Colette's Nursery


With the new baby coming, I started ordering things for the boys' new room back in April, assuming that we'd make the room change in May, but that we'd leave their old room set up for a bit so ease the  transition. Of course none of that went according to plan and we actually canceled our contractor coming over when everything happened early with Colette. Since we didn't know what the situation would be, we didn't want to change anything more for them. As we got some initial reassurance that things would be okay with C, we moved forward and got the downstairs painted and the new lights installed. The boys transitioned so nicely to their new room that I ended up taking down their old room immediately. I started planning Colette's nursery -- I had pinned ideas on Pinterest for both a boy and girl so now that I knew, I started narrowing down exactly what I wanted.

Planning the nursery was a welcome distraction until it wasn't. Initially I was so consumed by what a long wait it was going to be for her to come home (little did I know that it would end up being much longer than I ever imagined), that it was something fun to focus on. I was so hesitant to order anything for the room, but eventually started, and then of course, she got much sicker. Again, we halted any work on the room. Stuff started arriving and it got left in the box. We definitely didn't feel confident in setting up a room for her to come home to. So when she finally started getting better and we saw that she really was going to come home, it was a whirlwind to get everything done. Thankfully our contractor was able to get the room painted and the light fixture installed so we could get the rest done. As always, my dad was so great in helping me with the dresser (which I ended up painting most of myself, and with the boys' help) and hanging everything on the walls. Unfortunately when he went to set up the new twin bed, we realized the headboard was split. I called for a replacement and it was backordered. Despite many calls, the day arrived when she was to come home and still not headboard.


My dad came that day and worked on the headboard, finding a temporary solution that didn't look great, but working perfectly, so that I could have a bed to sleep in on the night we brought her home. It took another couple weeks to get the replacement headboard and it was so great to have it set up during that time.

As far as a theme, I knew I'd be working with gray since we kept the same shades the boys had, as well as one of their cribs which is gray and white. I was drawn to a painting I found on One Kings Lane with lots of coral, so I bought that and coral quickly became a main color of the room. Then I added in gold (and gold dots) and bit of floral.


 
I had so much fun putting the room together, but there was also a lot of hesitation about getting excited about it. When it was all set up (at a point when we knew she was coming home), I was so thrilled with how it turned out, and now that I've spent so much time in it, I still love the space. It's super functional -- and I was nervous about the layout of trying to fit a twin bed in there; because of all the doors and windows, it doesn't leave a good space to stretch the bed out from the wall -- having a bed in the room has been so great, we've been able to use the chair-and-a-half we had with the boys, I still love that dresser and am in love with how the coral ombre paint job turned out and had so much fun bringing together all the decorative aspects, a lot of which were found on Etsy.




My favorite piece is probably the chandelier, something so fun for a girl's room. I feel elated that I get to be in this fun space with her and hopefully some of the pieces will be around long enough for her to love them as well.

Colette: 5 Months Old


Colette has had a great month! We’re much more settled at home and I feel like I'm getting to enjoy her so much more. We're getting to do so many of the things I dreamed of doing with 'just one', and it really is so great. I love how comfy she is in the wrap or carrier and that she can tag along on many of our outdoor adventures all snuggled up. She doesn't always eat great when we're out, but often makes up for it later. If I have to run into a store, I can do just that instead of unloading a double stroller and getting everyone out. It really does feel so much easier focusing on just one. Of course we have W&G too, but Colette has been such a great addition to our family and it's been so fun to have adventures as a family of five, with W&G just as enthusiastic. They really are the greatest big brothers and continue to adapt well to having her around all the time.

I feel like we've accomplished a lot during the first full month home and I pray the progress continues.




EAT:
After very slow weight gain the first week home, she started taking more and is now gaining weight nicely, currently 14lbs 4oz (left the NICU at 12lb10oz 6 weeks ago). She’s exceeding her daily goal, taking in about 26oz/day. I did another trial mixing the skimmed breast milk with Monogen and she took it pretty well, so after an appointment with GI, we decided to go all skimmed milk with Monogen powder. Well, of course Colette wouldn’t go for that and decided she wouldn’t have it mixed the other way either. So we’re back to switching off between 27cal Monogen bottles and skimmed breast milk bottles, though I continue to do 1oz skimmed breast milk with a little Monogen powder at each feed to hopefully build up her tolerance for it and that seems to be working. We’re off of all supplements except for adeks and actigall.  The big news is that two weeks ago we started her on 1oz full-fat breast milk per day and last Monday we bumped that up to 2oz. After an appointment with GI last week and no signs of a problem, they decided to increase by 2oz per week. Today she's up to 4oz/day -- a full feed-- and so far so good. I think if she continues to do well, they may speed up the frequency of the increases even more.

