Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Budding Personalities

Here's an update on each one of the baby's personality development. It's so fun to watch them grown and change and think back to how their little personalities are similar to how they acted in utero. Crazy stuff.

ABBY

Well, she's not "Crabby Abby" anymore. Now, I call her "Abber Dabber" or just "Dabber." I don't know why, but I do.

She's the most cuddly and needy. She loves to be held and always craves attention. She's gotten to be super smiley, and I think she has learned to do this because the more she smiles, the more attention she gets.

She's super active, like I mentioned in a previous post about her rolling around. She was always the most active in my belly, too.

She has big eyes, and she always looking around at everything and everyone around her.

Her sleep schedule is a bit grueling. She barely naps during the day, and when she does, it's never at the same time as the other two. Will and Marie's napping has gotten to be a little more coordinated lately, but Abby is always awake when they are sleeping and usually falls asleep after they wake up. Therefore, there are not many times when everyone sleeps at once, which leaves me with very little free time.

At night, it's even worse for Abby. She usually goes to sleep alright, but she will only stay asleep for about 3 hours at a time. Then, she wakes up and wants to eat and snuggle. If I put her down in her crib when she falls back to sleep, she wakes up and looks up at me with a big smile-WIDE AWAKE! The smile is super cute, but at 3:30 a.m., it loses it's charm. If I don't pick her up, she'll cry and scream within a few minutes, and if that continues for too long, I have 3 crying babies at 3:45 a.m. NOT GOOD.

We have had a few nights where this cycle of cry, pick up, feed, fall asleep, put in crib, wake up, smile, cry, scream, pick up, feed more, fall asleep again, etc, etc. has gone on for 2 hours. It happened to me a couple of nights ago from 3:30-5:30 a.m. Just when I got back to bed and fell asleep, Will woke at 6 a.m. At that point, I made Billy go deal with it.

If we could just get the sleeping thing under control for her, she would be perfect.

MARIE

I call her "little bear" because she likes to hibernate like a bear. She sleeps so much! She used to be "growlie" because before she would cry, she would growl. I alternate between "little bear" and "gummy bear" because when she smiles, she flashes all her gums on the top.

She's probably the most lazy of the trio, and she was the least active in my belly. She doesn't like to eat solids from a spoon because she has to exert too much energy. She much prefers to lazily suck on a bottle or a boobie, and she will suck down 8 ounces. The others typically take about 6 ounces.

She also doesn't try very hard to roll. She watches Abby do it and Will try, but I think she's thinking to herself, "Don't waste your time with that silly rolling crap. If you need to go somewhere, just cry until mommy picks you up and moves you."

She's still a crazy thumb sucker, but sometimes she's even lazy about that. When she is tired, she needs that thumb to go to sleep. Without it, she's a crying mess. However, she'll get very tired and start crying but will make no effort to find her thumb. She'll just stare at me and cry her eyes out. If I try to help get her thumb in her mouth, she freaks out even more. I just have to wait until she musters up the energy to move her finger to her face and then, she's out like a light. At night, she's been known to sleep 11 or 12 hours! That's what I'm talkin' about!

WILL

We call him "Willers," "Mr. Willers," and "Willy." He has found his voice recently. He makes all kinds of sounds, but his favorite is a loud, high-pitched scream. His eyes get huge and he screams, and he freezes his arms and hands all stiff and sticking out. It's really funny. He'll pause when he talks, and I'll urge him to continue by saying something like, "Tell me more," or "oh really?" He will look at me and smile and continue to chat away.

He really likes to sleep with a binky of some sort. He's partial to soft blankets. When he gets tired, he'll start off by chewing on the blanket and then rubs the side of his face against it until he falls asleep.

Will is also the most curious about his sisters. Sometimes we put them down side by side on a blanket on their backs, and he'll look at the girls, reach for them, smile at them, etc. The girls could care less about him. The are snotty little witches already. Poor Willers!

He also has this little shy smile thing he does. If someone looks at him and smiles, he'll smile back and then shield his face by burying into the shoulder or chest of whoever is holding him.

He's such a flirt! Alice took him out to dinner earlier this week, and she said that he was smiling at the waitress and flashing his big brown eyes at her. The little lady's man strikes again. He just can't help what a good looking little dude he is.

