Dear James and Jackson: 4 Months and Counting …

012114 - James at Nicola's

James at Nicola’s
January 17th, 2014

 

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Jackson at Nicola’s
January 17, 2014

Dear James and Jackson:

Mom, when did I start sleeping through the night?

Well, I think it was about five weeks … either you started sleeping through the night, or I did.

This was a conversation between your KK and me the last time she was in town.  I think she was trying to be funny because knowing how fastidious she is and was, I can’t imagine she just stopped hearing me!  Sometimes I wish I could sleep though even the slightest sounds you make, but it rarely happens.  It seems as though I hear every coo, cry, burp, fart and runny nose you manage to produce at whatever hour you manage to produce it.

Somewhere around January 7th, the days started running into each other.  I felt like I was constantly trying to catch up and then all of the sudden — you were four months old!

James you were a whopping 15 pounds, 12 ounces and Jackson you came in at 14 pounds, 3 ounces.  Your weight gain is pretty extraordinary.  You are both incredibly healthy and strong.  So healthy and strong, you both often wake at 4:00 am firmly convinced you are STARVING!

What is that about?  I mean you eat ALL. DAY. LONG.  We really are going to have to stop meeting at that hour.  Mommy may never get to write anything down, fill in your baby book or get my hair colored; not to mention the manicure and pedicure I have not seen in MONTHS.

I know I should be so grateful you are here I could not possibly care about my hair, my nails, my massages, and my yoga.  I am beyond grateful you are here, but one thing I have learned over the last several months is the more out of control I let things get, the more disheveled I feel, the more overwhelmed I feel, the more tired I feel — the less present I am when I am with you. The less I remember.  The less I have to give you.

You see, Dumplings — I don’t want to be some frumpy Mama who spins herself into complete disheveled mess with the onset of motherhood.  Trust me, you want my roots colored, my heels buffed, my traps massaged and my body in downward facing dog on a regular basis.

You want me writing all of this down, because your father and me as parents are pretty comical.  At least we think so.  Especially when stroller shopping, or trying to put together a Jumperoo.

Oh, and you want me to have an occasional (currently weekly) glass bottle of wine.  Trust me.  You do.

In the news this week — you are both almost turning over.  Jackson you are definitely a highly focused, incredibly persistent fellow.  I put you down for a nap today in your crib.  I came back to check on you and you were turned the completely opposite direction on your side, one slight push from fully turning over.  You were working so hard you just fell asleep before you reached the finish line.

James, you are the funniest sleeper.  There is a lot of drama before complete silence.  You make me think there is no way you are going to ever go to sleep and then I come in your room … silence.  I love that about you.

You’re both talking up a storm, of course we all know where you get that.  You both smile and laugh.  You can play by yourselves.  You play together on your farm play mat.  I should definitely do a post with pictures of you with your favorite toys at each stage of development.  Right now you are teething and your absolute favorite teether is the Innobaby EZ Grip Massaging Teether.

We have started some real routines, which has made us all calmer.  We are still debating the exact sleep routine.  We are apparently in some disagreement about the timing of things.  The sleep suits magically put you to sleep and back to sleep, but unfortunately, they do not feed you when you think you are STARVING at 4:00 in the morning.

At our last twins class the teacher told us that babies like country music because of the beat.  I am now convinced my love of George Strait, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash has, in fact, made you the happiest babies on the block — because goodness knows, it was NOT the swaddle.

During bottles we listen to music.  This week I have been playing Darius Rucker — Wagon Wheel and Radio with a chaser of George Strait — I Saw God Today.  After bottles we read three board books.  This week it is Harold and the Purple Crayon, Very Hungry Caterpillar, and You Are My I Love You.  The last one always makes me cry when I read it to you because your Mama is a big sap.

Just get used to it.

I am so lucky to have two babies that generally love their cribs.  Lately, I can put you in there at noon in a very mellow state and you’ll play yourselves to sleep.

Your doctor said we can start trying some foods if we wanted to.  Right now your diet is 50% breast milk and 50% organic formula.  I am going to start letting you taste things, but have decided to wait for full implementation until you are a little older.

Today you tried mango and you both loved it.

I can’t wait until I can make you Chicken n’ Dumplings.

