Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Pictures!

(Christmas Eve 2009)

Last year everyone came to us so that we could spend the majority of our time at the hospital with the two most important people in our lives.

(from 1st bday photo shoot)

Christmas card picture 2010 :)

This year we traveled... and I think the boys fared a bit better than their parents! ;) We had Christmas with the McKay's on the 12th in New Baltimore, near St. Clair Shores. Went to Peacock to visit Santa the next weekend. Went to Grammy and Grampa's Christmas Eve, celebrated with the Main's Christmas morning. Went to Grandma and Papa's for Christmas afternoon and evening. Then went to Troy Sunday for the Maier Christmas! Got all that? ;) I can't wait to stay home for the New Year weekend!

Anyway, here's a few pictures to tide you over

Tree picture with the McKay cousins

Conner and Somer playing with Simon

Ahh, Christmas present chaos

Grammy helping Simon open his present

New "just our size" radio flyer wagons from GG!

Elliott and Grammy being silly

Simon, wiped out with Aunt Erin

Elliott and Aunt Sandy checking out Grammy's tree

Papa and the boys! :)

Uncle Brudder's new shirt!

Grandma's "I love Grandma frame"!

Break time on our new... pillows? Cute anyway!

Smothering Auntie Julie with kisses!

Daddy and Simon reading their new book

Adorable Jake and Auntie having fun... of course!

*Edit - I want to make sure to say that I wouldn't have changed a thing about our Christmas. I loved being able to see most of our family. Yes, it was ragged, yes it was exhausting, and yes it was tons of fun! I'm not one of those keep Christ in CHRISTmas... I'm just not. I do know that where the holiday stemmed from, but we've always celebrated Santa Claus and Rudolph and presents, oh glorious presents! ;) But I think the thing that stays constant no matter who you celebrate - the biggest celebration in all of it being together with friends and family. So yes I am looking forward to staying home this weekend, but I'd travel across the state three more times for Christmas with my boys!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Parental Privilege

I realize that all of my blog posts lately (as few as there have been) are about my boys, but I can’t help myself. I know every mom knows this feeling, and it’s totally indescribable – the way that you love your child. I constantly remind myself that they are mine. Those angels are something that Barry and I made and achieved perfection – in ways only a mother can see (or seems fathers and grandparents too!)

Last night I had the opportunity to lie on the floor and watch them play. I thought for a minute about getting the camera and thankfully realized that it wasn’t anything I could capture on camera so I just lied there and soaked up every second I could. They played independently and then Simon would watch, and smile at Elliott crawl to a new toy and discover it like brand new. Simon would watch from the gate that he had just successfully walked the entire length of, hanging on, studying and having no idea how his mom was marveling at a little boy that only learned to crawl a few weeks earlier. At one point they were both playing with the same musical book – we have two, they each had their own – and they would both steel both from the other, back and forth, back and forth. When I did follow them and start to play a game of chase I was amazed that as soon as Elliott even thought that I might be chasing him he crawled as fast as he could behind the swing were I think he was sure I couldn’t “get him” :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

STOP! Stop time now!

I can’t believe that my BABY boys turned 10 months old this weekend. They’re still babies (very much so in my head), and yet every day they do things to the contrary. I’m sure I’ve said it before but you can’t know how fast it goes until they’re your own. My heart almost aches to think I’ll have two one year olds in less than 2 months. LESS THAN 2 MONTHS? How did that happen? I started thinking about their birthday party, feeling a little silly, like I was jumping the gun but they reality is that it'll be here before I know it.

We’ve had busy days, they attended their first tailgate. Mommy went on her first overnight trip away on her own, girl’s weekend if you will. We had a fairly big Labor Day party, where the boys hung with the best of ‘em. Just yesterday they had their first trip to the cider mill so we could have dessert to celebrate Grammy’s bday a bit early. Of course to them it was just another place to bang on a table, but for me it was another instance where they’re gaining their independence in leaps and bounds. They’re eating all kinds of foods, lots they don’t like and some they love. They thought they were such hot shots when we gave them sweet potato “fries”, eating “real people food”! And they have lots of teeth!! Elliott has his four front teeth and just this morning I could finally feel Simon’s bottom left poking through. They’re both mobile. Elliott a bit more than Simon, but he won’t be far behind, I’m sure. Simon is holding his own bottle! Just this morning he looked so big when I was leaving – Grammy had him laying in the boppy feeding himself. Elliott prefers if you do it for him… sigh ;) We just went through all their clothes again (thanks Mom!), and actually put them away… I put sleepers in their drawers that I was sure would be a little loose… Simon’s legs were too long to “wear” the feet!

