Pregnancy Update + Bunk Beds

I've been meaning to post for two weeks now. Whoops. Time really does get away. A lot has happened in the last two weeks. This may be a long post, so thank you to those who hang tight and read along with my thoughts.

First, I turned 32, wahoo. For my birthday, I got a new minivan (#MomLife) and some AirPods from Ross. Oh and how could I forget: he also bought me a LivePD t-shirt because I'm kinda obsessed with that show. I also celebrated 17 and 18 weeks gestation with the twins. I am getting HUGE. I would be willing to bet that my belly is measuring much further ahead - because like I've said before - there is two of everything inside of me. I find with being pregnant, people say the darndest things. When I was pregnant with Kensington (just one kid), I was constantly being asked, "are you sure it's not twins?" And now that I'm pregnant with twins, I am constantly being told, "you're due in AUGUST? that is a long time away." Haha. The doctor and nurses keep reminding me that not only is this my 3rd pregnancy (therefore I will show much quicker and larger) but I am the exact size that they'd expect me to be with twins.
sweet 18 week belly with two precious babies

My Makena injections are going well. It's basically a boost of progesterone once per week (only 1mL), whereas when we were on PIO (Progesterone In Oil), it was every day (2mL). The thing about Makena and twins is that there is nothing proven whatsoever that these injections help. Furthermore, a cerclage (which I do not have yet) has not be proven successful in twins either. If I'm being honest, I am beginning to feel like such an anomaly. There is no one else out there like me. I'm serious. Find me a mom who had a micropreemie (before 27 weeks gestation) and then got pregnant with twins. You won't find her but if you do, I'd love to be proven wrong.

My frustration only grows when ignorant people reply to Facebook threads that I post. I specifically state that I'm looking to connect with people who are pregnant with twins after a micropreemie pregnancy. People will comment the most ridiculous things: "I had micropreemie twins" or "My situation is opposite: I had twins and then a mircopreemie." I'm like B - THAT IS NOT WHAT I'M ASKING. (Can you sense my frustration?) The fact of the matter is: twins + Makena or a Cerclage are not the same as with a singleton. There are studies out there showing how much Makena + a Cerclage can help singleton pregnancies. The same studies don't prove a thing in twin pregnancies. I am an anomaly. At this point in the pregnancy, we're winging it and the only thing I'm relying on is prayer to get me full term. Truthfully, you won't hear me raving about the injections - you'll hear me raving about how God did this miraculous work in me. The injections are simply to say, "we tried everything and it didn't hurt." Medicine is a GOOD THING and we are thankful to have prayer and medicine assisting us.

To be completely raw, I have had some emotional moments where I wonder the in's and out's of God's plan. "Why couldn't I have these twins sooner (even though I know the answer is simple: NOW is God's perfect timing) - why wait until our last pregnancy, especially after a micropreemie? Was it selfish of me to pray for twins?" As everyone knows, we prayed that both of these perfectly formed embryos would stick around when we had transferred them on December 10, 2018. And miraculously, with answered prayer, Shep and Ruth both stuck! It really does sound like a dream come true. Two boys and two girls to complete our family. Plus, who doesn't think twins sound like such an adventure? But the reality is that I have very weak moments because of Bennett's early arrival and complicated pregnancy which obviously impact my mindset with this twin pregnancy.

All of that being said, there are *zero* complications with my twin pregnancy and both my OBGYN + high risk doc think I'll go very far. It simply doesn't stop the devil from sneaking into my thoughts and planting fear. I work to overcome that every day by repeating Philippians 4:6 aloud constantly and remain steadfast in prayer.

