Saturday, December 25, 2010

Reindeer Butts

Zadie and Ezra wore these adorable matching outfits today. Happy Reindeer Butts!
(And yes, we know that it is not safe for babies to sleep on their stomachs in a big bed, it was just for the sake of the photo)


Sweet Dreams!


All is Calm (mostly), All is Bright

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One Month of Fun

It's so hard to believe that one month has already passed since our newest family members joined the world. Ezra and Zadie are growing and changing right before our eyes. We just love them! Our days have been busy and our nights somewhat restful. Things are going well and we are all adjusting to our new life.

Zeke has been busy "helping" with everything. Here is a picture of pizza night. Zeke will not actually eat the cooked pizza, but he likes the Boboli crust. We ended up cutting him a slice of crust before he helped put the toppings on the pizza.




Here is big brother Zeke helping to hold his baby brother and sister. He is so proud of them and most of the time he is very sweet and gentle. For those moments he's not so gentle, we just remind ourselves that our almost 2 year old has had major life changes in the past month and it is a phase of adjustment that we all must go through.


I spend many hours a day holding (and nursing) one or two babies. Often times, I'll have Zeke curled up next to me. I cherish these hours spent cuddling with my kiddos.

Zadie and Ezra are about the sweetest things on earth. In this picture, Ezra is helping out his little sister by lending her a thumb to suck on. Sweet huh?


The days have been a little hectic, so the blog has taken a bit of a backseat for awhile, but we'll try to share a few more photos as we can. In the meantime, enjoy this video of Zeke, Zadie, and Ezra...

video

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ezekiel, Peanut Butter, Francis and the Lights

We bought a new album Friday afternoon: Francis and the Lights -- It'll Be Better. This is pretty exciting news for us. Huge, actually. Usually we just buy diapers and Desitin. It sort of ended up being the soundtrack for our weekend. It's a great album. We liked it so much we decided to shoot a music video for the title track. Check it on itunes, here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Grape Nuts

Grape Nuts is the worst cereal ever invented by a human. Does anyone actually eat it? Every couple of years I somehow forget about the burnt cardboard flavor and bone fragment texture of Grape Nuts. (Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! -- Are you kidding me? My gums are bleeding!) I say, oh look there, Grape Nuts, you can't be as bad as I remember. I'll give it a go. It's not as bad as I remember. It's worse. Does anyone know why people buy Grape Nuts? Can you make great muffins with it or something? Can you use it for kitty litter or to exfoliate your feet or something?

For real, if anyone has any tips for what to do with Grape Nuts, please let us know.

My Twin VBAC Birth Story

This is the birth story of our twins, Ezra and Zadie. Some information might be TMI for some readers. Birth is a messy deal and some of what I write may not be what our average blog reader wants to read. S0, if you think this might not be for you, please enjoy the other posts on our blog. For those of you who want all the details, here you go!

As early as mid-October I thought I would be in full-blown labor any minute. I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions pretty regularly almost every day. Sometimes they would get stronger and closer together, and then, all of a sudden, they would just stop altogether, and another sleepless night would pass. This went on for three weeks.

When I reached 37 weeks, on Nov. 1st, my doctor stripped my membranes. This process of separating the sac from the uterus is pretty painless, and for 50% of women, labor begins within 24 to 48 hours. I was hoping to be one of the lucky ones, however the twins were not ready to come yet.

I saw the doctor again on Nov. 4th, a Thursday, to repeat the procedure. By this time I was 4 cm dilated and 100% effaced. My doctor thought I'd be going into full-blown labor before Monday. Thursday afternoon, I was sure it was time. Contractions were moving from uncomfortable to somewhat painful and definitely getting closer together. We loaded up the car with the bags and waited for things to officially cross into labor land. They didn't. I was so disappointed, but I never lost faith. You just can't stay pregnant forever.

