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Reflections…

I, along with many of you, am completely consumed with thoughts of the tragic bus accident that has left 15 dead. Carrying a hockey team with many young men whose lives were really just beginning. They had dreams, they had goals, and in the blink of an eye all of that was taken away. Is it fair? Absolutely not. There is a lot in life that isn’t fair. My heat is literally breaking for these families. I can’t look at Social Media, listen or watch the news, read the newspaper without wanting to burst into tears. It’s safe to say being a mom has completely changed me. I have a small understanding of what these parents are going through and I have only been a parent for just shy of 7 months. It literally is my worst nightmare to just think of losing them. I have been holding my boys a little tighter this week.

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I pray that these families, friends, coaches, mentors, teachers, first responders will find some sort of peace through this horrible accident. I pray for those who survived and hope that they are given the strength to recover and face new challenges they may be given as a result of this accident. I pray that they don’t feel guilt for being alive. I also pray for the driver of the truck. I can’t even begin to understand the emotions and fear he must be going through. My prayers are with him and his family as they try to attempt to get back to somewhat of a normal life.

I am a woman of faith, I am a Christian. I believe God has a plan for everyone. In times like this even with my faith I can find myself asking “Where was God?” and “Why do things like this have to happen?” The thing is, God never promised us a perfect life. He never promised that we weren’t going to have hard times, or that people wouldn’t get hurt. He has promised to be there for us in times of need, in times of struggle. It is up to us to draw near to Him, to seek him, and ask for help, peace, and understanding. I came across this little article that reminded me of this so I am going to share it with you.

https://www.gotquestions.org/where-is-God.html

I am not writing this post to start a theological debate with anyone. This is not the time or the place when a nation is grieving. My hope is that just one person might be helped by this post, that they might just be able to breath a little lighter as all of Canada sheds a tear for these lives lost and these lives that are healing.

 

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Goodbye February…Hello March…

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I know we are not supposed to wish time away, but I am so thankful to say goodbye to February and hello to March! February has been a month of transitions for our family, and it hasn’t been easy. Joel has been away a lot off and on, not gone long enough for myself and the boys to establish a good routine with ourselves, but long enough that I just wanted him to come back. He left again on Monday (February 26th) for 20 some days (you can never be too sure on actual dates in the military- just a ball park). I am now three days in and to say that I am being challenged is an understatement. Although the coming and going in February was challenging I am thankful for it, as it gave me the confidence to know I can face this long stretch. Although I will be tired and there will be days that I just want to give up and crawl into bed and cry, there are also going to be amazing days (like yesterday) where I just can’t stop smiling at my two handsome little men, and thankful for all the time we have to spend together, and thankful for how healthy they are!

The hardest part of Joel being away is not the help he provides with the house and the boys, it’s the no communication and the thought of how much he is missing with the boys! They are changing every day and doing new things every day! I just miss being able to catch up at the end of the day, and the simple little “I love you” text messages- those are the challenging things to get through. My mom has always said to us that we are a “couples couple” (I think she made up this term) but to her it means we are a couple that just loves to be together, and when we aren’t together life just isn’t quite right.  And that’s enough sappiness for one day…

There are so many exciting things happening in March! The first being Joel comes home! yay! There is an end in sight! Will he be gone again… the chances are high, but right now I am just focusing on the fact that he is coming home and we don’t know what’s next!

Second, My cousin Beckie is coming TOMORROW!!!! What a great way to say Hello to March! Beckie, is more like a sister to me than a cousin! We haven’t spent any real time together since my wedding (5 years ago)! We are long overdue and I am so excited to have her here and to meet the babies and for the HELP! Although, I don’t think she knows what she is getting herself into!!!

Thirdly, on March 13th my babies are going to be… wait for it… 6 MONTHS OLD!!!! How is this even possible???? I can’t believe it! They amaze me everyday with how well they are doing! We seem to have finally fund a routine and strategy that is working for us (for now). We are sleeping, they are napping better, and we are all a little more happier because of it! I hope to soon write a blog post about our parenting strategies that have worked for us and have completely been a game changer in our family!

