Thursday, June 21, 2012

Collin & Carter: One Month Old

We have officially made it - our boys are ONE MONTH OLD! I can't believe it! The things Josh and I have accomplished, made it through and learned in this short month is so much more than we ever imagined.

Between feeding, changing poopy diapers, sleeping and NOT sleeping, finding time to eat, clean, spend time with Callie, spend time with each other, and still find time to get out of our house and enjoy each other...we learned just how much each other can handle (I'm talking Josh and I)...when each other's breaking point is. We have learned how much patience we really truly DO have, and how much we can be lacking when the amount of sleep we get is less than 4-5 hours :(

We learned that spending the smallest amount of time together is so much more meaningful than spending tons on a date. We now value our sleep. I personally have taken up Diet Coke again - that boost of caffeine is needed to get me through the day. I also have learned just how delious that ice cold beer is...MMMMM!!

Back to our boys :) I have been following a blog and emailing back and forth a woman named Pam. She has a daughter who's name is Cali (crazy I know) and she has fraternal twins (boy - girl). Her twins are 7 months old and I have LOVED reading her monthly updates and communicating with her about different pieces of advice! She has a really nice monthly layout for baby updates and I am going to use her same format (I wanted to give you the credit Pam-I really like this layout!!)

Here are our ONE MONTH Baby Stats!

Collin Donald
Carter Lowell

One Month Update

Food - Breast Milk ONLY (pumping). We have recently started adding rice cereal to the milk to thicken it and help it stay down in our precious baby boy's tummies. They eat between 2-3 ounces every 2-3 hours (between 24-28 ounces everday) - spitting up about 20 ounces! Okay, not THAT much, but it feels like it!

Sleep - They are napping SEVERAL hours still, but starting to have a few more awake hours throughout the day. During the night, they are sleeping between 2-3 hour shifts. Sometimes, when we are really lucky, they sleep for 4 hours straight! But we're not THAT lucky!

Clothes - They are both wearing newborn clothes still. Which are still too big on them :)

Weight - At their One Month check up, Carter caught up to Collin. Both boys weigh 6 pounds 13 ounces! When we heard that, I couldn't help but think, "Wow, that was Callie's birth weight" (6 pounds 12 ounces)...

Height - Collin was measuring 19.72 inches long and Carter was 19.6 inches long. They are very close in size!

Diapers - BOTH boys are still wearing newborn diapers! We are rotating between Pampers & Huggies (whatever is on hand or has been given to us!).

Health - Both boys have been spitting up A TON! Callie had reflux, so we have been doing everything we did with her. Currently we are giving them Prilosec for their spitting up and their gas. We were giving them Zantac & gas medicine, but our Dr. prescribed this one to use one medicine instead of two. Both boys also have Thrush - which is the little white stuff in their mouths - very common. It basically comes from spitting up so much (I believe) we have to give them some medicine 4 times a day - both sides - so basically 16 doses of medicine everyday (between the two boys!). We have alarm clocks set on our phones to remind us :)

Fun Facts - The boys have been staying awake more and more throughout the day. They calm each other when they are together, and they enjoy cuddling. Collin has been doing a lot more smiling and you can tell that he wants to start laughing! He loves to be held upright and cuddled. He is going to be a big time mommy's boy! He does the most spitting up and he is the most gassy- which is why Carter caught up in weight (I believe). Carter also loves cuddling, but he enjoys being on his side more. He started smiling as well, but likes to reel you in with his "do what I say" eyes! He is catching up in spitting up and gas, but still not to Collins degree!

We love our boys so much and can't believe they are already one month. I have heard so much from other "MOM's" (mother's of multiples) that the first few months fly by and you never remember any of it. Lately I have been forcing myself to reflect back and remember moments with all of my children - I don't want to forget these days as they are way too little and precious. They will be grown and moving out before I know it...

Oh - and for those of you who said I wouldn't have time to do the same things I did with Callie when she was were wrong! You successfully do the important things (if they are important to you) if you make time for them! Capturing these moments and memories is beyond important to me...

They are a little sloppy (the hand prints), but I am so happy that I have these! And - they were sure pissed off when I was making these memories :) Collin on top, Carter on bottom.
If you haven't caught on, Collin is always Green & Carter is always Blue...

