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Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Big Boys

Two days ago all four of us headed out the door just before 8am and headed down the street and around the corner for an appointment with the boys' pediatrician, who we lovingly refer to as Dr. Birkenstock. Two months ago when I made the appointment I thought my idea to schedule their appointments together was brilliant, thinking it would be easier for us and for the doc. While everything ended up going just fine, it definitely wasn't easier and we most definitely won't be repeating that again.

So, the good news is we have two healthy, growing boys. Not like we needed someone else to tell us that, but it's nice to have it confirmed in the numbers.

Benjamin at NINE months is 20 pounds 2 ounces and 29 inches long.

Hugh at FOUR months (+ 10 days) is 16 pounds 4 ounces and 27 1/2 inches long.

Both are in the 95th percentile for both weight and height. 

I still have moments (almost daily) when I pause long enough to let it sink in that this is MY life. These are MY boys. I wonder if there will ever come a time when I won't have to let it sink in anymore. After so many years of so much pain and fear of it never happening, I never would have imagined things would turn out so good. 

Now, I just hope for the same unbelievable outcome for my friends who are still in the middle of the pain and the fear. Dream big, my friends. And don't lose hope. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waking up slow

Nights at our house lately have been a little rocky... for the last two months or so. Just when Ben had started to (more or less) sleep through the night, something threw him off track. Not only has he been waking more during the night, but he wakes up screaming. Some nights aren't as bad as others, but still we are feeling a bit frustrated that we haven't been able to figure out how to help him sleep better at night. 

I've heard that when babies start to go through major changes (like eating solids, crawling, teething, walking, etc...) that their sleep can be disrupted. With that in mind we've tried all kinds of different things to try to solve the problem. Nothing seems to be working. He is really close to getting his two bottom teeth in, so for now we're focusing on that as the culprit.

Anyway, after an almost three hour period of wakefulness in the wee hours of the morning, Hugh decided this morning to wake up earlier than normal. I scooped him up and fed him quick, secretly hoping he might decide to go back to sleep for a couple more hours. But, in his typical adorable fashion, as soon as I finished feeding him, he looked at me with his bright, wide eyes and smiled with his open mouth excitement, apparently for the start of this brand new day.

But, not feeling quite ready to gallop our way downstairs, I laid both of our heads down on my pillow. It was one of those mornings when I just needed to wake up slow. So, I smothered him with kisses on his cheeks and in return he told me one of his fascinating stories. Even though I can't understand them at all, there is no mistake when he talks that he has important things to say.

As I laid there next to him, with his little hand gently touching my cheek, I felt this feeling of renewal come over me. Physically I was exhausted after another long night of little sleep, but emotionally and mentally and spiritually I couldn't have felt any better. 

After an exhausting day the other day, I was thinking back to the years we had before welcoming Ben and Hugh into our life. Mainly thinking of the lack of responsibility that gave us the flexibility to do anything at any time - going out for a jog or a bike ride, take a spontaneous day trip together, going camping and hiking, going on longer vacations to faraway places, watching a movie without interruption, staying up late and sleeping in early. 

And, as fun and exciting as those days were (and I feel so grateful that we took advantage of our situation and actually made a lot of great memories together), this morning as I snuggled with my littlest boy I knew there wasn't anything better than what I have right now. 

As I type this, both my babies are taking their morning naps (hallelujah!) and I've just taken my shower and gotten dressed for the day (yes, I know it's after noon). And, so as to not wake Ben who is napping on his make-shift bed of blankets on the floor in the front room, I'm sitting on the kitchen floor, leaning against the fridge (which hides me from his view)... because I know if he sees me when he stirs just the slightest bit that naptime is over. And, he desperately needs his naptime today.

So, even though I can't even sit comfortably on the couch and write to my heart's content like I used to, I'd give it all up again and again to have what I now I have. Long, sleepless nights and all.

As long as they are followed by mornings like I had this morning.

Jack Johnson really got it right, didn't he? 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Together Forever

* Sealing Day - Sept. 4, 2010 (both boys were so tired!)

Walking into that room, full of light and so much love, I was struck with how hard it was to keep the tears from coming. We were surrounded by both of our families and the dearest of friends, many who had traveled long distances to be with us. It was a big day for our little family. And it meant so much to share it with those who were able to be there.

