Sunday, February 24, 2013

New Discoveries

Over the last few weeks the babies have made lots of new discoveries. How to open dresser drawers, how to open the teething tablet bottle, that feeding the dogs is fun, that Harrison has a penis.

That's right, they've both realized that Harry's junk is something they can grab onto. Obviously with Brooke we remove her hands and tell her only Harrison can touch there, but she's 9 months old, she she doesn't understand. We'll keep at it until she does. It's his penis though, who am I to tell him no?

I had a heads up from other moms with boys that the fascination with their penis starts young, so I'm not really that surprised. However, watching him hold onto his manhood for all of bath time the last two nights was not expected. If that's what makes him happy, I'll just sit back and giggle at how happy he is while fondling himself, and of course take pictures.

Since we don't want anyone freaking out, I should add that once they are old enough to understand we will explain to them that their privates aren't to be touched by anyone else and that there's a time and a place for touching yourself.

Friday, February 22, 2013


I am lying in bed snuggled up with two sleeping babies. I love being their source of comfort and security, but there's also part of me that wonders if I'm doing the right thing by co-sleeping. I swore that by 6 months we would make the transition to their cribs.

Part of me wants my bed back. I want to be able to roll over and not disturb a sleeping baby. I want to be able to spread out and not worry about if my pillow is too close to someone's face. The other part of me wants to soak up every single minute of this I can. I know they won't be this small forever. I love rubbing their little heads while they sleep. I love feeling the weight of them on my chest. Eventually it will end, but when is the right time and how should we go about it?

There seem to be two main camps when it comes to sleep training. Those who believe in CIO, cry it out, and those who are anti-CIO. I fall somewhere in the middle. I've read "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley and it offers some wonderful advice, a lot of which we're using. I've also researched the PUPD, pick up put down, method. We tried it, and after 2 hours of picking up Harrison and putting him back down, I gave up and let him come back to bed. We also tried a modified CIO. That was a disaster too. I am only willing to let my babies cry for so long. Some of the CIO supporters says it's ok to let your baby cry for hours. Will they eventually learn to soothe themselves and sleep through the night if I don't train them to do so?

I don't know what is going to work for us, but in talking to other moms I do know this: The majority of babies don't sleep through the night at 4 or 6 months. There are also a lot more moms that co-sleep than what you might think.

After contemplating how to move forward with our family's sleep arrangement for a couple weeks I've come to a decision. We are going to continue co-sleeping for the time being. I'm not ready to give it up. I am however ready to stop nursing a baby back to sleep every hour, so we are going to focus on breaking our dependence on nursing to sleep.

I'm sure H and B could go all night without nursing, but we're going to start by getting them back to only nursing every three hours. From there we'll try stretching it to four and then to six hours. They used to go five or six hours between nursing at night, so I know they can do it now. We'll be comforting them back to sleep with patting, shushing, snuggling and even a little bouncing in bed.

Last night was our first night trying this and there were definitely a few tears. No one cried for more than a few minutes though, and we were always right there to
soothe them, even if it wasn't their preferred method of soothing. I'm hoping there will be less crying and waking tonight. They're asleep now and I'm on my own tonight for the first few hours. I'm going to roll out of bed and hopefully get to enjoy a hot chocolate, my DVR and some dog snuggles.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Love My Dog

When Robbie and I got married I had a sweet little Chihuahua named ChiChi. We found her walking down the street behind my parents' lake house and her owners never came to get her. I had ChiChi for 8 years and loved her every day, and I still do now that she's gone. Cheech was not a "real" dog. Her life consisted of sleeping, trying to run away and going to the bathroom on the floor.

After Robbie and I had been married for about a year he brought up getting another dog. We decided we wanted a large dog that was great with kids and a good guard dog. After doing some research on breeds we decided a Boxer would be the right dog to add to our family. We got Tyson when he was 11 weeks old. I fell in love not only with him, but with the breed as well. I even started a blog for Tyson. We decided he needed a playmate and we added Layla a few months later. A couple months after that we brought Harley into our home. 3 boxers in 8 months.

