Sunday, June 29, 2014

Picture party!

Both Diane and Denise have nice cameras and we've been having fun taking a zillion baby pics!  Here are some highlights from the past few days!
Ellie exploring the jumperoo
we call the jumperoo & the exersaucer the "attitude adjusters"
don't use them much, but they often help when we have crabby babies!

We had fun in the bathtub until a certain someone decided to poop in the tub!!
Gotcha ducky!
who's a pretty boy?!
"me?! no way!"
"What'd you say Grandma?!"
"you're so silly Grandma!"
And then we had our nightly naked playtime on the floor in our bedroom.  We spend a lot of time moving them back onto the big tablecloth!

we still love to chew on toys!
Busted Ellie!  About to roll off her tummy!
"cool pants Mommy!"

Isaiah with his favorite toy!
Our little escape artist! I'm sure she was just heading to our room
to get her jammies on! =)
And with all these great pics, we got a few that were pretty hilarious too!  Would love to see your ideas for captions for these last three pics so feel free to leave them in the comments!
Any thoughts on what Ellie is thinking here?

How about Isaiah?
And my fav of the silly pics...Avery!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A fun afternoon at the pool

We have lots of visitors in town right now to help out while I'm recovering from surgery.  My mom has been here since last Thursday and my mom's dear friend Diane came on Tuesday and on Wednesday, Michelle's mom Denise also came to spend some time with her grandbabies.  So we have had lots of "hands on deck" and have gotten a lot of projects done including organizing current and bigger sizes of clothes, cleaning out the pantry, and clearing out some baby things that we are done with.  We also took advantage of the extra hands to go to the pool Thursday afternoon.  Diane brought her nice camera and got some great shots! (Thanks Diane!!!)
Isaiah enjoying the little fountain
"Ooh, Grandma, this one is cool!"

Ellie likes it too!

funny how Avery looks chunky in this pic!
A cool shot of the whole pool
Grandma Stephen & Isaiah in the big pool
Grandma Rae & Avery
snuggling to warm Avery up
big boy!
being silly with Mama
post swimming picnic
We LOVE our dried mango!
soooo good!
MmmmMmmm good
"don't even think about taking this from me!"
getting ready to head home
"Can we come back tomorrow Mom?!"

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Babies are the best medicine

My surgery yesterday went well. I was pleasantly surprised by how well I was able to move relatively quickly afterwards and was all gung-ho about going home. Then the pain ramped up a bit and I asked for pain meds. And that's when things took a turn for the worse. The Percocet made me woozy and nauseous and just generally made me feel like crap. I was still determined to go home and had passed all my tests (walking, peeing, etc) so they got all my discharge papers ready & took out my IVs. 
at least the gown & pretty hat coordinate

This is when I was actually feeling good & happy
to be in my clothes
Michelle was with me most of the day, but went home to help with the bedtime routine. After the babies went down, Michelle and my mom went to get Panera for dinner and brought me chicken soup. I took about two bites and felt sick so I stopped trying. Then I picked at the bread but my mouth was still so dry (despite drinking gallons of water) that I could barely swallow. And then boom, it hit me & I did get sick. And of course all of this was happening as the nurse was going over my discharge papers. Naturally, this unfortunate turn of events had me reconsidering going home, and as much as I wanted to be home, I knew the smarter choice was to stay. So I said goodnight to Mom & Michelle and the IV team came to put an IV back in to give me zofran and toradol. Unfortunately, because I was so dehydrated it was very hard to get the IV in and it took two people and three tries. (Ouch!)