A Father's Day for an AMAZING FATHER!

This past Father's Day was a special one, because Josh was able to celebrate as a Daddy of three BEAUTIFUL children! We (the kid and I-okay me, really!) wanted to make it very special for him!

Callie and I started by painting him a shirt with her, Collin & Carter's footprints all over it! I gave Callie two different "sayings" to write on it, and she chose the following! Personally, I think this shirt turned out AMAZING! What a fun memory! Collin is green & Carter is blue. Callie, obviously picked the pink :)

When we first moved into our house, a friend of ours gave us an old wooden ladder. It wasn't anything special and it wasn't very safe-but it did the job. Now that we have 3 kids, there is no way I'm having the father of my children using an unsafe ladder (sorry I let you get away with it for this long...I do love you!) So Callie and I headed to ACE Hardware and bought him a new ladder-a metal one that is SAFE!

We also bought daddy a new meat thermometer...our old cat Cooper chewed through the wire of our other one...darn cat!

I spent some time one evening and created a "Father's Day" shutterfly book for Daddy - full of pictures of him with his kids. Obviously there are more pictures of Josh with Callie but it won't be long until there are just as many with Daddy and ALL his kids :)

His kids also bought him some of his favorite candies: gummy bears & Reeses Pieces :) We spent the day as a family and showed lots of love to our Daddy! The kids made a complete mess in the living room...OH BOY :)

Josh, you are the most loving, patient and caring father there is :) I am so honored to be your wife and the mother of your children! Our kids are going to grow up knowing exactly how loved they are and how special they are! We all love you so much!

Happy Father's Day 2012 :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daddy Update

Cori loves it when I update the blog.  I don't like blogging, but being the loving husband I am I am going to power through a blog update.

The boys had their one month check up today.  It is weird to think they are already one month old.  To be completely honest the last month has been a blur.  Most of the time I don't know what day it is and I often have a hard time thinking of answers to simple questions.  We were both spoiled by Callie being such a good baby.  She was a great sleeper, and most of the time I felt really rested with her.  We knew this time would be harder, but I guess I didn't understand what it would be like.

Cori is an amazing woman.  She functions so much better than me on a lack of sleep.  She is still finding time to update the blog, pump, take care of her garden, cook meals, organize our lives, take care of Callie, take care of the boys, read her book, do laundry, put away laundry, and the list goes on and on.  She can wake up with the boys and feed them both at the same time no problem.  This crazy month has reaffirmed what a lucky guy I am, and what a wonderful wife I have.

The days have really blurred together.  The lack of sleep and constant cycle of feed, poop, sleep has been tough.  It sort of feels like a long work week that keeps going on and on.  I keep waiting for "Saturday" to come where we get to sleep in, have a lazy day, get a few projects done.  This day hasn't really come yet.  I'm not sure when it will come.  Hopefully before school starts we will have some sort of normalcy.

We have been lucky enough to have people come down and help out.  This has been great because you get some time to do things, or just get out of the house.  It is funny how something like going to Walmart and buying a few things suddenly seems like a fun escape.  Friends have also taken Callie out and done things with her.  She isn't getting the same amount of attention that she used to, so these little breaks are a good thing for her.

Callie has been doing a pretty good job considering the amount of change she has gone through.  At first she was acting out a lot more than usual, and even threw a few things at the boys.  As time has passed she has gotten a lot better with them.  She likes to feed them and hold them.  She is also very possessive over them.  Anytime anyone talks about the boys, she shouts at them, "THEIR MY BROTHERS."  The friendly people in Wells Fargo all knew that the boys belonged to Callie by the time we left the bank.

Collin is very chill, and very gassy.  He doesn't freak out very much, but when he does he makes it worth his while.  He is always farting or pooping.  He has a knack for waiting until right after he is changed to rip a new one.  I'm not a fan of this move, and I'll be sure to mention it to any future girlfriends should he ever push his luck.

Carter is also very gassy but he is really jumpy.  He has a move where when he is startled he throws both hands up above his head and he goes bug eyed.  One day Cori sneezed across the living room and he pulled this move from a dead sleep.