Now onto a more interesting topic (maybe) for y'all. With this twin pregnancy, I am doing everything within my power to just chill and I'm doing a lot of sitting with my legs up. Ross has taken on the role of Mr. Mom in just about every aspect at home. He does it all! This also includes decorating the kids' room as I direct him. However, I still don't even have that much energy for my vision yet. So we've got a pretty plain bedroom for the kids thus far but after Shep and Ruth are born, I will be able to tackle Kensington and Bennett's room. This is our official debut of the kids' bedroom. We got the bed a couple weeks ago and the kids have been obsessed ever since. The main priority was finding them princess + Toy Story bedding so that is one thing that we've got completed.
The transition from co-sleeping to sleeping in their own beds, in their own room, has been a challenge for sure. Mostly for me, if we're being honest. I really do sleep much better when my whole family is in the room together. So, having them in their own rooms + me and Ross temporarily without babies in our room (until the twins arrive) has been different for me.

All of that being said, we've done a lot of musical beds lately. Sometimes the kids sleep in their room the whole night, other times they walk into our room in the middle of the night and we finish the night in our bed, and then some nights, we still co-sleep from the get go and don't even attempt their own room.

The biggest reason for this is pretty simple: on the very first night that the kids slept in their own room, our electricity went off F I V E different times due to high winds outside. It was in that moment that we kicked ourselves for not paying attention to the weather more closely because now, Kensington has trust issues. She does NOT want her night light + sound machine going off in the middle of the night.

On the nights that the kids sleep in their rooms the whole night, it's pretty comical to watch the camera. One time, Kensington threw a stuffed Olaf doll on Bennett (she sleeps on the top bunk + he sleeps on the bottom bunk) to see if he was awake. Another funny thing that often happens is that one of our dogs, Layla, will go in their room to check on the kids and she does this sneezing thing that is sure to wake the kids up. But they both just kinda look at her and then fall back asleep. It definitely helps that the kids have each other in the room together, but it's not a perfect system.

I will say: the sweetest thing ever is watching them crawl out of bed and run straight into our bedroom first thing in the morning. Neither kid looks to see if the other has left their bed yet, but rather, they're out for themselves: first to get to mom and dad gets the best spot on the master bed.

Anyways, regarding the kids bed itself, the thing that we loved about it immediately is that it's very much a toddler-friendly bunk bed. It is NOT the normal height of a bunk bed. It's much shorter, even if it doesn't quite look like it in pictures. We also love the stairs going up to the top bunk. I have zero fears about the kids playing in their room by themselves because of these two things. Their room has become one where we keep their clothes (previously, I kept their clothes in my craft room), where they sleep, and where they play. All of their toys fit perfectly in their room except the play kitchen - which we still have in our living room, but it actually works out great because it gets more use out in the open. It feels nice to utilize an extra room in our house that we previously never used.

There's a million other things I could type right now but I think we'll pause here for now since this is a lot as is. Thanks for sharing in the highs and lows with us!

Texas + Mickey Mouse talk

The goal I had in mind when starting back up with blogging was to post once a week - which isn't much, I know, but it's easy enough for me to commit to for now. Last week I didn't meet that goal but here I am today and back at it!

It's been the same ole, same ole over here. My mind is consumed with this precious twin pregnancy. You'd think having two toddlers would keep me busy enough, but the fact that I am already huge at 15 weeks and feeling so many bodily changes keeps my mind focused on Shep and Millie. I had a dream about them last night and that when they were born, I hadn't ordered their going-home outfits (the horror!). But in fact, I am slowly starting to accumulate matching pink and blue outfits... whew.

I'm spending a lot of my pregnancy doing a whole bunch of nothing. Sitting around a lot (I'm not allowed to exercise) which means watching TV shows and getting on social media. I get bored easily on social media to be honest, so there's been a lot of catching up on my DVR. The most that I do during the week is take both kids to preschool. While they're at school, I try to just sit down and take it easy, but the busy body in me just wants to clean and organize. This pregnancy has really taught me to listen to my body and relax while I have the time. I can't wait to see the twins on ultrasound next week!

Other kid updates: we are getting Kensington and Bennett's new room put together. I should have more updates about that later this month. I am so torn: I don't want to stop cosleeping, but at the same time, I need the space in bed (hello large preggo belly) and the kids really could sleep anywhere and be perfectly fine. I love that they'll be sharing a room too. That puts my mind at ease! We also installed a new camera in their new room and you can see ev.ery.thing. So, I know this is a good move for all of us!

