Caroline is having a bad day... meaning, she will not even let me go to the bathroom without holding her in my arms. We actually went to Target (I know, what was I thinking, right?) and she screamed bloody murder the entire time. I tried to use my front carrier, believing that would "trick" her into thinking I was holding her. She's smarter than that, don't worry. So there I was, in Target at lunchtime, pushing my angel-child Tyler and juggling both Caroline and "stuff" in my arms. It was fabulous.
Then we got home and Nathan wanted to take a walk outside since the weather was decent. I thought she may do better this time, but OH NO! Luckily, Granna came over yesterday and brought us a new backpack that very closely resembles the one she wore with me. (Why yes, it seems that being a diva is genetic).
And here we are, in what one would call another wah lah! moment. This backpack will now be incorporated into my daily wardrobe.
She looks so content there, just chewing on the bar.
Someone asked what kind of jogging stroller we got, so I thought I'd put it in a post in case anyone else was interested. We decided on the Baby Trend Double Jogger Expedition and I absolutely love it. It feels almost weightless compared to the DuoGlider, even though I still love that one, too. This one is just nice to run around town in, and I can only imagine how much easier it will be to push on sand this summer :) The port & speaker for your Ipod is pretty cool, too. It's not too loud, but for walks in the park and around the neighborhood, it's loud enough. The best part of all, and the reason we bought this one over all other double joggers, is the retractable canopy. You can literally push it all the way to your babies' legs in order to block the sun, unlike almost all others out there. That was our major complaint with the tandem stroller... the kid up front had a retractable canopy and could have it adjusted, but the kid in the back had one that only rolled out so far. (Being attached to the back of the stroller has its limitations). With this one, I like to keep it pushed away from me just enough to keep an eye on Tyler & Caroline, and I can easily reach down and adjust both them and their pacis/toys/etc. It also has more than enough storage both behind the seats and under-carriage, and the wheels pop completely off at ease in case you have a small trunk. Lastly, the price can't be beat... under $200! (*Baby Trend, you can pay me for this advertisement if you'd like ;)
I feel like I should drag in the entire wooden fence behind my house and jump on it before I type this, BUT, our sleeping situation seems to be on the mend. I don't know how long the "4 month wakeful" was supposed to last, but I found myself combing through every book in the library on sleep training and trying to figure out what had gone so wrong. Then, wah lah!, two nights ago things started looking a little more promising. I moved myself back into the bed with Nathan (which believe it or not, I think he was a bit sad about... now I would know if he "didn't hear" the baby monitor at night :) and decided to give Tyler & Caroline a try on their own.
This little girl, check her out in her birthday suit & brother's hat, slept from 7:30pm until 5am!! I couldn't believe our luck. (I do "dreamfeed," though, so she ate around 11:30pm).
& This little guy, the one so happy to be alive and in his Jump&Go!, has been going to his crib without a fight and staying asleep for much longer than normal. Last night, he was out like a light by 6:30pm and didn't wake to eat until 11:30pm. Then, up again at 2am and 5am (which was "up for the day," so he got to get in bed with mommy & daddy until we were on the same page :)
Following the excitement of "match week," it's hard to believe that we did anything but kiss the ground all the way from Greenville to Columbia. Had I known how much I was going to love their new jogging stroller, though, we might've just done it. That's right, we finally got a side-by-side stroller so our little diva would hopefully enjoy riding again. Lately Caroline's been really clinging to me, and I was getting extremely worn out by carrying her around the mall/grocery store/anywhere we went while pushing Tyler (our happy-go-lucky one these days) in the tandem stroller (because that sucker is HEAVY). When we got the new stroller on Sunday, Nathan assembled it pretty quickly and we put both of them in to test drive around the house. The seemed to love it... especially when we hooked up the Ipod and they got to jam to Jason Aldean! Haha! (I think we're going to purchase a few "baby tunes" moving forward, though :) I am loving how easy it is to push, and I even mastered the task of grocery shopping with one hand on the stroller and one hand on the cart behind me. I called Nathan on the way home and told him I should be donning a Super Mom cape... no one cried, nothing was dropped or spilled, everything was loaded in the back, and I actually had enough time to run a few more errands. Even better, I actually cooked dinner... Major accomplishment. I think Nathan's exact words that night were, "Who are you, and what have you done with my wife?"
Then there's today... I wore my pj's until this afternoon, couldn't have cared less about brushing my teeth, and found myself scrapping for lunch at 1pm because Tyler & Caroline were totally uninterested in napping whatsoever. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.
The big news of the week is that we've started solids! We decided to go with oatmeal, and shockingly enough, they seem to like it. I guess the fact that I made it with freshly pumped breastmilk at a 3:1 ratio with the oats made it an easy transition for them, but even so, I couldn't believe how fast they caught on. I've heard that starting with oatmeal and/or rice cereal is more for practice at this stage, but we were surprised at how much they actually ingested. We were armed with both video camera and digital camera, just waiting for runny oatmeal to spew all over the place and Tyler & Caroline to make a complete mess... unfortunately it wasn't so much of a production. Tyler was a natural from the get-go (is anyone surprised?) and ate almost every bite, but Caroline wasn't so sure about it at first. She scrunched up her face and couldn't quite figure out what to do with her tongue, but after the first few tries she did much better.
After their initial feeding, we moved them into the dining room to eat in the big chairs. We figured that the sooner they get accustomed to being there, the better. Hopefully we can get to the point where they'll eat first then play while we eat (rather than getting irritated and bored). Once again, Tyler didn't mind the change of scenery or his meal, but Caroline wasn't so sure about it just yet. We finally figured out that if you play the "airplane game" with her spoon, she giggles and opens wide for the landing. Too cute!
