Road Trip

We just got back, safe-and-sound, from Texas. Mari and the kids stayed with her parents for almost a month. I was out there for Christmas, but I flew home to concentrate on work for a few weeks, then flew back.

We love our friends in Maryland and our family (my side of the family, at least) on the East Coast, but one thing we really miss is having family really close-like 15 minutes close. The kids all loved the time with their grandparents for the last few weeks.

Travel time is around 25 hours of driving. We did the trip to Texas in two days, arriving at around 2am. We did the trip back in 3 days, arriving home at around 2pm. I’ve linked a few videos of the kids, below.

The first video shows our van set-up for the trip. The van is great, because if one of the kids started crying, I could walk from the front seat to the back to entertain or give the kids whatever they needed.

Ammon and Ellis are starting to be fun. They are around 18 months old and they are communicating better and better by pointing and making talking noises (not the words as much as the inflections). Here we are playing peek-a-boo. (Ellis is the laugher. Ammon is much more composed)

And here we are at a dinner stop. Mari and I are sick of fast food. Ellis looks like he is cleaning at first, but, true to character, he eventually decides that it would be much more interesting to dip the napkin in ketchup.



Ammon and Ellis at the park

Ammon and Ellis at the park

Fun at the park

Chillin' in the crib

Chillin’ in the Crib

Chillin in the crib

Ellis’s First Word

Ellis’s first word


The boys are doing well.  They eat, poop, and sleep.  Mostly, sleep.

In transport (Ellis, front left; Ammon, top right)

In the crib (Ellis, left; Ammon, right)

During the day, we keep the boys in the front room in their bouncer chairs.

Dad in the morning


Serendipitously, today the boys were fussing and I had to move them into another room, so I put them both in the same bouncy chair.  The result?

Peace. (hours-long)



Ammon and Ellis, Welcome to Planet Earth

Wednesday, August 3

Mari was due to be induced today. The babies are big and Mari has been extremely uncomfortable, so the doctors decided that it would be fine if the babies were taken a little early (she’s at 37 weeks).

Around 3am, she started having painful contractions.  Although she’s had contractions from time to time throughout the pregnancy, these felt more regular.  But by the time she considered calling the doctor, it was nearly time for us to go to the hospital, so she waited.

The attending nurse took her time setting up until she measured how far along Mari was.  Then she called for help and hustled to get everything ready.  The doctor was very excited to see that Mari was in labor already without the need to be induced.

Mari decided to have an epidural, because she wasn’t sure if she’d have to get a C-section, but when she got the epidural, her contractions slowed appreciably, and we waited for a few hours for the contractions to increase again.  Mari was pretty comfortable, especially compared to when she gave birth to Desi.  She thinks the epidural she got with Desi was faulty.

Around noon, they took her to an operating room, because the normal delivery rooms did not have the equipment for delivering twins.  By 12:20pm, Ammon was born, but Ellis didn’t want to come out.  Mari had to push for another hour before Ellis was born. Ammon Xavier weighed 5 lbs, 9 oz, and Ellis Timothy weighed 6 lbs, 15 oz.

Everyone is doing well, but everyone is tired. Ellis has some issues with breathing, but no one is terribly concerned. He grunts a lot. They think it’s just part of the transition, and will pass in the next day or so.

Thursday, August 4

This morning they took Ellis to NICU, because his breathing was still too rapid. They took a chest X-ray, and the doc said his lungs weren’t quite developed yet. He’ll be in NICU at least for a few days until his lungs develop and he’s able to breathe at a normal rate. It’s sad to see the little guy hooked up to all those tubes, but he was resting peacefully each time I went to visit him today. The tubes didn’t seem to bother him too much.

We were a bit surprised at Ellis’s problem, since Ellis was always breathing nicely in the ultrasounds leading up to the delivery, while Ammon rarely breathed in the ultrasounds. Also, Ellis was a pound bigger than Ammon, so we would have thought he’d be better developed. We were glad to have Ellis for a few hours before he had to go to NICU, and we’re hoping to bring him home soon!

Mari and Ammon should be coming home tomorrow (Friday). Ammon is an angel. He rarely fusses. He’s got a prominent nose. From the front, he reminds me of a Pletsch, but from the side, that Ellsworth nose is prominent.

Mari is doing well. She’s able to rest better with just Ammon in the room, since he is so quiet.  She was able to get up and walk around today. We are both relieved and grateful that the boys are here and healthy (mostly healthy, anyway). But even Ellis’s problem doesn’t appear to be a cause for serious concern. The doctors and nurses just feel that with time, he’ll be fine.

Saturday, August 6

Yesterday we went to visit Ellis in NICU at about 11:30, and they were optimistic that he would be out by Monday or so. But when we went back at 8:30pm, the nurse said he was being treated for pneumonia and that he would be in until at least next Friday.

His vital signs are all good, but they were concerned about the cloudy images on the chest x-rays and he had a slight fever. So they have him on an antibiotic treatment, and he has to stay in NICU until it’s over.  Mari’s dad is here, so that helps a ton, but Des can be a bit of a handful sometimes-especially when Ammon requires Grandpa’s attention.

