Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Beach

We took the kids to the beach this past Friday morning. I think it was the babies' first time at the beach. Connor was a little spooked out by the noise of the waves (isn't that funny?!?) He kept standing there with his hands over his ears.

As I've said before, I'm not a huge fan of getting dirty. I wish I could be more carefree and go with it. My mom says I've always been that way. The last time we took Connor to the sand, he kinda freaked out - didn't like it touching his feet, didn't want to get dirty and I thought, "Oh no. He is so my son." But this time, he squished his toes in the sand, threw it all over himself (and some on me), and burried his jeans under it. I happily sat next to him and watched him enjoy this new sensation. I want more than anything for him to not have my own aversion to getting dirty (although, I would like him to grow up to having a "messy room aversion").

Aiden loved it too. He kept looking down at it in wonder. My husband, however, was being a little frady-cat of plopping himself down in the sand and therefore didn't put Bella's feet in the sand. It just gives us an excuse to take them all back again soon.

I'm having fun messing around with some cool actions on the photos to make them a little bit creamier in color. What do you think? Are you interested in seeing any before and afters?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Magical Moment between Mama, Daddy, and Connor

The first night we were at Jen's, we came up with the brilliant plan to let Connor sleep in the bed with us. Cue fairy tale music, butteflies flying around our heads, and doves singing.
At first, I thought to myself, "This is so dreamy. Connor's cuddling with us. He's so peaceful; this is a magical moment; why don't we let him sleep in our bed more often? (Have I ever mentioned that Connor is NOT a cuddler? I mean, really. He'll barely give you a hug before running off to be with his friends. So the idea of getting to cuddle with him was magical).

A few minutes into the experience when he was wiggling around, I had a quick thought that this might not go so well, but it quickly vanished when I again saw that adorable, peaceful smile that spread across his face, as he held Daddy's hand with one hand and his monkey with the other. It was certainly one of those "Stop Everything. Enjoy this Magical Experience" moments.

About an hour later, when I had been kicked in the head about 5 times, I began to think this was not the smartest plan. Fast forward to a sleepless night of tossing and turning and the vicious cycle of Connor wakes up and moves around...the babies hear him (did I mention they were sleeping in a pack-n-play at the foot of our bed?)... and start crying... one of us gets up to get them a bottle... Connor asks us what we're doing...we finally get settled in the bed...Connor finally goes back to sleep...the babies move, thereby waking Connor up, thereby causing him to kick me in the head a few more times...causing me to toss and turn...and thus waking the babies up...who now begin crying.

It was lovely. No. It was pretty bad. And at the end of the night, we learned a few lessons:

  1. Cute sleeping babies are far less cute when they are kicking you in the head.
  2. For the sake of my marriage, my sanity, and my ability to function in the world, it is best to not ever sleep with Connor again.
  3. Trying to fit 5 people in one room is stupid. I mean, really stupid.
  4. Connor and Aiden take after me with my VERY light sleeping. Isabella is certainly her Daddy's daughter as she can sleep through anything.
  5. When we go to Disneyland this upcoming summer, we will need to have a good plan for sleeping because we can not survive on 2 hours of sleep.
  6. Magical sleeping babies are still magical - so long as they're in their cribs, in their own rooms.
We wised up the second and third nights. We moved the babies into the bathroom with the fan on for some white noise and Connor slept in his PeaPod tent that he sleeps in at my mom's house (I included a picture of it from Kidco, Inc.'s page). If you're looking for something that you can put a toddler in (when they outgrow a pack-n-play), I would totally reccomend this. We zip him in and he loves it!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hanging at Jen's

On Thursday when we arrived at Jen's, we put Connor down for a nap, while Mr. Howard ran to target, and I stayed at the house with the babies. Because they had been in the car for 7 hours, the last thing I thought they needed were naps, so we all hung out on Jen's living room floor. I'll be honest, I don't have a ton of "lounge on the floor with the babies' time" anymore. There's always some laundry to be done, some craft to do with Connor, some mess to clean up that he's gotten himself into, etc. these days. It makes me sad, because some of my fondest memories of Connor are when we'd cuddle on the floor together. If only I could find a way to get Connor to hang on the floor with the babies and me, it'd be the perfect winning solution.

OH MY goodness. He just melts my heart. Big Time!
Baby Girl:
Oh those eyes!
They both kept rolling over on their backs. We were trying to go for tummy time. But they weren't having it.
I'm apologising in advance. I came up with this brilliant plan to put myself in the video. And then instantly regretted it. My voice. Wow.  
Tell me they aren't just soo adorable.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thirty-four Weeks Old

 We knew things would be crazy today, so we made sure to get these photos taken before we left early in the morning on Thursday (Aiden had an ultrasound at 8:30am, so we packed everyone up early, went to the ultrasound, and then headed to Southern California directly after). We are EXHAUSTED tonight, but I wanted to make sure that I got these uploaded before the craziness of this week sets in (we have unpacking, laundry, cleaning, organizing, and more laundry to do after our trip).

