used fresh and that was just $1 per donation! We talked about moving back to the east coast, but felt like we were putting our "real lives" on hold, until we had a baby. As time went by, we realized that might never happen. So, to put an end to the wait ifs and the maybes, we decided to try IVF one time. If it worked, we would wait till the "baby" was born, and then we would move to New England. If it did not work, then we would move right away.

So, we tried it, it worked...times two, we stayed in CA until the babies were born (and collected all the amazing CA maternity leave benefits, including paid FMLA for both of us, and an additional 8 weeks paid disabilty for me. I was off a total of about 4 months, totally paid!) and then we moved to VT when they were three months old. After a long journey and much struggle and heartache, we were so happy and amazed that it worked! And now, when we are sick and sleep deprived and struggling with the winter that just will not end, I try to be reminded of how lucky we are to have sleep deprivation because of the two most amazing little babies in the world, who, by the way are not so little anymore! The babies are ten months old now and I just can't believe it!!

Thanks for the questions/comments!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Meme Alert

Stolen from Judecorp and Life of Joan...

Everyone has things they blog about. Everyone has things they don't blog about. Challenge me out of my comfort zone by telling me something I don't blog about, but you'd like to hear about, and I'll write a post about it.

Ask for anything: latest movie watched, last book read, political leanings, thoughts on lima beans, favorite type of underwear, graphic techniques, etc.

Repost in your own journal so that we can all learn more about each other.

Responses/posts will be screened and posted separately.