Kix doesn't get to close to the boys, but he does lay by them.  Maybe he is protecting them.  He has called off the truce with Callie and no longer puts up with her man handling him.  She has been bit a few times.  She is learning to be more gentle though.  Let's be honest, he gave her a pretty good grace period.

I remember the few times that Callie would really freak out would drive me crazy.  These guys have drove me to crazy way more often than Callie ever did.  I'm not sure if it is two kids crying, getting less sleep, or what but I have felt closer to my breaking point with the boys way more often than I did with Callie.  Luckily Cori will step in and take over with her MOM (mother of multiples) power and give me the time I need to calm down.  I also have been able to keep playing softball on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  I hit my first two home runs in men's league this year.  Apparently not sleeping or working out has brought me some new found power.

It is almost time for another feeding so I'm going to wrap this up.  I love you honey, I hope you enjoyed this blog.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How the McRae's Sleep!

Sleep - something that we aren't 100% sure about, but remember that it felt amazing!

When you start to go night after night of minimal and interrupted sleep, you start to lose your mind! Not necessarily in a bad, angry way - but in a "forgetful" way! I swear to you, I would literally lose my head if it wasn't attached! I remember talking to my sister on the phone and she was going to give me a phone number...I said, "Darn it, I can't find my phone". It wasn't until I hung up with her that I realized I was HOLDING my phone...

Kix has been watching over the kids more and more! He's always been an amazing and very friendly cat, but he's taking on a new protective sense with the boys - always sleeping near them and watching over them.

Callie did something she hasn't done in FOREVER...she fell asleep right on top of me! She leaned in to cuddle - half of her body hanging off the couch and next thing we know - she's out cold! So what do I do? Snuggle in and go to sleep myself!

You can see how quickly she fell asleep! Josh took this picture of her JUST laying on me, and SERIOUSLY so quickly she was OUT COLD!
(Mom, I'm on the phone with you here!)

She is also resting on us more :) I love it!

She's hilarious too - she's the reason we laugh as much as we do throughout the day! Her energy keeps us going...she's quite the performer! Seriously - she always dances for us, sings for us, and dresses up for us :) Man I love her!

Callie's dancing with her "friends" in her PJ's! Kayla - she plays that cat piano EVERY SINGLE DAY...not going to lie, we are sick of the songs!
Lynn came down Friday-Saturday and her visit was at a perfect time. Josh and I have had zero sleep and we were both getting edgy. Thankfully we communicate with each other often and express what we're thinking/feeling, so we have been able to talk through frustrations (which really boil down to - "I'm not mad at all, just tired!").

Lynn slept upstairs and took on the ENTIRE night shift on Friday night! I woke up to pump, but went right back to bed. She was going to wake up Josh if she needed assistance, but we both slept through the night! I slept 7.5 consecutive hours - it was AMAZING! I woke up and took Callie downstairs for some cartoons and cuddles :) Later in the day I took a 2 hour nap to top off my lack of sleep (which is why I have done 4 blog posts - I feel completely rejuvenated)...

Lynn, THANK YOU! You took on a tough job, lost sleep, but gave Josh and I something we have needed - REST! We both feel so much better and are able to take on Callie's down moments (aren't those fun!), the boys waking up throughout the night, and appreciate each other :) Thank you so much!

Now that the bar has been risen - who else wants to take on the McRae Night Challenge!?! Josh and I will hand it over NO PROBLEM! PS - Callie wakes up too...she is going through a growth spurt (she's complaining that her feet hurt...) so you may have all 3 of them up at one time...


TLC - more than a television network

Before TLC became such a popular channel to watch, and before "Tender Loving Care" was truly utilized (okay, maybe not...) a friendship was born!

Terra, Leah & Cori :)

Yes, these are my girlfriends from college. We were INSEPARABLE in college as we were all elementary education majors, had our classes together, studied together, hung out and partied together!

Our friendship is one that EVERYONE can relate to - we've gone our separate ways and our time spent together has not been as much as it once was...but we have a new bond that has brought us back together again...CHILDREN!