Kensington and Bennett celebrated Texas last week at school. Look at these precious Texas Natives. I especially love that they know where in Texas they live, along with where each of their grandparents live. 
I am so amazed how much both kiddos are growing and learning every day. Kensington is about 36lbs and Bennett is about 27lbs. She can lift him up, which is hilarious and impressive! Both of my babies are obsessed with wearing shoes - specifically boots - they don't just wear them during Texas week (I have to hide their shoes so they don't drag them all out) and their love for Mickey Mouse increases daily. My favorite part about their relationship is how well they entertain each other. It's not always sunshine and roses with a 2 year old and 3 year old, but overall, they are so gentle and playful with each other.  

But speaking of Mickey Mouse, I have to say this: I'VE CHANGED. I have found myself addicted to planning Disney World vacations. I blame my sister-in-law for inviting us to go with them a couple years ago, haha! We first took the kids in 2017 (when Bennett was only 1 year old!) and it changed me. I am officially obsessed with Disney and I'm not even ashamed to say it. Our second trip in 2018 solidified for Ross and I that Disney is such a fun place to take the kids! Our goal both times was just to make sure the kids had fun; and fun they did have! We are super excited to go again in 2020 but we'll only be taking the big kids. The twins will stay back home and we can take them once they're a bit older. Maybe in 2021... I'll get on planning that probably as soon as we get back from our next trip.

Our first two Disney trips as adults, we didn't plan anything really. I didn't even know what a Fast Pass was in 2017, which is kind of funny as I look back. Now that we've been twice in two years, I am starting to learn how things work and I'm also researching all sorts of neat inside things. So, if you have any good tips/tricks/advice for a our upcoming Disney trip, please let me know!

New Dining Table + Current Toddler Favorites

When we built our house, it just made sense that the formal dining room would actually be utilized as the playroom. It's smack dab in the middle of our house and we can do things in the kitchen/living room while also being able to monitor the kids in the playroom. Practicality is my husband's middle name and it just made sense to do it this way.

Fast forward to now and living in the house for 3 years, Bennett being 2.5 years old, and him still 100% G Tube dependent: our GI doctor highly encouraged us to buy a popup table that we can eat dinners at as a family. That way we could pop it up, eat, and then pop it down. How we've always done meals is by all sitting at the kitchen island (which is plenty large enough) because, again, #practicality. We did look into popup tables but ultimately decided that buying a dining table wouldn't be a bad idea. Ta-da! We're kinda loving it. And seeing 6 chairs for our growing family makes me smile. I can't believe we're going to be a family of 6, but I am soooo thankful. Anyways, hopefully this new setup will encourage Bennett to eat more by mouth. Plus, as practical of people as we are, it's really nice having a dining table to make memories at.
Also for fun, here's a little before and after. Sorry, Shep and Millie; I know the playroom was so cool but you can thank you Big Brother Bennett for the dining table. Just kidding :-) We actually are very happy with the change. What do y'all think?! Are we crazy for getting rid of our playroom while also expecting twins?
Changing the playroom back into it's intended use as a dining room meant downsizing toys - only sticking with Kensington and Bennett's most favorites - and moving the toys into their new room. Their room? That's another post for another day. But essentially, we're going to stop cosleeping soon (sad face) in preparation for Shep and Millie's August arrival.  Though I'm sad to end our cosleeping experience with Kensington and Bennett, I am excited for their new bedroom. I'll share details next month once we get the room ready!

So yea, toys. We own entirely too many, but of course the kids have been gifted so many neat things over the years. I was recently inspired by Elena at Baby Ridley Bump to share a few of our favorite toddler toys!

