Lots of very cool things have been happening around here lately!  See if you can keep up.

Last week had a lot of things going on.  The girls started sweet potatoes, which they LOVE…and I’m so glad, because I love them too!  They are getting so big.  We also started avocados this week, which was met with a little resistance and funny faces, but after a few days they seem to be tolerating it well.  Next is butternut squash, which is very time consuming, with all the peeling, and I’m not sure if it will be cost effective for me to make it, but we’ll see.
Sweet Potato Faces!

Not too sure about this avocado thing…

So last week we travelled to Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with my family.  We stayed with my Mimi and Pop, who graciously let us take over their house with all of our baby stuff.  I’m not sure if any of you have driven from Austin to Dallas on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, but it’s miserable.  Unfortunately Christian had to work that day, but he was able to get out around 2:30, and we left around 4. Luckily I had spend the previous day packing and checking things off my baby checklist.  After stopping at about 4 times in attempts to air up my tires, only to find that their pumps were either broken or too crowded, we finally gave up and took our chances.  What can I say? We are rebels like that.  Anyways, the normally 3 hour drive ended up being a 6 hour drive, complete with a 30 minute stop in Waco to change diapers and feed the babies in an HEB parking lot.  Classy, I know.  After we got back on the road, they were supposed to go to sleep, but they had other plans, and those plans involved lots of screaming and wailing.  I love having my babies on a predictable schedule, but when one little thing changes on that schedule, you’d think their world was coming to an end.  But they eventually tuckered out and slept the whole rest of the way. Even through a desperate attempt to find a silly Whataburger after taking the wrong exit and going through a ton of construction, after which we passed by 3 more Whataburgers in the following 5 minutes.  Grrrr!

Our stay in Dallas was great!  Although it was late when we arrived, we let the girls get a little face time with everyone, and then as we were preparing them for bed and changing their diapers, Rachel decided to pee all over herself and her changing mat, so she went straight into the bath (normally I might just wipe her down, but when it gets in the hair, I draw the line).  Not really what I wanted to do at 10:30 at night, but whatever.  Their first night was rough, again, due to the change in schedule, but they did great the rest of the nights.  And we got a great surprise – Mom and Dad and Mimi and Pop pitched in together and got us 2 highchairs!  We were so grateful because we knew we really needed to get them and were reluctant to fork over the $$$ for them.  Ah, that’s life on one income!

Thanksgiving day was nice, as always, with everyone making “their” dishes.  Uncle Jamie, the family chef, prepared the turkey, Mimi made the stuffing and deviled eggs, my sister Lori made her pea salad, I made my (formerly my mom’s) hashbrown potato casserole, and Mom and Dad made creamed spinach, a newcomer to the menu, but very tasty!  After gorging ourselves on all of the food, we headed for the dessert table – Mimi’s Mississippi Mud (all I would want to eat if I were taking my last breaths) and my pumpkin cake (courtesy of my friend Vanessa!).  We all ended up fat and happy!  After the girls woke up from their nap, they got their own little Thanksgiving meal of sweet potatoes!  The rest of the time was spent hanging out with the family, playing cards, playing with the babies, and just being together.  Here are some pictures!

One of the most precious sights of the holiday weekend!
Mimi and the girls.
Nana with Claire and Grandpa with Rachel
Grandpa feeding Claire her cereal and bananas
Aunt Lori feeding Rachel

Other happenings around the Torres household…
This has been happening a lot lately…if you can’t really see it, that’s our normally ornery cat Tiger curled up with a somewhat nervous Sammy, who kind of blends in with the couch.  I think Tiger is going a bit soft as he gets on in years.
The girls can sit up really well now!  They can’t pull them selves up yet, but when sat up, they can stay and balance themselves…for a while.  There are still quite a few wipeouts.

I’m sure those who purchased the highchairs will be so relieved that Tiger approves of them.  I find him sleeping in one of them at least once a day.  But now he looks like he’s trying to decide between Duckie Chewy and the red mirror.  

