Thursday, January 14, 2016

How to Survive Your Twins' First Year in 11,000 Steps

As the boys head to the pediatrician for their 15-month check-ups, it occurred to me that I made it.  A year.  And then some.  I may not get any points for form, but I crossed the finish line of way-to-keep-your-multiples-alive-for-a-year.  Reflecting on this past year, I had a few tips for those of you about to enter the twins-or-more world:

1. Do you keep an active blog?  Stop updating it.  Every time you update it, someone has a blow out and hits his head.

2. Repeat after me, "I can sleep when I'm dead." Say it again.  One more time.  I bet you're so sleep-deprived you don't even remember saying it the first time.

3. Lower your standards for personal cleanliness.  Remember that lazy pre-kid weekend you binge watched Law & Order and didn't shower until Monday?  Picture that, but instead of watching TV, you are running a marathon in your home changing diapers, sticking to nap schedules and running laundry.  All while you keep wondering what that "smell" is.  It's you.

4. Fed is best.  Breast, bottle, pigeon milk.  As someone who nursed her twins exclusively for 13 months, I can't describe to you the freedom I feel giving the boys a cup of cow's milk.  I'm glad I did it, but never again.  Ever.  Quit letting people question your decisions.

5. Try not to shoot people who say their kids are so close in age, it's "like having twins."  Nope, sorry.  You are not, nor will ever be, a member of this club.  My husband has perfected the "slow blink" for these people.  He doesn't respond, just slowly blinks repeatedly until they walk away.  If you've been the recipient of JD's slow blink, you know he thinks you're stupid.

6.  Multiples are hard - but you know what else is hard?  One kid. Even if she is 8 and can pour her own cereal.  It's still hard to be a parent, so cut everyone a little slack.

7.  You will experience memory loss.  There were several conversations we repeated late at night during nursing sessions that I'm still scratching my head over.  What did we say?

8.  Be prepared for random strangers to ask questions about your uterus.  My personal favorite is, "do twins run in your family?" This really means, "did you go through fertility treatments for your babies?"  My preferred approach is to go through every mind-numbing detail of our infertility to the point of making them uncomfortable.  I can talk semen samples with anyone.  My husband prefers to answer the twins question with a slow blink.

{insert memory loss here}

10,999.  Go easy on yourself.  Everything doesn't have to be perfect.  The floors can be a little sticky and your dinners can be repetitive.  Church attendance doesn't guarantee you a spot in heaven.

11,000.  Be prepared for your heart to grow exponentially.  And to be caught off-guard with your happy tears.  The harder you work, the greater the reward!

The Boys' FIRST Birthday

We did an ice cream theme that worked out perfectly.  We found an ice cream truck for parties, had ice-cream themed decor and activities.  The kids had a blast.  That's another thing - throw a really BIG party when your twins turn a year old.  It's time to celebrate!

Front and back of the invitation:

The older kids made ice cream magnets

Cookie party favors.  The back had a sticker that said, "Thanks for making our birthday so sweet! Love, James and Simon"

The smash cake set-up

I'm  not a crafty person, but I made construction paper ice cream cones and lined the circle drive (I had a little help from family)

Before the party, two happy dudes

People lining up for ice cream

James' first bite of ice cream from Mimi

Simon owning that push pop from Daddy

Kids enjoying their treats

We have a temporary fence on our driveway so the kids could play with push toys.  Despite it being October, it was warm and perfect for playing!

The cardboard ice cream truck was a hit!

My niece loved the ice cream truck

James loved his cake so much he tried to eat it whole and it dropped on the floor.  Luckily, Simon didn't mind sharing;)

Christmas family photo where we look like we know what we are doing.  Do not be fooled.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Why My Daughter Barks at Dolly Parton

When Nora was born, we enrolled her in Books from Birth, a partner with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library that provides a free book every month from birth to five years old.  We are thankful to have received many high-quality books that Nora loves to read.

One night, Nora was "reading" one of her books when she noticed this picture on the inside flap:

Confused, Nora looked up at me and said, "Mimi?"

I smiled and replied, "No, sweetie, that's Dolly Parton.  She's the lady that gave you this book.  Can you say Dolly?"

Nora, "Woof, woof!"

Me, laughing, "I said DoLLy, not doGGie! Can you say DoLLy?"

Nora, seeing my expression, gets louder, "WOOF! WOOF!"

Then we both collapse into giggles.  Now, she wants to do that every time we read one of the books!  Dolly, if you're reading this (and we all know you aren't!), I hope you don't mind.  We really, really love your books!

Bonus Nora-ism:

Me: Nora, can you count to three?

Nora: One, two, I poo'ed.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Six Months Strong!

Our twins have turned six months….gosh, how did that happen?

They started sleeping 8-5 around four months, and then promptly quit.  Teething has hit.  I'm shocked it didn't come sooner.  Nora cut her first tooth at 11 weeks and never slowed down.  She had a full set by her first birthday.  She also never seemed to be bothered by it.  Boys are SO SO SO different.