My mother-in-law made Izzy's dress; I don't know if I've ever photographed her in it. I thought it would be perfect for Southern California with some tights - cool for the 75 degree beach weather, but warm for the car with a little blanket. Didn't she look adorable?!? And I put Aiden in his adorable Lucky shirt. =)

We are officially in need of switching their diapers to the bigger size (they're in 1's now). But I just can't seem to waste the old ones. So we're stretching out the 20 or so diapers I have left and we'll switch them some time this week.

I'll try to catch up on last week's excitement and my MRI results soon. to snuggle for the first time in about four days with my hubby!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Just a Kidney Update

I had an MRI on Tuesday morning to look at my kidney angiomyolipoma (a benign tumor on my kidneys). I haven't gotten the results yet, but I'm hoping to soon. For those of you new to my blog, they discovered I had cysts and a benign tumor on my kidneys after Cole passed away from multicystic dysplastic kidney disease in both kidneys. I originally had an MRI scheduled in November of 2010, but found out I was pregnant with twins (no MRI's for pregnant ladies...). They wanted to do the MRI first to make sure that it was what they thought it was and secondly so that they have images of it for future reference, to ensure it is not growing.

This is not a picture from my MRI, but this is what an MRI machine looks like. It was super, super narrow and I didn't think I'd have a hard time, but it did feel a bit confining - especially with an IV in my arm and my arms extended over my head. I think also being in there for 30 minutes may have made it feel so claustrophobic.

Aiden had his kidney ultrasound today. This was a follow-up ultrasound to the one he had when he was only a couple days old. We know he has no function in his left kidney; but the doctors wanted a clear picture of both kidneys to determine if his "good" kidney had any cysts in it. First the technician looked at his right kidney and took about 15 pictures. Then she moved on to his left. I asked her if she'd point out the cysts to me and she said, "If I can even find it." After about 5 minutes she said she was taking a picture of something she thought MIGHT be his kidney, but that it was so small she couldn't be sure. This is what we expected, just not so soon. We were told that often when a kidney has no function, it will shrivel up and sort of "go away." How crazy is that though?!? We'll know more after speaking to his pediatric nephrologist, but from my understanding, this is good news (in terms of the fact that it will not cause problems, infections, or later need surgery).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Funny Outtakes

I take a million photos in order to get the one good/perfect shot. In times past I've posted a few outtakes and people always get a kick out of them, so I thought I'd do it again. The first few aren't necessarily "bad," they just aren't what I wanted. I wanted a picture of Aiden and Connor looking at me and one of Izzy and Connor looking at me.

First Connor wanted his model car and wouldn't even look at me at all:
 I do think this is pretty cute! They're both looking at the car. But I was literally hopping up and down, saying "AIIIIDDDDEEEEN? COOONNNNNOOORRR!!" and they wouldn't look at me for one second:
 Connor and Izzy looked cute in this one, but I kept asking Connor to show me the car and he'd do this (below) and hold the car so you couldn't see it at all:
 Then I got him to put the car down and he pushed it out of the frame and Izzy looked down:
This one below is sweet. He does this regularly with her (touches her head or leans in lovingly):
 He put his arm around her and I tried to get him to look at me. He kept pointing to things on the car. At this point I was bribing him with an M&M (which OBVIOUSLY didn't work):
 The next few are from one of their weekly photos this month. Notice Isabella SCREAMING! Connor could have cared less and Aiden is actually laughing.
 Izzy's still crying, but Connor is trying to comfort her. In doing so, he was literally leaning against Aiden who was being smashed against the bed:
 At this point Mr. Howard tried to interject. We put Connor on the ground; Izzy was still crying, but we tried to position her so she wasn't so upset:
 Izzy stopped crying, but Aiden fell - along with the teddy:
The weekly photos are always such an adventure. There are some weeks I think, "And WHY am I doing this again?" but mostly I think it is like anything else. It might take a little more time and effort, but it's worth it in the end. Who knows if any of my kids will actually enjoy the photos and appreciate that I took the 10 minutes each week to do them, but if for no one else, I love looking back at them. I remember little stories about each week and have fond memories and funny anecdotes about certain photos. I know how fast life goes and it certainly helps me to remember to slow down and cherish those moments.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Although I don't want for it to have changed me and defined who I am, it has. But not for the reasons you might think. Losing a child has given me a perspective and a sense of urgency that has rocked my very foundation. I no longer look at life as a given. I no longer assume that the people I love the most are destined to be here forever.

And while it has given me some traits I'd rather not have (like the hardness I have towards other tragedies), it has also given me traits I wish I could have possessed beforehand.

I hug my kids more because of it.

I tell my children how much I love them because of it.
 I tell my husband how madly in love with him I am.

I smile in the midst of chaos and filth because it means that my kids are here to make it messy.
I don't get stressed when the babies are crying and I can't fix it, because crying means they're here with me.

I do the things today that I used to say I'd do tomorrow.