Sleepless in Sickland

Sorry to rain on everyone’s parade, but we have had two hellish weekends here at the Torres casa.  Oh life was so grand for about a week or so, during which both babies slept through the night, not waking until 6 or later, giving me some much needed rest.  For a little bit there I was ironically disappointed that I didn’t feel like I needed to lay down and snooze when they took their morning nap.  I admit, it was one of my favorite times of the day.  But I digress.  So then all of the sudden we have got the night waking again.  

It started last weekend, when I went in to check on the babies before I went to sleep, and caught a strong poo odor coming from Claire’s crib.  There was an internal struggle going on in my head.  She’s dead asleep – do I let her sleep, even though something tells me she will end up waking up in the middle of the night, upset that she is festering in her own waste?  Or do I get her out of bed to put her in a fresh diaper, even though it may mean we have trouble getting her back to sleep?  We ended up getting her out of bed, taking her into the dark living room, and double-teaming the stinky diaper to get it done as quickly and least invasively as possible.  She barely even woke up, and as soon as we were done she melted onto Christian’s shoulder and went back to sleep like a champ.  Then Rachel woke up around 3 or 4 with a soaking wet diaper and jammies.  I don’t know who ever thought that footed jammies that snap together were a good idea, but that person should be shot.  Well maybe not shot, but at least given a stern talking to.  You just try snapping up jammies on a sleepy, yet still crying and kicking baby on your living room floor with your light on the dimmest setting, lest you wake her up even more than she already is.  Not easy.  She ends up looking like that crazy kid at school who could never line their buttons up right on their shirt.  Ok, imaybe I was that crazy kid once or twice. Whatever.  And I know, yes I know, that all of the sleep books and pediatricians and veteran moms advise to try putting your baby back to sleep without feeding her, or else she will develop a night waking habit when in essence, she doesn’t really need to be fed.  I mean, she can and has slept 12 hours before without eating, including nights when I have heard her wake up, babble a little, then go back to sleep.  But nooooooo….not once she’s out of bed. Okay, I admit, I’m tired too, and it is just so much easier for me to feed her a little in order to get her sleepy.  15 minutes of feeding and soothing to sleep versus an hour of attempting, only to have her wake up again as soon as I put her back in bed?  You be the judge.

Ok so that was really only one waking for me, but after a week of a full night’s sleep, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was hoping it was an isolated incident.  But low and behold, here we come the next night.  Claire woke up around 11 or so (very unusual) and was very inconsolable.  That’s when we noticed she had a tooth coming in.  Yea for her, but not yea for how the rest of the night went.  Since we couldn’t get her to calm down, I tried to feed her, and then laid down with her in our bed.  Maybe it’s because they are getting so much bigger and more aware of their surroundings, but they really don’t sleep that well with me anymore.  They just end up twitching and kicking me in the pooch (my big, soft, courtesy of the girls belly) the whole time.  So after a very restless couple of hours she woke up again, maybe because she couldn’t get comfortable, but also because she was burning up.  They say that teething can cause them to run a slight fever, but I really think it was because she was wearing thick jammies with a onesie underneath.  It was getting pretty cold that night, and we bundled them up because their room gets freezing cold, thanks to a huge, heat losing single pane window in their room.  So I basically stripped her down and she laid there in our bed playing with her paci and giggling at the fan.  Like we had nothing better to do at 1 in the morning.  I don’t know what happened the rest of the night because it was all a blur. Something to the effect that as soon as I got her back to sleep, I heard Rachel wake up, so I think I had to pass C on to big C and go take care of her.  And for some reason I think I ended up sleeping with her on the couch, again getting kicked in the gut the whole time.  The fact that I don’t even remember what happened means it was bad.  Really really bad.

So every night this week we have continued with the night wakings because they are soaking through their diapers and jammies, and on top of that, they are very often night poopers. Fun fun.