Finally, they've really started to show frustration if they're left alone much, and I can really see how much comfort they take in having each other close by. This is how we found them the other day, totally umprompted, just hanging out. They do this all the time, and it pretty much melts my heart :)
PS, I've gotten pretty slack at our weekly chair pictures, but I'm planning on doing one tomorrow. Check back Friday for one of those :)
Do you think these two are better than a handful of clovers? Let's hope so!
We're not superstitious people, but what could it hurt to ask for the luck of the Irish? Only the NRMP & God himself know where we'll be headed for the next three years, but we've been watching the clock like mad and trying not to drive ourselves crazy. In exactly 16 hours we'll know our fate... and boy will that be a load off. Even if we're not heading to Columbia, it will be nice to be able to finally plan, look at homes, and get our ducks in a row.
PS, the "potential buyer" really liked our house... PLEEEEEEEEEASE say a prayer that we'll sell, ya'll.
Where to begin? It's hard to believe you've been in our lives for five whole months now, because every day I look at you and think my heart is going to explode. You two are the most perfect angels... so full of life, yet so full of innocence. I never stopped to think about what this big world looks like through a child's eyes until I met you, but now I get to see it constantly and think it's amazing. The texture of a towel, the softness of a blanket, and the sound your toys make, the string that holds your paci... they're all things that you find such delight in. And naturally, I find delight in you. I can spend my entire day on the floor of your room, not having a care in the world because I'm with you, watching you play, laugh, grow.
Now that you're five months old, you've become more and more independent and certainly more alert. You examine everything so intently, and you really recognize me and your daddy. For me, the highlight of my life is the infectious smiles that erupt on your faces the moment you lay eyes on me. From that first glimpse as I peek over your crib in the morning to the final lazy grin as I nurse you to sleep, there's just nothing better.
It's hard to accept, yet exciting, to see how you change every day. I hate that I can't physically record every single thing you do, because I know that once it's gone there's no getting back "that moment." Like the one where I found the two of you holding hands while watching Baby Einstein, only you are seemingly unaware that you're doing so because it's just that natural. Or how you'll both turn on your sides to stare at each other, disregarding whatever toy you've got in your hands or what mommy is doing to get your attention. I love that you have a built-in best friend in each other, and I can only hope that you'll always be there for each other in the innate way you are now.
Tyler boy... you are our "contagious" child. Contagious in the sense that no one can be around you without laughing, as your bright eyes and huge smile will turn even the worst day into a good one. You are such a big boy now, and you cannot stand to be held down for even one minute throughout the day. Just when I think you might want to relax and rock with me, your body stiffens up and you give a little scream until I stand you up. You'll have no part of that unless you’re eating, thankyouverymuch! :) Speaking of eating, your new thing is to pull off and look around the room, as though you're afraid you're going to miss something. Just as soon as you've assessed the situation, though, you're back on with a vengeance and it's hilarious. You also love to scoot around your crib and your play mats while on your back, and somehow you'll do a 180 every time. The crawling thing hasn't happened yet, but I'm afraid you'll just skip it and start walking any day now. You've got incredible trunk-control and your legs are so strong! I swear, you seem to look more like a "little man" by the minute and I can hardly stand it you're so stinkin' cute! Yesterday morning you woke up beside me on my "bed" of couch pillows after nursing, but I was already awake, taking you in as you slept. The moment you saw me, this incredibly huge grin swept over your face and you actually reached out, took my face in your little hands, and just giggled. I thought I might die from the sweetness. You are a so precious, and I thank God every day for giving you to me to enjoy.
Sweet Caroline... our little diva! (But what can I say? Apparently you get it from your mama :) You're still as soft-spoken as ever, yet you have finally found your voice and you know how to use it. You have become so attached to me lately, and not-so-secretly, I love it. You will have good days where others can hold you, but generally, it has to be me. Your daddy tried to pick you up from my lap when he got home from work last week, but you were having none of it. He attempted several times and finally gave up, but we both had to laugh because it was so adorable how you would stick that lower lip out and just wail. You've done better since then, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me smile to know you just want me. You've also figured out that you can hold your legs straight up in the air, so you do it all the time. Whether you're on the changing table (conveniently a skill that aids in diaper changes) or in your stroller, those legs are sky-high. We keep laughing and saying that you're going to have a baby-six-pack if you don't relax every now and then! You're also our intent child, and you seem to soak up everything that comes your way. You absolutely LOVE the "World Music" Baby Einstein dvd, and you'll actually laugh out loud when the puppets come on. It's absolutely the cutest thing in the world to hear you having such a ball! You're into touching and feeling, and you'll rub your hand over every single thing you come in contact with. It's as though I can see your little mind working as you take it all in, studying each one and trying to process it. Physically, your hair is either turning blonde or falling out... we're just not sure which one! I'm not sure how it's possible, but you appear to be a more beautiful baby by the day. Your big round eyes and your sweet grin just melt everyone that looks at you, and I already feel sorry for the boys you'll have wrapped around your finger in about 15 years. You've gotten plenty of practice winding your daddy around it, that's for sure. He just commented on precious you are in your swing, with your folded hands below your angelic little face. It's true... you're an absolute angel and we both love every minute with you. For me, the sweetest times with you are when I'm feeding you. You stare at me the entire time, rubbing my arm or my chest with your free hand and occasionally side-grinning as though we have some inside joke between us. It's adorable, and I'd like to either freeze time or etch these things in my memory forever.
Thanks to all my readers for all your thoughts & prayers, and hopefully our day will continue to be as blessed when we show the house. I know everything will work out, but I would just loooooove to be able to put all this real estate business behind me. We're definitely going to rent for the next three years (wherever that may be) so that we won't have the same headache at the end of residency.
