Around Here: Week 17

Grateful... my kids are good pukers and even though Wyatt & Jack both came down with the flu this weekend, neither of them threw up on beds or couches.  In this same vein, I am grateful to be a stay-at-home mom.  I love that staying home with my sick kids isn't even a thought. I just stay home.  No boss to call, no decisions to make. It's such a blessing.

Wondering... if Logan will be the last one to get the flu.  It took about two days to travel from his other brothers to each other and then to him.  I thought we were over it, then on Wednesday he complained of a stomach ache, and it was all down hill from there. (I wrote this last night- Thursday- in preparation for today and awoke this morning at 6am to Carly crying in her crib, surrounded by little piles of vomit. She got it. We are on Day 8 of this stomach virus and I am so over it. Just praying that at least Josh and I will be spared!)

Sad... to have missed all three of the twins' baseball games.  First Jack was sick, then Wyatt, then Logan, so I have yet to see them play.  But according to Josh, they are doing amazing!  Jack hit a home run at his first game, and he and Logan both are hitting the ball, far, each time they are up to bat. Plus they're catching the ball and making outs when they're in the field.  I am such a proud, mama.

Doing... haircuts for five of the six members of this household.  The twins are still growing out the tops, but I love how fresh it looks when the sides are trimmed.  Josh's haircut is the same it's ever been, but Wyatt's is shorter than I usually go. I love how it looks and think it'll be nice for spring heading into summer. For Carly I trimmed all along the back again and I'm so excited that her new hair that's growing in is nearly as long as her longest hair in the back, so from here I should be able to let it grow out. I absolutely hate doing haircuts, to be honest, but it saves us so much money (probably $100) that I can't really excuse stopping.

Giving up... cloth diapering.  Over spring break I bought myself a box of diapers and it's been so lovely to continue using them up. So last week I priced diapers and at Walmart I got a box of 124 diapers for less than $18.  Fourteen cents a diaper is what it works out to, and I decided that $18 a month is totally worth not having to scrape poop out of a cloth diaper into the toilet, and also that I probably spend nearly that amount on laundry loads (water + electricity) since I do a diaper load every other day (a rinse cycle, followed by an extra hot wash, followed by the dryer for the inserts).

Doing... lots of homework because of sick kids.  Especially Jack had quite the load. Happy to start next week all caught up!

Feeling... crazy proud of my sister and her husband who have journeyed a very long road to Blake becoming a Fish & Wild Life Officer.  He was in training near us, so he stopped by on his way home Wednesday night. It was so good to see him, and my boys thought his uniform & truck were the coolest!

Reading... Freakanomics and The Lies We Believe.  This week I finished The Forgetting Time & The Gift of an Ordinary Day.  Both were so, so, so good.  I just started I Survived the Eruption of Mt. St. Helens with the twins and The Memory of Water for myself.  They're both proving to be quite good as well!



New Fridge!!!

When we moved in to our house, the fridge that came through the house was terrible.  It was tiny, didn't close all the way, and really wasted a lot of potential space, as there was room for a bigger one in the slot where ours sat.  

My mom and dad gifted us a home insurance plan (American Home Shield) which covers basically all of the working appliances in our house, as well as some other things (plumbing, electrical, etc.).  Because of this insurance plan, we got our new fridge completely free.  We've also had our garage door opener replaced, had an electrician out to check some things, and, most recently, had a plumber out to replace our garbage disposal, as well as both the front & back spigots.  That warrantee plan has been a life saver.  And a money saver!

In order to get the fridge into our kitchen, we had to take off both the front door and the pantry door.

These three were home for an Ice Day (we had a lot of those this winter!) and were overjoyed to watch the young men remove our old fridge and move our new fridge in. 

 We've been so happy with our new fridge-- plenty of fridge & freezer space, much more square footage inside, as well as a functioning water & ice dispenser.  It's been so lovely!



Their Dad

I love these pictures I took during one of many winter days that the boys spent playing in the plowed piles of snow in the parking lot near our house.  Josh was so good about getting outside and having snowball fights with them while Carly and I snuggled up inside, keeping warm.

I am so grateful that he's their dad.
I am grateful for the work he does around the house,
his work ethic,
the job he does at school,
the dreams he has for our future.

I love how he loves me on my worst days and never holds anything against me.
I love how he works all day, then comes home and works some more.
I love how he spends all day with one set of kids (his students), 
and comes home just to spend even more time with kids (his children).  
He's just the best dad and I'm so grateful he is ours.


