Dear Lila, You’re Five!

Dear Lila Kate,

You turned five years old on November 18! I wanted to write you a post on your actual birthday, but of course things got a bit hectic. You and your brothers sure do keep me on my toes!

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This year for your birthday we celebrated at Disney World by taking you and your cousin Reagan to the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. You girls were in heaven getting your hair done, nails painted, glitter put everywhere etc. I love that you are still into princesses, dresses, jewelry and other girlie things. I have heard little girls can outgrown that shortly after five, so I wanted to soak it up with you while I can.

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Four was such a transformative year for you. You began to really think about the world, your place in it and how you want to experience life. Your big emotions from age three calmed down and you began to do things that show me you’ve matured a lot. Things like saying sorry unprompted and really meaning it, sacrificing what you want for your brothers, offering to carry my purse to the car when my hands are full, bringing your dishes over to the sink without being asked and having fun playing games even if you lose.

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Nothing has made me more proud of you than when your teacher told us at parent conferences recently that “Lila is one of the nicest kids in class.” More so than knowing your letters, numbers etc, I care most about you learning how to be a good friend, to be kind to others and to love yourself. You make me so proud in this sense every day!

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You love your family so fiercely that sometimes daddy and I joke that no five year old has been more obsessed with their parents than you are. You would honestly rather be with us over any one else in the world. When I leave even to run to the store, you follow me out the door asking for at least five rounds of hugs and kisses.

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You often say “I’m never going to college! I’m going to live with mommy and daddy forever!” Secretly, I would be happy if that actually happened. I want you to experience all the world has to offer, but I hope you are forever close to us (even if it’s just in heart). You are my best little buddy and I love having you always by my side.

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Since the arrival of your brothers, your life has changed a lot. It would be very normal for you to feel resentful of them, but you have never once acted harshly towards them. At most you will tell me you feel jealous if I’m spending time with one of them or try to also sit on my lap if I’m holding one. I try to give you lots of one on one time to let you know that you’re very very special to my heart. You are such a fun big sister – always chasing the brothers until they fall in a heap giggling. They adore you so much.

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We’ve tried to keep your life unscheduled so far. You mainly go to school in the mornings and then are home with us the rest of the time. We do little outings to the library, coffee shop or park. I figure you have a lot of time to explore hobbies & sports and I like our calm, quiet life! You already show a lot of aptitude and interest in a few things like singing, art, music, golf, running, swimming and acting. I’m looking forward to when you really start finding your passions.

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I am told often that you are a carbon copy of me. Right now you love “looking like mommy.”  I hope as you get older that continues! You are very tall (just like I was) and are off the charts for height. You’ve already lost two teeth and have your “7 year molars” coming in. Being so tall so young wasn’t always easy for me, but so far you think its so cool that you’re “the tallest in class!” I am going to do my best to help you to always love yourself and to think being tall is a great thing (because now that I’m an adult, I see that it so is!).

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Leading up to your birthday I told you that I thought you should just stay four, since mommy didn’t want you to get older. You said “No mommy I have to turn five! But I’ll always be your baby, remember?!” The truth is I love watching you grow up. I know what a special honor it is to be with you every day as you experience life.

I still can’t believe you are five! It seems like not long ago I was dreaming about what being a mom would be like. Whenever I would think about it, I always dreamt I had a daughter. You are everything and more that I dreamed of and I feel so lucky that you are mine.

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Happy birthday sweet girl!

Love always,

Mommy

 

 

Filled to the Brim

Life is so full right now. It’s amazing, joyful and exhausting all at once. Every moment of my day seems filled with childcare, home care or work. The precious moments I get to relax are usually spent vegging out on the couch with Luke over some ice cream. So, I’m sorry if I haven’t been by here as much to keep you all updated!