Not only is Nathan anxiously pacing the floor and wearing our hardwoods into splinters, but we have someone coming to look at the house this afternoon. You see, today (in approximately 23 minutes) we will log into the system and read "You matched with a program" OR "You did not match with a program." Black & White, just like that. If he matched, we'll find out where on Thursday. If he didn't, he'll scramble for a spot with a program who didn't get filled (and we could be in, oh, Wyoming or somewhere). As for the house, many of you know that we're working furiously to get our home sold "by owner." This is a tough thing to do, especially in today's market. We got a phone call this morning from a realtor, and she has a friend/client who actually rents a condo in our neighborhood at the moment. She's looking to buy, though, and needs to do so before the end of April to receive the tax break of $8k. She could be the perfect person for us, particularly because she would like to be in-contract by April, but not move in until June. PERFECT! That's when we need to high-tail it to hopefully-Columbia-and-not-Wyoming.
Say a little prayer for all of the above, & I'll be back with our BIRTHDAY POST and match results soon ... :)
I hope you all are enjoying this, because I sure am working hard at it! Haha!
24. How long did ya'll plan on waiting to have babies?
We thought we'd wait about five years before starting a family, since that would put us at the end of Nathan's residency and "financially stable," whatever that means. Plus, I was enjoying my job and I loved traveling, and I really doubted my ability to be someone's mother. I had barely even held a baby before, not kidding.
25. Do twins run in the family? Why do you think you were blessed with two?
Nope, no multiples that we know of, so having twins was clearly just God's plan for us. As neurotic as I am, I think He probably gave me two little ones to teach me to lighten up. When there's two babies in the mix, you're basically in survival mode and can't waste time worrying about the small stuff. I've changed...a lot. :) Psalm 127:3, Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him.
26. Is there any purchases you did not need two of?
Actually, I barely have two of anything except the cribs and bumbo seats (which we sit them in while we have dinner sometimes, so they're necessary). We bought one swing, one bouncy seat, on co-sleeper, one walker, one Boppy, one Jumperoo, etc. I basically didn't want my house overrun with baby stuff, and I assumed that I could alternate them. For example, Tyler goes in the swing while Caroline is in the walker, then switch. Tyler is in the bouncy seat while Caroline plays under the activity gym, then switch. It works perfectly, and I wouldn't have bought two of any of those things if I had it to do over again. Thankfully we have two crinkly books, though... they absolutely have to have their own! Ha! *X-Country2, If there's something specific you're wondering about, shoot me an email and I'll let you know how much we use it! & Thanks for the compliment, by the way :)
27. WHEN did they sleep through the night and define "through the night!" ????
Technically, you can consider it sleeping through the night if they sleep for at least six hours without waking. If I have to get up in the wee hours of the night, though, I don't "technically" agree. Caroline is definitely our better sleeper, and she's been known to go down at 7:30pm and not wake up until 5-6am. This definitely doesn't happen every night, but it's happened so I count it. Tyler has never done this... but he will sleep from 7:30pm to 2am, so I guess that's pretty good. I've mentioned it before, but his issue is the flailing arms and legs. He also loves to turn his head from side to side constantly, so that wakes him up as well. If I had to average out their sleep patterns, though, I'd say they are consistent with waking up between 2 and 4am and then up for the day at 6:30. Both babies generally eat twice a night, but they are good about going right back to bed once they eat. This is why I am sleeping below their cribs right now... it's just way too hard to try and make it to their room before the other one wakes up, especially since I don't completely trust the baby monitor. I've only used it when I'm awake, so I'm not sure how effective it would be.
28. I also wonder how to keep them on the same feeding schedule when you are wanting them to sleep as long as possible!!?
I really don't keep them on a schedule with eating anymore (gasp! I know!). Our night time routine is to bathe each one individually, get them lotioned up & dressed for bed, then I'll nurse them to sleep until the next one is finished with the bath-lotion-dress sequence. Through the night, I feed on demand because there are many times where Tyler wants to eat four times and Caroline just once. It doesn't affect when they wake up for the day, nor their eating habits throughout the day. For instance, I'm typing this while they're napping (and they've been down an hour... time enough for me to already get showered & ready, so I'm waaay ahead of the game today) and our morning has looked like this:
7am: Caroline wakes up. Change diaper, feed.
7:15am: Tyler wakes up. Place Caroline in walker, change Tyler's diaper & feed.
7:30am: Eat breakfast while Caroline is still in walker & Tyler is in the bouncy seat.
7:45-9am: Alternate babies with activities (between walker & bouncy this time), read a book.
9am: Feed Caroline (I pick the one whose fussy to eat first), nap.
9:15am: Feed Tyler, nap.
As the day goes on, I'll pretty much just feed whoever gets hungry when they get hungry. I never tandem nurse these days because the pillow just doesn't work for us anymore, so this method is the easiest way.
29. I can only imagine how hectic it must be with ONE baby let alone two and I'm sure you don't get a whole lot of "you" time. When you do, what do you do to unwind, relax, etc?
Sad to say, but I really don't get much "me" time anymore. When we put them to bed at night, I feel like I need to blog, or clean up, or just hang out with Nathan on the couch. I'd say the one thing that I escape to do every blue moon is get a massage. One, because I need it (my back is a WRECK), but two, because it is sooooooooo relaxing. For at least an hour or two I can be in a dark, soothing place, smelling things like lavender rather than dirty diapers :) At home, I sometimes will hand off the kiddos to Nathan and say that I'm going to take a nice hot bath, but even then, he usually brings them in to visit me. Seriously.
