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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ben at Six Months

Hey cute boy! Yeah, I'm talking to you...

On Sunday you turned six months. Yesterday was your six month appointment with Dr. Birkenstock. As if we needed your pediatrician to tell us this - you continue to grow just like you should.

"Duh, Mom... I always finish my bottles, just like you like me to."

You now weigh 17 pounds 4 ounces (25th percentile)

You're measuring at 27 1/2 inches (75th percentile)

And, your head is 43 1/2 centimeters (25th percentile)

And those eyes... those blue blue eyes...

Besides those monthly stats, you are rolling all over the place. You will start off on one side of the room and before we know it you're all the way over to the other side. Your crawling is mostly just little pushes with your toes, like a little inch worm. But, we're pretty sure that full-out-crawling is just around the corner.

Your most favorite place to be is outside. You seem to especially love your walks down to the grove of redwood trees in Grandpa's arms or circling the large umbrella tree across the street in your stroller with Grandma.

We sort of accidentally discovered that you love that big purple dinosaur... he does have some pretty catchy tunes that make you smile. We're flying in an airplane, looking out the window watching the clouds go by... Your smiles often turn into delightful squeals. I'm thinking I should make your Daddy a nice purple and green costume. (Not sure how he feels about that, though.)

We've started feeding you Big Boy Food. So far you've tried watermelon, bananas, avocado and steamed carrots. You especially love bananas. We're excited that this time of year will give you the chance to try lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

You are a big talker... if only we could understand all your exciting stories. We hope you don't ever tire of having so much to say. (Although you might have to remind that I said that in a couple of years!)

And, one of my favorite things you do now... when I reach down to pick you up, you've started to reach up toward me. I love it!

We continue to feel that we are the luckiest parents in the world to have you in our arms. There are no words to express the joy you bring into our life.

You are pure joy, my son! Oh, how we love you!

Monday, June 28, 2010


* This is from a moment yesterday when I was alone with both boys asleep in my arms... I was staying as still as possible until Marc returned and could take one of them. Even with a very loud sneeze that I tried unsuccessfully to stifle, all went smoothly. Proof that there are some non-crazy moments around here.

Today marks six weeks since Hugh arrived. We are so happy to report that our days with him, since coming home from the NICU at UCSF, have been gratefully uneventful. He is strong and healthy, seeming almost as if there were never any problems to begin with. Oh, we love him and are glad he is here.

And, today also marks six months since we brought Benjamin home. Arriving at this six month mark is a pretty big deal around these parts. It means that we can now finalize his adoption with the court, which means we can take him to the temple and have him sealed to us, which means he'll be a part of our family forever.

The bad news is that we just found out last week that there were things that were overlooked in our file and there are some things that have to be done before we can submit everything to the court. We're hoping that these extra little steps will be taken care of quickly so that we can move forward with everything.

But, whether the wait is another three weeks or three months, Benjamin is still very much a part of our family... we don't need a judge to tell us that. We love our little Ben so much. And, on days like today, we are especially aware of Tracey and this most precious gift she has given to us. We hope so much for rich blessings to come flooding into her life.

(Tomorrow is Ben's six month appointment and I'm so curious to find out how much he has grown in the last two months... I swear he has doubled in size!)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Growing Boys

I took some photos of my boys yesterday. Benjamin, in typical fashion, was moving all over the place - rolling, scooting, not-quite-crawling. Hugh stayed put, offering mostly just his typical serious look with an occasional glimpse of a smile. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Ben got a hold of Hugh's hand and very quickly pulled it to his mouth. Hugh only tolerated that for a brief ten seconds or so, at which point I had to pry Ben's hands away.

And, here... one of my favorites ever... Hugh's wide-mouth smile at his older brother. 

I can't get enough of these two. I'm not sure life can get any better.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A nice song

I came across this video tonight. It's just about the sweetest thing I've ever heard. You should definitely take the time to take a listen for yourself.

Here are the words:

“I Know That My Savior Loves Me,” Friend, Oct 2002, 46–47

1. A long time ago in a beautiful place,
Children were gathered ’round Jesus.
He blessed and taught as they felt of His love.
Each saw the tears on His face.
The love that He felt for His little ones
I know He feels for me.
I did not touch Him or sit on His knee,
Yet, Jesus is real to me.