Milestones

Our babies aren't just little smiley blobs anymore-they are starting to do real "stuff." When we went for their 4 month check up, the doctor asked if they were putting their fingers in their mouths and accidentally gagging themselves, and I said that I had indeed noticed that. Apparently, that's a milestone. I just thought they were stupid. Since then, we've had a lot more milestones that are even better.

At 4 1/2 months, Marie had 2 little teeth start to pop up through her gums on the bottom. They are now half way out. Michele just noticed that Will has a little bit of whiteness under his bottom gums. His little nub will sprout soon. Abby is drooling and chewing on hands and toys like crazy, but there are no signs of any teeth. She cracks me up with the way she'll just start off holding my fingers like she's being sweet, and then she pulls them towards her face while shaking her head from side to side and gets a crazed expression in her eyes. Once she gets the fingers in her mouth she gnaws at them with happy satisfaction. She started chewing on her own foot the other day. I have a picture I need to post.

Abby has her own tricks, too. She can now roll over from her tummy to her back and her back to her tummy. At first, she would get one of her arms stuck underneath her and couldn't figure out what to do, but now she knows how to move it and rolls around freely. The others watch her with envy and awe in their eyes. Okay, maybe I'm imagining the envy and awe, but I bet they wish they could do it. (Will has almost made it once, but he keeps getting that arm stuck, and he gives up and rolls back.)

Abby is still doing PT weekly for her torticollis, and I think all that extra exercise, plus the work we do with her at home is helping her not only strengthen her neck more, but also just develop more quickly in general. She spends a lot of time on her tummy for exercise, and I think we need to give the others more tummy time to help them get stronger.

They have all been eating cereal for the past month. At first, I would mix 3 bowls of it in the mornings and feed them each with their own spoons. This got to be too much so I now just mix up one big bowl of it, and feed them assembly-line fashion with one spoon. It's hilarious to see them open their mouths as the spoon approaches.

Abby is doing the best. She loves it and is getting the swallowing part down. Marie, however, still doesn't know quite what to do with it. The first time I gave Marie a spoon of it, she looked at me in horror and started to cry immediately. Now, she usually just sticks out her tongue after every bite and pushes it all out. Will did this at first, but he's getting better. So far, they have had rice and oatmeal cereal.

Last night, I tried out green beans at dinner time. They found this to be highly offensive. The faces they made were priceless. I'm sure the poopies that will follow will be highly offensive to me. That green bean baby food looked and smelled bad going in...I can't imagine what it's going to be like on the other end. YUCK!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Winnie & Us

We went to see the movie Marley and Me last night. It was so wonderful, but incredibly sad! I read most of the book when I was pregnant, but I couldn't bring myself to finish the last 20 pages. We all know how a book about a dog will end.

The day I was reading to the point where I couldn't go on, Billy came home, and I was sitting on the couch crying my eyes out. I looked at him and said, "I hate you." He had been the one who urged me to read it. The combination of the sadness of the book and my pregnancy hormones was bad news.

I just couldn't believe how much Marley was like Winnie. There's a scene where Jennifer Aniston has just put her kids to sleep and the garbage truck pulls up and Marley goes berserk. I can't even tell you how many times something like that happens with Winnie everyday. I'll get Abby to FINALLY go to sleep and all the sudden, Winnie spots a squirrel outside and the barking frenzy begins. Abby's eyes then pop right open, and I know she will not fall asleep again.

After seeing the movie, I am looking forward to seeing the kids grow up around Winnie. I'm sure that there will be times that she'll frustrate the hell out of me...knocking kids over, whipping them with her massive tail, eating their food, etc. However, I know she's going to be a good protector and love them to death. If the amount she licks them now is at all related to the amount of love she feels for them, she is going to kill them with love.

Recently, the kids have started to track her and smile when she comes near them. Will reaches out to grab her when she comes by, and he ends up with his hands and face covered in Winnie saliva since she thinks his reaching out is an open invitation to lick him from head to toe.