Love,

Mama

012114 - Jackson in Hat

012114 - James

 

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The Daily Dumplings: The Magic Sleep Suit

01052014 - Magic Sleep SuitHere it is.  The Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit.  How magic is it?  Depends on the kid, I am almost certain.  For our kids, it’s been pretty magic.

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Jackson
Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit

01052014 - Jackson Full Suit

01052014 - James Magic Sleep

James
Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit

01052014 - James Magic Sleep Suit Full

Our children are sleeping longer though the night.  It’s not perfect, but for babies who are not fond of swaddling or sleeping on their back (ours) — I have found these to be a wonderful (though not cheap) addition to our current sleep routine.  I put them on during the 9:00pm hour and then give them a big bottle before putting them down.  They have an incredible calming effect of them.

For those who care, I use cloth diapers.  Yes, you read that right.

I’ll be honest, I did not make the decision for the environment or finances — I wish I could say I was that noble.  I made it because I believe cloth is the right choice for our babies.  It does not mean we do not use disposable, because we do — but most of the time you will find them in a BumGenius Freetime.  I spent the first several months trying to find the right diapers and diapering system for our family.  I recently settled on the BumGenius and Kissaluvs with Thirsties Diaper Covers.  The BumGenius are used for overnight and long outings as they leak less than any disposable we have tried.  I’ll write more about our diapering routine in a future post.

And on a side note … I love putting them in cute diapers:

01042014 - Tuxedo Diaper

BumGenius Freetime – Tuxedo Pattern

I want to say one thing about mindlessly stupid questions — which I referenced in my last post.  Someone told me it made me sound like I thought questions were stupid.  That was not my intent at all — obviously I ask questions every day.  In fact, I am certain I put mindlessly stupid ones into whatever search engine I am using.  We all do.

Rather than implying anyone (including myself) is mindlessly stupid — I was actually trying to bolster our innate motherly intuition.  Our common sense.

Most of the answers are right in front of us.

I’ll never forget being in the NICU and panicking when the alarms went off on their monitors.  My eyes would get wide I would stare at the nurses and freeze as fear washed over me.  Finally one nurse saw my panic and said just look at your baby.  Most of the information you need about their stress level can be found by looking at THEM, not the monitor.

She was right.  And I try to remember that with every mindlessly stupid question that might pop in my head.

I will probably try to find some other mother’s experience with said question, but I will do it while looking at my baby.

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The Daily Dumplings: Bath Time

I don’t bathe them every night.

My goal is Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or Sunday until they can crawl.  It does not always work that way.  They generally get a bath 2-3 times per week, but they get a sponge bath every morning when I dress them.  I use warm cloths I keep in a cloth wipe warmer.  I got this as a gift, uncertain if I would use it.  I didn’t at first, but eventually I found a way to use it that worked for me.  Now I don’t have to wait for water to warm up at the sink in order to give them a sponge bath.  It may sound silly, and perhaps it is, but I find it saves times and makes the morning routine more efficient.

Most of you are not going to care about the twins bath schedule — but believe it or not it was one of the things I went in search of on the internet.

How often do I bathe my baby?  I actually typed this sentence into a Google search engine.

I think we stop trusting ourselves the minute we have a baby.  Every question needs an answer from some authority — the fact is so much of it is common sense. And even more of it is about YOUR BABY.  Our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers did not ask the question about how to bathe the baby, they just put the baby in some warm water and gave it a good scrub; careful to avoid dumping water in their ears.

The internet makes it so easy to ask mindlessly stupid questions.

The answer is simple.  Smell the baby.  Look at the baby.  If the baby is dirty; bathe the baby.

Now that I am transitioning them to their cribs, I am working towards a more consistent routine.  Bath time.  Story time.  Bottle.  We have recently invested in Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suits for both boys.  It was recommended to me by the woman who teaches our Babies First Class for Twins, Sue Darrison.  I was skeptical because our boys hated the swaddle, they prefer to sleep on their stomachs.  They break just about every rule ever written for putting a newborn to bed.

With that said, we have experienced some pretty dramatic sleep changes with the sleep suit.  Last night Jackson slept from 10:30pm until 5:10am.  Yes, it’s still early — but that is a long stretch of sleep, on his back in his sleep suit.  James woke up once, but he slept in until almost 9:00am.

