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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Just Roll With It Baby..."

Over the last two days Brady has quickly advanced his ability to roll from back to tummy and is now able to do this whenever he desires, which is 24 hours a day.  If I put him on his back in the playmat and turn my head for a second, when I look back he is on his stomach.  Same thing for on the floor on a blanket, in his crib, etc.  You could say he is obsessed with rolling unto his stomach.  He reminds me a lot of his Dad in that way, once he gets something in his mind there is no letting go of it, LOL.  Here are a few pictures and videos from our experience the last two days:

Yesterday I put him on his back beside Chloe, a second later I find him like this:


Last night I put him on his back to sleep, this morning I find him on his tummy, with his tush in the air:


A Video from this Morning:

video

Later this morning, again I placed him on the playmat on his back, a second later here he is:


One Last Video from Later Today:


video

While I am very proud of him, his newfound ability has inspired some mixed emotions.  I have to really watch him because he is so good at this now, it makes me nervous sometimes.  Another problem is that he doesn't know how to roll from his tummy to his back, so once he gets on his tummy, he often doesn't know what to do, so he gets frustrated and cries.  I end up spending quite a bit of time flipping him from his tummy to his back, only to rinse and repeat this process a multitude of times. 

Of course there is also the issue of sleeping.  We all know sleeping on their backs is the number one preference for babies.  Unfortunately, he now wants to sleep on his tummy, and if I roll him on his back he rolls right back over on his tummy.  From what I have read, once they can roll, this is out of your control.  You should still put them on their back to sleep, but if they roll, you have to deal with it. 

I can't believe what a big and (semi-mobile) boy we have!  Something tells me I am only at the beginning of a very interesting period as their mobility increases.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Going Bananas and Other Progress Updates

It has been a week since our 4 Month Dr. Appointment, and we've been working on implementing some changes to the babies' diet and routine.  So far, things have gone pretty smoothly (knock on wood).  Here is a rundown of our new situation and also some fun pictures (I promise!):

1. Daytime Nap Schedule:   Our naptime routine involves one quick story, zipping them up into their sleep sacks, and then it is into their cribs for a nap.  We have a morning nap beginning around 10-11 AM and lasting one hour, and an early afternoon nap beginning around 1-2 PM and lasting one hour.  Both babies are usually asleep within 10 minutes of being placed in their cribs.  I have really enjoyed having a more formal nap schedule because now I have a window of time that I can count on daily to get things done. 

2. Six Ounces at Every Feeding:  This was also an easier transition than I anticipated.  The babies had seemed content with eating 4 ounces per feeding and I thought there was no way they would finish 6 ounces every time.  Clearly I was wrong on this one!  They have been happy to eat almost the entire 6 ounces at every feeding and rarely leave more than an ounce left in their bottles.  We have had to move up to Level 2 bottle nipples (faster flow) since it was taking a million years to finish a 6 ounce bottle with Level 1 bottle nipples.  It turns out you can start using Level 2 nipples beginning at 3 months old, so we are late to that party! 

3. Solids:  After two weeks of feeding rice cereal once a day, we started Bananas on Saturday.  So far they have liked it okay (definitely better than the rice cereal) and I think they are starting to actually swallow more, but more often than not most of it ends up anywhere but in their mouths!  Today is Day 3 of Bananas and then we will move on to Peaches.  I've enjoyed starting solids and I am looking forward to introducing other foods as we go along.  Here are some Day 2 Banana pictures (the funny bibs are from Nana and Doodah):

Our Gerber Baby (Boy)


Our Gerber Baby (Girl)


4. Bathtime:  The introduction of solids has necessitated daily baths.  We used to bathe the babies every other day, but now after they are covered in bananas or whatever food it may be they are in desperate need of a bath.  They definitely don't complain about this though, as they are in love with baths and always have the best time kicking and splashing.  It puts them in a really great frame of mind going into bedtime.  