The boys recently turned 15 months old, and they are IN. TO. EVERYTHING. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with them. They certainly keep me on my toes. Their current obsession is climbing everything in sight and giving their mom a heart attack. Our house is in full on baby-proofed mode, with gates in nearly every room, outlet plugs galore and the bottom shelves emptied all around the house. We are seriously contemplating moving all our kitchen chairs to the basement because the boys LOVE climbing on top of them and onto the table! Basically our house will be empty soon. :)

When the house can’t take any more abuse from them, I plop them in the back yard. They LOVE playing outside and think our back yard is their own personal safari. They climb up the slide and then go down on their bellies, giggling as they bump into each other. They play in the sand box and end up eating most of it, and when it’s hot out, we put on the sprinkler or slip n slide for them and Lila to cool down in.

Their personalities are becoming more and more apparent. Davis is our adventurer. He’s always on some mission to explore a new area of the yard, get into some trouble he knows he’s not supposed to, or try to make a break for it up the stairs when the gate is left open. While he’s got a curious spirit, he is still my easy-going snuggler. It takes a lot to get Davis upset. My favorite time is right before bed when he lays his head on my shoulder and sucks his thumb, completely content.

 

Davis discovered the slide! #davisray #13monthsold #babyboy #slide

 

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Someone didn’t want to let me cook dinner. #davisray #babyboy #mommyshelper   A post shared by Liz Batman (@elizbatman) on

Whitaker is technically the “baby” in our family, and boy does he milk that role. He is our little koala, and loves nothing more than to be toted around wherever we go. He reaches his arms up whenever someone walks by begging to be carried and loved on. He has no stranger danger and will literally let anyone hold him. He’s been doing this awesome knee-shuffle to get where he wants to go. He tends to be more slow and deliberate, where his brother is off in a flash.

 

Famous Whitaker knee shuffle #babyboy #crawlingbabyprobs #whitakerJohn #sweetboy

 

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 When Whit wants something, you better believe he will let you know it! This boy is LOUD and likes to be heard. He is most obsessed with my mom. Whenever she is nearby, he starts grunting and reaching out for her to hold him. He also has started getting jealous of his siblings. If I have Lila in my lap, Whit will crawl over and start trying to push her off, like “that’s MY mommy!” I have a feeling Whit is going to want to stay close to mommy and daddy for awhile, and that’s just fine with me.

Daddy & mini daddy. #whitakerJohn #babyboy #likefatherlikeson A post shared by Liz Batman (@elizbatman) on

Lila is 4 and a half, and really maturing. I love this age. She is full of imagination, enthusiasm for life and generally is a joy to be around. She spends her days lost in her world of play. She enjoys making art projects using the various materials I put into her art cart. She loves building “towns” with her Legos and then acting out little scenes with the people. When she’s not lost in her imagination, she is doing something physical like dancing, climbing on her playground or building one of her daily forts.

  Saturday’s with Lila #lilakate #sillygirl #4yearsold #dressup   A post shared by Liz Batman (@elizbatman) on

This girl is going to be athletic like her mama! She participated in jr. golf this summer with her daddy, which was a great bonding experience for them both. Although it took her awhile to understand that the winner isn’t the person who gets the ball in the hole the fastest vs the least amount of strokes! Her swimming has really taken off this summer as well. She is almost to the point where she can swim the length of an olympic sized pool without stopping. This girl has no fear!

How Lila and I spent our Fourth of July! @toledocountryclub photo credit. #mommysfish #lilakate #ohiosummer A post shared by Liz Batman (@elizbatman) on

I’ve been working more with my marketing consulting business. I’m booked about 20 hours a week, and I find the balance is perfect for me. I have realized I’m happiest when I get a mix of time with the kids and time away working. Right now I am usually with the kids from 8-1pm and then a sitter comes 1-5 pm three to four days a week. Luke and I share a home office space upstairs since he works from home as well. Some people think it’s crazy that we work by each other all day, but I absolutely love it! There’s no one I’d rather have for my “coworker.”

