Tuesday, September 25, 2007

One Month Old

Is this a miniature Elena, or a huge zucchini? If you guessed huge zuch, you're right. We pulled this out of the garden the other day to make Steve some zucchini bread with the last of our crop, and couldn't believe that it was almost the same size as our big girl. And big she and Clara both are. They are now weighing in at 7 lbs. 1 oz (Clara) and 7 lbs 8 1/2 oz (Elena). They are growing out of their preemie clothes, and almost fit into the 0-3 month size!

Although they still aren't sleeping very much at night, the girls are starting to be awake during the day for more extended periods of time. We're trying to figure out what is most fun for one month old girls to do (any hints are very appreciated!). We do a lot of carrying around to look at things, or as in this picture, lounging on Mom, which keeps everyone happy.

We also continue to find the little gym indispensable. There's a little more "grab your sister" going on now that they are getting bigger and are each taking up more of the gym. We're not really sure what to do about that, since they love to kick and stretch. So far, they aren't hurting each other, but you can see here that Clara isn't thrilled at Elena's grabs.

Although we don't sleep in the same bed at night, we've had some fun cuddling the babies while we're having family nap time whenever we can catch it during the day. Here, Christina and Elena enjoy snuggling up together, snug as two bugs.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sleep, play, read, repeat

Okay, so their routine is a little more varied than this (there is a lot of eating, too!) but the girls have started getting into a bit more of a routine. There is still a lot of sleep going on around here, although not in big chunks that let Christina or Steve get a good sleep!

Here's Clara sweetly sleeping...

And Elena sweetly sleeping...

The girls are just getting a lot of fun out of playing in their gym. Playing mostly means staring at the colors, although this week it also meant staring at each other. At one point, the girls held hands (accidentally, but it was still cute). They are really starting to get a little bit more interested in one another.

The girls are always interested when Steve starts on a nightly story. They look at him, the book, the light, each other, whatever - they just like his voice and some time to lay out on our bed.

We know the time will come when the routine gets more complicated than this - but this week we are enjoying the simplicity of a routine we are all starting to understand.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Girls on the Go

Here are our girls snuggled into their carseats (these two pictures are actually from last week, so they look kind of tiny!). When we left the hospital they had blankets and cloth diapers and towels tucked in everywhere around them to keep them safe in those carseats. Now they are each down to one blanket on either side of them. They still look small, but we've actually had to adjust the shoulder harness straps out, so they are fitting in these seats better and better. It definitely makes us feel better about taking them in the car!

This weekend, we had a work party where we all shared food and fun times. Christina has made lots of things for the girls, but they are all too big for them to wear yet. So yesterday she took a little time and sewed them some simple skirts so that they could go to the party in style. Elena posed so beautifully in her skirt, but Clara was a little to eager to be on the go to get a good shot.

Finally, we have a picture of the girls in their pop-up gym (Thanks Diana, Greg, and Hannah!). They absolutely LOVE being here, and right now they spend all of their time staring at the different colors and patterns. Soon, we hope they'll have more fun doing tummy time and batting at the things dangling overhead.

These are our girls on the move - it's hard to believe they are growing up so quickly!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Three Week Excitement

Today is the third full week that Elena and Clara have been in the world - the best three weeks the world has ever seen, we think.

Today, especially, was an exciting day. We took the girls to get a well-check-up at the pediatrician's office. Both girls got weighed, and LOOK at the results!!!

In case you can't tell, this is Clara and the reading is SIX POUNDS, FOUR AND A HALF OUNCES! How big is that?

And for all of the people who were sure Elena was a little fighter, look how she came back from being the little one to become the BIG sister at SIX POUNDS FIVE AND A HALF OUNCES!

Next, the girls each got an evaluation of their hearts and lungs. Clara seems to enjoy her exam, pausing to stare back at Christina in wonder and confusion at this new person touching her.

When it was Elena's turn to get checked on, the doctor thought she heard a slightly irregular sound in her heart. Very luckily for us, the pediatric cardiologist from Seattle was right down the hall visiting, and he came in to take a listen. They decided that even though it was a very slight sound, since Elena was a preemie they'd do an EKG (ultrasound) of her heart to check out what was going on.

Elena got set right up with what the nurse called "dessert and a movie" (sugar water on her pacifier and a Baby Einstein video). We hadn't wanted the girls to see tv (given the recommendations out now for no tv for kids under two years old) and so Elena obligingly slept through the whole thing and didn't take Baby Einstein in.

After a really thorough examination, it turns out that Elena's heart murmur is due to an extremely slight narrowing of her left pulmonary artery. It's common, and usually corrects itself within a few months. The doctors said it was nothing at all to worry about - what a relief!