A cold front blew in on Thursday night, and by Friday evening I was feeling rotten. Headache, sinus pressure, stuffy nose. the works.  No fever, thank goodness.  Christian got it too, but not the babies, again, thank goodness.  But getting up at 3 am to change and feed babies who, although you bought overnight diapers that don’t leak, have still not gone back to their 12 hour sleeping, is really really hard when you feel like crap.  My head hurt, my nose hurt, even my teeth hurt.  We both spent the whole weekend in a kleenex covered fog.

So now it’s Monday, and I’m feeling much better, despite just getting banana flavored cereal spit up on me just seconds ago.  Thanks Rach. 

My Little Equestrians

On November 1st we went to our baby friend Izabella’s Halloween themed 1st birthday bash, where she had a petting zoo and pony rides!  Claire was a little apprehensive (imagine that), but Rachel took the bull by the horns!  She was even grabbing onto the saddle horn!

I will have to break it to them gently that horseback riding is just too expensive of a hobby…..


As of about 11 pm last night, Claire’s first tooth has ripped through the skin!  I often let them chew on my finger if they are fussy, and last night when she woke up and was inconsolable, I put my finger up to her mouth to see if she was hungry, and she clamped down and I felt it!  So us being all worried about why she woke up turned into a tooth breaking celebration!  Yea Claire!

We’ll get a picture up of it as soon as it’s actually visible….and we can get her mouth open enough to see it!

It’s So Wonderful…..

…To get a full night’s sleep!  For the past week one of the babies has slept through the night (7-ish – 7-ish), and for the past 3 nights they have BOTH slept through the night!!!!  

It’s probably been 8 or 9 months since I have slept a full 8 hours!  When I was really pregnant I had a hard time getting and staying comfortable and breathing well.  Then when the babies were in the NICU I still had to get up every 3-4 hours and pump milk for them.  As the months flew by, I almost got used to not sleeping more than 2 or 3 hours at a time.  But now….I almost wish I could be awake to enjoy my full night’s sleep, but that would kind of defeat the purpose now, wouldn’t it?

Little Man

I am at a loss for words right now.  I just watched the most beautiful, yet heartbreaking documentary called “Little Man.”  It is the story of a baby boy born 100 days early, by a surrogate, to two women who are life partners.  Ever since the girls were born I am fascinated by anything involving preemies.  It’s like a train wreck.  I know it will horrify me, yet I cannot NOT watch.  And I usually cry the entire time.

The story of Nicholas is…..amazing?  I’m not sure if that is the proper word.  Heartbreaking. Yet still heartwarming.  His weight:  1 pound.  His chance of survival: less than 0.00004%.  The film did an incredible job of portraying the feel of the NICU through the camera lens.  The sights: the dim lights in attempt to mimic the womb.  The various machines that surround the isolettes that house these tiny babies that aren’t even really babies yet.  They are still considered  fetuses.  The nurses and doctors coming and going.  The traces of home surrounding the isolettes – photos, home made cards, little stuffed animals.  The sounds: the beeping and dinging of alarms, the incomprehensible medical jargon spilling from the nurses’ and doctors’ mouths.  The film maker, who was also one of the mothers, also vividly captured the feeling of being a NICU parent. The overwhelming feeling of entering the NICU for the first time, walking by all of these little babies who were attempting to thrive alongside your own. Trying so hard to soak in all of the information you are receiving on a daily basis about your baby.  The heartbreak of not being able to hold your baby whenever you want.  

The cameras follow this family throughout their tumultuous ordeal.  One parent has to stay home and run the household and care for their other daughter while the other spends her days and nights at the hospital, not wanting to leave, lest Nicholas not make it through the night.  It chronicles Nicholas’ good days and his bad.  And there are a lot of bad.  There are so many scenes in which the viewer isn’t even sure if this will be the last time they see Nicholas.  Watching him go through one medical procedure after another is difficult, yet I was reminded of something a NICU nurse said to me.  She said that NICU babies seem to thrive so well – often better than a baby who has been released and later has to be readmitted to the hospital.  Although they are constantly poked and prodded, getting shots, having blood drawn, being hooked up to various machines, they don’t know any different.  So they just go with the flow.  How amazing.

