Grace and Hope

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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy Mother's Day To ME!!

On the actual day of Mother's Day this year, I was taking care of other very special mommas and their babies at work. However, like we will for any holiday that I have to work, we set aside a special day to celebrate as a family. Yesterday, Jay arranged a very special first Mother's Day for us all to enjoy. He knows that all I wanted was to spend time as a family on this day and he made it extra special and a memory keepsake!! He planned a wonderful picnic that was outfitted with a picnic basket full of fresh fruit, a great comfy sized and waterproof picnic blanket, hoagies from my favorite sub shop, a cookie cake (who doesn't love cookie cakes?!), and complete with homemade mac and cheese for dinner and movie on the couch (The Vow). Talk about the most perfect day ever! Here are a few snap shots from the day (Yes, we went way overboard with the pictures...just imagine, this is the "abridged version!)

Here are my 3 favorite photos from the day:

Here is some more cuteness for you!

Also on this day, the girls got ate their first "meal." Ok, it is just rice cereal, but you got to start somewhere!! Here are some photos from this memorable event!!

You get the idea!!
The girls and I have a special Father's day planned already! Now, it just all has to come together! See you next month!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and moms-to-be. A special Happy Mother's Day to MY mom who has been such a role model in my life and has shown me how to love and nuture my own children. I'm so thankful to have my mom in my life and for her unfailing devotion to our family. I hope that I make her proud as I follow in her footsteps, sharing my life with my children.

This is a special year for me...there are a lot of "firsts" this year, including my first Mother's Day where I can celebrate holding babies with my husband. It reminds me of how blessed I am and that every day is a gift and a reason to celebrate our miracles. God has been so faithful and has provided in a way that I could not have imagined.
The girls are now 7 months old (actual age). They are just growing up so fast and getting so smart (I wonder where they got that from!?!). It is bittersweet…we encourage them to accomplish the next milestone, but then when they do, it is sort of a sad moment knowing that they are growing up so quickly—too quickly!
This past month the girls got to spend time with Gramma and Poppy. They had lots of fun being spoiled with love and gifts. They also got to meet Uncle Brian for the first time too this month. The girls are so lucky to have so much family that loves them.
Jay and I are really enjoying our time with the girls as a family. We enjoy our time together on walks (we now fit into our “big girl stroller” courtesy of the Midei family), bath time, play time on the floor, giggly time after feeds in the evening, and time where we just marvel at how beautiful they are. We truly cherish our time as a family between busy work schedules, visits, and other commitments. Speaking of…now that RSV and flu seasons are behind us, we are now enjoying outings to church, bible study, the store and much, much more! It feels good to break out of jail! However, as most multiple moms will say—We could write a book about all the comments you get out in public! 

Just a short while ago, we got professional photographs done of the girls (photo shoot at 5 months). Our friend Whitney Kocher, who is a photographer, did a great job. We were bursting at the seams because we wanted to keep it a surprise as a special treat for Mother's Day for the grandparents. She did an excellent job and we are so thankful for her time and work. Below are the brag books we sent to each set of grandparents and of course one for me as a keepsake. I can't tell you how much I love to "brag" on my girls!!

This month we started doing sign language with the girls. I can't say that we remember to do it all the time, or that we know a ton of words, but we are learning and are eager to use it. The girls watch us intently and who knows what exactly they are processing, but it sure will come in handy one day for them to communicate. We look forward to learning more signs ourselves, as we too are learning it for the first time!

For so long we have said that Avery looks like Jason and Aubrey looks like me. While I don't still doubt that, many people are saying that Avery is looking more and more like me (aww, makes my heart warm and fuzzy!). While they might look fairly different to everyone else, Jay and I can't get over how much they resemble each other. They make identical expressions and when Avery lets out an audible laugh, you wouldn't know if it was Aubrey or Avery laughing because the sound is exaclty the same. Their cries are still distinctly different, but it is so neat that at this age I actually feel like they look more alike than different. You decide for yourself--enjoy the blurbs about each girls and the pictures from the past month.

Avery Grace: Weight: 12lb 6oz (5610 gram)

**Avery is a "busy bee." One of the traits that she was so lucky to inherit from me is that she NEVER stops moving! We have begun to think this is one reason that she stays so trim...or is it that Jay and I both wore x-tra slim pants till we were 12 years old?! Hahaha.