At the time, Robbie and I were both working 9-5 jobs. I took all 4 dogs to the dog park after work, but I wanted something more. I began looking at doggie daycares, but there wasn't one in our area. That's when I decided to open a dog daycare. 5 years later Happy Dogs Daycare is still offering a place for high energy pups to come play. We now just have Tyson and Layla and they are 7 years old and still a perfect fit for our family.

My dogs are my original babies and even with the two new babies I try to make sure Tyson and Layla get plenty of attention, one on one time and exercise. I want Brooke and Harrison to love the dogs as much as I do, and so far it seems like they do. I also want the dogs to love them in return, and sometimes they do. If they have a dirty diaper, are eating, or crawling around naked, the dog love shows.  The dogs are very tolerant and I hope as the babies grow the dogs gain more interest in them.

Harrison and Tyson

Loving on Layla

Crawling around Tyson

Layla and Brooke have a stare off.

If found these adorable matching boy and girl shirts from Old Navy and knew we had to have them. The UPS guy dropped them off yesterday, so we had a mini photo shoot today. Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Swim Class

Before the babies were born, I knew we would be doing swim classes with them as soon as possible. I grew up on the lake and love the water. I want to make sure they have the same love of the lake and swimming from an early age. Their brief encounter with Hamilton Lake over the summer went well. I want to make sure this coming summer is just as good.

Most mommy and me classes start accepting babies at 6 months of age. Once we made it through the craziness of the holidays I knew it was time to start them in a class. Luckily for us, our local YMCA's next session of swim classes started the first week of January. We got them all signed up and were ready to go. I was so excited for their first class. My mom offered to join us for class since Robbie couldn't be there due to work.

More than one person, including Robbie, questioned why I was doing swim lessons with them. "They're only 7 months old. You can't expect them to learn to swim." Those were pretty much the exact words from Robbie's mouth. This was of course after we had registered and paid for the class. I assured him I didn't expect them to learn to swim, but I did want to familiarize them with swimming and being in the water.

Our first class definitely involved some crying. They were also the youngest kids in their class. I remember thinking that the class was too advanced, and maybe we should have waited. They wanted the kids to move their arms and kick their legs. Harrison and Brooke only wanted to cling to their person.

By the time class was coming to an end and we were singing "If You're Happy And You Know It," I knew we had made the right decision to start them when we did. 7 weeks later we have finished our first set of classes. Are my kids swimming like baby Michael Phelps? Not even close, but they do love to kick their legs in the water and relax while floating on their backs. Alligator jumps put a huge smile on their face as they jump of the side into the water, assisted of course.

The class was definitely worth the $42 and it's something we look forward to every week. I just signed them up for the next session of the same class which starts in a week. Now we still have Monday afternoons to look forward to.
Thank you Grandpa for taking these videos.  They are from the last class of our first session.  The lighting at the pool is not good, so the video quality isn't great.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nursery/Playroom Tour

If you read my how to post for the accent wall, you know that the inspiration for the nursery walls came from a fabric I saw at JoAnn Fabrics. Once the walls were painted it was time for furniture and accessories. Furniture was easy. A trip to Ikea and a few hundred dollars later we had a dresser and two cribs. I found this black and white bedding set before we got pregnant and loved it. I knew we weren't going to use crib bumpers or a quilt so there was no reason to buy the bedding set. We did use the curtains and valance from the same collection.

I decided to make their mobile myself. I picked out card stock prints I liked and got to work. I spent more hours than I care to count making their mobile, but I love it so it was worth it.

 I love reading, so I knew I wanted to do a book wall. I ordered shelves from Land of Nod to create the wall. The shelves were easy to install and slim enough that I could put them on the wall behind the door. I used the same shelves above the dresser. They are perfect for personalized picture frames and art too.

As it turns out, the babies are still rooming with us, so we've turned their room into a playroom. There are still a couple projects I want to do for their room, but it's pretty much done.

Similar mobile here

Personalized touches make the room

Of course the dogs need a place in the babies room

Saturday, February 16, 2013

9 Months

I can't believe the babies are 9 months old today. They're so close to being toddlers and not infants anymore. We packed up their 9 month clothes yesterday. They're still wearing 6-12 month clothes and now 12 months. They'll be a year before we know it.