  • Our play kitchen is so chic and goes perfectly with our farmhouse feel of the house. The kids love to play pretend with it and it's definitely going to be with us until all of the kids have outgrown it.
  • Keeping with the same theme, K and B love grocery shopping in the pantry while using their shopping cart. Also, this is a great tool to use when kids are learning to walk. Bennett always preferred learning to walk with this shopping cart v. the other walkers out there for kiddos.
  • Another favorite toy of theirs is the Dyson vacuum. I personally love to vacuum around the house any chance I get (clean floors are my number 1 cleaning priority) and the kids are always grabbing their vacuum to copy me.
  • Little People figurines are a huge hit in our house. The kids play with them every.single.day. Stores sell a plethora of different kinds but these superhero ones are our most recent purchase!
  • Bennett was recently gifted some Magna Tiles for his birthday and they get played with every day. They're also perfect on our metal kid's size table since they are magnetic! 

Of course there are a million other toys that I could've posted about, but these are the ones that are tried and true and are good investment toys. Eventually, I'll do a post about our favorite baby toys especially since we're about to be back in that season again. We just sent a load of baby toys home with Ross' parents since they have tons of storage at their house, whereas we are full to the brim. Once the twins are a few months old and are more playful, we'll bring those toys out and see which ones they love the most!

Pregnancy Update + Gender and Name of Twins!!!

Alarm clocks run my world. I would never remember to take all of my medicines without those sounds going off every few hours. With IVF, it's not just a one time "we transferred two babies into my uterus" thing. There is SO much that goes on behind the scenes. We started taking medicine in October and well, obviously now it's February. I am still on medicines but I have been given the all clear to temporarily stop my Progesterone In Oil Intermuscular Injections. It's actually bittersweet for some reason. I think mostly because the injections gave me so much peace of mind: "this medicine is sustaining my babies" was always on my mind. But really, by 12 weeks (which is my gestation age), the placenta for both kiddos has fully taken over and the injections are not needed at this point.

Obviously there are two bum cheeks, which means only two spots that the injections can go - one on each side. Every other day we would alternate sides. There's a lot of heating-pad-sitting and oil warming but there is virtually no time for the bum to heal after stabbing 2mLs of oil into it every day. So I have knots galore and it will be nice to have a bit of a break. But please note: I would joyfully take the injections every day if it was necessary. I am just glad that I get a small break since they aren't needed for now.

When the twins turn 16 weeks gestation (conveniently on my 32nd birthday), I will start a new round of progesterone injections but these are called 17OHP or 17OH or 17-hydroxyprogesterone. Yes medical pregnancies are funky and you learn a lot of weird things. Anyways, this injection will go in the same spots on my body: in my muscles on each side of my bum. But they're just a slightly different branch of progesterone than the kind I've always taken with my pregnancies. I may even be at a lower dose than 2mLs.

I met with my MFM (high risk doc) last week and we chatted about a lot of options, but the injections + me being monitored frequently is the plan of attack. We have a few backup options, but hopefully this plan will get us there. A lot of doctors seem to believe my pregnancy with Bennett was just a fluke how it all played out. There was one problem after another. We're still hoping, praying, and believing for a full term twin pregnancy this time around.

A day after my MFM appointment, we got some exciting news: we're having Boy/Girl twins!!! Initially when we talked with my OBGYN about genetic bloodwork, we were going to do the Harmony test. Long story short: we had to go with another test (Panorama) and that test was able to look at BOTH fetal DNA rather than just look for a Y chromosome. It was also such a gift to learn that both babies are healthy with low genetic risk.
thank you to Alyssa Martin Photography for these images! 

Such a neat (and practical) way to complete our family: keeping the score even. And not to mention, we have a plethora of boy and girl clothes already so we're fairly set. That doesn't mean I'm done shopping though. I fully intend to buy several matching pink/blue outfits. In fact, about an hour after finding out the gender of the twins, I immediately bought their going home outfits: one pink and one blue. If that ain't believing for a healthy, full term pregnancy then I don't know what is.

Of course, most of you came to my blog today not to read about pregnancy updates, but to learn what our babies names are! After much thought (months in the making), we finally agreed on the perfect names for our babies.