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So with that being said, Goodbye February, and March; I am SOOOOOOO ready for you!

 

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It’s Been One Week…

Well, I am writing a new Blog post which means one thing! I survived my first week a lone with the twins!!! I was a little worried about this week. There were some tears (by all of us), some times when I wondered how I would keep going, but I did it, and I am still standing and still loving every second of being a mom (even the frustrating ones). Although, this was just my first week alone with the boys I quickly learned that were some things that needed to happen in order to survive this new role! So here are my top 5 survival strategies!

5 Ways to survive being a mom!

  1. Treat it as a job, which it is! The most rewarding, most challenging job you will EVER have or do!  I have heard so many moms talk about how they lost themselves while looking after their newborns, and some days I am right there with you! What I have find works for me is to make it a point to shower! As soon as my babies get down for a nap that is the first thing I do. It wakes me up, makes me feel alive, and makes me feel like I am ready to tackle the day! I also refuse to sit around in my pyjamas all day. Would I go to work in my pyjamas? No, absolutely not! So, I get dressed and do my hair (if you consider a pony tail, a braid, or thrown on top of my head “doing” my hair). Getting dressed makes me feel good, makes me feel human, and feeling good about yourself goes a very long way when starting your day with little ones!ba998330ee211a9561a73adc88631c9e
  2. Set Goals to get things done! Every day I set a few (3 or 4) goals of what I want to get accomplished during the day. This list usually consists of cleaning and tidying up. I try to keep my days easy, so only one major cleaning thing a day, and the rest are simple small tasks like emptying the dishwasher or putting a load of clothes away! By the end of the day if I have even accomplished one thing off my list it feels good knowing that I did something (even if it is unloading the dishwasher) to keep my house looking somewhat decent.
  3. Take time for me! Every day I try to take some time for myself. Some days this has been as little as 5 minutes or as long as the babies are napping, whatever I feel I need at the time. Although looking after the babies is my top priority I have learned that looking after myself is just as important. I need to keep myself healthy and energized as much as possible for these babies! My times for me have consisted of napping, working on my little side business “Little Design Line”, working on my blog, online shopping (shhhh! Don’t tell Joel lol), or just sitting staring into space and actually drinking a HOT cup of coffee!d112da39f91f7f4e457026693a55d6db
  4. The all important sleep! I’ve been VERY fortunate with pretty good sleeping babies which I know is totally saving my life! We have heard horror stories of twins only sleeping 20 minutes at a time all day/night, or babies who just have trouble sleeping. We honestly kind of thank the NICU for how well the boys sleep. They started them off right from the beginning on a schedule and they have pretty much stuck to that, although now they are sleeping longer through the night, and have even slept through the night a few times already! That being said sleep is precious! I think back to my University days of pulling all nighters- totally taking advantage of the option of sleeping at a reasonable time! Now, if I’m not in bed by 9:30pm I want to cry!!!! Early bedtimes are a must. Even though once the boys are asleep part of me would rather watch Netflix or browse Facebook, but it is time to sleep!
  5. Find a routine that works- This is the thing I have been struggling with. These boys have me on my toes! What works one day, sometimes wont work the next day. This is our first week together and we are still finding our way. It has been a lot of trial and error to figure out a schedule, but I know once we have one it will be well worth it! Every one needs a little routine in their life! We are struggling with naps, they don’t like to nap for very long, but then they are BEYOND exhausted and cranky because, well, they NEED their naps, and as much as this Mama loves them, she NEEDS a break! So, right now we are taking this schedule making one day at a time. As they say “Rome wasn’t built in a day!”

So with that, it is now time to begin week two! Also, on a side note, My boys turned 4 months old on Saturday! I can’t believe it!!! They are getting so big and cuter and cuter every day!