Friday passed with pretty mellow contractions. By Saturday afternoon, I was feeling a bit desperate. It wasn't that I disliked being pregnant, or that I wanted the babies to be born before they were ready. But at 38 weeks, I knew the twins were as healthy and strong as possible. I was SO ready to meet them!

The Huskers were playing a big football game that afternoon. Non-Nebraskans (NNs) do not understand how important Husker football is here in Nebraska. Everybody stops what they are doing on game day and puts on their red shirts and cheers on the team. My doctor is no exception. He actually is a season ticket holder, so I was just relieved that this particular weekend was an away game. He told me specifically not to go into labor if the 'Skers were playing at home.

I took a little nap and woke up during the 2nd quarter of the game, determined to get these babies moving on out. I looked up information on the Internet about safe ways to help induce labor (without eating or drinking anything weird). I started with flights of stairs, taking the stairs 2 at a time. This was no small feat considering my massive belly. After ten quick trips up and down the stairs, the contractions started. Next, I tried a 15 minute bounce session on my yoga ball. At halftime, Tom and I took two laps around the block. I had to stop a few times because the contractions were becoming stronger. I felt that this time it was really going to happen. During the 3rd and 4th quarter of the game, I kept up my stairs and yoga bouncing regiment. Tom and I took a couple more laps around the block once the game was over. I could tell that something was finally happening.

Around 8:00pm we said goodnight to Zeke and my parents, hopped in the (already packed) minivan, and headed off to the hospital. We checked into the Labor and Delivery floor of the beautiful Methodist Women's Hospital and were shown to our room. They hooked my belly up to some monitors to monitor the babies heartbeats and the track contractions. Their strong heartbeats sounded great on the stereo. And my contractions were real! They were charted up and down, painful peaks and mellow valleys. About four minutes apart.

In order to keep things moving, the nurse asked if I wanted an IV put in. She said that, often times, the extra hydration helps move things along. I was like, yeah, let's do this! At 10:o0 PM, I was allowed walk some laps in the hospital hallways. After the laps the nurse was going to put in a call to the doctor with a progress report. Tom and I walked for 30 minutes, then returned to the room. The nurse came in to check my dilation, looking for progress. I was still only 4-5 cm! How frustrating!

The nurse tore off the little charts and went off to call my doctor to see whether I would stay or be sent home. We were anticipating a bad report and expecting to be sent home. But Ezra had other plans. About 5 minutes after the nurse left, I felt a strong punch or kick. I believe my words were "Oh shit." This got Tom's full attention. Once we realized that my water had broken, we were so excited. The moment had finally arrived!

Tom ran off to tell the nurse. She was actually on the phone with the doctor when he stumbled into the nurses station. He was so excited to be able to use a clever line while delivering the news. He told the nurses at the station, "Um, we need a cleanup in aisle 9." The nurses were excited, Tom was excited, and I was excited too.

After my water broke, things began to move pretty quickly. Contractions were downright painful. I was doing my best to breathe through them and stay focused on the work ahead of me.

I will pause at this point to explain a little bit about our birth plan. When Zeke was born we didn't really have a birth plan. Birth. That was the plan. Besides, it was all in Spanish and we didn't really know what was going on. I ended up giving birth by C-section. Healthy baby, no complaints. With the twins I wanted to try what's called a VBAC. That stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. Its not terribly unusual for single babies, but it's pretty rare for twins. Quite uncommon, actually. When I searched for reassurance online (that's where we all search for reassurance, right?) I couldn't find and single VBAC with twins birth story.

There are both risks and benefits associated with a VBAC. Many hospitals and doctors will not allow do the procedure due to the risk of uterine rupture. It can be a risky liability for doctors and hospitals to take on, and many health care providers refuse to attempt them. After long discussions with my doctor and with Tom, we all agreed that, if conditions were right (babies head-down, strong heartbeats all around, naturally progressing labor), a VBAC would be the best option for our family.