I have convinced myself that Winnie is immortal. She will never die so I don't have to worry about all that Marley sadness. Not only do I not want to experience how hard that will be, but I hate the thought of the kids having to deal with it. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Why is it that I can see a movie or read about a person dying, and it doesn't phase me, but an animal, and I'm a mess?! Do I have no sympathy for my fellow humans? Oh well.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winnie is Amazing

This story is way too funny not to post. It's a classic Cooper tale!

Liane was going to use a new babysitter last week. It's a high school girl that lives around the corner from them. She was telling Cooper that she would be going out with Jason, but that Whitney was going to come and take care of him and Carley. Liane said that Cooper looked amazed at this news. He said, "I haven't seen her in a long time." Well, Liane was just thinking that was his way of relaying that he had never met the girl before. Then, he started asking questions.

First, he asked, "Will she feed us dinner at night?" Liane told him that yes, she would be arriving during dinnertime and would just finish up feeding them. Cooper responded, "WOW!" Next he asked, "Will she be able to tuck us in when it's time to go to bed?" Again, Liane told him that yes, she would do all that for him and Carley. Cooper had the same response, "WOW!" Liane thought it was a little weird that he was asking all those questions, but nothing is weird when it comes to Cooper.

Then, Cooper turned to Carley and said, "Baby Carley, Winnie is going to come take care of us when mom and dad go out." The whole time he was thinking that our dog, Winnie, was going to be their babysitter! Poor kid. Can you imagine what must have been going through his head? The mental images of Winnie feeding him dinner, reading him books, tucking him in, etc. Hilarious!

Liane said that when Whitney did show up, Cooper and Carley called her Winnie the whole time. Well, at least they got to see that she was a human and not a canine.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Business Trip

I'm writing this update all the way from DC! I've been here on business since yesterday, and I go back tomorrow. It's really crazy to be away from the babies.

I left my house at 5 a.m. yesterday. My dad spent the night with us, and he insisted on driving me to the airport. I think Billy was a little scared of being left alone with all 3 babies at 5 a.m. for an hour and a half, but lucky for him, everyone stayed asleep. He said he didn't even realize my dad had taken me (even though I came in the room and told him before I left).

I didn't realize how inconvenient pumping would be when I traveled. I had to plan ahead and take a collapsible cooler in my bag, along with a million bottles to transport milk back. I had to check with airport security about being able to travel with it and with the airline to see if I should check it or carry on. Then, the actually pumping has sucked (ha, get it?).

I had to pump in a bathroom at the Atlanta Airport before I got on a plane. There was really no good place to sit so I just had to stand in front of the mirror with my pump hooked up as women came and washed their hands all around me. Then, I had to do the same in Washington when I landed. They had a little bench in that bathroom, which was better. While I was pumping, I sent Billy a text that said, "Landed. N shitter @ airport pumping. Good times." That summed it all up.

I went into our home office, and when I met one of my co-workers with whom I had only corresponded via phone and e-mail, she said, "You're Leslie? But you're so skinny." That made me feel better about my tummy pooch. I guess she was expecting some fat chick.

It's been nice to finally meet some of these people and interact with my colleagues. We had good meetings all day yesterday and today, and we have an all staff retreat (everyone in the company) tomorrow. I'm flying out right after that, and I'll be ready to go! I have to admit, though, it's been nice to get some rest and a little downtime. This business trip has been like a mini-vacation for me.

I've noticed that I can't shake a few of the new "mommy" habits I've developed. For example, whenever I eat, I devour my food instantly. I'm used to doing this at home because my time is so limited to eat. I have plenty of time here so I should take it easy. My co-workers must think I'm an eating machine. I'm done in 5 minutes, and they are still taking their first bite at most meals. Also having to do with food, I usually eat A LOT when I have a chance because I never know when I'll get my next meal. I ate 2 entrees at lunch today, and I went back for 2nds on the mashed potatoes.

All this food talk is making me hungry. I'm going to go to dinner all alone!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving

We had our first Thanksgiving with the babies last week. We ran around to big feasts with both my family and Billy’s. The babies were exhausted after we finished up at my dad’s house, and they only had experienced ½ the day.

The day gave us a chance to think about everything and everyone for which we are most thankful.

I would say that this is a family picture, but we have an important family member missing-Winnie! We are thankful for the craziness she brings into our home every day.