James started complaining first, which is hard to believe.  James is my easy, go-with-the-flow baby.  Nothing rattles him in this crazy household.  I half believe that Simon chimed in because he is always up for a good cry.  One of my 'mommy groups' said an old wives' tale was to hang a sock with an egg in it in the baby's room to help.  At that point, I had tried cold teething rings, wet rags, gum massages, Tylenol, teething tablets, etc. - I was willing to try anything.  Did I mention that JD was out of town while I was on a nursing merry-go-round with screaming boys each night??  Here's my sock/egg contraption.

There are two eggs, because there are two boys.  Yes, I was that crazy.  I think it scared them into thinking I was going to hang them from the ceiling so they were a little more quiet that night.  I joyfully found out during a nursing session that James has a razor sharp tooth on the bottom.  Hooray!  Now if we could only figure why Simon is so crabby these days.  James has settled down since then.

6 Month Stats:

Sizes: They both wear mostly three month sleepers, but I've managed to fit a few six month outfits on them.  Size zero shoes and size two diapers.  James weighs about twelve pounds and has gained a pound since his four month checkup.  Simon has gained almost nothing in two months and still weighs around 11 pounds.  James is in the 5th percentile and Simon has dropped off the chart:(  The pediatrician didn't like Simon's sudden flat growth as he has always been my steady gainer, so we are working on extra feedings and incorporating fatty solids.  We still haven't used formula for the boys and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that between what I produce and my freezer stash, that we won't need to use formula. Their height and head circumferences both are around 25-50th percentile, so that is great.

JD said this picture gave him an idea of what quads would have been like - thank goodness we 'just' have two!

Activity:  These boys are so active!  At their check-up, it was like roller derby on the examining table.  Front to back, back to front, back arches, smiles all around.  They were really showing out for the pediatrician.  James is trying to sit up in this picture:

And Simon crawled a few inches the other day!  I'm certainly not ready for that.  As it stands, Simon can roll from one end of the den to the other end.  Yes, my skinny Simon.  I put the boys in their rockers while I took a quick shower the other day.  Simon rolled over and was doing push ups trying to see me!

Nora continues to love her baby brothers.  We went out for a quick bite to eat, JD was holding Simon since he was fussy.  Nora patted the seat next to her and said, "sit!" to her baby brother.  Simon was so confused about sitting up in the booth he stopped crying!  Then Nora tried to give some pizza to him.  She loves to share.

We are having fun with these kids - not a lot of sleep, but a lot of fun.  James is back to sleeping again and Simon, well, bless his heart.  He loves his Mommy so much he can't stand to be apart from me.  Usually around two or three, he will worm his way into our bed and nurse/sleep for a few hours.   I'm ready for him to go back to his crib!  Just about every morning, here is what JD wakes up to:

Simon will track me across a room.  If someone else is burping him, he will arch his back so he can see me.  He smiles every time he sees me.  It is very sweet.  Nora was never that attached to me.

James left, Simon right - first pic of them smiling at the same time!

  They have changed so much!  Simon left, James right.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Nora's Second Birthday

I had a grand idea for Nora's birthday - have it at the local park!  I got really excited, sent out playground-themed invitations and reserved a pavilion.

Then, Mother Nature laughed.

It snowed, snowed, snowed, rained, snowed, rained, snowed, you get the idea.  As if I didn't get the message that Mother Nature was trying to send me on Friday, there were Flash Flood warnings before her Saturday party.

Needless to say, I canceled the pavilion reservation and moved the 75-person party to our house.  That's right, 75 people.  Our Nora sure is loved.  Her Mommy was not very prepared.  The cake was set to serve 30 and my house was not ready.  But, thanks to my awesome family and sweet neighbors, the house was quickly set up for the party.

I was worried that the party would be "boring" since it wasn't at a park.  We solved that by setting up last year's ball pit in the den, booking a balloon animal guy and buying an indoor slide.  The kids had so much fun!

Kites were the party favor, which would have been adorable at the park;)

Being a toddler, Nora LOVES to snack, so we had all her favorite snacks.

The cake that was supposed to serve 30 somehow stretched to serve the whole crowd!

Side view of the slide and tree theme cake - again, would have been perfect for the playground!

James was so happy at the party.  His party favor?  Pink eye!

Nora wanted Emma and I to take her outside to see the balloons.

Magic Mr. Nick, balloon animal expert. He was great considering how much the kids were climbing all over him.

Lila demonstrating something to Mr. Nick

Harlan, Emma and Lila watching with fascination.

Emily proudly showing off her new balloon animal to Steven and Daniel.

I think Emma had Mr. Nick make her quite a few animals;)

Preston trying to taste test the cake;)

I think Nora was a little overwhelmed.

Nora, Eli and her Uncle Clint

Eli and Megan

Our girl is a leftie!

Eli loves snacks just like his cousin:)

Eli patiently waited until the end of the party for an animal.

Cutie pie.

Nora's favorite part of the day was her new slide.  When we rolled up her pants she could go a lot faster:)

Emma proving that you can never be too old for a slide.