Marc and I sat next to each other, much like we did the day we were married eight years ago, listening to words of wisdom from an inspired man - President Hunter. (As in, the son of the late prophet. I had the privilege of getting to know him and his wife during the 18 months I worked in the temple.) While I was pleased to hear him speak to us, I have to admit that my mind was racing with thoughts about Ben and Hugh and I felt anxious for them to join us in that room of light and love. It felt wonderful, and yet not nearly complete without them.

Then from the open door and down the hall I heard the unmistakable sounds of my babies. I always wondered how mothers could tell their baby's cry from other babies... and I still don't have the answer, just the confirmation that you just do.

Ben and Hugh entered the room and, clearly, this was heaven. There in that little room my family was together. I feel certain that the spirits of those who have passed on are privy to special occasions like this one and by the overwhelming feeling alone, I was sure of it. While I don't talk much about Elliana and Emmaline these days, in public or in private, the reality of who they are and the place they have in my life and in our family comes at times with such great force. I feel at peace with where they are and I feel so grateful for the connection I still am able to feel with them.

Ben was dressed handsomely, all in white. His blue eyes were extra bright. While he was a bit more squirmy than usual, I loved that it was all because of the gorgeous chandelier hanging above our heads that captured his attention and demanded to be examined. It was just like him - our little observer. Plus, he loves light. I hope his literal love for light is just as strong figuratively. And, I hope one day he'll know how much he, himself, has been a light in our lives. 

The official part was over before we knew it. We were told 10 days prior by a judge that he was legally ours. On this special day we were told by a man with special authority from God Himself that Benjamin was ours eternally. The words that were expressed are too sacred to repeat, but the feelings and the mental images are seared in my mind and heart forever.

While Ben and Hugh are much too young to probably remember this day as they grow older, I look forward to sharing the details with them and telling them their story of how they came to be a part of our family. I've long gotten the feeling that they didn't come to us in their pair because of how great Marc and I are (because, if anything, we're below average on any measurable scale), but because of the bond these two boys share and the bond I'm guessing they shared before they were born. Even now, at their young ages, we're already getting glimpses of that bond and it is the most beautiful thing to witness.

The day Ben became ours forever is a day that might not ever be beat. It stands alone with the day we were married. I am grateful that the brief moments in that room of light and love were peaceful and calm. Especially since the days leading up to it and the days following were a bit on the crazy side, to say the least. 

But, that day... the day my little family was together... gave me a tiny glimpse into what awaits us eternally.

To say "I can't wait" is the understatement of the century.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Catching up quick

Wow. What a week! It's hard to believe it was just a week ago we were surrounded by family and friends for our big weekend with Ben's sealing and both boys' blessings. The whole weekend is kind of a blur. We were rushing around, as my mom would say, "like chickens with their heads cut off." Recovering from it all has made this week feel extra long... I think that's mostly from the nostalgia that always seems to linger after loved ones have left. Everything has felt so quiet and empty, even with two active and loud babies to keep up with.

Speaking of... I'm starting to realize how quickly Hugh is catching up to Ben. When Marc came downstairs this afternoon from getting Hugh up from his nap, the first thing he asked me was if I had laid him down on his back. For naps, I always lay him on his tummy because he really sleeps better that way, so I told Marc that. Well, apparently the little guy had rolled himself over to his back at some point during (or after) his nap. We were a little surprised only because he hasn't shown any sign of rolling over at all when we're huddled over him. And, it's interesting since Ben's first rolls were from back to tummy. Funny that they're already doing things differently. 

I'm hoping to share some thoughts about our experience last weekend very soon, but for now I only have time to leave you with a few recent photos. 

* Our International Fashionistos - Ben in an outfit we bought in Australia, Hugh in a onesie from Italy... besides that - check out their sizes!

* Spontaneously holding hands

* Hugh with Grandpa

* Hugh with Aunt Celinda, and Daddy in the background

* Ben at the park with Grandpa, possibly dreaming of rockets

* Ben showing off his smooth crawling skills

* When Hugh stretches he always points his toes up... so cute!

* Ben's favorite time of day!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Best Weekend Ever

A Sealing on Saturday.

Two blessings on Sunday.

Unforgettable memories made and shared with family and friends who made great sacrifices and effort to be with us.

Needing just a little time to recover from the excitement before sharing some of the bigger details here.

But, honestly, the best weekend.