HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

Today Jim woke me up to ask what his Father’s Day present was, and I told him I could hear it walking down the hall. Chad showed up right on cue, asking for us to read him a book. Which, by the way, is pretty hard to do without your first cup of coffee in the morning. Next Harley, the cocker spaniel puppy, better known as Jim’s girlfriend, came bounding into the room. She headed right for him for her daily rough housing with him. He gets her so wound up that she is actually trying to bite him. I guess she doesn’t like being in a headlock for extended periods of time, which happens to be his favorite way of showing he likes her.

I just wanted to send out Father’s Day greeting to all the Dad’s and prospective Dad’s who read our blog. I think sometimes you are forgotten when dealing with infertility, pregnancy, and all those other things which are related. I wonder if the same can be said with embryo or traditional adoption. I would imagine so. Jim and I had discussed fostering after we had a few losses, and the possibility of adopting. He was dead-set against the adopting, and I told him that may be our only option. I hadn’t heard of embryo adoption, and don’t even know if it was being practiced at the time (late 1990’s, early 2000’s). I wonder if he would have been more accepting the the latter, because it is a closer experience to conceiving the traditional way, and similar to what we were used to with our infertility treatments.

I just wanted to let you Dads know you aren’t alone and are remembered. My mother used to say that everyday was Father’s Day, because the Mom’s do all the work, but that is truer of older generations. More and more nowadays you hear of the Dad staying home to be the primary caregiver, Jen’s Jeremy is a case in point.

My whole point this morning to my husband (which he probably missed), is that your gift is just being able to be among the ranks of Fathers, regardless of how you became one. For those who it doesn’t come naturally to (conception is what I’m referring to, not ability), you have worked very hard and sometimes long to achieve this status. Once achieved, every day is your gift. Enjoy it to the fullest.

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IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME

I can’t believe the date today is already the 19th, and the month is almost over. This month has shaped up to being one of the most trying ones in my life. I started with my dog being diagnosed with a Mast Cell Tumor, which sounded like she had 2 1/2 legs in the grave. Jim was even teasing her when she would wander in the woods around our house prior to surgery if she was “picking her spot”, and he didn’t mean to do her business! We lucked out on that one; her biopsy came back with the cancer being between a Grade 1 and 2 (not 3 as expected), and it will most likely not reoccur in her lifetime because of her advanced age. My middle son Joel was so excited, you would have thought he was getting a new pet or going on vacation. I guess he feels like I do about losing one, and when it doesn’t happen it is in a sense like getting one.

Just when I thought life was good and was so looking forward to spending the weekend with my sister and her family at a dude ranch in upstate NY, she calls me the evening before we’re leaving (6/10), and tells me my favorite aunt had passed away earlier that day. I was so stunned I didn’t realize what she had told me until she started with the details. I cut her short because I didn’t think I had heard her correctly and what she was saying didn’t make any sense.

We called her Auntie (pronounced Ante, like upping the ante in poker), and for the longest time when I was growing up, I didn’t know her first name (Barbara). At the time, I was the youngest member in the family, and doted on because my parents had had so much difficulty conceiving me. Auntie would take me to her house and play “house,” letting me use real food, take me swimming, play with her animals, and she would even get on the floor with me and play Barbie’s. I loved my visits to her home, but they became fewer over the years as I started school. As I got older, I would only see her a few times a year (birthdays & holidays), and it wasn’t the same between us. It would be the usual adult/child “How’s school”, etc., and then I would go off on my own. My step-Grandmother for whatever reason kind of took me under her wing and taught me how to cross stitch, embroider, etc., all things she loved that I still enjoy. My mother and sister Cathy had already taught me how to knit and somewhere I learned how to crochet, probably from Grandma.

It was during my high school years that my Grandmother had a series of strokes, and eventually didn’t recognize us. She was moved into a convalescent hospital, and I completely lost touch with her. She was no longer the Grandmother I had known growing up. Although she hadn’t passed away, it was as if she had because she was so changed. When she actually did pass away, it wasn’t as upsetting to me as other deaths have been. I think if it had happened sooner it would have been harder for me.

Auntie and her husband Uncle Jimmy moved in with my Grandfather, which was just up the street from me. I had graduated from high school and was in college at this point, and even though I still lived at home, I didn’t see them much. My mother and Auntie became closer at this point, and I would hear more about what was going on more so than being a part of their lives. It really wasn’t until I was on bed rest with triplets that I reconnected with Auntie. My relatives and friends helped take care of me and things around the house during this time.

