Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Card Apology ... 2013 edition

For the second consecutive year, this will have to do as our Christmas card.  We're doing well, except our house looks like a train wreck inside a tornado most of the time (and it's not for lack of trying to keep it clean). 

The boys are growing (Paxton added 3.5" this year!) and healthy (far fewer doctor visits for the twins in 2013).  The parents are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel (when does preschool start again?)

We love our family, our house, our church, our neighbors, and the fact that we get to share life with all you people.  Your encouragements have helped us more than you realize.

Here's to more sleep in 2014.

Grace to you and yours,

The Walton family

Monday, May 27, 2013

Trauma to Joy

Being Memorial Day I have a hard time writing about my "trauma" compared to those who we honor today, but after the time we spent in the hospital surrounding the birth of our twins I went to a therapist for a while and she told me it was okay to call our situation "traumatic", so here we go.

One year ago today, after 6 weeks of bed-rest in the hospital due to pregnancy complications, I woke up feeling nauseated. The nurses kept a close watch on me and as soon as my temperature spiked they called in the team. They would rather deliver healthy babies than infected babies and my temperature told them there was an infection brewing.By 11pm I was in the OR delivering premature twins at 29 weeks gestation (out of 40). Looking back, it was a blur. A numb blur.

Zach (left); Chaz (right)

We were told it would probably be 4-6 weeks before the boys would be released from the hospital. I/we went to the hospital almost every day... for the next 12 weeks

Paxton meeting Chaz

Between pumping every 2-3 hours, labeling bottles, driving, checking in through security, holding the babies, coming home, and spending time with James and Paxton, I had a deficit of sleep and energy and emotional stability.

Zach's MO

When we didn't think it could get any more difficult, Zach came home after 8 weeks. This was a good thing, but this meant we had to do everything we were already doing but now with an infant in tow; let alone the breaking of my heart as we left Chaz "alone" in the hospital, so small and fragile.

Together again

 It was a long 4 more weeks before Chaz joined the family in his true home. And it was many more months before I started to come out of the dark fog of overwhelmness. With the help of many friends and family members we are recovering from the rough start and are slowly entering back into the outside world, although I am still easily overwhelmed and its exhausting to be outside of our home with the whole gang.

Zach (left); Chaz (right)

But today, May 27, 2013, we celebrate the LIFE and HEALTH of Chaz and Zach Walton as they turn one year old. This day marks the beginning of a new season, where we can move forward and look back on the past year as a year of growth and character building; with a stronger marriage, and with a new understanding of God's grace. This day, instead of being remembered for trauma and fear, is a day of joy.

Happy birthday, Chaz and Zach. May you grow in strength and courage (Heb: chazach) and in the grace of the Lord.

Chaz (left); Zach (right)


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chazach: 11 month update

Zach and Chaz - sitting unassisted

The pediatrician requested that the twins be observed by development specialists with a concern that they are slightly slower in development. The results show that they do NOT qualify for assistance because they fall within the "normal" range for 8 month olds (their adjusted age). This is good news!  They rate between the 14th and 42nd percentile for things like gross motor and fine motor skills but they are at 99.9%+ in social skills. Can anyone guess whose kids they are?! (Pretty good for having been locked away for most of their lives!). 
Since making that appointment they have progressed a lot. They are almost sitting unassisted and almost holding their bottles. They are excellent combat crawlers by pulling themselves around with their arms. They sleep well (from 8-7) and are beginning to play with each other. Chaz loves to play rough with Paxton; Zach prefers to watch. 

We have made it safely out of RSV season! We needed to keep Zach and Chaz away from crowds and sicky germs during the months of high risk to their sensitive lungs, but the virus numbers are low enough now that we can emerge from our cave. Which means we can go to church as a family! And to parties! And you can start inviting us over for dinner now! 

They fought ear infections which included diarrhea and vomiting for the past 2 weeks (which was probably harder on us than it was on them) but are now making up for lost time in their eating habits. Solid food skills are coming slowly but is on its way.

I can't believe we have been doing this for almost a year. James and I are off celebrating our 6th anniversary without the kids. Last year we celebrated while I was on bedrest in the hospital. Although the room service and "lovely Portland accommodations" were nice, it's much better being at Smith Rock than St. Vincent's. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Full Body Art - Preschool Style

Painting a picture for Grandma slowly evolved into a hilarious and cute full body experience that I will remember forever.

First, I put my naked 2 1/2 year old into the bathtub with a few squirts of green paint (he was already painted with blue and green from the Grandma art project):

Then I had an idea... butt prints!:

We laughed hysterically the whole time. Especially when the paper got stuck in his crack.

The prints were so distinctive that they had to be turned into something. Behold:


Note: If you decide to try this, choose your type of paint with caution. I don't know much about paint but this stuff (I think it's regular acrylic paint?) slightly stained the tub. But that wont stop me from doing it again!! It's possible that our old cast iron tub just soaks up the color and it wont be a problem for regular fiberglass tubs. Plus, with a major paint project going on I didn't stop long to work on it.

