Friday, April 28, 2017

Scarlett and Clark - 16 Months

15 months and 20 days. That's how long it took for Scarlett and Clark to completely stop night nursing. Praise the Lord, we are all getting more sleep! The day after Easter Rob and I decided it was time to cut off night nursing for good. Scarlett must have heard us talking, because she decided to sleep through the night on her own. With the exception of a few teething wake ups, they have both slept through the night since. I thought it was great to only have that 5 or 6 am feeding, but them sleeping until 7am is so much better. No more early mornings of me laying in bed trying to decide if I should just get up or if I can get another hour of sleep. Bed time is between 7 and 8pm each night, and they consistently wake up with the sunrise each morning, close to 7am.

Now that they aren't nursing at night, they only nurse two times a day, nap time and bedtime. Nap time always results in them falling asleep on my lap. I think they enjoy those nap time snuggles as much as I do. I felt like they were going to drop their bedtime nursing, but now that they aren't nursing overnight, they have ramped up their milk consumption at that nursing session. At some point over the next 30 days, we will completely drop their bedtime nursing and start having a glass of whole milk with bedtime stories.

We are spending large chunks of our days outside. Clark loves bubbles. Scareltt loves sidewalk chalk. Sometimes she even draws with it instead of just eating it. They both love testing my patience and getting too close to the street. We have introduced the Cozy Trucks, and they really enjoy sitting in those. Scarlett discovered that she can sit on H or B's tricycle and move it around by pushing her feet on the ground. She really likes that. We've made a few park trips when the weather has been nice, and we plan to do a lot more once H and B are out of school for the summer. 

One of my favorite changes this month is their increased love for reading. We have done stories at bedtime since they were a couple months old, but it wasn't until this month that they were interested in books at other times during the day. Scarlett has started grabbing a book and crawling into our lap, and it melts me every time. We have a Sesame Street lift the flap book which is their favorite book to look at while sitting in our lap. Some Bugs is still Clark's favorite book, and Scarlett really loves Blue Hat, Green Hat.

We have been trying to introduce a small amount of TV to them. We almost never have on the TV when the kids are awake, but with H and B soon being out of school for the summer, I know it will be on more. Right now the babies' attention span is about 3 minutes and then they're pushing the buttons on the TV and cable box or trying to unplug the TV. H and B don't find it very amusing. S and C do love watching YouTube videos on our phones. Anything with Elmo. Their favorite is Celebrity Lullabies with Ricky Gervais.

  • is a little spitfire. She gives us a run for our money every day
  • is also a seriously happy kid. Until we tell her no that is.
  • is still obsessed with Jules. She loves Jules almost as much as Jules loves her. I love watching the two of them together
  • likes going to the pantry to look for snacks
  • is suffering from cracked skin on her toes. We had to start her on a steroid ointment because it wasn't healing.
  • colored her first beautiful picture, on the basement wall

  • has started getting into music and dancing. He likes to bob his head or hold onto the oven handle and bounce up and down. He's a mini twerker
  • is obsessed with sunglasses. He constantly wants me to put them on him. He then takes them off 5 seconds later and wants me to put them back on his face
  • LOVES bath time. He arches his back and throws a fit if I take him out of the tub before he's ready
  • has two new teeth! oth of his bottom one year molars have come in over the last month
  • is always following me around and holding onto my legs
  • is a pretty serious kid, but he gives the biggest hugs and smiles
  • doesn't say much, but he likes to woof like a dog

When I told Brooke this morning that they babies were 16 month old she got way more excited than I expected. "Oh my, they're 16 months old. That means there's only 17 and then 18 months left. Then I can play with my Elmo guitar and alphabet turtle!" At least we know what's important to her, toys. Even if it's for different reasons, at least someone else in the house is as excited about the babies' next couple months.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

1 in 8


1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility, and we are one of them. We have been blessed with 4 beautiful children thanks to reproductive science. I often think about how different our lives would be if we were alive and trying to build a family in an earlier time. Back when IVF wasn't an option, when women without children were referred to as barren, back when a woman's purpose was to provide an heir. Would we have pursued adoption? Lived a life without children? I'm thankful that we live in the 21st century and those questions will never be more than hypothetical.

You often times hear people say, "I beat infertility." I know I've said it before, but you don't ever beat infertility. It's something that stays with you. For me every monthly cycle is a reminder that we will never conceive a child on our own. Forget the fact that we aren't even trying to anymore. The emotions of failed cycle after failed cycle are still there, and they probably will be forever. When we were in the thick of it all, our marriage was tested and I can still remember the night when divorce came up in an emotional conversation. When you realize the family you planned together may not happen, or at least not in the way you envisioned it, it's sometimes more than a marriage can bear. Our relationship grew stronger through our struggles, but for many couples that isn't the case.