I know I have mentioned several times in the past how fortunate we are to have two healthy girls, even being born 9 weeks early.  The story of Nicholas is hard to watch, but it’s things like this only make me count my blessings even more and bask in the miracle of God’s work.  

No Pressure

Several weeks ago I mailed out letters to many friends and family members asking you to campaign for a cure and graciously donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Our donations will put us a step close to curing childhood cancer and hopefully let children who suffer from this awful disease grow up strong and healthy.  My donations are being collected in honor of Rachel Ann Torres (the original: October 11, 1974 – June 6, 1992), Christian’s older sister, who succumbed to leukemia at the age of 17.

For those of you who have already sent me donations, a huge thank you goes out to you. Because of you I have already reached my donation goal.  For those of you who still want to help, my deadline to get them sent to St. Jude’s is November 16; however, I can still send donations that arrive a little late.  If you want to help, but did not receive a letter from me, shoot me an email and I’ll tell you how you can help.  And finally, for those of you who cannot contribute at this time, I completely understand.  We all are feeling a bit of a financial strain these days, and there is absolutely no pressure to donate.

Thank you for listening and for helping out St. Jude, the children, and myself in this campaign.

You Know You’re a Mom When…

  • You find yourself at the sink scrubbing poop out of a onesie
  • You get spit up on multiple times throughout the day, and have yet to change your shirt…and a part of you really doesn’t care
  • The last clothes you bought for yourself were maternity clothes, yet your babies have a closet full of things with the tags still on
  • Your house is a complete mess, but you still know that there is a pacifier on the dining room table, in between that pile of unopened mail and the folded, not yet put away laundry.
  • Baby stuff. Everywhere.
  • You wake up in the glider at 3 am with a sleeping baby on your lap and ask yourself, “How long have I been here? When did she stop eating?”
  • Make-up? What’s that?
  • You can’t wait to redeem your Pampers Points for a “free” toy that you still have to pay $9.95 shipping and handling for. The damn thing probably wasn’t even worth that much.
  • You catch yourself dancing and singing Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True” because it’s the only thing that gets them to stop crying. Or maybe you just like the song.
  • You live by the DVR.
  • You use baby wipes to clean just about everything in your house.
  • You have to choose between eating, taking a shower, or taking a nap, and taking a nap usually wins out. Hands down.
  • You haven’t showered in 3 days because of the above point.
  • You recount to your husband every aspect of the babies’ day, even if it’s not that exciting. You: “We went on a walk today!” Him: “Oh……uh…..how interesting…”
  • You get excited about all milestones, big and small.
  • You live for moments like this:

Prematurity Awareness – March of Dimes

November is an important month for the March of Dimes.  It is when they focus on the impact that premature birth has on babies and families, and also on the opportunities for prevention of premature birth.  Here is a blurb from their website: www.marchofdimes.com

“Today more than 1400 babies in the US will be born prematurely.  Many will be too small and too sick to go home.  Instead they face weeks or even months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).  These babies face an increased risk or serious medical complication and death; however, most eventually will go home.”

Please sign the petition to the right and visit www.marchofdimes.com for more information. Organizations like the March of Dimes are a large part in why my girls got to come home healthy and happy, and the support they gave us while in the NICU was invaluable.

Bye Bye October

Alas, my favorite month is ending.  But we went out with a bang!  We started cereals, which we seem to love, and we had our first Halloween!  It’s easy to see why I love October so much.
One of my favorite pics, in our Halloween t-shirts and our Halloween hats from Aunt Michelle and Uncle Scott (and cousins Madi and Tristan)

Visiting the pumpkin patch.

Messy faces!

Little white mice.  You know, some people say that white mice are the smartest creatures on Earth…..I’m just saying…

The girls and their posse.  Baby posse that is.  Don’t cross ’em.  Especially when it’s time to eat!

You can clearly see why October is our favorite month!  I can’t imagine what things will be like next year!  I’m already starting to think about their costumes…..fairies anyone?