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Harrison (left) Hunter (right) 

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Happy New Year

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2017 finished as being one of the most life changing years with the birth of my twin boys. Now as we enter a new year and think about all the things we want to do differently in this new year to come I find myself struggling to come up with those so called “resolutions”. You see the thing is that 2018 is going to be a completely different year than anything I have ever experienced. There are things that will be coming up this year that completely scare me, along with things that I am excited about. This year is not just about bettering myself, but about bettering my children, and my family. Even as I write this there is a fear settling in, and the thought “what if I fail?” “What if I can’t do this?”

So right here and right now I am making my New Years Resolutions (the ones listed above):

A NEW PATTERN OF THOUGHTS– Being a mom is hard, there is no doubt about that! Someone shared an article with me titled :Dear Mama: You’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.” And so, when days are tough and all I feel like doing is keeping my babies from crying, and not getting any cleaning done, I know that it’s ok, it’s not my fault, I didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just THAT hard! The good thing is I, along with every other Mama out there (the ones who came before and the ones who will come after) have and will survive!

A NEW WAVE OF EMOTIONS– Simply put, being a mom changes your world. It changes your thoughts, your goals, and it definitely changes your emotions. I have always been a fairly sensitive person, add the sleep deprivation, and hormones to this and look out! The last 3 months have been a learning curve as I deal with my new outlook on life and the new emotions it brings. Surely by the end of 2018 I will have a handle on this, at least Joel is praying I do!

A NEW CONNECTION TO THE WORLD– Again, when you become a mom or a parent your whole world changes. Before my connection to the world was selfish, it was all about my needs, or what I wanted to do, or what my husband and I wanted to do. Now, even though my babies are little, it’s all about them. They are my connection to the world. With friends we talk about their babies and my babies, when we plan an outing- we plan it around the babies schedule. This is our life now. Sometimes we have to take a step back and reevaluate our plans because what once worked for our family before isn’t the best option anymore. For example, on Sundays we would always get groceries after church, and now after church we need to get home quickly because the babies need to eat- grocery day, which Joel and I used to tackle together, has now become a one man job. In 2018 we will find things to do as a family of four, and adjust our routines to suit our needs,

A NEW BELIEF SYSTEM IN MYSELF- Over the last few years with all the changes to our family I have learned that I am a lot stronger than I realized- I think we are all a lot stronger than we realize when it comes down to it.  This year I know I am going to be faced with some challenges that really push this strength even further. Being a Military wife I know there is going to come a time when my husband has to go away. Before it was just myself and two dogs taking these times day by day, and there were some very hard and lonely days. Now I am going to have to face this being a mom of twins and being so far away from family at the same time. Deep deep down I know I can do it, and I know I will survive every day (even the hard ones). I know there will be tears and there will be days where I don’t get out of my pyjamas or even take a shower, but I know I have the strength. In 2018, I will come face to face with this reality and the only thing that I can think to say is… BRING IT!

So, to 2017, thank you for being a year that changed my life forever and the year that made me become a mom to two precious little boys. 2018, ready or not, you are here and I look forward to your challenges!

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World Prematurity Day

Today, November 17th is world prematurity day. Everyone knows someone who was either born premature or knows someone who has given birth to a premature baby (whether you are aware of it or not). What you may not know or understand is the struggle, concern, and fear that there is when a baby is born early. I didn’t understand this until I gave birth to two beautiful premature twin baby boys. Today I write this blog in honour of all those who were born premature- and fought for their lives, and for those who gave birth to babies born too early who have watched their children struggle to simply take a breath.

There is certainly a fear that comes with knowing that you are going into labour early. It doesn’t matter how far along you are; 24 weeks, 34 weeks, 38 weeks- if it’s not 40 weeks (full term) there are always concerns. Will my baby be okay? Are they developed enough to survive? What kinds of complications are we going to run into? When will I get to take my baby home?