Terra has two daughters: Audrey (4) & Stella (1). Leah has one daughter: Eloise (4 months) and us - 3 know mine :)

L-R Stella, Audrey, Callie, Eloise, Collin & Carter
Terra & Leah made the trip to our house to visit - and boy was it fun! It was so great to see Audrey and Callie hit it off right away and start playing! Josh and I both agreed that she was so patient and caring towards Callie! She played so nicely with her :) Terra - you have done a fantastic job of raising your girls! They are so sweet and very loved! Leah - Eloise is so sweet and I can tell just how much you and Ethan love her :) I can't wait to watch your girls grow :)

Thank you for a fantastic day - I can't wait to have all of our kids together again!

Terra - Callie kept talking about her new friend who got hurt outside. She wanted to make sure she was okay and that she wanted her to come play again! Callie was sad that Audrey hurt her leg :(


I love my kids...I love my kids...I love my kids...

How many of you have actually repeated those words to yourself while they are all losing it at the same time! Saying these words while you find every single piece of strength in your body NOT to lose it :)

Smiles from Collin - I love these moments :)
Yes - that has been me - I will admit it! Going night after night of zero sleep really starts to eat away at you.

So I believe I have mentioned this already, but I don't have a lot of sleep, so my memory isn't working as well as it has :( Both boys were wanting to eat ALL the time, so I decided to strictly PUMP only. I'm able to get between 50-60 ounces of milk a day, so I have no prob. feeding them enough.

I love watching them sleep - so peaceful!
Callie sure loves her baby brother Carter - Always wanting to snuggle up near him :)

Poor Carter - I pulled the bottle from his mouth here to capture this picture...he looks so sad that his bottle is gone!

It has come to no surprise to us that our boys have reflux - just like their big sister Callie did. So the 75 + burp rags that we have in our house pretty much get washed EVERY DAY - because we are using ALMOST all of them every day. We've started some of the things we did with Callie:

Yes - Colliln spit ALL of that up...Thank goodness he wasn't upright on my shoulder...I've had enough of my breast milk end up where it came from...
He felt so much better afterwards - he zonked right out :)
  • Pillow under the mattress of their crib to elevate it a little.
  • Having them sleep in their bouncy seats
  • Feeding them and then holding them upright for 15-20 minutes (yes, both boys...made feedings last much longer)
  • Feeding them and not moving them AT ALL
  • Adding rice to their milk (we did this with Callie as well - 1 teaspoon of baby rice per ounce of milk)
  • Prescription medicine from the Dr. - Zantac
  • And we have an appointment with our chiropractor for both boys...we'll see if this helps.
They are also both very gassy, so we have been giving them gas medicine on a daily basis.

WOW - Lots of work - if you gone through this, you might think - hey no big deal...but multiply it by 2!

So here is where we are at - the things that seem to be working :)

Yes I can multi-task all 3 kids :) Feeding Carter, comforting Collin and cuddling Callie :)

Our boys are successfully keeping down the medicine, and my Bin 'O Burp Rags is still full from the beginnign of the day today! They are both receiving rice cereal in their milk as it helps thicken it and keep it down. They both receive gas medicine throughout the day and are both sleeping in the bouncy seats. We will transition them back to their cribs soon. Maybe being in separate bouncy seats will be a good transition to be in their own cribs?!?!


Jessica - our Angel!

Throughout life, we meet people that impact our lives, our families, our hearts. Josh and I share this feeling on the woman that has impacted our family in the most positive way possible.

This person, this amazing woman, is our friend/daycare provider, Jessica!

I cannot tell you how unbelievably blessed we are to have Jessica in our lives. I knew when we first started sending Callie to her house that we had something pretty special! It's not everyday parents can drop their children off and KNOW that their child is in the best possible care imaginable.

I look at what we have and could not be any more thankful to have Jessica in our lives. Callie STILL refers to Jessica as her Best Friend, and I know our boys will probably say the same thing :)

I mean - how many people can say that their daycare provider came to the hospital NUMEROUS times to hold and get to know our baby boys? Who can say that this same person took time to come to our house to get to know them :)

Jessica also came to our house, played with all 3 kids (I was still sleeping...Good Morning Jessica!) and proceeds to take Callie WITH her. They picked up her kids from Vacation Bible School, went to lunch, and had a blast together...all while mommy and daddy relaxed with the boys...


