Posted in Kids, Tuesday Talk

Tuesday Talk about Twins

Hello! I’m linking up with Erika and Ashley for their monthly Tuesday Talk link up. For Tuesday Talk, the topic is whatever you’d like to chat about. So I thought I’d chat about a topic that I’m asked about often…what it’s like to have twins.

I’m often asked, “What’s it like to have twins?” My response is often, “Well, I don’t know any differently.” It’s not like I had one kid and then twins. We came out of the parenting gate having two at once! I can also definitely say that it’s a blur of blessings.

Do you know what the second most asked question I get about twins is? “Are they identical or fraternal?” This one always shocks me as boy/girl twins would most obviously be fraternal. I just allows reply politely with, “fraternal.”

A little back story…

Since I struggled to get pregnant, we learned very early on that we were having twins because I had multiple appointments with my fertility specialist. I had taken an at home test and it was negative. A couple of weeks later, I took one again, and it was positive. Blood work confirmed I was pregnant, and when the nurse called, she said, “Your numbers are very, very, very good.” I didn’t think much about it….I was just happy to be pregnant. She then scheduled my ultrasound.

We arrived at the doctor the next week only to realize my appointment was for the following week. I guess I was too excited to keep the dates straight! When the doctor entered the room, he said, “Let’s look for twins!” Travis and I both just thought “haha” but as soon as we looked at the screen, I could clearly see two sacs. Since I was only 6 weeks, only “baby A” had a heartbeat. The doctor told us not to worry, and we scheduled the next appointment. Of course, we left in shock, but we were so excited.

At least we had plenty of time to get used to the idea of twins!

We kept everything quiet for a few weeks until my next appointment when both “baby A” and “baby B” had heartbeats. I still saw my fertility doctor for a couple more appointments before he released me to my regular OBGYN.

I saw my OB and a high risk doctor for the rest of the pregnancy. I had an ultrasound at almost every appointment, so we got to see the twins often. At my 14 week appointment, we found out “baby A” was a boy and “baby B” was a girl!

Throughout the pregnancy, there were definitely some ups and downs…sometimes the high risk doctor provided too much info. We had a little scare with Hayden and then Hadley consistently measured smaller than Hayden, but not so much that I really needed bed rest. My water broke at exactly 36 weeks, and they were born on November 20, 2009. Hayden weighed 4 lb 7 oz and Hadley weighed 4 lbs. Hayden came home with us after four days in the hospital. Hadley was in the NICU for 13 days.

I feel like I could write a whole blog post just on leaving the hospital with one baby and having Hadley in the NICU, so I will save all that for a later date. Although I was sad to leave her, I knew she was in great hands, and leaving with just Hayden was also such an overwhelming feeling.

I’m a teacher, and all about the gradual release model of teaching πŸ˜‰The hospital let me leave with one baby, and I brought home the other one about ten days later. We eased into parenting two kids at once!

December 3, 2009. Reunited with Hadley

Life when they were little:

One thing we didn’t prepare for was how small they’d be. I’ve known/have friends and family members who have twins, and just never thought at 36 weeks that mine would be so small. Of course, we had their room ready, clothes washed and put up, bottles ready to go, etc…but no preemie clothes. The hospital, as well as friends and family, helped us with that situation.

My type A/planner personality was a strength during this time. My kids were on a schedule starting the first day. Really, the hospital put them on a schedule, and I didn’t deviate from it by even five minutes. Time to eat, time to sleep, tummy time, etc. When you have two kids at once, you don’t really feel in control. A schedule helped make me feel in control. Also, the kids slept 8 hours at night by 12 weeks, so the schedule really worked out for us and for them.

When they were first home, they were so small, they both slept in our room in a pack-n-play until they slept through the night. Then, they shared a room. We had pretty big bedrooms in our previous home, so they each had a crib but shared a room. They even slept in the same crib until they were six months old. I guess I just hated the thought of separating them. They shared a room until they were 3 1/2 years old.

Maternity leave was hard. I planned on taking off 16 weeks or so, and around week 10, I called Travis on a Friday and said I wanted to go back to school on Monday. He talked me out of it just saying once I go back, I can’t get my sick/maternity leave back….and that it would be better when they slept through the night. I had called him that day at work because Hadley wouldn’t quit crying. He met me at the doctor. When the pediatrician asked what was going on, I simply said, “I need her to be like him.” Hayden was sleeping peacefully in his carrier while Hadley continued to cry. She had colic and acid reflux…thankfully, that passed after a couple of months.