The nurses at the hospital were definitely nervous, but my doctor was going to be there throughout the laboring process and for the delivery (obviously). He would make the call on whether we could go through with the VBAC or not. There were a few conditions that the hospital had for attempting a VBAC with twins. I would have to deliver in an operating room, instead of one of the plush L and D rooms. And I would have to have an epidural in case we needed to change plans and do a C-section quickly.

At 12:30 AM, the anesthesiologist arrived to insert my epidural. Here's what I think about having an epidural: they're awesome! Now, looking back on things, I just am so glad I had it. I loved that thing! Once it was in, I took a nap for about an hour and a half. I was still able to feel the pressure of the contractions and move my legs around, but I just didn't feel that pain. It was great. After resting, the nurse came in to check me. I was 10 cm dilated! It was go time.

Around 2:10am, I was wheeled off to the operating room. Tom called our parents while someone rushed to deliver him a set of surgical scrubs. He looked like someone from the show, Scrubs.

We learned two things upon our arrival. Operating rooms are very cold. Also, this particular operating room was jamming to some classic rock. Tom remembers this, I don't. The song that was playing when our son entered the world: Freeze Frame by the J. Giles Band. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I turned to my favorite nurse, Kendra, and confided in her that I hadn't ever taken a class, so I didn't know how to push! She gave me a 10 second rundown and then I started pushing. I was surprised at how easy it seemed. I think maybe I had seen too many TV shows with really difficult labors. They held a mirror up so that I could see Ezra make his way into the world. Tom watched the doctor guide the baby out. Front row seat. We had our first miracle.

At 2:35 am, our beautiful little Ezra Allan was born. He cried, we might have cried, we were all so excited. Ezra weighed 6 lb, 6 oz, 19 and 3/4 inches long, and was pink and healthy! We celebrated for about 2 minutes and then it was go time again. By 2:47am, just 12 minutes after her big brother was born, Zadie Anne arrived. Tom was holding Ezra, and together they watched and welcomed the youngest Lewandowski into the world. She weighed 6 lb., 4 oz and was 19 inches long. Tom handed Ezra to a nurse long enough to cut Zadie's cord (as he had with Ezra) and, afterwords, the doctor presented Tom with the special scissors as a keepsake.

The babies and I were deemed healthy. The VBAC was considered a huge success. I was wheeled back to the L & D room for a couple hours to get to know my new babies before moving up to the Mother and Baby floor. We were visited around 5:30am by Zeke and my parents. It was such a special time.

Our stay at Methodist Women's Hospital was awesome. There was 24 hour room service with fresh, delicious food. The nursing staff was kind, patient, and very helpful. If there are any Omaha mommies-to-be that are looking for a good hospital, I have no reservations about recommending the Methodist Women's Hospital. Also my OB was just the right guy for the job. It is difficult to find a doctor who will encourage and support women who want to have VBACs . My doctor was realistic and positive when discussing our birth options, and always listened to what I had to say. I feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful experience. It was all made so much better by coming home after just 2 nights with healthy babies. It was everything I could have hoped for.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Big Brother Z: Squirt, Squirt

Big Brother Zeke loves his new brother and sister. He thinks that Ezra and Zadie are super cool and loves to help out. Yesterday he helped out by trying to clean his little brother with a couple squirts from the Spray & Wash bottle. Squirt! Squirt! Don't worry, no harm done. Karine was right there. And Ezra was wrapped up like a little burrito, so he didn't actually get squirted. The Spray & Wash has been moved to a secure location. We talked with Zeke about finding some other ways to help out.

Hephaestus Revisited

In January of 2009 I wrote a little ditty called Baby Hephaestus. I like to entertain the people and myself with jokey posts about sweet names for babies. So I wrote this thing. You can read it here.

It's in the inter-tubes now. It's in a tube. My most popular tube, actually. Due to some type of glitch or something
my Baby Hephaestus post is mad popular with Google.