So I spent a not so restful night in the hospital and came home this morning around 9:45, just in time to feed babies. I've been experimenting with a couple of different positions for nursing that keeps the babies off my stomach and so far so good. I'm so happy to be home, and while I still don't feel like a million bucks, I feel much more like myself now that I'm home. The babies have given me some good smiles and snuggles that are making me feel much better.
Ellie was so smiley and cute today!
having babies stand next to me on the couch is working well

some afternoon snuggles from Avery
And as the day has gone on I've continued to feel better and better.  I have been alternating ibuprofen & tylenol and that's been working pretty well to control my pain.  Taking a vicodin tonight, but hoping that I can just use that at night for a few days.  We'll see!  I've had good luck with vicodin in the past so hopefully no nausea!  Mom made a delicious pork tenderloin and homemade applesauce for dinner tonight!  It's so nice to be eating real food and actually wanting to eat it again!
despite all the swelling and bruising I appreciate that my
scars are fairly symmetrical.  Michelle said "you have a rainbow of scars!"

Thursday, June 19, 2014

We could use a good dose of boring around here

When my parents were visiting in May we talked about how our family could really use a boring year.  We have had anything but boring for the past four years.  We have had our share of fun and exciting things like my sister's wedding in Senegal and our trip around the world in 2010 and the birth of our niece Abigail in 2012 and of course the triplets last October!  But we have also had plenty of sadness as well as you know.  In 2012 my mom and I both found out that we have a nasty genetic cancer syndrome called Lynch Syndrome. Then in April of 2013 my mom was diagnosed with the second cancer of her life and had to have a kidney removed as a result.  And of course this April we suffered the tragic loss of my little brother Matt.  And in comparison to all of those things, this current issue is very minor and hardly seems worth making a fuss about except that we have three babies so everything becomes a much bigger deal.  So what's the next?! Well tomorrow, I am having a total hysterectomy.

This surgery is a good thing, because it virtually eliminates my risk of getting endometrial or ovarian cancer.  My risk without the surgery is something like 80% so I will like my odds a lot better after tomorrow.  I'm happy that the surgery is laproscopic and am hoping for a fairly quick recovery.  The best case scenario recovery is probably two weeks or so. It will be hard to not be able to be as actively involved in taking care of our little trio, but thankfully my mom arrived today and will be here for two weeks to help. On the plus side, I am looking forward to being home with the babies for a while! I've been back to working full time for the past month or so and it feels like too much. I felt like I had much better balance when I was working about 25hrs a week so we are going to look at the budget and see if there's a way to make that happen moving forward. Michelle has had a hard time finding enough time to get her work done with me working so much so we just need to find the balance point that works for us.

Besides the usual nerves related to surgery I'm feeling a little anxious about the aftermath of this procedure and dealing with hormone stuff. I'm opting to do hormone replacement therapy but really don't know a lot about it other than that it seems like a lot if people have trouble finding the just right levels and type of delivery (patch, pill, etc) that works for them. And I'm a little nervous about potential side effects, but I guess we'll deal with those things as they come. I was feeling a little sad and worried about not being able to breastfeed after the surgery, but am hopeful that I will be able to continue based on some things I've read.

So, wish us all luck tomorrow and in the coming weeks. We have to be at the hospital at 5:45 tomorrow morning so my mom and Hope will be on baby duty starting with the morning wake up feeding routine!  Hopefully, since my surgery is so early, I will be able to come home tomorrow late afternoon/evening.  I'm hoping to make it home before bedtime tomorrow so I can kiss those little munchkins good night.  I'm sure going to miss these little cuties tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hooked on our new hooks

The past couple of weekends I've taken the babies out solo on Saturday mornings, giving Michelle some much needed focused study time.  We go to Trader Joes and the farmers' market and if all is going well we might hit up one more grocery store.  The first time I ever took them all out it was like summiting a mountain. I just had to do it once so I knew that I could.  But the past two weekends I've really enjoyed my little Saturday morning outing with the babies and they seem to enjoy it too (or at least tolerate it since there's been very minimal fussing).  This weekend we ate our way through both places.  The babies and I enjoyed some goat cheese samples and fresh made guacamole at the farmers' market and the babies really liked the muskmelon samples at Trader Joes. They were on the edge of fussiness by the time we got to Trader Joes and the melon samples worked wonders to keep them content while I finished up the shopping.  Each time I take the babies out I get better at it.  

The past two grocery shopping trips I've had the pleasure of testing out these great stroller hooks.  I guess this is my first official "product review" post because we were actually sent these BabyBubz stroller hooks for free to review.  And, honestly, I wasn't sure how useful they would really be.  I mean our diaper bag came with stroller hooks so I wasn't that excited about it, but figured it was worth trying them out.  Wow, was I wrong.  These little hooks are genius!  The ones that came with our diaper bag are stupid and unless the diaper bag is attached they fall off (we've already lost one), whereas these new stroller hooks have a nice strong Velcro attachment so they stay put.  But what I think is the best feature is that they have nice big hooks, meaning they can hold a variety of things, and they rotate!  With these hooks it works great for me to hang a grocery basket off the back of our double snap-n-go stroller.  This saves me from having to pull a big honkin' cart behind me while also trying to push the big double stroller with the other hand. (And if you've ever pushed a front/back double stroller you will know how challenging they are to maneuver with two hands!)  It also makes us just a little bit less of a spectacle, which is great when you're really just trying to get the week's grocery shopping done!  
Love how easily they hold my fully loaded basket at Trader Joes!

Thought this was an appropriate spot for a pic

I've used these hooks to hold the grocery basket while I'm shopping and then hung my reuseable bags on them on the way back to the car too.  They work great for our diaper bag too.  The only problem really is that we only have one pair and we have lots of different strollers and I'm always annoyed when I forget to transfer the hooks to the other stroller.  Looks like it's time for us to buy a second set of these handy little hooks!  I think we'll probably buy a couple more sets actually because these would make a great baby shower gift for new moms regardless of whether they're having multiples!

Soooo much better than the hooks that came with this diaper bag!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Motor Monday-Babywearing

A friend of ours from Seattle, whose baby girl is due any minute, asked a long time ago for me to do a Motor Monday post about baby wearing.  Here you go Molly!  As you can probably tell from other posts and pictures, I am a big fan of baby wearing.  We were lucky enough to have a number of different types of carriers and such that people gave us or loaned to us.  It took a lot of trial and error to figure out which carriers I liked best for different activities or different stages.  I think different carriers work well for different people so I'm not writing this to say "buy this carrier" but rather to say "wear your babies!" I'm also not coming at this from an attachment parenting stance of "don't put your baby down," which I'm sure you also know if you have read other posts about tummy time!
When I'm out & about with babies it's a good bet I'm wearing one
or more!
(note, this twin carrier was great when they were
  teeny tiny but is terrible on my body now!)
So why do I think new parents should wear their babies?

There are a ton of great reasons to wear your baby like reducing crying, increasing bonding, having the baby involved in activities, exposed to more language, etc. but my focus, as usual, is on the motor related aspects! Here are three sensory-motor related reasons to wear your baby:

1. Head and trunk control: being held in this upright position is good for developing head control.  And as you move they learn to control their heads during that movement.  As babies get older and depending on the carrier it can also help with upper trunk control such that as you lean over a bit your baby may activate trunk muscles to try to stay more upright.  Many babies also start to use their forearms to push off of mom or dad's chest which is a good start for developing those arm and trunk muscles.

2. Vestibular activity: as you move through space with your baby he or she gets a lot of vestibular input. You know that feeling in your head when you get on a playground swing for the first time in a while or go on a roller coaster? That's your vestibular system getting a lot of input! In our inner ears we have these teeny tiny crystals and when we tilt our heads, turn, lean, etc. those little crystals move a bunch of itsy bitsy hairs and that movement sends a message to our brain that we are moving.  The great thing about baby wearing is that you can get things done and every time you lean over to reach something, squat down to pick something up, etc. your baby is getting great practice learning about movement.

