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2 Weeks in and So In Love

2 Weeks in and So In Love

We got home the evening of March 26th and it has been a blur ever since. It is hard to imagine Ava and Libby are 16 days old and that I have to return to school tomorrow to finish out the year. From the day we arrived at our house with these precious angels, they have been perfect. All they have done is be perfect, we moved their pac ‘n plays into the living room so that they could get used to noise and they sleep right through everything TV, dog barking, people over, etc. They eat about every 2-3 hours even at night so Erin and I have been getting sleep at 2-3 hours a clip at night. Everything has been going swimmingly at the Peters’ household.

Telling them apart has been a bit of a challenge for everyone including yours truly. We tried painting Libby’s toenail but that was an epic fail since she always has her foot covered. They have no visible birthmarks on their face, but we did find one on Ava’s thigh, not that that helps unless all she has on is her diaper, which is never. The only thing we did find is that Libby’s face is a bit longer, while Ava’s face is a bit more like her Dad’s, chubby! This will be a good thing to remember if you ever decide to come visit since their mom is insistent on dressing them alike, for now.

We have had a few outings since the girls have been home from the hospital, admittedly most of them have been to the Dr. On that note both girls are over their birth weights which indicates that they are eating well. I’m assuming they get that honestly too. We have taken them to Target, Whole Foods, Westside Irish American Club (obviously) and yesterday we went and visited the Easter Bunny at Babycakes in Rocky River. After we saw the Easter Bunny we walked around River had lunch and enjoyed the beautiful Saturday. Last night, was our first night out as Erin’s parents came over to babysit, I hope they never get tired of the trip from Columbia, as we went to a birthday party last night for a few hours. These babies are rock stars anywhere we go they are the topic of conversation and people ohh and ahh over them and how beautiful they are, I think I’m going to be in trouble down the line.

My wife amazes me every single day to the point that sometimes I forget that she had major surgery. She is up and about feeding, changing, holding, and snuggling the girls at every turn. I have to admit that I was a little worried about the middle of the night feedings with her. I’m not sure if you guys have ever met Erin before she has had her coffee but it’s not a nice place to be (obviously I’m joking). We have taken 4 am flights places before and there has not been a word spoken in the car least I get pushed out on the road at 55 mph. I am a bit more of a morning person so that is the big difference between the two of us and my wanting to chit chat is not welcome. Erin has been amazing and honestly I never thought she wouldn’t be she feeds them pumps then goes back to bed, and repeat in 2-3 hours. She never complains and I fall more in love with her each day watching her interactions with the girls.

Erin and I were watching the news Thursday morning and the 5 day forecast came on and I got sad because I go back to work on Monday. I’m not sad I have to go back to work, I’m sad that I have to leave my girls tomorrow morning. I love my job and can’t wait to get back to the students and finish the year strong. I’m not gonna lie though I’m going to be thinking about my girls all day long. Which leads me to my point Erin was extremely nervous that I am going back to work and she will be at home by herself with the girls for the first time. My mother, the saint that she is, is coming up tonight to stay with us for the week and it really put Erin’s mind at ease. The following week Erin has someone coming over everyday to be with her. Between Mark, Erin’s father, Aunt Kate, Erin’s Aunt, Erin’s mother Barb, and our neighbors my mind will be at ease that Erin will be good to go while I finish the school year. People really are amazing and we couldn’t have asked to be surrounded by better family or neighbors that are willing to do whatever is needed.

Enjoy the greatest sports time of the year, March Madness, Masters and Baseball is starting. Can’t wait till summer and all the adventures that the 5 of us are going to go on. Love you guys have a great week!

Here We Are!!

Here We Are!!

