love like crazy

 I heard this song on the radio in the car yesterday as I followed Josh (in his tiny two door Honda Civic hatchback with Jack & Logan crammed in the backseat) to the car repair place where we dropped off my Honda Pilot to get a new rear end thanks to getting hit in a parking lot several weeks ago.  

 The song gave me chills.

{Lee Brice}

They called him crazy when they started out
Said seventeen's too young to know what loves about
They've been together fifty-eight years now
That’s crazy

He brought home sixty-seven bucks a week
He bought a little 2 bedroom house on Maple Street
Where she blessed him with six more mouths to feed
Yeah that’s crazy

Just ask him how he did it; he'll say pull up a seat

It'll only take a minute, to tell you everything
Be your best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your praying knees get lazy
And love like crazy

They called him crazy when he quit his job
Said them home computers, boy they'll never take off
He sold his one man shop to Microsoft
They paid like crazy

Just ask him how he made it
He'll tell you faith and sweat
And the heart of a faithful woman,
Who never let him forget

Be your best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your praying knees get lazy
And love like crazy

Always treat your woman like a lady
Never get too old to call her baby
Never let your praying knees get lazy
And love like crazy


They called him crazy when they started out
They've been together fifty-eight years now

Ain't that crazy?

I just got back from a two day trip with my mom & sister to Great Wolf Lodge (which I will be blogging ALL about once I get my underwater camera film developed) and I couldn't believe how much I missed Josh. I missed all the things a man does on a trip that I take for granted (driving... unloading & reloading the car... holding doors open...) I missed him when I was watching Jack in the pool. I missed him when Jack woke up at 5:50am (on vacation!) and we had to wander the halls for two hours lest we wake our hotel co-sleepers (namely baby Ferris). I missed him when I was trying to fall asleep and kept having panic attacks about being on the fifth floor, how long it would take to get outside in the event of a fire and how ever-living hot it was inside our hotel room (I seriously felt like I was suffocating!) I just missed him.

I came home feeling such anticipation. I couldn't wait to fill him in on all the details of our adventure, and I couldn't wait to hear about his weekend with Logan.  We just talked and talked (and talked and talked!) Monday  night.  It made me realize that I really did find the right guy for me.  That I am one of the lucky ones.  That we really are MFEO like they say on Sleepless in Seattle.

We may have only been 17 when we met, but I knew a good thing when I saw it.  I was highly involved with my church when I met Josh in sign language class as a junior in high school.  He was raised Mormon. My church did not support dating, let alone dating Mormons.  But there was something about him.  He was honest and he was funny.  Oh, was he funny!  Almost immediately we started seeing each other. I knew there would be a backlash at church, but I was drawn to him.  And I prayed, earnestly, that God would help me make the right choice.  I heard a resounding yes and with that I moved forward with our relationship.  A little over a month later we went to Junior Prom and Josh said I love you for the first time.  

As pressure at church increased, I journaled, "I hope we can persevere through these rough times and come out even tougher, stronger and more in love. That's my prayer." That, and, "You don't get to pick who you fall in love with, even though it'd be easier if you did."  About six months into our relationship my mom offered me some advice.  She told me that I was an adult (at this point I was 18) and that I could make my own life choices.  She said my relationship with God was only between He and I. No one else.  She said not to let someone else put standards or expectations on me.

The church had been my strongest support, my favorite place to be, and losing that broke my very heart. But I had had enough.  I had to leave.

Once I left the church, there was peace.  There was quiet in my mind. And there was instant confidence in my heart that I would marry Josh.

One year later we were engaged.  

In spite of the pain that leaving the church caused me, I have to say that I would do it all again in a heartbeat if it meant ending up where I am today.

I love being Josh's best friend. I love supporting him when he's hitting a rough patch. I love laughing with him when life gets crazy.  I love celebrating with him when things are peachy.  I love sharing my life with him. This life. This amazing family we have created from nothing.

I'm trying hard not to let my praying knees get lazy.
And I am most certainly loving these guys like crazy.

29 weeks...

 29 weeks with twins...

and 29 weeks with a singleton...


Raising Twins

I recently read an article recommended by another twin mom that was written by an identical twin himself.  I felt that his article focused only on the negative parts of being a twin.  And although I didn't care for the article, it did present some interesting questions about raising twins.