Steve and Clara watched the action as Elena's heart beat on the screen and the doctor pointed out the interesting processes of the heart. We were all glad to walk out of the office to the good news.

Finally, we leave you with a funny picture of two three-week old girls. Elena was lounging in the Boppy pillow (thanks, Jessamy!) having a great time, and then Christina thought it would be nice for Clara to join in the fun. In this picture, it looks like Clara is having a fine time and Elena is a little down. Don't be fooled, though. Seconds after this shot, Elena lifted her head up and began gnawing on the back of her sister's head. Turns out that she was just pondering what to do with a sister in such close proximity!

In one other bit of news, we are very relieved to report that this week we got word that the girls' birth father has joined their birth mother in supporting this adoption. We love that the girls have these wonderful people who love them and want them to have a good life. We want them to have a great life, too, and are so honored to be their parents!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Busy Weekend

We had our first real busy weekend with the girls. Now that they are getting bigger and stronger, we're trying to get them out in the world a little bit more. On Saturday we went to the Farmer's Market, and bought peaches and garlic and flowers. The girls can't really enjoy these yet, but they had fun being on the journey with us. Then we went over to visit wonderful friends who wanted to welcome Clara and Elena into the world, and they got dressed up in the pretty outfits above that our friend Brian sent to us.

On Sunday, the girls went to church for the first time. They especially loved the singing, and the rest of the people at church just especially loved the girls. They got a lot of attention. We all went to the church picnic afterwards, and although the girls stayed safely in their stroller (we're still a little worried about germs) they got to meet lots of people and get tons of praise and love.

We were so busy we didn't take as many pictures as we should have, so there's only this one for now. We're finally going to remember to bring the camera to the pediatrician's appointment on Thursday, so at least we know we'll get some action shots then!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Happy Two Weeks

Elena and Clara are now two weeks old, and it's amazing how much they've grown already. Not only are they bigger, but they have gone through other changes, too. Yesterday Elena's umbilical cord fell off, and Clara cried her first real tears. They both have some neck control now, and can roll onto their sides - it's all happening so quickly.

If you can believe it, this is Elena on the left and Clara on the right - although Elena started out behind in terms of weight, it seems like she's catching up. They seem to be right around the same size now, although we don't know for sure. The pediatrician's appointment got mis-scheduled, so we're going in next week to get the girls weighed and measured.

Both girls are getting more interested in the bouncy chairs. Although they still prefer our arms, for those times when we have to put them down these are turning out to be entertaining spots. Here is Elena, tired out from having watched these different characters light up for the past few minutes.

And here is Clara - I just had to get her expression, even though you can't see what she's looking at. It's a series of lights that are circles and stars around the top of the bouncy seat - she seems to like the lights much more than the sounds.

Finally, the girls had their first out-of-town visitor over Labor Day weekend - their Nana Rose. She gave the girls lots of love (even at their 3:30 am feeding!) and they were so sorry to see her go.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

One and a half weeks

The girls just hit one and a half weeks old, and we're holding steady until our two-week pediatrician appointment this Thursday, when we see how much they have gained. We expect they both will have increased - don't they already look like they're starting to find their chub?

Here's one devoted Dad. Steve makes sure that the girls get lots of learning time and stretching time. Here he is watching over them after they just both had some tummy time to strengthen their neck muscles.

Here's a shot of the girls' favorite thing since the "skylight" in their hospital room. Our friends Steve and Caryn loaned us this book, which has all contrast pictures on one side. The girls love looking at it. Here, Clara contemplates the baby in the mirror.

Both of the girls just love to stare at these pictures. It helps make tummy time a little more enjoyable for Clara, who isn't as fond of being on her belly as Elena is. Their clothes look all baggy here because we were trying to keep them warm while still letting them air out a little bit!

Both girls are also discovering the joy of the vibrating chair - but only Elena has given us such a smile about it!

This week we're finally venturing out into the world a little bit. We took the girls out in the yard for a little air, and a little photo op. We are so thrilled and grateful to be our little foursome!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Girl Power

We had to share some sweet pictures today that really help show what this adoption and new family are all about. The first picture is of our sweet girls, being sisters. In Christina's family, we often say "Share, sister - share!" which could mean sharing anything from the last cookie to giving your sister a purse or necklace of yours she admires. These girls are already following that fine tradition, when Clara found out how to suck her own fingers, and Elena decided that Clara ought to share those fingers so she could get a suck, too.

Share, sister - share!

The next picture is of some of the remarkable women from Clara and Elena's birth family. We took a picture in the hospital of Ashley, her mom, her grandmother, and both girls.

And, lest you think that only the women are on display here, here is Ashley's husband, Josh, and their son, Gabe, on one of their many trips to visit the girls. This one was shortly after the girls were born, in the nursery.