And on Wednesday Barry and I will celebrate our 3rd year of marriage. Talk about time flying by! But in some ways it seems like a lifetime already. And I don’t mean that in the funny, cliché sort of way either. I did marry the guy so of course I feel about him like I never have another, but we just seem to fit. I feel so completely open and free with him, that I don’t even think of it as such. With some people you keep yourself guarded, and you’re aware that you do… with my husband I don’t keep anything from him and I don’t worry about telling him too much, or seeing too much, or anything really. Our life is not a fairy tale, but some days I have to remind myself of that, it really is that good. I believe it’s because we’re happy. I will admit that sometimes with the bab, er, I mean boys L I get distracted from being a wife. It used to be that I would dilly dally going home so that I didn’t have to be there long without Barry. Now, I can’t get home fast enough because I know I have two (most of the time) smiling boys waiting for me. But I also know that’s because their dad isn’t far behind and he’s made a home for his family, where we all want to be, one full of love, generosity, compromise, caring and fun.

I love my family and I'm so lucky to have them!

(Hoping to add some pictures a little later!)

Friday, September 3, 2010

My sweet baby boys

They’re 9 months old now. Wow. They couldn’t be more different. In a lot of ways (well more than one!) we’re lucky to be experiencing two babies, for the first time mind you, the same age. I keep thinking, wait, he’s doing that so he should be doing it too! No, they’re two different babies! Then I wonder how odd it must be when you have the second after you’ve had the first. I know I would go back to when so and so was 9 months old and compare everything the new baby is doing to what they were doing then… and worry, or wonder, or be sure I had a genius. But we get to watch them be completely separate and learn from each other at the same time.

Elliott is a spit fire. When he was almost two months old and still in the hospital one of the mom’s once told me “I feel sorry for you when you take him home…” after he’d had a screaming fit just before I got there. He’s not terribly temperamental, well ok, maybe he is. His mood changes with the wind, but 9 times out of 10 he has an irresistible grin… the other times he’s just mad you’re not entertaining him. When he’s sitting on your lap at night, when it’s time to go to bed he’ll sit and wait for the chance to catch someone’s eye and grin until he can’t anymore. He just likes to be… well, just to be! He’s (army) crawling everywhere! Especially if Simon has anything! It just seems to be that much more interesting if his brother has it and he makes a bee line for it. He never stops moving, or talking. He rarely takes naps and we’ve not been successful in putting him in the swing to sleep for quite some time. He figured out that’s what it does, puts him to sleep, so he fights it with all he has! He’s quite a charmer, in every sense. He knows he is but there’s something terribly innocent about it. He loves food. I can’t say he’s loved everything we’ve given him so far, but he eats it anyway! He’s got his first two teeth too, with hardly any complaints. When he was sick you’d barely know it. He still had to see everything that was going on, and be part of it too. He was still bouncing around, despite his terrible cough. One of his favorite things to do is watch cars drive by… he’ll be in the middle of something, hear a car and have to crane his neck around to see it whiz by!

My sweet Simon is just so sweet! He’s very much the observer. He’s content to watch and learn and take it all in. I think he’s got us all fooled. He’s willing to let us be cautious of Elliott and then once he’s got it all figured out… watch out! The other day my mom said he studied the tage on one of their toys for a good 15 or 20 minutes! When we brought him home he had some sensory issues, an immature nervous system that really was quite a big thing to overcome. And now that he has, he’s a totally different baby, my little courageous lion. Like Elliott, when he was sick he didn’t complain. He had an ear infection and other than the fever you never would have known. He was a little cuddlier than normal, which is quite a bit! He’s so laid back. I love when he just wants to sit on my lap and watch what’s going on and snuggle in… then I love those times when he wants to sit on my lap and jump around and sing and yell too! He’s so easy to go to sleep too. On a bad night he’ll whimper for a bit and then fall right asleep. Sometimes he’ll just lay his head down and before you know it almost, he’s asleep. He’s always been our eater, rarely leaving a drop leftover in the bottle. Food however has been a different challenge. Bananas, nope. Avocado, no way. So far sweet potatoes have been… OK. But he’ll sit in his chair and clamp his mouth shut before he’ll let you “put that glop in my mouth!” He’s not easily fooled either, it’ll take him 2 or 3 bites of cereal before he’ll give you a wide open mouth if you’ve just tried to sneak something else “yucky” in. He’s so funny. You never know what will make him laugh, and he has the best laugh! A great big belly laugh!