Anniversary dinner! #aventuras #annarbor #7years #anniversary

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Luke’s been enjoying golfing a lot this summer. He’s been a life-long golfer, but this is the first summer in his adult life that he’s really gotten to devote more time to the game. I love that he gets that outlet, because he works extremely hard and then also is very involved with the day to day care of the kids. Plus he also makes sure I get time to do things I enjoy too, like my new workout obsession Pure Barre. It works for us to both get time away to do things we enjoy separate from our roles as parents.

For real tho

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We are all trying to soak up the last few days of summer. We’ve really tried to make this summer low key by staying home most days, with occasional trips to the pool. But Lila starts school next week, the boys are both close to walking and I have a feeling our already busy life is about to get even more hectic.

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful summer with your friends and family!

Life In the Fast Lane

Oh me, oh my. It’s been far too long since I’ve sat down to blog. It seems life is moving so quickly and each moment of my day is filled to the brim with caring for babies, giving Lila my attention, working, exercising and trying my best to be a present wife, friend, daughter and sister.

Sadly, time for blogging has been hard to come by.

Beyond being busy busy, life has been really good lately. Our boys are now nine months old (!!!) and getting cuter and cuter by the day. They’re crawling all over the house, eating solids like bottomless pits and letting their personalities show.

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Davis may win the award for World’s Happiest Baby. The dude seriously just smiles all day long, giggles when you just look in his direction and seems to absolutely love life.

A great example of how chill Davis is happened today. We drove 3 hours home from visiting Luke’s parents and unbeknowngst to any of us, Davis was sitting on top of five of Lila’s mini, plastic My Little Ponies the whole time. You never would have known little plastic toys were digging into his back based on how quiet and happy he was!

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Whitaker in contrast is a little beef ball. If he does not like something, he will LET YOU KNOW IT! He exudes personality and goes from giggling, to yelling, to crying and back to giggling all within minutes. He’s very physical and is usually crawling into every nook and cranny of our first floor just checking things out.

Whit is a serious little baby and you can tell he’s thinking, thinking, thinking constantly. He’s also very vocal and is always blabbering to us. He is judicious with his smiles, so when you get one, you know it’s really special.

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The boys are starting to show that special twin bond. Just recently they’ve started smiling and giggling at each other. They still mostly play next to each other, but occasionally I’ll see them playing together – usually in the form of crawling on top of each other, pulling each other’s hair, or stealing a toy.

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Lila seems to be maturing so much these days. She’s morphing into a little girl and I couldn’t be prouder of her.

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I was worried how things would go once the boys were here and my time was split into thirds when she was used to having it all for 3.5 years. If anything, I think this change has been very positive for her.

She’s learned to entertain herself, be more patient if I’m busy and become very self-sufficient. The other day I was so impressed when she saw I was busy with the boys and got her art cart out to do art on her own for an hour.

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She’s gotten really into playing make believe and every day for our “play time together” we play barbies. I’m usually the little girl and she’s the mommy or babysitter. We play out little storylines that usually seem to intersect with what’s actually happening in her life. It’s a special time for the two of us and I love getting a glimpse into how she perceives her world.

We’ve been fortunate enough to find two great babysitters who watch the kids two afternoons a week while I work, and for date nights. Those first six months with the twins were all-consuming, so it feels good to get some time away to focus on my career and time with my main squeeze.

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I’m not going to lie, there are times when I feel like our life is so hectic and chaotic I’m not sure how we get through the day. On the good days, when everything goes according to plan, I catch myself thinking “twins are not so hard!”

But when one gets sick, or Luke has to travel, or things get out of whack, I can feel like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Like I’m just running around attending to someone’s needs every minute of the day. On those days I’ve found some good ice cream and talking with Luke about our life brings my perspective back in line.

Life certainly is an adventure with these kids. It’s hilarious, frustrating, joyous, difficult, unrelenting and satisfying all at once. Through the ups, downs and very full days, I take solace knowing that being their mother is exactly what I’m meant to be.

