Dear Lila: You’re Eight Years Old!

Dear Lila,

Today you turn eight years old! We started your morning with the usual donuts, balloons, flowers and presents. I love showering you with attention on your special day, because you absolutely deserve it!

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It feels a little weird that you’re turning eight, because on one end I feel like you were just my little baby. I can actually feel your little hand in mine as we took on all our daily adventures to story time, play dates, the zoo and coffee shops. It was just you and me most days and it was so awesome.

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But then on the other hand you seem so much older than eight. You have a quiet maturity beyond your years. Sometimes when we’re laying in bed before I say goodnight, you tell me about your day, your friends, whats happening in school and I feel like I’m talking to a young woman, not a little kid.

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You’ve shifted away from princesses and dress up towards pop singers and begging me to wear some makeup. While I am not too keen on you growing up too fast, I am enjoying watching the amazing person you’re becoming. I tell my friends all the time that you really are such a wonderful kid. When I feel like I’m failing as a parent, I remind myself how great you are, so I must be doing something right, right??

Screen Shot 2020-11-16 at 1.38.05 PMThis year you’ve really come into your own. You are so confident that it blows my mind sometimes. When I was your age I often tried to do anything to just fit in – even hiding parts of myself to appease others – but you are unabashedly yourself. This is probably why people are so drawn to you!

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Just like when you were a toddler and would ask me daily to “go bye bye sumpin,” you still like being active and busy. This year you did cross country again and got first place at championships against girls a year older than you. It was so exciting! Other sports you’ve done this year include swimming, tennis, golf, basketball and yoga. You also still love art, drawing, singing and you’re just starting piano lessons. On the rare days we don’t have anything planned, you usually beg to have a friend over to play. You do NOT like just sitting around.

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Despite having a lot of friends, you still love spending time with your family the most. You have developed an especially close bond with Alden. And he adores you right back. You love to hold him, play with him and try to get him to giggle. You’re also still very close with your cousins Mabel and Reagan. I’m so thankful for technology that has allowed you girls to play games together despite covid and living so far apart.

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You are incredibly smart and have an insatiable appetite for reading. Daddy can’t keep library books coming fast enough for you and we often have to tell you to turn the lights off or you’d read well into the night. In fact last year you read the most minutes during a school competition – 33 hours in one weeks! You definitely got your memory from your Daddy as you already smoke me in matching games. I love that you love school, learning and expressing your creativity. I often find you writing stories, plays or poems in your free time.

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I love how sensitive and open you are with your feelings. Almost every day you tell Daddy and I how much you love and appreciate us. You always express your genuine appreciation for the things we do for you, like take you shopping or have your friends over. Little things many kids take for granted, you recognize and know how lucky you are. Any time you feel angry, upset or sad, you are able to work through your tough emotions and apologize on your own later. Like I said, you’re mature beyond your years!

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These birthday letters are always bittersweet because I know you’re growing up and eventually will set out on your own. Any time I start to get sad though I remind myself how lucky I am that I got to spend literally every day of your life with you. I haven’t missed a thing and it’s been the BEST experience of my life watching you grow up.

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I hope you know how special you are to me and Daddy. We are so proud of you kiddo!!!

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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