Birth Order
The twin in this article shared that he and his twin were never told who was born first. He recommended doing the same for all twins.  He said this allowed he and his brother to be on an even playing field in terms of family hierarchy.  While I understand this logic, I have to say I disagree.  I believe that birth order is an important part of who you become and your place in your family.  Logan & Jack are not cognizant of the fact that Logan was born first.  However Logan fills the classic older brother role and always has.  It's who he is.  To deny him that title would be to deny part of who he is.  That, to me, is as bad as thinking of him only in terms of his twinship with Jack and not as the individual he is.

Different Classes
The author recommended different classes in school for twins.  This is something I agree with. If our boys do end up in public school (not home school) I will put them in separate classes.  I think this is the best way to assure that their teachers get to know them for who they are and don't see them as "the Cunningham twins", which is more likely because they are identical.

The author also said that it's important to raise your twins with the knowledge that being a twin is part of who they are, but not what defines them. This is not as easy as it sounds.  It is something I struggle with. I enjoy the small celebrity that having twins affords me.  The comments at the store, the adoring glances by folks at the park, the special feeling I get knowing that identical twins only occur in 3 of 1,000 births.  While I do enjoy the attention I get while out and about with the boys, when we are at home or with family & friends, I feel that the boys are treated completely as individuals. They each have their own likes and dislikes, favorite foods & movies, distinct from one another, and my relationship with each of my sons is unique.  How I respond to Jack when he cries is not how I respond when Logan cries.  I know that each boy has his own preferences and needs.  

In this same vein, I have worked hard to teach the boys their own names and their brothers' name.  I teach them to correct people who mistake them for each other.  They even correct me!  I will say, "Logan, stop doing that!" And Logan (who is in fact not the one being naughty) will turn to me and say, "I mean Jack!" intending for me to repeat him.

Dressing alike is one area where I just can't help myself.  I love dressing them alike.  I honestly think I would do this regardless of having twins or not.  My own mother dressed my sister and I alike throughout our childhood, and we were four years apart!  I will say that lately I find myself much more lax about this.  The boys often pick out their own clothes, and always pick out their own pajamas.  So I think my days of matchy-matchy boys are limited.  Which means that I am enjoying them while they last!

According to this article, studies have shown that identical twins brains actually do work alike, which is why twins tend to get along so well.  It is also part of why it's difficult to treat twins differently, because they are just so darned alike!  But that doesn't mean that we should stop trying.

What I'd like you to know:
I don't see what you see when you look at my sons.
I see two individuals. 
In fact, I often forget they are even twins.  

When you ask how I tell them apart, and I can't answer you, I am not trying to act superior. I really can't tell you how I can.  If I really had to put it into words it would sound so far-fetched.  I feel that I can see their souls, their essence, in their eyes. Their eyes have always been how I tell them apart.  
(Although others have told me that Logan's face is rounder, whereas Jack's is longer.  Also, Jack has a cowlick in the front that causes his hair to go to the side on his forehead.  And Jack has about two inches and four pounds on Logan.  And if they're naked, Jack has an innie belly button whereas Logan has an outie from a self-healed umbilical hernia.)

Hands down, best twin book I ever read was One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to be Singular by Abigail Pogrebin. I highly recommend it to all who are fascinated by twins.

 Identical twins are just that- identical. As in, identical DNA and identical blood.  They do have individual fingerprints, but everything else is exactly the same.
Identical twinning is spontaneous. It just happens.  It is not from fertility treatment.  No one knows why it happens, and it does not run in families.

The only way to know for sure if twins are identical or fraternal (barring opposite sex twins) is to test their DNA. (As we did here.)  Even identical twins can have their own placentas, as my boys did. This is dependent on how early the egg splits.  The earlier the split, the less the twins share; the later the split, the more the twins share.

My boys are mirror twins.  One quarter of identical twins are mirror twins. This means their hair whorls go opposite directions; Logan is left handed & Jack is right handed; and their more dominant dimples are on opposite cheeks.

A twin pregnancy is not a walk in the park (bedrest is often necessary and your body is pushed to its limits), delivery of multiples is trying at best (be it vaginal birth times two or a c-section), but by far the hardest part of having twins is the first year.  Namely the first three months. It truly took at least a year for Josh and I to get to the point where being a sudden family of four felt normal and we got a handle on our lives again.  So when you tell us that you always wished you'd had twins, try not to think of us as bitter when we give you a contrite smile and start walking away.  You have no idea what it is like to be at two infants' beck and call unless you have been there.  (Oh, and having two babies close to the same age is not the same as twins... Just so we're clear!)