At their 9 month check up last week Harrison weighed in at 21 pounds 1 ounce and 29.5 inches long. Brooke was 19 pounds 9 ounces and 28.5 inches long. Their pediatrician said they both look healthy and are growing very well. Harrison is in the 90th percentile for height and Brooke is in the 75th percentile. Thanks Daddy for the tall genes!

No vaccinations this visit, but they did do a blood test to check their hemoglobin levels. No surprise, their results were both a little low. I've always had issues with low iron so it doesn't surprise me that they do, especially since they're still breastfed. Brooke's numbers were low enough that we had to go to the children's hospital outpatient so they could draw a couple vials of blood to test. Watching your baby give blood sucks! Thankfully the nurses were great and Brooke was a champ. It was all over in a minute and Brooke settled down after nursing for a couple minutes. She now has to take an iron supplement, which she hates, and I switched my vitamins to Flinstones chewables with iron. We retest in 3 months.

Brooke is cruising the furniture like a boss. She is also walking behind the walker very well. She has her front two bottom teeth. She is "talking" up a storm. Lots of da, buh, ha, oh and ah sounds.

Harrison is getting so good at standing. He's starting to shuffle his feet and is so close to figuring out how to cruise. He has his front four teeth and is about to get his next two on top any day now. He makes a lot of mmm sounds. I figure he's working on mom or milk.

They both switched into their Diono Radian convertible car seats this month. They also just made the switch from their inflatable tub to the big tub. As much as I love watching them grow and accomplish new things, there's part of me that just wants to freeze time and keep them this small forever. Scratch that, I would love to get some real sleep, more than 2 or 3 consecutive hours, so if we can get there then maybe we'll freeze time for a little bit. Happy 9 months, Harrison and Brooke!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nursery Accent Wall

I had a difficult time deciding how to decorate Brooke and Harrison's nursery. I knew I wanted something fun which ruled out most unisex nurseries I'd seen pictures of. They were mostly tan, brown or pale yellow. There were also a lot of them that were half blue and half pink. That seemed a little too messy for me. I wanted something colorful for their room. I went in search of Inspiration and found a really great paisley print fabric at JoAnn Fabrics.  I loved the color scheme and that fabric became the inspiration for their room.

The first step in doing their room was to put a base coat of teal on all 4 walls.  I pretty much always use Behr Paint and Primer in a satin finish.  The base coat is Blue Jewel.  It took two coats and a few extra touch ups to get a good finish.  Even though Behr says it covers in one coat, you really need two. Once I had the base coat finished it was time to lay the outline for the circles.  I didn't have any real method to sizing or layout of the circles, I just kind of went with it.  I used a compass to make sure they were perfect circles.  Once they were all marked on the wall in pencil, I used automotive pinstripe tape to tape off the circles. The pin striping tape is really flexible, so you can make a perfect circle by taping along the edge of your drawn on circles.

The next step I didn't do and wish I would have. Take painters' tape and tape along the outside of the pin striping tape. This makes it so you don't have to be as careful while painting your circles.

Once everything was taped off it was time to paint. Each of the circles got a coat of Blue Jewel paint. This kept the green paint from running under the tape and leaving a messy edge. It essentially seals the tape.

Once that was dry I started with one shade of green and picked all the circles that would get that shade. I tried to keep in mind that I didn't want three circles next to each other of the same color. When I started on the next shade I was more methodical in choosing which circles to paint. I marked every circle that would be getting the second shade before I filled them in. Once I was sure of the color placement, I filled in with the second shade and then followed up with the third. All of the circles got two coats of color as well.

I let the paint sit overnight before removing the tape. One thing I've found in my years of painting is that if you use tape it either needs to be removed right away before anything has a chance to dry, or you have to wait till everything is fully dry. I was careful not to move too fast while pulling off the tape. All of the tape came off with no issue.

It was a pretty time consuming process, partly due to me being 22 weeks pregnant with twins, but definitely worth it. Not including the base coat it took about 5 hours from start to finish to draw the circles, tape it all off and get the paint on the wall. Would decals have been easier? Absolutely, but this way I made sure the colors were the exact shades I wanted.

Below are the paint colors I used. The online samples don't show the vibrancy of the colors. The colors do match exactly to the paint samples I picked up at Home Depot.