Let’s just say while pushing that double stroller down the Kroger aisle, I received many, “bless your hearts,” from people πŸ˜‰

Similar but different:

My kids have been different from day one. When the NICU nurse handed Hadley over to us, she said that girls tend to be more feisty and self-sufficient. Of course, she had to fend for herself a bit those first few weeks while Hayden was doted on. So, if you ever saw five-year-old Hadley tie Hayden’s cleats in the middle of a soccer field, then you know what I mean!πŸ˜‚

Hayden is quiet, introverted, and inquisitive. He can be a bit inflexible (wonder who he gets that from?) BUT he’s more resilient than he realizes. He’s had to overcome and continues to work on some struggles and obstacles which has shown him, that at his core, he’s tougher than he realizes.

Hayden, like me, eases into social settings and situations. He also takes some time to wake up in the morning and needs to wind down at night. Again, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Hadley has always been out-going, inclusive, intuitive, and fearless. She’s exactly the kind of daughter my personality needs. Because I am pretty quiet, she pulls the conversation out of me with her questions or just willingness to chat.

She hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until it’s time for bed. Then, she passes right out for the night until it’s time to start the next day.

Also, of note: Travis and I each have our own mini me. The first thing I noticed about Hayden when the nurse showed him to me was his nose. I said, “Travis! He has your nose.” (which is cute). When people tell me how much Hadley looks like me, I always say, “Well, unfortunately, she acts like me too!” πŸ˜‚

A few FAVE pics…

through the years…

Education:

When they were little, they went to a sitter’s house. So, they were together all day, every day. Hadley would dominate over his personality, and it got to the point where Hayden would defer to her. I’d ask what they had for lunch, and he’d say, “Hadley, you tell mom!”

The year before kindergarten, we put them in preschool two days a week. We thought it would be a good time to see how they would do on their own in separate classes. They thrived. Hayden needed his own space…and so did she! Of course, on the first day of school, she walked in like she owned the place. He was certainly more timid. It all worked out though as they navigated that new world on their own.

All throughout elementary, they’ve been in different classes, per our request. They’ve ended up in the same math group with the same teacher a time or two, and that’s been fine for them.

I’ve learned that I need to let them be who they are, and I need to let them fail and learn.

I’ve had to shift my thinking…just because something comes easily to one, it may not come easily to the other.

And, of course, they hit some of those beginning milestones at different times, so I had to remind myself not to compare them. For example, Hadley talked before Hayden did, but he walked before she did.

They balance each other out perfectly.

It’s nice when it works out that they both excel at something. For example, Hadley was the top 25th runner in the 4th grade girls division for cross country. Hayden was 26th in the boys division at state! There were races where they both even finished in the same place! Also, both won awards for their science fair projects, so there was no rivalry there πŸ˜‰

It’s convenient (for me) to see one school performance, or sign up to help with one time slot of field day to see their grade level.

Interests:

In the beginning, I kept them on the same teams for baseball, basketball, and soccer. This was when they were 4-6 years old or so. Then, it was time for them branch out. She didn’t want to play soccer and tried dance. One year they both did Academic Team at school, and last year, only Hadley did it. She was so excited to stay after school for chorus last year, but he wanted no part in that!

Spring soccer 2013

Of course, it keeps my schedule easier when they are at the same place at the same time, but that’s not fair to them. So they’ve been able to make more choices as the years have gone on.

He loves to read, draw and play sports. She loves to bake, craft, and hang out with friends.

Also, at this age, they have the same friend group but Hadley mostly sticks to playing with her girlfriends and Hayden with his friends. BUT…will you see Hadley mixing it up with the boys even when she’s the only girl? YES!