30. I was wondering if you had to have fertility treatments to have your beautiful twins?
No, we didn't. After getting pregnant with multiples I learned a lot from other women who did, though, and it seems like modern medicine works serious miracles! I'm sure your daughter will have great results, mamgof4 :)
31. I was wondering how you decided to get your little girl's ears pierced?
I always knew I'd pierce my daughter's ears when she was a baby, but Nathan took a little convincing. I had mine pierced at 9 days old at the ped's office, so it just seemed natural to me to do it early. We waited until after she had her shots, though, just in case. I've heard that the longer you wait, the harder it is for them to adjust to having something foreign in their ears, so I decided that the sooner the better for Caroline. When we talked to the piercing people about it, they said that babies don't have all their nerve-endings fully developed yet, so it wouldn't be nearly as painful at this age as it would later. Apparently, how they handle shots is how they'll handle this. Plus, Tyler will be used to seeing them in her ears and won't attempt to mess with them later on, when he's big enough to "notice" things like that. (I am using that example because it happened with a friends one-year-old twins... the little boy was obsessed with the little girl's ears after she got something "new" in them).
32. What are your best tips for bringing home newborn twins?
My best advice is to ask your closest family members to help, but ask most people to give you some space for a bit. Nathan and I made it very clear that grandparents were welcome, but we wanted some time to adjust to it all and get acclimated with being parents before having numerous guests in our house. That, to me, was a sanity-saving decision. You have so much to learn when you first come home, and although friends, neighbors, etc. want to help, a lot of the time you're spending more time worrying about things you shouldn't have to worry about if they're around. I also recommend getting the babies on a good 3-hour feeding schedule, and stick to it no matter if they're awake or not. Newborn twins seem to sleep a LOT, so it'll keep them gaining weight appropriately while saving some time for you. I'd also put them in the same crib/co-sleeper/bassinet/whatever you're using until they're at least a month old. Tyler and Caroline slept so much better when they were snuggled up next to each other at that age. Oh, and SWADDLE! :)
33. What is the best thing about being a stay at home mom? What is the hardest?
I've already talked about how awesome it is to spend every waking minute with my babies, so I'll skip to the other stuff. I absolutely love how laid-back my schedule is now, and how I don't have to worry about being in an office, nuzzled up to a monitor looking at numbers and customer info all day. I can't tell you how much I prefer juggling infants, doing endless loads of tiny laundry, barely getting any personal time, and eating crap for meals because it's all I have time to grab in a jiffy. Really, I do. It's all worth it because I will probably never miss a milestone, and I get to see first-hand how cool my kids are on a daily basis. Not having to worry about my wardrobe is an additional bonus. As for the hardest part, hmm... probably the balancing act of not losing sight of yourself completely. Moms who go to work get to be their own person again, at least for 8 or so hours each day. They can focus on something other than the house and kids, and let it all go for a while. When you stay at home, you're on duty 24/7, even when Dad comes home. I never get to eat out (unless it's at the food court in the mall), and I miss happy hours and wine nights with my friends. It's completely worth it, don't get me wrong, but that's got to be the hardest part of it all.
34.How do you deal with the babies when they are fussy at the same time and you are at home by yourself?
It's tricky! Sometimes one just has to cry for a few minutes, particularly if I'm feeding the other and can't just get up to attend to them. If I'm not in the middle of a feeding, though, I will try to momentarily go to the fussy one and sooth them in some way, and if that doesn't work, the activity gym will usually do the trick. They are instantly entranced by the singing, twirling animals hanging down, so I have ten minutes or so to finish what I was doing. This used to be MUCH more difficult when they weren't "entertainable." (I probably made up that word, but you know what I mean).
35. In your last post you said you nursed them both twice at the mall. Where do you nurse them?
I have two spots! The first, and most used place, is a dressing room at Sears. It's located in the baby section at the back corner of the store, so there is NEVER anyone in there (because really, who wants to try something on a baby?). There is a huge handicapped room at the end, so my big stroller fits in there nicely and we're almost in a private room. No one has bothered us thus far, except for the one time an associate heard the baby who wasn't eating crying, and went "is everything alright in there?" I was a bit flustered as it was, so she didn't help. The other place is a family restroom, and I just discovered it last week. It's NICE. Not only is it big enough for all of us and the stroller, but there is a sitting area with a nice chair and table, so it's perfect for feeding a baby. Unless I was hard-pressed, I'm not that mom who whips it out any-old-where and breastfeeds. If I absolutely had to do it in public, I'd throw a big blanket over my shoulder so everything was hidden. It's really not as hard as it sounds to nurse outside of your home... and trust me, because I used to practically cry from the frustration of two crying babies when we would be out. My mom would continuously tell me to just do it, and that Tyler & Caroline would get used to being away from the house and it would eventually make life so much easier. She was right (you hear that mom?! I'm admitting it!) because now, they love being in new places and will patiently wait while the other nurses in a dressing room or bathroom :) We've certainly come a long way!
And that is it, friends. I made it through them all. Hopefully I've answered everyone's question as well as you'd hoped, but if there's anything still pressing you, email me!
PS, I realize that I might've confused some of you with saying that the match date for Nathan's residency was "next" Thursday when I posted earlier this week. I meant the Thursday after this one, as in the 18th... so we're still waiting! :)
I feel like I just wrote "Happy 20 Weeks" yesterday. Gah, where does the time go? Anyway, I'm not going to write a lot in the way of updates because they will be FIVE. MONTHS. OLD. on Monday, so you'll have to wait until then!
But here are a few out takes from today's photoshoot before we hit the mall. Can't you tell how into it they were?
It's 8:30pm and I'm picking up where I left off... let's see how far I get this time!
