Sunday, March 25, 2012

spring chickens

Oh, how we are loving spring in the Shafer house this year! The beautiful weather has brought so many new activities into our lives--longer walks, outside time with no blankets or socks, trips to the zoo, swing time. And the sunshine arrived just in time, as our little twins are getting to the point where rolling around on the same floor all day long is simply not entertaining enough. So what are our sweet seven month olds doing these days?

Frances loves to roll back and forth from belly to back...she finds this simply hilarious! She adores her feet, though she really prefers her left one, and tries to eat them any chance she gets. She still loves naked time. She sucks on her pacifier in the most creative ways--often sideways, but also hanging out of her mouth like a cigar. She still loves her bouncy, but is now a big fan of the exersaucer as well.

Barnes is a man on the go. He can spin around and scoot on his belly, and I'm afraid he'll be truly mobile soon. He loves books right now (eating them, not reading them), but he loves nothing more than bouncing. He would jump in his jumperoo all day if we would let him. He constantly tries to play with Frances; unfortunately the only "play" he knows is eating and grabbing, so playtime doesn't go too well yet.

Both babies can sit now, though neither can put themselves into the sitting position yet. Both are also growing more and more interested in the dogs...they reach for Cooper and Stella, and Cooper and Stella are slowly learning to stay at least an arm's length away.

Their diets now consist of 5 bottles (still 2/3 breastmilk and 1/3 formula), as well as two solid meals. In the morning they get oatmeal and a fruit, and in the afternoon they have rice cereal and a vegetable. So far they have tried sweet potatoes, butternut squash, avocado, bananas, apples, and pears. Barnes always gobbles up every bite--he loves solids. Frances has finally gotten the hang of eating from a spoon. She still doesn't love breakfast time, but has started eating as much as Barnes for the afternoon meal.

The most fun recent change is definitely their increased awareness of each other. Watching them look for each other and gravitate together is incredible, and we pray that their love for each other will only grow.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


On this beautiful St. Patrick's day, we decided that the babies had been inside far too much lately and took them on an adventure to the zoo. While driving, I admitted to Andrew that, although it might seem silly, this was a bit of a dream of mine. When we were trying to get pregnant, one of my hopes was that one day I would have children to take to the zoo. So today I basked in the spring sunshine and tried to relish in the moment, memorizing the day I first took B&F to visit the elephants and monkeys.

I've written before about some of the more difficult parts of having twins, but one that has been weighing on me lately is how the busyness of caring for two infants can cause me to miss out on the precious lives of these two beautiful creatures. Our house is like a factory...we have methods and routines that, although a bit rigid to some, are what keep us afloat. Our survival depends on organization. But sometimes we (or at least I) get so mired down in getting it all done--getting the bottles made, the baby food pureed, the milk pumped, the clothes washed-- that I miss the amazing moments happening around me. These twins are growing so fast, and each day is filled with sweet moments that can never be duplicated. Moments like sneaking up on them playing together, finding them eating their toes, finding B eating F's head, watching their little brains work behind their eyes as they learn. Moments where I realize how soft B's hair is when you rub your hand against his head, or notice just how perfect F's features truly are. Moments that I dreamed about when trying to have a baby. Moments that make the busyness and the chaos more than worth it. These moments are all around me, I just have to slow down enough to see them.

dad making a car with our old bassinet and pushing us all around the bedroom

frances having the best time in her favorite bouncy seat

getting out of the shower to find that barnes has found clothes hangers and made them toys

frances's perfect face

barnes's soft hair

watching them love each other more and more

barnes growing too fast and starting to sit this week

hanging out with dad in our pajamas

Monday, March 12, 2012

home sweet home

Our baby girl is home! After two nights at Children's Hospital, she was discharged this afternoon. She and B are both still feeling pretty crummy, but we are excited to have them recovering together. They are happy to be together again, too. As soon as we got home with Frances, we put them in their bouncy seats facing each other and they stared and kicked like crazy. This was their first separation ever, and they are ecstatic that it's over. We are so thankful that they are on the road to recovery, and SO THANKFUL for Gigi, without whom we could not have survived these past few days.

The pictures above are a little preview of their 6 month shoot, which we actually did on Tuesday morning. They were a little sick at the time, but we had no idea how under the weather they truly were. Who could have guessed that this smiling baby girl would be in the hospital four days later?!?! We are grateful to Amy Larson ( for capturing these beautiful images.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

second floor

The route to the parking garage. The elevator ride. The space themed wallpaper. The french fries. It is all the same. But my little girl is so different. She is not that four pound bundle who looked like she belonged here. Now she is big and strong. She plays with toys, laughs, rolls around with her brother. But here we are again, on the second floor of children's hospital. Frances has not been able to fight off her virus as well as Barnes, and when she became completely unable to hold down any liquid we had no choice but to bring her in. Now the biggest concern is getting her breathing back towards normal. She looks so pitiful in her tiny hospital gown with a giant i.v. board strapped to her arm. But she is getting better.