5. Bedtime:  The babies are now in bed between 8:00 and 8:30 PM most nights.  We are working on gradually moving bedtime up earlier, but it is a work in progress.  They are still sleeping through the night until 6 AM (crosses fingers).  After the 6 AM feeding, they go back to sleep and wake up at about 8:00 or 8:30 AM and that is when we officially begin our day. 

So we have made a lot of changes in the last week, but I am really excited because I can see progress being made in every direction.  I'll leave you with one last fun/silly picture of Brady.

We (Us Not the Babies) are Clearly Easily Entertained:


Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lazy Sunday Cuddles

This morning was awesome!  I have to brag on Chad, not only did he get up and do the 6 AM feeding both Saturday morning and this morning so I could sleep in, but today he brought me breakfast in bed! 

When the babies woke up before the 9 AM feeding we spent some time cuddling with them in our big bed.  Nothing is more fun on the weekends then a lazy morning just hanging out with the babies. 

Of course I had to get some pictures of them because they were just so darn cute in their jammies! 






I hope everyone has a great Sunday relaxing and spending some time with their families! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lunch Date with Daddy

Today we went downtown to have lunch with Chad in his office on the 40th floor!  Chloe and Brady had a fun time trying to figure out where we were and who all the people were! 

I didn't think to take any pictures while we were there, but here are a few pictures before and after:

Brady Ready to Meet Daddy:


Chloe Ready to Meet Daddy:


"Where are we going again?":



Brady Tired After Our Big Afternoon:


We were glad we got to spend some time with Daddy today and meet all his wonderful coworkers! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Semi Wordless Wednesday

Today I will let Chloe and Brady do all the chatting.  Here is a video snippet from our day, Brady also pipes up every now and then but he is harder to hear over Chloe.


video

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Crockpot Concoctions: Lasagna

I have been experimenting with crockpot cooking recently since it is an easy way for me to quickly prepare/mix together ingredients during a naptime and then have it cook during the day so it is ready to eat when Chad gets home.

My first couple of experiments didn't turn out great.  I cooked a roast and the texture turned out wonderful (meat was falling apart), but it wasn't very flavorful because I added too much water.  Next I tried an easy cheesy chicken recipe.  Again, the chicken was done and not dry, but it was way too salty! 

The third time must be the charm because I finally found something that tasted amazing:  Lasagna!  I will say that this does take some time to prepare and it does make several dirty dishes, but the taste was really (shockingly) great!  Also makes plenty so you have enough for leftovers. 

Crockpot Lasagna


*EDITED TO ADD* My good friend Michelle suggested browning the meat and preparing the cheese mixture the night before to save time.  I think this is a great idea and I will be doing it myself next time.  Also, the recipe I modified did not call for cooking the lasagna noodles, but I was afraid to put them uncooked in the crockpot.  It is possible the recipe would still work with uncooked noodles. 

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 jar Classico Four Cheese Sauce (or pasta sauce of your choice)
1 cup water
1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
1 pkg lasagna noodles (only need to use about 9 noodles or less depending on layers)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (can buy in a pkg)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (just use what comes in a jar, don't have to grate yourself)
1 8 oz. pkg Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Preparations:

  1. Cook about 9 lasagna noodles in rapid boiling water and add salt to the water so noodles are less sticky.  Boils about 10 minutes.  Lay noodles out on wax paper.
  2. Add 1 tsp. garlic powder and 1 tsp. onion powder to ground beef.  Mix, brown, and drain.
  3. Mix 1 jar of Classico Four Cheese sauce (or sauce of your choice), 1 cup of water, 6 oz. can of tomato paste, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. dried oregano, and 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning together with the browned beef to make the meat sauce.  Let simmer for a minute or two.
  4. Soften the 8 oz. pkg of Philadelphia cream cheese either in microwave or by setting out for a little.  Mix together pkg of softened cream cheese with 3 cups of shredded Mozzarella and 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.  This mixture will not be smooth, it will be chunky.  This is okay because it will all melt in the crockpot later. 
  5. Put one layer of meat sauce on bottom of crockpot.  Put two to three noodles on top of meat sauce.  Put cheese mixture over noodles (again, it will be chunky, just make sure the chunks cover the general noodle area and they will melt).  Repeat layers: meat sauce, noodles, cheese.  Should end by covering with remaining meat sauce.  (I think I only had two layers and then meat sauce on top, but my crockpot is huge)
  6. Cook on low for four hours.  Cook on high for another 40 minutes.  Don't lift the lid until ready to serve. 
After writing this out I'm not sure how many of you will want to try it because it seems like a lot of steps, but here it is!  I can say it turned out delish! 


