January 31, 2010
January 30, 2010
Friday night was a rough night (Allie's cough woke her up frequently through the night - about every 2 hours - and Ryan woke up once and had trouble getting back to sleep), and I really wanted to somehow make Saturday memorable for something other than sickness and sleepless nights. The problem was that none of us felt up to going anywhere, and I wasn't sure what I could come up with that wouldn't require too much energy (because Lucas and I were pretty wiped). Then it hit me - Saturday morning pancakes!
Pretty much every Saturday morning Lucas makes pancakes for the two of us. This has been a fairly long-standing tradition - one that I adore. We usually eat breakfast after the twins are down for their morning nap, but this morning I thought that we could all have pancakes together. So, Lucas made blueberry pancakes and we all gathered around the table (around 1 corner because I'm still trying to put away my Christmas decorations - I know, I know...a little late - and they are currently taking over most of the table), and ate breakfast together! It was the twins' first time ever having pancakes, and they seemed to really like them (it was the most Allie has eaten in days!). It was the beginning of our new tradition - Saturday pancakes as a family!
Later in the day we pulled out our bubble gun. Not for the first time, but we haven't used it in a while, so it seemed pretty novel. The babies had fun trying to "catch" the bubbles, and loved seeing the air full of bubbles. Unfortunately, Ryan got tired of them popping on his head, and was finished with the whole bubble thing after not much time. But, it's good to have another distractionary trick to pull out when needed!
I have hope that we're on the upswing. While no one is necessarily sounding better, the babies seem to have more energy and I'd like to believe the coughs are getting more sporadic. Regardless of whether or not it's founded in reality, I have hope that the end is near. And this hope is enough to help me push through!
January 28, 2010
January 26, 2010
We agreed to see the house, and really loved it from the moment we walked in (although neither of us got too attached because we knew there was no way it could be ours...). The bedrooms were huge (Ryan & Allie can share a room and still have so much space), it was the only house with a specific dining room (if you've seen our honking table, you'd know why this is a bonus), lots of entertaining space, and a finished basement (the one thing the other houses were lacking) - with a spare bedroom, a hobby room, and a room that can serve as the kids' play room (finally, a place for toys so they don't completely overtake every other space in the house!). The yard is a little small, but there is the potential to purchase part or all of the empty lots on either side in the future! We decided that it was too perfect not to put in an offer, offered what we could afford (actually, we left a little wiggle room for a counter), and then talked about what we were going to do in our "real" house (the house we were going to put an offer on when this one was rejected...the one in our budget!). We both said the only way our offer would be accepted would be if God really wanted us to have the house.
48 hours later I got the call that our offer was accepted. There wasn't even a counter! Lucas and I are still in shock.
The living room
The kitchen & dining room
And so, with confidence, Lucas and I are preparing to follow God's calling to Michigan (I'm not going to specify the exact location, for some privacy sake, but if you know us, don't know where it is, and want to know, feel free to ask). We are excited, and sad. Moving is always bittersweet. It's like finishing a really good book...you enjoyed every minute of it, but it had to end...and there is another great book just waiting to be read next!
And a baby update. Sickness still reigns in our household. I wish I could say it's getting better, but actually, each day they wake up a little worse. I'm looking forward, with eager expectation, to the day when we wake up and I can say definitively that they are getting better and the end is near. I went to the doctor and found out...nothing. Basically, this kind of thing (cold-like in nature) frequently goes into bronchiolitis or a similar illness, but they aren't at that point yet, so there really isn't anything medically that can be done. So we're continuing with humidifiers and simmering pots of VapoRub water, baby tylenol (since you can no longer give any sort of cough syrup to children under 4), mesh teethers filled with ice (to soothe sore throats), and LOTS of tv (which kills me, but it's the only way to keep them confined. When I let them down to play they get worked up and start coughing, which makes them cry, which makes them cough more...).
Our mini-miracles? Last night Lucas had the brilliant idea to go and buy a second monitor (we had been separating them to keep one baby's coughing fits from waking up another, but since they are so hoarse I can't hear them at night I had been sleeping on the floor of one baby's room...which we found was generally just causing them to wake up more...). This meant that I got to sleep in a bed (for the first time in a couple weeks) with my husband. Granted we both were up with babies at some point during the night (Lucas more than I because I'm getting sick and he wanted to try to help keep me healthy. Bless him), but the sleep was heavenly for me!
January 24, 2010
January 22, 2010
The oddest/most difficult part of the trip, for me, was that I spent very little time with the babies. I knew this going in, and I was VERY thankful that my mom and Aunt Phyllis volunteered to come and watch the babies while Lucas and I were out and about. I think it's safe to say they enjoyed their time (although I was never there, so my pictures are few). Some of the things they mentioned they enjoyed: Ryan warming up to and going through the crawl tunnel, Allie's adventurous antics, babies biting (not funny...but also a little funny), moving, giggling, playing. Both babies, especially Allie, loved Logan and Mindy's dog Jack. Allie would just follow him around and giggle at whatever he did. Both babies, especially Ryan, loved Aunt Phyllis and playing fun new games (like "Buckety, Buckety"). I was sad to be away so much (and consequently am really enjoying my time with them now that we're home), but they had a great time!
