A Day in the Life.

Dykstra FamilyIt’s been four weeks since the twins were born. Some days it feels like time has flown by and other days it feels like it’s been a year in this “new normal”. We thought we knew what sleep deprivation looked like after experiencing the newborn stage with Maebyn but with two in the mix and a one year old, we’re learning a new side of tired that we never knew existed. 🙂 Thanks to some great advice from other twin parents, we’ve been trying our hardest to keep the girls on the same schedule but lately they seem to have a plan of their own, which includes eating at the same time everyday and rotating who is awake and asleep throughout the night time.

Twin LifeWe’ve been learning (read that as trying to learn) so much these past few weeks. The value of teamwork. The golden opportunity and moment of bliss: nap time. Taking on new roles as the “Need Meeters”, that’s what Ross and I call each other throughout the day, between the three girls and our pit bull, Beazy, we’ve adopted new identities of recognizing and meeting a need pretty much 24/7. Appreciating and loving dear friends and family who have helped out in so many ways from making and bringing us meals to helping us balance watching the girls and adjusting to our new life (THANK YOU!). Receiving unexpected gifts and support is so humbling and appreciated, another thank you to the generous, anonymous person who sent us a huge box of diapers two weeks ago and the countless loved ones who’ve mailed cards and sent supplies over the past month. We truly can’t say thank you adequately.

The_GirlsAnd overall, we’ve been recognizing how wild, crazy, fun and chaotic this new world is for us. We got brave this week and took the whole clan out to an outdoor mall just to walk around and spend some time enjoying the last few days of warm weather here in Cinci. Two baby Bjorns, one stroller, and one giant diaper bag later, we made it to the mall – with an eager, Frankenstein-walking one year old and two newborns. It wasn’t until this trip that we realized just how our situation must appear from the outside looking in. We were greeted by a comment or disbelieving stare from literally each and EVERY passerby and have had some fun conversations with complete strangers sharing stories about their “family of nine”, or their first few years of parenting twins. We definitely welcome these conversations, it’s nice to know we’re not the only crazies out their who long for a big family and welcome the challenging blessing.

Dykstra SistersWhat else are Ross and I trying to learn? That these moments, minutes, days and hours are so fleeting. That feeling overwhelmed might not be such a bad thing and conversations at 3 am shouldn’t be held against one another. That the house will not be clean, probably ever again and laundry, bottle washing, breastfeeding, burping and diaper-changing are all never-ending tasks that show these girls that we love them and are here to serve. That Mountain Dew is fuel. That toys, burp rags, blankies and pacifiers are the new scenery. That making games out of routines helps pass the time (who knew you could get a leg work-out in by balancing your one-year-old while simultaneously breastfeeding?). That dance parties and blaring music is a MUST at 2 pm when everyone is hitting an all-time energy low.

That this stage will pass soon and they really are only little once. That cuddles, baby coos and dreaming smiles are the rewards and should not be taken for granted.

– Ross, MaK, Maebyn, Truette & Larkyn Dykstra

Advertisements

Ever wonder what’s on Maebyn’s mind?

One of MaKenzie and I’s most favorite things to do is to talk for Maebyn. We used to laugh at each other for entertainment and now we’ve found that coming up with “what Maebyn is thinking” is much more entertaining. Need examples? Well I’m glad you asked because that is all this post is gonna be.

Maebyn Bathtime

So I says to the guy, hey buddy, lemme make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Maebyn Swaddled

Left hand… check. One more and this jokester’s gonna get it.

Oh hey, me & dad just hit up the gym... he's mixin us a protein shake right now.

Oh hey, me & dad just hit up the gym… he’s mixin us a protein shake right now, we start cardio in 5.

Sure, I'll wear this crazy get-up for a free bag of candy any day.

Sure, I’ll wear this crazy get-up for a free bag of candy any day.

Hey, look, I'm just as shocked as you guys are.

Hey look, I’m just as shocked as you guys are.