I'm just going to go with it. Expect a significant uptick in Hephaestus related posts. Starting now.

Here is a picture of the Hephaestus action figure. I don't want to be negative. But it's pretty lame.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ezra and Zadie: Pioneer Chic

Karine has been bugging me to release this somewhat embarrassing little nugget to the general public. Here it is:

I generally mispronounce the word chic. I pronounce it like you would the word for a small chicken. Whatever. I don't think it's a sign of illiteracy or poor breeding or anything. It's a pretty silly word to begin with. French.

I spend a lot of time describing objects for my new job. Like this bar stool, here. I wrote the description. I try to reduce an object to its essential essence. And then name that essence in celebration so that someone somewhere might want to buy it. I did this with some ping-pong balls last week.

When we were in the hospital with the twins, someone asked, as we knew they would, how we came up with the names Ezra and Zadie. I boiled the names down to their essential essence right quick. They're pioneer chic, I said. Except I mispronounced chic.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Classical Music is for Everyone: Chopin

Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin had a couple of things going for himself:

1) Polish.
2) Sweet name.
3) Genius.
4) Married to brilliant French writer.
5) Polish.

I didn't rock out to Chopin's music much when I was younger. Maybe it's because I didn't have patience, or didn't know how to "listen." I just wasn't ready, I guess, to chill out to Chopin's wickedly expressive piano tunes. Now I am.

Here is my take on Chopin. Bear in mind, I may not know what I am talking about. Dude appreciated silence. Was a composer who recognized the gravity of bringing sound into the world. Back then, I'm sure, a lot of people just sort of spewed forth a constant stream of sounds: thoughts, opinions, phrases, nonsense, jargon, opinion, feelings. Well, that's fine. But just like now I'll wager that most of it was pretty worthless.

Chopin was like this in his music: Watch out. Be Careful. Should I play this note? This phrase? Is it authentic / real / relevant? Tentatively, unbridled passion. Introspective emotion.

This Russian here nails it. She is Yulianna Avdeeva, winner of this year's Chopin competition. She's playing Chopin's E minor piano concerto. Well. Very.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Family Pictures

Here are some of our newest family pictures...

Meet Ezra Allan Lewandowski. He seems to be the most laid back of our three kids. We think he's the sensitive artistic type.

Meet Zadie Anne Lewandowski. This little firecracker seems to get her good looks from her mom's side of the family.

This is Zeke, aka, the Best Big Brother ever. Now, every morning when he wakes up, instead of his first word being "Mommy" (or "Momby" as he has taken to calling me), his first word is "babies???" He loves helping to look for his brother and sister's blankets, watching them eat and get diapers changed. Zeke always alerts us with a very concerned look on his face if one of the babies is crying.

Meet Super Dad. Tom has been right there along side of me every step of the way. Nights have been short (or long, depending on how you look at it) but Tom is right there next to me, helping to soothe his son and daughter.

I thought that this picture showed a particularly tender moment. I've never had a daughter before. She even kind of looks like me- which is so different than we've ever had with Zeke. It's pretty neat to think about all the girly things we'll do someday.

These wonderful grandparents, Nana and Papa, traveled from Arkansas to spend the past two weeks helping us prepare for the arrival of Zadie and Ezra. They provided countless hours of loving care for Zeke, prepared meals and kept the house well stocked with all sorts of goodies. I can't imagine how we would have survived without them during the past two weeks. It was certainly a special time. Here they are meeting their newest grandchildren!

And here is Grandma Jean. She came to the hospital to meet Zadie and Ezra on their birthday(s?) Grandma Jean has been working so hard after her hip replacement to be up and about again soon. While we're so glad that she's been able to make such amazing progress, we're excited to have her around the house again soon! Her arms are just perfect for rocking these two babies.

