A Christmas Miracle...

It finally happened. And it happened on Christmas Eve. It was nothing short of a miracle. Our baby girls finally slept through the night. I'm not even talkin' "6-hour" sleeping through the night. It was a whopping 8-hour stretch! I couldn't believe it!

Of course, I woke up at 4am and was so excited that I didn't really sleep until after I fed them at 7am. Andy woke up around 6am and said, "Have you fed them yet?" And I said, "No! It's a Christmas miracle."

And the best part is, they've kept it up. For the most part. Sometimes it's 5 1/2 hours, sometimes 7. They haven't done 8 hours again, yet. But, it's all progress.

Sleeping through the night was just one of many highlights this Christmas. I'll try to be brief, but there's so much to share...

The Christmas Sickies

Christmas Eve morning, Andy's dad called to tell us that Debbie (Andy's mom) had been up all night with the flu. She had gotten it from Sophie (our niece), who got it from her mommy (Shannon, Andy's sister). He wasn't sure we would want to come to the house for the evening, for fear that we might catch the traveling viruses.

We didn't want to miss Christmas with the Keller's, so we went, hoping that the contagious part was gone. It was a lot of fun. We enjoyed our traditional feast with crab legs and all the trimmings. We openned a ton of gifts and enjoyed Christmas with kids in the picture (Sophie, Jillian and Lauren).

That night Jason (bro-in-law) went home and got sick. On Christmas night, Andy and I both awoke with the dreaded Christmas Sickies. We were fortunate that we were able to enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day before it arrived. But, it was wretched... I'll spare you the details.

The best part is that neither of our girls caught the bug. Although there is a laundry list of others in Shannon and Jason's family who caught it. We're just glad it's over.

The Christmas Broom

Christmas Day was spent at my parent's house, with my brother (Ryan) and Shannon (wife) and our nephew, Jake. We started with a great big breakfast and then got buried in a pile of gifts for our precious babies (and us, too, of course). It was so fun to open each other's gifts and especially watch Jake (age 3), who insisted that after every person openned one that it was once again his turn.

For dinner, mom made beef tenderloin and in its preparation, we met the Christmas Broom. Although the meal is delicious, the butter that topped the dish became extremely smokey. As mom openned the oven, smoke poured out and set off the smoke alarm, as our girls and Jake were napping. No one woke up, but when it was time to open the oven again, Shannon was prepared with a broom to wave around the smoke alarm, to ensure that it didn't wake Jake.

Sheri DePuy (a friend who Ryan, Dad and I worked with at church) who joined us for dinner, helped by wafting the porch door as Shannon furiously waved the broom, while mom quickly openned the oven and I quickly shut it the oven behind her.

It was quite funny and I captured a few pictures to share. Enjoy.


Grandpa's Poem

Andy's Grandpa Earl has a wonderful talent for writing poetry. I love hearing his work because he writes from his heart. He wrote this poem and gave it to us for Christmas, so I thought I would share it with everyone.

This picture is of him with Andy's Grandma Connie and the girl's dedication ceremony earlier this month.

Acknowledge Him always and God will direct
you to your appointed destiny,
for your hands, He's still holding,
while His plan is unfolding,
and your dreams become reality.

This is the ballad of Jenni and Andy,
who prayed earnestly for a child,
and waited long, as time grew.
Then God, at last said: "I've heard your prayers,
but instead
of just one child, surprise!, it's twin girls for you two."

They're Jillian Abrielle and Lauren Joelle,
so alike, yet so different, it seems like to me.
Lauren resembles the Poe's, while Jillian
has Andy's nose.
Yet each has their own personality.

Now they're a family, so grandly unique,
there's no other like them,
in all of the world,
'cause there can never be any
quite like Andy and Jenni,
and their two beautiful, miracle girls.


Christmas with the Colts

Andy and I took the girls to the Colts Christmas party last weekend (12/16), where they met Santa for the first time. Probably equally as exciting (sorry Santa) was when they met Coach and Mrs. Dungy! I tell you, these girls attract a crowd. We were so thrilled when Mrs. Dungy walked up to us to see the girls in their Santa outfits. Coach Dungy walked up shortly after. It was pretty awesome.

Also in attendance were Dallas Clark, Hunter Smith, Tarik Glenn and Jeff Saturday (others were there, but these are the players I knew).

