Grace and Hope

Grace and Hope
Wait for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! Pslam 131:3

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Smiles All Around--For Aubrey, Avery, Mommy and Daddy!

What an exciting month it has been for both Aubrey and Avery. These past four weeks, expanding from 1-2 months corrected age, has been very exciting from a developmental perspective. They have gone from what many people call the “blob stage” to interactive, smiling, and laughing babies! It is so neat to seem them grow and develop, with each week showing great changes.
Jay and I have been loving every minute with the girls and just soaking up their cuteness on every level. While I have my alone time with them during the day, we enjoy our family time in the evening together. The girls enjoy their time with us so much, they still like to party all night long and see our tired little faces (although I do have to give them some credit...the last two nights have been a bit better). As it says in Ecclesiastes…there is a time and a season for everything…and this is the time to marvel at God’s perfect creation and bask in loving our family because it certainly is not the time to rest (and I realize that even when the girls start sleeping through the night, something else will tire me out, like carting them all around town!).
I will be returning to work full-time next week. I look forward to the mental stimulation, to working side-by-side with some amazing colleagues, and to caring for sweet babies that need care, but it will be difficult being away from the girls…for sure. I hear the transition at first is difficult, but that it does get somewhat easier as time goes on. I’m thankful that I only work 5 week days a month (7 days total a month) because of my 24hr shifts. It gives me the best of both worlds—being a full-time mom while also making a difference in the lives of many other families.
In the past month, we enjoyed our visit with Nana and Grandpa (Jay’s parents) to celebrate Christmas. They continued to spoil the girls (and us) just like Gramma and Poppy (my parents) did a short while ago. I have no doubt that these girls will be spoiled with love, clothes, and toys!
The girls don’t have nicknames per se, but I fondly refer to them as “little momma” and “big momma.” I call them “mommas” because one day I have the dream for them that they will enjoy this most wonderful gift of all time—one that only ladies can experience—the gift of being a mother. Aubrey is my “little momma” and Avery is my “big momma”…although it makes me wonder if this is going to get confusing because Aubrey has now surpassed Avery in weight! Although Aubrey is quite a bit shorter than Avery-she packs a lot of cuteness in her small frame. She has the most full cheeks, double chin and the best rolls ever on her arms and legs (especially for a preemie!). Avery is my tall and thin girl—she is so long now, that when you hold her across your body, her legs hang out on the other side!
I’m still continuing to feed the girls solely breastmilk. It is a lot of work pumping/nursing for two, but well worth it. Jay and I just recently organized the deep freezer and while we intended on keeping an accurate count of how much milk was stored, it became too overwhelming and we just sorted it by two week periods. On a conservative estimate, we believe that there is over 6,000 ounces of breastmilk in the freezer—Got Milk?! Speaking of milk…last month the girls really mastered the “double feeding technique” where both are in boppies (one to my side and the other on my lap) and they feed at the same time. This month we are moving on to bigger and better things—one nurses and the other bottle feeds at the same time. This is as about as complicated as it gets because while Jay and I tried to master tandem nursing, we just can't seem to get it to work well for us.  I know there are a few of you out there that have conquered tandem nursing and I give you many kudos…for while I have learned to grow 8 arms, I still can’t seem to have it together for tandem nursing (even with Jay at my side). Oh well…can’t say we didn’t give it a good effort.
The girls watched their first Superbowl with daddy this year and Jay’s favorite team won (Go Giants!).  Although I forgot to take a picture, you can imagine both the girls dressed up in “daddy’s girl” or “my heart belongs to daddy” outfits, with their hair spiked up, sitting in daddy’s lap learning all about football plays. Jay was making the girls do the cutest thing with their arms…they would “Catch” the ball, “Tuck” the ball, “Run” the ball, and then “Touchdown!” The girls willingly moved like puppets and it was quite entertaining!
Both of the girls favorite toy is the activity gym from (great) grandpop and grandmom. They love to be propped up on a small boppy (kudos to my girlfriends at UD!) and play with all the hanging toys. We have links that hang in the middle and they are able to grab them, move them from side to side and of course, bring them into their mouth. They both have grown very fond of their hands these past few weeks and are often found sucking on them with toys are just their hands alone during their awake times.