Have fun!

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Day (a mom of twin infants and a toddler)

My Day.

Awoken by a toddler
Let him watch YouTube until a baby stirs
Change and feed the baby
The other baby wakes, put him in a swing
Make smoothies for Pax and me
Chug half the smoothie
Change and feed the other baby
Change my clothes while running from a roaring dinosaur
Haul all 3 kids downstairs (my warm up)
Successfully complete 20 min of my 30 min workout video in just under 55 minutes
Finish up by making a car out of Tinker Toys
Haul all 3 kids upstairs (my cool down)
Chug the other half of my smoothie while making snacks
Read books and act out characters
Change 3 diapers
Feed two babies
Bundle up babies and put them in bed
Realize one of them pooped
Change that baby again and put him in bed, both clearly tired but wide awake
Quickly shower
Hear Godzilla attacking the cribs
Stay in shower. As long as I hear crying I know they are still breathing
Console babies while still in towel
Bribe toddler to play quietly somewhere else
Realize the joke's on me
Put babies back in crib
Get dressed
Come out when I hear "Wake up babies! Wake up!"
Get amazed when I see both babies had fallen asleep in the midst of Godzilla; and STAYED asleep when he was pulling their eyelids open.
Sunshine outside. Lets have a picnic.
Bed time yet?
Nope. It's 11:30AM

Monday, December 24, 2012

Our Christmas Card That Wont Be Mailed This Year

Zach, Pax, and Chaz

Our 2012
January: Find out we are having twins! (Many mixed emotions about this)
February: Buy and move into our first house (and learn the hard, and cold, way that heating oil goes quickly).
March: Anatomy ultrasound: Two more boys!! Also, Courtney and Paxton stay a week in Medford so James can paint as much inside the house as possible w/o the two year old tornado to work around.
April: The amniotic sack of Baby A starts leaking and Courtney rushes to the hospital and doesn't return home for 6 weeks. We celebrate our 5 year anniversary at a "hotel" in Portland with "room service" (all paid for by health insurance!).
May: Courtney turns 30 in the hospital. May 27, Charles and Zachary arrive, Courtney is released from the hospital; Chaz and Zach remain in the NICU under great care.
June: Paxton turns 2. Chaz and Zach continue to grow.
July 15:  Zach comes home!!
August 15: Chaz comes home!!
September-December: A blur.

After 5 months combined of hospital stay, almost $1 million dollars in medical expenses, around 3,000 miles driven for medical purposes, and minimal psychotherapy for PTSD recovery, we have 3 healthy children, are debt free with a great job, and have 2 vehicles and a nice house. By God's grace we have family and friends who carried us through it all. Thank you, all, for your continued prayers and support of all kinds.

Merry Christmas from the Waltons

Photo: Zachary (7mo), Paxton (2 1/2) and Charles (7mo)

Friday, February 17, 2012

That’s Our House!

Months ago we started to consider buying a house. I met with a mortgage broker to see if it was even a possibility. We called a realtor and started scouting a real estate web site and soon a house popped up in Canby that I just KNEW was our house. I even exclaimed, “James! That’s our house!” It was the first one we looked at and within a few minutes of being there we decided to make an offer.

The house had only been on the market a few days but another offer was submitted on the same evening. The sellers chose the other buyers. I was a little confused; I just knew that was our house.

We continued to look at other houses but nothing compared to the location, quality, and size for the price of that first house. We looked at the house for sale next door; it was a great house but I knew I couldn’t live there because I didn’t want to hate my neighbors for living in “our house”. We made a few offers elsewhere but weren’t excited about them and were glad they didn’t get accepted. Then we found a fixer-upper just down the street.

Our offer was accepted on the fixer house and we entered the process. The contractors and sub-contractors came out to give us quotes on the remodel, and our realtor took our earnest money check up to the Beaverton office. After the contractors left the house I sat there with an uneasy feeling. I called Dave, the realtor, and asked, “did you turn in the check yet?” “No, I’m in the parking lot”. “Good,” I said, “don’t submit it. This isn’t right.”

We decided to pull our current offer and submit a lower offer just in case it was the price that I was feeling was so wrong. The next day, Dave called and said someone else offered higher and we didn’t get the house. “But…” he said,

“I have word from the selling agent of the first house that the other buyers couldn’t get financing and are about to pull their offer.”

“Great! That’s our house! Submit our offer again!” No need to discuss this with James; I knew we were in agreement.

Someone else submitted an offer also. Our wonderful realtor wrote a letter to the sellers describing us, in case that helped in the their decision.

It turns out the other people’s offer was a bit higher, but the sellers chose us.

Thank you, Lord, for letting us in on Your secrets, for guiding our ways, and for taking care of Your kids. You are good; may our lives in and out of this house reflect our thankfulness of your grace and mercy.

After a few months of paperwork, inspections, and repairs, we closed the deal on February 16, 2012.

That’s our house!

PS. For buying or selling a home, we suggest contacting David Peck, Realtor