11. What is your favorite/least favorite thing about being a mom of twins so far?
By far, the best thing is seeing the smiles on my babies' faces when they look at me, and knowing that I'm probably one of their most favorite people in the world right now. They are so sweet and innocent, and the pure joy that's written on their faces when I play with them, talk to them, feed them... it is priceless. It's also wonderful to have one boy and one girl, because each one is so unique and they can be totally independent without comparison. Tyler is our buxom little man with an infectious smile that can light up a room, while Caroline is our dainty little sweetheart who studies everything and takes it all in, only to cackle in delight when she really gets excited. Seeing their personalities emerge is just awesome, and it gets better every day. As far as my least favorite thing, that would hands-down be the fact that I want to give both of them my undivided attention but there's only one of me. That part is hard to handle sometimes, but it's the breaks. I try every acrobatic move under the sun to pick up/hold/carry both at the same time if they're upset, but sometimes it just doesn't work. Someone has to cry for a few minutes. I try as much as humanly possible to divide everything I do up in half, so that no one is the least bit neglected and knows that they're loved as much as their sibling.
12. What is the most surprising/unexpected thing about being a mom of twins so far?
This one is easy. I am still surprised every day that I can actually handle this job, and handle it well. My patience spans the depth of an ocean now, and my body can function without more than an hour of consecutive sleep on a continuous basis. I've surprised myself with how natural it all is, and how you automatically love these two little people more than you ever thought possible. Even when you're pregnant with them, you just have no idea.
13. How long do you plan to breastfeed the babies?
Ideally, at least a year. I'm hoping that my body will hold up to it, but we'll see!
14. When do you feel is the most appropriate time to start a family when one parent has a high stress, time-consuming job?
Obviously Nathan and I didn't have everything as planned out as we thought, but if I had it to do over again, having Tyler & Caroline while he was finishing school was absolutely the right decision for us. Everyone says there's never a "perfect" time to have a baby, and I agree. For us, it worked out that he had a lot more free time his fourth year of med school than we'd anticipated. If we'd waited to get pregnant during his final year of residency, I'd have been on bed rest and in the hospital with no family around and a husband working 80 hours a week... not a good scene. We're also 29 years old now, and we kind of tossed the dice with "what if" something happened (and yeah, obviously it did) versus waiting until our early 30's and then having a hard time. I don't really have a good answer for this one, if you can't tell, but I'll say one last thing. If you take finances and work-life out of the equation and you find yourself really wanting a baby, go ahead and get started! Those parts will work themselves out, I promise :)
15. What are your hopes & aspirations for your babies?
Wow, what a loaded question. I hope that they grow up to love each other, their family, the Lord, and in return, know how much they're loved by so many. I want them to be best friends, and have an idealistic childhood where they're well-rounded and well-adjusted teens who invite all the kids back to their house after the football games because they have "cool" parents who will give them their space. I hope that Tyler loves fly fishing as much as his daddy, and that we'll take family vacations where they boys go off and do "their thing" while the girls get pampered at the spa :) I can already envision all the times we'll go to Disney World, the moves we'll make, the house we'll settle down in, the birthdays we'll celebrate, the Christmas traditions we'll start. It's hard to even explain all the things I want for them. I hope that Nathan and I set a good example for them as parents, and as people, and that they know what a healthy relationship looks like. Above all, I can only hope that they will forever know how much they're loved, and that they can do anything they set their minds to.
16. Anymore weight loss secrets? And do those Reebok shoes actually work?
I'm not adhering to this particular secret right now, but one that has always worked for me in the past is not to eat after 6pm at night. If my pants were feeling a lil' snug, I'd try to brush my teeth after an early dinner and muster up all the self control I had to not eat another bite until breakfast. It works!! As for the Easy Tones, I can't tell just yet if they're actually making a difference. They do feel great, though, and it seems like my legs are firmer when I'm wearing them. I'll do a review in a month - that should give me some time to get results!
17. How did you decide to do the nursery? Is it recommended to put twins in the same room?
As I mentioned before, we had already bought the paint color for the nursery so I just stuck with it. Luckily it was a cool, calm color, so it went great with all things baby. I found the tree decal while surfing the internet, and just started building things around it. The changing table was actually a piece of furniture that belonged to my grandmother, so we just refinished it, painted it, removed doors, and added storage baskets. The pink lamps were totally foo-foo and "pre-baby," but I loved them so much I decided to make them work. I chose a rocker/recliner rather than a glider because I figured I'd spend loads of time there, and it needed to be comfortable enough to spend the night in. The cribs and bedding were something I just fell in love with, but not surprising since everything in my life has always been black-white-pink & polka dots. (Don't worry, I have learned to tone it down for Tyler's sake :) And finally, the names above their cribs were probably the first thing I knew I wanted in the nursery, so I set out to make them myself. I found the letters at Michaels and used acrylic paint, a hot glue gun, and black & white ribbon. I would've paid a small fortune for that many letters on Etsy!
Regarding putting twins in the same room, I never considered otherwise. (We don't have room at the moment for anything else, but I'd still be doing it either way). I've always heard that twins are so used to being snuggled up together that they almost "need" to be together after they're born, and ours seemed to fall into that category. Caroline couldn't sleep without being next to Tyler until she was about a month old - it was too cute!
18. What do you and Nathan do to keep the spark alive?
Hmmm.... I'm gonna be brutally honest here... it's HARD. We try to reconnect at night when the babies go to bed, but we're both beat and it's just difficult to do. We've only gotten one "date night" since they were born, but this is mostly because I can't be away from the babies for very long or I'll explode from milk production (TMI, anyone?). I think we both realize that the "baby phase" doesn't last forever, so as long as we're making it through without killing each other, we're already a step ahead. This is where I think having twins separates us from parents with a single baby; everything is just sooooooooo much work.