Though the washing of bottles at times seems endless and pumping and skimming the milk is certainly an investment of time, I'm so happy that we've been able to get her on track gaining weight. Her doctor was thrilled with her weight gain at her last appointment and as she starts taking more and more full-fat breastmilk, it will leave fewer unknowns about how many calories she's actually getting from the skimmed milk/mct oil/formula combo.

The rare time she fell asleep in the Mamaroo
SLEEP:
Thankfully she continues to sleep well at night and is consistently waking up just once at night. I usually feed her around 10:30pm before I go to bed (sometimes she wakes up for this feed, other times I wake her up) and then she'll wake up between 3 and 4am. Now that she's taking in enough during the day, weighs more than 14lbs and is gaining well, if she does wake up earlier, I give her her paci and she always goes back to sleep. Even if she wakes up between 3-4am, I still offer the paci and go back to bed, to see if she's really hungry or just woke up. I hope I can continue to stretch this out and get her sleeping a big longer soon.

Naps are okay. She sleeps great in the wrap or carrier, or when being held (she sleeps all day when Dedee is here!), but only takes short 30-minute naps when I put her in the crib. Even when we're out and she's in the stroller or in the car, she won't just drift off. It's like she doesn't want to miss anything and will often take 40-plus minutes to finally fall asleep.



PLAY:
Developmentally, Colette has been busy in the past two weeks and is rolling on her side and is grabbing at toys. Just yesterday (so 5 days past 5 months), she rolled from back to tummy. Unfortunately she can't get back over and gets frustrated when she's on her tummy. I was putting the boys to bed last night and heard C screaming upstairs -- which she rarely does. I called up to Dave and I guess every time he went into her room, she had rolled onto her tummy in her crib and couldn't get back over. Luckily once she's asleep, she doesn't do it so she hasn't woken herself up after rolling over. She’s been bringing her hands to her mouth for a while, but now can bring objects to her mouth as well. We had a physical therapy appointment two weeks ago and the therapist was impressed with how well she’s doing despite so much time in the NICU; she’s doing everything on the 3-month old checklist and plenty on the 4-5 month old list too. Since she was born 7 weeks early, she'll be evaluated on her 'adjusted age', currently 3.5 months. Though there's no specific reason for physical therapy, insurance covers it and the therapist said she'd like to follow her so I think we'll continue to go once or twice a month at least for the next few months. She's 'talking' more, not making any identifiable sounds, but much more vocal. She’s generally very happy and easy-going; she loves being a part of everything and will sit with us at the table during dinner taking it all in.

Rolling!


Although I thought Colette got a touch of a cold about a week after coming home, she definitely got the boys' most recent cold two weeks ago. Thankfully she got through it with only some minor, and very brief, retractions so I didn’t even need to give her the inhaler treatment I have for such situations. She coughed a bit and I had to suction her nose frequently and she woke up once more than normal at night for a few nights, but otherwise ate well and acted pretty normal.




She recently got labs drawn and didn’t cry at all, yet screamed when I had to put her back in the car seat. Go figure! We got the results back from the very specific genetic testing for genes that may be associated with pulmonary lymphangiectasia and everything came back negative. 