See Ellery, I tried to tell ya, the dogs ARE allowed to poop outside.

See Ellery, I tried to tell ya, the dogs ARE allowed to poop outside.

Uhhhh... this doesn't seem safe, guys, she's like 3 days old.

Uhhhh… this doesn’t seem safe, guys, she’s like 3 days old.

Mom, I tried to tell ya... neither one of us are ready for bikini season this year.

Mom, seriously though… neither one of us are ready for bikini season this year.

 

Hope at least one of those made you laugh. Till next time,

Ross

The Dad-Friendly Drinking Game

Dad and MaebynIf you’re a stay-at-home parent, do you ever have weeks/months that feel like you’ve been doing the same thing non-stop? With or without a set “routine”, you still feel like you end up doing the exact same thing, every… single… day. Today was no different for me. It was dark, rainy and cold and I could tell from the moment I woke up, I needed something to help the day be more exciting. Being a stay at home dad is fun but sometimes you have to find ways of entertaining yourself, just as much as you do the little one. So before I went to work out at 9 am, I came up with a little game I would play throughout the day. It was called “see how much water I could drink” – aka The Dad-Friendly Drinking Game (my, how times have changed). I usually try to drink a lot of water throughout the day but today I was even more determined to really go after it.

 

I got to the gym a little after nine and immediately had to pee. I had already consumed 24 oz of water prior to my work out and my system was already processing at a high level. Let the games begin! Throughout my work-out I probably consumed 32 oz more and was really starting to feel hydrated. Upon my arrival home, I mixed a bottle for the little one and mixed a little protein shake for myself. I always tell Maebyn that if she’s drinking a supplement shake then I might as well be joining her. It’s kind of odd how our two lives are really becoming identical – I mix a powdery substance into some purified water for her, shake it up… and then do the same thing for myself. After my protein shake, I stared back at the water to measure the ounces. It wasn’t even 11 a.m. and I was over 100 oz. I was definitely winning my self-made game and it was giving me a sense of accomplishment. #dadproblems

 

However, with all of this water drinking I was literally having to use the restroom every 15 minutes. We went to Kroger to get a couple groceries and I found myself in the bathroom twice within that time frame. The game was spicing up the day but it was also causing me to spent a decent amount of time in the restroom. It seemed like the game was getting the best of me but I wasn’t going to have that. I decided to amp up the water drinking. All in all I think I’m up to a little over 200 oz today. I’d have to say I think I won. In fact, that’s an affirmative, I definitely won. I’ve never drank this much water in a day and I’ve also never peed this much in a day either. If that’s not a solid victory, I’m not sure what is.

 

Monday Fun-day, folks.

 

Ross

Chef R.A.D.

FEED ME. Seriously... like now, dad.

FEED ME. Seriously… like… now, dad.

A new responsibility that I have assumed as a stay at home dad is making the babies food. This task is usually reserved for Mondays. Maebyn and I go to Kroger, I talk to her in The Grocery Voice, a fan-favorite that sounds something like Arnold Schwarzenegger meets Count Dracula. I’m not sure how it got started but the grocery voice is a ritual that neither of us are willing to give up (I’m sure she’ll feel the same way when she’s twelve). We peruse the aisles together, she smiles at me and tells me what kinds of food she wants – I mainly buy fruit because that’s my personal favorite. We actually got in a fight today cuz she was hell-bent on sushi but it just wasn’t happening, Kroger’s supply was less than impressive. I’m trying to incorporate vegetables but it’s hard, because I HATE vegetables and for some reason it makes me think she does too. MaKenzie laughs at me because I truly feel guilty feeding her veggies, just the other day I tried to throw out some asparagus I made because the guilt was almost unbearable. As for Maebyn, her favorite foods (to-date) are avocado, mangos, apples, pears, bananas, and basically anything sweet. She gets this from her mothers insane obsession with candy I think.