19. How has having kids changed your marriage?
Continuing from above, it's practically changed everything. We rarely get to spend a quiet meal together because we're both holding a child (they aren't happy if they're not in the middle of the mix), we spend our nights in separate beds (this is just recently, but still), and we can't just do things independently of the other anymore. With two babies at home, we have to plan every detail outright. I used to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinds of girl, now I have to schedule a trip to the grocery store. On the positive side, it's made us about a million times stronger I'd say. We've had to deal with a LOT during our first year and a half of marriage, and I think (well, I hope) we both have a much broader appreciation for the other one. I know I couldn't do it alone, and I'm sure he'd say the same thing.
20. What qualities have you seen in Nathan that make you proud that he is your "baby's daddy"? :)
For starters, they're the ones I've come to expect from him... being kind, loving, sweet, thoughtful... the works. He's always been the "good guy," so I knew those qualities would only be magnified when he laid eyes on his very own pride & joy(s). I've seen him evolve into a hard-working, driven person, though, and every decision he makes now revolves around the good of this family. He chose emergency medicine not only because he loved it, but because it allows a great balance between work and home. He loves our babies more than anything, and that makes me swoon.
21. What is the BEST baby gift you received?
While we absolutely appreciated every gift we were given, one of my most favorites has been the sweet necklace that my good friend Laurie sent me. (Know her, Mrs. Maselli? :) It is a dainty silver chain with "C" and "T" charms and a small pearl separating the two. It goes perfectly with my "push present" from Nathan- Tiffany charms with each baby's monogram for the bracelet he gave me on our wedding day.
22. Do you have multiples in your family?
I think I mentioned this before, but no, we don't have any! We just got incredibly lucky :)
23. I was wondering how your furry baby has been with the babies???
Both Connor & Jaxx have adapted incredibly well to them. Connor was a bit nervous when we first brought them home, but it only took him a few days to understand that they were now part of the family. He absolutely loves them now, and can't keep his tongue off them. I feel bad for always chastising him for licking their hands, but eww. He licks Jaxx's butt... I really don't want him swapping spit with Tyler & Caroline. Jaxx, on the other hand, keeps his distance. He'll walk by them and check them out, but he's totally unphased by their existence. Cats are like that, I suppose.
*Stopping point for tonight! It's 11:40pm and I know I'm going to pay for staying up so late in an hour or two (and probably all tomorrow morning). Too be continued...
Thanks for all your great questions! For the record, I'm starting this during the Duke/UNC game because it SUCKS, and I can't bear to watch my boys go down like this any further. Nathan and I are gluttons for punishment so the tv's still on, but I figured now was as good of a time as any to blog. Brace yourself, here goes...
1.How does your hair and makeup look so great all the time with newborn twinkies?
This one almost makes me laugh, Esther, but THANK YOU! Seriously, though, I do *try* to get completely ready every day, even if that means I'm putting on a tracksuit rather than my Sevens. There is something about having your hair and makeup done that makes you feel better about the day, plus, I do feel the need to look semi-decent when Nathan gets home. You've all seen Grey's Anatomy... if there's anything I can do to prevent a wandering eye, I'm all about it. Logistically speaking, I've perfected the art of getting ready really quickly. If the babies are having a good morning and go down for a nap, I'll shower then, but if they're wide awake (which is often), I'll put them in the swing, walker or jumperoo while I jump in quickly. They're getting to the point where entertainment is much easier, so I have about 30 minutes before they're ready to be moved. My routine is simple: shower, lotion, dress, makeup, hair. My makeup is what I call the "5 minute face," and it involves Bare Minerals powder, a Smashbox bronzer/blush/eyeshadow pallette & Bobbi Brown eyeliner. I honestly only use four articles of makeup (those three plus whatever mascara I have at the moment). Lipgloss gets put on when I leave the house, otherwise I don't worry about it. Next comes hair, and I blow it dry as quickly as possible without even using a brush. While I'm doing that, my hot rollers are heating (don't laugh, these things work magic!). Once the hair is dry and the rollers are hot enough, I make five sections of hair, roll them, then let them out as soon as the fifth roller has been put in. I literally leave them in for less than a minute... just long enough to smooth my hair and give it some volume & wave.
2. What's your secret to weight loss?
Breastfeeding. Honest to goodness, I would make you mad if I told you how much food (and how much "bad" food) I eat. The only exercise I've been doing is walking, mainly because I don't have time to do anything else and I haven't wanted to potentially affect my supply. Plus, as many mothers of multiples know, my stomach muscles were stretched beyond belief and you can actually do more harm than good if you work your core too soon. Your abdominals need time to come back together (fully), and if you exercise them too much before they're at their original point, they never go back and the "pudge" remains. Nathan said that the six month mark will be a good place to start with working out again, so that's my plan.
3. So how in the world do you have time (and energy) to still keep up with blogging?
All blogging takes place at night after the kiddos are in bed. That is the only time I have to get online, and definitely the only time I can think straight enough to coherently write. Our current schedule is to have them asleep by 8pm at the latest, so I usually have about three hours to myself before we head to bed as well.
4. Did you swaddle the little ones? If so, any tips on weaning them off?No tips here, Andreina! Yes, we do swaddle them, and every attempt we've made to de-swaddle has resulted in a sleepless night. So this past week I caved even further and bought more swaddle-me blankets (you know, the ones with the velcro tabs that we call their "mummy bags"). They sleep sooooooo much better, even with one arm out, that I decided to just keep them swaddled until they absolutely will not fit in the bags anymore. Regular blankets are definitely out, so when they outgrow these new bags I guess I'll be forced to suffer through it. I've read that a lot of babies just need to be cocooned, and they'll eventually grow out of that need when they're ready. Tyler is worse than Caroline with the flailing and kicking himself awake, but they both wake up much more often nonetheless. Let me know if you figure out a good solution!