Will you see Hayden hanging out with Hadley and her friends if he’s on his own? Heck to the NO! πŸ˜‚

Other thoughts:

I don’t dwell on it but I’m cognizant of the fact that I only get one shot at most of these milestones. I always say I was blessed to have two at once, but that does mean only one first day of kindergarten, one fifth grade graduation for the both of them, (and on and on)…

Even though we struggled to get pregnant, I didn’t know at the time that I wouldn’t get to rock a baby again, so I probably took those little things for granted thinking I’d get to do that again. (Of course, I have friends with one child who are in the same situation with only experiencing milestones once…so I am very grateful to have the both of them getting to experience those things together.)

Whether they know it or not, they have a built in best friend. I joke that I “front loaded” some of my parenting responsibilities at the beginning. Once they were old enough to play together, I actually did get back some of that time for myself to tidy up the house or make a grocery list.

I feel like I just rambled in this post…and I didn’t expect the post to be so wordy! Sorry for that!

The bottom line about having twins is that it’s a blessing I didn’t know that I needed or that I deserved. After struggling to have one…we had two. I’m thankful for that each and every day.

As the parent of twins, I try to carve out time for each of them, I try not to compare them, and I certainly try to let them be their own person with their own interests.

Having twins for kids is certainly special, but like all parents, I’m amazed at how time is literally flying by. Whether you have one kid or four, I’m sure you blink and wonder how they are already starting school, or driving a car, or graduating! Being a parent is certainly a privilege and an honor!

Oh there always is one more question that I get asked…

“Do they fight?” …YES! πŸ˜‰

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts too! Thanks so much for reading.

Posted in Friday Favorites

Friday favorites

We’ve made it through the week. The week started off pretty rough for Hayden who was sick, but thankfully recovered in time for their birthday (and school field trip!) on Wednesday. We need the weekend to continue recovering as well as prepping for next week. Thankfully, next week is a short one.

Here are a few favorites from the week.

Wednesday was the kids’ birthday, and I wrote a post all about it πŸ™‚ As I’ve mentioned, I’m big on birthdays, so of course their birthday is a favorite of mine.

This is the third year I’ve had a local yard letter company (Yard Card Barn) decorate our yard with Happy Birthday. It’s a fun surprise for the kids…and it also means I’ve kicked my birthday celebrations to the next level. haha. We have a decent sized front yard, so amazingly, the letters fit for Happy 10th Birthday Hayden and Hadley.

The weather was dreary, but the yard signs brightened the day for sure!

Wednesday evening, we headed to the UK vs Missouri volleyball game. Hands down, volleyball is my favorite sport to watch…college basketball is a close second. Being in CAT country, I was low key will my allegiance to MIZZOU, but proudly wore my Missouri hat. Kentucky came up with the win, but it was fun to cheer for both teams.

A new favorite product I’ve been loving has been this brightening eye balm by Tula. I know little to nothing about cosmetics and products, and once I find something I like, I usually stick to it. Landyn showcased this product on one of her Instagram stories a little bit ago. I had to run to Ulta last week, so I picked it up. I put it on under my eyes in the morning, and I love that it’s cool and adds an extra layer to make your skin and eyes look a little more awake.

Thanks to one of the link ups with other bloggers, I stumbled upon Dwelling in His Richness blog, and I liked the way Jill approached her Friday Favorites with:

Favorite pic, kid quote, clothing item, food, moment, and Favorite mom meme. I thought I’d give that format a try this week!

FAVORITE PIC

See above πŸ™‚ Birthday pics!

FAVORITE KID QUOTE

On Wednesday, after his shower, Hayden asked for the nail trimmers. I was taken aback with him being proactive with his hygiene (haha), and he said, “Well, mom, I’m sure I will be shaving soon!” oh my!

FAVORITE CLOTHING ITEM

Traditionally, one of the kids’ birthday presents each year is Christmas pajamas. Some years other family members buy them, but this year, I saw “Kids’ Plaid Holiday Tartan Pajamas” from Wondershop at Target, and I picked them up for the kids. I bought Hayden the two piece (button down top with pants) and Hadley the nightgown version. ($14.99 each! and great quality!)

FAVORITE FOOD

This week, I tried a new meal for the family: Mix and Match Mama’s Turkey Tortilla Soup. It’s a crockpot recipe, so it was easy and delicious.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Well, this week probably had favorite MOMENT(S)….with it being birthday time, we had a few extra things going on. Truly, it’s the little moments…like having lunch with Hadley on her birthday (Hayden was on the field trip) as well as seeing photos of Hayden on the field trip. He was so worried he’d still be sick, but I’m so glad it all worked out. While he was having fun, I ate lunch with Hadley and brought cookies she wanted to share with the class. And, don’t worry—her class went on the field trip on Thursday. For me, it’s the little moments like having lunch with my kids or receiving a fun picture that brighten my week.