3. No flat baby heads: In the US we are big on baby "equipment" and a lot of babies spend a lot of time in swings, infant carriers (car seats), and bouncy seats.  Between that and sleeping on their backs, lots of babies spend the vast majority of their day putting pressure on the back of their head leading to positional plagiocephaly (or flat spots on the baby's head).  Wearing babies gets them in a more upright position and gives them a much needed break from pressure on the back of their head.

No pressure on this baby's head! This should also help the hair
grow back in her bald spot! (Note to self...wear Ellie more!)
There has been a bit of hub bub about babywearing, specifically Baby Bjorns, and hip dysplasia.  I did a little searching and as it turns out there really isn't any research on this in the literature.  The concern with Baby Bjorns and other similar carriers that allow/encourage babies to face out and/or only have a narrow piece of fabric through the crotch (AKA crotch danglers) is that they don't support the babies hips in a natural position and could worsen the hips of in an infant/child with hip dysplasia.  (For more info on hip dysplasia, check out the International Hip Dysplasia Institute website)  There might not be any research on this, but it does make sense that we want to support babies in the best possible position for their hips.  The treatment for infants with hip dysplasia is often a Pavlik harness. Check out this picture of the Pavlik harness which places the infant's hips in flexion and abduction, which seats the femoral head (top of the thigh bone) in the acetabulum (hip socket).  In my opinion, good babywearing emulates this position perfectly, placing the baby's hips in an M position with the carrier supporting the baby's thighs.  

So, overall, I agree that the Baby Bjorn is not the best option for baby wearing.  Now that being said, we did use a couple of Bjorns when the babies were teeny tiny because that thin fabric through the crotch was actually wide enough to keep their hips spread. And with newborns, you actually keep their legs in the carrier in a froggy position. (you can google/youtube tons about this)  Now that they are bigger though I don't like their positioning in the Bjorns at all, even facing in. Not to mention that I personally feel like the Bjorn is hard on me now that they are bigger!  I passed a woman on the street the other day and I seriously wanted to stop her and ask if I could take her picture for my "how NOT to wear your baby" example, but I chickened out!
teeny tiny Avery in a ring sling
(you can't see it, but her legs are frogged inside the sling)

There are LOTS of other options for babywearing that let you get the proper M position of the legs to support the babies hips.  We have a nice "stash" of different carriers including ring slings, a Seven sling, a couple of mei tais, two Ergos, and a Beco.  All of these will work to properly support the baby's hips.  Here are a few pics of our babies in a couple of these different carriers.  (please note I don't claim to be an expert baby wearer and there are LOTS of different and perfectly great ways to wear babies not demo'd here) 

You can see how the fabric goes out to her knees on both sides
Avery is in the Beco in this pic
Isaiah in a ring sling front carry
With less support up his trunk he has to work more as I move

Ring sling hip carry

My current favorites are the soft structured carriers like the Beco, the Ergo, and the Tulas we borrowed from friend for our Hawaii trip. For me they are the simplest/quickest and also the easiest on my body. I wear one of our babies pretty much every time we go out and sometimes, especially around the house, I wear two babies so comfort for both me and the babies is important! I've tried a LOT of combinations of carriers for duo babywearing & at the moment my favorite is the Beco & and Ergo.

Here are some fun babywearing pics through the months:

Baby wearing frees up your hands for cooking dinner....
or eating dinner
or drinking wine!
Grandmas can get in on the babywearing too!
And uncles too!
 Here's a series of double baby wearing experiments!
ring in front, mei tai in the back

ring in front, ergo in the back

Bjorn in front, Ergo back
 (notice, already Ellie's legs aren't well supported in the Bjorn)

Baby wearing is good for airplane naps

and taking babies through security!
The TSA agent was very confused when I handed
her 3 boarding passes!  She said "where's the other baby?"
(back carrying is stealthy!)

"So, are you gonna wear your baby or what?!"