6 week circus / by Martha Keyes

Well, we are 6 weeks into this circus! Who knows when I'll actually be able to finish and publish this post. It will likely be closer to 7 weeks by that point, but hey! You gotta write when you have the time. My new motto is "carpe diem," because I've realized I really have to seize any down time I have. It's the only way to do anything aside from feed and change babies.

The last couple weeks have been great and difficult and discouraging and hopeful all at once. I feel like I'm finally being able to really appreciate some of the lovely parts of parenting and also becoming nostalgic as I watch the babies grow. Just today, both babies shed their first actual tear. I'm sure I'm going to be seeing wayyyy more of those tears than I want to over the years, so it was sad to see the tearless crying phase end so abruptly. 

A blurry, tender first tear for Jonah

A blurry, tender first tear for Jonah

We've started getting out of the house a tad more with the babies, mostly because I NEED it. Thankfully there have been some nicer, sunnier days. A couple weeks ago we met up with our friends Ali and Shane whose baby Rowe is about four weeks older than our twins. We took a walk together up Hobble Creek Canyon, and I stopped and watched the sky because IT WAS MY FIRST TIME SEEING BLUE SKIES IN FOREVER. And I couldn't believe how incredibly beautiful the combination of blue skies, passing clouds, and the snowy, foresty mountains was. We also took the babies to Walmart one day--just getting a bit braver by the outing!

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, but Brandon happened to have a super busy day of home-showings, so he had to be gone from about 10:30 til 7 which meant I would be alone all day. Thankfully he ended up coming home early, and we were able to enjoy a freezer meal I had made before the babies were born plus a Sodalicious soda and two sugar cookies--all while feeding babies and watching Netflix. Such was Valentine's Day for us :) We will be going tout to celebrate Valentine's and my birthday during this next week. 

Anyway, Brandon's wonderful cousin Dayla came to help me out for a couple hours since the babies were quite fussy. We went out on a walk which calmed the babies down nicely--they don't like getting strapped into their carseats, but they do like it once we're moving! When Dayla left, Jonah was sleeping and Micah had been fed and changed (the boys love to tag team eating and naps during the day). I needed to pump (it seems like I always am needing to pump), so I thought I'd get Jonah up to feed him while I pumped and while Micah was content. Ha. Ha. Ha. Naturally Micah got fussy immediately as I started pumping and feeding Jonah. So I tried to juggle the babies, keeping Jonah happily eating and satisfying Micah's need to be held and bounced, all with two bottles hanging off my chest. It really is a circus. My level of success was questionable. I've learned that caring for twins means having to be okay with one of the babies crying. So many times you just. can't. meet both of their needs at once. It's really awful to hear your baby cry and want to respond but not be able to, but that's the reality of things. I finished pumping and feeding Jonah amidst many cries and then changed Jonah's diaper (which makes him cry). Teddy seems to have an issue with the babies' cries when they get especially intense, and he was dashing around the nursery like a mad-dog. It was kind of comical. I finished changing Jonah and then just said to myself, "Alright, we've got to get out." So, I strapped two crying babies into their carseats for the second time that day, and I put them in the car, and we headed out. I wasn't even sure where I was going at first, but they calmed down, and I decided I'd head to the mall to use a gift card I've had sitting in my wallet for months and months. It was a brave decision, but I really desperately want to feel more independent with these babies, and I knew I just needed to rip off the bandaid of getting out with them on my own. And it wasn't so bad once we got out the door! 

My "I hope this was a good idea" face. Also, ironically, the boys looked cute but weren't seen by anyone since their carseat covers were on the entire time. I, on the other hand, looked like death but was the one showing my face in public despite that. I was just that desperate to get out.

My "I hope this was a good idea" face. Also, ironically, the boys looked cute but weren't seen by anyone since their carseat covers were on the entire time. I, on the other hand, looked like death but was the one showing my face in public despite that. I was just that desperate to get out.

This morning we actually got out the door to go exercise a bit. We all walked (including Teddy) to the high school and went around the track. Brandon ran a couple laps with Teddy while I walked the boys at a brisk pace in the stroller, then we traded. It was my first exercise in many moons, and it felt really good.