I started to visit Auntie every couple of weeks after my mother died, and it helped her and I ease that void that had been left in our lives by her death. Ryan, my oldest, was five years old at the time, and she doted on him like a grandson. Her grandsons (twins none the less), had grown up out of state, so it was nice for her to spend time with Ryan doing every day things, something she didn’t have the luxury of doing with her own grandsons.

She would love to see the boys, and especially enjoyed going to hear Ryan play his trumpet at band concerts. The last one we invited her to was the same day that Ryan had a track meet. I asked her if she minded my picking her up so she could go to the track meet, have dinner with us, and then go to the concert. She said that would be fine, and not to fuss for dinner. I decided to listen to her suggestion of making sandwiches, but was thrown into a tizzy that afternoon when I was making the macaroni salad and discovered I had no mayo! Our neighbors are health nuts, and I knew there wouldn’t be real mayo to borrow, so I made a quick trip (1/2 hour) to the store for some. I finished in the nick of time to pick up Joel and Chad from school on time, and head off to get Auntie. She was the only one at the track meet dressed in heels and her Sunday best, but she walked across the grass regardless as if she had on jeans and sneakers (which I don’t think she owned a pair of either). We rushed home afterwards, and she was one step ahead of me pulling out the sandwich makings and the like for dinner, telling me I shouldn’t have fussed so, although I could see she was pleased I had. We ate quickly, and scooted back to the school for the concert. Auntie sat in the row ahead of me, and I could see she was enjoying the music. Little did we know this was the last time that all of my family would have with her.

The week leading up to her passing, Joel was chosen to play his recorder for Flag Day, 6/14. This is also Chad’s birthday, and we said we would call Auntie and invite her to attend. I thought she and I could take Chad out to eat afterwards before he headed off to school. We never had a chance to make that phone call because she passed away.

Yesterday was another tear-jerker day for me; Chad graduated from his preschool class. I was fine during the ceremony until they showed a slide show of the last 2 years, and it started with the most wonderful shot of Chad. I burst into tears, and felt the Kleenex box land in my lap at the same time as Jim started laughing at me. I cried through the whole thing (good thing the lights were out), and I’m tearing up now just thinking about it. He can’t wait to go to Kindergarten, and I get a lump in my throat just thinking about sending my baby off on the bus. I was the same with Ryan and Joel, but I always knew I would still have Chad, but now this Fall it will truly be the last time.

Last evening, we hosted a picnic at our home for all of the leaders and adult volunteers involved in Cub Scouts. There was a crowd of about 24, so I was glad I had something to do to keep me occupied, and not think about things. It was between dinner and dessert that one of the couples we have become friends with told me to stop bustling about and come sit with them. They are moving on to Boy Scouts, and who knows when we’ll see each other again. Of course I got teary eyed and followed them out to the pool where the last few stragglers were having nightcaps and the men were smoking cigars. The party ended when the last guest left at 1 am, so I guess it went well.

This morning it dawned on me that all these things have the common thread of marking how time has passed over the years. You don’t always realize this when you are in the moment, but you should enjoy even the most mundane tasks, because someday you won’t need to do them anymore. Chad is always reminding me that “he’s five and can do everything now”. This may be true, but I don’t have to like the fact. I always was wishing for that day, but now that the time has arrived, I’m not liking it so much. Yes I have more time in some respects, but I don’t like the feeling that I’m not needed as much.

I’m sorry for the length of this entry, but you guessed correctly if you realized I’m trying to make up for lost time. Guess what? You can’t. Just enjoy each moment before it ends.

DATE NIGHT

The twins went to Vacation Bible School at a church near our home last night. This gave Brian and I an opportunity to have a much needed date night! We used this opportunity to celebrate an early birthday dinner for me and Brian decided we need to make it a Father’s Day dinner as well.

We went to Bistro by the Tracks thanks to one of Brian’s golf tournament victories. We got two appetizers, two salads, two entrees and two desserts. The filet bites were so scrumptious that I did not take a picture of them until I ate them all. The calamari was very good too. I was already full at that point and then came the grilled shrimp salad and the warm poached pear salad, half the pear salad I had boxed. Where was I going to put the rest? Brian had the rack of lamb and I had the nightly special of Hawaiian fish. The dessert was best of all with a chocolate toffee cake and amaretto cheesecake. If I ever get to go again I would just have the appetizers and dessert, those were the best by far!