When I first started making food for Maebyn it was fun. Now it’s more of a necessary task than fun. I like feeding her food, it just takes so much time and to be honest I’m excited for the day I can set food down and she can feed herself. I have a tough enough time eating balanced meals for myself, and feeding her a nice balanced nutritious meal can be overwhelming. She’s not a fussy eater and eats everything I’ve given her so far so I really have no complaints. The only problem is – man is the girl needy. I have to scoop every bite of food into her mouth, clean her face after every bite, and repeat the process until she’s full. I mean come on, learn to do some things on your own, Maebyn, you’re seven months old for cryin’ out loud.

Today, we made mangos, mixed with apples and carrots. I thought the concoction tasted quite good and so did she. She polished off about a jar and a half of the stuff and didn’t spit out any of it. This is an accomplishment too because she recently discovered that she can spit the food all over her face and that it’s quite fun to make messes. She’s also discovered that the dog is standing by at all times, willing and ready to take any food off her hands (or face, toes, neck…).

Maebyn is seven months old today and seeing her growth and development over the past couple months has been our joy. Simple things like learning to eat has been fun to witness. She changes everyday and the only thing I keep thinking is, time is going by too fast.

I’m in the market for new recipes so if you have a favorite, leave a comment below and let me know about it. I’m always down for trying new things and I think my baby-food-creativity has hit a wall.

Ross

Me First, Please

Maebyn's been working on her selfishness this week too. Starting with her obsessive headband collection.

Maebyn’s been working on her selfishness this week too. Starting with her obsessive headband collection.

Staying at home with my daughter and just being a parent in general has brought a lot of things to light in my life. I think I’ve mentioned it before but I’m still coming to terms with how selfish I can be. I can blame some of my selfishness on our culture, some to human nature, but most just falls on the fact that most of us at the core of who we are believe we are the most important. We believe a story that focuses around us and our needs. My dad use to remind me of the profound idea that “the universe doesn’t center around me” or, my personal favorite, “it must be a burden knowing everything.” Although I didn’t appreciate it then, I actually see that on some level during some circumstances, I actually believed these ideas and I still do even today. Hey, I’m working on it.

I’ve seen these things play out in my marriage with uncomfortable regularity. My wife is very a very diligent hard worker. She’s worked for everything and is careful with our money. I have repeatedly given her a hard time when she wants to buy things and have heaped burdens onto her for wanting certain things that I may not deem necessary. I, on the other hand, have no trouble spending money on myself, it’s actually quite easy. And I’m fairly good at it. I’ve found it’s so much easier to worry about my needs rather than elevating someone else’s above my own. I see this tendency revealed even in doing simple chores. Most of the things I do, I expect something in return. Even if its a simple thank you (or a national parade, letter from the President – I’m not picky), I’m still looking for my own self to be recognized for the things I do for others and when that’s not the outcome, I feel wronged.

What I want to strive for is doing for others just because that is what I feel the Lord leading me to do. No expectations, no need for repayment, and definitely no national parade in celebration of my feats. I’ve bought into the lie that relationships are entered into when there is something that can benefit me. I want to be someone that freely enters into relationships with people where I may not gain or receive anything and be OK with it. We all need each other and if we are only interested in our own personal gains than how can we can truly be a blessing to anyone?

The reason for this post is that ever since I started this blog random people have been asking me to mention, promote, or partner with their businesses. Obviously, my audience is pretty limited and not really that focused so I haven’t known how to respond to them. I haven’t even concocted a plan on how I could benefit from doing it, so I’m not sure how they will either. Regardless of all that, I’ve felt compelled to at least try and help those who ask for my little assistance. Paul Serra, the owner of the domain CustomOnIt.com, asked if I would mention his new website in the hopes of driving more traffic. They’re a young company, trying to gain some interest, with some pretty cool products (personalized sweatbands, anyone?). My first thought was, embarrassingly enough, what can I get out of this? I desperately don’t want this to be my mindset when someone asks for my help and that is why I’m asking you guys to check out his website. Paul is not giving me anything to write this post and I do not want anything in return. My hope is that some of you check out his site and maybe even use his services.