If you are a person who has landed here in search of your bath time or other twin answers, just know that what works for these two babies may or may not work for you — and both answers are correct.  I try never to say you have to get this or that or do this or that.  Take in as much information as you need to make an informed decision and then do what is best for your baby.  I am an authority on nothing — but doing what is best for your baby is always the answer.

The Daily Dumplings pictures were taken tonight after I had looked at some pictures of their first baths.  It’s pretty miraculous how much they have changed.

Jackson Bath

Jackson Roy
September 26, 2013 and January 4, 2014

01042014 - JR Bath Today

James Bath

James Philip
September 26. 2013 and January 4, 2014

01042014 - JP Bath Today 02

01042014 - Heller PJs

All Clean! James (L) and Jackson
Little Me PJ’s

 

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The Daily Dumplings: Playtime In Gymboree

Playtime in Gymboree Overalls

James (L) and Jackson
Playtime in Gymboree Overalls

It’s the third installment of The Daily Dumplings picture.

The monumental thing to remember about today?

James slept six hours and fifteen minutes — from 1:00am-7:15am.

Jackson got up briefly at 3:45am and drank 1 oz of a bottle and promptly fell back to sleep.  He woke up for his first morning bottle at 6:15am.

This is monumental because with each passing day we are getting closer to longer stretches of sleep for all of us.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

– Terry

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New Year, New Blog?

Wilcox Family 01012014

The Wilcox Family
January 1, 2014

Happy. New. Year.

I love new beginnings.  I love the feeling of starting over fresh.  It’s probably why I always have a Good Will bag full of stuff.  Out with the old, in with the new.

Sometimes I am glad to see a year go and sometimes I find myself looking back lovingly, hoping we can meet again.  And yet, I know we can’t.

We can’t (or should I say I can’t?) obsess about things like — not having gotten The Dumpling’s footprints at the hospital.  Are they going to be a size 13 before I have time in my day to do this?  And then I try to remember the last time I went looking for my own hand and footprints in my baby book.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy looking at my tiny little prints, but would I disown my mother if I couldn’t?  Would I even really notice?

No and No.

2013 was life changing for my immediate nuclear family.  I experienced the greatest joy I have ever known.

It was also a tragic year.  The loss of my cousin was hard.  I find myself pretending it was all a bad dream, though I know it wasn’t.  My heart aches the most for his children, his father and sister.  It’s the sort of loss that brings everlasting pain. The loss of a child.  I understand this more now than I ever have.

Last year I had but one intention as I embarked on the new year.  To get pregnant and have a baby.  I was blessed twice and I thank God for it every morning — sometimes really early in the morning.  Having a child is nothing short of a miracle and I never want to lose sight of that.

Despite a pregnancy riddled with nausea and fatigue, I somehow managed to keep blogging.  I look back and wish I had done more, but in the end I did what I could and that was enough.

2014 is a new beginning for this chapter in our lives.  It will bring a new blogging schedule and new things to blog about.  I’ve put a lot of energy into this blog and I would like to keep it going for the boys, and even more importantly — a creative outlet for me.  I need that.  Everyone needs a hobby and passion.  This is mine; at least for now.

After Mommy-hood, of course …

Where the blog is concerned, my main goal for the new year is to post something every day.  I am starting a picture series called The Daily Dumplings to help me achieve this.

You see, I have this amazing camera.   A Nikon D600.  It is way more camera than I know what to do with, so the first order of business is to take a photography class — which my husband has graciously agreed to let me do for six Thursday nights this winter.  I am going to need a place to practice what I am learning and what a better way than on pictures of the dumplings?  You might get annoyed with me, but I’ll try to take pictures worth looking at.

Jackson (L) and James

Jackson (L) and James
January 1, 2014

Above is the first installment, which was actually taken by Jonathan’s Aunt Sharie on New Year’s Day.  I just love their eyes.  I think they are talking to angels … or the ceiling fan.  They seem to be one in the same for them.  The conversations they have with ceiling fans are something …

Today I took my third yoga class since bringing the Dumplings home.  I was running late and had to pump before I could leave.  My first thought was — I’ll start yoga again when I get everything done — and then I paused, laughed and thought, “It’s never going to be all done.  Life is never all done.”

With that statement, I left for yoga and arrived ten minutes late.

The world did not end.