5. What are your favorite baby and twin products?
- EZ 2 Nurse Twins Pillow. If you're planning on breastfeeding two babies, this thing is a MUST. I couldn't have survived the first three months without it. Now that they're older both Tyler & Caroline will nurse for about ten minutes and be completely full, but when they were newborns it was more like 30-45 minutes. I knew from the lactation consultants that they weren't getting much after the 20 minute mark, but I just let them continue to hopefully build up my supply. With that said, if I'd done each of them separately I would've been nursing constantly.
- Boudreaux's Butt Paste. Amazing!
- Soothie Pacifiers. These were all T & C would take until this weekend, and I'm not kidding. Now they like the kind I have been trying to give them all along, just because they're much cuter. Makes good sense, right? :)
- Breast Pump. I have an Ameda Purely Yours, but I rented a hospital-grade one the first month. I never pump anymore, but it was a lifesaver the first two months. Again, not to harp on breastfeeding, but if you're going to feed both babies for a significant amount of time, you'll need to work on your supply immediately. So even when they finished nursing for 45 minutes, I'd pump another 20 just to build my supply. If the LC's at my hospital were correct (and I'm guessing they were, since I'm still successfully feeding and fattening up two babies quite nicely), you'll "make or break" your supply in the first two weeks post-pardum. It also doesn't hurt to build up your freezer stash with all that expressed milk so you can have a break every once in a while.
- Aquaphor: Also amazing. This stuff cures everything, from diaper rash to chapped skin to cuts and scratches.
- Pampers Swaddlers. By far the best diapers we've used.
- Ultimate Crib Sheet. This is super-useful, and makes life much easier if you have babies that occasionally have accidents in the bed (whether it's spit up or a diaper explosion). With these, you don't have to remove your crib bumper or mattress to get the fitted sheet off. Instead, this sheet will fasten to the rails of the crib on top of your fitted sheet so you can just snap it off and wash it. Best part is that you can still see the "pretty" part of your fitted sheet from the outside of the crib, yet you get a waterproof and easy-to-remove sheet on the inside. (Tip: Buy these from Walmart. Babies R Us are $5 more per sheet).
- Selson Blue Sensitive Skin. Random, I know, but Tyler was on the verge of getting cradle cap during the second month and this stuff worked magic. Our pediatrician recommended it, so we used it once or twice a week and he's had the most beautiful little head ever since. It also smells great.
- Carters & Gerber sleepers/onesies. Don't underestimate the amount of footed sleepers you'll need with a newborn. Forget the cute outfits for the first month at least, and stock up on these. Especially the Gerber ones in 3-packs that zip. T & C go the entire night without a diaper change now, but when they needed one more often a zipper is sooooooo much more fun to work with at 3am than snaps. Trust me.
- Soothe & Glow Seahorse. I cannot say enough about this thing. It's like baby crack, and will get a baby calmed and soothed faster than anything else we've tried (including the FP Rainforest Soother that hangs on the crib. They like to look at it when they're awake, but it does nothing for them sleep-wise).
- Arms Reach Co-Sleeper. We had the original size since we had two babies in it, but the mini would work well for a single baby I'm sure. I absolutely loved having this attached to our bed and I'll solely attribute being "well rested" to it hands-down. I'd say I was on auto pilot throughout the night, bringing each baby over to the bed to nurse and back. With this, you know that your baby is and arm's length away but completely safe from all the risks of being in your bed.
- Activity Gym. I'm not putting a certain model or brand because we've tried a few and they love them all. Anything that arches over your baby and dangles things down (bonus points of those dangly things twirl or rock, like one of ours does) will be a hit.
- Nursing Tanks. I absolutely LIVE in these. Like seriously, I don't even wear bras anymore. The ones I love most are from Target and are $16.99 (I think), so they're more affordable than Glamour Mom tanks.
- Receiving blankets/SwaddleMe. See #4 :)
- Mylicon. Our poor little guy had stomach pains for the first few weeks, and this stuff works wonders.
- Little Noses Spray & Aspirator. As germaphobic as I am, we definitely have stuffy noses occasionally. Your baby will HATE this process, but it takes care of the problem.
- Cloth Diapers. Perfect as burp cloths, and for general clean-up purposes.
5. Anything you didn't like?
Totally useless to me so far:
- Boppy Pillow. I know that's a controversial statement - haha! I just never used mine. If I'd bottle-fed my twins I'm sure I would've used it every day, but honestly, I might have used it twice.
- Udder Cover. A blanket works just fine, and is much easier to deal with.
- Nursing Pads/Lansinoh. Another controversial one I'm sure. Not that these products aren't great, I just never needed them. My advice is to wait until you find you'll use them, then go buy.
- Baby Shoes. Cute, but so impractical.
- Baby Towels & Washcloths (and robes, if you don't count putting the baby in them for kodak moments only). We use our big, nice, plush towels and honestly, I hardly use those little infant washcloths. The baby can use the same ones you do.
- Fisher Price Rainforest Soother. Aforementioned, but again, this does nothing to help my babies to sleep. It probably keeps them awake... the bright lights and jumping monkeys are obviously scintillating.
- Sleep Positioners. I have two and never used them. Swaddling pretty much keeps the baby where you put them.
- Sling. Not talking about the Moby, but the kind that looks like a big hobo bag you wear across your chest diagonally. Ours was called "Wendy Bellisimo" I think, and it killed my back to wear anyone (even Caroline at her tiniest) for more than about ten minutes.
