Sunday, August 31, 2008

20 Weeks & Other Milestones

The boys continue to grow bigger and stronger every day. They are reaching their milestones so very fast.

The boys have all reached the milestone of rolling over from their bellies to their backs. Each one of them is soooo close to also rolling from their backs to their bellies. They will get all the way up onto their side and then just teeter there while we all just cheer for gravity to help out and pull them the rest of the way. Within a few short days I bet we will be able to roll all the way over. This will be very helpful because the rolling over while sleeping is not that much fun anymore. The boys can flip to their backs but then need our help to get back on their tummies to sleep. We are all looking forward to this new skill!!

The boys have recently fallen in love!! They have fallen in love with their own reflections. Each could spend quite a bit of time just staring at those handsome reflections in the mirror. I have to admit that I could also stare at their little faces for hours!

The best milestone that the boys have reached over the past couple weeks is the discovery of each other. When the boys shared a crib, we would find them cuddling up to each other. However, since that time, there was very little acknowledgement of each other. The boys have recently started showing signs that they acknowledge each other and are excited to see each other! Andrew was the first one to really "look" at his brothers. In this picture (on the left) Andrew was actually looking at Jared, "talking" to him and when he reached out for his foot.... my eyes filled with tears. It was so amazing to watch them discover each other and I can't wait to watch their relationship grow as they grow older. It took a little while before Jared or Wesley actually looked back. Now, the boys light up when they see each other. They enjoy "talking" and they smile when they play together. In these pictures you can see Andrew and Wesley on their boppys looking at each other and reaching for each other. Then you can see Jared and Wesley in the Activity Gym holding hands. They were holding hands for a while..... long enough for us to look for the camera and take a picture.

The next great milestone we plan to tackle is the ability to sit. The boys are practicing and getting better each and every day. When we had our professional pics at 3 months, we set their appointment for their 6 month photos. The photographer, Ms. Dina, told us that we need to be sitting by six months. She said this in a very stern way so we must be able to sit by 6 months. Each time we practice, I tell the boys that "Ms. Dina said you need to be sitting by 6 months." They seem energized by this challenge!

The last major milestone we have reached as a family is eliminating the tracking and charting of daily activities! Since the boys were born and brought into our room at the hospital, we have been charting each feeding, each wet diaper and each soiled diaper. While many of you may chuckle about me tracking everything, it really was necessary for a while. Try to imagine working on little sleep and trying to remember how much each child has eaten or how many diapers you have changed.... it was not easy. Also, when we had shifts here to care for the kids, it was an essential tool to hand off responsibility and know who was scheduled to eat next and when. Charting became a habit and a safety blanket for us. On August 18th, we tracked our last meal and diaper change!! It was a big moment for us. Yes... this means we wrote everything (well almost everything) down for over 4 months!!!

I think this brings us up to date on the major milestones we have accomplished over the past month. I hope everyone is doing well.

Take care,


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Too Cute for Words

The following are a couple pics of each of the boys that I just love. They don't really fit in with any other posts so I thought I would just share some cute pics.
This is Andrew hanging out in one of the Jumperoos. I love the expression on his face in this photo as well as how this photo shows off that brilliant red hair! The look on his face is trying to say "what... I got a problem with that..." He sure makes us laugh!

This picture shows the pure joy of Andrew's smile! I love that dimple!!!
Jared's smile just makes me melt!
Each of the boys has their very own blanket for cuddling. When they are getting ready for their naps, the boys are put in the swing with their blankie to calm down. The blanket has their name embroidered, a little lion's head and the four corners have teethers on them. This is Jared showing obvious signs that he is ready for his nap!
Mr. Wesley showing off his "whatever" attitude. Oh my, I really think this kid was "blessed" with my stubbornness. That is a good thing..... right?
Wesley is also very curious. He seems to think the grass is greener on the other side. Which ever direction you face him, he wants to look in the other direction.

The personalities are really starting to shine! These pics are ones we took at home. The boys also had their first professional photoshoot. If you would like to look at the pictures, they are available at the following link until September 12, 2008.

We will keep the pictures coming!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Our lives were changed in a FLASH!

One year ago today, Mike and I woke up very early and drove three hours from Tallahassee to Jacksonville. On the way there I was excited, nervous, anxious and many other emotions. We had made this same drive four months earlier and I was concerned that we would not be able to make it again. Our financial situation would not allow for many more chances to have a family.

We entered the waiting room of the office where we were able to wait together and then my name was called. With my bladder full of water, I was led back to a small cold room with an exam table and an ultrasound machine. A few minutes later, the room was filled with the doctors and nurses. There was an med student that was going to observe the procedure so Dr. Duffy explained the procedure play by play. He told the student to watch the ultrasound monitor and watch for a small quick flash of light. The flash of light was when the embryos were transfered. I sat my head up to also watch the ultrasound machine. I saw it..... the flash.... the moment that changed my life forever!!! It was the exact second that I became a Mom. It was very quick and then the next 30 minutes I spent in this room with the lights off laying very still on my back. I was wishing Mike could have been there for this moment because I felt so alone. However, I was not alone. I was thinking about the last time I was in that room and what I could do differently this time so this would end up with a baby (yes, a baby). I did not move for those 30 minutes where last time I got up at 15 minutes to use the bathroom. This felt like the longest 30 minutes of my life. Well, little did I know that I would not spend a moment totally alone for the next eight months!! I would spend the next eight months full of life and worried about the health of my... not one, not two but three babies. I was never able to imagine that one year later I would be holding and kissing three beautiful people that were simply a flash of light a moment earlier.