Gnocchi has been a little skeptical of the girls since they have been home and some days has preferred to stay outside especially when she hears the babies crying or the endless tunes of their toys. However, every morning she goes into the nursery with me and sniffs at their cribs looking for each baby. If I have one on the changing table, she jumps on the couch in the nursery to get a better peek into the crib wondering where the baby is. Up until today, that was as close as she would venture to the girls…any other time we tried to introduce the girls to her, she would dash out of the room. However, today she was brave…not only did she approach them, but on both girls she snuck in several kisses—right on their lips! Funny how she all of a sudden thinks that kissing on the lips is an appropriate hello!
Here are a few things the girls have done over the past month:
Avery Grace:
8lbs 10.5oz
**One of Avery’s favorite traits that continue to catch our eye and capture our hearts are her beautiful eyes and one-of-a-kind expressions. We just can't seem to get enough of all her cuteness.
**Avery started smiling on the changing table last month, but this month she has taken off with her social smiles and laughing. Her eyes and her smile combined, she is one flirtatious girl—daddy…you got your hands full!  
**Avery likes to talk every now and then, usually she likes to have a conversation with me or sometimes Aubrey when they are on the floor facing each other. She seems to be telling a story of some sort and I just can’t wait to hear all that she has to say.
**Avery really seems to love the song “Twinkle, twinkle little star.” Every day when I sing this song, she lights up, starts smiling, and will start talking while I sing the song. It truly is so beautiful. I try to catch it on camera, but she gets distracted and it just isn’t the same…so it is a memory etched on my heart.
**Avery is my little “Houdini” child. I have no doubt that she could eventually make it out of a straight jacket if her life depended on it! She also sleeps very, very little during the day (30-45 minute naps is the best she has to offer). While she hangs out in her crib, she will work herself out of her tightly bound swaddle (blanket wrapped around her body to keep her “snug as a bug”) and she will sneak out of it like it has never been touched. It reminds me of a snake that has shed its skin (while graphic, there is no better description I can think of!). She then scootches around in her crib, usually turning herself upside down. I then think she becomes very proud of her accomplishments and she lets out cries for me to come check on her and as soon as I peer over her crib, she breaks out into this big smile and I can just see her saying “Look what I did mommy?” as she is on one side of the crib, all turned around and her swaddling blanket lays completely intact on the other side of the crib. I want to see if I can capture it on camera one day because it truly is too funny.
**Avery continues to “watch her girly figure” and while her eating has picked up, she doesn’t quite eat as much as her sister. She now typically eats between 80-110ml every 3 hours. She really has started to improve with her ability to nurse this past month and both her and mommy really enjoy that time together. Avery remains on Prevacid to treat her reflux and we look forward to closer to 6 months when reflux will be much less of an issue for both the girls.  
**Avery enjoys standing on her legs and I have no doubt that as soon as she is big enough for a “Johnny Jumper” or her activity gyms that she can stand in, she will be jumping all day long. I have a feeling she is going to keep her little legs active…It is a toss-up between a ballerina and a soccer player. She has learned that when she pushes her legs and feets against an object that it typically moves….and often when I’m holding Aubrey in my arms and Avery is on my lap, she kicks her sister non-stop, hoping she will move out of her way! It reminds me of her craziness during pregnancy!
**Once people have kids, they always talk about poop—it is inevitable! Our little Avery, well, she is infamous for her poops—in a bit of an unusual way! She must like to stick to a schedule, because she only poops on Sundays. She stores it up all week for her Sunday finale. Trust me, come Friday and Saturday of the week, Jay and I are ready to plug a Glade Plug-In near her crib because she can literally stink up the whole half of the nursery. If she continues with this trend, I’m afraid she won’t get too many dates on Friday and Saturday nights!
**Avery wears 0-3 month size clothing and sports a size 1 diaper.