This week is NIAW, National Infertility Awareness Week. This week is so important because unlike many other diseases, couples who battle infertility often do so in silence. There is a stigma that surrounds reproductive health, and there shouldn't be. Battling infertility isn't something to be ashamed of, but many couples feel that way. It's hard when as soon as you get married people start asking when you will have kids. Then if you have one child, people start asking when you will have another. All of the comments and questions come from well meaning people, but they can be isolating.

I am fortunate that I have amazing people in my life who have been down the road of infertility before me. They were open about their journeys which helped me know we weren't alone. I was also lucky enough to discover a great network of women online who were going through their own fertility struggles. Many of them I still keep in touch with, and I am so thankful for their support when I needed it.

As I am sure you can imagine, with two sets of twins, I get asked a lot of questions. The biggest one being, "Do twins run in your family?" I could answer that they run on Rob's side of the family, because they do, but I prefer to throw it out there that all of our kids are the result of IVF. Sometimes that answer is follow by disappoint from the person asking the question, but more often than not a productive conversation follows. Frequently the person asking the question will then share their fertility struggles, or those of someone close to them. I prefer to be honest about our struggles and road to parenthood, because I never know if the person I'm talking to may be feeling isolated during their own infertility journey.

This year's NIAW theme is "Listen Up." It's important to listen if someone is trying to share their infertility story with you. Don't just offer a piece of regurgitated advice like "Relax and it will happen," or "Maybe you could adpot." Really listen to their struggles. Make sure people listen to your story. Whether you share on social media or just share one on one with a friend. Get others to listen to your story. Make lawmakers listen. Every day policies are being drafted that will take away my rights as part of an infertile couple. Let your representatives know that you don't support anti-family legislation and that infertility care is not an elective procedure.

Listen up! Speak up! Keep the conversation about infertility going. If you aren't battling infertility, chances are someone you know is. It's not just a women's issue, it's a couple's issue, and 1 in 8 of them are struggling with some form of infertility.

You can learn more about NIAW here or visit Resolve's website.
Our infertility journey is outlined here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tasty Tuesday - Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Tacos

I'm sure I've mentioned before that one of my best girlfriends is a vegetarian, so we are always on the lookout for good vegetarian recipes. I like meat but I don't feel it's necessary for a meal, which works out perfectly when we have friends over. I'm sure Rob would disagree with me on that whole meat being necessary to a meal thing, but that's besides the point. The point is we've found some really great meatless meals along the way and this is one of them.

I don't recall when I found this recipe, but I know it's been in our regular rotation for years. Its easy, healthy, and delicious, plus all of my kids will eat it. Or at least part of it. Brooke eating just the black beans and cheese counts, right?

Cutting up the vegetables is a little time consuming, but the cooking part is very easy. When I make these tacos, the ingredients will vary from time to time depending on what I have in the fridge. I think the black beans and zucchini are necessary, but if you are missing tomatoes, or peppers, or corn, it's not a huge deal. When I made the most recent batch I didn't have frozen corn so I added in extra peppers. It was still absolutely delicious.

Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Tacos


3 medium tomatoes, cored and seeded, diced
2 ears corn, kernels cut from cob or 10oz bag frozen sweet corn
2 medium zucchinis, diced
2 medium yellow squashes, diced
1 purple onion, diced
2 red bell pepper, diced
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 15oz cans black beans, drained
1 lime, juice freshly squeezed
Corn or flour tortillas
Queso fresco 


1. Preheat over to 400*.

2. Dice all vegetables and place on a large baking sheet.

3. Mix together olive oil, cumin, and chili powder. Drizzle over vegetables and then stir to coat.

4. Bake for 20 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and stir in black beans. Bake for another 10 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and squeeze lime juice over roasted vegetables.

7. Serve hot and garnish with queso fresco.

Notes: I prefer to warm my tortillas in a pan before serving. Depending on the kids moods though we often just warm them in the microwave. I don't care for cilantro so we don't garnish with cilantro, but it would be a good added garnish it you like that kind of thing. This recipe makes enough for a family of  6 plus leftovers. It's very easy to scale back the size. I sometimes feel like I didn't make enough drizzle and will prepare more, in my opinion it's better to have more. I've never felt like it was too much.

I fully intend to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. As you can see from the pictures, I load up on queso fresco because that stuff is amazing. I also will skip tortillas from time to time. I love carbs, but the vegetables are so good on their own, they don't necessarily need the tortilla. If you give this recipe a go, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Enjoy!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Another Weekend Post

I feel like almost all of my posts are either on Friday or Monday lately. At least I'm consistent? This weekend was a big one for us. For the first time in almost 16 months, Robbie and I had a night with no kids. Say what?! On Friday night all 4 kids spent the night at my parents house. Rob and I are going to be going on a kid free trip to visit our new baby nephew soon, so we need to get the kids (the babies) used to staying the night away from us. They all 4 stayed in the same room together, and with the exception of a white noise machine snafu, we got a glowing report card.