My babies were born at 34 weeks, and for twins I was considered fortunate to have made it that far. My babies didn’t have the same struggle that other babies have. They were able to breath on their own, they gained a little bit of weight everyday, they were able to tolerate their feeds for the most part, but there were still struggles, and there were a lot of days where I left the hospital feeling defeated and in tears. Both of our boys were hooked up to monitors so their heart rates and breathing could be monitored at all times.  They both had numerous “apnea events” where, in simple terms, their breathing would slow down causing their heart rate to drop really low, this results in an alarm from the monitors going off. Most of the time both of my boys were able to get their breaths back on their own and their heart rate would climb back up. Occasionally, they would need assistance coming out of these events by being stimulated.. When those alarms go off, whatever the cause may be you find yourself holding your breath. The only way for babies to over come these events is time. They need time to continue to develop, to grow stronger, and for their little brains to figure out how to control these things. As a parent you feel hopeless when this happens. Due to these events and our babies not being very strong we were advised to not interact with them a lot. It was advised that we limit our holding of our babies to about an hour a day, the rest of our days were basically spent watching them sleep and changing their diapers before they were fed (by tube- so we didn’t even get to feed our babies for weeks). To have to ask permission, or if it’s okay to hold your own baby is a sin, but we knew in the long run following these guidelines would benefit our babies health, help them grow stronger faster, and get us home sooner. Harrison spent a total of 5 weeks 2 days in the NICU and Hunter spent 6 weeks 1 day.

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Hunter (top) 3 pounds 14oz Harrison (bottom) 4 pounds 2oz- the day they were born.

From our time spent in the NICU I learned a lot. I never realized how many babies actually visit the NICU after they are born, whether it’s for a few hours, day, weeks, or months the amount of patients in and out of the NICU was mind blowing to me. We saw so many people come and go during our time there. Another thing I learned was how many people we know who opened up to us about how they were a NICU baby, and look at them now, or how many people said they had friends or they themselves had babies that spent time in the NICU. I realized it’s not really something that is brought up or included as part of a birth story, but affects so many people. I learned about the emotional rollercoaster of what it is to be a parent of a premature baby and a NICU baby. I have friends who have had babies early, and babies stay in the NICU and you think “oh that’s too bad” or “medicine has come such a long way they will be fine”. Those feelings, although true, barely scratch the surface for a family who is going through something like this. Having to basically live in the hospital to not be able to fully care for your newborn baby because they are too fragile, while you have other children at home that you are not able to care for because you are spending all your time with this new life trying to love them the best that you can in the situation you have been dealt, it’s more than anyone should ever have to go through. 79e0334cb3acfc2ce3fa7fd13e27cd37

My heart truly goes out to those whose babies are in the NICU fighting for their lives- I only had a small dose of that reality, but I understand the stress, confusion, and fear that goes a long with it. I hope that by writing this it opens up your eyes to the real struggles families of premature babies face. After going through this ourselves I wish I had of known more about what my friends were going through during their times in the NICU.

NICU parents are strong, but premature babies are even stronger.

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My Pride and Joy

I haven’t written a blog post in about a month, needless to say I have been a little preoccupied with adjusting to our new life, which is, do I need to say it- BUSY!

Our days consist of feeding two babies every two to three hours, changing diapers, having tummy time, as many snuggles as the babies can handle, the occasional nap, bath time, doctor appointments, and VERY full hearts! People have often said to us “I can’t imagine two babies, how will you manage?” I was never really able to answer that question until now- “I can’t imagine there NOT being two babies!”- would be, and is, my response. We got a small taste of having one baby when we were able to bring Harrison home from the NICU, but had to leave Hunter behind. That was a very challenging time as there was a big piece of our family missing and we weren’t able to be with Hunter as much as we would have liked. I didn’t like having just one baby, but that’s because there was supposed to be two.

Harrison and Hunter on the days they were discharged from the NICU!

Having two babies is really not that much different than having one. You still have to do all the same things, just twice! And when you finally get one baby settled, you have to do it all over again because the other baby will need comforting! Our days are busy, and the time is flying by, but we feel so blessed to have these two little boys in our family!