On Having School Aged Twins

The last week I have found myself wishing that there were more blogs and forums for moms of older twins. We face issues that are so different than those with younger twins, but equally as consuming. I would love to pick another mom's brain about different classrooms, birthday parties, how to help them navigate their unique relationship...

But most moms of twins tend to share less and less as time goes on with their twins, for good reason, to protect their children's privacy.  While I understand that, I am struggling to find any information on classroom placement that is for any grade higher than second.  

God bless Josh for helping them, every night, to memorize their multiplication facts!
We are close to wrapping up the twins' first year in public school.  They've spent all of third grade in separate classrooms, making different friends, learning from different teachers and having different experiences.  I think this has been so good for them.  I think it has allowed them to each build confidence in themselves, and has given them the chance to spread their wings a little bit.


When the twins were babies & toddlers, I hated people who would walk by and say, "Double trouble."  Now that they are nearly nine years old, I don't hear "double trouble" anymore.  Now I am mostly only annoyed by people asking them if they ever switch spots at school.  I hate the idea of them trying to trick people, and I wish grown adults wouldn't suggest they do it.  I hate it for two reasons.  One reason is that it's naughty, and I don't appreciate perfect strangers asking my kids if they're done something really naughty.  The other reason, though, is that to me (and hopefully to the twins themselves) they are not interchangeable.  Jack can't just take Logan's place.  Jack is his own person. And despite the fact that Logan has his face, he's himself.  He has his own essence, his own personality, his own place in this world. And vice versa. 

Other than asking about swapping places, people tend to just ask if they're twins and sometimes even if Wyatt is their triplet.  The boys all make me proud, answering kindly, with no sarcasm and no annoyance.  I hope they maintain that kindness forever. 

Other than school issues, I am struggling also with walking them through life as a twin, while I myself am not a twin.  I grew up being inherently myself.  I never struggled to know who I was.  Shelly:  People pleaser. Bookworm. Good student. Kind girl.  Now as a mom I hate not knowing what's right for my boys.  How much do I push to make them to involve each other? Or to share?  When do I need to let them have space? How much space do they need? Should all items be "shared" items, or do they need some things that are only "theirs"?  How do I let Logan be Logan and Jack be Jack without allowing their twin to feel excluded from that sense of identity?

When it comes to homework or chores, I know exactly what the right answer is. 

Do your best.
Try again.
Don't give up.

Work harder.
Be part of the team.
Do a job well.

But when it comes to navigating the relationship when one brother is being clingy and another needs space, I feel completely lost. Grasping for what might be the right answer. Praying that whatever I do is right, and won't ruin forever the relationship they're growing. 


In addition to this year being their first in public school, we have also faced our first medical issues beyond shots & runny noses.  In October Logan had a seizure in the cafeteria during lunch that lead to him eventually being diagnosed with epilepsy.  Following his second seizure in January of this year, his neurologist ordered him anti-seizure meds as well as a follow up MRI. 

When we found out about Logan's epilepsy diagnosis (based on an abnormal EEG), I held it together for weeks.  We had medication adjustments to make and follow up appointments to set, and really, I never let myself stop and feel anything.  

Finally I broke down and cried over it. 

Is it the end of the world? No. It could be so much worse.  Most likely Logan will not be adversely effected by his epilepsy diagnosis.  It will make dental work annoying (dentists HATE epileptics), and he'll have to always make sure he takes his meds, but other than that, it really shouldn't impact him.  I forgot many times as we navigated this new road that my own husband has epilepsy.  And truly the most frustrating part of him having it is remembering his medication when we travel. That's it. Pretty small in the grand scheme of things.

But regardless of how small it is, it is something I wish my child didn't have, so feeling my feelings about that was important and I'm glad they finally bubbled to the surface.

Logan being brave, getting prepped for his MRI.
Double thumbs up!!

I swear I had just come to terms with his epilepsy diagnosis when I got the call that his follow up MRI, which I had scheduled and attended quite nonchalantly, showed another abnormality.  Type 1 Arnold Chiari Malformation.  

There are times when having twins is just fun.  But there are other times when having twins (particularly identical twins) is just plain scary.  Does Jack have Chiari Malformation?  Will Jack eventually have epilepsy as well? We just don't know.  Many illnesses have been studied for heredity, but not all.  And even if there is a correlation, it's rarely true that a disorder is 100% concordant.  In short, there are no definite answers.  That said, I am anxious for our appointment with the neurologist in early May because I do think he will be able to shed at least some light on whether or not we need to be concerned for Jack at this point.