And this is our first official family picture. It took 3 days to find a time where we were all awake at the same time (and not in our pjs) But here we are!
Now I'm going to try to get a little shut-eye while I can. I know people are anxious for pics and updates. I promise to post more as things begin to settle down a bit.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A snapshot without pictures

You'll notice that there are no baby pictures in this post. Karine was trying to get some up all day yesterday. But, you know, she got sidetracked a couple of times. How are things? They are wonderfully intense. Like this: you're rocking Zadie, who has not been the most enthusiastic sleeper so far, and trying your best to get her settled and asleep. You finally do it and you hope it will stick, because she's tuckered and ready for sleep. So you put put her down next to her brother, which is exactly where she wants to be, and Ezra immediately starts SCREAMING like he just got circumcised. That's when you know you're really close to the center of it, and you're really alive. Thank God there are two of us.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thank You

We are truly blessed to have a loving family and such wonderful and supportive friends. Thank you all for your best wishes, prayers, and happy thoughts. Karine is resting. I am just blissed-out in general. I think my blood pressure has been a touch high for the past three weeks. I'm sure things will calm down now that the twins are on the outside. Right? That's how it works, right? The hard part is over and now everything is super chill. That's the plan. Karine is going to write about her experience sometime soon, for now I just want to say thank you. Thank you, everyone. Our doctor did everything perfectly. All of the nurses here love what they do and they truly do their jobs with love in their hearts. Karine is my hero. We'll post more pictures of Ezra and Zadie soon. Here I just want to post one picture of Karine. It says it all. I took it about one minute after the twins were born.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!


Ezra Allan Lewandowski 2:35 AM 6 pounds, 6 oz.
Zadie Anne Lewandowski 2:47 AM 6 pounds, 4 oz.

1st Haircut

If you're not at the hospital having more kids, you might as well do what you can to make the one you've got look half-way decent. Zeke was overdue for a haircut. We figured he couldn't look any cuter. We figured wrong. And how 'bout Karine? Wow.

Thanks for the sweet cut Family Fun Cutz!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

awesome hair?

Do u think is this a 'sweet cut'?
Would u like ur child 2 have this cut?
R we 'hipster parents' 4 doing this 2 r child?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Zeke's World

We've got a few things going on right now. And Zeke has been a super-duper supertrooper through it all. We're focusing a lot of our attention on the twins. Watching the clock. Ticking off the days. Waiting for them to show up for their birthday party. But we don't want to neglect to share Zeke's special moments as their births approach.

To that end, Zeke has recently discovered the joys of kissing. He kisses people, pets, and inanimate objects of all shapes and sizes (doorknobs, for example). It's wonderful to have an affectionate son. He's enthusiastic, but still working out the finer points. Right now, he's got a problem with duration. And a problem with pronunciation.

Zeke's typical kiss lasts a minimum of twenty seconds. He just parks his lips and stays there until you pull away. When it's over you feel sort of awkward. Violated, almost. Zeke, on the other hand, feels a major sense of accomplishment. He shouts, "A Piss! Piss! Piss! A Piss!"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

This year was Zeke's first "real" Halloween! Last year in Honduras, he was sick and we didn't leave the house. So, this year he got to dress up and even have a couple pieces of candy!




Here we are as a family of 3 standing outside of Brookestone Meadows, the super-nice rehabilitation facility that Grandma Jean is staying at for a few days while she practices walking with her new hip. I look like the Great Pumpkin. A few people asked me if "it" was "real"- my giant belly. I assured them it was. I hope to never wear a costume this large again in my life!
Here is a much cuter picture of my guys on Halloween. Zeke dressed up as a train conductor. His favorite phrase was "Choo-choo!" He also calls out "All Aboard!" in a super high voice every once in awhile. Thank you PBS hit series Dinosaur Train for teaching us all about conductors!

In addition to having a fun time visiting Grandma Jean, Brookestone Meadows had a special trick or treat party for families of patients and staff members. It was so fun to see all the other kids dressed up and walk door to door with Zeke!