My wife and I had a long talk last night about what it really means to change the course of your life/lifestyle/family and how (pretty much always) these tasks seem way too big to undertake. We overwhelm ourselves with the “how”, “when” and “what” questions – thinking that we need to come to some epiphany that will propel us into endless action of “right doings”. False. At least that’s how we feel. More often then not, it’s making one right decision in hopes that it propels a bigger goal or purpose. My father-in-law always says “Just do the next right thing”.

Conquering selfishness isn’t going to happen tomorrow, but today a new friend gets a free plug. Best of luck, Paul. I wish I would have found CustomOnIt.com back in my competitive intramural dodgeball days. We totally would have had custom “Man Candy” sweat headbands.

Till next time,

Ross

Call me Maebyn.

photo(25)Today has been a good day. MaKenzie worked from home, Maebyn slept through the night, and I went to bed with the satisfaction of knowing that Ohio State lost in over time to Michigan. My allegiances fall to Michigan State when it comes to college sports, but living in Ohio has perpetuated my distaste for Ohio State and I cheer vehemently for whoever they are playing against. However, that is neither here nor there or the reason for this blog post.

Maebyn is 5 days away from being 6 months old. It’s crazy how time flies when you’re having fun (shout out to Alex Vogelzang – he said this all day the first time we played together in pre-school and that phrase hasn’t been the same to me since). It also becomes even better when you’re sleep deprived. I thought I would take the time today to explain how we came up with the name Maebyn. It’s a fun story, not a lot of depth but one that I enjoy telling.

When we found out that MaKenzie was with child, we immediately began to compile a list of names that we loved for boys and girls. Most of my names were very creative like Bob, Sam, or Bill. MaKenzie is more of the creative one so she came up with names like Electricity, Pillow, and Flowing Wind. Ok, I’m being a little bit facetious but it seemed at times that this wasn’t far off. At 16 weeks we found out that we were having a baby girl and thus our search had been narrowed.

Come February, with no names that really stuck out to either one of us we continued down our path of me coming up with ridiculously conservative names and MaKenzie coming up with names only crazy celebrities name their dogs. At the end of April, we headed down to Florida for family vacation with my side of the family. We had 18 hours together in the car so we decided to try and come up with a name once and for all. We had kicked around the name Maybe but we were concerned our child would be uncertain her whole life. Through talking about the name Maybe, we landed on Maebyn. I actually thought of it (I know, I was shocked too) because one of my favorite baseball players names is Cameron Maybin. We both liked the name but we weren’t sold. It wasn’t until hour 12 of 18 in the car that we finally decided on Maebyn.

I was driving at the time and it was somewhere between the hours of 3-5 a.m. I love driving at night but with MaKenzie fast asleep and nothing to keep my interest I began to fade fast. I wasn’t going to stop though and risk losing a couple hours of family vacation. So I did the only logical thing I could think of, I downloaded Carley Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe”. I have to admit, I love this song. It makes you happy and at 4 a.m. in the morning I needed something. As I listened to the song on repeat I kept getting butterflies in my stomach thinking about naming my daughter Maebyn. MaKenzie woke up about a half hour into my jam session and she felt much of the same way. Carley Rae had sealed the deal on the name Maebyn.

So what’s the meaning behind the name? Well, embarrassingly enough we chose the name because 1.) we had never heard it before 2.) we liked it and 3.) we kind of wanted a name with a “y” in it. Not exactly a strong case for a name right? Well, after we had Maebyn I began to look into the meaning of her name. Bear with me because the meaning is something that I came up with but I pray that it has set the course for her life. “Mae” means “bitter” or “bitter pursuit” and “Byn” or “Ben” means the “right hand of God.” Maebyn – the bitter pursuit of the right hand of God. I know this translation may be a stretch but when my little girl asks me what her name means, this is the response she will get.

So there you have it, the origin and meaning for my baby girl Maebyn.
Feel free to call her Maeby.

Ross