Aubrey Hope
8lb 11.5oz
**My favorite trait about Aubrey is that she is the best hugger in town. She loves to be give hugs—with her arm thrown around mine, and her other near my neck and resting her head on my shoulder. She has the very best big marshmallow-like cheeks that are so kissable. My favorite part of the day is when she and I get to hug.  
**Aubrey loves to smile and laugh, just like her sister. While it takes her a little bit of time to adjust to waking up after her naps, by the time she is ready to eat, she is all smiles and laughs. She not only loves her food, but also loves that time just before feeding when it is one-on-one time, looking into her eyes and talking with her. Even though she loves to smile and laugh, more than anything she loves to talk. She is a social butterfly and I have a feeling that won’t change as she grows older! She is always gabbing away and she does it most when she is positioned looking right at Avery on the floor. She will gab away, telling her all sorts of things and Avery listens, and sometimes gets in a few words, and then Aubrey continues telling her story. It is really neat seeing them become more aware of each other now. It also isn’t too uncommon for them to swap hands for them to suck on—with Avery’s hand in Aubrey’s mouth and Aubrey’s hand in Avery’s mouth!
**Aubrey doesn’t appear to have a favorite song quite yet, but I do know she enjoys being sung too and enjoys listening to sounds and looking at lights. She isn’t picky…and  surprisingly she is one of the few people in this world that doesn’t mind hearing me sing to songs I forget the words to!
**Aubrey enjoys her sleep. She definitely sleeps more than her sister, although she is usually the first one to wake up to eat in the middle of the night—presumably because she loves to eat! Aubrey has now surpassed her sister in weight and typically eats more than she does, anywhere from 80ml-135ml every 3 hours. She continues to have a lot of signs and symptoms of reflux and arguably has a much more difficult time than her sister with reflux despite treating her with Prevacid. Again, it is just a matter of time (closer 6 months) when they will outgrow the reflux and then we all will be much happier campers!
**While Aubrey has not grown to love standing yet, she does love to “squat” as Jay says…she is a “professional squatter!” I’m not quite sure how she will use that to her advantage yet, but I have no doubt that her chubby little legs will soon hold up her weight.
**Aubrey also wears clothing size 0-3 months and size 1 diapers.
Below are a few pictures that we took over the past month.
For those of you who have not seen the nursery completed--here is the panaromic view. Kudos to Joy Farmer for her talented work in making the nursery as beautiful as it is today. Also, Jay did an amazing job putting up the wall decals, which adds some finishing touches.

Thank you Aunt Aimee and Israel for Avery's pretty mobile...since Avery doesn't sleep, she does get some entertainment from the mobile!

Oh the memories from my "Two Peas in a Pod" baby shower! Thanks Em for helping host and for the cute diaper cake which is displayed on their dresser.

And now on to the pictures of the girls from this past month...

Thank you Shannon for our cute ballerina outfits.

Thank you Poppy (my dad), my Aunt Dee Dee, and (great) grandmom for our cute outfits!

Sisterly love!

We love you Double Trouble! Thank you to my best friend Liz for these more than adorable outfits. I can't believe they are out-growing them already! P.S. Liz just found out she is having a girl! Oh I can't wait for our girls to meet!

Sporting another mohawk.

Avery chilling on the boppy.

Aubrey looks like she has had a rough day!

Such cute outfits...I love how soft they are and the pink bows! Thank you Pat. Looks like both the girls are scheming about something!

Smiles all if I could just get them both to look at the camera on cue!

Now they are looking at the camera, but we lost their cute smiles!

This is Avery's crazy hair after her bath when it is not combed! Don't ask where the curl comes from and yes...this is one of her priceless expressions!

Love these girls! Thank you Vicki for our adorable outfits.

Thanks Nana for our pretty sleepers.

Thank you (my) Aunt Donna for our cute matching outfits. For those of you who think our girls are photogenic...I take about 15 pictures for every picture I post. You think it is hard to get one kid to pose well...try getting two to pose at the same time! This picture and the next picture are some examples of the "outtakes." Sorry Aunt Donna, it was nearly impossible to get a good snapshot in the outfits!

Thank you Jennifer, Brooke, and Paige for our sweet Princess outfits. Yes...indeed...our girls are princesses!

Daddy is pretty popular in this house! Many thanks to  "Momma Lynne Carroll" for the beautiful quilts she made the girls....we use them every day.

Thank you Gramma for my cute outfit and Joy for my adorable head piece! Avery is a little less than thrilled about posing for anoher picture!

And can we say...CUTE!? Thanks Gramma for our coordinating outfits.

Check out this cutie!

My favorite snapshot for the month!

Thank you Nana for our outfits. And yes...Aubrey does smile every once in a while!

Hanging out in the bouncy chair.

Am I cute or what?!

I love the girls in these pretty outfits. They were a gift from one of the doctors that took care of them while they stayed in the NICU.

Happy little girl.

And there we have it...a beautiful smile from Aubrey!

Nana and Grandpop spending time with the girls.
We survived our first tornado together. It hit close to home, but we were safe and sound...Thank God! The girls were ready to head to Lowe's to buy a generator so that we could keep the deep freezer going with all that yummy and hard-worked for breast milk!! (P.S. It will be quite some time until the girls are big enough to roll in this stroller, but it made for a cute photo shoot!).

See you'all (yes my girls are Texans!) in a month.