While they were hanging with their grandparents, Rob and I went out to a local tapas restaurant. I've been there before and love it, but it was his first time. Thankfully he loved it as much as I do, and we went home with bellies full of tacos, guacamole, and margaritas.

A morning without kids should have meant sleeping in, but I was up by 6:30. I had plenty to do though because I was hosting a surprise Harry Potter themed baby shower for one of my best girlfriends. We took her out to lunch and then came back to our house to "walk around the neighborhood and check out garage sales." The surprise was a success! Funny thing is, our next door neighbors were hosting a baby shower that day too. I'll share all about the shower later this week.

The kids got home right as the shower was winding down. Clark definitely missed me a lot and wouldn't leave my side. He eventually decided his aunties were ok, but he HAD to be held. I let the big kids stay out past dark because it was such a perfect evening. I am very much looking forward to late summer nights complete with bonfires, lightning bugs, and glow sticks.

The zoo opened this weekend, so of course we went. We arrived shortly after they opened and managed to walk almost the whole zoo before having to leave around lunch time. We fed giraffes, pet stingrays, and saw lots of "big dogs" as Rob calls all the animals. S and C were all about the animals. Clark's favorite were the gibbons, my favorite too. They were very active and he smiled and laughed every time one would swing on a vine or jump from one pole to another. Our zoo has a new male lion this year, and we were lucky enough to get an up close encounter with him. All 4 kids thought that was really cool, me too. Scarlett was banging on the glass each time he walked past us. Weekly zoo trips will definitely be a thing this year.

Harrison and Brooke had their first school friend birthday party on Sunday afternoon. They got to paint ceramics, eat cupcakes, and play bingo. While they attended their party, I lunched and day drank with their god mother and then did a little shopping. After we got home, the 6 of us hung our together in the basement listening to music and playing with toys. It was a nice quiet end to a busy weekend. 

We've been living on Easter candy, chicken nuggets, and pizza for the last week while I was busy getting things ready for the shower. I am determined to get back to cooking again this week and to stop eating all the Easter candy. Easier said than done, right? Tonight's menu is veggie tacos. I'm feeling ambitious, so I'm going to commit to sharing the recipe tomorrow. I hope you all had a great weekend!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Weekend

Our holiday weekend was busy and full of fun, as holiday weekends usually are. on Friday we cleaned house, went to the park, and somehow managed to fit a box full of patio furniture in the van along with all 4 kids and their car seats. Have I mentioned how much I love our mini van? :)

Saturday we hit up the Easter Eggstravaganza which was basically a petting zoo and face painting. The Easter bunny was there, but there was no way we were going to wait 45+ minutes to sit down with the Easter bunny. Scarlett ran around from one animal to the next screeching in excitement. Little girl loves her some animals. Clark meanwhile just wanted to walk around and eat snacks. We met up with H and B's bestie and the three of them had the best time running around and getting their faces painted. As an added bonus, our cute little face painted kiddos made the evening news!

Saturday evening we had friends over for dinner. Then we dyed eggs with Harrison and Brooke before sending them off to bed. We only did 18 eggs which is more than we'll eat, but I never feel like it's enough. I always want to do more eggs. 3 or 4 dozen at least, but since I'm not a fan of egg salad, we'll stick with a dozen and a half each year. Once they were fast asleep we played Cards Against Humanity while filling plastic eggs with whatever candy we didn't eat first. This may need to become a new Easter tradition.

H and B were up by 7am on Easter morning. The babies slept in, so the big kids and I got a chance to go through their baskets, just the three of us. Then we were off to church while the babies and Rob stayed home to pull Easter bunny duty. When we got home from mass, it was time to hunt eggs. It's so funny to see all the kids personalities while they do the same task. Brooke filled her basket to the brim as quickly as possible. Harrison was too concerned about why we weren't hunting eggs in the back yard to actually focus on finding eggs. Scarlett found a package of fruit snacks and decided she didn't need anything else. Clark was happy to let Rob help him look for eggs and then he just wanted to eat jelly beans.

We brunched and then went through all the egg hunt loot before the babies and I laid down for naps. While the three of us napped, Rob, Harrison, and Brooke played with bubbles and rode bikes. Then it was off to my parents for dinner. 

We had perfect weather and got to spend both the morning and evening with both sets of grandparents and a few other family members. Harrison and Brooke were so good about sharing with Scarlett and Clark and showing them how to hunt eggs. It was truly a great day that left us all exhausted and looking forward to next year. I know I say this all the time, but each holiday is more fun than the last and leaves me looking forward to the next one. 

Brooke was snooping and found some of their Easter basket goodies. Thankfully not all of it, but I was worried this was going to be the end of her believing, and I am so not ready for that. They got stuff from us and the Easter bunny this year, which kept her happily believing in the bunny and not asking any further questions. The magic of Easter still lives on. Now I just need better hiding spots.

We are still on a candy high and Brooke refuses to take off her Easter dress. Holiday hangover at its finest. I hope you all had a blessed Easter!