On top of all this, I quit my job last week, and this is my last week at this firm, so I’m trying to finish out my time being a productive employee while helping out at home.

Ammon is wonderful, and Ellis appears to be doing well other than the lung issues. Both of the boys are so far very placid, except when being changed. Then they demonstrate their disapproval with gusto. We’re hoping we can reunite the brothers soon.

Desi drew a picture for baby Ellis that we put in his crib.  I think it’s a happy face.

Sunday, August 7

We skipped church today (Desi and I-Mari won’t be going for a while), and instead took Desi to see Ellis for his 2pm feeding.  Ellis is progressing well.  He’s been taken off the breathing tubes, and now it looks like he just has to finish out his antibiotics prescription.  If all goes well, we’ll be able to bring him home Wednesday evening.  Hooray!  However, we hear something different every time we go to the hospital, so we are cautiously optimistic.


Wednesday, August 10


Ellis came home today.  He finished his antibiotic treatment, and all his signs were good, so we were able to bring him home this afternoon.  I’d like to say that the twins recognized each other and held hands or something, but they just continued to sleep, eat, and poop.

Mari went to bed early tonight, so Grandpa Jim and I took care of the boys for their 8pm feeding.

We have to feed the babies at least every 3 hours, and it took me over an hour to feed them both and change their diapers (because they eat, then poop, then I change them and wake them up, then they eat a little more and go back to sleep).  At this rate, 8-10 hours of each day of our lives will be feeding and changing babies. Wow.


P.S. I’m trying to get Mari to add an addendum here.  Her point of view would be far more… sentimental (and probably more interesting) than mine.  But she has a lot on her plate right now, and blogging is pretty low on the agenda.

Pictures of a Mostly-Finished Nursery

The nursery is painted, and most of the decor is up.  Now if we could just fill those cribs…

The Sailing Wheel is the first thing you see as you enter

View from the door

Baby A's Crib: Lent to us by some generous friends. We'll have something above the crib when it's done.

Baby A wall decor

Baby B's Crib is Desi's old crib

Dresser wall: Des's old dresser and name squares over the cribs (we haven't decided on names yet)

Closet wall: decor on the upper left, oar above (will be mounted), video and audio monitor on the upper right. The monitor is moveable to see both cribs. (Thanks family!)

We took the doors off the closet, since they made it hard to get into the corners of the closet, which extend about twenty inches on either side of the door frame.

We had a pro come in to paint the room and fill holes in the ceiling from recessed lights we removed, and we don’t regret it.  The paint job is impeccable.  We kept 3 recessed lights for accents, but added a ceiling fan for central lighting and to keep the room cool.  Our AC works fine, but this room feels the morning-to-midday sun.

We bought the sailing wheel and oars at a home decor store around here, and we painted them to match the room.  The wall shelves, dresser, rocking chair, and one crib are all re-used, and one crib was lent to us by friends.

Mari based most of the design on Pottery Barn catalogs, and we like how the room is turning out.

Pregnancy Update: Week 36

Posted by: Mari

I went to the doctor this week fully expecting some sort of delivery plan to be discussed.  However, 36wks turns out to just be another milestone as far as my OB is concerned.  My Fetal Ultrasound specialist was certain I would/should have these babies already.  But for some reason, these babies are not interested it coming out of their happy home.  He says he can’t understand why my two very large babies, surrounded by extra fluid and a mother with a shortened incompetent cervix has yet to deliver when mothers with babies 1/2 their size come early all the time.

Now, I know I should be proud that I have surpassed expectations and am increasing my chances of healthy babies with each passing day, but really all I can think of is “how can I evict you two?”!

My OB will remove my cerclage on Tuesday with the hope that it will help to bring on labor.  If not, we wait until week 38… yes, that is 2 more wks. Ugh!  (Keep in mind that 2 wks ago these guys were weighing in at 6.4lbs and 5.1lb)  My poor body. I don’t know where these babies are going to be able to make space for the extra weight they will put on during these  next few weeks.

Good news is that I was released from all but my dietary restrictions.  So, I try to move around as much as I can.  The other good news is that Adam told me I can get a massage any time I want to help with the aches and pains.  (I love that man!) So, I treated myself today.  Wonderful, wonderful!  When I was done I actually forgot I had hips.  They disappeared long ago and the constant aching is the only sign they are still in there somewhere.

Here are two not so flattering photos of my impersonation of a Macy’s Day Parade Float.  Oh, the sacrifices mothers make for their children.

Desi loves his brothers

It is strange to think that this time last year I was begging a baby to stay in and now I am begging two babies to come out.  Yesterday we planted flowers for Mercedes.  She is always with us.

The Happy Fun Ball

Perhaps Desi has too many toys.  But at least soon he’ll have two brothers to share the toys with.

Still, when I saw the Jumbo Fun Ball for $10 at Costco, I had to get it.  It’s a hoot, and a great workout, too.

(sorry about the video editing.  I’m experimenting)