Thank you Jessica, we love you so much and hope you know just how much we appreciate you :) Our family is beyond blessed to have you in our are apart of our family :)



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sleepless Nights in Austin...

Yes you read that correctly! Josh and I have a beautiful daughter, beautiful twin boys, and we work WONDERFULLY together! What we don't have, is SLEEP!

Let's do some math tell me what this equals :)

2+2+2... Let me see, 6, right?! WRONG! It actually equals NO SLEEP! 2 hours plus 2 hours plus 2 hours does NOT equal a full nights sleep. But that isn't for just one of us - that's both of us! It's not like one of us can get up and do this on our own's that thing called a schedule that we have worked so hard to get them on :) Not a specific schedule that we know when they will be waking up - but rather doing it TOGETHER! Yes, they eat, poop, sleep and pee all at the same time! They even spit up at the same time!

We've started noticing that Collin spits up a lot like Callie did. He doesn't projectile vomit the way she did, but it all comes out. It started getting to the point that he and Carter would both spit up so much that they were still hungry...and I was feeding them every hour.

I finally told Josh that I can't feed both of them every hour - it's just not human! So I started strictly pumping and we are now bottle feeding. I have to be honest, I don't miss it as much as I did with Callie. It has really opened up my time to enjoy both the boys AND Callie. I thought I would be more upset, but I have really coached myself along, telling myself that the TIME I am able to spend with all 3 of my kids now is much more valuable than nursing both of the boys CONSTANTLY! Callie has enjoyed the attention SO MUCH MORE!

The bottle has helped a little - they are filling up more, both eating about 2-3 ounces every couple hours. And more people can help with feedings!

Collin is also very gassy - so we have started giving him some gas medicine - it seems to be helping, but not 100%. We're still keeping an eye on this!

We have also bought a box of rice cereal....we're debating on starting to add that to their milk. We did this with Callie, because it helped thicken the milk so she wasn't spitting up AS much. We're going to wait a little bit yet and give the bottles a chance.

Sleeping arrangements are constantly changing as well. From co-sleeping in one crib together, sleeping in the crib with the mattress raised a little, sleeping on top of us on the couch, sleeping in their bouncy seats in the living room, in our room and now they are currently sleeping on bouncy seats in their room. Josh and I are able to enjoy sleeping in our OWN bed!

So, if you are wondering, you don't sleep with twins! Especially when you have a daughter who is a HUGE daddy's girl - that's even worse - she's been getting up in the middle of the night a few times wanting to spend time with him :) One night she woke up and wanted to blow bubbles! Haha - seriously girl :)

Yes, we're tired, yes we knew this was going to happen, and YES, I have taken up drinking Diet Coke again - 1 can a day...some days I don't have any :)



Several people have been asking us how Callie has been adjusting to her baby brothers! Well, we are happy to tell you that she has been adjusting rather well!

At first, she just liked looking at her brothers, but then she started showing sigs of jealousy.

When people would ask her about her brothers, she would get really quiet and look off into the distance - her face looking up towards the sky. Honestly, it made me REALLY sad to see this. Callie has always been such an outgoing little girl that this simply killed me to see.

Josh and I started talking to her about it and helping her realize that any response was okay! We would practice. Here's some sample conversations!

Us "Callie, do you like your baby brothers?" Callie "No Thanks"

Us "Callie, how do you like being a big sister?" Callie "Okay"

I didn't care the answer - just as long as she gave some sort of response! The other day our neighbors asked her one of these questions and she !!!KEPT EYE CONTACT AND SHOOK HER HEAD NO!!!!! She responded! I praised her for that act :)

When the babies cry, she goes over and gets a burp rag - wipes their mouth and then walks away. When the boys are playing in their play gym, she sits on the end and talks to them. When they are sleeping in their bouncy seat, she sometimes rocks them. She wants to hold the at least once a day as well!