I know He lives!
I will follow faithfully.
My heart I give to Him.
I know that my Savior loves me.

2. Now I am here in a beautiful place,
Learning the teachings of Jesus.
Parents and teachers will help guide the way,
Lighting my path ev’ry day.
Wrapped in the arms of my Savior’s love,
I feel His gentle touch.
Living each day, I will follow His way,
Home to my Father above.


Copyright © 2002 by Tami Jeppson Creamer and Derena Bell. All rights reserved. This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial home or church use. This notice must be included on each copy made.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hugh's First Month (and Photos)

Last Thursday marked Hugh's one month birthday. It's really hard to believe.

He now weighs 10 pounds 5 ounces. (40th percentile) 

He is 23 inches tall. (70th percentile)

His head is 39 centimeters. (95th percentile)

He still has his raspy cry. He loves to be held. He has some 3-4 hour stretches of sleep during the night, but also has his fair share of 2 hour stretches. It isn't rare for him to nurse for an hour at a time, every other hour. We clearly get a lot of one-on-one time! The more we get a glimpse of his personality the more we see what a sweet little guy he is.

Hugh and Ben continue to have their cute moments together. This past Sunday when it was just the three of us for a little bit, Hugh had a moment when he got really fussy. I was trying to burp Ben so that I could tend to Hugh and Ben kept twisting his body around to look at Hugh, with what looked like a concerned look on his face. I laid them down close by each other and Ben reached over and very gently rubbed the top of Hugh's head.

They are too cute for words.

Those photos (above) are from two weeks ago.

Here are a few from our walk this morning.

Before the walk:

After the walk:

It's hard to believe Ben used to be as tiny as Hugh... and hard to believe that in just a couple of months that Hugh will be as big as Ben. For now, I'm taking one day at a time... not only does it keep me from getting too overwhelmed, but it also helps me to live in the moment. And, that is something that means so much to me right now.

It's hard to think of a better moment to live in than this one right now.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Renaissance Men

Since I'm still staying home, and away from viruses that might harm my babes, I didn't make it to church today. (Last Sunday someone actually asked my Dad how "the bubble babies" were doing... making light of my overly protective ways. Funny John. I don't mind... at least my babies aren't catching others' sicknesses.) 

Anyway, since I was home (with the help of my Mom for part of the time), we watched Music and the Spoken Word. Appropriately the message today was dedicated to fathers. One message that was highlighted was something referred to as "the Renaissance Man," which basically is a title given to men who are skilled and talented in many different disciplines. Lloyd Newell pointed out that in our society there are many to whom we could give this title, but those men most deserving of it are the fathers who find ways to balance being a hard-working bread-winner and filling the tender role of father.

While I listened to the message, I couldn't help but reflect on the two fathers in my life that mean the most to me - my Dad and my Marc. Here are two men who are Renaissance Men in every way.

* My Dad with Hugh

My Dad always seemed to find the extra time for early morning fishing and camping trips, exploring the outdoors, and spending individual time with each of us. And, now, I adore watching the time he gives to my little boys. A year ago I had an intimate talk with my Dad while at our family reunion. I told him how much longed for the day that I could watch he and my Mom loving and caring for my children, the way I've always watched them care for my nieces and nephews. I was so worried that day wouldn't come in time. But, now that time has come and it brings me so much joy!

* Marc with Ben

And, just for the record, I think Marc deserves the title of Father of the Year. I have been so amazed with how well he has managed wearing all the different hats that he has to wear right now... not only in how he has done it all, but how he has done it cheerfully. He has been Ben's nighttime buddy - taking over bath-time, massage-time, and sleepy-time. Then, in the morning he lets me sleep in with Hugh, bringing me breakfast in bed. During the day he works long, full hours... but still making himself available if I need his extra arms. Then, at night we've managed to find at least a half hour that we spend together talking or watching part of a movie or doing something to keep us connected. On top of "Daddy" and "Husband" and "Designer" he also has a busy church calling that keeps him busy throughout the entire week. I've never felt so lucky to have him as my life's companion.