She gives her biggest smiles to William and he can’t get enough of her either. He keeps asking us, ‘can she stay with us forever?’. After her bath, he tells her how nice she smells, when he comes home from school, he asks her how her day was and always tells her she looks pretty, especially if she’s wearing a dress. George, ever the rule-enforcer, reminded her when she was wearing her mocs, that she can’t wear her shoes inside :)



Coco-Bean, Coco-Buns (W's name for you), Bean. You are the best addition to our family. It's such a joy to have you at home with us and I love all the time I get to spend with you each day. I feel like I'm finally getting the experience I hoped for, being able to savor all the baby moments of having just one to focus on. We've gotten in a good swing of things as far as eating goes and I'm so proud of you for taking your bottles better and better, increasing your volume and gaining weight. You're still very particular about mixing the Monogen with the skimmed breast milk and now that you're doing well with the full-fat breast milk, I'm debating whether I continue pushing the combo or just proceed with everything separate with the goal that you may be on full-fat milk completely in a few months. Regardless, it feels so good to work through some of those challenges. You are such a happy baby. I love getting you up in the morning, just like the boys when they were babies, you're so happy and smiling from ear to ear. William and George always get lots of smiles from you and we've even heard some laughing. You have the biggest eyes and the longest eyelashes curling upward. You love to talk and still love being a part of everything. I've started researching high chairs, not so much for you starting solids (think we're still at least a month off there) but just so you can sit with us at the table during dinner; I think you'd love that. It really is so cool to see you progress each day. The last few weeks you've been doing new things each day -- becoming more interested in toys, grabbing, rolling onto your side, and finally onto your belly. It's such a progression and these are the moments that are so special to witness as a parent. I feel so blessed to have you home, but elated to have you doing so well. We love you!



Big Boy Room for the Bs


This is long overdue since we moved the boys downstairs to their new room back in June. We didn't love the idea of them being all the way downstairs, but we didn't really have another option. It's a great space for them and nice that the bathroom is in the room and gives them their own zone with all their toys and it actually hasn't been too bad going downstairs when they need us. They sleep so well at night, that it's so rare that we'd need to go down in the middle of the night.




I always find it so hard to start designing a room but once I settle on one piece, it usually flows from there. I knew I didn't want a theme that would seem dated in a few years and while I wanted it to be bright and fun, I didn't want it to be too kid-ish. I think I settled on the Land of Nod bedspreads first and then quickly had a color scheme. I knew they'd want yellow but yellow was a main color in their nursery that I wanted this room to be different so it's a nice accent.





We decided to paint the whole downstairs so I had our decorator help choose wall colors for that.  I love the dark denim blue accident wall. Other than the wall colors, I did everything else myself and had so much fun doing it. The bookcase is from IKEA and fits perfectly between the two beds and is good storage for their books and stuffed animals (in the bins). I love the dresser we got, again, it fits the space perfectly and holds all of their non-hanging clothes. The wall pieces are fun, though the bulbs have already burned out on the cityscape and not sure what we're supposed to do about that...



I think the boys' favorite thing about their room is the marquee letter they each have over their bed. They're all about their initial and it's a fun way to display it. At night we turn off the lights and just keep the marquee letters lit and it's perfect for reading books.



I had my dad build some under-bed drawers to store all their extra books that switch out onto the shelf so the books always seem somewhat new. They work great and store a ton, plus they blend in nicely under the beds.


The transition to their new room was surprisingly easy, but several months in, they do both make plenty of comments about being scared and wanting us in their room. I think they're (and we are) so lucky that they have each other as that's certainly eased the transition. George keeps talking about a 'shared bed' like Dad and I have but oddly the boys have never done well sleeping so close.

G&W Lately (41 Months)

Gilroy Gardens, one last adventure as a family of 4
What a big month for these two. They officially started preschool and their sister finally came home. Everyone has been asking how they've been adjusting and I think they've done great. I think it really helped that they did the summer camp at Calvary so school itself wasn't much of an adjustment. They seemed to have liked Calvary best out of all their camps so they had been asking to go back. As far as adjusting to having Colette here, I think they see that things are better for them. The biggest adjustment for them was when I was put in the hospital on bedrest very suddenly -- everything changed very quickly and even when I came home, things were still different. Jessica was with them a lot more and I was at the hospital most of the day. Everything is the same for them now, I still take them to school, Jessica picks them up, but now Colette and I are often home when they get home from school and in general I'm around a lot more.

They both want to see Colette as soon as they get home. William really can't get enough and has to be close to her and touching her all the time. Ugh, so worried about germs. George doesn't seem to be as interested, but I think he feeds off William and see what's he's doing and then asks if he can kiss her head and feet. George acts out a bit here and there but they both have really done so well with her being home.