Raising twins is not for the faint of heart. It takes resolve, organization and dedication to both promoting their individuality and their special twin relationship, which at times can feel quite contradictory.

Am I doing it right? Only time will tell.  But if I screw it all up, it certainly won't be for a lack of effort!

happiest. song. ever.


little moments

{I am lacking consistent sleep.  Therefore, today's post will include both rants and raves on motherhood- with no particular rhyme or reason to their order...}

Two of our {many} favorite parts of the day include saying good-bye to Daddy when he goes, and hello when he arrives home again.  The boys kiss & hug him every morning, and jump up & down repeatedly on the couch screaming, "Daddy! Daddy!" when they  hear his car in the driveway.  Josh says that's his favorite part of the day- when he opens the gate, sees their smiling faces in the window and hears them calling for him.  It warms his heart and is such a wonderful homecoming.
Today while we were driving to the grocery store, Jack started crying and saying he missed daddy.  He asked to call him. I told him we couldn't call daddy at work, but we could send a text message instead.  He dictated: "Daddy, Have a good at work. I miss you. Hi. I love you a lot. Love, Jack."  What a sweetheart.

                                                                                                                            (Photo courtesy of Jack Cunningham)                         
Then at the grocery store the boys got to ride in the pretend car that sat in front of the cart.  Occasionally they popped out to "help" me shop.  They had so much fun opening and closing the dairy doors.  Seriously, they were giggling so hard. It got me thinking about a toddlers' perspective on things. Things that I take for granted, like the Magnadoodle my mom bought for them, are totally magical & mysterious to them.  It's so fun to watch them discover the world around us. I am loving it.

{Won't be like this for long}
Lately my showers have included a 5 piece set of mini Tonka diggers & a set of two-year-old toddlers.  While these showers are not in the least relaxing, or even enjoyable in and of themselves, I do try to laugh about the insanity of fitting the three of us, plus a load of worker trucks into our tiny tub.  I know that one day I won't find a backhoe next to my shampoo bottle or a Matchbox car on top of my flour container in the pantry.  And I know that their absence will leave an ache in my chest.

Today we went to the grocery store for milk, etc. and while as we traipsed from the car (in the rain, of course) to the entry, I heard the sound of us.  The pitter-patter, splash-splosh of our six feet hitting the wet pavement, and as I squeezed their chubby hands in mine, I took a deep breath. It was a beautiful sound.  
As hard as grocery shopping with two rambunctious boys can be, in that moment I was so grateful to have them by my side.

 {Word Up}
There are some words, or ways that the boys say things, that just make me smile-- and dread the day when they can say these words accurately.

Diaper bag: Dyker bag
Larry the Cucumber: Larry the Coopkumber
Tastes like cheese: "Taste-is" like cheese
Don't tell me what to do: Don't tell me sump-thin'!
Have a good day at work, Daddy: Have a good ___ at work, Daddy!

And when the boys fight, Jack often resorts to pinching Logan's cheeks or squeezing his shoulders really tight, and Logan tattles on Jack saying, "Mommy! Jack crunched me!" It is so adorable, I can't correct him.

 Jack hasn't been 100% for a while now. Not sure what's going on, other than he's been more clingy, sad & cuddly than usual.  (As well as an off & on fever and runny nose.)  He asked to take a break in his room the other day, and then when I went in to check on him, he was all bundled up in his "snuggly" blanket, as he calls it, and asked me to take this picture.  
When they wake up from naps, sick or not, they are super cuddly. Josh and I try really hard to take advantage of this time.  We know that all too soon they'll be in kindergarten and much less likely to curl up in our laps for a good snuggle.
Actual sleep in our house has been incredibly hard to come by these days.  The boys have been a bit sick for almost two weeks now, and they are back to waking up three or even four times a night.  Last night, for instance, Jack was up at midnight and 2:30am. Then Logan woke up at 5:30am, and promptly woke Jack up as well. 
Josh and I are so tired. We have no idea what we're doing.  Their bedtime used to be 7:00pm, strict.  Now, some nights it's after 8:00pm before they're in bed.  We changed this in the hopes that a later bedtime would lead to a later wake up time. And it worked for a few days, but between this illness and the time change, we are all screwed up.  Some nights I don't even want to crawl into bed, because I know as soon as I fall asleep, the boys (or at least one of them) will wake me up, knocking on the door, needing a drink of water for their sore throat or needing medicine because they are burning up with a fever.
I am exhausted. I think I would be tired anyway, but being pregnant sure isn't helping. I'm honestly not sure how this baby is growing.  I haven't been feeling great myself, so my appetite is null and that, coupled with not sleeping, leaves me starving for energy.