Last night was difficult. One baby back in the hospital, one spending his first night without his parents. Today we are taking turns going home to spend time with B. We are hoping to exit with Frances in tow soon, and praying that we don't see the inside of this place again for a very long time.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

three little letters

We have an unwelcome visitor in our home. Three letters we've been trying to avoid all winter- RSV. Poor Barnes was officially diagnosed, and Frances is getting more congested and is almost certainly also battling this virus (especially since Barnes continually eats her hands). So far they are doing well. Their precious preemie bodies are, once again, fighting harder than we wish they had to but rising to the challenge. It's so difficult to see them struggle. Hearing the rattles with each breath is torture. Thankfully, though, they are still smiling and playing at times, showing us that they have moments when they feel better. I love those moments.

Please pray that Barnes's breathing treatments work, that Frances does not get sicker, and that no one ends up in the hospital. I am not ready to reenter those doors with my sweet little loves.

Monday, March 5, 2012

no faux

I am anti-imposter. I don't believe in buying designer knock offs. The lawyer in me shudders at the intellectual property implications, and the girl-who-still-cares-about-clothes-despite-the-fact-that-she-wears-yoga-pants-everyday would rather have one quality item over 10 items that will be destroyed after one season. Still, against my better judgment I tried an imitation product this weekend.

Since January 6th, I have had no dairy. That means no cheese, no yogurt, no ice cream. It also means no foods containing dairy in any form, which basically rules out my entire normal pantry. This has been extraordinarily difficult, but seeing B with a huge smile on his face each day has numbed the pain of my dairy free world....with one exception. I love pizza. And I mean LOVE. Not in a "I have pizza once a month" kind of way, but in a "I have to limit the number of times I can eat pizza per week" kind of way. I want pizza, crave it, dream about it...and not even B's precious smiles make these yearnings go away.

So on Saturday I did some research. I knew that virtually all soy cheeses actually contain the milk protein which triggers allergy, but I was hoping to find one that was truly dairy free. And I did. One vegan cheese that claimed to taste like actual cheese. And a nearby pizza shop actually carried this cheese and could make a dairy free pizza. Armed with this new information, I went downstairs and excitedly announced that we were having pizza for dinner. I even did a pizza dance, which Frances found hilarious. Once the twins were tucked in, I made the call. My pulse raced as I waited for Andrew to arrive with pizza in tow. I had not been this excited about food since........ever. It looked a little odd, but I remained hopeful. So I took a bite. And it was absolutely disgusting. Literally one of the worst things I have ever tried to eat.

Further proof that my no faux rule should be strictly enforced.

Friday, March 2, 2012

check-up time

We had our 6 month well visit today and got all new stats for the little ones. Barnes moved up significantly on the growth chart, while Frances retained her petite status. I cannot believe we have a 6 month old who still doesn't weigh 13 pounds, but we are so proud of each ounce they gain!

16 lbs. 6 oz. (25%)
26.1 inches long (33%)
head- 46 cm (94%...which explains why I had to buy him an 18-24 month hat)

12 lbs. 10 oz. (not on chart)
24 inches long (3%)
head- 41.9 cm (30%)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

doing it all

In the not so distant past, a woman's place was considered to be the home. Then women began finding their footing in the workplace, leaving their ovens behind (at least until after work). Slowly, women moved from the secretary's desk to the CEO's office. Now, thankfully, women can be found in virtually every career and every company in the world. Girls are taught to dream big. If a little girl announces that she wants to be President someday, no one tells her that her goal is impossible. No. Now we teach girls that they can do it all.

In my previous life, I was a lawyer. I spent a few years in a big firm doing real lawyer type things...going back to the office after dinner, working on Thanksgiving weekend, feeling the pressure of billable hours. Then I took a more mom-friendly job--great hours, great people, lower stress. But when news of our double blessing came along, we jointly decided that even this mom-friendly position wasn't quite mom-friendly enough. Thus, I began a new career as Barnes and Frances's mom.

Soon after the babes arrived, a wonderful opportunity for me to work a few hours a week from home presented itself. I immediately jumped on board. So now I spend my days taking care of two six-month olds, and some of my nights researching and writing about legal issues.

Why was I so anxious to work again? I believe much of my desire to be "more than just a mom" stems from now having a daughter. I look at Frances and so badly want her to know that she can have anything, be anything. That her aspirations should be limitless. That she really can do it all. And I feel compelled to lead by be both a full-time mom and a part-time give her something to say when someone asks her what her mom does. But will I be selling her a fantasy? Can women, or anyone for that matter, really do it all?

Although it's not the most popular opinion, I do not believe that we can do it all. Women with full-time jobs can be excellent mothers. Stay-at-home moms can make significant contributions through part-time work. But we all have to make choices. We all have to sacrifice something. Some women sacrifice being the first one to see their child walk; others sacrifice the career they worked their whole lives to build. Either way, from my vantage point doing it all seems literally impossible.

So maybe instead of teaching our daughters that they can do it all, we should encourage them to do their best. And maybe we should hold ourselves to this same standard.