Blue Jewel
New Green
Sweet Midori
Tart Apple

Sunday, February 10, 2013

8 and 9 Month Essentials

Hyland's Teething Tablets - Harrison got his first tooth just before 6 months and Brooke just got her first two a couple weeks ago. These are a life saver with two teething, especially since they're both cutting painful top teeth right now.

The First Years Baby Gate - I love that this gate has a hands free pass through. Being able to get both babies in or out of the kitchen without setting someone down often saves us from tears.

Fisher Price Step and Play Piano - We purchased this when they were about 4 months old. They started using it right away along with their Exersaucer and Jumperoo. We just took the seat off of it and they love walking around on it. The different piano key modes are great.

Playskool Rocktivity Sit to Stand Music Skool - This is probably their most used toy. It was a Christmas present from Santa, aka Mommy, and they took to it right away. Harrison wasn't standing well when the first got it, so it was a great sitting toy. Now they will stand, dance, and play on it for 10+ minutes at a time.

Fisher Price Poppity Pop Musical Dino - This was a Christmas gift from David and Kara. I have never heard Brooke laugh as much or hard as she did the first time they played with it. They seriously love this toy and think it's fun even if the balls have all popped out.

Imaginarium Wooden Activity Walker - This was another Christmas present from Santa. We took away the drumsticks and turned it on its back. They love climbing on it and playing with the xylophone. Brooke is now starting to walk behind it while it's on its back, upright moves to quickly for them still.

B. Zany Zoo - We absolutely adore this activity cube. They are constantly climbing on it. A few of the activities are too old for them at 9 months, but that just means they will be using it for years to come.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Baby Led Weaning

When Harrison and Brooke hit about 4 months I started to plan their introduction to solid foods. I knew I wanted to make their food for them so I ordered a Baby Breeza and silicone ice cube trays. I visited the farmer's market and picked up a couple organic squashes and a pumpkin. I picked up some sweet potatoes and green beans from the store too. I spent an entire weekend when they were about 5 months old making purees and freezing them into perfect one ounce cubes. I was all set to start their introduction to solids in just a few short weeks.

I knew I wanted avocado to be their first food, so at around 5.5 months we introduced avocado to them. They weren't thrilled, but they were definitely interested. We waited a couple of days and tried more avocado. After a few attempts they still weren't thrilled with eating, so we took a week off. They hit six months and I decided to jump back into introducing more foods. They tried sweet potatoes, apples, squash, pumpkin, pears, prunes, green beans, mango and broccoli. Some feedings they loved it and other times I couldn't convince them to take a bite.

I had been hearing a lot about baby led weaning as a way to introduce solids to your baby. Essentially it is letting your babies learn to feed themselves with solid age appropriate foods. H and B did seem to enjoy grabbing food off my plate and they were always willing to eat anything I was having.

By 8 months we were completely off of purees. They don't even want me to feed them applesauce anymore. They want to do it themselves. Their spoon skills aren't great yet, so we are doing everything in easy to handle solid form. Sweet potato fries, pear slices, cheese cubes, pumpkin pancakes, whole bananas.

Since switching to baby led weaning style of feeding their interest in food and willingness to eat has skyrocketed. Since I'm not spoon feeding them I can sit back and enjoy a meal with them. They make a huge mess pretty much every time they eat, but that's what Tyson and Layla are for. I'm so glad we discovered BLW when we did. It makes perfect sense to let them learn about food with real food instead of something that could be fed through a feeding tube at the nursing home. They've already had food from a few of our favorite restaurants too. They were big fans of Cebolla's and Taj Mahal. I've listed a few great links for places to start as well as a sample daily menu for Harrison and Brooke.

1/2 a banana or a 1/2 cup of other fruit and a generous handful of Cheerios or one pumpkin pancake

6 cheese cubes and 5 sweet potato fries or half of a cheese toastie cut into strips

1/2 cup of pasta with veggies and chicken or whatever the adults are having for dinner

Baby Led Weaning Blog

Wholesome Baby Food - A great site for feeding babies in general.  Not just BLW.

Tyson and Layla anxiously wait for a stray piece of food to hit the floor.

Brooke Enjoying a pumpkin pancake.

Harrison enjoys blackberries a little too much.