The moment we’ve all been waiting for finally arrived on Friday March 22nd. Erin and I knew we were having a c-section at 7:30 am at the Fairview Cleveland Clinic Campus. We got to the hospital around 5 am that morning and the nurses proceeded to poke and prod my wife to prepare her for the procedure. Then the Physicians Assistant came in, real nice guy by the way, and told us that our appointment would not be until 9:30 am, well damn. We got that news about 6:45, so my parents were already in route from New Philadelphia, so they would be at the hospital shortly. I called my Dad and suggested they go to our house, it would be more comfortable, they could nap in a bed, get something to eat I thought I was being a good son offering my parents comforts rather than sitting in a hospital waiting room for two to three hours. Nope. My Dad responds with, “Why would I do that? We will just drive there and turn around, we’re coming to the hospital be there in 15 minutes.” Click. Mind you I live 15 minutes from the hospital not in Toledo, but I digress. I was able to get a hold of Erin’s parents and they were able to adjust and show up at 9:15.

As Erin and I sat in the room we were asked all sorts of questions from the most popular “What do you think you’re having?” After the realized that we did not know gender. To the obvious next question, “Do you have names picked out?” The same Physicians Assistant came in and was talking and in the middle after asking the first two most popular questions asked if I was going to call out gender when the time comes. I of course said yes which he responded to by telling me stories of guys calling it out wrong. At this I thought to myself, huh, I’m pretty good at multiple choice tests and there are only two possible answers so I got this. Also, I thought how do you miss that , there are two pretty distinct body parts you are deciphering between. Finally Dr. Goebel got to our room we did our safety huddle and they took Erin back to get her epidural and spinal shot. This was the longest fifteen minutes of my life. I was hoping and praying that everything was going smoothly, but the time seemed to crawl by. Finally a nurse came to get me to go to the operating room.

As I walk into the operating room I am greeted by the great sign that Erin is fine and the glorious vocals of the late great Tom Petty singing “Won’t Back Down.” The nurse pulls up a chair by Erin’s head and Erin tells me no pictures when they first come out. What felt like about 3 minutes past and they said, “Get ready Dad!” I look over the curtain and there she was! I told Erin, “It’s a Girl!” As I’m looking at our new daughter the Dr. and nurses are yelling at me, “Take a picture!” As I fumble with my phone to take the picture, I look down and see the second ones bubble of fluid coming and the doctor hands off baby A and 3 seconds later her comes baby B. The process of putting Erin back together is something else, I can’t even comprehend how they put that puzzle back together.

At 9:48 Elizabeth Marie was pulled from the womb followed closely by Ava Grace at 9:49. They are the most beautiful, perfect beings I’ve ever laid eyes on. Erin and I were in love from the first moment we saw them. Libby, that’s what we are calling Elizabeth, has been with us since the moment that they cleaned her up. Ava has had a bit more of an adventure. Being the second one out Ava was having trouble getting the fluid out of her lungs on her own so she had to spend some time in the NICU. The first time we went down to see her it was a little overwhelming with all of the tape and hoses all over her little body. I went down to the NICU about 100 times Friday and every time I did she got a little bit better. I was down there so much the lady at the desk told me I set a one day record. I went home Friday night as Ava spent the night in the NICU and Libby went to the nursery.

When I came back on Saturday, all three girls were doing awesome. Libby was in the room with Erin and Ava was in the NICU. Ava was breathing 100% on her own without the C Pap and they did not have to give her any additional oxygen. She ate like a champion on Friday night and all that was keeping her from her mother and sister was being able to regulate her body temperature. The second time I went down Ava was out of the covered box and in the open. I did the Tiger fist pump about three times when I saw this. The plan was for Erin to go down and see if Ava will latch at 4:45 pm, but the nurse came in and told us you aren’t going to the NICU they are bringing her up to you. Sure enough about 6:00 Ava Grace Peters came rolling through the door. Erin about lost her stuff and one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in my life was the first time Erin had the two of them on her chest at the same time.