Looking at that picture above with my baby girl, husband, baby boy, little man, Harley, and Jake (and a monkey thrown in for good measure) makes me feel so blessed. My life may be chaotic and crazy and if you knock on my door when I'm home with the kids, you'll more than likely hear at least one baby crying, see dishes in my sink; a dog will most definitely be barking, and I may or may not have makeup on. And it's probably likely that you won't envy my life at all. But, for me, it's the perfect life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Mom's Birthday

My camera battery died right before the party, so some of the photos were taken on my camera and some were taken on my dad's camera. I think you can tell which is which.

Happy Birthday to You...
 Happy Birthday to You...
 Happy Birthday Dear Mom...
 Happy Birthday to You?
 My sister and I
Her 60th Birthday Card the kids made her:
 The inside:

 I wanted to take pictures of my parents' new house, but this was the only one I got before my camera died. Isn't it amazing? This is their formal living room!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thirty-Three Weeks Old

10 days until the babies are eight months old! What?!?
They are both still in size 1 diapers, but we're going to go ahead and finish off the one pack we have left and move on to the next size up! I only got one picture of the two of them in their seats together and then Aiden fell off the chair. I went ahead and took separate photos because I wasn't sure if the photo I took of the two of them would turn out. Honestly, the days are numbered of them in the same chair. I'll be lucky if I get a few more weeks out of them. They're getting so big. The sweater Aiden's wearing, Connor wore in one of his chair pictures. I'll have to find it.  
Aiden, to me, is looking so much more like Connor every day! 

Valentine's Day Recap

First: I edited THIS post with the pictures of the kids on Valentine's Day.

On Valentine's Day Mr. Howard went to work later than normal. So I showered, did my make-up, and hair and he stood and we talked. After about 15 minutes, Mr. Howard asked "Are you going to go to the kitchen?" in a tone that said, "I'm waiting and waiting and waiting..." I knew something was up. When I walked out there, this is what I saw. He had a teddy bear for each baby, a monkey holding a Cars sippy cup for Connor, an elephant teddy holding champagne for me, two cards, and a box of chocolate.
What a surprise that was! Mr. Howard has always been romantic and we've always had "that" kind of relationship, but since we've had kids, we haven't always had opportunities to show it. It was such a fun way to start my morning.

Later that day I was teaching and I got a phone call from the office asking me when my prep was. When I told her I had already had it, she asked if I could send a student up to the office. A few minutes later a student came walking in the door with balloons and a bouquet of chocolate covered strawberries. Now that surprised me! I thought I already had my Valentine's Day surprise. My kids were so funny, as they always are and I told all the boys and girls to take notes. =)
(My desk is a bit messy...but such is life)
I have friends who say that Valentine's Day is just another day and that it's commercialized and just an excuse to sell cards, flowers, etc. and maybe that's true. But what I love about my husband is that he uses it as an excuse to take one day to be truly romantic, surprise me, and love me. What's the harm in that? It isn't as if he neglects me the other 364 days a year? And I think after eleven years together, it doesn't hurt to have a little extra magic.

My love language isn't gifts, but it certainly is romance. And let me tell you, one Valentine's Day filled with romance gets us through the days where we're both feeling less than sexy, less than gets us through the days when the babies are sick and screaming and we're gets us through the days when we have piles of laundry and a million to-do's and no time to do gets us through the sleepless nights with twins, the tantrums and melt-downs in target with Connor, and the stress of having too many bills and too many items on our wish lists.

A married friend recently told me that their relationship doesn't have amazing highs and ridiculous lows - and that they are content without those. That isn't how my relationship is. We certainly don't have ridiculous lows, but we do have amazing, can't stand the thought of being apart, "I'm soo unbelievably lucky" in love moments and I love that; I'm thankful for that. I love my relationship. It's hard. So hard. But those moments when I look at the man I chose to marry and think, "how did I get so blessed to love someone so wholly?" are the ones that I cherish the most in my relationship. We certainly don't have a relationship lacking in passion.

Have you heard the song "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri? I think it sums up how I feel about my hubby!
"I have died every day waiting for you...
I have loved you for a thousand years
 I'll love you for a thousand more..."

Opening my card from the kids
 It's a miracle! We got Connor in the photo!
We *may* have bribed him with an M&M

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Fun Photoshoot

My ridiculously talented sister suggested that since her Photography Bookings were slow (after the Christmas season) she take some new photos of the kids (and us too). Of course we said we'd love to!!

She edited and sent us over 60 photos and rather than upload a million photos (okay...60), I'm going to pick my favorite to show you. I tried to pick my top 10 favorites and couldn't...then tried my top 20. I don't even think I made it in that. Sorry. I love them ALL.

I made the boys' onesies with a simple applique tie and I also made Isabella's hairbow with a feather and some elastic. I like the way it all came together.

We were so bummed because we had this whole adorable basket and balloon theme for the twins, mimicking a hot air balloon and the babies screamed and screamed and screamed. And then we drove over by the lake on a whim and got the AMAZING sunset photos. Obviously, it was breathtaking out, but the way my sister captured them made them even more amazing!!

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