Today in their "car cart" at the grocery store, Jack gave Logan's hand a kiss, and Logan pulled his hand away, proclaiming, "Kisses are yucky, Jack!"  Not sure where he heard that, but it made me laugh. (And promptly tell him that kisses are nice, but if he doesn't want a kiss, he can just tell Jack, "No, thank you.")



random Saturday morning thoughts...

Last week I hit 27 weeks, which means tomorrow I will be 28 weeks.  7 whole months.  It's truly amazing how quickly this pregnancy is going compared to the boys' pregnancy.  But what really threw me is that last weeks' Baby Center Update (which I receive each Sunday) told me I was starting my third trimester.
Third trimester?
So, because of said scary e-mail, I have been thinking a lot about the end of this pregnancy (labor & birth) and what it's going to look like for me.
Will I have a vaginal birth this time? Or a repeat c-section? Will I try to labor, or just opt for the cesarean? Will I use medication?  What are the reasons for having a c-section? And a vaginal birth?
When I first got pregnant I couldn't even pretend to pose these questions to myself. The thoughts were too terrifying.  The idea that this baby was ever going to need to be born too overwhelming.
But now-- now that I am in my third trimester (yikes!) I have been able to start mulling over my choices.  I have talked to the doctor as well.  And done a bit of research on the subject.
My doctor says I am a good candidate for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) and that about 85% of her VBAC patients are successful.  That sounds promising.  She said that my recovery from a vaginal birth would be faster than that of a c-section recovery, but that she's also open to scheduling the OR for my c-section if I would like to go that route.
At first I thought I would just do another c-section. This is likely our last baby (Josh would say, "This.is.it!" but I won't know I'm done until I meet him, and see if I truly feel that our family is complete.) and my c-section with the boys was a really good experience.
But then I started talking to a few people who've had recent vaginal births, and I came to the conclusion that having twins to chase around post-birth might be a bit much if I am recovering from major surgery.  
For now, my plan is to be flexible (whatever gets Wyatt here safely is fine) but tentatively hope for a vaginal birth with the help of an epidural.  I am nervous to labor & birth a baby naturally, instead of letting the doctor do all the hard work for me! But I have faith in my strength. And I would really like the experience of birthing a baby that way, and having him laid on my belly post-birth, like you always see.

Onto another random Saturday morning thought I stole from Enjoying the Small Things.  
I'm telling you, that girl inspires me!

What are five things you are tired of?

1. Being tired.
2. Winter.
3. Being broke.
4. The twins' daily wrestling matches.
5. Worrying about baby #3 in the oven.

And what are five things you are not tired of?

1. "Good morning, mommy" hugs.
2. My high thread count sheets.
3. Listening to the twins' conversations.
4. Feeling the baby move.
5. Oranges.

And my final random thought: I love my husband.
You know that everyone says it is the small things that bring us joy.  And you generally take that to be true. And then your husband sneaks a hollow chocolate bunny into the grocery cart without you noticing and presents you with said bunny later, after the kids are in bed, and then you know (without a doubt) that it truly is the small things that put a smile on your face.  
We had been watching a commercial for Cadbury eggs and I told Josh I don't really like Cadbury eggs, that I prefer hollow chocolate bunnies.  That simple conversation stuck in his head, and days later when we were at Target, off he went with Logan in search of a special treat for me.  He said finding a hollow one was no small feat, that many of them were solid, which he knew would just not do.

Oh, how I love him.

And how I loved that chocolate fairy bunny as I bit her ears off 
and let the milk chocolate melt in my mouth.



in sickness & in health...

Over the course of last week and this weekend I came upon another blessing that not working has allowed.  Jack got sick in the night last week, and Logan over the weekend wasn't feeling well.  My stress level through all of the illness has been surprisingly low. 
I started thinking about why it was so low. I mean, here I am, nearly seven months pregnant, up half the night with feverish kids, changing sheets, taking temperatures and rubbing cold cloths on foreheads, and through it all I am laughing at how long it used to take us to clean up from a "throw up".  

We are like a well oiled machine:
Door opens, I smell it, holler for Josh, calm crying child, take said child into the bathroom where I run a bath.  Meanwhile, Josh tends to the other brother (who is both concerned for brother and excited to be awake in the middle of the night) changes the sheets, starts the laundry and gets other brother back into bed.
Then it's pajamas on sick kid. Medicine in sick kid. Sick kid in bed.