This has been quite the journey that Erin and I embarked on starting in June. I will never forget the day we got the eggs planted and got home and just our luck our neighbor had two extra tickets to the “Zac Brown Band.” Everyone that was on the party bus that night claims that’s when the egg split. I will never forget the ten weeks of giving Erin shots to help the embryos grow. This is a fantastic journey with a wonderful end to a wonderful beginning. I would not want to be on this ride with anyone else in the world, Erin is the strongest, mentally toughest woman I’ve ever been around. This pregnancy she never complained even when she couldn’t put her shoes on by herself. If she did complain to me, she would immediately apologize. I love and admire this woman, she is my hero.

Erin and I would like to thank everyone who was on this journey with us. The love and support we have received from our family, and you guys are no longer friends you are all family, has been overwhelming. You’ll never know how much it meant to us to see pure joy and excitement on your faces talking about Ava and Libby. Sometimes when you think about bringing children into this world you worry about everything and keeping them safe, but it eases our minds to know that Libby and Ava will have awesome role models to follow their whole lives. From the bottom of our hearts we want to express our deepest gratitude to you all and tell you that we love you and truly appreciate everyone’s thoughts and kind words the last 9-10 months.

If you would like to keep up with adventures of Ava, Libby, and Hank, I will be updating the blog every so often. Have a great week and hope everyone’s bracket isn’t busted yet!

Last One!

This has been an incredible journey and it is hard to believe that it is coming to a marvelous conclusion. Friday we had our final scheduled ultrasound, as I write this we are 12 days from meeting the Peters twins. Friday they each grew a 1/2 lb and their heartbeats were between 135-145. The biggest change came when Dr. Khoury came in the room and told Erin and I that both babies were head down and in the shoots ready to come out. Since we first started this process Erin and I were planning a c-section but now with this new information a natural birth maybe in the cards. We have an appointment with Erin’s OB on Tuesday and we will find out more information then. This new information has thrown us a bit of a curve ball but we will get through it like we do everything else, as a team.

We still do not know the gender, which is a tribute to my wife for not finding out. As I told her the other day, we have become exponentially more interesting since we didn’t find out the gender.

We feel incredibly blessed to be living in the Cleveland area and access to one of the greatest hospitals in the country. Our experience with this whole process from the start has been amazing and it is because of the Clinics outstanding nurses and doctors. From our first meeting with Dr. Tan and all of the nurses we encountered with the IVF process to Dr. Khoury and the nurses in Avon and Fairview we could not have been happier with the service we have received. Every ultrasound technician, and we saw a ton of them, was very patient and kind and answered all of our questions as best they could. We will not use another hospital system other than the clinic as long as we live in Northeast Ohio. We feel very fortunate to have this resource at our disposal.

We are excited to meet these little nuggets in twelve days no matter how they arrive. The best thing these babies are going to have going for them is that they are going to be born in the greatest country in the world. From day one these guys (no not a hint at gender) will have opportunities that others around the world only dream of having. In America, and Erin and I will drill this into their little minds from day one, hard work is rewarded. You can be whatever you want but it is not going to be handed to you, you have to work for it. LeBron James said when he came back to Cleveland to play for the Cavs, “Nothing is given, everything is earned”. That is not just a nice saying to sell t-shirts but is 100% true. Hard work always wins!

As always thank you for being a part of this journey with us and reading the updates. Erin and I truly feel blessed to know we have so much love and support coming our way. We love each and everyone of you guys, and hope that this journey has been as enjoyable for you as it has been for us. Thank you and the next time you hear from me you will find out names and gender. The wait is almost over!!!

Under a Month to Go and Fired UP!!

This weekend was all about the twins. Friday we had an ultrasound and again we got great results. The babies are growing rapidly but at the same rate which is ideal. Dr. Khoury is the high-risk doctor that we see every other week, and we love him. He works at either Avon or Fairview and we will go to whichever hospital he is at. He is one of the smartest people that I have ever encountered and he makes Erin and I feel at ease when he walks in and says, “Everything looks great”. He likes that they are progressing so well but he says what is most important is their gestational age and that getting them to 36 weeks is the most important thing. The babies have been within two ounces of each other every time we go in to get an update and since the beginning Baby A was always in the lead but this week Baby B took the lead in the weight department weighing in at 5lb 2oz and Baby A was 5lbs even. Which places them at the 97th and 95th percentile for single babies. Erin currently has over 10lbs of babies in her belly, she, of course, blames me because I was a 10lb baby weighing in at 10lb 12oz. My Mother was a trooper!