**When Avery was in the NICU,  people commented that she is a "nosy rosy." Some things never change...she continues to want to see everything that is going on around her. Every time you hold her over your shoulder, she is constantly turning around so that she can still be part of the action. She can't miss a beat!

**Avery loves to play with feet. She has always got her feet in her mouth. Even if she is wearing footed pajamas, she seems to think that sucking on the fabric will do the trick too! She likes feet so much, she not only goes after Aubrey's and my feet with her hands, but she has tried to also put Aubrey's feet in her mouth too. I can tell you, while Aubrey is very tolerant of her sister's shanagins, Aubrey is not a fan of her sister trying to put her foot in Avery's mouth!
**Avery is so very close to crawling. She moves backwards for quite some time now (around 2 weeks), and she can get up on all four with good leverage and will even make a forward lunge to go somewhere, but she hasn't quite put all the mechanics of crawling together yet in an organized fashion. It will be any day now and let me tell you--it is now time to baby proof before miss "nosy rosy" gets too nosy!

**Avery still loves to bounce in her exersacuer and even her Johnny Jump-up now. Her favorite toys are still ones that light up and play music or her cups or blocks. She loves to chew on just about everything, including her four fingers.

**My favorite moments with Avery this month are doing the "airplane" or bouncing her on our laps right after feeds. Either the airplane where you lift the baby up with your arms, or the airplane where they rest on your legs while laying down makes her smile with pure glee and she lets out the cutest giggles you can imagine. Other favorite moments are in the morning after she gets her diaper changed she stands up on the changing table and she is so proud of herself for being able to stand so well. It is almost like she forgot about this skill and it is just so much fun to stand big and tall first thing in the morning! Yes, Avery stands very well for quite some time...I have a feeling, she is going to be all about locomotion!

**Avery has never been a big eater and well that still hasn't changed. She eats every four hours and eats anywhere from 4-5.5oz on average. Avery has calories added to her bottles to help her gain weight. She has to catch up with friends her age! She continues to be treated with Prevacid for her reflux and still is quite symptomatic even though we are closing in on the timeline that it should start to improve. We can only hope! For some reason the girls seem to have worse feeds when I eat  "cows milk" and after a few experiments to add it back into the diet, it has failed quite we forge ahead, without milk. Avery nurses twice a day, mostly for bonding.

**Avery definitely has her way of communicating-she has a "HMMMM" noise that she does, especially when she is tired. She is quite talented, she can even do it while sucking on her four fingers! While she laughs plenty, it is a more rare occasion to have her laugh outloud...but boy when she does, it just makes your day.
**Avery wears 3 month and 6 month clothes and wears size 2 diapers.

Aubrey Hope: Weight: 12lb 12.5oz (5800 grams)

**Aubrey loves to take in everything around her--she is so observant and is always learning. She is so content and is a very happy baby. I have a feeling she is going to be a "people watcher" when she grows up. She can just watch her sister do her busy little thing, until of course, Avery tries to eat her feet!

**Aubrey is getting better and better at sitting up (with the safety of a boppy around her to catch her when she tips!). In fact, there are many a times where she gets fussy on her belly (the added pressure on her belly seems to aggravate her reflux), and she really prefers to sit up and interact. It is her new "go to" position. Her sister also is learning how to sit up assisted as well. While Aubrey spends plenty of time on her belly and she frequently sleeps in the position with her butt way up and legs pulled up, she really doesn't show much interest in crawling yet. This is ok with me...the longer I have before two babies are crawling in opposite directions (all this while I'm attached to two short cords while I'm pumping!) is A-OK with me!

**Aubrey's favorite toys are smaller stuffed animals, cups, blocks, and her thumb! She is very easy and doesn't take much to be entertained. Both girls are very patient. When we get them from the cribs, we change one diaper then bring them out to the play area on the floor while we change the next baby. She just hangs out on her belly with a smile from ear to ear waiting for someone to turn the corner...or she quietly puts her head down and sucks on her thumb. While sucking your thumb comes with its issues later on...You have to admit, it is pretty darn cute at this age!