School is going really well. They seem to like it and we get stories here and there, mostly through Jessica since they seem to talk most when she picks them up. The only morning they had trouble separating from me was the morning I parked the car and walked them in, because there was a parent meeting (usually I just pull up and they get out with a teacher). Now I just stick with the routine and drop them off, even if I'm staying. We just got the first updates from their teacher Miss Katherine:

"George is doing very well at Calvary.  He is starting to feel more comfortable exploring activities independently from his brother and engaging with other children.  George was very excited about the new “Imagination Playground” blocks on the roof.  He built a “garbage truck” with the blocks and had fun playing on that.  He has been very thoughtful this week, offering to help others.  Emme was having a hard time with the water-fountain, and he held the button down for her so she could get some water.   He has been helping prepare snack for all the classes and has been a kind and caring friend to his peers."






"I wanted to reach out and let you know how well William is doing at Calvary.  He seems very happy at school, spending his mornings exploring various provocations and activities in both in the main room and individual classrooms.  He gravitates toward the dramatic play area, using his imagination to turn the classroom materials into something new.  He is always one of the first to ask for a story at snack-time and listens intently.  He is invested in helping to take care of the school, watering plants in the rooftop garden and taking pride in creating artwork to decorate our classroom."








There are 4 other kids in their class of 6 -- Emme, Lyle (both girls), Roch ('rock') and Harrison. I met the other moms for coffee after drop-off on Friday and several of the moms mentioned how their kids always talk about W&G... when I ask the boys about their friends at school and who they play with, they only say each other. Dave noticed it the one day he dropped them off and I've seen it since, they grab hands and run into school together after saying goodbye :)

I've only been to a few things at the school so far, but the calendar is packed this month with moms night out, a back-to-school-night type thing, parents cocktail party, etc. I'm really looking forward to meeting more people and hopefully becoming part of the community there.

We've gotten out on some fun adventures, even as a family of five. We've already been to the beach twice. Outdoor places are good for Colette as we don't have to worry so much about germs. She's still pretty good in the wrap or carrier too, so that makes it easier to manage all three even when we have two adults.

Sleep has been okay but the last week there have been more later nights. We still say goodnight at 7:30 but they've either been coming upstairs as late as 8:15 only to have us take them back downstairs to see that their room is a complete mess, or they call down to us, often making a big mess too. We were also getting earlier mornings when they were getting up before sun clock, so we set it to go off a bit earlier and then slowly moved it back and it seems to have been working. They do quiet time most days and that actually goes relatively well. William often takes a nap, George rarely does, and on the weekends we've ended up with some days where neither does and instead they make a huge mess of their quiet time stuff. Overall it hasn't been terrible but sleep definitely seems to be a bit off these past few weeks.

Eating... well, certainly no improvements here. George eats less fruit then ever, and less variety of other stuff than ever too. Their lunches used to be packed to the brim and now it's a struggle to fill it with things that they'll eat that are somewhat healthy. G still loves cheese, but yet doesn't eat the cheese we put in the lunch. Grilled meats are still the biggest hit, though W has been better about tasting our other dinners. About a week ago, I made a point to go back to the old way of dinners -- what I make is what's offered and if they don't care for it, then they can always have cottage cheese or yogurt. They don't have to eat it, but if they don't want something in there, they have to leave it or pick it out themselves (they'd always ask Dave to 'get the x' out and he'd oblige.) Dinners have actually gone a lot better which is the overall goal. I'm still confident they're eating enough in general so whatever they choose to eat from the generally healthy options is fine with me. We're also trying to cut back on all the constant treats (both edible and toys) that have been way to frequent these last few months.

Play
Still tons of imaginative play. We had a lot of fun with big delivery boxes and art supplies. George is still super into his garbage and any time I open a box he comes to grab the packaging for his garbage stash. The duplos still get a good amount of use and the Melissa and Doug wooden sets, as well as the magnatiles.