Yesterday my awesome neighbors threw me a diaper party/brewery crawl and it was a great time. There were about 16 of my closest friends including neighbors and my dad, brother, brother-in-law, and father-in-law. We went to Masthead, Noble Beast, and Collison Bend, on a sidenote Cleveland has some of the best breweries I’ve ever been too. Anyway, the diaper party was put together by one of my neighbors who thought why should the wives have all the fun, so he put yesterday together. I live in the greatest most generous neighborhood in the world. I was amazed at how many people took time out of their busy lives to come and celebrate the pending birth of our twins. Looking back and knowing how busy people are with their kid’s activities it is overwhelming to think that so many guys think so much of us that they came to celebrate. I always told Erin if you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be living in a development, with a dog, and expecting twins I would have told you that you are crazy! Here we are 27 days out!

Finally to wrap up this week’s update. The world is made up of some great people, you just have to look around to find them. People tell me that I am overly optimistic but I feel that if you peel back the layers there is genuine good in everyone. We have to get past the evening news and all of the horror stories out there and find the good in the world. I am going to tell you a story because it lit up my world on Friday. One of my toughest students came in on Friday morning looks at me and says, “Hey Mr. Peters, I got something for you”. The student reached into his bag and pulled out a chocolate apple that said #1 Teacher. I almost cried, him and I have been partners all year and we have also had our battles but for him to think of me meant a lot. There is good in everyone we just have to keep fighting the good fight.

Have a great week everyone hopefully March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb and we can all hit the golf course soon.

Update 30 Weeks: They are Big!

When you read this we will be under 5 weeks from delivery and Erin will be 31 weeks pregnant. Last Friday afternoon we went to the ultrasound and everything was great again. The twins are measuring at 95 and 87 percentile respectively with regards to weight. Baby A is measuring at 3 lbs 14 oz and Baby B is weighing in at 3 lbs 12 oz. That is a lot of babies, as the technician informed us they do the percentages as if they were single babies! Whoa! The babies heartbeats, my favorite part of the ultrasound, by the way, were both in the mid 140 to 150 range. They showed us the kidneys, spine, heart, legs, feet, hands, and arms and of course their brains. I’m going to fill them with plenty of information in the years to come.

My wife, Erin is a trooper! She is getting bigger every day as the babies keep growing, which is great that they keep growing and at the same pace, but they are sucking the life out of her. She is constantly tired and hungry, but she never complains. She is the best and understands that she has to go through this so that we can get the greatest gifts of our lives at the end. I have a deep respect for women in the first place, but after watching what Erin’s body is going through my respect level for her is off the chart. Watching her work every day, and she is damn good at her job, and also battle through the hunger and tiredness from this pregnancy. Don’t worry babe it will be over soon and it will be well worth it!

Today I gave a talk about my military experience to the eighth-grade class as a part of a career day at school. The Marine Staff Seargent that was supposed to speak got the flu so they called me in from the bullpen. I was stoked to be able to talk about my military experience and especially the time I spent in Iraq. I loved my experience and as I told the students today it was truly a life-changing experience for me. I hope at least one of the students that listened to me today considers the military as a post-graduation option and they get as much out of their experience as I did.

This past Thursday was Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day means love and not just love for your significant other but love for everyone. This world could use more love. Love helps unite and enables us to not be afraid to lend a helping hand to someone who needs it. You never know how much it will mean to someone if you tell them good morning or just share a smile with that person. You never know what others are dealing with and what a kind gesture may change their mindset. Be kind to one another you never know what one kind word or act can change.