- Bottles. We ended up using the bottles that came with our pumps and the disposable nipples from the hospital rather than the fancy bottles we'd stocked our cabinets with. I'm sure this is not the norm, but until you know better, save your money. Every baby seems to be different on this front, so if the few times you need to give a bottle (if you're breastfeeding, otherwise I realize this would be ridiculous), just buy one or two to see if they like that kind/brand. I found that the ones I bought had nipples that drowned my babies, so we never used them again. Point is, buy one at a time until you find the kind your baby likes, or maybe you'll be lucky like us and they'll like the free ones. (Funny enough, Caroline now refuses to take a bottle of any kind, so it really doesn't matter anymore. She'd rather cry herself to sleep and go without, so guess what that means? No more long date nights for mommy & daddy, cause I can't handle knowing she's at home screaming her head off. Sad, huh?).
- Regular Baby Lotion. I stocked up on the big ol' pink bottle, and finally moved it to my bathroom so we could at least get rid of it. Aquaphor, Vaseline, and baby oil are about the only things we put on them after their baths, with the occasional squirt of "nighttime calming" lotion around the chest.
- Gowns. I thought I would love these since it would make diaper-changing so much easier at night, but instead, I constantly worried that their little feet were freezing (baby socks are impossible to keep on, if I haven't mentioned that yet).
6. What does the twins nursery look like?
We had chosen the wall color ("celery") before we knew it would be a nursery, but thankfully I loved it enough to keep it. The tree on the wall is a decal, not painted on, and these pictures aren't the best because I was tip-toeing around napping babies :)
7. Did you always plan on staying at home?
Truthfully, I always wanted to stay at home, but I didn't know if that was going to be an option at this point. We'd "planned" to wait to start a family until Nathan was almost through with residency and we'd be "financially ready," but you know how that goes. When I got pregnant, I was the breadwinner of the house and carried our health insurance, so we honestly assumed I'd have to keep working in order to support all four of us (or six of us, if you include the fur babies :). After Tyler & Caroline were born, though, I just could not imagine putting them in daycare and traveling like I used to. We were blessed beyond belief with working out the health insurance, so with that stress off the table, we had saved enough to live on until Nathan starts residency this summer. I'm so thankful to be here with them all the time... you can't get these years back, so I'll never regret leaving the career world behind.
8. Did you have thoughts it was twins before it was confirmed?
No!! The few friends who actually knew I was pregnant before it was "out" can attest to the fact that I was merely coming to grips with the BFP, much less considering the notion that there was more than one baby. First and foremost, we have ZERO multiples in our family so the thought didn't even cross my mind. The only thing that was a bit prophetic was my coworker telling me she thought it was twins, because I kept whining about how much weight I was packing on so quickly and how my "bump" seemed to exist before it should have. Needless to say, she was one of the first people to see our first ultrasound picture when I got back from lunch that day! She was like "I tooooold you soooo!"
9. What is your new workout routine going to be?
Ahhhh. Workout routine...
Let's see. I intend to do The 30 Day Shred first, because you can modify to your fitness level (and mine's got to be a zero right now). Plus, it's only 20 minutes and that's probably all I can muster when I first get back into the game. I hope to start doing this in April, because I need to do some serious toning before the warm weather hits. I do get bored easily, though, so after those 30 days I will probably mix it up a bit. Mostly I'll jog/walk with the babies, because that is way more fun to me than a video. I've always been a fit person and I know what to do to get results, so I think that alternating a few days of walking & calisthenics with the Shred or Slim in 6 will be it. I'll keep you posted on this! *Nicole, I have some friends that are personal trainers and I'm sure they could send me a few things for you to do at home in between naps. Send me an email with your email address and I'll try to hook you up!
10. When does Nathan find out where he'll be working? Are you sad to move?
BEHOLD, we will finally know where he's matched next THURSDAY!! Neither of us are nervous... more like anxious. It's been a constant prayer of ours (all year it seems) to be matched with Columbia (SC), but again, it could be anywhere from Florida to New York. Our biggest stresser right now is selling our house, because there is no way we can afford to have two of them. We are sad to leave Greenville because we absolutely love it here, but it's kind of exciting to start the new chapter. Nathan is super excited to be Dr. Sims (for real, not just when I call him that :), and he's also looking forward to getting a paycheck, haha! As far as when we'll move, I have no idea. Every person that's looked at our house has asked that, to which I reply, "If you need in next week, I'll be out this weekend." We're flexible (thanks to parents who have an empty lake house we can temporarily live in), but worst case scenario, we'll move in June. Cross your fingers that we can sell this one sooner than that!!
*I'm going to go ahead and post this part since Miss Caroline is up from her nap. Sorry it's taking me forever to get to all of your questions, but I want to answer them right! Stay tuned for part 2 (and probably 3 & 4 :)
Although it was a bit windy, it was so nice to get out of town for a few days. We got there late Thursday
night and had all of Friday to just hang out on the beach and enjoy the ocean. After strolling the DuoGlider on the sand for three days, we are most definitely going to purchase a jogging stroller before our next trip! (Bright side: somewhat of a workout for me).
Connor had a blast running on the sand, until he saw this cat....
Tyler & Caroline didn't even mind their hats & mittens for once. The beach must mellow them out as well :)
We also made it to Ripley's Aquarium that afternoon, and to our surprise, Tyler & Caroline LOVED it. We figured they would take a nice nap (since they would practically be inside a big "soother"), but instead, they were wide-eyed and took everything in. It was precious!
At night, we kept them on their routine and did baths before bed. The sink at Granna & Pa Jolly's was perfect for baby washing! Tyler enjoyed it...
Caroline did not...
On Saturday & Sunday we took it easy. Strolled the beach, laid around the house, did a whole lot of nothing (just how I like it)...
(Why yes, she does always suck on that hand, regardless if there's something covering it :)