Here is Papa with his babies. Maureen said she wanted a picture of him with them, and she suggested that Billy and I sit on either side of him with a baby, and he hold one in the middle. My dad, however, said, "I want one with just the babies. Give me one in the middle and one on either side. I can hold them ALL." He did just that!

We are incredibly thankful for Papa and the Tuesday and Thursday nights he spends with us, as well as the times a baby stays with him. He knows how to handle the babies and is an amazing grandpa. We'd be lost without him!
We are also thankful for Billy’s parents, who help us out immensely. Bill spends a couple of nights a week with us, and Mems usually takes a baby or two on the weekends. The trips are their only grandchildren so they are having fun spoiling them.

Sometimes I sit the girls in their bouncy seats and have them watch me cook. I explain everything that I'm doing like it's a cooking show. Yes, it's a little weird, but they seem to enjoy out. Maybe one of them will turn out to be a chef because of it. This particular night, Will wanted to be held, and I needed my hands for food prep. Now that I look at this picture, I realize that DFACS may be contacted since I have a HUGE knife in my hands with Will in the baby carrier. Whoops! I gotta do what I gotta do to get dinner on the table. Momma's got eat!



This is Abby's "big smile" picture. It was taken at Vivian's house a couple of weeks ago. Vivian said that it was taken around 6:15 and at 6:30, Abby turned into a crying machine. It's funny how they can just flip the switch like that. However, I have to say that I think Crabbers is no more. She has stopped having her 2 hours of non-stop crying in the evenings. I think it must just have been colic because that usually clears up around 4 months. Now, she's "Happy Abby," which is so much better.

Her other nickname is Koala baby because she likes to wrap herself around anyone that holds her. She and Teri were Koala sisters when Teri was in town for Thanksgiving.

We are thankful for all of the babies’ wonderful Aunts. My sisters all help us out in different ways. Vivian spends Sunday nights and/or takes a baby on the weekends. Alice also takes a baby on the weekends, but she spoils them rotten. We were kidding the other day that when the babies get old enough to talk, they will all fight about who gets to go to Aunt Alice’s for the weekend. She lets them eat whenever they cry, and once they move to solids, she’ll feed them a bunch of junk. She lets them stay up as late as they want, and she doesn’t even try to put them in the pack ‘n play. They go straight to her bed to snuggle all night. Liane has too much going on with her own crazy trio to be babysitting for me, but she gave us the gift of the babies, and I am so thankful for that.

Teri loves the babies like crazy. She is even willing to suffer through her terrible allergy to Winnie to be with them whenever she comes to town. We wish Teri would come back to us in Atlanta full-time (hint, hint, Teri!).

We have lots of additional family and friends that we are thankful for, but it’s too hard to name them all. Just know that we appreciate everything you all do, and we wouldn’t be able to do this without you.

We took Will to get some chest x-rays last week to rule out pneumonia, and a lady in the waiting room was asking about the babies (we had them all there). She asked if we had help, and I told her that I didn’t know what we would do without the help we had. She said, “You would be fine. God only gives you what you can handle, right?” I just smiled, but I was thinking, “We have WAY more than we can handle. If we didn’t have our family and friends, we would not be handling this situation well at all.” God gave us the trips because he knew that with our support system, we could handle it.

Update on the babies’ sickness: Marie and Abby seem to no longer have the congestion in their chests so we can wean them off the nebulizers. Will, however, still has some gunk in his chest, but his pneumonia test was negative. He has to have the nebulizer twice a day with a steroid added to it. He’s getting all ripped now. We are hoping he doesn’t develop a nasty case of ‘roid rage!

Marie is now officially teething! She has two little nubs coming through on the bottom. They are sharp, like Winnie’s little puppy teeth were. I have been afraid to nurse her since we noticed the teeth because Liane said that Carley once bit her boobie so hard it drew blood when she was first teething. Anyway, it’s going to be hilarious to see this tiny, little baby with teeth.

I’m way behind with my posts so I need to work on a few more. Thanks to Erin H. for e-mailing me suggestions for what to write about. Sometimes I run out of ideas so it’s good to hear some from the readers.

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