Love you guys, can not wait for these next five weeks to fly by and then we can start our journey with our two new additions. This week be kind to everyone, remember you don’t have to like everyone but you should love everyone. Have a great week, next Friday the 22nd we go back for another ultrasound. Thank you for your love and support.

Update: Two Months To Go 27 Weeks

Update: Two Months To Go 27 Weeks

What a weekend we just had! As we embark on our 27th week of pregnancy, we had our baby shower. First off, Erin and I were overwhelmed by the love and generosity shown to us by our family and friends. Not only did we get a ton of stuff that will prove to be invaluable when the twins come, but at the end of the shower, we had neighbors offer to load their cars up to help get the stuff home. There were 60 plus people in attendance at Market in Rocky River, which is a tribute to the type of person my wife is and was before we met. Erin is the type of person that has always put others first and it shows by the way people come out to support her. Most of our “fights” have occurred when I am questioning why she is taking on another family project whether it be the organization of family vacation, Christmas Eve Party (that’s not at our house) that she sends out the email for because she knows how busy her sister is, or helping family members find gifts that she knows will make their significant others feel special, my wife is a saint. It’s funny as we lead up to an event like we had on Saturday, she always says, “let’s invite everyone, but they’re not going to show up!” Sure enough, the RSVPs start rolling in and we have 69 people coming and she is freaking out because she is going to be the center of attention. Not only did we have a ton of local people at the shower, but we also had relatives fly in from Louisiana, Arizona, and Boston and friends from D.C make the trip, to say the least, it was an awesome weekend. Erin and I have been laughing at each other’s little quirks for five years now and will continue to laugh at each other for the next 50! Here’s to laughing at whatever gets thrown at us, babe!

The shower was put on by two of the most selfless people that I know Catherine Peters, my mother, and Barb Cunningham, my mother-in-law. These two women are amazing with the things that they pull off. These two are two of the most caring, helpful, and selfless people that I know. On Saturday, they threw the most beautiful baby shower I’ve ever seen, my sample size isn’t exactly extensive but it was truly amazing. We had a beautiful cake, cupcakes, breakfast buffet, great decorations, and tons of friends and family. It was a perfect day and I cannot thank these two ladies enough. Erin and I constantly talk about how we hit the jackpot with in-laws. I think the world of my mother and father-in-law and I know Erin feels the same about hers. We are beyond blessed to have these four individuals in our lives and it gives me great comfort knowing that they will be influential in the twins lives as well. We can’t thank you enough Mark and Barb, and Mom and Dad you guys are the best!

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to the owner and the great staff at Market in Rocky River, Ohio. They were fantastic, the owner took care of our every need including helping to carry out the gifts at the end. The valet guys helped make sure everyone got to their cars safely as the snow started to fall pretty heavily by the end. I cannot say enough about them and the job they did, when we have another event you better believe they will be at the top of the list of venues we will call. I heard today we may be having another event there pretty soon!

Today is Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and as we celebrate this man we must not forget the lessons that he taught us during the civil rights movement. Those lessons are as prevalent today as they were during his day. One of his quotes that I love is this:

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

I love this quote because it was from a man that had every reason to hate the people who oppressed him, but he was better than that and chose to fight their hatred with love rather than hate and violence. In a world with so much division, fear and hate mongering let’s try to live the dream Dr. King had for the world and drive that hate, fear, and division out by loving each other a little more, saying “Hello” to a complete stranger, listening to each other, and having empathy for that person’s situation. Be the best version of you!

Let’s make this world a better place one day at a time when you feel yourself about to lose it and respond to a situation without thinking, press pause, stop and think about what outcome you want and how your response will influence that outcome. I love you beautiful people have a great week looking forward to a great 2019 and there will be two new beautiful humans coming at you on March 22nd!

We Are Ready For 2019!!

We Are Ready For 2019!!