I could go on and on, and I’m sure I’ll edit this 10 times before the end of the weekend but I have to get this out there now, I don’t want to forget any of these special quirks or times with these amazing gifts! I'm also sure that they'll change ten times over the course of the weekend too and this does little justice to describe them. You have to know them and know them you have to spend time with them.

I take special solace in knowing that no one will ever know them like I do. Like their Mom does. The special way they look as if to say, it's OK Mom, or I need you Mom, or to know what cry is real and what cry is a test to see how far they can get. Of course I'm sure I won't know them the same way their Dad does, or their Grandma's. But then I suppose that's the miracle of having children.

For now, I’ll leave you with a couple pictures of them that kind of speak for themselves!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

SO grateful

We have so much help. I think I’ve mentioned it before. I hope I have. I know I have when I talk to people and they ask how we manage being new parents with twins no less. I often reply with, “I’m not sure we know how to be new parents… fully”. When both boys were in the hospital we had TONS of help and guidance from the wonderful staff at the RNICU. Then when Simon came home both Grandma’s were there on a moments notice if needed, and most times just knew to be there. Mostly for comfort for me, I think.

At first when Elliott came home, the first couple nights we had both babies we’d wake up and I’d look at Barry and say “what are we going to do?!” I was terrified that we’d never sleep again, wouldn’t be giving the right one the right thing at the right time. He’d look at me and simply say “we’re doing it…” It didn’t take long for me to realize he was right once again, we just had to do it, and we were.

But really I suppose I always knew that when we needed advice or a nap, someone would be there. When I went back to work, the Grandma’s stepped in and covered the whole week, while the boys were still gaining immune systems and we were waiting out the dreaded cold and flu season. Then when they went to daycare, we had the benefit of still having Grandma’s at the house every week. You see, they don’t just watch babies, they do dishes… and laundry… and pictures… and are so hands on, you wouldn’t believe. So much so that I almost start with anxiety when Wednesday rolls around and I know we have four whole days when we’re on our own (as if any of the grandparents wouldn’t come running if we needed)! How will we manage, do we know what to do?!? Do we know how to be parents? Can we take care of a household?

Then we have a night like last night. All four of us, just the four of us, lay on the floor; talking, laughing, goo-ing and gaga-ing, rolling, playing, and resting. The bottles got washed, the babies got fed, and they even had baths. The laundry stayed in the dryer to be folded later, mom and dad ate separately, and we managed. We had fun. So while I’m ridiculously grateful for the help we have, I relish in rolling on the floor, with just the four of us!

I also have to add, our boys are surrounded by so much love - I’m astounded by it literally almost everyday. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few others than their grandma’s! I think there’s been 3, maybe 4 weekends that Papa Maier has missed visiting with the boys; their GG makes sure to see them at least once a month (and I’m sure that Great Uncle Terry and Great Aunt Sandy aren’t far behind that); and of course their cousin Jackson, although he doesn’t get to decide on when he visits, he always showers the babies with attention and love… and fun! Not to mention all the other family and friends that are always asking about how they're doing, even if they can't visit; like Grandpa Cook and Great Aunt Terri. We're so lucky, and our boys are even luckier!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Half Birthday!

I had this written a month ago, but I wanted to add the pictures. Then the computer I've been using quit working, so my lovely husband brought home a brand new (bigger) one, I've loaded pictures so now I'm posting!

Whew, what a weekend! The boys got threw another two days of daycare, seemingly unscathed. Elliott showed his true colors and had to get a new outfit… twice. Simon fell asleep at about 6 Friday night after I got them home, and beside two bottles, slept until the next morning!

I was still recovering from a head cold, and Barry came home Friday afternoon not feeling well. Of course he had something completely different than I did. By Saturday afternoon I had to cuthim off from the boys, finally realizing how bad he was. I was glad I had called off the “half birthday party” I had planned for Saturday afternoon. Barry and I had taken turns taking naps up to that point.

Unlike my previous post, I was bound and determined we were goingto have “half cakes” to celebrate. Truth is when I made them Thursday night I fully intended to have the party. Since they were alreadymade I figured I had to frost them, what’s a cake without frosting?!? And by the time that was doneand they didn’t turn out (I promise boys, I’ll order cakesfor your 1st bday!) it didn’t matter much what the writing on them looked like…

So when my dad came over Sunday afternoon (the first company we had all weekend) I quick wrote on them for photo opps!
Here they are with Papa and Grammy (who had arrived for her sitting duties the next day)

So now they have pictures for their scrapbooks and something they can torment me with when I’m old and gray… ah, memories!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I always have these “visions” of the way things are “supposed to be”. They rarely go that way, even before kids, but now especially. You know, the kind like Laura Ingalls and family running through the tall grass, all smiles… Or a picnic under the "old oak tree" in the middle of "the field"

I had visions of our family of four being outside together; the boys in their bouncies and mom and dad getting yard work done.

