Tuesday, July 1, 2008

11 Weeks Old

Hello everyone! We are 11 weeks old and quickly approaching 12 weeks! I again mention that I can not believe how fast time is flying. It is so exciting to see these boys grow and change every day.

On June 11th, we packed up the family and took our first big road trip! After Mike got off of work, we loaded up the troops and hit the road for the 4 1/2 hour trip to my parent’s house in Brandon, right outside of Tampa. Did I say this was a 4 1/2 hour trip??? Well, that was before we had the new recruits. With the boys, the trip turned into a 6 hour trip. I previously mentioned that I hoped we would be able to do this without any stops... well, the boys did not agree with this plan. The boys are eating every 2 - 2 1/2 hours during the day and this did not change when we were on the road. We fed the boys prior to leaving the house and when we were 1 1/2 hours down the road, the boys could wait no longer and we needed to pull off to feed the boys. We were able to change and feed them all in about 45 minutes and we were back on the road. Then again, about 1 1/2 hours later we were stopping again. After feeding the boys again, we were back on the road for the home stretch. The boys are content in the car for about an hour at a time and then they become unhappy and want to change a position which is not possible. We spent a lot of the trip with the boys asking "are we there yet" in the only way they know how to communicate..... crying. Pacifiers would help for a few minutes and then the pacifier would drop and it was a challenge to keep them all satisfied. When we left Brandon, we kidnapped or grandma napped Grandma Sally and in the picture you can see that she assumed pacifier duty on the trip home, thank you Grandma.

While the trip was a challenge, the boys were wonderful and on their best behavior at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Grandpa said many times, "they sure are quiet." Way to go boys... we fooled them!!! Just kidding, they really are great children and usually only cry when hungry, dirty or requesting to change positions/activity. We were only at Grandma and Grandpa's house for one full day and two nights but the boys were lucky enough to meet many new relatives and visit with many other family members. Upon arrival, the boys were scooped up by Aunt Laurie, Aunt Pam and their cousin Zack. Aunt Laurie and Andrew created a very special bond right off the bat. He was very "excited" to meet her and she knew exactly what to do to keep him calm. Zack was thrilled to meet his new cousins and quickly jumped into the act. He really wanted to change a diaper so after watching me change two of the boys, Zack changed Andrew's diaper and did a very good job. Then, he did not stop there; he also proceeded to give Andrew his bedtime bottle. Zack was really gentle and caring with the boys.

Our one full day at Grandma and Grandpa's was packed full of visitors. The visits started with Great Grandma Pooka, Aunt Joan and Aunt Jeanette. Aunt Jeanette gave us three beautiful blankets that she hand made for the boys. During their visit, I have to mention that the boys were sleeping on the floor. While Pooka was offered a seat on the couch, she insisted on sitting on the floor with the boys. When Andrew woke up, Pooka picked him up and proceed to sing to him which kept him entertained!

After this crew left, we had a visit from cousin Susan and her children, also cousins, Elizabeth, Ryan and Rebecca. The crew was full of energy and eager to care for the babies. Elizabeth, Ryan and even Rebecca got into the act by feeding the boys. After feeding the babies, Andrew was a little fussy and Elizabeth picked him up and walked with him swaying until he calmed down. It was wonderful and the boys can't wait until they are a little older to play with their cousins. Once this trio is mobile, holidays with all the cousins will be a wild time! Later that evening, the boys were privileged to meet their multi-talented Aunt Kim. Aunt Kim's natural mother instincts were displayed as she continued to play (and even win) poker while feeding Jared... impressive Aunt Kim. So, when Jared has a gambling problem, we can thank Aunt Kim. Just kidding of course! All boys were introduced to a little friendly poker that evening.
While our trip was very short, the boys really enjoyed spending time with their family and spending time with their Grandpa Gary. Driving with the boys was a little bit of a challenge but we all proved that we were able to travel with the boys and they can adjust to a new setting for a few days. I look forward to our next trip to visit with family.

As I previously mentioned, we traveled home with Grandma to spend a week with us. It was wonderful to have the extra set of hands and the boys really love spending time with their Grandma. I also loved the visit because Grandma took morning duty with the boys and I was able to sleep late! Also, Grandma took care of the boys while Papa and I spent an afternoon out to lunch and a movie. We really appreciate you Grandma!! During this week, we also had a visit from Uncle Brian and their cousin Vivian. On their drive home, they stopped over for a night at the house and spent an evening hanging out with the boys.