Teddy got a much-needed haircut

Teddy got a much-needed haircut

I've lost a lot of muscle tone (not that I had much to begin with...), but I'm hoping to get out of the house every day for a nice walk at the very least. That's pretty much my only option for exercise at this point of the babies' lives. Later on, I hope to be able to do some weights and go jogging with them. I was lucky to go back to my pre-pregnancy weight right after having the boys, but that doesn't mean my body looks like it did pre-pregnancy. The numbers on the scale really aren't a trustworthy indicator of health. My body has changed (including my feet being bigger), and that's okay. I still have tummy flab, I have some definite love handles, and I'm just weaker in general. My focus, though, is just to feel healthier! It's actually quite tough to maintain a healthy diet when you're making milk for two. Breastfeeding helps you lose pregnancy pounds and helps shrink the uterus back to its normal size, but it also makes it tough to lose weight in other ways. I need 1,000 extra calories each day just to make the milk the boys need--sounds awesome, right? Okay, it kind of is. BUT when you combine that need with complete lack of time, it means that I grab whatever snack is quickest, and that usually means whatever is the least healthy. I seriously have the appetite of an elephant, so I eat and drink constantly. Never in my life have I even eaten the half of what I eat currently. Everytime I've stepped on the scale, I expect to have gained a few pounds, but making breastmilk is magic, and so far, I haven't gained any weight despite the number of rice crispy treats, donuts, cookies, bread, and cereal I chow down on daily. Whether my body is happy with my diet is another matter entirely, but at the moment, I don't have the time or mental capacity to figure out how to get the calories I need from things like celery and spinach. 

For a while there I wasn't pumping quite enough breastmilk to meet the babies' needs, so we had to supplement with a couple ounces of formula each day. Our favorite nurse Brooke from Timp Regional Hospital snuck us a ton of Neosure formula which we were using. Well, we came to find out that it doesn't agree with our boys, even in small amounts. The iron in the formula does a number on their bodies (and it is impossible to find formula without iron). They both went from pooping 6 times a day to not pooping for 4 or 5 days. They both have lots of discomfort from gas as well, and it's really heartbreaking to see them so uncomfortable for such a huge percentage of the day. Thankfully I'm now pumping enough to meet their needs which tends to be 50-60 ounces a day. I feel like a milk machine, and I know that my heart will bound with unfettered joy the day I put away the pump for good. I'm grateful for the option to pump, but it is not easy. Some days I feel discouraged by how neverending it all is--feed, pump, change, rock, feed, pump, change, rock. I admit to feeling envious of Brandon sometimes, as he leaves the house and gets a break from the same routine. But I also know I am so very blessed to be able to stay at home with the babies and care for them. Many men and women would give anything to be in my situation. 

The boys are starting to be a bit more fun--Jonah in particular has started smiling intentionally quite a bit. He loves sneezing! He's also started making more cooing noises which are so adorable. Yesterday, Micah actually smiled at me twice. They are both maintaining eye contact and tracking us so well now! Their necks are getting so strong, and Micah really enjoys tummy time on the Twin Z Pillow. We get a huge kick out of Jonah's enormous burps during feeding. He's a messy eater since he gets agitated from his tummy troubles, and it results in him swallowing lots of air and spilling lots of (precious) milk. 

We have been so blessed to have lots of help from our Moms. Brandon's mom Janette came to help out for a week at the end of January. It was so great to have her meet the babies, since she and my father-in-law happened to have to leave back to California just 36 hours before I ended up being induced. She organized our house, helped feed and change babies, and cooked for us. It was so nice!

My mom has been back helping us a majority of the time since Janette left, and I can't even tell you how wonderful it is to have her help. She has cooked us every single meal while she's been here, which is a feat all its own. But she is always holding, feeding, or rocking a baby--sometimes both. It's been lovely to have that quality time with her, though I feel guilty for letting her help as much as she does--so often she leaves our house only to drive to one of my siblings' homes to babysit for them. My mom has birthed and raised eight kids, so she has a wealth of knowledge and wisdom that are invaluable for Brandon and me as first time parents. Heavenly Father must have known we would need her here to help us, and so He waited to send us our babies until she and my dad had returned from Australia. My Grandma has also come over a couple of times to help out, and we got a four-generation picture one of the nights she was here. She and my mom babysat the twins (and paid for our dinner!) so that Brandon and I could go out together for dinner at Magelby's. It was so so nice of them! I love watching my mom and my grandma with the boys--they both talk to them so much, and they both sing to the boys constantly. I love that my boys will grow up with lots of music and lots of stories.

Here are some pictures from our weekly photoshoots

And now for some pictures from the past 3 or 4 weeks.

We love these boys more and more each day and are so so grateful for them!