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We Survived 6 Months!

When I was pregnant and met other twin moms, they mostly said the same thing, “Get through the first six months and it gets much easier.” Well I’m excited to say that the boys are officially six months old and we’re all still kicking!

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These past six months have been some of the craziest I’ve ever experienced. It started with a hospital stay for me due to preeclampsia, the boys being born six weeks premature and a month long NICU stay. Flash forward to today, and we have two healthy, thriving boys, a content and curious almost-four-year-old and a lot more sleep all around.

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Here are some six month stats for the boys:

Whitaker has always been the bigger of the two, and now weighs in at 15 lbs 2 oz or 14th percentile. He is 26.7 inches tall or 58th percentile. For a preemie, it’s great that he’s even on the scale, let alone above 50th percentile. He eats a TON. The boy will put down 7-8 ounces like it’s nothing. He just started eating solid food and is loving it so far.

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His play routine involves:

1. playing with a toy on his back for a few minutes

2. Rolling to his stomach

3. Realizing he still cannot figure out how to roll back

4. Screaming in frustration until I put him in “baby time out,” which is his rock n play with a toy

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When he’s not locked into this routine, Whit tends to be a very happy, smiley and grunty baby. Yes, grunty. This boy is always sniffing and snuffing and generally making monster-like noises. He’s our little meatball.

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Davis is our small guy. He’s just 13 lbs 4 oz or 1st percentile for weight. For height he is 25.3 inches or 8th percentile. If he was my first baby I may be worried about his size, but Lila was exactly the same. In fact, even being a full term baby, Lila weighed less than a pound more than Davis at six months. Now she’s 97th percentile for height! Besides, they say preemies typically don’t “catch up” to the scale until age 2.

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Davis continues to be going for the world record for the World’s Easiest Baby. This boy is all sweetness and happiness and ease. He flashes me the biggest smiles and full on belly laughs at just about anything – especially his sister.

Davis thinks his big sister is HILARIOUS! #davisray #lilakate #siblinglove

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Davis rolls both ways, likes playing with toys and going for walks. Mostly this guy likes just about anything you throw at him. The only times he gets upset is when his brother rolls on top of him, or his bottle gets temporarily “borrowed” to calm his hungry (loud) brother first. :)

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One the biggest challenges and victories for me these past six months has been my journey breastfeeding twins. Since the boys were in the NICU at first, they were exclusively on bottles. I started off exclusively pumping and thankfully had a great supply.

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I worked my butt off those first 12 weeks to transition the boys from bottles to nursing. It took a lot of practice, five trips to a lactation consultant, lip tie revision for both boys, a bout of mastitis and a LOT of frustration, but we finally got there. I had a lot of support from my sister who pushed me to keep trying in the early days when I wanted to give up.

Now both boys do a mixture of bottle feeding and nursing depending on the day. They have been exclusively on my breastmilk since they were three days old. Producing enough milk for twins (60 ounces a day!) is a pretty crazy undertaking for my body, so I’m proud to have accomplished this goal. I couldn’t have done it without the support of Luke who always helped me make it a priority to pump or nurse.

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The boys are both sleeping from about 8pm – 6:45 am, which has drastically improved the quality of our lives. I don’t do well being sleep deprived. It took my body quite awhile to learn how to sleep longer than a few hours at a time once they slept through, but I’m finally starting to know what feeling rested is like again.

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People often ask me if having twins is totally crazy. I tell them yes, and no. There are moments where everything is chaos and I feel like we live in the circus, but there are also moments where I feel like we manage very well and that having twins isn’t THAT much more work than having one baby. It helps a lot to have a very involved partner and supportive friends and family.

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At the end of the day I wouldn’t have life any other way. Raising twins is such a unique experience and a total blessing. These boys are the perfect complement to our family.

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