Shepherd Beau Skinner (Shep)
Ruth Millicent Skinner (Millie)

It's such a joy to be able to pray for our babies with their specific names. And what is still sorta mind blowing to me is that I barely know these two souls inside my body, yet God knows them perfectly well and He knew what their names would be long before we did. Years ago when I would cry out to God, "please give me a baby!", He knew Kensington, Bennett, Shep, and Millie were on their way. But I had no clue.

Keep praying and believing and if need be, trust in God's design of medicine! Your miracle is coming too.

Potty Training Bennett + New TV Shows

My life is full of, "I'll plan it this way" but somehow things always go a completely different route. Just me?

For instance: my 2 year old son, smart as he can be, doesn't get enough credit from me. I had my plans on when we'd potty train. I know this is gonna sound wacky, but specifically, I planned to start the summer before he turned 4 (next summer!) since our Mother's Day Out program only requires 3+ year old kids to be potty trained. And the way that Bennett's birthday lands, even though he'll be 3 this fall, he must stick with the 2 year olds class for fall 2019 rather than the 3 year old class. In addition to wanting to wait, I really didn't believe he'd be mentally ready. So my logic was let's wait until next summer, right?

Well, Bennett proved me wrong. 
He started going tinkle on the potty randomly all by himself a few weeks ago. I am NOT ready for this. But it's the best kind of surprise because *he* is and that makes me smile. Everyone who knows me understands that I am #TeamDiapers for life. In fact, I was soooo reluctant to potty train Kensington too and waited until the very last minute with her. Thankfully, she learned how to really stinkin' fast. I guess that's the perk of waiting until the last minute.

Precious little Bennett sees his Big Sis and hears her exclaim, "I need to potty!" so now he says that and races to the bathroom with us. At first, I didn't believe him. But I thought for kicks and gigs, I'd put him on the pot. Sure enough, he tenses up in the cutest way, has a look of concentration, and begins to go pee. Mom victories are funny. I get so excited for my kids when they successfully pee on the pot. We shout, dance, jump, squeal, and make a big scene.

So yea, the kid doesn't know how to safely chew and swallow his food, but he can go pee on the potty. The irony of trying to plan things, am I right? Although he isn't fully potty trained by any means, I did buy him some Mickey Mouse undies this week and I'm hopeful that will excite him even more. I will likely make our house a "birthday suit zone" this weekend to give him a slight push forward in the training. 
Other happenings include me having pregnancy insomnia. Like, what? If there's something I've ever been great at, it's napping. Sleeping at night has never been one of my strongest qualities, but napping? Yes, I'm a pro. No clue why I'm experiencing this, but I am. When I can't sleep, I tend to just pull out my phone and watch something in bed. I have watched a lot of good stuff lately so I feel like I should share!

  • "Three Identical Strangers" on CNN
  • "Fyre Fraud" on Hulu
  • "Fyre" on Netflix
  • "Ted Bundy Tapes" on Netflix

Other shows I have thoughts on:
  • "You" on Netflix. SO BORING. How is this show getting so much rave? I gave it a solid 6 episodes and finally decided I was wasting my precious time.
  • "Abducted in Plain Sight" on Netflix. I refuse to watch this because everyone says that it's maddening and makes no sense. I don't want to feel that way after watching a show, so I'll skip out on this one.
  • "Smiley Face Killers" on Oxygen. I watched one episode last night and it was just so-so. I may give the rest of the episodes a solid try. We'll see. 

Watching TV has always been one of my favorite ways to de-stress. Usually when our TV is on, the Disney Channel is blasting, so it's nice when I can sit down and watch one of my shows, even if it's at 3am because I can't sleep. If you have any documentary or show recommendations, let me know! I may have seen it, but it doesn't hurt to share! 

Organization and How I Value Time

I refuse to let myself watch the hype that is Marie Kondo. Not because I don't want to - I really do. But I'm saving myself for when I can really commit. I have kind of halfway started decluttering all parts of the house based upon what I've seen on social media: does it spark joy? If not - thank it and get rid of it. See? I paid attention to the cliff notes version.