As time continues for our family, and especially as I struggle to chase Carly around the house and when we're out and about, I find myself more and more thankful I got twins first. I was nearly ten years younger, then, just turning 25 when they were born, and honestly, I didn't know any different, so having two babies at once felt normal.  As for now, I will admit, them having each other allows me to let them go in ways I never would if they were singletons. I give them more freedom (like going to the bathroom without me at the store, or riding half way to school) than I would if they were my first born and they didn't have one another.

Looking ahead to next year, as I said, we are considering putting them in the same class because Jack's teacher is moving up to the fourth grade and I adore her. In addition to liking her so much, I love that she already knows Jack & Logan, knows Logan's story of how his epilepsy came about, and is amazing at communicating even the tiniest details to me, which I love.  

That said, I worry that having them in the same class would increase their sense of competition as well as create issues for them with problem-solving in a classroom, when they are only used to dealing with one another at home, in a much more casual setting.  (Translation: I am worried they will wrestle in class or punch one another when they're fighting. Hah!)

So while I wait to meet with their teachers to discuss pros & cons, I am praying. And if you have any thoughts on what we should decide, I'd love to hear any opinions!

I love this quote I found on twins.  
It explains, perhaps, why I struggle so much with parenting mine.

"Both the rivalry and the closeness may be fueled by the same thing: alikeness... You want to be treated the same and you want to be treated differently.  You want to be alike and you want to distinguish yourself."



The Last Babyham

Watching the shadow of Carly's feet dangling over my arm dance above the crib as I laid her down for the night,  I felt a lump in my throat.

Carly is our last baby. 

There. I said it. 

For a while, around her first birthday, we toyed with the idea of having one more.  But honestly, I am full to the brim (with love and responsibility) caring for the four kids we have.  I feel at peace with our decision (no, really, I do!) but... well, I love babies! And I love being pregnant! And I love that each of our amazing kids is the result of our DNA creating an entire new person that never existed before. It's like magic.

 I have to be careful because knowing she's our last could make me sad for every stage, mourning its departure before we've even enjoyed its presence.  Instead I am trying to enjoy every day, knowing tomorrow will bring something new and equally wonderful.  

 In her book The Gift of an Ordinary Day, author & mother Katrina Kenison says, "Being alive, it seems, means learning to bear the weight of the passing of all things."  She also says we need only, "Slow down and pay attention."  So those are my goals currently.  To know that saying goodbye to infancy, tiny onesies & crawling is part of living.  And to be aware of these days & the joy they bring as I live them.  

 Meanwhile, time keeps ticking by, marching the twins closer & closer to their ninth birthday, and Wyatt closer to his sixth.  As for Carly, today she is 15 months old.

At 15 moths Carly still nurses, loves to sneak sips of her brothers' KoolAid on movie nights, and (for the first time ever) let Josh put her to sleep with a warm sippy cup of whole milk.  She can say many words, and is learning new signs everyday.  She also tantrums (thrusting her head backwards when she's mad) and screams bloody murder if things aren't going her way.  We're working on that!

Her favorite thing to play with is stuffed animals and her baby dolls and her favorite food is yogurt covered raisins.  She gives the best hugs, with little pats on your arm or back and makes this "ahh" sound as she snuggles in. 

Basically, she's a joy.  She makes us laugh, and everyday we're grateful she's ours.

I recently read this quote:
"Suddenly, through birthing a daughter, a woman finds herself face to face not only with an infant, a little girl, a woman-to-be, but also with her own unresolved conflicts from the past and her hopes and dreams for the future... As though experiencing an earthquake, mothers of daughters may find their lives shifted, their deep feelings unearthed."
-Elizabeth Debold & Idelissa Malave

That has really resonated with me.  Having Carly has made me think hard about how I talk about myself, how I feel about my body, what I think about the media and their portrayals of what is "beautiful" and lastly about my role as a mother and her (potential) role as a mother.  It is both heavy and exciting stuff. 

What a blessing it will be to navigate the mother/daughter relationship with her.

(I originally read that gem on mytinytribe's page on Instagram)



My Wish For You, Wyatt

My wish for you Wyatt is that you always keep your inquisitive spirit.  I hope you always march to the beat of your own drum, and that you stay joyful no matter what life throws at you.

I want you to find a career that brings you satisfaction 
and a spouse who loves you even more than I do.

I hope that you are always kind 
and find things to be passionate about. 
I also hope you always stay close to your brothers & sister.
You are such a blessing in my life, and I'm so grateful God gave you to me.

I love you more than all the blades of grass on the earth.