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There have been sleepless nights, there have been the occasional meltdowns, by not only the babies, but we are surviving and coping quite well! It’s a marathon to get ready and out the door in time for appointments, but we have succeeded so far! The boys have adjusted quite well to life at home and they are doing so well! Harrison is now 7lbs 6.5oz and Hunter is 7lbs 5 oz! They have done a lot of growing! People still comment on how tiny they are, but to us they are HUGE! They are both great eaters, and are so strong. Both boys have rolled over already and they aren’t even two months old! They are very curious about things and are constantly looking all around. They enjoy listening to stories and music, and they love their big sister Rosie, and she also loves them!

These two are truly such a precious gift from God and we love them so much! We can’t wait to watch them grow and see how they change! We are excited for more adventures ahead, as we can tell already when they get on the move life is going to be even more busy! I think we are going to have our hands full, but I can’t imagine having my hands full with anything better than this! Below is one of their newborn pictures, we are looking forward to seeing more soon!

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Thankful Reflections

It’s quite simple really… being in the NICU sucks… but in light of Thanksgiving this weekend I have decided to take the much needed time to be thankful and reflect on these last 23 days of our life.

We often say that right now we feel like “part time parents”. Just visiting our babies, only to say goodbye at the end of the day. We feel like it is Groundhog day, we have no idea what day it is anymore, our life is basically on repeat. There have been a lot of tears, a lot of “I don’t want to do this anymore”, a lot of “I just want to bring them home”, and “I’m so over this.” It’s so easy to lose sight of what is important and to remain thankful. But… we have two beautiful baby boys, that have completely stollen our hearts from the second they were born, and someday we will get to bring them home. We are so thankful, and feel so blessed to be Hunter and Harrison’s parents, and that God has given us the special gift of parenthood. Even though days are difficult and challenging we have never not been thankful for these precious boys. We are so thankful that our babies are doing so well, and are healthy. Every day we have had positive news, and very little set backs. Often times I feel guilty complaining about what we are going through as I know so many people have had more difficult roads than we have, and I know that this is not forever, it’s just a matter of time. Through this journey we are so thankful for a loving God to turn to in prayer and for strength. We are thankful for the support of family and friends near and far. For the little notes of encouragement that keep our heads up and keep us strong to face another day.

 

 

What makes the NICU bearable? Knowing that our babies are receiving the best care. We have been so blessed with wonderful nurses during our stay in the NICU. Nurses who are so supportive, encouraging, and helpful. We are truly thankful for them and the phenomenal care they give to our boys. They take the time out of their busy days to teach us things, give us advice, and encourage us as we begin to try new things, like nursing! They have been with us from the beginning, and these days would be a lot more challenging and discouraging without them.

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Another thing I am thankful for is my husband! We have been through a lot together in the last 23 days, from the crazy and traumatic birth of our boys, to my recovery, to living the NICU life, he has had to endure a lot; we both have. Joel has always been a supportive husband, but over these last 23 days he has gone above and beyond what I ever expected him to do. He has been so supportive through this whole journey from taking care of me in the hospital, to even getting up with me through the night to keep me company as I pump. The running joke in our family is that Joel is the “milk man”, keeping an eye on the clock when it’s time to pump, filling out the labels for the milk containers, etc. Not to mention he has been my comic relief when days are unbearable, he has been my shoulder to cry on when I am an emotional wreck, and the person who keeps me company on the long days spent in the hospital (and for the record, Joel is a diaper changing champ). I am so thankful that Joel has a job where he has been able to take the time off needed to help with the boys, as we support each other through this time.

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When all is said and done as much as the NICU sucks, and days are hard and challenging I truly am thankful for all of it. The time Joel and I are spending together, and the struggles we are facing together is only strengthening our relationship. The boys being in the NICU, although difficult, it has given me the much needed time to heal, after two back-to-back surgeries, that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. It has strengthened our relationship with new friends as we have had to lean on them for support and learn to except help. It has taught us to really find the good in bad, frustrating, or challenging situations. It has forced us to really rely on God to get us through.

I encourage you to find the good in every day, no matter what you are going through, and to do some reflecting of your own this Thanksgiving. In a world that is so focused on the bad, we need to rely more and more on the good. I think the good can start with everything that we are thankful for.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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