Cookies for classmates and Field Trip fun!

FAVORITE MOM MEME

My mom sent this cartoon to my brother and me…it was true in the 80’s and still holds true today. haha.

That’s a wrap on this week. It was a busy but fun one! Don’t forget to check out Narci, Erika, and Andrea’s Friday Favorites.

Have a great weekend!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Holidays, Kids

Happy 10th Birthday

Today’s the day….the T W I N S turn T E N! I can’t even articulate how quickly these 10 years have flown by. They’ve been the best, the hardest, and the most rewarding years of my life. I’m so lucky to be their mom.

Their due date was December 18, 2009. We knew I’d probably never make it to 40 weeks, and making it to 36 weeks was a blessing. I will never forget seeing their faces for the first time. The second they showed me Hayden, I teared up; he looked just like Travis. The nurse showed me Hadley for only about 10 seconds, so then my tears were for a different reason. During the pregnancy, Hadley consistently measured smaller than Hayden, but we were still surprised that she weighed in at only 4 lbs, and who knew the extra 7 oz Hayden was carrying would be enough for 4 lbs, 7 oz Hayden to come home with us after four days in the hospital. The NICU doctor told us Hadley would be in the NICU for 12-14 days. Well, day 13, she joined us at home.

The NICU nurses told us that premature baby girls tend to be more of the fighters compared to baby boys in the NICU, so I take it as a blessing and a sign that if one had to stay for a bit and one got to go home, the right baby stayed put to grow a bit more and the right baby got settled in at home.

It was tough being away from her while also juggling a newborn at home. When we brought her home, the NICU nurse said she’d most likely be the more independent one who wound fend for herself. Well, that nurse couldn’t have been more right.

These two captured our hearts from the beginning and certainly still carry the same qualities and features that they’ve had since the day they were born.

Sweet itty bitty babies…

Who turned into chubby cheeked toddlers and sweet spirited little ones…

who continued to emerge into the best little versions of themselves…

In honor of turning 10, I thought I’d share 10 things I love about each of my kids.

Hayden

  1. His love of reading. #hegetsitfromhismama
  2. His passion for sports. (any sport, all the time!)
  3. How he pronounces Hawaii “who why ee”
  4. He’s an introvert who pushes himself out of his comfort zone. #anotherattributefromhismama
  5. His attention to detail.
  6. He is a wonderful teammate. Nothing makes me happier than seeing him cheer on his team or high five a teammate.
  7. His inquisitive nature.
  8. That he says to his mama, “Give me a huggie!”
  9. That he is a creature of habit.
  10. That he is a homebody. (and proud of it!)
  11. B O N U S–he lets me call him Boo πŸ˜‰

Hadley

  1. There is no bigger helper on this Earth than Hadley.
  2. She has the biggest heart and a knack for knowing when others need some extra love.
  3. She is a loyal friend.
  4. That she is the best mix of both tomboy and girly girl.
  5. She’s energetic times ten…always on the move and enthusiastic about life.
  6. That she’s outgoing as all get out. #didnotgetthisfromhismama
  7. Her ability to find the beat in any song and dance to it (as if no one is watching–but we are watching because she’s forever creating new dance routines to showcase for us)
  8. Her love of scrunchies and friendship bracelets #daugtherofan80sbaby
  9. Her love for little ones.
  10. Her bravery…(for example, sleep away camp for a week this past summer…) #shewasmuchbraverthanhermama
  11. B O N U S–she lets me call her Sis πŸ˜‰

Homer says Happy 10th Birthday!

Hayden and Hadley,

I know you probably aren’t reading this, but please know…

You guys are the best and make us all so proud. Keep being kind, keep doing your best, and keep being there for each other …and we can’t wait to continue to watch you grow into the best big kids and teenagers (#prayforme) in the coming years. How are you already double digits?!?! #thetwinsturnten

Happy Happy Birthday.

I love you!

xoxo, Mom

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea