31 Aug 2011

Hi-ho! Hi-ho! It's Off to Work I Go!

Today, after 16 months, I re-joined the morning rush hour to head into work.

I had planned and re-planned my first day back to work in my head and how I would strategically pull off having a shower, drying my hair, and straigthtening my hair all before the twins woke up.   (Big brother was at his grandmother's house for the night to help us out a bit.)   In my mind I would get these three tasks done and then get the babies up, put them in their high chairs with their morning bottle, get their daytime bottles mixed up for the babysitter, feed the babies, then get dressed afterward to ensure I didn't get any baby splatter on my good work clothes.

Last night I triple-checked that my TV alarm would click on at the right time.  Checked that the time on the TV was actually set for AM and not PM and so on.  I didn't want to screw up my first morning back to work! 

My sleep was restless and even though I didn't feel stressed out or worried about my first day back, I think just the idea of sleeping in and ruining "The Plan," was keeping me from sleeping well.  When I say, "sleeping in," all I really mean is sleeping to our usual 7:15 or 7:30, which would have had me at least 45 minutes behind schedule.  Not good!

Twin A had other ideas anyway and he let it be known at 5:55 AM that he was ready to get up. This was so unusual for him to do and I really do think that he could tell something was up.  These babies usually sleep at least 11 hours!  There he was in bed, jibber jabbering away, waiting for someone to come get him.

"The Plan" was already destroyed!  I hadn't even gotten out of bed yet! :)  Instead, both babies had their bottles in bed, which their Daddy made, while I had a shower.  Amazingly, we were able to pull off the rest of "The Plan," getting them fed in their high chairs and getting dressed and out the door at 7:43...2 minutes ahead of schedule.  *Big Smiles* 

We got the babies over to their babysitter's house at 8:00 on the dot.  My hubby joined me to officially meet the babysitter and know where to go in the event of a "please come pick up your kid" request, if I couldn't deal with a potential problem with one of the kids!

Off my husband and I went in different directions after dropping off the twins and I made it to my office with ten minutes to spare before the official start of my day.

My first day back went very well.  I felt right at home again, as though I hadn't actually been gone all this time.  Since the twins arrived so early, 16 months ago, I really hadn't had the opportunity to do the usual slow wind down and wrap up of my job all those months ago.  One day I was there, the next I wasn't.  I think this is why I felt like I hadn't actually been gone that long.  My memories of the final few days at work before my sudden departure were very fresh  in my mind.  I can remember several of the clients I was working with, conversations I had been having with them and so on.  It's kind of like my work-life was at a stand-still in my mind...but in reality, my how things have changed! 

I have a lot of new things to learn and I will definitely be kept on my toes over the next few weeks, learning the many changes that have occurred over the last year and a bit.  I think I will be hitting the sack as soon as I can when I come home in the evenings because all this new information is going to be draining.  I am, however, looking forward to taking on this renewed challenge!  Today sped by very quickly, which I was amazed by.  I was reading, refreshing my memory, and learning new things so quickly, so I didn't have time to stop and look at the clock all that much.

I did pull a few serious mommy-brained moves today and one for sure left at least one co-worker scratching her head.  Hehehe.  First off, I forgot my wallet and had no lunch prepared and no lunch money, so I had to drive back home to get my wallet.  Once home I ate leftovers from the fridge, so that worked out okay.  I drove back to work and parked in a temporary parking spot, so I could carry in one of my work boxes I had brought home during my mat leave.  I left my driver's side door open, while I went to the back and got my box out of the trunk.  I then set the box down on the curb next to me and opened the front passenger door, grabbed my nice steamy Tim Hortons coffee, shut the door, armed the car with my remote key and walked away. 

About 20 minutes later I received my first phone call on my office extension and it was my co-worker friend, asking if everything was alright.  Of course it is, I said...why??  She tells me she was worried about me because she just passed my car and saw the driver's door wide open, but I wasn't anywhere to be seen!!  What??!!  Did you shut it, I asked?  No!  What?!?! OH MY GOD!!  I had to run for it as fast as possible, which is next to impossible in the style of thong sandal shoes I was wearing!  How ridiculous! Why would my van remote lock thingy "honk" when I thought I was locking up all the doors, while one door hung wide open?  That makes no sense to me.  Like I said before, I am not really a fan of my van...so this just adds to my lists of why not to like this van!  Yes, it was really dumb of me to leave the door wide open, but why did the locks engage and the van "honk" if it wasn't really secured?  No sense... 

The van was fine, my change still remained in the change slots, my parking pass was not stolen, and most importantly, my 3 kids' carseats were still in there, nice and secure.  All I could envision as I ran to my van was having to replace $700+ in carseats! 

I do have to wonder why the person who parked next to my van didn't bother to shut it.  I also wonder if they reported to anyone at City Hall, where I was parked, that their was a suspicious van in the parking lot.  I wonder.  I imagine that everyone minded their own business and went about life like nothing was out of the ordinary.  I think that's pretty sad. 

My co-worker said she didn't shut the door because she didn't want to put fingerprints on the door, in case there really was something wrong!  I hear that.  I get that.  She did call me and found I was okay.  That's cool.