We had fun eating and socializing. We were amazed at the amount of children their who appeared to also be multiples. About four sets of twins and even a set of triplet sisters. Kind of cool. I talked to one mom about her twin boys, she said, "The first year's a breeze, it's the second year when you need to call in reinforcements." I can see how that would be so with boys - so we'll see how it plays out with mine.


Ready for Christmas

I can't believe Christmas is on Monday! Does anyone else think that's crazy? Regardless of the "sneaking upon" of the season, I'm so excited about it. Believe it or not, I've had all my shopping done for about a week now. I had so much fun wrapping the gifts and I love the way a tree looks with tons of gifts piled under it.

I tried to get some artistic shots of the girls gazing at the Christmas lights, but they weren't in the artistic mood. Oh well, maybe some other time.

The girls turned 12 weeks on Tuesday. They are so smiley and talkative. I love it. The other night my parents were watching them and when I went to get them around 9pm, they were both talking up a storm to them. They must be night owls like mommy. Although they're pretty happy in the morning, too. Actually, they're pretty happy all the time, except when they're hungry or getting tired.

Jillian is still more social than Lauren. Jillian will watch me walk all around the room, just waiting for me to say something to her so she can flash me a beautiful smile. Lauren is very expressive and has recently discovered her hands. When she gets excited she not only smiles, but kicks her legs and swings her arms.

Lauren's other amazing talent is the ability to make huge green boogers. Sometimes we suction them out and other times she sneezes them out and they land in all kinds of amazing places, mostly her pajamas. They gross Andy out, but I think it's hilarious and Andy's response only adds to the humor of it all.

As far as sleep goes, they will give us a 5-hr stretch at night. I've read that six hours is technically sleeping through the night. Which seems a little strange to me. I got a kick out of the authors response to her pediatrician when she learned this fact in a book I'm reading about surviving the first year with twins. She said, "I looked at her like she had told me Christmas was going to be off for the next seven years. When I finally regrouped, I said, 'So...you mean...if she falls asleep at 9pm and wakes up at 3am, she has technically slept through the night?' She answered, "Yes." I think my exact response was 'Well, that's crap!'"

I echo her response wholeheartedly, but Andy and I have worked out a nifty system that allows us both to get 8+ hours of sleep each night - and no, it doesn't involve bottle props.

So, life is good. So good, in fact, that I can truly say I've never been happier or more excited to celebrate Christmas. That's a good feeling.


Recent discovery!

On a recent trip to Walmart, I learned that the Bundle Me blankets that we have on the girls' car seats also double as a perfect bottle prop.

I'm sure this picture probably qualifies me for "Bad mom of the year," but, to me, it's actually pretty amusing. As the girls fed themselves when we got home from Target today, I put away some groceries! Their eyes were closed, so they never knew the difference. Hooray for multi-tasking!

Sweet niece!

Enjoy these recent pictures taken of our beautiful niece, Sophie! She is almost 11 months old and is a busy little girl. She recently started taking a few steps.

She is the daughter of Andy's sister, Shannon, and her husband, Jason. Check out their family blog at http://www.jasonpongratzfamily.blogspot.com/.


Just an update

December is here and just as busy as we expected. We started out the month by celebrating Andy and Jason Pongratz' birthdays at Jason and Shannon's house. We also had dinner with Grammy and Grandpa Keller, Shannon, Jason, Sophie and Mike over the weekend to kick off the season and draw names for Christmas.

This week we went to our first Mommy & Me brunch, hosted by my friend Melissa. There were probably 15 moms and about 25 kids (we were totally outnumbered). It was such a good time.

This weekend the girls will be dedicated at church, we're celebrating our friends Matt & Kelly's girl's birthdays on Sunday and then we're off to Ryan and Shannon's Christmas open house that night.

In between all that the girls are growing like weeds. On Nov. 27 (daddy's birthday), I took them for their 2 month check-up. They got four shots each and screamed their little heads off. Thankfully the compassionate staff helped me comfort the two screaming babes. No worries though, five minutes after the shots, they were both snoozing in their car seats as if nothing had happened.

We learned at the appointment that Lauren has a bit of acid reflux and so we switched her formula. Since then she's been a much more content, less spitty and better sleeping child.

Jillian weighed 12lb. 6oz. and was 23" and Lauren weighed 11lb. 13oz. and was 24 1/2". Lauren is in the 97th percentile for her height. She may be the tallest in her 6th grade class, like mommy (taller than all the boys).