While we were in Brandon, the boys turned two months old. As they are two months old, it was time for their two month doctor's appointment and their first shots. On June 26th, the boys visited the doctor. We were one of the last appointments of the day which we consider a lesson learned. We are going to try to get the first appointments either of the day or after lunch in the future. Since our appointment was late in the day, there was no room available for us so we spent a lot of time in the waiting room. To get us started, Papa took one baby back at a time to get weighed and measured. Then, he brought them back naked into the waiting room. We then waited for a little while longer until they had a room available for all of us. The pictures are of the boys hanging out without clothes. It's a good thing the waiting room was empty or these handsome boys would have driven the little girls crazy!!!

At the visit, the boys were given a clean bill of health and then it was time for their first shots. As previously mentioned, we were the last appointment and it was getting late. The nurses wanted to quickly get the shots done so Papa took Jared into another room, I stayed with Andrew and the nurses took Wesley into yet another room. It all happened so fast that I was not really prepared. Next time, when they ask to take one baby without their mother or father, I will be prepared to say no. While Wesley was probably ok, I was not happy that he had to experience this pain without his mother or father there. It was hard for me to be with Andrew and hear the screams of Jared and Wesley coming from another room. However, it was over very fast and the boys were calm again. They were a little fussy that evening but I actually expected it to be a lot worse. So, we all survived our first shots.

As this was our two month appointment, the boys were officially weiged and measured. Here is the update:

Weight - 11lbs 1oz - 35th percentile
Height - 22" - 20th percentile
Head Circumference - 37.4 cm - 9th percentile

Weight - 11lbs 12oz - 50th percentile
Height - 22.5" - 50th percentile
Head Circumference - 39.8cm - 50th percentile

Weight - 10lbs 14oz - 30th percentile
Height - 22" - 20th percentile
Head Circumference - 37.7cm - 10th percentile

So... when I say these boys are growing fast, I really mean it! We knew that our preemies would not stay at the bottom of the growth chart forever but we did not realize it would happen that fast. Jared apparently wanted to shake the designation of "the Baby" and he has been packing on the pounds. Let's not forget that he was born at 4lbs 13oz and then lost some weight. At 2 weeks, he was back to his birth weight. Then, 8 weeks later he was 11lbs 12oz. This equates to about 7lbs gained in 8 weeks..... oh my is right! However, he has not been successful in shaking his nickname of "Baby J" but he has added "Chunky Monkey" to the nickname list.

We have finally settled into a daytime routine that is working very well for us. The boys wake up between 7:30 and 8:30am. They are awake for about 2 - 2.5 hours then they take a 3 hour nap. Then they are up again for another 2-2.5 hours and then take their afternoon nap. After this nap, they are up for another couple hours before we start our bedtime routine between 8:30 and 9:00pm. Then... the best part.... the boys are now sleeping anywhere between 6.5 - 7.5 hours before they wake to eat. This has been pretty consistent over the past week.

While the boys are awake during the day, they spend their time doing various activities. They enjoy their Activity Gym, their Swings, their Bouncer seats and doing Tummy Time with and without their boppys. Another exciting development over the past couple weeks has been the emergence of BEAUTIFUL smiles!!!! All three have started to smile with more regularity and they are becoming more interactive each and every day. I have not been able to capture Wesley's smile on film but I thought I would include this picture of him doing tummy time as he is so strong. I swear this kid will be literally running circles around his brothers before they are even crawling. Wesley is also our little dare devil! When Grandma was here, she put Wesley in the swing on the low speed. We love our very gentle Grandma but this really upset Wesley. When it was bumped up to the highest speed, he was finally happy and settled right down.

My maternity leave is quickly drawing to an end. On July 14th, I am heading back to work. I will be working from home on Mondays and Fridays so I can work and care for the boys (wish me luck). Then I will be in the office Tuesday - Thursday and Mike will be home with the boys. He will work Friday - Monday. While we will not have a day off together, we know this is not forever and is the best for the boys.

Well, I think this brings everyone up to speed on life with the Darnells. We are having a lot of fun!

Take care,



  1. Hi, I am from the WTE April Boards and I just wanted to say that your family is beautiful and that you are doing an amazing job! We find it a struggle sometimes with just one! :)


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