Funny thing - she has a special bond with Carter! She always wants to hold him and if you ask her "Who this is (referring to one of her brothers)" - she always answers with "Carter". If she's holding Collin and we tell her, she doesn't want to hold him anymore. So lately, when she is holding Collin and we ask her who she is holding and she answers with Carter - we just agree :) Collin needs his sister's love too :)

So how is Callie adjusting! I'd say wonderfully! She's a 2 year old who went from 100% undivided attention from her parents to having to split it with two boys who eat, poop and cry a lot! She doesn't throw things at them, she hasn't started hitting, and she hasn't reverted back in her potty training. Overall, I think we are very lucky!

It goes to show just how awesome of a kid she really is :) We love you Callie are one special girl!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Twice the kids...Twice the...Yard Work!!

Yes, I have projects that still need to get done...some of these have been put on hold for - oh 4 years - while others are new :) Lets start with our bench & deck!

Last year, my dad came down while my mom was in Japan and built us an amazing bench! Josh helped him while Callie & I sat back and cheered them on :) This year, the bench needed to get stained-as well as our deck. Josh and I moved into our house in June 2008, and it has yet to be stained :)

So here is our deck with everything removed. Pretty plain and boring if you ask me :) I do love our built in planters though!

Here's the amazing bench my dad and Josh built! And here's my dad staining it :)
Looking good dad! I love the color :)
This is one of the finished photos - I don't have one with our patio furniture and grill back on the deck - but you get the idea :) The color looks AMAZING and I absolutely LOVE it!! Those planters have my tomato plants in them - I'll explain that later :)
The following day, Josh's dad and Sharon came down to stay with us for the weekend! Little did Don realize that he would also be put to work :) This job was an unexpected job, but I'm so happy we did it!

In July 2010, there was a really bad storm that came through. Our Red Maple tree in the front yard was struck by lightening and it fell toward our house - with the top of the tree landing on our roof. Luckily we didn't have any damage to our home.

Sharon and I went to Stiver's Nursery (my favorite in Austin) to purchase plants for my garden, and we decided to look at their trees as well. We found the most perfect Crimson Maple Tree that was fairly inexpensive, so we sent Josh and Don back to get it :)

Jessica & Jet came over for a baby fix, so Jet went outside with Callie to help the boys :) Thankfully Jet was there to help - I don't think Don & Josh could have done it without him :)

AH! It's so pretty - I love my new tree :) (Anyone thinking of Christmas Vacation when Clark talks about "My Tree!") Yes, that is my excitment!
We decided that we are going to take pictures of our tree often so we can document its growth - we'll see if we remember! Callie looks so tiny next to our new tree - but she LOVES it :)
While the guys were planting the tree, Sharon was busy in the backyard planting tomatoes in my planters (photo at top of post) - this way the deer won't eat them this year! And she even planted Callie a Strawberry plant - Callie's obsessed with strawberries, so Sharon was excited to give Callie her own strawberry plant!

I think Callie's face is so funny in this picture - she's so proud of her strawberry plant :) There are 15 strawberry plants in this planter - in the winter I just have to cover it with leaves and leave it near our house. Next year it'll be ready to simply grow more strawberries :)
I took a few pictures of Callie picking off her first two strawberries - she was so excited to eat them :)

There were two that were ready for picking :)
YUMMY! Callie enjoyed eating her strawberries for the first time :)

Here are a couple pictures of Sharon busy at work :) She used to have her own garden - and holy cats does she know what she's doing! I learned A LOT about gardening that I didn't know before! It looks great and I can't wait to harvest everything - these boys are going to have some delicious baby food :)

So here's what's in my garden:
2 rows sweet corn, red onion, 2 rows peas, carrots, 2 rows green beans, green onion, radishes, 4 jalapeƱo plants, 2 green pepper plants and 2 cucumber plants! I also have my pumpkin patch and squash plants at a different location in my yard :) I made the signs - Callie actually helped - so there are a couple signs that are in random places the she designed :) It adds a little personal touch I think ;)

They also added chicken wire around it this year- my fence last year just didn't keep the dang baby bunnies out...they aren't getting in this year :)
A special thank you to my Dad, Don, Sharon & Josh for all of your hard work! You all accomplished a lot in two days - I am so happy that you were able to help out and keep our home looking nice!!!

We love you guys :)