We signed up for soccer at the last minute and they're really enjoying it. Such a better age for it now versus when they started at 18 months. I figured with school we wouldn't add any activities, but they have the energy for it. Jessica has been keeping them out of the house until 1:30 most days after school so it's nice to throw in a scheduled activity one day. They still do swim lessons every week but we decided to split them into two different classes as they're not being good listeners when they're in the same one. It's worked out much better and whoever is not in the class swims with Jessica during the others lesson. There's still plenty of bickering, whining and even crying; in many ways, I feel like age 3 has been tougher than the 2s. Thankfully the biting is extremely rare. Also, George's accidents have pretty much stopped so hopefully it was all the adjustments surrounding the changes of the summer and now things are settling down.





The big news is that Dave got an electric bike so the three of them have been going on bike rides all over the city, even across to Sausalito.  It's good exercise for Dave (still requires some effort), the boys love it and it's something new they can do and a nice change of pace for later in the day after quiet time.



Mom: The last month has been a whirlwind. It was so busy as Colette's discharge date approached, then it was getting organized and figuring out a new routine at home and now I feel like we're settled in. We still need to get into a more regular routine where I can work in exercise and date nights but the past few weeks have understandably been focused on Colette, as well as the boys. I had a great birthday and it was nice to go out to dinner with Dave. My mom wants to spend more time helping out and as she's just getting back from a trip to visit Jon, it's a good time to set something up more regular so that I can exercise more and Dave and I can go out. I feel extremely lucky with all the help we have. While it's certainly a luxury and I'm sure we could manage with much less help, it's been so nice to be able to solely focus on Colette and get her settled, or spend time with the boys while Colette is playing on a mat, knowing that Jessica can keep an eye on her. I haven't passed any more responsibility than that onto Jessica as I don't want to just casually start leaving her with all three, even if I'm just running out for a minute, etc. I know she'd be up for it, but for now it's not necessary. I really have enjoyed the opportunity to focus on one at a time, such a treat.



To my boys...
I finally get to see you in full big brother action and it's the absolute best! You both are so sweet with Colette and seeing you interact with her and love her so much has to be the best part of adding another child to the mix. Having twins is its own special thing but it's very different. You two have an amazing bond, but you've had it from day one. I remember when we were considering having another child, I worried for the third child that they'd be left out since you two are so close. I already see that that's not a concern at all. Sure, you two will have plenty of stuff that's just you but I see there will be a unique bond between each of you and Colette. I'm proud of how you've welcomed her home and adjusted so well after an eventful summer. You're doing so well at school and most importantly, seem to enjoy it.

W&G notes:
  • You guys tried to convince Jessica to take you to Gilroy Gardens a few days before we were planning to go as a family, so you could see if you liked it and if we should go back.
  • You're really into Peppa Pig right now 
  • One day when you guys were arguing, G said, 'Santa likes sharing' and W replied with 'God likes sharing'
  • Jessica got you guys roller skates as you're present for when Colette came home and you love them! I'm impressed with how well you do on them too. W wanted to skate all the way home from baseball park, and one day Jessica let him
  • You guys did great on your first day of school!

William. You are in heaven with your new baby sister being home. You rush to her as soon as you get home (and sometimes even ask Jessica if you can go home right then so you can see her). You're very hands on so we're trying our best to wash hands and use sanitizer. You are so sweet with her, cooing, 'are you my sweet girl?', 'how was your day today Colette?' and 'what beautiful eyes you have!'. Lately, you keep asking, 'can she live with us forever??'. Probably not what most brothers are asking but you've certainly had a different introduction to your new sibling. You've picked up on many nicknames for her but currently have settled on Coco-bun. It was so fun to read what Miss Katherine had to say about you after less than a month at Calvary. I love to hear that you gravitate to the dramatic play area... that sounds about right. I was at a parent training at the preschool last week and they were talking about a creative student who wore a rainbow skirt around his neck as a cape, put his headphones on and was in his own world of pretend. Then they show a picture of you :) It's so fun to see you so comfortable in a new environment and I can't wait to see how much you grow throughout the year.