But while I was in yoga a very interesting thing happened on the mat.  I was struggling.  Really struggling.  I had to admit I am a very long way from where I was at Day 67 on the mat.  After all, I had stomach surgery — I cannot even feel all of those muscles yet.  I am lactating.  I cannot even begin to explain how out of whack this makes my chest and upper back.

It’s deceiving because I am actually smaller than I was before I was pregnant.  But after today I had to admit I needed to take baby steps.  Small accomplishments every day equal big accomplishments down the road.

In a nutshell, I have lots of goals for 2014.  In November of 2012 when I started 60 Days On the Mat, I started with the goal to get UN-organized.  To stop obsessing.  Or obsessively writing lists, to be precise.

In 2014, I need to get organized without obsessing because if the past three and half months have taught me anything — it’s taught me that this ship will go down fast without some order in place.

It’s not that I am an un-orderly person.  In fact, I am quite orderly about many things.  I’ve never had to run a household that called for this much simultaneous order before.

After weeks of struggle — and two visits from my own Mom — it seemed as though overnight I found a solution.

I became my mother.

Suddenly everything needed a place.  The only time I felt completely calm was when she was here, so I had to make up for her absence by trying to remember the things she had suggested when she was here.

After years of making fun of my Mom’s obsessive neat gene; it felt like overnight I embraced it as my own.  Suddenly all that order in my childhood home made sense.  My Mom made complete sense after 44 years.  I didn’t need Martha Stewart’s Book of Homekeeping (though it contains many useful tips) … I just needed to listen to my Mom.

She must be gloating as she reads this.  Even my aunt remarked, “I see and hear your mother when you talk … “

You live with someone long enough.  You watch them often enough.  Eventually, even through time and distance — it’s bound to sink in.  Having twins did it.  They are my little muses for order.  We are all calmer when I have it.

I just hope I don’t drive them nuts.

So this year I’ll be blogging about many adventures of twin motherhood — possibly even organizing said life.

I’ll be taking a lot of pictures. Here’s Day 2 of The Daily Dumplings:

The Daily Dumplings -- January 2, 2014

Jackson (L) and James
January 2, 2014

I’ll be filming some videos because I am told the boys will love watching these as they get older.  I’ll be cooking some Texas grub from the Homesick Texan.  I’ll be going to yoga.  I’ll be working.  Hopefully, we’ll be moving … somewhere.

We outgrew this house before they even got here.

I’ll also be doing a lot of laundry — though I’ll spare you laundry talk whenever possible.

My number one goal is to be the best mother and wife I can be — with that as my focus, all the rest will hopefully fall into place.

Just a note for my regular Facebook readers — I am not going to put every post on my personal Facebook page; just the weekly Dear James and Jackson letters.  So if you have not already, please like the Terrilox Facebook page or subscribe via email and you’ll get an update each time I post.

I want to take a moment in the new year to thank my friends and family for reading my musings for more than a year.  You kept me going when I otherwise might have stopped — and for that I will be eternally grateful.

I hope all of you have a wonderful 2014.  I hope you’ll come back and visit whenever you have time.

Love and Hugs —

Terry

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Dear James and Jackson: Happy New Year

Dear James and Jackson:

What a year 2013 was.  We welcomed you into the world and our lives (and our sleep patterns) haven’t been the same since.

Since I last wrote to you, we had a Christmas celebration at our home with Granny and Grandpa Wilcox, your Aunt Annie, Jill, Norm and Larry — and of course, Mama and Daddy.

Jackson - My First Christmas

Jackson, 3 months
aka: Pooter Magoo

James - My First Christmas

James, 3 months
aka: Tubs Magoo and Merv

Your first Christmas menu was Granny’s ham and ham sauce. Always excellent.

Mama made KK’s Chicken Green Chili Stew — which was a huge hit.  I’ll have to blog the recipe sometime.

I got a cookbook called The Homesick Texan for Christmas, along with a cutting board in the shape of Texas.  Even if you are not a HOMESICK Texan like I am, I highly recommend it.  One of my 2014 blogging projects it to make every recipe in the book (she says as she laughs).

To kick it off, I made Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese, Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits and Iron Pan Cornbread — which I used in the Biscuit-Cornbread Dressing.  But not before Daddy, Annie and I devoured a good portion of each.