As the year comes to a close I reflect on our family’s one word for 2018 which was simplify. We chose simplify because we felt that our lives became too hectic. We needed to slow down and reflect on what we were doing and how what we were doing affected us and what we wanted to accomplish. Simplifying did not mean that we became bored and did nothing, we were still spontaneous remember Zach Brown Concert?!?! We just decided as a couple that instead of agreeing to do something and then telling the other person we would say, “Let me ask Erin/Charley and I’ll get back to you?” This allowed us to take a breath and see how the other was feeling and if it was something that we wanted to do we would do it and if not we wouldn’t. This had a great impact on Erin and I’s health we were not as stressed because we had talked out what we were doing and found there were very few things we felt we had to do. This also indirectly lead to other improvements especially in communication because we talked out everything before we committed to it. This allowed us to let each other know how the other was feeling and also talk out why we wanted to do it. The communication aspect has been especially great for our relationship. Part of the deal was that we were not to agree because we thought that’s what the other wanted we had to be honest and open with each other. We learned that we could be raw with each other and that it was OK. The one-word technique really worked for us in 2018 so we are going to continue that into 2019. The 2019 word for the Peters family is positive. We chose positive because that is the type of people we want to be and the type of people that we want to surround ourselves with. Erin and I both believe that there is enough negativity in this world and that we do not need to contribute to that. I have made a pledge to unfollow anyone on my timelines that is negative. We are expecting twins in March and I want to bring them into a household that is positive and grateful. Part of being positive is being grateful for what you have.

Last night Erin and I watched Jack Ryan on Prime Videos and one line that stuck out to me was from the bad guy, Tony, that was helping Jack in Turkey. Jack did not like that they needed him to help them because he ran a brothel. Tony told Jack, “You see me as the bad guy and you are the good guy, but maybe if I was born in a nice city in America, like Cincinnati, I could be a good guy too. Geography is destiny, my friend, the world is the kiln and we are the clay.” This struck us and Erin and I looked at each other and both agreed that Tony was 100% correct, we got to be Americans because we were lucky and should feel blessed to have received that gift. It is my job to make sure that my children understand that they are being born into the greatest country in the world. When they work hard they have a chance to be whatever they want to be, but every day they wake up they need to be grateful that they were given an opportunity that millions of other kids around the world would die to have. 2019 is going to be the year of positivity for the Peters’ family and I encourage you to be as positive each day as you can. Smile at people, say hello or good morning to perfect strangers, hold the door for people, or pass out a compliment to someone. You never know what someone else is going through and what a small act of kindness can do for that person.

On Christmas Eve Erin and I went to church at St. Raphael in Bay Village. Fr. Tim gave one of the greatest most powerful homilies that I have ever heard. He showed a 4 minute and 30-second video about these guys singing “The Little Drummer Boy” at a pediatric cancer hospital. If you know what the song is about, it’s about a little poor boy who plays his drum for the king because that is all he has to give him. When the video was done Fr. Tim walked around with a big board that said, “What is your drum?” This went hand in hand with One Word for 2019, our drum is positivity.

Next week we have another ultrasound as we approach 26 weeks Saturday the 12th of January. Unfortunately, I will miss that one as we will have been back to school for just a couple days and I can’t miss since we are coming off of break. Over break, my father in law Mark Cunningham and I painted the nursery, alabaster which is just a cleaner white than it was when it first got painted. It took about 6 hours, we started about 9 am and finished around 3 pm. Thank goodness for Mark, as you can probably figure out I am not very handy, so thankfully he is. He has helped me with numerous projects around the house, in fact, if we do not call him first to help he gets about half pissed off at us, it’s kinda funny. I couldn’t have asked for a better father in law he helps me around the house and is a good drinking buddy we like Manhattans. He is retiring this year and I can’t think of a guy that deserves it more. Although he may want to rethink that as I think his daughters are going to keep him busy during retirement.

Let’s make 2019 the best yet! Be positive, grateful, and the best version of you. Here is to a fun, exciting 2019, Love you guys!