The main area of focus for my sanity has been Kensington and Bennett's closet. Clothes shopping has always been one of my favorite parts of having a boy and girl. Basically, the kids have never been short on clothes and never will be. K and B share a closet (barely) that happens to be in my sewing/craft room. Eventually, that room will be one of their bedrooms but since they both sleep with us, I won't even worry about that right now.

We recently had an organizing specialist come over (super fancy, I know!) and she really got the ball rolling in this area of focus for me. Here are some pictures but let me tell you: the pictures don't do justice! Compulsively Claire labeled everything in the drawers, separated the clothes by size, removed things too big/too small so that I could sell, and completely restructured how I manage the kids clothes.
before   /   after

Just a look at one drawer in their closet

It's basically my happy place now. My goal is to declutter all over the house as much as possible before the twins arrive in August. I am working in really small spurts because although I'm not technically on a bedrest restriction or anything, my doc still wants me to take it easy (I s'pose that's what happens when you previously give birth to a 25-weeker). So, I do juuuuust a little bit each day and it feels so good.

Time is something that I really cherish. I don't believe that my time is more valuable than another person's but the way that I view it very likely is. For me, I give time to people as a form of a gift (or if I allow an organization expert to come in and do work for me, that's like me getting time back - which is a gift to myself)! The reason I'm bringing this up is because I had an epiphany on Sunday at church. Yadda yadda long story short: the sermon was about "what are you defending?" in relation to that thing sparking anger. Is it a righteous anger or a selfish anger?

It's probably true that my time is more of a comfort and selfish defense that I have. But it has a pure center to it (a righteous defense) - I promise you that. I want to spend my time wisely and give it where I feel it will flourish. One example of me defending time - maybe not so righteously - was while Bennett was in the NICU. I remember getting absolutely, irrationally mad when people would ask me to do things with them. In my mind, I would defensively be like, "what in the heck are you talking about? You think I'd rather spend time with you than my NICU son?" Ross always had to talk me off my emotional ledge and remind me that people just care about me and want to spend time with me. I can laugh about it now and see how everyone just genuinely just wanted a little sliver of me, but in the moment, I would get so worked up. Any other past NICU mom relate? No? Just me?

Well, Sunday's sermon had me revisiting those old feelings and looking more inward, which helped make it clear to me: time is something that I value extremely highly, perhaps more than others, and that is okay! I can now explain things that I could never explain before. For instance, I have never been a "play date" kinda person. I always longed to me that type of mom - I remember pre-planning play dates with mom friends when I was preggo with Kensington. But that's just not who I am. I would rather spend my time alone at the house with the kids, tending to what needs to be done in the home, and let my kids run freely without worry of them breaking anything or hurting themselves. Also staying in PJ's and no makeup is another major perk of not being a play-date-kinda-mom. If you're a play date lover, I applaud you! In another life, I would be more like you!

So yea, time. It's a whole thing for me that I'm finally learning to embrace but also get better at. If I ever seem defensive or possessive about my time, please extend grace. But also know that when you get my time, it's viewed as a gift from me to you with a cherry on top - and that I wouldn't wanna be anywhere else in that moment.

Food Talk and Bennett Update

I know it's been a week since I last posted, but I have been so crazy tired during this first trimester. Not sure if I'm making this up, but I'm guessing there are twice the hormones with a twin pregnancy? Even if not, I am telling myself that's what it is. Or maybe I've had one too many Girl Scout cookies and the sugar is draining me. My personal favorites are the Samoas, Tagalongs, and Thin Mints - in that order. Anyone else feel me on that?

The Girl Scout cookies haven't been my only craving lately (I swear, it's just this time of year that I crave them, so thankfully January is almost over). We went to Dallas this weekend for my niece's 2nd birthday party and on our way from Austin to Dallas, I made Ross drive me through Waco to get me Taco Bueno and then after Waco, I made him stop at the famous Czech stop (obviously) for some strawberry kolaches.
One thing that Ross and I always joke about is how good of eaters we are. And then, wouldn't you know it - we give birth to a son who has a feeding tube and has no clue how to eat.