**Aubrey is a better eater than her sister, and eats about 5-7oz every 4 hours. Sometimes she surprises us and eats up to 9oz! She also still struggles with her reflux and remains on Prevacid. Like her sister, Aubrey seems to notice when I eat cows milk...hmmm, these babies catch me every time!! While we attempt nursing 1-2x a day, Aubrey seems to prefer the bottle. Whether nursing or by bottle, the girls are still on 100% breastmilk. We might be introducing foods in another month or so.
**Aubrey is still our chatter box. She has all sorts of different pitches and tones and excited glees. Recently she has had more difficulty with napping the full nap window, so she has a few toys to chose from in her crib. She can carry on talking and sometimes shouting with her toys, all the while having a blast! I wish the blog site would support a recording because it really is music to a momma's ears! Aubrey is a very happy baby and has a much more audible laugh than her sister. We love hearing them laugh...and boy mommy and daddy must be pretty funny (or funny looking!!) to get so many cute laughs. Aubrey also has very ticklish feet, especially during bath time.
**Aubrey is still my "bear bear" who loves to be hugged and isn't as squirmy as her sister. I can't say that I would ever pass up a hug or smooches on her big plump cheeks!

**Aubrey wears 3 month and 6 month clothes and also wears size 2 diapers.

Aubrey waving HI in her big girl chair!
Aubrey is all sorts of cute! While the girls don't eat food yet, they join us for dinner at the table.
Avery got her foot and is posing cute and smiley for the picture. Does anyone else think she looks like Aunt Aimee?
Gramma and Poppy with the girls. Thanks Gramma and Poppy for our pretty dresses!
Gramma holding her sweet grandchildren.
Poppy proudly showing off his grandchildren.
Thanks Gramma for our pretty outfits...thanks to both sets of grandparents we are the best dressed babies in town!
Avery is a  little frumpy...but her heart belongs to Grandma--her shirt even says so!
Who says Aubrey doesn't smile?!
Aubrey is thinking of testing out her sister's theory that sucking on her fingers has more to offer than just one thumb.
Thank you Kristin for our cute matching outfits. We are so spoiled by friends and family.

Avery catching a cat-nap...does she look like she is going to crawl right out of her bed or what?!
Mommy loves me--I have it written all over me! 
Mommy loves me too...but right now I think my foot is pretty tasty!
We are so ubber excited to go to church this morning. Thank the Lord that RSV season is now behind us!
Sister--watch out...I'm tipping over...Don't laugh--it isn't funny! 
Woops, now I'm learning the other way...and it looks like I'm about to bite the dust!
Hmmm...this looks pretty tasty!
Can you hear Aubrey's squeals of delight?!

Now I got their you think I could get them both to smile on cue?!

The girls in their awesome City Mini Double Stroller from the Midei Family. Avery looks like she is about as fearful or (maybe mad?!) as she might be on a roller coaster ride and Aubrey is all sorts of excited. 
Avery warmed up to the stroller while Aubrey is no longer thrilled about  all these silly pictures.

Profile shot...They have similar noses!

Can you guess who was nicknamed "Trouble" in utero? She is about to take her sister down with her!
Aubrey practicing sitting and playing the keyboard.
This face has "trouble" written all over it! Yes, Avery crawls backwards and is super close to crawling forward.

Thanks to my sweet friend's mom (Maureen Drake--Diane's mom) for these gorgeous towels made from the heart. She embroidered the girls names on the towels, along with decorative trim (you can't even see the pink polka dot frill she added on the hoods) and a bible verse on each towel. Such a beautiful gift that I really treasure. 
Trust me when I tell you that these pictures do not do these towels justice--they are just so beautiful.

The girls got a professional photo shoot at 5 months.Thank you Whitney Kocher for your time, talent, and gift package. We surprised both grandparents with a "brag book" so that they can show off the girls (not that they don't need an excuse!). These pictures didn't turn out great, but the next few pictures give you an idea of what the brag book looked like. This is the front cover. 
As you open the book these are half of the pictures.
These pictures are on the back of the fold out pages.

This is the back cover--recognize this verse?

What?!? You want close ups of the beautiful images...I'm glad you asked!!