So, Happy Father's Day to my two favorite Renaissance Men... and to all the other amazing Renaissance Men out there!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Gift of Motherhood

For the most part the last few weeks have been pretty carefree... thanks in large part to my sister and my parents, who have spent most of their daylight hours helping me with my two babies while I try to heal and recover. But, there have still been a few brief moments when I've felt a bit overwhelmed. I think the root of those feelings have been from still feeling like I'm recovering from the c-section, not being able to do everything that I want to do. In addition there is this underlying fear of how I'll ever handle an entire day without any help. I like to call that FOTU - Fear Of The Unknown.

There was one afternoon last week when I was climbing upstairs to get something and on my way up I couldn't keep the tears from coming. I went directly to Marc who was working away in his office. He saw my tears and immediately opened his arms to welcome me. It reminded me of another similar moment, though the tears then were for far different reasons. But just like that moment almost a year ago, Marc wrapped his arms around me, comforting and reassuring me, mixing in some of his humor and making me laugh. Times like these are just a glimpse of why I feel so lucky to be married to him.

In the mix of all these new emotions of being a mother to two little boys, and with long (long) hours of nursing Hugh, I've probably had too much time to think about my new relationship with motherhood.

I've been thinking a lot about the feeling that I've heard expressed that motherhood is an achievement. As one who has experienced great difficulty in my quest to become a mother that sentiment has always felt a little off. An achievement seems to be something you work hard for and have control over the outcome - things like running a certain number of miles or losing weight or getting through an entire day without caving in to the never-ending chocolate cravings... things that most of us have at least some control over.

Becoming a mother, whether through a planned or unplanned pregnancy, adoption, or some other way, ultimately isn't something that any of us really have any control over. I firmly believe that all matters concerning birth and death lie in the hands of God. Some people can get pregnant without trying or wanting to, while others can try every way possible and go through incredibly invasive procedures to make it happen and still it doesn't happen. Is motherhood still considered an achievement when you consider the extremes of those cases?

When thinking about the ways that Benjamin and Hugh both came into my life I know for a fact that I didn't achieve motherhood in either case. Rather, motherhood was given to me. Each situation was a miracle. A gift.

But, I'm quickly learning that just because motherhood was given to me doesn't mean that I'm automatically given all the qualities of being good at motherhood, without any effort on my part.

So, this is what I've decided.

Motherhood is a gift. Not something that can ever be achieved solely by my own efforts.

However, becoming good at motherhood, or becoming a good mother, is something that can be achieved, although still an achievement that requires help from a Higher source.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memorial Day

We made a quick visit to the cemetery on Memorial Day. 

My memories of the twins have been flooding my thoughts lately. I suppose there are a few reasons - the birth of Hugh, the recent walks through the same halls of the hospital where the twins were born, and then last week hearing of a friend losing her baby at about the same point we lost our twins. All of these things have brought memories, images, and feelings to the surface. I'm still trying to sort through them all, but I am grateful for the obvious healing that I've found among all of the memories and emotions.

A year ago, as we were still feeling the sting of death pierce through our broken hearts, I never would have imagined the place we'd find ourselves in this year. 

I don't know if postpartum hormones are the cause, but lately I've been reduced to tears much more frequently than normal. My heart is so full. I spend my days caring for these two precious boys and I can't believe how blessed I've been. I have moments when I start to feel a little overwhelmed by the challenges and responsibilities that have come with these two little ones, but I wouldn't have it any other way. And, fortunately I have wonderful family and friends who have been helping so much. 

Our time at the cemetery ended with Hugh needing an emergency feeding and Ben exploring the texture and smell of the grass. 

I'm looking forward to the day we can tell our boys about their sisters who came before them and the place they hold in our eternal family, and for the suspected role they have played in bringing us all together.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Photos of My Boys

Here are a few photos of Benjamin and Hugh together. I'm realizing it's going to be a challenge to get some decent photos of them at the same time. Individually they seem to be much easier to photograph. Anyway, we'll work on that one.

The hand-holding was totally spontaneous on their part... such sweet little boys!

Here are some photos of Hugh, at two weeks old.

And, here are some of Benjamin in some of his typical positions these days - trying to sit up, sucking on everything within reach, and melting us with his smiles.

We are so grateful for these handsome little boys in our family!