It's amazing. 
We were such rookies before!  Puke would end up on the carpet, cover pillows and a clothing change would take eons.  

One night was even spent camped out on the couch with Logan on the arm chair. I was up like every hour that night.  And still my stress level was untouched.  Then I realized it was because of work.  When I was a working mom of sick kids- the whole ball game was different.  They'd get sick and I would be looking at the clock thinking, "If I get back to bed within an hour, I should be able to survive at work."  Now I'm just thinking of getting them taken care of, and know in my mind that I can always take a nap when they  nap the next day.
And there is such beautiful comfort in knowing that when my kids are sick, I get to be the one taking care of them.  I don't have to feel guilty for sending snotty, feverish kids to my mom's and I don't have to feel guilty for wondering if their visit to Urgent Care can wait until my day at work is done.  Their needs are my first priority. When I was working, that wasn't always the case. I wanted that to be the case, but when you are juggling so much, something's gotta give.  My life is so much simpler now.

I was so happy to find that I am enjoying being home with them 
in sickness and in health.


8:45pm (after a 7:00pm bedtime)

About my thirtieth time going in to lay him back down I had this conversation with Logan:

"I'm giving the baby a cake. He can eat a cake? He won't spit it out?"

"No, he can't have cake. He has to have bottles at first. With milk."

"Then he gets bigger? And I will give him a birthday cake? Is that fine?"

"Yes, when he is bigger, he can have birthday cake."

"Then he will be a brother. Like me and Jack. I am a big boy.  He will be a tiny baby."

"Yes he will."

"Roxanne has a baby in her tummy, too?"

"Yes she does."

"Is it a sister?"

"We don't know yet."

"It has to get bigger first."

"Yes. It does."

"Does Nanny have a baby in her tummy?"


"Just mommy and Roxanne?"

"Yes. Now no more talking. Go to sleep. I love you, buddy."


my twin dilemma

 It all began when my mom suggested a family trip to Great Wolf Lodge.

My sister & I were instantly excited, imagining playing with our little ones and spending time with family at the huge deluxe indoor swimming pool.

Then we hit a hiccup.
None of our spouses wanted to come.
Not one.

Originally we were thinking that it would be: 
my parents & my nephew Isaiah (whom they are raising);
my sister & her husband & their son Ferris; 
and Josh & I with our boys.

Now it would be us girls & all the kids.

 For my mom and sister, not having the husbands come isn't too big of a deal.
It's still a one to one ratio of adult to child in the pool...

 But for me, those numbers just don't work.  The boys love the water, but there's no way I would feel comfortable being seven months pregnant with two 2-year-olds in a pool I have never been to.

 So I started thinking... Should I cancel? Tell Josh he just has to come? See if my mom would agree to help watch the second twin and send Isaiah off to swim on his own?

Then I had a stroke of genius. I would take Jack. And leave Logan with Josh.
That way I could go on the trip, feel comfortable about my responsibility, and get some one on one time with Jack, which I have been feeling like he needs. And Josh could get in that same quality time with Logan.

I was surprised how quickly Josh agreed that was the best option.  He was actually really, really excited about the prospect of spending the weekend with just one of the boys.  He said he would make it really special for Logan, taking him to a new pool we've never been to; eating out at a restaurant (which is Logan's new favorite thing to do) and enjoy lots of  one on one time.

That's what I am most excited about.  I think both our boys crave more one on one time, and crave more focused attention.  This special weekend (for both of them) will provide just that.
I am also anxious to see what differences I notice in Jack's personality (and Josh in Logan's) when they exist separate from their brother.  Not to mention I will enjoy seeing what it feels like to have a singleton!

I had some definite hesitation in reaching this decision. And I am nervous about how the boys will do, seeing as they have never had a night apart in their lives.  But I gained strength in my decision based on the following things:

One- I had Josh's total support & enthusiasm.

Two- I thought about how if they were different ages (for instance, one was 2yrs & one was 4yrs) I wouldn't hesitate at all to take one on a special trip by myself.

And Three- Another blog I follow (Mostly Life) is about a mother of triplets and her best friend lives in another state. And each time she visits said friend she takes a different triplet with her.  She has posted about each experience and so seems to enjoy getting to know her kids as individuals.  It really inspired me to at least give it a try.

I promise to keep you posted on how it goes.
I can't wait!