Both girls are becoming more and more smiley and responsive. Jillian continues to lead in this department. She gives smiles out for free and it seems like she may even be laughing soon. She talks a lot!

I've had a blast decorating the house, wrapping Christmas presents and shopping! I play Christmas music in the house and sing to the girls all the time. They like it! In fact, I believe their favorite song is "Sleigh Ride." At least I like to think it's their favorite.

We're blessed! It's my first Christmas as a mommy and I've never been happier!


New friends

Over Thanksgiving, Jillian and Lauren made several new friends. Here are a few of the highlights.

Pic 1) Grandpa Jack (my mom's dad) - Baby Lauren loved Gpa Jack. He's the life of the party. Once you meet him, you're never the same. It was such a blessing to have all four of the great grandparents on my side of the family here for the holiday!

Pic 2) Cousin Kyle - Kyle used to be a football player - the girls looked so tiny next to their massive cousin!

Pic 3) Greg is Andy's lifelong friend from Northview and college. Greg and his wife Danielle (pic 6) are expecting a baby boy in March! Hooray!

Pic 4) Cousin Kara - Their stylish cousin gave the girls lots of love and attention. I know the girls will love getting hair and fashion tips from her!

Pic 5) "Uncle" Todd is a natural! Andy's best friend was here over the weekend and fed baby Jillian. She sure appreciated it!

Pic 6) Danielle is a soon-to-be-mommy with lots of experience caring for others kids. They've waited a long time for their miracle and will be awesome parents! We are so happy for them!

Happy B-day Mommy!

On Nov. 25, my mom turned 50! Most of her family from Texas and Oklahoma and my dad's family from KC came to town for Thanksgiving and then we had a really fun "Casino" party on Saturday. Don't worry - The pastor's wife didn't gamble with real money. We used fake money and traded in our chips at the end of the night to win fun prizes. My selfless mom planned the whole party, bought the prizes and catered the food. All I was allowed to do was make the cakes (her fave - German Chocolate). A fun time was had by all.

Jillian and Lauren loved meeting all their new aunts, uncles, cousins and great grandparents over the holiday. I think they were only put down for a total of 10 minutes the whole week! Life is good!


Big girls napping in their cribs

As I type this post, my girls are taking their first nap in their individual cribs. They're getting so big! Mommy and daddy are planning the "transfer" from sleeping at night in their baby papasan chairs, to sleeping in their beds.

So, we're starting out with daytime naps in the cribs. I think they'll do fine at night, but they're doing so well in the papasans that I'm nervous to switch.

These are the challenges of mommyhood that keep me up nights these days. It's so great! I've always loved a good challenge and figuring these girls out has been the biggest and best of my life so far.

I totally enjoy being at home and having the freedom to simply care for my babies, my husband and my home. I've not hit the cold cold winter days yet, when I'm trapped inside, but the first 7 1/2 weeks has been great. I'm sure more experienced stay-at-home moms are just shaking their heads right now, but I'm just going to revel in my joy for now.

The past two nights, the girls have slept 4-hour stretches, which tells me that a full-nights sleep is on its way for me! Jillian would probably sleep all night (she's a deep sleeper), but we're at the mercy of baby Lauren right now. She'll get it soon. I'll take 4 hours if that's all she has to give.

Enjoy the pics of "drama" Jillian, "sweet baby" Lauren and Mommy, Jillian and Josie on a lazy Saturday (I'll spare you the close up lazy-day pic - complete with double chin and drool (I know you're disappointed)).


Nakey Babies

Are these not the cutest baby parts you've ever seen? Okay. I'm a little biased. But are they at least in your top ten?

They are both getting so big and I never want to forget how tiny their little hands and feet were when they were still newborn. Get ready for your heart to melt.

Lauren is fascinated by our fan. She loves when we turn it on. It sometimes looks like she's reaching out for it.


Happy Halloween!

So, Halloween gear was 50% off the day before the holiday, so I splurged and got these cute outfits just for the photo opp. We stayed at home last night and passed out candy to the neighbors. Ryan, Shannon and Jake ("the Pooch") stopped by also and we loved Jake's costume (he even wagged his tail).

Then, this afternoon we got out a new toy - our Gymini Total Playground. It has lots of colors and makes many different sounds. They especially liked the wind chime sound. Jillian is beginning to discover her voice and likes to hear herself make a shrill high-pitched scream. It's loud, but it's cute. Lauren just likes to take it all in. She's not as free at expressing herself as her sister is just yet.