When I left off the last post, we had just started putting the boys to bed in their nursery. This has continued every night since and I must admit the night has become my favorite time with the boys. The nursery is such a wonderful space, thanks again to Debbie and Tracy and I really enjoy the time I get to spend each evening with the boys. I also enjoy how Mike and I work together as a team to get the boys ready for bed and then put them down to sleep. Mike has taken the job of prepping the boys for bed by changing them from daytime attire into their nighttime sleeper. If it is bath night, he also gives the boys their baths. Then he spends time with them individually to calm them down as they await their turn to go to bed. I then proceed, one at a time, into the nursery to give them their bottle and put them to bed.
In the nursery, we have a rocker that originally belonged to my mother's grandmother. This would make it my great-grandmother's and the boys great-great-grandmother's rocker. With the lights low and soft music playing, we rock while the boys take their last bottle of the night and then they are put down. There have been a couple incidents when this has not worked on the first attempt but I must say, they are great at being put to bed. Because there are three of them, we are not afforded the luxury of rocking each one to sleep. As such, they are put down while they are still awake and they are great at hanging out until they fall asleep. We are able to accomplish this entire activity with all three boys in 1 hour! After going down for the first time, they are staying asleep for 4 to 5 hours! The 5 hour nights are just wonderful! Then, I get up, change, feed and put them back down. There are two cribs in the nursery so I rotate from one crib back to the other with each feeding. This prevents hungry waking babies from mixing with full sleepy babies. Again, with all three this takes one hour. They then sleep 3 - 4 hours, wake to eat again and then another 3 - 4 hours before we wake up for another exciting day.
I can not mention out nightly routine without mentioning Murray's roll in the process. I have previously mentioned how Murray views himself responsible for the boy and he is very protective of them. The first night I took one of the boys into the nursery, Murray tried to follow me to see what was going on in this room. I closed the door and did not let him into the room. I sat in the rocker feeding the baby when all of the sudden I felt like I was being watched. In the pictures you can see the french doors. These doors seperate the nursery from the master bed room. We have curtains over the doors to protect the light from going into either room. My feelings of being watched were real. I looked up to see Murray peaking behind the curtains and staring at me through the glass on the french doors. I laughed out loud!! A night does not pass that I do not have Murray check on us a few times. Mike has tried to catch him on film but has not been successful.
While we have established a smooth night time routine that we all seem to be enjoying, the day time routine is still a little bit of a struggle. This is the time when it is truly zone defense and I am not very good when it is 3 against 1. However, we are getting a little better each day. The problem is that the boys really want to be held. Well, there is only one of me and that makes it difficult to hold all three of them. I am sure that we will be investing quite a bit into therapy in the future that boils down to their mother not holding them enough when they were babies. However, I am doing my best!
There are a few things that have worked for us. The best activity we have found is the boppy circle. We put the boppies on the floor and the boys get an opportunity to work out their neck and back muscles while checking each other out. They seem to really like this. When they are no longer interested in being on their belly, we flip them over. This calms them down and when this is no longer acceptable, they are flipped back over. This can go on for a while. I then get an opportunity to place toys or other objects to stimulate them in the middle of the circle or, I go around the circle spending time holding each of them until we get to another feeding time. It seems to be working.
Another activity that has brought us all much joy is getting out of the house! Since I last posted, we have made two trips to my office to visit the CGI team. This is a wonderful activity because it gets us out of the house and gives all four of us desperately needed interaction. The boys are quickly scooped up and held during the entire visit and I get to interact with other adults. It's a win-win all the way around. I wish I could schedule this activity into our daily routine but apparently, the team is actually trying to get work done. I can't believe this would actually interfere with productivity but I guess it does. In the pictures, you can see the boys being held by Gail Mills, Cele Aycock and Brian Kelley.
In addition, to the CGI office, I have also ventured out alone with the boys to the bank (drive through), the post office (drive through) and our most daring adventures without Dad was to CVS and out for a walk in the neighborhood. During these trips it was just me and the boys and I was pretty proud of our accomplishment. It was actually exciting to do something that a mother with one baby is probably doing all the time. I hope to get out more now that I am getting the hang of getting us all ready, into the truck and then in and out of the stroller. The difficulty is the boys are eating every 2 1/2 hours during the day now and it takes a good 1 1/2 hours to get them all fed and into the truck. This only leaves us about 1 hour of calm time before someone gets hungry. As such, we have to make very short trips. Also, as you can imagine, with the boys in the stroller, we seem to attract a lot of attention..... shocking, I know. I then have to build in time to stop frequently and answer questions (ie. show them off). However, these outings do make the day pass by faster.
Mike and I were also able to spend a night together for our anniversary. A special thank you to Maria Leon, Gail Mills and Danielle Kosberg for babysitting while Mike and I went out to dinner and a movie. It was great to spend time together but of course we talked mostly about the boys and each of us missed a small portion of the movie as we were nodding off. Again, it was a win-win for Team Darnell as Mom and Dad were able to spend quality time together and the boys received very needed attention as, I am sure, they were held the entire time we were gone. It's ok, they deserve it!
Next week, we are looking forward to another great adventure. We are loading up the team and we are traveling down to Tampa to spend a couple days. I have started to list out everything we will need for a three day trip and it is quite a lot of stuff. For such little people, they sure do require a lot of stuff. It is a four to four and a half hour drive from our house to Tampa. We are planning to travel late so the boys may sleep for the entire trip. We are also going to try to make it without any stops. So, don't be surprised if everyone in the truck is making the trip with a dipaer on :-)
I should also update everyone on my condition. I had my 6-week visit with my doctor and all is well. The "spot" has healed nicely and my blood pressure is back within normal limits. I am off all medication but was encouraged to continue taking iron supplements. I am 4 pounds less than I was when I first became pregnant. While I have lost the weight, the weight that is left is sure left in some unflatteringly places. I don't think I will be doing any bikini modeling in the near future.
Here are some other cute photos from the past couple weeks.
Mike has become the master of multi-tasking with the boys. He purchased a Snugli so he could carry a baby while still being active around the house. Prior to placing one of our new babies in the Snugli, he decided to try this out with our oldest baby (living in the house), Chewie. The funniest part of this trial was how calm Chewie was during the entire thing.... I think he liked it!!! I think he liked being the center of attention again!!!
Then you can see him still checking his e-mail while comforting Andrew and Wesley. I continue to be impressed by his daddy skills on a daily basis!
This is a picture of Andrew hanging out in his bouncer after taking a bottle. He had been spitting up a lot after the last couple attempts to eat so he is wearing his protective garb to protect from a potential milk bath.
This is a picture of Jared hanging out during boppy time. He is now able to hold up his head pretty well. However, while he is hanging out during boppy time, he is usually the first one to fall asleep. He still has not fully grasped the concept of exercise.
Well, I think this brings everyone up to speed on life in the Darnell house. I hope everyone is doing well.