W notes:
  • You were so excited to feed Colette her bottle in the hospital when you came to visit
  • You totally hit it off with Aunt Lori and loved having her here
  • One night you woke up in the middle of the night and when I went down, you said you were really thirsty and asked for sparkling water
  • One day you were throwing a tantrum over having to turn off the TV so I told you, when you're a daddy, you can watch TV all day long. You replied, 'when I'm a daddy, I'll drink wine all day long because wine is made from grapes.'
  • When you were in Sausalito with Dad and George, you guys stopped at a park with a big stage. You don't know what a stage is or what it's for, but you ran up there and started acting out the whole story of the Three Little Pigs. Dad said it was pretty impressive and another mom couldn't believe the performance :)






George. You're not quite as confident around your new sister, but that's where having a twin comes in handy... you seem to pick up a lot from William and pretty soon I see kissing Colette's head and shoes. I can see how much you love her and how much you'll look out for her as she gets older. You're still such a good helper and I love to hear that you're the same way at school. The teachers have commented to Jessica about how polite you and W are, always saying please and I do have to say that it seems pretty ingrained in a lot of your phrases, rolling together, 'please-can-you...' I love cooking with you, you're able to stay focused longer than William and you really want to do the cutting, flipping and mixing... not just the tasting ;)








G notes:
  • You asked again and again if we could make pepper soup. One day we finally made it and you were such a good helper. Did you eat it? Of course not, but I could've predicted that.
  • You asked a lot of questions about God -- what does God look like? Where does God live? How do you get to God?
  • One night during dinner you said you're tummy hurt, so I asked if you had enough and were full. You said no, you were going to go make room and you ran to the bathroom to poop...
  • You're new thing is to say, 'I'll only do x, if you do y' or 'if you x, I'll y'
  • One afternoon, I was just heading out for a walk with C when Dad was bringing you back. I asked if you wanted to come for a quick walk and you said yes, because we need some time with you too.
  • You ask us to write up some of your different 'rules' and stick them around the house



We were so lucky to have Aunt Lori and Ma come visit. The boys had so much fun with them and it was such a treat to have Aunt Lori come too. Here's a note from Ma:



To Colette, William and George
Aunt Lori and I were so excited to come to San Francisco to see you but our biggest surprise was that Colette was HOME!   We were so happy to see that little bundle in Lauren’s arms with her dark curls and cute little orange leggings.  Oh how happy Ma was to hold you Colette, and smell those sweet baby smells.  You even had a few big smiles for us!  You are such a beautiful, even tempered, sweet baby girl.  Definitely worth the wait as the banner says in your room.  It was so nice to be able to meet you in person - tube free-  and share some time with you before the boys came home.    Speaking of the boys, I was so surprised to see you in the back of Jessica’s car when I was on my way to lunch with Aunt Lori and Daddy.  You both had big smiles and we promised to see you after quiet time.  We had great adventures at the parks, riding the boats, going on the Carousel, riding your scooters and bikes, grilling and playing in the back yard. Aunt Lori brought that funny Slap Face game….everyone got a little whipped cream on their face and we laughed and laughed!  Aunt Lori and I thought daddy’s new bike was really cool!  With your helmets and scarves you were ready to go home after pizza and ice cream.  Hold on tight, that bike goes fast!

George…Ma’s big boy. When I arrived, you crawled on my lap and we had some quiet time together.  That was so special.  Your hugs and smiles are the best.  I love your stories George.  So much detail and thought goes into your conversation.  You know all the rules and you wanted to make sure Ma knew where to put her shoes and where the covers were if I want to leave my shoes on in the house.  You knew this was for Colette and it was important.  Good job George!  I am so glad you like school and have lots of friends in class.  And I love your concentration when you are playing games or building with the trains.  You were so fast on the scooter and did a good job riding your bike to baseball park.  Thanks for sharing all your special places with me.  You are a smart little boy, George.  Ma loves you!

William…Your eyes are magic.  You can tell a story with your eyes and everyone in entranced.  You are so fast on your scooter and your bike.  You really have your balance on that little yellow bike.  Looks like you are ready for pedals!  You really love Colette and want to touch her and be with her.  I think you are going to be best friends with your sister.  Maybe you can teach her how to build with Legos…because you do such a great job building tall buildings and all sorts of stuff with the legos in the living room. Good job William!  I love reading to you William.  You crawl up in Ma’s lap and sit very quietly and listen very carefully.  I’m glad you liked the new books Ma brought from Ohio.  You even “read” Colette the little Owl book.  I know you could read that one to her.  You are such a clever little boy, William.  Ma loves you!