We had left Natalie crying at Vacation Bible School and I thought often of her through dinner. When we arrived at the church we were happy to find them both happily playing with the armor of truth belts around their waists. Unfortunately, they were not able to tell me all about their night since they are toddlers of few words. Natalie told me she ate cookies when I asked her if she had eaten dinner (who knows if that is true) and Julian had to have his belt of truth on to go to bed. So over all I would say it was a splendid night for us all!

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STRATEGY

Managing twins is all about strategy and being prepared…or as prepared as you can be. In an effort to keep the morning feeding as quiet as possible, I’ve started to prepare my nursing station the night before. Water bottle, nursing pillow, blanket for me, boppies for off loading the babies, etc. are all staged and ready to go. Early morning diaper change (hopefully, just diaper) is done in relative darkness as I try to keep them calm so they will nurse and go back to sleep for a couple of hours. I’ve also returned to dual nursing. Not only does it cut the time in half, no one has to wait. Things don’t always go as planned. Today, I had hoped to nurse them and do a quiet exercise video and grab some breakfast, but Grant decided that he would only fall back to sleep if he was on me. Being pretty tired myself I agreed and we both went back to sleep and even picked up a cat somewhere along the way. Unfortunately, we ALL woke up hungry around 8:00, but I had to wait…feeling my blood sugar and patience lower, this wasn’t good. I’m going to have to start staging food in order to combat my own crankiness while they are eating. Cranky mom = impatient mom. By the time Jeremy woke up, I was thinking about contacting the NEDC about their return policy. They just wouldn’t sleep and desperately needed it. Maria’s eye lids turn bright red when she’s tired and Grant’s cry turns into a pig squeal. To top off this, our dog decided to poop on the nursery floor. He’s lucky he’s still alive. Thankfully, Jeremy intervened, cleaned up the poo, swaddled the Grant and Maria and got them to sleep while I ate breakfast and took a LONG shower. A little food and shower goes a long way. Here’s praying for a quieter afternoon.

TRASH & TREASURES

I’ve mentioned before that Jeremy is a packrat and that there have been numerous arguments over our six-year marriage on the random junk that is taking up valuable space in our home. Apparently, the cure for his affliction is 2 kids, 2 cats and a dog in about 1000 square feet. I had resigned myself to the fact that we were going to have to buy a shed for the backyard to accommodate his stuff. However, due to the early arrival of Grant and Maria, no shed was purchased. Turns out, we didn’t need it. Ever since Grant and Maria’s birth, his attitude toward his treasures has changed. Those computer video games I talked about in my very first blog…gone! Hit the trash several weeks ago. And now, it’s junk pick up in the Derby City — that wonderful time of year when everyone sets out their trash and treasures on the curb. I love this season, because it’s prime people watching material. Scavengers come along and root through your trash looking for their treasures. I was proud the one year when our junk was so bad that no one took anything! Anyway, with junk pick up here, I heavily “encouraged” Jeremy to go through the storage shed attached to the house and get rid of some more stuff. I was going to prepare all the paint cans in there for disposal if he tackled his storage tubs. Saturday was the big day and we spent several hours working in the 100 degree heat. Containers of trash, i.e. old Pez dispensers, garters from his prom (I wasn’t so trashy) and other equally disgusting things landed in the trash; so much that one large container and four other smaller ones are now empty. My people watching has been enjoyable. The paint can that were appropriately kitty littered disappeared in about 30 minutes. Out dated college text books gone in 15. If I didn’t get them sold before the babies were born, sure isn’t happening now.

The next hurdle to cross before I return to work on July 12 is to get Jeremy a newer car. His 16 year-old Honda Accord with nearly 300,000 miles on it is too foul to think about putting my kids in. I haven’t been in the car in six years (and that was only because mine had been totaled) and I’m embarrassed to even give the car away. Jeremy never gets sick and we attribute this to the symbiotic relationship he’s developed with the mold and bacteria growing in his beloved car. When I mention buying a car, he doesn’t want to talk about it, but soon he must face the inevitable. It’s time to cut the cord. He said it’ll be easier to part with it if we can get the new one first, then he can have his transition period and maybe even clean out the old one (we may need a dumpster). We’ll see what happens. For now, I’m watching the used car listings for another Accord. He says he won’t trash this one…we’ll just leave that up to the babies.