Anyway, those were my two mommy-brain episodes today on my first day back to work.  The bottom line is I did make it to work on time, my twin babies were content at their babysitter's, eldest son had an awesome time at a pool with his grandmother and my hubby and I were able to work so well together this morning and this evening to make our new reality work!  I also got a parting gift this evening from the babysitter, which was fresh mini meringues with custard and fruit on top.  I think I should move into this woman's house...I'd eat really well!

25 Aug 2011

One Year Anniversary

This past weekend we celebrated our 3rd and final 1st Homecoming (Discharge) Anniversary!  This final celebration seems to stand out the most.  One year ago after several months of waiting, wishing and hoping, we brought home Twin B to make our family whole and living under one roof.

It's hard to believe one year has passed since the twins came home!  I feel like I can recall just about every single day of our NICU stay in 2010.  The time in the NICU felt like we were on slow motion or our life had been left on pause and then eventually shifted into standby!

First hour home together August 20, 2010
They've officially invaded each other's space!

During the year after discharge our life has been anything but slow.  I have managed to get my kids to 298 appointments in the year since they were discharged.  Yes, that's what I said...298.  That seems insane, doesn't it?  As I've said before, just because you've left the NICU does not mean you will no longer have a connection to the medical world.  In the first few months I was seriously running on auto-pilot.  Sleep, wake, nurse, bottle, shower (maybe), drive, sit in waiting rooms, fill in paperwork, paperwork, paperwork and on and on and on!  Usually my first meal of the day consisted of a bagel or a sandwich by around 2:30 or 3:00, when most of my appointments were winding down for the day and I was heading back out on the road.  This is why I can now say, without a doubt, pack a snack and some bottled water.  I started to get the hang of doing this after a couple of months.  The first few months I was still trying to figure out how to get two babies and my 2 year old toddler out the door, get the 2 year old to Nana's or a babysitter's and to our appointments on time. 

Then winter came...On a normal, uninterrupted morning I would get myself ready (not including a shower or food for myself) and three kids ready and out the door in about an hour and forty-five minutes.  That's nuts!  Breakfast was on the road or at Nana's for our 2 year old.  I missed the days of showering, getting myself ready, getting my 2 year old ready and out in much quicker fashion. 

Sadly, there were no Mom and Baby events for this Mama or these babies.

Getting caught up on some snuggling with each other

The times that these events run are when I'd be sitting in a waiting room or helping with physiotherapy or other activities for the twins.  I enjoyed seeing my babies grow and learn over the months, but I did miss interaction with other "normal" parents in normal settings.

Although the first year was extremely busy and tested my abilities and determination as a mother, I am proud of how hard my family and I worked to achieve this very special milestone.  I am thankful and glad I was able to have the opportunity to take them on or have them at the house for almost 300 appointments.  There was a time just a little over a year ago I was not sure I'd get the chance at all. :)

Throughout their first year there have been many memories, but aside from our final Homecoming, there were two especially memorable experiences this first year as a family of five.  First, there was Christmas, which I've always loved to celebrate.  December 2010 was probably my happiest Christmas ever and it was so exciting to have well babies to celebrate a First Christmas with.  In actuality, they did have their first bout of the flu, so they were a little groggy, but we started our Christmas Eve family dinner tradition anyway.  They were the best gift that Christmas!

Our second memorable experience this past year was definitely our first family trip.  Off to a cottage for a week.  No air, no shower in the cottage, but 3 little boys, a lake and a boat is all that we needed to have an awesome time!

Hanging at the park, August 2011

This past year I have taken well over 5000 pics of my 3 cuties, watching them all grow.  My photography gene has really kicked in since having kids.  My camera keeps a running count of all the pictures I take on it, which I think is hilarious.  It really puts into perspective what a camera addict I am!  I can understand why my 3 year old no longer wants me to take pictures and I have to ask his consent to get him to smile for the camera these days! LOL. :)

The end of one year is bittersweet.  My babies have grown stronger, are learning and starting to achieve many milestones at a quicker pace, but I will also be returning to my full time job in one week.  I'm looking forward to seeing how our second year together unfolds, with my husband and I running 3 kids to their respective daycares, getting to work and hopefully not pulling all our hair out in the process. :)

Future Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg?

11 Aug 2011

Fire It Up!

Yeah...I just made a Busta Rhymes reference...and on to today's thoughts...

I've been blogging a few months now and it has become something I really look forward to.  It has become something fun and meaningful in my hectic life.  I'd rather sit for a couple of hours at night reading others' blogs, interacting with others, and working out my own thoughts, than sit infront of the tube staring aimlessly at some T.V. show that will most likely put me to sleep.

Recently, while I was away on vacation, I received a "Fire Award" from a fellow blogger who likes to stop in and read about what I've got to say.  It's a pretty awesome feeling to know that other people are out there, sharing in my blogging experience.  To click on my comments section and see what people have to say is very rewarding.

I used to write in a journal for I'd say over 10 years.  The difference between that and this is all the interaction, laughs and exchanging of anecdotes through blogging.  The journal was a place for my quiet, personal thoughts and reflections...kinda boring in hindsight!