Monday, June 20, 2011

4 Month Dr. Appointment: Shots, Stats, and Surprises

This morning we took the babies to their 4 month well check appointment with our pediatrician.  I always look forward to these appointments to get a sense of how they are doing, but I also dread them somewhat because it is always a little nervewrecking and at this age they usually involve getting shots. 

It was a taxing morning for the babies because our appointment time caused them to miss some of their usual morning sleep.   They ate at 6:30 AM and our appointment didn't end until 9:30 AM, right at the next feeding time, so we ended up having to stay and feed the babies in the treatment room. 

All of the excitment of being examined, weighed, and measured combined with getting shots has caused them to be extremely sleepy so far today.  Without further ado, time for pictures and stats:

So Tired They Fell Asleep Together in Their Playmat:



Brady (All Tuckered Out and Note His Band-Aids):


Height: 26 inches (84th percentile)
Weight: 12 pounds 10 ounces (10th percentile)


Chloe (With Her Hand Dramatically Over Her Face):


Height: 24 1/4 inches (49th percentile)
Weight: 12 pounds (16th percentile)

5 Things We Learned/Were Surprised By:

  1. How tall/lean Brady is!  We always think of him as a giant compared to Chloe and we expected the doctor to say "What a huge child you have!".  Instead, she said, "This child needs to eat more".   We were totally shocked.  It turns out because he is so long, he needs to put on more weight.  Both babies have now graduated to 6 ounces at every feeding.  We have a follow up appointment in a month to check on Brady's weight gain. 
  2. Even though we always think of Chloe as our petite girl, because she is shorter than her brother her weight percentage is much higher.
  3. The doctor said that what we swore were teeth coming in for Brady is actually just part of his gums.  He is not cutting a tooth yet! 
  4. We can start vegetables in another week, our doctor said after two weeks of rice cereal it is okay to start adding other solids.  (Rice cereal update: Brady has got the hang of the spoon and LOVES rice cereal, Chloe still hates it)
  5. It is time to start a daytime nap schedule.  That is on the agenda for the next few weeks! 
One last picture I wanted to share, a Father's Day cuddle with Chad and the babies from yesterday:



Have a great day everyone, I am going to go love on my tired babies!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all Dads and Granddads out there!  I hope you all have a special day celebrating with your families.

Today is Chad's first Father's Day, and to celebrate I wanted to post some of my favorite pictures of him with the babies. 

First time holding his children:


Getting some practice juggling two at a time:



Becoming a Pro at Multi-Tasking:



Reading Bedtime Stories on the ipad:



Chad with the babies on their 4 Month Birthday:



Chad, we love you and we are so lucky to have you as the Daddy of our family! 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Luckiest

One year ago today Chad and I took the last step of the IVF process, the embryo transfer.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with IVF, you can find more information about it here.  As you can see from the link, the success rate for women under 35 (like me) is at BEST 30-35% according to the American Pregnancy Association. 

Here is a picture of our three embryos:



Exactly one year later, here are our two beautiful, amazing, healthy children:


Chad says that we are some of the few parents that can say that we saw our children when they were 6 cell organisms!  When I think of the entire process it reminds me that every life is a miraculous gift. 

Brady and Chloe---you are so precious to us.  Every day we have with you is something to treasure.  We feel so privileged to be your parents.  We loved you before you ever came into being, and we love you always.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's Friday! Dance Party!

Yay! It is Friday! I thought I'd celebrate by posting a few videos of the babies dancing/laughing with Chad.