I had visions of getting their 6 month pictures taken and capturing those angelic faces on film so we could capture them perfectly, at this age.

I had visions of dressing them up in American flag shirts and having them hold flags, sitting by the flag outside, getting a couple more pictures.

It was our first holiday weekend together, just the four of us. We had been alone for the first time since we went back to work, during the week. We survived two days of daycare and no Grandma and no Grammy. Just the four of us. We were going to get things done around the house, venture out a little…

It only barely went that way… maybe ¼ that way.

We were outside for about 45 minutes. I had it planned; we were going to work around the house according to the shade. We made it through one side. I went inside with the boys and Barry stayed outside and worked alone.

Of course they didn’t both smile at the same time for pictures, they were both tired, Elliott pooped up his back (after we were done, thankfully, but later he threw up twice) and the sales person did an awful job helping us pick sizes, poses, etc. Of course they’re cute – they’re pictures of our boys; just not what was in my head.

Yesterday, Memorial Day, was full of occupying babies so that they weren’t both screaming at the same time. It w as probably a mix of being at daycare for two days, being outside the next, pictures after that and generally not feeling well… but they weren’t happy most of the day. Luckily Elliott only threw up once - in the morning, and Simon’s nose had quit spouting after EVERY sneeze, maybe every third. We did put the flag out, for about 2-3 hours before it started raining.

This is Elliott after pictures, passed out with Grandma

This is how tired Simon was after pictures - the next morning

It very well could have been that they are teething… WHAT?!?! My babies are teething? They’re babies!! HOW is that possible?

OK, stop with the visions… live in the moment. Keep what you have instead of imaging what you think you want. They’re already 6 months old. WHAT?! You ALWAYS hear people say that it goes so fast, you can’t imagine it. We heard it A LOT, from EVERYONE. But you CAN NOT IMAGINE, you can not explain how impossibly fast time goes.

Elliott and Simon are half a year old, already!! When I look back to that time in the dead of winter, what now feels like we could have been thrown into some sort of strange universe - recovering from surgery, being mom to two brand new babies, traveling back and forth between our new house and the hospital for two long months – it seems like a lifetime ago, already! So much has happened, they change every single day, and at some points I might have wished things had gone a little differently, but for the most part I wouldn’t change a thing! We aren’t running through tall grass, but what we are doing is somehow ;) much, much better!

Visions are nice, but I’m saving them for my nighttime dreams.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

We're back! For a minute anyway...

Now this is silly, I haven't written here because there's SO much to catch you all up on... but then there's so much that isn't written because I'm waiting to catch you up... falling farther behind. I hope I remember most of the things I want to write here and actually do it some day, but for now you'll have to start in the middle. I'm not going to miss anymore!

Today is the boys first day at daycare... I dreaded it. And honestly the part I dreaded worst was trying to figure it out logistically. How in the world were we going to get ready, get both boys ready, fed, take them to daycare and still get to work on time?! I will catch you up on this part... we've been incredibly spoiled! They're just starting daycare now because we didn't want to expose them to too many germs during cold and flu season. They were born in December, peak cold and flu season. They're were two months premature so they're especially susceptible to RSV which can be very dangerous for babies. Now here's the spoiled part... both of their Grandma's have been watching them, at our house for the past 3 1/2 months! They come to us! The Grandpa's have given up their wives for the better part of weeks so that they can help take care of our family! We have no idea what it takes to get out of the house... we've done it for doctors appointments and a couple family gatherings, we even made it over night, once. But to do it and be gone all day, for us to be gone from them all day, how do we do that?! I think that last part is key. No one knows babies like their parents, and in our case, like their Grandma's too. How do we get them ready for complete strangers to take care of? What if Elliott needs to be rocked and they don't know to do it? What if Simon needs to be cuddled, and they don't do it right? If I'm so worried about all this, how come I didn't cry when I left? Or all the way to work?It hit me like a ton of bricks when I was envisioning how my day would go until I pick them up. I was thinking of what I would say when I called (because I was most certainly going to) - "Hi, this is Simon and Elliott Cook's mom, Beth" - verbatim of what I said when I called the NICU 2/3 times a day in December and January. This isn't new to them. Yes, they are used to us, and our routine, but they'll adapt. Just like they have from the time they were born. I think for this point though, the more important thing for me to remember is that this isn't new to me either, as a new mom I had to learn immediately what it was like to leave my babies in the hands of complete strangers. I learned that even though I didn't always like what was happening, I knew that they were well cared for.