The babies chasing Jack - he was probably thrilled when we left!
Which of these 3 could be our
future home? (Family with inside
info do not get to guess!)
I already mentioned that we were super blessed to have my mom and aunt drive out to help with babies, but we also stayed with Logan, Mindy & Harper, and Lucas' parents came out for the weekend. So we got to see a lot of family during our trip. We had lots of fun times like playing "What's Yours Like" with everyone (At one point we all were laughing so hard we were in tears...which has happened every time I play that game!), our girls afternoon out to get pedicures, dinner the last night with my mom and aunt, and just hanging out and talking and laughing. My friend Michelle also came over again...and again we forgot to take a picture! It was so great to spend time with so many people we love, and it made us more excited to move closer to everyone!
The main event was Lucas candidating at the church. Partially because this is a big step in our church search, and one that we have been hoping for and waiting for forever. And partially because this church is full of people we love and we were so excited to see and talk to people we haven't seen in years! Lucas preached on the Good Samaritan (a sermon I have heard before, but managed to get something out of the second time around!). The service was great, and it was wonderful to catch up with people (and scary to see how much the kids have grown up!). Regardless of what happens, we very much enjoyed our time on Sunday.
The church meets on Sunday (the 24th) to vote on whether or not they would like to call Lucas as their pastor. We are prayerfully awaiting to hear! I think the suspense might have been difficult to bear...but getting sick certainly helped take our minds off the passing time! Perhaps the stomach bug was actually a blessing in disguise?
January 21, 2010
Small (but huge) blessing: The babies slept through the night last night - which was good because Lucas and I spent the entire night vying for the bathroom, and I was constantly afraid that the babies would need us and neither of us would be strong enough.
Bummer: Now that I've felt this sickness, it kills me to know how miserable the babies must have felt on the way home. They handled it much more cheerfully than Lucas or I have.
I know we would appreciate your prayers!
January 20, 2010
I have to confess that successfully making the trip from MA to MI not once, not twice, but three times has made me feel a little bit like a pro. Not only that, but this time Lucas and I streamlined our routine to cut an entire hour from the trip - doing it in 14 hours both ways! So, as we stopped in NY roughly 7 hours into our trip home, I was feeling a bit smug about how well we were doing (at the time we were on target to cut even MORE time out of the return trip). I ran in to use the restroom while Lucas filled up, and then we were going to all go in and have lunch together.
I returned to the car and was greeted by an odd, sour milk smell. I immediately started looking for the culprit (dirty bottles? No. Pumping supplies? No.) when I heard Ryan cough. "Are you ok, sweet man?" I asked as I turned toward him, and then I screamed. You know in the movie Ghostbusters when they get slimed by the ghost (I believe he is appropriately named Slimer)? Ryan looked like that. He was covered chin to toe in vomit. Not only that, but he got the seat he was facing, his car seat, the sides of the seat he was on, and a few toys. I've never seen anything like it.
I get him inside, change his clothes (Thank God for Aunt Phyllis packing pajamas in the diaper bag so we didn't have to completely unload the van to get fresh clothing!), change his diaper (poor guy had it coming from both ends...), check his temperature (no fever!), give him tylenol (because he's acting like he feels crummy and that's all I've got), and head out to have lunch (chunks of toasted bagel & sips of water for him).
We get back on the road and I am a woman with a mission to get my sick baby home as quickly as possible. We stop again (I hoped the last), and took off. Pretty soon I hear a familiar cough. I turn to check Ry-guy, but he is fine - happily playing with his feet. Then I hear the cough again...from Allie. I turn just in time to see the entire contents of her stomach (forcefully) make a return to the outside world. I now know how Ryan's made such a mess as I now have a visual. I start screaming for Lucas to pull over (thankfully, he knew I meant at the next rest area and not by the side of the road!). I take her in to change her (without a changing table as this particular Wendy's is apparently not child-friendly), and notice she is shivering. I check her temperature and, sure enough, she has a fever. Out comes the tylenol. We quickly reload our babies, pray for no more vomit, and head back on the road. At this point the lingering odor in the van is enough to make us hurry.
We are now 15 minutes from home, and Lucas stops to refuel (we figured that having sick kids and an empty gas tank could spell disaster). I turn to check on babies just in time to see Ryan's encore of Intestinal Pyrotechnics. Because it would take some unloading and reloading to get clean clothes, and we were so close to home, we decide to make a run for it and change him at home. It was a good call because he spewed another time before we got to our driveway...and again after I got him changed at home (4 total outfits for the day).