The other afternoon Chad was singing random things to Chloe and dancing around the living room with her when we discovered she had a particular liking for the Aaliyah song "Are You That Somebody?". So we pulled up the song on the ipad and commenced more dancing.

Our friend Phillip pointed out that there is a baby cooing in the background of that actual song. Apparently this song is very popular with the babies. Even Brady liked it!

RIP Aaliyah, I think it would make you happy to know that your music lives on and is still enjoyed by everyone, including the little ones!  

Chloe Dancing:

video

Brady Dancing:

video

Have a great Friday everyone!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Videos from Today

Recently Chad asked me how I've been liking staying at home. I told him that lately I've really been enjoying it because the babies are reaching an age where we are interacting a lot more and they seem to be learning something new everyday. I feel so lucky to be able to watch them experience more of the world and acheive different milestones from day to day.

I try to catch as much of it as I can on my Flip Video camera for Chad and also for family and friends that live far away. For new parents or anybody really, I think this is an amazing camera. It is the size of a cell phone, records up to an hour of HD video at the push of one button, and easily downloads unto your computer via a USB port. It makes taking videos a breeze and is really easy to grab quickly when the babies are doing something.

Over the last two days Brady has picked up a new skill. He can hold his bottle himself for a few seconds on his own. I let him practice at the end of his feeding if he reaches for it.

Brady in action:

video

The next video is just another quick one from today of Chloe rolling from tummy to back. I know I posted one of her doing this yesterday, but I think the video quality is a little better on this one and so it is easier to see. Plus, I am just so proud of her! She is doing this on a daily basis now.

Chloe in Action:

video

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rice Cereal and Rolling: Beginnings

Our pediatrician recommended starting rice cereal at 4 months, so we started experimenting with it last Sunday. We have incorporated it into only 1 feeding per day to start and we still mix it so that it has a very runny consistency.

There is a debate about the best time to start rice cereal, either 4 or 6 months, but I have read that 2 good indicators that they are ready are:

1. If they are good supported sitters
2. If they have doubled their birthweight

Brady and Chloe have achieved both of these prerequisites so we have gone ahead and taken the plunge.

To say that it isn't their favorite would be an understatement. A picture is worth a thousand words so I'll let them speak for Brady and Chloe:

"What in the world are you doing, Mom?"



"Yuck!"



We are going to keep at it and hopefully they will eventually become more receptive.

In other news, since Brady and Chloe have achieved such great head control, we've been spending a lot more time on the floor playing and doing tummy time. This has encouraged them to explore rolling a little more. Here are a couple videos:

Chloe Rolling from Tummy to Back:

video

Brady Rolling from Back to Tummy:

video

They are definitely only in the beginning stages, but over the next few weeks I am betting they will become pros!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sadie and Sophie: A Love Affair

So Brady has been teething on and off for a while now, and I have tried just about every toy or product known to man to help. So I decided to try a very popular baby teething toy in the shape of a giraffe known as Sophie. Babies are supposed to adore it. I am sure you are wondering what this has to do with our dog Sadie, so I will tell you.

The problem with Sophie is that it looks and sounds exactly like a dog toy. Sadie is convinced it is NOT the babies' toy, but HERS. The strange thing is that Sadie isn't normally possessive of her toys and usually shows little interest in them. But not Sophie. She is OBSESSED.

Please observe:

video

So if anybody wonders how I spend my day, the answer is 95% looking after the babies and 5% keeping Sadie away from Sophie, LOL.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Conversations with Chloe and Brady

Both babies are getting to the point where they are experimenting with babbling, chattering, and making sounds. Chloe is typically the more vocal of the two, but today Brady was in a talkative mood!

The first video is from Memorial Day weekend when Chloe and Chad had a morning chat:

video

The second video is from my conversation with Brady earlier today:

video

Finally, I will leave you with a few pictures of the babies in their Bumbo seats:

Having a meeting:



"Do you mind Mom? We're kinda busy!"