I also made some roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Cranberries and your basic green beans.

Your Daddy made brownies and chocolate chip cookies.  Your Daddy loves to bake.  The chocolate chip cookies were especially great this year.

I took absolutely no pictures of this meal.  Despite the fact that we do take a lot of pictures, sometimes I am not as prepared as I would like to be.  I really wish I would have taken a picture of the table your Aunt Annie so beautifully helped put together while your Mama was biting off ALMOST more than she could chew in the kitchen.

Mama and Annie, Dec. 2013

Mama and Annie, Dec. 2013

In any event, I think pictures of food are overrated, and we have to endure them too often on Facebook.  I am trying to spare you.  However, pictures of table-scapes are not overrated — and in my opinion, a great meal is not complete without a beautiful table.  I inherited this from your KK.

Look out, if I ever get enough space to collect table linens …

Another highlight of the past week is the discovery of FaceTime.  Jackson, you talked to KK, Grandpa Roy and you “met” your Uncle David, Aunt Bridget and your cousin’s Matthew and David.  You were quite a ham.  James, you were asleep, but you are also quite a ham.  You have since enjoyed FaceTime with KK and Grandpa Roy a few times.

Last night was New Year’s Eve.  We were leaving, what your Daddy and I consider to be the most magnificent year of our lives.  You were born.  September 16, 2013 will be forever etched in our minds as the day our lives changed forever — for the better.

Your Granny and Grandpa Wilcox came over to watch you while your Daddy and I went to dinner at our favorite restaurant, Nicola’s.  We have taken you here with us almost every Friday night since you were born.  The owners, John and Kate have become great friends — and John also happens to be Jackson’s Godfather.

The most memorable things about this evening … your Mama did not get to shower until minutes before leaving.  Her hair was wet and shoved under a hat.  She looked like she had not slept.  She looked like … well, what one might call a disheveled mess.

Mama and Daddy, New Year's Eve 2013

Mama and Daddy, New Year’s Eve 2013
“Rat’s Nest” Hair

And yet, she has never had a more perfect, more joyous, or more wonderful New Year’s Eve.

We stayed at the restaurant until around 10:30 — where we spent a great deal of time looking at pictures of you on our phone.  It seems ridiculous, I know, but you are both so stinkin’ cute.

We came home to two very awake little boys.  After some cajoling and rocking, you were both fast asleep in your bassinets.

I rang in 2014 in the living room with your Daddy.  We watched the ball drop, we kissed and your Mama promptly went to pump before heading to bed.

While I was pumping, I scrolled through pictures of you and came across this picture.  These sleepers have long since left your drawer …

The J's First Dr Appt

James (L) and Jackson — First Doctor’s Appt.
September 25, 2013

And then I came across these, taken just last week …

Jackson, Car Seat  3 months

Jackson, Car Seat
3 months

James - Car Seat, 3 months

James, Car Seat
3 months

I cried tears of joy looking a my beautiful baby dumplings.  One year ago last night — I wrote this post.   The only thing missing this year was Boomer … he was not right there with us.  But we have Raylan — and despite the fact that he tries to escape daily — we love him.

Oh, and we did not ring in the new year with a champagne flute filled with Shiner Bock … we rang in the new year with … blood orange soda. We had already had wine at Nicola’s …  and as you know, I had to pump.

I really cannot believe how big you are getting.  James, you are in six month clothes for many things — and Jackson, you are not far behind.

After I finished pumping, I went to sleep — only to be awakened by James at 2:40am and then Jackson at 3:15am.  Both of you ate and went right back to sleep … but as I was burping Jackson he proceeded to spit up all over my hair and down my sweatshirt.

I laughed.  My hair was never really brushed all that well before washing it and leaving for dinner.  It was more like what my Mawmaw would refer to as a “rat’s nest” — has anyone ever seen a rat’s nest?

I thought to myself as I hugged you — there is no sweeter smell right now than sour milk from my precious baby in the wee small hours of the first day of 2014.  What a difference a year makes.

I can’t stop saying that …

At 6:30am your Daddy got up with Jackson while I was feeding James.  He turned on the TV and said to me, “I have never been up before the Rose Bowl Parade started … “

Welcome to the world, Daddy!  Welcome to the world!

Love, Mama

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