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TIME OFF

What an awesome weekend I had. It started on Friday when I took the twins to Splash Country all by myself and I survived! Julian liked the lazy river and Natalie loved running around the park. Julian and I spent a lot of time running after her.
Saturday was my day “off” per my request. On my day off I got up at 8am to feed the twins then dress the twins and I hoped I could exercise after that. The key word is “hoped.” Even though Dad was with them they both cried for me, so Brian thought it would be best to bring them to me. It was soon time for me to get ready to attend my first party of the day. As I was getting in the shower Julian was hanging on me and I asked him if he wanted to shower with me and he said “YES!” I was able to sneak in the shower alone, however Brian soon brought Natalie in since she was crying for me. To try and calm her down, I tried to give her a play by play of my showering. This did not help. Julian tried to get me a towel, which was very kind of him. Once I got out, I then had to find an outfit, for which Julian was full of ideas. They all included clothes with flowers (that is what he picks out for Natalie every day). As I was putting on my makeup the twins were also right there putting it on as well. I tried to iron my outfit, but since it was linen I soon gave up. Once I was out the door, I was exhausted.

My first stop was to a wedding shower, which was absolutely lovely. It was so nice to be pampered! The lunch was already set at each place setting with fine china. Ladies came around to fill up drinks and take dishes. I got to talk to adults without any interruptions and hear about how a wonderful Christian couple met and fell in love. Before she opened gifts I was out the door and on my way to my next party.

I was late for my friend Rebecca’s surprise 30th birthday party, so I did not get to see the look on her face when she walked in the door, but I got to go without the twins. That means I got to have many meaningful conversations and got to brag about my miracle babies and how they are growing up so much. The nicest part of all was getting to hear about Rebecca’s life and to take the Rebecca quiz. I met Rebecca at my first book club meeting and have been friends with her four years, so I learned a lot from the quiz. I was the last guest to leave since I was having such a fun time talking with Rebecca and her mother. Rebecca reminded me of the time she first met me at the movies and I had a gallbladder attack and had to lay down in the aisles I was in so much pain. I was a passenger in their car and did not want to disturb them. Since no one else was in the movie I did not think anyone would care. We then laughed about how my husband had a “bell” growing up when he was sick and then thought he could have one when we were married. Brian had a bell when he had his knee operated on and then I got smart and hid them all when he had his back surgery. I had just not anticipated a co-worker of his bringing him one! This would not have been so bad, except I was working on my thesis! We laughed until we cried over this. What a blessing friends are!

I then went to Wal-Mart and got home by 6:30pm. The twins were so excited to see me as well as my husband. I could not believe how much energy I had to get everything done. I just felt revived and was so excited to see my family as well. It may have only been a few hours away, but for me it was a big deal. I do not get much time alone and it made me realize how much mothers need their own time. I am just going to have to schedule more days like these.

LACTATING FINGERS

I have decided that I either need more hands (six more would be good) or lactating fingers. This morning the babies both woke up at 6:00, which made me happy after 5:00 wake-up calls the last two mornings. Normally, one will wait patiently (patiently is a relative word) while the other nurses. Grant ended up eating nearly an hour after Maria in the middle of the night, so I mistakenly thought that he would wait while Maria had breakfast. Nope. Not having any of it. Total nuclear meltdown. I couldn’t let him do this for the next 25 minutes while Maria ate, but if I made her stop, she would melt. My twin nursing pillow was out of reach, so I told Grant, if this is what you want; we’re going to have to make it work. Somehow I got him into a football hold (I’m going to miss being able to handle them with one hand) and he latched on amidst his flailing hands. He generally doesn’t like this position, which is why I’ve currently stopped nursing them at the same time. He didn’t care one bit. About 30 minutes later, both were satisfied and I was quite pleased. Not only did the morning session take half the time, both babies were sleeping soundly. I could get breakfast and get ready for the yoga class I was planning on attending. Grant slept nearly three more hours, which was a blessing in itself since he’s decided to take a sleeping optional approach to life the past couple of days.

Mom came to watch the babies while Jeremy went to the gym and I went to yoga, which was fantastic! Not only did it feel great to get back to practicing, the relaxation at the end was the quietest and most calm I think I’ve had since the babies got home. It was almost as good as the stadol that I was given while in labor. There’s a reason I’ve never tried recreational drugs. The feeling of floating away is something that I really enjoyed and would like to replicate. However, due to being a responsible adult, I realize that I’ll probably never have another “stadol vacation” legally or illegally. I’ll just have to stick to yoga.