And the bottom line now, is that I know they'll be well cared for at daycare too.

I know that ALL those germs they're being exposed to now, is somehow better for them in the long run.

I know that making bonds with new people is important for their development. They're making friends now that they could possibly have through elementary school, middle school maybe even high school.

I know that tonight will probably be a long, cranky night from so much 'newness'.

I also know that because I know these things, I'm doing the best that I can for them - the best I know how.

Not too bad looking for being up so early (and in the middle of the night - Elliott decided he was hungry, which is unusual - of course!)

So, we were up at 5:45, we both showered, the boys were fed and dressed. We took a diaper bag full of things I'm sure they won't even begin to need half of. We took more than enough bottles. Barry was able to go with us for their first day too; so they had Mom, Dad and Grandma to wish them well on their first day. They didn't even seem to notice. They did notice that even though they had toys in their hands there were a WHOLE lot more in the basket next to them!

Hey Dad, what are these things? Where are we anyway?

Never mind - TOYS!

It's OK Mom, we'll be fine!

I just called: I got it a little backwards - "Hi, this is Beth Cook, Simon and Elliott's mom..." They're doing fine, eating well. Simon hadn't slept much, catnaps here and there. Elliott was still sleeping, had been for almost 2 hours! Tonight should be interesting!

I'm also going to post a couple unfinished posts that I wrote way back and saved as drafts, thinking I'd go back and edit and/or finish them. No time now, you get what you get!

TWINS! Our journey to finding out about TWO at once!

I was going to document every single step of our journey - I didn't get very far, but you may as well be privy to at least this much ;)

Getting Started

There's not much to say here, thankfully, as much as I was worried (only because that's what I do, is worry) I thought we'd have all kinds of problems "trying". But Barry and I had thought about March - just after our "baby - moon" to Costa Rica (which was wonderful and still WILL BE POSTED some day!) - okay lets see what happens when we don't prevent and not necessarily "try" (which I was trying to tell myself to take some self-induced pressure off), which only lasted about 3 months before we figured it out!

Finding Out

I had a routine doctor appointment scheduled for Tuesday May 19th. Barry was scheduled to work late that night so he was going in late - which meant he was home while I was getting ready. I thought, hmm, I have tests, I don't think so, but he's here, I don't want to be surprised at the doctor and then have to wait until 9 pm or so before I can tell him... if it's positive. So I took a test and almost immediately is started showing two pink lines - positive. I stared at it for a while and then said "Uh honey, you wanna come look at this?" completely shaking. Here I had prepared myself for at least 6 months of worry and trying and... OMG... we work! The second pink line was fading in and out a bit because it hadn't been the full recommneded time so Barry says "that one is kind of light... what does that mean?" I told him that when one of these tests was wrong it was almost always a false negative... not a false positive, we were pregnant. Unbenonced to me he went to work that day not assuming we were. My doctor appointment got canceled and rescheduled for the next day - I then found out the next day that they don't do pregnancy tests in the office anyway. That night I picked up another test that says "PREGNANT" of "NOT PREGNANT", clearly. I had sent a picture to Barry but he hadn't seen it before I talked to him. He said he was glad that he heard it from me over the phone instead of from a picture... I figured he'd know all day - I did?!? ;) (This is my post, he can retract anything on his own post, but this is how I remember it). I went to the doctor the next day and they drew blood to confirm. We left for a road trip to GA with my parents the next day, but I was able to get the call to confirm, yup, pregnant :)

Original draft post date and time: 8/17/09 2:54PM

Just over a year ago...

... we found out we were pregnant! This is from that day...

I’m sitting here at my desk in dis-belief. I took a home test this morning that had two pink lines, meaning pregnant. Barry looked at it and said “it’s not that pink…” ;) Poor guy! He's got a lot to learn, and it's going to happen pretty quickly! I took the test this morning because I have my yearly physical with the doc today, and going into it I wasn’t sure if I’d be newly pregnant or menstruating… I knew if I found out at the doctors I’d freak out a little, we had the tests at home, Barry was home with me since he was going in late since he’ll have to stay late, I figured I’d just see. I hadn’t felt different at all. Until I knew… now I’m hot and nauseous… yeah, I know, it’s going to be a long 9 months!

Original draft post date and time: 5/19/09 9:42 AM