The Fire Award was awarded to me by Holly at www.twinsplusone.comThe rules of the award state that the recipient must list seven things about themselves and then pass the award to 10 other deserving bloggers!

I don't usually talk about "myself" outside that of being a mother to my preemie babies.  Having three premature babies has engulfed my life and has been my main focus, especially on my blog.  So here are 7 things my readers probably don't know about me:

1. I usually make up to 4 cups of tea or coffee during my days at home with all three boys.  I don't usually finish a single cup and if I do get around to finishing one cup, it's usually more like an "iced coffee" or "iced tea." EW!

2. I am a college and university grad, who is considering going back to school AGAIN.  My husband thinks I'm nuts, but this is the way of the world these days!

3. My return to work is in T minus 20 days and I am excited, but also a little depressed about this. :(  I will enjoy getting back out into public with people that don't know me as "the twins' mom," but know me on a professional basis.  I will, of course, miss my daily interactions with my babies and oldest son, while they are at daycare and I am busy at work.

4. My favourite music is reggae.  People would not normally guess this if they don't know the true me. LOL.

5. My favourite colour is pink in a house filled with blue.

6. I am an Employment counsellor and I love helping people find work, develop a new career path and basically figure out who they are.  Most people look at work as a means to an end (moolah,) but many are now trying to figure out who they are, what makes them tick, and then what jobs would be best suited to them.  I love helping people with this!

7.  If you're familiar with Personality Dimensions or True Colours, you will understand there are four colours: Green, Gold, Orange and Blue.  These are "personality" types.  I am a Green.  I ask a lot of questions, I research, I retain information.  "Knowledge is power."  I can also be very opinionated because of my Green-ality. :)  My "second" colour is Gold.  Gold individuals are goal-oriented, dependable and take on leadership roles, among others. You can find out some basics of these colours by clicking here: http://www.theslideprojector.com/pdffiles/learnertypes.pdf or http://users.trytel.com/~jfalt/Temp/pd-full.html

Now on to 10 other Bloggers who are "On Fire..."


8 Aug 2011

We Survived Our First Family Vacay!

As a family of 3, it was nothing to pack up a few things and take off in our car or crossover.  As a family of 5, it takes days of prep work, list writing, losing lists, re-writing lists, shopping for mega boxes of diapers, baby food, formula, packing enough baby bottles, clothing for 5 and on and on!  We drive a Grand Caravan, much to my chagrin (bye-bye crossover), and it was packed to the max.  We even had to buy 2 roof rack travel bags, which were also stuffed. 

We took a long awaited and much needed family getaway up "North" in our province of Ontario.  Sitting on a beach or on the dock was something we longed for and my husband and I realized the last time we actually took more than a week to ourselves was our own honeymoon 4 years ago! How sad is that??  In these 4 years, we've spent so much time in hospitals, at home or in doctor's offices and specialist's offices, that time has been one big blur and vacationless.

I drove the 500+ kilometres there and back.  The whole way I was worried about losing one of the roof top bags, but things were strapped down very well!  Aside from that worry, my only other worry was how our 3 kids were going to cope with over 5 hours of driving.  We learned that our 3 boys have no problem with long drives, no motion sickness and they were so calm and patient.  Our oldest son, the only one that talks as of yet, finally asked "Are we there yet," when we were about 1 hour away from our serene destination.  That, I think, is amazing!

We filled our drives with some "I Spy," looking around for moving or still objects along the highways.  I had bought our oldest son some of those colourless markers, which only make colour on special paper.  Who ever came up with this idea was a GENIUS.  I didn't have to worry about ink leaking all over our son's carseat or the van's upholstery when he dropped a marker or two, which he was bound to do...and did.  Colouring entertained him a bit.  For the most part, however, he was interested in what we were passing by as we drove, what the name of the highway or road was that we were on, he talked about things he saw and was an awesome kid the whole way.

The back area of the van was packed with as much stuff as possible, while keeping it as safe as possible.  The stow and go carseats in the back of the van are a Godsend (most people that know me will be shocked to hear me praising this vehicle)!  If we didn't have that extra space to pack, we would have had to have a trailer attached to our beast of a van.  Our oldest son thought it was hilarious when he was in the back row looking at all the "stuff" surrounding him. 

We were able to take our twins to the beach for the first time, which was so wonderful.  At 15 months, the twins have just finally figured out how to sit without support, so they'd sit there for hours sometimes, watching what was happening in the water or on the beach, and flirting with all the ladies that walked up to them and started cooing at them.  They had their fair share of sand splattered in their faces by an over-excited older brother.  One of the twins did a face plant into the shallow water he was sitting in and that was the end of that!  Other than that, our vacay went off without a hitch.

The babies sleep amazingly well anywhere we go and they did the same on this vacation.  Even without the comforts of their own cribs and darkened bedroom, they were able to adapt to the playpens we asked them to sleep in and the not so dark bedroom that was theirs for a week.

Our oldest son got to have his first boat ride and became a fisherman.  3 generations of fishermen enjoyed many hours on the lake together.  This is the start of a wonderful, new family tradition.  Next year there will be two new little fishermen ready with their own fishing poles.