Have a great day everyone!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Top Ten Baby Items Under $30 (for 0-3 Months)

When I was expecting I was always asking parents for their favorite baby product recommendations because there is SO MUCH out there to choose from that it can get really overwhelming. I wanted to get real, practical answers from parents who had "been there" instead of getting lost in the hype.

Having "survived" the first three months of twin parenthood I decided to make my own list of items that made our lives easier as a new family. My criteria for picking these items was as follows:

1. Must be something that was used frequently.
2. Must be something that made life easier and more efficient.
3. Must be under $30.
4. Must be for infants 0-3 months.

Disclaimer: These items are just from my family's experience with our babies. Obviously every family is different, so these may not work for you...but it is my 2 cents for what it is worth.

1. Sleepy Bee. This is a portable sound machine that comes with or without vibration. It is small enough to fit in a purse or diaper bag and can attach to the arm of a carseat or stroller. It is perfect for drowning out the noise of a loud restaurant or mall, etc. It is wonderful when you need a baby to nap on the go. There are some downfalls: It eats AAA batteries. There is no automatic shut off, you have to press it off yourself. It is loud. This sounds like quite a few drawbacks but when you see the almost immediate calming effect it has on a fussy child, you will think this product is worth its weight in gold. I use it to help with bedtime too, not just on the go. Link

2. Boppy Loungers. These are the Boppy pillow, but with a center. They are a perfect safe and comfortable place to set a newborn when you need a free hand. They seem to be molded in the perfect shape for newborns to lounge comfortably unlike other products that are often too big and the babies get all slouched over or scrunched down. Also very machine washable and will hold their shape. Link

3. SwaddleMe infant wraps. These are fool-proof swaddle blankets for infants. They are secured with velcro and make for a snug swaddle. No fuss swaddling for parents, and babies love them. Link

4. Fisher Price Precious Planet Whale of a Tub. Simple, straightforward infant tub. Best part about it is the green insert in the middle that props up baby's bottom and keeps its upper body out of the water. Very comfortable for even very small babies. We started bathing Chloe and Brady in this tub at two or three weeks old and never felt like they were uncomfortable or unstable. Has a drain in the bottom for easy clean up. Link

5. Medela Quick Clean Micro Steam Bags. These bags are used to sterilize bottle or breast pump parts, as well as pacifiers and nipples. Very easy to use, just rinse what you want to sterilize in warm soapy water, then put 2 ounces of water in the bag with your items and microwave for 3 minutes. The first few weeks we were sterlizing things several times a week and these bags were a lifesaver. I believe a pack comes with 5 bags and each bag can be used 20 times, so you get 100 uses per box. A great deal and a real timesaver! Link

6. The Mommy Hook Stroller hanger. Hanger stays in place on your stroller and holds lots of bags. We learned quickly under-stroller storage is at a premium and is not always easily accessible. We actually use the Mommy Hook to hold our diaper bag (with a cajillion things in it). Inexpensive and great product. Link

7. Babies R Us Multi Use Pads. These are waterproof pads that come in packs of three. They are great for putting on top of your changing pad to protect your cute (and probably expensive) changing pad cover you bought to match your decor from the inevitable accidents. Also can be used in the crib or bassinet. Only irritating thing about these is that they have a tendency to bunch up in the dryer. Since they really aren't meant for aesthetic value, I let it slide. Link

8. Johnson's Bedtime Lotion. Disclaimer: Per our infant care class at the hospital, it is not recommended to put any type of product on an infant under 6 weeks old. So we didn't start using this lotion until they were 6 weeks old. The big selling point of this lotion is that it is supposed to help babies sleep better. We use it every night as part of our bedtime routine and so far we've had a lot of success with sleeping (crosses fingers big time since I am going to totally jinx myself now). Regardless of whether it helps with sleeping or not, it keeps the babies' skin soft and smells wonderful on babies and mommies too. Link