We put the babies to bed and I made myself a nest on the floor of their room (afraid I wouldn't hear if they threw up during the night), and we all settled in. Allie woke up during the night with the return of her fever, and Lucas and I ended up taking turns rocking her the rest of the night. Ryan (thankfully) slept the whole night!
This morning we have already had a few more messes to clean up (sadly from both ends), and both babies have a fever. I am armed with pedialite to help hydrate (although Allie keeps refusing the stuff...I may have to go with good old water for her, and Ryan has thrown all of his up...). It is obvious that a bug has hit our household, and we would appreciate your prayers that it goes through quickly!
January 13, 2010
The church that is considering Lucas for their full-time lead pastor just happens to be our old church. The church we attended before moving to MA. The church where Lucas was the youth pastor when we first started dating. The church where I first witnessed (and fell in love with) Lucas' passion for ministry. The church where I heard Lucas preach for the first time and thought, "Yeah, I could listen to him for the rest of my life." The church where, in the sanctuary one evening, Lucas asked the life changing question, "Will you marry me?" and I responded "Are you serious?" (and then YES!). The church that threw us a surprise wedding shower, whose pastor (our professor and Lucas' mentor) flew to NE to marry us, and from which several members traveled to attend our wedding. The church we first attended as a married couple. The church where we began our partnership in ministry with the youth. The church that we were broken-hearted to leave behind (ask Lucas, we're not sure that we have ever cried more than we did the night we said goodbye to the youth). This church was our HOME.
We would appreciate your prayers for us and the church as we test if this is God's will. We are so excited about the possibility to be able to return to a home for the newest phase of Lucas' ministry.
That being said, my heart is a little heavy as we embark on this trip. If everything works out this will be the last time we return HOME to MA. That makes me sad. Because as much as we want to move back to the midwest to be closer to family, so much of our lives has been here (actually, more of our life together has been here than in MI).
MA was the place where we began our "adventure" - living in a new place, away from family, starting out together. MA was the place where I got my first job out of college. Where we made our first "couple" friends. Where we celebrated various accomplishments - my Activity Director Certification, Lucas getting his Masters, Lucas' first job as a pastor out of seminary. Where we overcame challenges - the struggles at our church, the my stressful wrok environment, infertility. This is where our babies were born. We brought them home to this house. I held them, fed them, rocked them, and watched them sleep in their little nursery. They learned to crawl here (and very likely may learn to walk here). MA is embedded in our heart.
When we left MI we always knew we would come back to visit that home - probably often - because we had family there. But I don't know how often we might visit, or what or whom might bring us back to MA. While I know it is time, and I am excited about the possibilities the future holds, I know I will be sad when we cross the border and see the "Welcome to Massachussets" sign because I know it might very well be the last time that sign means "Welcome Home."
January 10, 2010
With Lucas home for recent holidays, and the steady stream of familiy that visited, I hadn't fed the twins by myself for a while. Sunday morning I had them both in my lap drinking their bottles for the first time in about 2 weeks. They were holding hands (it is adorable, but I think it is more a defensive manuever to keep the other from wacking them in the faces or knocking the bottle out of their mouth than a genuine desire for closeness...). Suddenly Ryan starts arching his back...he tilts his head all the way back to look at me (keep in mind he could have just turned sideways and I would have been right there). When he sees it's me holding him he flashes me a BIG smile, lets out a happy grunt, and then snuggles under my chin for the rest of his bottle. Awwwww.
Lucas had to read the scripture in church yesterday. I'm holding Allie, a friend is holding Ryan, and both babies are contentedly playing with toys. Lucas starts talking and Allie looks up and yells, "Dada!" Lucas didn't hear, but everyone near us did a collective "Awwwwwww."
January 08, 2010
What do they have that is so appealing? First, an incredible theme that never fails to delight - especially children. Beantown. But not baked beans - jelly beans. They have giant flowers made out of jelly beans, a "Make Way for Ducklings" sculpture made out of jelly beans, jelly bean floors, jelly bean table tops, a jelly bean state house, and the big whopper - a giant "Big Dig" Sundae (that houses the Richardson's Ice Cream stand...yes, ice cream in the furniture store). Words cannot describe. It must be seen (seriously, go here, and take the virtual tour of the Reading store. It's almost like being there!). They also have a trapeze school where you can pay for lessons, or enjoy watching someone else's lesson (for free). They have an Imax theatre and a Fuddruckers restaurant. They also have Liquid Fireworks - a.k.a. lighted fountains choreographed with music. And , of course, they have furniture!