While I did not have the standard conception, it was amazing to know the exact second that I began sharing my body with the three most beautiful gifts of my life!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

4 Month Check-up

On August 12th the boys turned 4 months old. With this great milestone came another visit to the wonderful pediatrician. The boys, dressed in their tropical outfits, were wonderful little troopers at their appointment and were on their best behavior. We had our weigh in and all are gaining weight really well. Jared has more than tripled his birth weight and Andrew and Wesley have more than doubled their birth weight. All boys are healthy with no real concerns noted. All are developmentally on target for 4 month olds (actually a little ahead says doc) and the doc was impressed because they were born a full month early. When I asked about starting solids, I was actually hoping he was in the "wait until 6 months" camp; however, he was ok with us starting but was also ok if we wait. Ugh, now my fear of chaos is the only thing stopping us.

It was really cute at the appointment because the three boys were lined up side by side on the exam table and he went down the row checking eyes, ears, mouths, ect. They boys did not cry during the entire exam and were actually laughing and cooing at the doctor... I was so proud! The only issue of note was that (as he put it), he could only find 5 of 6 testicles. So, we are going to have to keep an eye out for the last one over the next couple month. If it does not desend, they may have to go looking for it. So, we are crossing all 30 fingers that we will be 6 for 6 at the 6 month appointment!

The boys continue their steady climb up the growth chart:


Weight - 14lbs 4oz - 45th percentile
Height - 24.5" - 35th percentile
Head Circumference - 39.9 cm - 5th percentile

Weight - 15lbs 8oz - 60th percentile
Height - 25.5" - 60th percentile
Head Circumference - 42.7cm - 53rd percentile

Weight - 14lbs - 25th percentile
Height - 25" - 40th percentile
Head Circumference - 40.6cm - 10th percentile

After our exam with the doctor, we moved onto the shot round of our visit. Prior to getting our shots, the boys were dressed and waiting. The picture below is of Mike keeping them busy as he waved a cloth diaper over them and they moved their heads in unison back and forth as if they were watching a tennis match... too cute.
At their 2 month appointment, the boys were all split up so their shots could be given all at once. This left Wesley without a parent during these shots. Well, we were both present for all three boys today. We started with Jared. He of course cried when the shot was given. When he started to cry, Andrew started to scream bloody murder and no one had touched him. Jared calmed down quickly but Andrew was still very upset until all three were done. When Andrew got his shots, neither Jared or Wesley cried for him. I comforted Andrew by telling him he was a great big brother with his expression of concern for his baby brothers!

We all survived and after their nap when we got home, the boys were all smiles again. We are good to go for another 2 months.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Boys Meet Two of The Girls

When the Three Little Eskimos were born, they were the newest recruits added to the already existing Team Darnell! We have been working to get the new recruits together with the existing team members and were finally successful (5 of 6 Darnells together). The boys were very excited to finally meet two of their three older sisters, Mandy and Veronica. The girls were with us for a short visit (too short in our opinion) but enjoyed their time with their brothers. Both girls were eager to jump right in and get to know their little brothers. In the pictures, you can see Veronica being a very sweet caregiver cuddeling and feeding the boys.

Mandy was wonderful helping get all the boys ready for bed by giving their nightly massage and dressing them in their jammies. We still look forward to getting all 6 of the Team Darnell members together.

Breana we can't wait to spend time with you!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Jared's Rolling Over Party... at 1am!

The boys have been sleeping a full 12 hours each night for over three weeks. As such, I have grown accustomed to sleeping soundly through the night. During the wee hours of the morning on August 1, I was awakened at 1am to the sounds of two of the boys "playing" in their nursery. These were not sounds of crying but there was something going on. I got out of bed and made my way to the nursery. I have tummy sleepers and when I walked into the room, the hallway light shined onto Jared's face and he had a big smile on his face. The point of this is that he was facing up, cooing and giggling. This was the first time he had rolled over! He must have been dreaming about it and when he actually rolled over he woke up.

Well, he was so proud of his accomplishment, he could not celebrate alone so he woke up Wesley. Wesley was also wide awake and cooing away! It's almost like they were "talking" about Jared's midnight accomplishment!

While I was also proud of his great moment, it was 1am.... can't we save this until it's daylight!!! I picked him up, gave him a hug, told him I was proud of him, flipped him over, put him back to bed and told him we could celebrate in the morning... it's 1am! It only took a couple minutes and both of the party animals were slipping back into their peaceful slumber.

All three of the boys have now receiving a check mark in the rolling over column! I am so proud of these little fellas! Hopefully, they will not decide to reach all major milestones in the middle of the night.

What about Andrew you ask? He is such a sound sleeper, he would sleep through anything. I have a feeling he will be on the receiving end of many late night pranks from his "younger" brothers!
Take care,