9. Gum Drop Pacifiers. Pacifiers are really a baby by baby preference type of thing. Brady will pretty easily accept any kind of pacifier. Chloe rejected every pacifier we tried with the exception of these. They seem to be the pacifier for the picky pacifier baby. They are the same nipple shape as the Soothies that are used in the hospital, but the outer shape seems to help babies hold it in their mouths easier. Comes in packs of two in all different colors. Link

10. Zip Up Pajamas. There is not a specific brand (but I do know that Carters does sell zip ups). Most baby pajamas come with a million snaps. Not fun trying to find all the snaps, especially during the 2 AM feedings/diaper changes. If you can find pajamas that zip up, get them! My link is for a set from Carter's but honestly it is more about the zipper than what brand it is. Link

Well, that's all folks. I hope maybe this list will help a new parent or maybe will be a good gift guide if you know someone who is expecting.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Almost 15 Weeks Old!

Time is flying by and it seems that these days the babies are doing or learning something new every day! I try to post pictures frequently on facebook but it might also be nice to write down a few things about what we've been doing lately!

Let me start with a few together pictures of the babies:

Here they are before we went to the Aquarium to meet some friends from Oklahoma:



Here they are before going to their friends' First Birthday party:



Here are a few facts about BOTH babies at 15 weeks:

* Are sleeping through the night and have been since about 10 weeks old. Usually they will go down at around 9 pm and wake up between 5 and 6 AM.

* Eat 4 ounces at every feeding and we usually do 6 feedings a day at 6 AM, 9 AM, 12 PM, 3 PM, 6 PM, and 9 PM. This schedule can sometimes be shifted up an hour but this is the most common one. They have been known to eat 5 or 6 ounces especially at the 6 AM feeding after sleeping through the night.

* LOVE a bath and will kick and spash with delight in the tub. They especially love to have water poured over their heads. Chad is the chief bather and they really enjoy that time with him. If they see the cup of water go behind their heads they start to sqeal and laugh and kick with anticipation of the water being poured on their head. It is so cute!

* Are sitting up in their bumbo seats! This is a very recent thing but they both enjoy being able to sit up and look around the room.

* Have excellent head control and can hold their head stable unassisted about 85% of the time now.

Now I will do a few facts about each individual baby starting with our first born, Brady:



At 15 weeks Brady is:

* VERY active. He can turn himself from his back to his side at will and I have seen him turn himself all the way from his back to his tummy twice so far. At night I put him in his crib with his head under his mobile, and often in the morning I find him completely scooted around with his feet under the mobile!

* Both longer and heavier than his sister. He is bursting out of his 3 month clothes but the 3-6 clothes are still too big just yet. He is transitioning to a Size 2 diaper now.

* Cutting his first tooth! Last week he was fussy and unusually needy (awake and wanting to be held during the day more often than usual) and I couldn't figure out why. I kept taking his temperature and he was always fine. Over the weekend he was loudly letting us know he was ready for the afternoon feeding when I saw in his open mouth a white tooth beginning to poke through! I wish I could get a picture but it is in the back side of his mouth so very hard to take a picture of!

He is getting so big and we are so proud of him!

Now for our 2nd born, Chloe:



At 15 weeks Chloe is:

* VERY social. She is smiling at everyone, laughing out loud, and chattering often. She will now smile at you when she sees you are going to pick her up. She will smile or chat with most people, but especially for her Daddy. He tickles her and can get her laughing like crazy.

* VERY observant. She notices her brother and is intensely interested in him. She loves to stare at him, touch him, pull his ear, etc. You can see in the picture above she is busy staring at her brother off to the side. As far as we can tell he has shown little to no interest in or recognition of her, LOL.

* Our little girl. She still fits comfortably in her 0-3 clothes and her Size 1 diapers. She is petite but so precious! She still likes to lay on my chest and curl herself into a little ball on her tummy with her legs and arms tucked under. This weekend she took a nap with me that way for about two hours. I treasure this time with her because I know soon she will be too big and into too much to want to cuddle like that.

She is such a sweet baby and we are so proud of her!

That is what is going on with us! I promise I will try to get better at posting!
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