Zeke loves suckers. Here he is enjoying his first Halloween candy.

Here he is going to get more candy from someone else! Trick or Treat!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Baby Name Rejects for Twins: Gene and Jean

PROS:
We both have great-uncles named Gene who were twins. Zeke would only have to learn how to pronounce one sound. We could say this: Gene, why can't you be more like your sister Jean? Conversely: Jean, why can't you be more like your brother Gene? Zeke could say this: Hi, I'm Zeke. This is my brother, Gene. This is my sister, Jean. Shopping for jeans with Gene and Jean. Shock value.

CONS:
Announcements over the intercom at school, athletic events, etc. Inevitably, they will be some who refer to our children as the Jeans (Genes?). There may be other Jeans or Genes in the same class at school, which could make an already potentially confusing situation untenable. Jean could be made fun of for having Gene's genes. Gene could be made fun of for wearing Jean's jeans. Life is long; shock value is short.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Still Waiting!

Throughout the pregnancy, I had a special feeling that Oct. 28 was going to be the big day the twins would arrive. The 28th was Tom's dad's birthday and Tom's grandpa's birthday, and also our niece Jessica's birthday. Since it is a Lewandowski family tradition to have your birthday the same as another relative, we thought it would be perfect. (Zeke and cousin Natalie share a birthday, Tom and his sister Karen share a birthday)

Well, Oct. 28 was a very special day, but no dice on going into labor. Instead we welcomed the arrival of two other special people, my parents. They'll be staying with us for the next 10 days to help out with Zeke and hopefully a couple other little babies too! This weekend, you'll find me driving over every set of railroad tracks in town and eating lots of spicy food!

Wish us luck- we'll keep you all posted!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Grandma's Got a Brand New Hip!

Today, Grandma Jean got a brand new hip! Originally scheduled for a hip replacement surgery tomorrow, we all had arrangements made, dinner at home tonight planned, and a bag would be packed in the morning. Then, we received a call from the hospital this morning at 10:30 asking if there was any way she could be at the hospital for surgery by noon. Aghh!!! Luckily, everything came together perfectly, and Tom drove Jean out the driveway at 11:40, arriving just in time for a nice hip replacement surgery this afternoon.



Her doctor is considered to be the best in the area, and he said the surgery was a success. We were happy to be able to visit with Jean after her surgery this evening and she is doing very well so far. She'll spend a few days in the hospital, and then move to a rehab facility for some physical therapy and TLC.

For now, all is good and we can all be thankful to have missed our sleepless night of anticipation. By the time she should have been in surgery tomorrow, she'll be up and walking around instead. Pretty soon, we expect her to be practicing for a Dancing With the Stars audition!

In the meantime, your thoughts and prayers for an easy and speedy recovery are appreciated!

Zeke Drives

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Glassware @ the Foundary

Tom has got a thing for glassware. Maybe you could call it a problem. When we registered for wedding gifts he spent an unusual, perhaps troubling, amount of time handling the glasses, fondling the tumblers. Now he works for a company that sells glassware, among other things, and he's pretty excited about it. One part of his company specializes in members-0nly short-term sales events.

Click the banner below and sign up to see some glassware Tom is really excited about. You'll receive regular emails from the Foundary with more great deals on glassware and all sorts of awesome things for the home. Thanks for your support. These are the people who pay for the diapers.


...still no news on the twins. Everything is good, but we're still waiting.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Baby Name Rejects for Twins: Star Wars Edition

Luke and Leia Lewandowski: Rejected

Star Wars is one of the best and most important things ever made by a human. Everyone knows that. Arguably the most relevant set of boy-girl twins in the history of the Galaxy, we thought long and hard about naming our twins Luke and Leia. We consulted the Force.

However, the L-L-L alliteration with this set of names was just a little to spastic for our tastes. I'm sure the Force will be with our twins nonetheless.