The thing with Bennett is that from the get-go, we heard "whimpy white boy." In a sense, it's a super degrading term, but in another way, it's kinda sorta applicable so it honestly doesn't bother me anymore. Bennett has never been motivated. The boy will do something when he's good and ready, but not before then. Since he was born so prematurely (25 weeks & 1 day), he never got the chance to safely learn how to suck, swallow, breathe in utero. Long story short: he needed a more permanent solution to being fed (not just an NG tube which goes down babies noses) and that's why he now has the G Tube.

He got the G Tube TWO years ago and honestly it gives me so many emotions to think about. When they placed the tube, they said, "he'll be off it in a couple months." Then a couple months came and went. Next we heard, "he'll be off it by two years old." Well, the boy is 2.5 years old and there's no end in sight.
Our Bennett in a nutshell. Wearing cowboy boots and showing off his tummy. The cloth around his button is to protect his skin from getting irritated (like his mama, he has sensitive skin).

All of that being said, a lot has changed in the last 1 of 2 years in Bennett having a feeding tube.

  1. He doesn't throw up nearly as much as he used to. Which is a huge game changer. For about a year straight, he was throwing up daily, several times. This leads me to ...
  2. He can handle a slightly higher volume than he previously was able to. In year 1 of his feeding tube, he couldn't handle 2oz of Formula in any normal amount of time. Instead we were on a continuous feed (which is exactly as it sounds) just to help him get nutrition. Now, Bennett can handle 6-8oz of blended food within a 30 minute period.
  3. Bennett previously couldn't accept texture into his mouth. He would immediately gag and throw up. Now, he will try basically anything and has even started learning how to chew. But, he still doesn't swallow 80% of his food. Therefore, it just sits in his mouth and we have to scoop it out. 
One huge silver lining is that even in the process of having him dependent on the G Tube for nutrition, Bennett successfully learned how to suck out of a straw. Y'all - he can drink by mouth! Granted, he doesn't take in as much fluid as he needs, so we still help him out by giving extra water in the tube, but it's truly an incredible thing that he mastered the straw.

Another thing: not that it really matters to me at this point what people think about Bennett's unique eating situation, but you have to admit that he looks like he knows what he's doing in that video. He looks like a perfectly normal and healthy growing baby boy. What you don't see is us scooping the chicken out of his mouth after 30 minutes of him just sucking on the flavor.

The G Tube is an absolute blessing. But the biggest frustration Ross and I have with it is simply having to do double work. It's our responsibility to offer Bennett food by mouth EVEN THOUGH we know he's likely not going to swallow it. In addition to prepping food for him to try by mouth, we also have to blend his food to go through the tube (for nutrition sake). Bennett eats what is called Real Foods Blends which is basically packaged, blended food that the DME (medical supplier) sends us every month. We add in oils and fats to make it more caloric. Then, we put the food straight from a syringe into his belly. The Real Foods Blends are actual foods which are already blended up and are specific for tube fed patients. Funny story about that: a few times back in the day, we actually fed him these blended foods by mouth because we had no clue what we were doing. And to our surprise, Bennett liked the flavor even though it sounds awful eating blended up eggs, apples, and oats together.

There are some major benefits to having the feeding tube though, I will admit. My favorite though: giving medicine is so easy AND can be done while Bennett is asleep. If he's sick and sleeping, no problem - we just open the port and insert medicine. Boom. It really doesn't get any easier than that.
The last 2.5 years of Bennett's life has been a wild ride, but also wildly joy-filled too. He is the biggest fan of Mickey Mouse, smiles so easily, gives the best kisses on the lips, is friendly to every single person, recently started talking SO MUCH, and he sleeps 12 hours straight every single night. Now tell me what could possibly be better?