The big draw for us were the cool cars they have for children to ride in. Lucas and I have been dozens of times and I always looked at the taxis and fire trucks and thought it would be such a blast to be a kid in one of those. I knew this time that Allie & Ryan were probably old enough to ride in them and enjoy them, and I was right! We put them in the fire engine and the second we started moving Allie (who loves ANYTHING with a steering wheel) broke into grins, which turned into giggles, which turned into peals of laughter that caused everyone we passed to turn and watch (and smile). Ryan played it a little more cool, but you could still tell that he was thrilled. They could not get enough of the steering wheels!
We walked all around the store. We started with the youth rooms (they are all themed and SO much fun!). They have giant stuffed dogs in some of the rooms, and Ryan thought those were pretty cool. Nic, Matt, and I all found the bedroom furniture we would have loved as kids (had we known that such cool furniture even existed). We then roamed and let the babies enjoy "driving." Allie kept trying to pull on Ryan's seat. I think she wanted to pass and was frustrated that she couldn't! We ended the trip in front of the liquid fireworks. The twins had a yummy snack of mum mums and water while the boys and I had ice cream :) Then we watched the liquid fireworks (which the twins liked...but they really enjoyed watching the two little girls playing in front of the fountains the most), and headed home. It was a really fun adventure, and I'm so excited the boys were here to give me the motivation to try taking the twins there!
January 06, 2010
Uncle Nic with Allie
Uncle Nic, Allie, Lucas, Ryan
note: Since Allie was Baby A, she was scheduled to be the first to eat at the NICU, which meant that visitors got to hold Allie while we fed Ryan. It was a rare & brief occassion when visitors got to hold him (and if both Lucas and I were there, visitors often only got to watch because our time with them was so precious).
That being said...Uncle Nic gets a rare photo of himself with both babies (I was the only other person to have a photo with both while they were in the NICU). But he did use his last college spring break to come and visit them, so I guess he earned this privilege!
And if you want to see some more adorable duos, check out Way Back When-esday at Twinfatuation!
January 04, 2010
They've been good about pitching in - doing dishes, helping with dinner, picking up toys. The big help has been the way they help with the babies. Not only do they play with them (pretty constantly when the babies are awake), but they've helped feed, give baths, do bedtime, and even change diapers! Yes, Uncle Matt changed his first diaper today. He did exceptionally well - especially considering that most people get to start with a tiny newborns who are fairly limited as far as mobility while he started with a 20 lb. (VERY) wiggly 9 mo. old! Although, Ryan did seem to be less wiggly with a new face above the changing table. If that continues to be the case, we'll have the uncles change all the diapers!
Uncle Nic came with some experience on his resume (including experience changing the diapers of twins!), so we gave him the tough stuff. That's right, he got the stinky ones! He of course did a wonderful job, and both babies are enjoying squeaky clean bottoms (not that they aren't normally, but with all the extra hands to diaper nothing gets missed for a moment!).
Another diaper successfully changed!
And while we didn't make it to church on Sunday (neither I, nor the babies, got sufficient sleep on Saturday night, so instead of waking them up from morning nap to get ready to go, I let them sleep...Last night - Sunday - they slept like a dream though!), the extra hands made it possible to make a trip to the library today! The babies have a tendency to cry when we walk into the library (too quiet in there?), so I only go when I have help to distract them. We scored a couple of great Rockabye Baby cd's to listen to, and I picked up some books on tape for our upcoming trip. A truly productive day!
January 02, 2010
Ryan is so excited for someone new to climb on!
They got here late this afternoon, just in time to enjoy a meal with the babies and then have some play time before bed. The babies definitely enjoyed some fresh faces...and Ryan enjoyed fresh arms for some jumping (or a lot of jumping).
Allie loves spending time with her Uncle Matt
Ryan doing his favorite thing - jumping...
We have them here for a whole week, so stay tuned to see some of our adventures (which should include Uncle Matt changing his first diaper!!!)
Ryan & Allie watch a short movie with their uncles to wind down before bed.
Post Note: As I am putting in the pictures before publishing this post I am huddling over my laptop in a dark living room. Why? Because our house is too small. Because the movie DID NOT help the babies wind down and they won't sleep even though they are exhausted. Because all of the rocking in the world doesn't help because even if we get them to sleep tonight is NOT a night where any transfer is successful. Because they are 3 minutes of fussing away from sleep, but those 3 minutes wake up a newly sleeping sibling. Because my brothers are in our room (where the usual spare pack n play is setup for nights like these), so I had to set up an ADDITIONAL pack n play in the office where the Ry guy is currently sleeping (although VERY lightly). Because Lucas is in the babies' room trying to soothe Allie while the boys are huddled in their room trying not to make noise because the only rooms we can put sleeping babies are connected to...every other room we could possibly occupy! Every night is most definitely NOT like this (most are prefectly quiet and we all get as much sleep as we want), but tonight is not one of those nights! Hopefully, Lucas and I will be able to tip-toe into the office and collapse in the spare bed for a few hours of sleep!