Saturday, December 31, 2011

a happier new year

Isn't it incredible how much life can change in just one little year? On the last day of 2010, I gave myself my first two shots and thus began my IVF cycle. Today, on the last day of 2011, I am holding my baby boy while he squiggles and squirms, and I can hear his sister crying in the background.

We started our interesting journey to our twins exactly one year ago today. 2010 was not our best year. In fact, I had never been happier to see a year go. New Year's Eve 2010 saw us with a guest bed packed with medicine and syringes, neatly organized and awaiting their "turn," and hearts filled with excitement, hope, and fear. We knew that IVF was our best chance to have biological children, and we had great hope that we would finally meet our little one(s) in 2011. We also knew, though, that IVF is in no way a guarantee, and that the process we were investing so much into both emotionally and financially could leave us empty-handed. Despite our fears, we jumped in with both feet on December 31, 2010. The girl who once fainted at a flu shot injected meds into her own belly, and off we went. One year later, we are oh so thankful that we took that leap of faith.

Because we did the January IVF cycle, this next month is full of milestones for us and our little ones. Bear with me while I reminisce a bit over the next few weeks...though it may not be interesting to everyone, these are days that will forever be celebrated in the Shafer home.

Happy New Year from our family to yours! May 2012 bring you as many blessings as 2011 brought us.

New Year's Eve 2010

New Year's Eve 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to all...

We are too worn out for a full post, but I wanted to wish each of you a Merry, Merry Christmas before this day is over. We hope each of you had a magical day rejoicing in the birth of our Lord! Thanks to our own little miracles, celebrating the miracle of the Christ Child has never been sweeter.

Frances is not too excited about Jesus's birthday cake

goodies from Santa

Thursday, December 22, 2011

a little vacation

Andrew has officially given me the best Christmas gift From today until January 2nd, Andrew will be home with us and we will be able to double team these crazy babies. I absolutely adore our time as a family of four! We have so much fun playing with the babies together, and when there are four adult hands around we both have more opportunity to sit back and enjoy our tiny gifts. Moms never really get "time off," but this is about as close as I am going to get anytime soon. Merry Christmas to me!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

don't you wonder what they are thinking...

B: What's with this fat guy in the red suit?
F: It's Santa! Mom says he's going to bring us toys.

B: I hope he brings me more bottles!

F: I better put a bow on...people keep asking if I'm a boy, and I really want girl toys.

F: I can't wait until Christmas morning. I'm sure I made the nice list.
B: Uh oh--is there a naughty list?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

16 weeks

We marked 16 weeks with our sweet twins yesterday, and they are getting more and more adorable by the day. Barnes is incredibly interactive now. He laughs and smiles and loves to play. When you do something repeatedly, he can anticipate it and gets excited. Frances is our curious baby. She watches everything going on around her and never wants to miss anything. She loves lights and movement, and was therefore fascinated by her first UT basketball game.

Despite their adorableness, life with twins seems to be getting more difficult for me (mom). Since Thanksgiving, B has wanted to be held all the time. With one baby that might be cute...with two, it's impossible. As they get older and more alert, they require more attention. This leaves less time for the tasks required for caring for them.

The biggest time conflict is pumping. While I am proud to say that they are still getting only one bottle of formula per day, I'm not sure how much longer their almost all breastmilk diet will last. When the babies want to be held, played with, rocked, or otherwise interact, I can't hook up to a machine. I've heard about so many supermoms who pumped for 6 months, 8 months, 10 months...then I remind myself that all of these women had one infant. That's half the milk and half the babies. I am not supermom, and I am outnumbered by my babies. Sometimes I just can't make it all work.

My big goal is 4 months (Christmas Eve), which is almost here. After that, I'm trying to give myself permission to pump less and play more. I'm not going to completely give up, just cut back a bit. I think this will lead to better days for everyone involved.

*Special thanks to Aunt Lacy for our adorable hats!*

Friday, December 9, 2011

occupy greatcoat

The twins officially staged a protest this week. Since they came home, they have been sleeping on each side of our bed in rock-n-play sleepers (which I highly recommend). These little sleepers are inclined and small, which I'm sure makes them feel nice and cozy. Since about 13 weeks, they have been sleeping really well, usually going for a 6 to 8 hour stretch between feedings (with a few cries for lost pacifiers). Because they were starting to sleep through the night, we decided it was time to move them to their own room. Our plan was to transition them to their cribs the week after Thanksgiving, but the move was delayed due to their colds. The date was reset for this past Sunday.

Sunday night we put them down in their sweet cribs, and by the time Andrew and I got ready to go to bed ourselves the twins were already stirring. Andrew spent most of that night on the floor of the nursery. The next night was even worse...we took turns on nursery floor duty, and Frances basically refused to sleep at all. Tuesday night was more of the same, and on Wednesday they both ended up in our room fairly quickly. So after four of the more difficult nights of their little lives, Andrew and I gave in and put them back in their rock-n-plays. They had their last bottle around 8:00, went down at 8:30, and didn't eat again until 6:30 a.m. Ten hours! Sure, we had to stick their pacifiers in their mouths a few times, but for the most part they slept for 10 hours. What's more, after their morning bottle they both went back to sleep until around 8:30 a.m. (Barnes)/ 9:30 a.m. Frances.

I think these twins may be smarter than we think. It's as if they were trying to prove how good they would be if only we would let them stay in our room. So where are they tonight? In their rock-n-plays next to our bed, of course. In a few weeks we will try the cribs again, and eventually they will sleep in their rooms. For now, though, our sweet twins will continue to occupy our bedroom.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

6 years...

Two posts in one day is a little much, but today is special. Six years ago this evening, Andrew got down on his knee in front of Ayres Hall and asked me to be his wife. It was a night that changed the course of my life forever, and was really the beginning of our journey as a family. Thank you, Andrew, for loving me in spite of my flaws. Our lives have changed tremendously over the past six years...I cannot wait to see where we land in six more!

December 3, 2005

December 3, 2011

children of God

What a beautiful day last Saturday was! On a gorgeous, sunny afternoon, we were surrounded by family and friends as our priest baptized our precious twins. Barnes and Frances are God's children...we are simply tasked with the privilege of being their parents in this world. Their baptism was a beautiful reminder that our babies belong to their Heavenly Father. We are so thankful to know that Jesus loves Barnes and Frances, that He has loved them perfectly and will continue to cherish them for eternity.

A special thank you to everyone who celebrated with us and helped make the twins' day so wonderful! A very, very special thank you to Kandi McMahan for using her time and talent to capture beautiful images of our celebration! The pictures were so precious that it was extremely difficult to pick a few to share.